Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Authors, Memoirs, Book Signings, Oh My!

Last night I attended a wonderful taping of a local radio program; "The Fontbonne University KMOX Charlie Brennan Book of the Month Club." (Wow, that's a mouthful, isn't it? It can be heard online and as soon as I find out when the shows will air, I'll post it here.)

I don't know how many people were in the audience, but the theater was packed. We had the pleasure of hearing about the lives of two totally different men: Kevin Killeen and John Pizzarelli.

Kevin Killeen is: a very funny guy, also has a program on KMOX 1120 AM radio in St. Louis, and has written a hilarious, charming, nostalgic memoir/novel about growing up Catholic in the 1960's. His publisher is Blank Slate Press, a St. Louis company.

Never Hug a Nun

All of his escapades take place in the idyllic St. Louis suburb, Webster Groves, Missouri.

I cannot wait to begin reading this book! Kevin was so kind and encouraging when I told him I'd just finished writing my memoir. What a neat guy! 


John Pizzarelli is: another very funny guy, has traveled the world over playing guitar for the best of the best singers and musicians. Just to name a few: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, James Taylor, and Paul McCartney. John is also a fabulous singer as is his wife, Jessica Molaskey. 

World on a String; a Musical Memoir

This, too, is another memoir I can't wait to read.

Please support your local independent book store, and if you don't have one near you, you can order from indie stores online. 

Welcome to my newest followers Knuckled 54, farawayeyes, and Encourage One Another. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see!  

"You can go other places, all right - you can live on the other side of the world, but you can't ever leave home." -- Sue Monk Kidd, The Mermaid Chair

Thursday, November 22, 2012

* Thanksgiving is More Than Just One Day *

While Vern and I walked yesterday, I marveled at the glorious leaves, some of which still clung to branches, many covered portions of yards, and others skidded and tumbled along the streets and sidewalks. 

I thought again how everything that has previously happened in my life has brought me to where I am right now. How every event that occurred, whether happy or sad, has been part of my life's path. 

When I was a child the route was chosen for me by my parents, and then when I was a young adult, I decided my own course. Sometimes I needed to make a detour and other times the detour was already in place ahead of me. 

Countless people waste so much precious time fretting about "If Onlys." 

If only I'd taken that job I wanted.
If only my parents didn't do this or that.
If only I had more money.

I learned a long time ago to stop thinking that way. When and how did I figure that out? I really can't remember, at least not at this moment. 

All I know is this: I'm very happy. And material things have nothing to do with my happiness. Can I say that I'm glad every "bad" incident happened in order for me to be in this blissful state of mind? I guess that's what I've been trying to say. It's that domino effect.

Although I sincerely thought I knew what my feelings were about everything in my past, I didn't really begin to know until I began to write my memoir. I still have more to think about. More to learn. More to delve into. I'll just have to start on "the sequel," I guess. 


This post doesn't really seem like a Thanksgiving one, does it? I may have gotten a bit too reflective, but my point is this: 

I am alive. I am here on this beautiful earth. My life is not perfect and neither am I! But I'm grateful & thankful, every single day of my life for every single thing that happened along the way. It has made me who I am. 


Happy Thanksgiving!

And have a cup of yummy flavored coffee with me, with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles on top!

"This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control you own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy." -- Susan Polis Schutz

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Vern, The Iditarod, and Me

Today, after I got home from the Tuesday morning Coffee & Critique (writing) group, which also included staying afterwards for a fun (and yummy) lunch with five of my gal pals, Vern was really ready to go outside. 

He loves to go on his daily walk with me and it usually happens sometime around noon. (Today it was after 2:00pm!) When it's quite a bit later than that, he almost literally drags me along the first few yards.....and I'm grateful for that because it's a slight incline and I don't mind the help! 

This picture isn't from today but this is a good example. 

As he pulled me along, he looked like he was really working hard, tugging a heavy load behind him! It was then I thought about him running in The Iditarod and it made me smile!

Mush, Vern. Mush! 

 "Progress has little to do with speed, but much to do with direction." -- Unknown

"In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog." -- Unknown

Sunday, November 18, 2012

* Nostalgic Sunday *

It's Time for Another Nostalgic Sunday

Yesterday was our Family Thanksgiving and it was the usual madhouse! Food, fun, family, and a furry-four-legged-family-member: Vern! 

Vern on our walk 11/13/12

Poor Vern must've gotten into some food left unattended, or who knows what....because he got me up three times last night (actually all were after midnight) to go outside. He never gets table food, so that's what we think happened. He was better today!


