Wednesday, March 27, 2013

* Unique Call for Submissions *

Those of us of a certain age surely remember Carly Simon's hit "Anticipation" from 1971. Although I loved the song, I never knew if it was written about anyone or anything in particular, until just this morning. I looked at Carly's official website and here's what it said: ...was written by Carly while she was waiting for Cat Stevens to pick her up for a date. How cool is that? (I want to remember that from now on, and not think of the Heinz Ketchup commercial from the late 1970's.)  K're probably wondering what does all that have to do with a "Unique Call for Submissions."

Becky Haigler of Silver Boomer Books recently reminded me of the current call for submissions for their anthology about.....Waiting, which I think is a very unique subject for an anthology! The working title as of now is: Longest Hours -- thoughts while waiting.

Becky also said ".....we have a lot of submissions about hospital waiting rooms and hospice situations and are needing some more light items about waiting to balance the collection. A well-written light piece will actually have a better chance of being included." And although the website says the deadline is April 15th, she said through the end of April is okay.

I actually have a couple of different occasions I could write about for this. Now, if I can just find the time. (I'm still packing!)

Be sure to read all of the Guidelines before submitting. Good luck to everyone!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Packing and Getting Ready to Go!

While The Ronald and I pack, Vern sniffs around on our deck. 

I have no idea what he found, but his head is completely in the snow!

One of the trees in our front yard.

The birds kept coming to the feeder all day long. The one on the right, about half way up the pole is in flight. He's in the air, not on the ground!

We're so excited about downsizing. I can't wait to get moved into our new home and begin this next chapter in our lives!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I just changed a setting on my blog, hoping it took care of my blog roll problems.......

Why am I feeling negative about this??!!

YAY IT WORKED! Thank you, Kathy M. for pointing me in the right direction to find the answer!! 

And now....I can say Nighty Night. 

We're expecting a pretty big snow storm here over the next 24 hours or more. Wherever you are, and whatever weather you're having, I hope you have a restful, peaceful Sunday. 

Ahhhh, Vern knows how to take it easy!

He's sleeping with his little stuffed animal here....awwww!

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” 
― Dean KoontzFalse Memory

Friday, March 22, 2013

* A Plethora of Writing Contests - March 13 *

Yesterday I deleted this post, hoping it might help restore my newest updates on Blogger Roll List, but it didn't. If you read this on your blog list, please stop by. I've posted on the 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 21st.....yet the Blog Roll List continues to show March 13th as the newest. I can't figure it out, can you?!


My intention for today's post was to mention a couple of Calls for Submission for anthologies, and maybe a contest or two. WELL, I seem to have discovered a treasure trove of them, all on one site: TETHERED BY LETTERS

* A Plethora of Writing Contests *
My intention for today's post was to mention a couple of Calls for Submission for anthologies, and maybe a contest or two. WELL, I seem to have discovered a treasure trove of them, all on one site: TETHERED BY LETTERS.

This one site will keep you busy for quite a while, jotting down titles and dates. And since I don't want to overwhelm my fellow we're not overwhelmed enough already?!....I'll post more writerly information on another day. (Speaking of dates, today is 03/13/13. Just thought I'd throw that little tidbit of news in!)

Let me know if you intend to submit something to any of these, ok? Best of luck to everyone!

"My goal is to inspire you to make room in your life to be the writer you've always wanted to be." -- Adair Lara, author of Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay
This one site will keep you busy for quite a while, jotting down titles and dates. And since I don't want to overwhelm my fellow we're not overwhelmed enough already?!....I'll post more writerly information on another day. (Speaking of dates, today is 03/13/13. Just thought I'd throw that little tidbit of news in!)

Let me know if you intend to submit something to any of these, ok? Best of luck to everyone!

"My goal is to inspire you to make room in your life to be the writer you've always wanted to be." -- Adair Lara, author of Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay

Thursday, March 21, 2013


If you happen upon this particular blog post, please leave a comment if you have any suggestions about my Blogger Roll List problem.

