Monday, July 30, 2012

The Loss of a Writer Friend

A dear writer friend passed away yesterday morning - Bea Siros. She was 76 years old. Although she recently had serious medical issues, this comes as a shock to me and others who knew her. 

I just loved Bea. She and I were the same height (although I weighed more!) and I'd stand next to her and hug her, saying how young she looked, which was so true...and that we looked the same age...or even that I looked older than her! (Also, The Ronald has called me Bea for years and years, and so she and I had that in common, too.)

Besides being a member of a critique group I belong to, Bea also was a long time member of Saturday Writers.

Earlier this spring when we were having summer-like temperatures, I offered to pick her up one Tuesday morning and take her to Coffee & my PT Cruiser, with the convertible top down. She was thrilled and loved every minute of it. After our critique session was over, a few of us stayed for lunch  as we usually did. When I dropped her off at her house, she asked me take a picture of her, with her camera, standing next to it...posing like a cute little school girl. I wish I had a copy of that picture.
What a talented writer, and a sweet and funny friend....I'll miss her a lot.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Winner, Some Writing Info, and Another Blog Break

I'm happy to announce the winner of my book(s) give away posted on July 18. 
The winner random drawing......Kathy of "Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy!" Congratulations, Kathy! As soon as Kathy lets me know which two books she wants, they will be on their way to her. Thanks to those of you who participated!

Please don't forget about writing contests and/or calls for submissions that I've recently mentioned. Also, please remember Publishing Syndicate is looking for stories for several anthologies. All you writers -- start submitting! As the lottery slogan says, "You can't win if you don't play."

(photo of one of my favorite coffee mugs)

It's time for me to take another BBB. (Brief Blog Break!) I'll be drinking lots of coffee, out of various favorite mugs. The one above says Sister Mary Morning Blend. That just cracks me up!

google image

As much as I enjoy writing blog posts and trying to read a few friends' blogs, I just can't do it and still have enough time to be committed to my memoir. So, until further notice, I'll be pounding the old keyboard with scathingly brilliant pages (uh, I certainly hope I do) to complete my memoir. Please keep me in your thoughts, as I will keep you in mine.

    And you know who else cracks me up.......Maxine!

* Nostalgic Sunday *

It's Time for Another Nostalgic Sunday!

Today's Nostalgic Sunday is about a writing contest presented by Matilda Butler & Kendra Bonnett at Women's Memoirs

In honor of the 70th Anniversary of the Rosie the Riveter poster, they are looking for true stories about women during WWII. You may not be able to interview any living female relatives, but hopefully you already know some details, or have other family members you can ask.

Rosie the Riveter
(courtesy: Women's Memoirs Blog)

There is no entry fee and if enough quality submissions are received an e-book will be published. Go to: for all the details, including word count, and deadline. And please pass along this info to everyone you know who might be interested. 

(My mother's first husband was killed in WWII and I plan to submit a story about her life during that time.)

* P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment HERE for my Two-Book-Give-Away! I will choose the winner tonight at 9:00pm CDT, by random drawing. *

"If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman." -- Margaret Thatcher

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I've been planning a blog post about my favorite TV drama show, Person of Interest for quite a while and just never got around to it. BUT, after seeing the prestigious Emmy nominations this morning, I couldn't wait any longer. 

The Emmys used to be exciting. The Emmys used to nominate actors and shows that the majority of us watched and liked. Why did they make the decision a few years ago to include shows that are only on the pay cable channels, such as HBO? The entire country does not receive those channels.

This year's nominations include more of those shows than the ones on "regular" network channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX.

This year's nominations was a Deja Vu of previous years, with only a few exceptions....and all were pretty bad in my opinion. 

I was so sure that Person of Interest would be nominated for Best Drama, and the two main actors would also be nominated, as I've listed below ---- (And remember, these are just MY ideas, none of these are real nominations)

                                                                          Michael Emerson
Jim Caviezel

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series: Jim Caviezel

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Michael Emerson

If you've never watched this show, you are missing a fantastic, keep you on the edge of your seat, don't miss a single moment drama. It's so unique and the acting is superb.  