When I was a child, my brother and I were always given the turkey legs to eat and we thought that was really great. Nobody in our family, including all the grandkids, will eat any of the dark meat. I just hate to waste any food, so most times I'll save it. It's good cut up and used in casseroles and salads. 


This evening, I flipped through my new Country Living magazine. As always there were beautiful design ideas and great gift suggestions. A couple of items I was delighted to see were cotton dish towels with cross-stitching on them;
Page 26 Country Living magazine, Dec/Jan 2013
photo taken by Becky
*Nebraska artisan Ellie Campbell will hand-stitch your initials onto these cream cotton dishcloths, inspired by antique French linens. (


and pretty recipe boxes with vintage looking recipe cards.

page 130 Country Living magazine, Dec/Jan 2013
photo taken by Becky
*Nicole Lissenden will paint your monogram on the lid of this bamboo box, which houses her super sweet cross-stitch cards. (

Ahhh....two of my favorite things are maybe making a come-back?! 


*It's also time to announce the winner of Margo's give-away. The winner, chosen by is........Janel Gradowski! Congratulations! Please e-mail me and let me know which of the two giveaways you'd prefer.*

Thursday, November 15, 2012

* Guest Post - Margo Dill *

* I'm very happy to have a guest blogger today:  Wonderful writer and friend, Margo Dill. *

I met Margo in 2007 when I attended my very first writers conference. It was the (MWG) Missouri Writers Guild Annual Conference and Margo was the chair. Talk about feeling surrounded by a multitude of talented writers! I definitely experienced anxiety and felt very out of place! But Margo made me feel so welcome, from my first (and probably really dumb) question. 

And so if you don't know the lovely Margo, you'll be happy to meet her. Take it away, Margo!

Facing Obstacles and Winning:  How Finding My Place Became a Book
by Margo Dill

Writing a historical fiction novel for kids is not as easy as you might think--especially when you have some obstacles like I did. The first obstacle occurred on September 14, 2011—three days after 9/11. I was supposed to fly to Baton Rouge to visit my best friend for a few days, rent a car, and then drive to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where my book is set, to do research. Needless to say, I did not fly three days after 9/11; but I did rent a car, against my mother’s best wishes (due to all the rumors of terrorists still planning attacks), and drove to Vicksburg.

Going to the city where I set my book was the best choice I made. I left St. Charles, MO planning to write one book; and when I left Vicksburg a few days later, I had a much better story, along with a deeper understanding of how the citizens of Vicksburg had to live in caves dug out of the yellow hills while the Union Army shot at them day and night. I understood just how close the battlefield was to the town and how the citizens were in-between the Mississippi River and the battlefield—right in the middle of the line of fire.

One of the very best resources was COMPLETELY free and easy to access at the Vicksburg Public Library—the vertical files. I actually found a copy of an 1863 Vicksburg newspaper printed on the back of wallpaper and read an account of a mother being killed while fleeing with her children to their cave. Both of these I worked into my novel.

I wish I could say that I came home, wrote the novel, took it to critique group, revised it, submitted it, and got a contract. But that is far from the truth. Obviously if Finding My Place just came out on October 1, 2012, this process took eleven years! From 2007 to 2012, I was waiting for the book to be published—White Mane Kids changed their business model once the economy started to have trouble, and my book got put on hold.

But from 2001 to 2006, I wrote the novel, rewrote the novel, took it to one critique group, moved to be closer to my husband, took it to another critique group, and went to conferences to meet agents and editors. I won’t go into detail about all of this, but I will tell you I LISTENED to the rejection feedback I received, and it made all the difference. (Note: You should always go with your gut on whether or not someone giving a critique is offering good advice. You don’t have to change your manuscript based on a critique. But be honest with yourself—do you trust the person? Does he or she know writing?)

When I sent my manuscript to the agent I shepherded (picked her up from the airport,  introduced her at her talk) for the 2005 Missouri Writer’s Guild conference and she said I needed more layers to my story and main character Anna, I wiped my tears, and my critique group helped me. The manuscript got stronger and better. Then I sent a query to Emily Easton at Walker Company, and she asked to see the whole thing!

Then she wrote me the NICEST rejection and said that my historical fiction book wasn't for the trade marketplace but perfect for the school and library market. So, I started looking into companies that geared their books to teachers, saw a submission call from White Mane Kids, and sent a query.
Believe me, rejections hurt, and I've had my fair share. But I’m so glad that after I wiped my tears—I listened to these experts. If I wouldn't have, I wouldn't be holding my beautiful book in my hands today.