Yesterday while visiting other bloggers, I noticed that the ones who list mine on their Blog Roll, all showed my latest blog post as "A Plethora of Writing Contests" from March 13th. BUT, since that time, I've posted four more new posts: March 14th, 15th, 17th, and 19th.

I haven't made any changes to anything, other than my profile photo. I even put the previous one back on, just in case it had anything to do with it, which it did not.

Obviously this is not really a problem, in the big scheme of things, but it sure is annoying. When readers see that a blog hasn't had a new post in quite a while and/or since they last visited it, they're most likely to skip right past it.

One other thought. If you presently have my blog listed on your Blog Roll and it still shows March 13th as the most recent post, please remove it from your list and then put it back on. Maybe that will update it. Please let me know the outcome!

* NOTE: March 21, 11:00pm  I deleted that blog post from March 13, hoping it might make blog rolls show the current post....but that didn't work as far as I can tell. Oh well...I'm going to quit thinking about it. 

Anyone have any ideas?

Also, I decided it was time to change my template and background! It's been a long time...and I kind of like my new look! *

In the meantime, I'll be listening to some great music, or half-watching, half-listening to Andy Griffith reruns, as I continue to sort and pack household items.....getting ready for our move.

"Tough times don't last. Tough people do." - Gregory Peck 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I'm happy to present my sixth VGB (Volunteer Guest Blogger), bestselling authorJUDITH RYAN HENDRICKS Judith's books include the Bread Alone series, Isabel’s Daughter, and The Laws of Harmony. 

If you haven't read any of Judith's books, but her name or the names of her books sound familiar, it may be because of a couple of posts I did in February and March of 2010. Judith and I became friends a few years ago and she's a marvelous woman. We have plans to meet in person one of these days, and I know we'll make it happen. 

I recently read the following on Judith's blog, The Kitchen Table, and asked if I could share it on my blog. She immediately said she'd be honored! (*Note: Jo-Ann Mapson is Judith's good friend.) Take it away, Judi!
Proud Member of NWA
A while back Jo-Ann Mapson and I were lamenting the lack of decent health insurance for starving writers like ourselves.  We decided to start an association in hopes of getting a great group rate on insurance for our millions of soon-to-be members, and Jo-Ann came up with the perfect name…one we felt sure writers everywhere would identify with and flock to…Neurotic Writers of America.

Well, I mean, you do have to be a bit…um…unusual to be a writer.
What kind of person sits alone in a small office all day everyday, missing dentist appointments, letting her mother leave messages on voice mail, forgetting to eat lunch, ignoring the dog until she’s completely devoured the Tibetan rug?  Answer:  A writer.

Does a normal person drag herself around the country to book signings where she ends up reading to the bookstore staff and a couple of transients who just came for the refreshments?  

Does a normal person do this not once, but many times?  Answer: A normal person doesn’t.  A writer does.

And writers worry.  About everything.  They obsess.  They second guess.  They lie awake at night ruminating over something wrong with the flashback that they can’t quite put their finger on.  They have arguments with themselves…

I am great.  I am shit.  I Am Great!  I am shit…

It’s all a function of what writers do and how they do it.  At a library program once, I was asked to explain all the steps between first draft and publication.  This is what I said:

I finish the first draft and I’m so happy I take my husband out to dinner to celebrate.  In the middle of dinner, I say…we’ve got to go home; I just thought of something I left out of chapter two that could change the entire outcome of the story.  A re-write ensues.

Next I give the manuscript to one of my good writer friends and she reads it and says.  I really love this.  I say, but what?  She says, But nothing.  I really love it.  I say, what should I change?  She says Nothing.  I really love it.

I go over the pages three more times trying to figure out what she’s not telling me.  Then I send it to my agent, who tells me what my writer friend would not.  Another rewrite.  I send it back to my agent.  She calls me and says, I think C— really likes it.  She’ll let us know when she gets back from the holidays.