Maybe next year, and for now....there's always The People's Choice Awards.

** Don't forget my Book Give Away.
 Click here for all the info.**

 "Honesty isn't enough for me. That becomes very boring. If you can convince people what you're doing is real and it's also bigger than life -- that's exciting." ~ Gene Hackman

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Book Give-Away..Book Give-Away..Book Give-Away

It's been quite awhile since I've had a Give-Away of any kind, so I decided now was a good time for one.
Very Easy Rules: Just leave a comment about a book you'd like to recommend and a BRIEF reason why. No long book reviews, please! On Sunday, July 22nd at 9:00pm CDT, I'll choose a winner by random drawing and that winner can choose two books....any two books. They don't have to be two that are in a picture together.

*NOTE: You must live in the US to be eligible. I'm so sorry but the shipping cost to any other country is cost prohibitive.

The winner can choose from the books pictured below. Notice they aren't all "chick-lit-type" books, either. So fellas, you can leave a comment, too! 

         You can click on each group of books to see a much larger view. These are all used, except for the Stay at Home Moms book. (No, I don't have a story in it, but I received a free copy from Chicken Soup for the Soul.) The two books in the bottom left are the most "used" as far as the condition of them, but still very much readable! I'm just trying to lighten the load of books I own, so I'll most likely have another give-away like this fairly soon. Tell your friends to stop by. It's not necessary to be a follower.

 *Welcome to my newest follower, David List. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you! *

"Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience:  this is the ideal life."  ~Mark Twain

Sunday, July 15, 2012

* Nostalgic Sunday *

It's Time for Another Nostalgic Sunday

Cicadas Vs. Locusts

I discovered a few years ago that the creatures I've known my entire life as locusts, are really cicadas. But since my parents, grandparents, neighbors, and other relatives all called them locusts, and that's all I've ever known, I cannot and will not call them anything different now! 

Right before I wrote this post, I looked online to see if I could find an article concerning other people being confused about this, too. I found the following blog post from Ben's Questions and Answers Blog - July 2005:

~~ Someone asked me what the difference is between a cicada and a locust. Initially I was surprised by the question, as I have always seen them to be two completely different species of insects, however, it seems that many people refer to cicadas as locusts.

Since there is obviously some question about what a locust is let's first settle that. A locust is a type of grasshopper, more specifically, a locust is a short horned grasshopper. A long horned grasshopper is known as a katydid or, more commonly, just a grasshopper.

In parts of Australia, and the USA, cicadas are often known as locusts, however, a cicada is an entirely different type of insect than the locust or the grasshopper. The cicada is related to the aphid and comes in two varieties; the annual and the periodical cicada. The annual cicada has a lifecycle which repeats annually, i.e. they breed and hatch once per year. The periodical cicada may have either a 17 or 13 year lifecycle and spend the time between breeding buried in the ground until billions of individuals hatch in unison. This gives rise to the name thirteen year locust and seventeen year locust. ~~

So, what does this have to do with Nostalgic Sunday? Every year of my life, I've loved the sound the "locusts" make in the summer evenings. It brings back so many wonderful memories. It usually began when it wasn't totally dark yet, but the lightening bugs had appeared. When I was really young, my brother and I, and the neighborhood kids would all run around chasing those lightening bugs, trying to catch one in the cups of our hands. While that was going on, a few locusts would start up their singing-sawing noises and more would join in, until there was a full orchestra of them. Almost as quickly as they started, they would fade away, only to start all over again. 

That usually happened in late summer....August....which meant it was a bittersweet chorus. They were signaling the end of summer, a magical season for so many children, and one of those children was me.  

** July 16 Note: I searched online this morning for a noise clip and found a great one here: 
It says something about a Download, but you don't need to do anything. The sound begins right after you click on the link. Enjoy!! 