Margo L. Dill is the author of Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, a historical fiction middle-grade novel about 13-year-old Anna Green and her struggle to keep her family together during the Siege of Vicksburg.

To read a summary or purchase an autographed copy (a perfect Christmas present for children ages 9 to 12!), please go to  

** Also, for everyone who leaves a comment here, Margo is offering one of two professional critiques/evaluations. There will be one winner and she/he may choose one of the following:

**Professional critique of the first 5 pages of any novel, nonfiction work, or short story


**Professional evaluation of a blog or social media profile with a written summary of what works and suggestions

Welcome to my newest followers Jess*Jessie*Jessy* and Claudia!  I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

* A Sigh of Joy, Relief, Happiness, Disbelief, Pride *

What could I possibly mean?

I'm amazed and relieved that I finally sent my memoir off to my editor around midnight last night. How completely mind-boggling it is to write or speak those words! I'll post updates as I know of them. 

This is me during the years of writing my memoir.
(No, that is not an earring, it is the doorknob behind me)

Image: courtesy of Google
I also felt like this woman sometimes.

Image: courtesy of Google
And this woman sometimes, too!

Image: courtesy of Google

I extend my sincerest Thank-You to all of you who've helped me along the way, by your friendship and your words of encouragement. There are way too many to even try to mention by name....but I think you know who you are! 

** And to all of you that I owe e-mails and/or snail mail, I hope to start getting caught up on those now, too.....Well, actually that would be AFTER I clean house for our Saturday's Family Thanksgiving!!...And  I could possibly use a gentle reminder, too! **

Natalie Merchant - "Thank You"

If I could sing, I would sing this song to you! Actually that IS me singing. I dubbed my voice over the You Tube video! Nawww, I'm just kiddin'!

"To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence." -- Mark Twain

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." -- Woody Allen

Sunday, November 11, 2012

* Nostalgic Sunday *

It's Time for Another Nostalgic Sunday

Tonight I'm borrowing a post I did last year on November 15th. It was a Tuesday, therefore it wasn't a Nostalgic Sunday post, but it fits perfectly here.  The only thing I've changed is the "Welcome to my newest follower" which obviously makes sense. AND I'm also adding another quote or two!

Such busy times, but I'm trying to remember to take deep breaths, relax, and stay focused on what needs to be, the next day, etc.

Such wise words from a little girl!

(courtesy: google)

Have I mentioned we're having our family Thanksgiving THIS Saturday? Since we're a blended family...Yours, Mine & Ours...there's more than the "usual" parents and in-laws involved, so things can get really hectic. We began celebrating this way quite a few years ago and it works really well. I always say, "How many huge Thanksgiving meals can a person be expected to eat in one day?!"

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, with Christmas a very close second. It's all about family, friends, and food! No commercialism. Every time I think about roasting the turkey, I swear I can actually smell that aroma and it brings such memories.....

(courtesy: google)

 I love to bake pies the day before. This year I'm making my usual two pumpkin pies, plus two apple pies. Oh yeah, and some banana bread with cream cheese frosting. Mmm good!

I make this type of crumble top apple pie and it's so easy.
(courtesy: google)

Welcome to my newest follower, Susan at I Think; Therefore, I Yam.  I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you! And BTW, Susan, I LOVE your blog title. It cracks me all your blog posts do!

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude." -- Denis Waitley

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many--not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." -- Charles Dickens

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel. ~Author Unknown

Friday, November 9, 2012

T.K. Richardson's Blog Tour

Hello Everyone! I'm happy to host my writer friend, T.K. Richardson today. Please read all about her fabulous books and enter for her give-away!

A Golden Light Anthology 5 Book Collection!

Thank you so much for hosting me on A Golden Light Anthology's Blog Tour! I'm so glad to be here and present to all of you our brand new releases! A Golden Light Anthology 5 Book Collection has been such a special project and I'm thrilled to be able to introduce the books to all of you.

A 5 book collections means that there is a book for just about every taste, too - from science fiction and fantasy to historical fiction, a young adult anthology, a children's anthology, and our Christian anthology. All are filled with some of the most talented authors around.  I'm sure you'll agree that A Golden Light Anthology series is something special.

Without further ado - the books!