I sweat out Christmas and New Year’s, going over the ms a few more times.  After the holidays the editor calls.  She says, I love this book.  I say, Thanks.  That’s great.  She says, I just need you to change the ending so that the boyfriend doesn’t die.  I let him live.  It goes to the copy editor.  I proof the galleys.  They send me cover art.  I hate it.  After several sleepless nights, I call my editor.  She makes them re-do the cover art so it doesn’t look like the character is a terminally depressed fifteen-year-old.

To maintain my sanity I start work on another project.  And suddenly one day a package arrives in the mail…my Advance Reader Copy!  I’m so happy I take my husband out to dinner to celebrate.  During dessert I say, oh, God, why did I make that change in chapter two?

The point to all this (yes, there is a point) is that writers frequently need advice, encouragement, validation, a hug and a large glass of wine.  And for my birthday, my friend Lois Gilbert gave me a book that meets all of the above needs except for the hug and glass of wine.  It’s called The Artful Edit by Susan Bell.

I just finished it and I’m going to set it aside for a week and then read it again.

This post is not a review, but I do want to say how much I admire the way the book is structured.  While there is a section on working with an editor, the main thrust is learning how to edit yourself, a difficult, yet potentially satisfying task.  The majority of her points are illustrated using The Great Gatsby, including plenty of examples from the manuscript in progress, quotes from Fitzgerald about the work, and from his editor, Maxwell Perkins.

Scattered throughout are mini-essays by various writers on how they approach self editing.  It’s a terrific read, but the best part is the last three pages—an interview with Michael Ondaatje, titled “One Doesn’t Just Write a Book, One Makes a Book.”  I read it three times.

It is so full of gems—wisdom, candor, clarity, wit—all qualities I love in his novels, only here he’s talking about his writing and self-editing.  At one point he admits that he writes his first draft over a period of two or three years, and then spends another two years shaping the story.  He says that is how he discovers what the story is actually about and what he wants to say.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those authors who sits down with a plan and types Chapter One at the top of the page.  Instead, I never know exactly what story I’m trying to tell until I write it and edit it and knead it, delete some sections and surgically enhance others.  Over the years I’ve given myself a fair amount of grief about it, too.

To read that Michael Ondaatje thinks that process is perfectly fine was an amazing relief…sort of like loosening your belt after Thanksgiving dinner.  It made me feel so good.  Like maybe I’m not crazy and insecure and weird…

Or maybe I am and he is, too…

Mr. Ondaatje, we are currently accepting applications for membership in the NWA.

Thank you Judith, for sharing such intimate details about your writing process. I love this! I'm sure there will be comments and/or questions for you. And I have to admit I believed you were starting the NWA Association. Ahhh, I'm so darn gullible at times!

* Oh, and readers....I'm not sure how often Judith will be able to check in with us. She's with an out of town relative at this time. *

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Are you one of the fortunate TV viewers who has VH1 included in your cable or satellite package? Have you ever watched the program "Storytellers"? 

A few days ago, I noticed Jason Mraz would be the featured artist on a particular day and time, so I set my DVR to record the show. This morning I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down to watch, and more importantly to listen to it.  (*I included the link to Jason's show. Just mute the stupid commercial that comes on first!)

I've loved Jason Mraz's music ever since he began, but even more so after watching this show. Since it is called "Storytellers," he also shared the hows and whys he wrote certain songs and he talked about keeping a journal ever since he was a teenager. 

He explained that his hit song,"Remedy (I Won't Worry)," was written for a friend who had cancer and it became an anthem for those who fight cancer and also of course the cancer survivors. 

He passionately shared the significance of writing "I Won't Give Up" and "Love For a Child," expressing how the song writes itself many times. The words just come to him and the strumming of his guitar reverberates and it all just happens. 

That's how my writing happens....sometimes. The words just flow and when that happens, it's magical. But most of the time it's very hard work. 

I am always amazed by the beautiful words and music that singer/songwriters write! They not only tell a tale with memorable words, but also compose the music that fits so perfectly. And because of that, they have so much more talent in their pinky-fingers than I do in my entire body.

And that's okay! Thank goodness for them, and for all the people who have discovered their passion, because they continue to fill our lives with beauty, whether it's with words, music, art, photography, etc.  