P.S. This year's early start to spring and summer, and our ongoing heat wave has totally mixed up those creatures. They started their chanting about a week ago, not even the middle of July yet. 

"Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well." -- George R.R. Martin

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Writer Brain or Math Brain?

When I was growing up (which seems like the Dark Ages compared to today's technology) my favorite subjects were also the same ones I received the best grades in: Reading, Spelling, Penmanship, Literature, English Grammar. And although subjects like History and Geography were also "reading" subjects, I didn't like them at all. The textbooks were boring and the tests were nothing more than memorizing a bunch of facts that I've never needed in my life (except maybe knowing what happened in 1492 and 1776).

Those are the same feelings I have about the math subjects I was forced to (attempted to) learn. After adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, I've never needed to know what an Algebraic Algorithms isAlthough, I did enjoy geometry.All those angles and things. THAT I understood, but start talking about x, y and z and my eyes glaze over and my mind shuts down. 

I posted a new math cartoon on the right column. I thought it was especially appropriate since it includes both math and books! I sent it to my math-philosophy son, Mark. Yes, he thought it was funny, especially since he knows his mother (that would be me!) is very much "math challenged." In his return e-mail, he sent the one below:

Oh my gosh! That was so me in grade school with those idiotic word problems. Aaarrrgggg! That's probably when I began having migraine headaches, and they've lasted all my life!

 *Welcome to my newest follower, Bish. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you! *

How about you? Do you have the writer brain or the math brain....or is it possible to have both??

"Math: The only place where a person can buy 80 watermelons without anyone thinking they're a weirdo." -- Unknown

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Letters Here, Letters There, and Contests

Sometime in the past year, writer and blog friend C. Hope Clark, posted about some of the letters on her keyboard being totally worn off. If I remember correctly, she also shared photos of them. I got such a kick out of it that I sent her a few alphabet stickers to cover those keys. 

Some of the letters on my laptop keyboard have now disappeared to the point of needing replacements. Although I know what letters belong to those blank and almost-blank keys, I'd still like to be able to look down every once in a while and see them again. So, I'm borrowing Hope's concept and sharing mine....with before and after pictures. 



As you can see, I use the E, A, and S keys regularly. And the A has grooves on it, from my left pinky fingernail. Weird, huh? The W and D are getting a little worn, but they're okay for now. On the right side of my keyboard, the O, N, and K are getting pretty worn, too. Interesting.....

What about you? What are the keys you see wearing off the most?? It can give us an insight into how we write. 


And speaking of writing...Please check out Tiny Lights - A Journal of Personal Narrative. I have an answer included in: "As a writer, what are your priorities?" Don't forget....anyone can submit an answer each month! Your award? Getting published in an online journal. Getting your name "out there."


 A couple of writing contests I came across:


Scintillating Starts
A new contest from Writer Advice
 PURPOSE: To win recognition for the opening of your unpublished manuscript or to get additional perspective, depending on where you are. If your opening is shared on Writer Advice, you’ll be able to tell prospective agents, publishers, and book buyers that you were one of the winners of Writer Advice’s First Scintillating Starts Contest. 

HOW IT WORKS: Submit the opening chapter or paragraphs. Show us how you grab the reader. Entice us. Make us want to know more.

We’ll send you an insightful, practical evaluation and publish the first paragraphs of the works we believe are strongest. $250 in prize money will be divided among those published.


DEADLINE: October 15, 2012

FEE: $20

QUESTIONS? Write to Please send your work through Submittable, only.
Questions? Click HERE.

Note from me: I think this sounds like a great contest! What a fabulous name for it! I plan on entering.


1st Annual WNBA National Writing Contest 

The Women's National Book Association
Small fees and $250 cash prize plus publication. (This was found on Writer Advice.) Click on link for complete information.

"If writers stopped writing about what happened to them, then there would be a lot of empty pages." - Elaine Liner

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Got My Mojo Back!