*Don't miss the giveaway at the end of this post!*

A little about the books -

Gaslight: A Golden Light Anthology~

From the very first story by award winning author J.S. Dunn, to the last story in the anthology, readers will be swept away to various time periods with an array of characters - from ancient seafaring towns to the Ottoman Empire and everywhere in between. You'll find stories about World War I, The Civil War, and even a fantastic steampunk story - all wrapped up in Gaslight: A Golden Light Anthology.

Gaslight is an eclectic array of historical short stories that includes historical, historical romance, historical fantasy, and so much more!

I have to add that the authors contributing to this anthology are without a doubt some of the best writers of historical fiction out there. Yes, I may be biased, but I believe it's true. I think you'll agree, though, and once you read their stories in Gaslight I'd like to encourage you to check out their other books. You won't be disappointed.

Limelight: A Golden Light Anthology features tales of new worlds and old worlds and worlds yet to be. These stories twist and turn with adventure, intrigue, and wonder. This anthology of short stories brings science fiction and fantasy out of the shadows and into the limelight.

Authors Edward W. Robertson, John Grover, James S. Dorr, Ela Lond, Sergio Palumbo, Larissa Hinton, Jessica B. Zeidler, Katy Huth Jones, Alexandra Baker, Catriel Ceballos, Domyelle Rhyse, and Bill Blume spin tales of old and new, of fantasy or alternate realities. These stories wrap around the future, the unknown, and the fantastic. You may be surprised at where they’ll lead…

Take my hand and step into the light with Limelight: A Golden Light Anthology.

Spotlight: A Golden Light Anthology features young adult stories of hope. Themes of rejection and forgiveness, of loss and triumph, of loneliness and friendships, of struggles and determination, of betrayal and overcoming, lace each story.

Authors Deborah Prum, Sarah Meira Rosenberg, T.K. Richardson, Alexandra Singer, Tucker Cummings, Lynda Lee Schab, Jason Hinz, Carmen Tudor, and Lisa Marie Lopez offer stories grounded in reality or sprinkled with fantasy, but feature main characters that face real issues – issues that are often hidden in the darkness.

Step out of the shadows and into the light with Spotlight: A Golden Light Anthology.


Nightlight: A Golden Light Anthology 
Do you remember those nights when you switched on your nightlight or flashlight and read books under the covers?

How about those memories of your mom, dad, or grandma reading your favorite story over and over again?

Yes, the sweet events of childhood that stay with us forever...

Nightlight: A Golden Light Anthology wishes to create these memories for the children of today. Filled with colorful images and stories that are both exciting and sweet, this anthology of children's bedtime stories is sure to leave a lasting impression. 

Stories of fairies and wizards, of summer camp and family vacations, and stories of family and friends fill this children's book. Imagine spending that extra few minutes reading to your child right before they drift off to sleep. Or letting them read Nightlight themselves while you listen to them.

The memories you share together will last a lifetime, encourage literacy, a love of reading, and most importantly you'll set aside that special time at the end of the day - when work and play are done - to just be together.

That's how I envision children reading Nightlight and that was the intention compiling this children's anthology. The stories, and the authors contributing to this ebook, are hands down some of the very best.

I hope you'll get a copy, switch on the nightlight, and read it with your child.

Lamplight: A Golden Light Anthology is filled with stories and poems of faith. From the very first selection by author Seth D. Clarke to the final poem titled Benediction by David Andrews, this Christian anthology reaches in and touches the heart, inspires faith, and is filled with hope.

  We live in a tumultuous world. The evening news is filled with more bad than good. War, hunger, and loss seem to be the headlines and sometimes (or daily) we need that little bit of something that is good, that sees the darkness around us and shines a heavenly light on life.

And that's exactly what Lamplight does - it shines a light of faith and hope. The stories and poems in this anthology are real, are touching, are beautifully written, and fill that darkness with a ray of sunshine. They're not fluffy or preachy, but rather these stories and poems are uplifting.

The scripture that really inspired this anthology - "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path."


We hope you'll check them out!

Find our titles on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iPad, Copia,
Sony Reader, Kobo, and everywhere ebooks are sold. 


Committed to excellence in book publishing, Chamberton believes the pillars of a society are founded on great literature and that each book leaves an indelible stepping stone for the future. We are currently focusing on publishing anthologies in a wide array of genres. Find our titles on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and everywhere books and ebooks are sold. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified of new releases!

For a complete list of authors in A Golden Light Anthology we invite you to visit our website. You may find even more of their books that are just right for you! 


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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writers - Especially Women Writers

Yesterday was a fabulous writerly day for me. In fact, I'm still awake at 1:00 am Thursday, still at my laptop after quite a few hours of memoir writing, and taking a bit of a break to write my blog post. 