"...And it takes no time to fall in love
But it takes you years to know what love is." -- Jason Mraz - "Life is Wonderful"

Friday, March 15, 2013


I'm so happy to present my fifth VGB (Volunteer Guest Blogger), Audry Fryer. Somehow in fairly recent blog-hopping, I discovered Audry's blog, All Things Audry, and immediately became a follower. She's funny, she's a writer, she's a wife and mom of three kids - two of which are twins, so she is one busy woman! After reading her guest post here, please do stop by her blog and get to know her even better. Oh, and there's a huge picture of a beautiful cup of coffee right there on her how can you NOT love her? (and for you tea drinkers, it just may be a cup of tea. I'm not sure!) So, take it away, Audry!

Audry and Audrey (and My Missing “e”)

If there could be Julie and Julia (remember that movie based on a real life woman who cooked up all of Julia Child’s recipes and blogged about it), then there could be Audry and Audrey (a real life woman who watches Audrey Hepburn movies and blogs about it).  Right?!?  Please do not tell me if this has been done by someone else.  I mean it.  Don’t tell me – it will destroy my brief and unsubstantiated illusions of feeling brilliant. 

This the Audrey that inspired my name:

“Wait”, you say.   “You were named after Audrey Hepburn? 
But, you’re missing an ‘e’.”
I know.

Officially, the missing “e” resulted from my mom thinking my name looked better spelled without it.  In a way, I agree.  I like being unique.  In my school days, I never had to use my last name to distinguish which Audry I was.  And, since taking on my husband’s last name, my first, middle (Marie) and last name all equally contain 5 letters – Plus, that totals 15 letters in my full name which matches my birth date of the 15th (of October).  One little extra “e” could have upset this entire balance.

On the other hand, here’s a scene that has played out one too many times in my life:
“Yes, it’s spelled A-U-D-R-Y no E.” 
“No, my last name isn’t Noey.  I meant there’s no ‘e’ in my first name.”
“A-U-D-R-Y.  Just the ‘e’.  Leave it out.” 
“No, no, my name is not Jesse.  I meant ‘just the e’ in Audry, as in there’s ‘no e’.” 

It’s been a tricky thing that missing “e”.  And, lately I’ve discovered a new problem.  I’ve been hearing, “You said you published a novel on Kindle and Nook?  I typed your name in, but I couldn’t find you.”  To which I have been saying, “Did you spell my name A-U-D-R-E-Y?  Because then, you won’t find me. There’s no ‘e’.”

E or no E, I love being named after a timeless icon as fabulous as Audrey Hepburn.  Recently, Audrey (see, you which one I’m talking about thanks to our “e” discussion) was featured in a commercial for Galaxy Chocolate.  Apparently, thanks to technological advances, the chocolate company was able to place their product in Audrey’s hands during a scene from Roman Holiday.  Upon seeing this clip on the news I realized a very important fact – crazy as it sounds, I’ve only seen one Audrey Hepburn film, My Fair Lady.  And, I saw it in high school during English Class.  Suddenly, I became inspired to fix a very apparent wrong.  This situation was far worse than a missing “e”.

Why not Audry and Audrey? Since I love that film, Julie and Julia, and I love ripping off great ideas (saves time dreaming up new ones), I thought I’ll do basically the same thing.  Except, I won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen cooking elaborate recipes. All I’ll need to do is sit on the couch and watch movies.  Oh look, something else I love – a reason to sit still.  (I have three children under the age of ten, a husband and let’s not forget the dog – so you get the picture!)


Be on the look out for Audry and Audrey, Part 2 in which I will post about my experiences of watching such classics as Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s - I know.  That song is playing in my head, too: “And, I said, what about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?”

I leave you with this fab Audrey quote:
 “I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”  ~Audrey Hepburn

Thank you, Audry.  Readers, please feel free to leave a message because Audry (without an "e") will be checking in from time to time, to answer questions and/or comments.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I received an e-mail early this morning from "Listen to Your Mother St. Louis", that I will not be reading my story at the taping on May 11th. Congrats to all the ones who will be reading and I intend to be there, listening and applauding! 