(picture I took of one of my Maxine cartoons) 

For the past two weeks, Vern and I haven't been able to go on our walks because it's just been too darn HOT!  My part of the world has been experiencing 100+ degrees (Fahrenheit) for about 10 days in a row. Although it's been much less humid than normal, it's still uncomfortable. 

Last night it finally occurred to me that Vern and I could walk really early in the morning before the oppressive heat arrives. I wake up early duh! We walked at 6:45am and it was bearable. Thank goodness, because I really needed that, both physically and mentally. 

I've been blaming the heat for my lack of creative thoughts because I couldn't seem to write anything for my memoir, or e-mails or snail-mail.

But, guess what? After our walk this morning, I got my Mojo back! 


Yeah, Baby!

Neither heat, or humidity, or anything else, is going to interfere with my writing. If you've lost your Mojo, I hope you get it back soon!

"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?" -- Stephen Wright

"Barometer, n.: An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having." -- Ambrose Bierce

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

* Special Edition - Andy Griffith *

A Special Edition ~~ Nostalgic Tuesday 

Actor Andy Griffith dead at 86

I was saddened to hear today of Andy Griffith's death. As regular readers of my blog know, I've been posting Nostalgic Sundays for quite some time and I always use the above picture for those posts. 

I grew up in the 1950s & 60s, and spent some time watching TV. The folks of Mayberry were like my own family and I grew up right along with Opie. Below is part of the post I wrote for my very first Nostalgic Sunday on June 26, 2011:

I'm a nostalgic gal. I love old TV shows like The Andy Griffith Show (only the B&W episodes, ya know!) I'm particularly drawn to the lovely citizens of Mayberry because this fictional town reminds me so much of the real-life hometown of my parents and grandparents: Greenfield, Iowa.
When I was a little girl we went to Greenfield every summer for vacation. It was a magical time. The late 1950s, life was slow and easy, we young kids could walk or ride bikes all over town. I have such fabulous memories of those days, some of which will be included in my memoir.

My grandpa was deputy of Greenfield for a few years, either before I was born or too young to remember. I always thought he'd been the sheriff, so I'd compare him to Andy Griffith when I told stories about him. Imagine my surprise when I realized he was the Barney of the police department, not the Andy! (But grandpa was really nothing like Barney, in his appearance or behavior!)

Thank you Andy, for who you were as a man, and who you were as Andy Taylor. I loved you both. 

** July 4th Note: TV Land is having an Andy Griffith marathon today, tomorrow, and Friday. And also this weekend, I think. I came across it accidentally when I turned on the TV this morning, went to TV Land hoping to see something about it. The TV schedule still showed I Love Lucy and Bonanza, etc., but Andy was being shown. Here is the link for the schedule: 

"When a man carries a gun all the time, the respect he thinks he's getting might really be fear. So I don't carry a gun because I don't want the people of Mayberry to fear a gun. I'd rather they respect me." -- Andy Griffith

* Tea Cup Tuesday *

I haven't participated in Tea Cup Tuesday in....I don't know how long! I've been so busy with other activities, mostly writing my memoir, but I wanted to join in today.

My little display is a set of three that I bought at Home Goods about two years ago. I loved it the minute I saw it. It's so summery....and I love peaches, too. It was such a ridiculously low price, I just had to buy it! I don't remember exactly, but it was around $5.00 for all three pieces.

The brand is Maxwell Williams, Designer Homewares
The name of it is Orchard Fruits
Fine Bone China

As you can see, it's not the "typical" tea cup usually shown on Tuesdays. It's more of a coffee cup, wouldn't you say? 

Many times in the summer, I use these for my lunch. It just makes a plain ol' lunch seem fancy and festive!

Ahhhhh, my morning coffee! 

(Please excuse my "presentation."
 I threw this all together this morning and didn't do a very good job!)

Thanks for stopping by. I'm joining with Terri of Artful Affirmations and Martha of Martha's Favorites. 

 *Welcome to my two newest followers, Tina and Ellie. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you! *

"Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things." -- Chaim Potok