I  hadn't worked on my book in quite a few days, because of being a little down and out with the beginnings of a cold. (I'm all better now. Thanks for all your well-wishes and kind words!) I was a bit worried, though, that my muse would be hiding, and that my momentum would've stalled. But that was not the case, thank goodness! At this point I'm mostly editing; adding some sentences here and there, and deleting others. And adding a comma and then taking it out again! I'm still confident it will be ready to send to my editor in just a few more days. 

Enough about me. 


This post is for Women Writers!

Thanks to an e-newsletter I received today from Mary Kay Shanley, I found out about a Call for Submissions at Tending Your Inner Garden

I browsed through the website of these two lovely women, Deb Engle & Diane Glass, and was very impressed. Here is a sentence from their Home page:

 "As women, we all have stories that matter. And when we share them with one another, we expand and deepen a sacred circle of women and support one another on the spiritual path."

So, go through all those little notes you've jotted down, thinking that some day you'll have somewhere to submit your writing!

One of the points in their guidelines:

"We want writing that’s honest and heartfelt, whether it’s a poem, a humorous story or a poignant essay. We’ll also select material that provides a wide spectrum of inspiration, ideas and points of view within each book."

And here's something I thought was really unique:

Q. I don’t consider myself a writer and have never been published. Can I still submit work?

A. Absolutely. We’re looking for fresh, honest, compelling material. Our only requirement is that you write from the heart

So, it's time to get started, in spite of what my clock says! 

They are accepting submissions for both their spring and fall books, both with a deadline of November 30, 2012.

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." -- Emile Zola

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

* Gotta Love Steven Wright *

Steven Wright always cracks me up!

Hope you enjoy the following as much as I do.

Imagine if birds were tickled by feathers.

I remember when the candle shop burned down. Everyone stood around singing "Happy Birthday".

I accidentally installed the deer whistles on my car backwards. Now everywhere I go, I'm chased by a herd of deer.

I got stopped by a cop the other day. He said, "Why'd you run that stop sign?" I said, "Because I don't believe everything I read."

Yesterday, my eyeglass prescription ran out.

I make my own water - two glasses of H, one glass of O.

Ballerinas are always on their toes. Why don't they just get taller ballerinas?

The other day, I went to a tourist information booth and asked, "Tell me about some of the people who were here last year."

Why in a country of free speech, are there phone bills? 

What's another word for "thesaurus"?

When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask if I'm leaving.

For my birthday I got a humidifier and a dehumidifier. I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.

I have a switch in my apartment that doesn't do anything. Every once in a while I turn it on and off. One day I got a call from a guy in France who said, "Cut it out!"

Now, a word from Becky: I firmly believe in the saying "Laughter is the Best Medicine." After reading all of the above funny lines, I'm all better today! Thanks so much for all the well wishes!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays....

I'm kind of down and out today. 

I caught a cold over the weekend and although I managed to write quite a bit, I also slept a lot, too. 

Hopefully I'll be more like my old, sweet self tomorrow. 

Please send some "Get Up 'n Go" to me! 

*P.S. Blogger, Laura Barnes did a critique of my blog today, per my request. Why not stop by and see her suggestions? She's got some good ones! And because of those suggestions, I've already changed the easier ones.

"My life style? Let me put it this way. I have this uncanny ability to answer the question, "Where were you on the night of...?" -- Robert Brault 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

The Ronald and I stopped by to see some of our grand-kiddos early yesterday evening. They wanted to show off their Halloween costumes before they went out Trick-or-Treating.

One of the youngest guys gave me lots of attention and hugs, which I of course accepted with glee, and gave back to him in return. As I leaned down toward his cute crew cut hair, I inhaled a lovely smelling shampoo.

I told him how wonderful his hair smelled and asked what kind of shampoo did his mom use on it? Since he's a little guy, I couldn't quite understand him the first time, and I thought he said, "Cake shampoo!"

So, I teased him a little and said, "Cake shampoo?? Your mom uses cake shampoo on your hair??" And he just fell over giggling. I said, "Oh, it's not called that? Please tell me again what you said."

Still giggling, he managed to look back up at me and said, "Pink shampoo!"

"Oh, pink shampoo," I said as I laughed along with him.

Cake, Pink....they both sounded a lot alike coming from his angelic little mouth.

I think that'll be one of those little stories I remember for a long time, and maybe, hopefully he will, too.