(I'd already psyched myself up that I wasn't going to make it, so it wasn't a disappointing surprise. Honest!)

"I failed to make the chess team because of my height." -- Woody Allen

Friday, March 8, 2013


I'm so happy to present my fourth VGB (Volunteer Guest Blogger), Debora Rorvig. Debora is multi-talented. She writes beautiful prose and poetry, and is a fantastic photographer. She lives in the gorgeous state of Washington, near the Canadian border. Not a bad place to be for inspiration and "vision." 

Debora is one of my blog friends who I don't remember how we happened to "meet." I must've been blog-hopping and stumbled across her blog, or vice-versa but however it happened, I'm sure glad it did. We immediately discovered we shared in, our mother's were both named Ruby. Not a very common name, huh?! Please meet Debora! 


First of all, thank you Becky for inviting me to be a guest blogger!  I love your blog and though we've never met, I feel I know you. We have such kindred spirits, I'm sure we were somehow separated at birth!

Some time ago I was surfing the web, looking for something or another when I came across a poem by a blogger from the Midwest. The poem was hauntingly beautiful with exquisite descriptions of the author's childhood, home, and family. It turns out that her poem was created by following a meme, a sort of template or outline. It is based on a poem by George Ella Lyon.  Since the meme suggests what you should put on each line, I thought it would fairly easy. So I set out to write about 'Where I Am From'.

I soon found that it was not that easy; but oh, so worth the effort. I started by jotting down bits and pieces of my favorite childhood memories. It became a tearful, emotional exercise as I journeyed back through my past. At times I found myself so overcome that  I could not  even continue to write. Finally, after several weeks of compiling the snippets of my past, I was able to compose myself enough to 'sew together' this literary patchwork quilt entitled "Where I Am From".

This poem is my most treasured piece of writing;  a gift to my children, grandchildren, and those who are yet to come through my lineage. I hope that my family will value it as I value the bone china teacup with yellow chrysanthemums left me by my grandmother Youngedyke.

I encourage, even dare you to write your own version of "I Am From". Be warned though...keep a box of tissue nearby! And if you do, please let me know when it's done. I'd love to read all about where you are from! You can visit me at

I Am From

by Debora A. Rorvig

I am from a lumber-mill worker's company house
with peeling paint and a sidewalk made of two-by fours,
from faded flannel shirts that smell of pine and cedar boughs.

I am from Mason jars of home-canned pears,
from Dairygold milk with cream on top
in bottles on the porch.

I am from a garden plot with rows and rows of golden corn
that always wanted hoeing,
and from atop the highest branches of the Gravenstein apple tree in Attolini's orchard--
with apple juice dripping from my chin.

I am from sauerkraut and wooden shoes,
the Millers and the Youngedykes,
and from the lively Scottish clan
who wear the McKinnon tartan.

From farmers and woodsmen
plain folks all,
whose hands were calloused hard,
but whose hearts were tender-soft.

I am from 'what will the neighbors think'
and 'if you can't say something nice
don't say anything at all.'

From saints and sinners who didn't see eye to eye
but loved each other anyway;
and in their own way.

I am from the Western shores of Washington,
strewn with agates, kelp and driftwood,
from Steelhead salmon, salty smoked,
and chowder made from clams we dug
at Semiahmoo spit.

I am from my mother Ruby
who taught me how to sew
on her old Singer treadle-machine
as she told me all about my heritage.

And from my daddy Raymond Claude,
who took me nightcrawler hunting in the moonlight
and showed me how to bait my hook
and fish along the Nooksack River's edge.

I am from an ancient tattered Holy Bible kept safely on the upper shelf
with pictures of Jesus Christ,
and a letter-edged-in-black
carefully tucked inside,
and a poem written by my great-great grandfather
 Alexander Laughlin McKinnon,
who I never met--
and yet I know him
better than some I've met.

Precious is that Book to me!

And that is where I am from.

 You can find this outline at Try it! You'll be surprised at the memories that will stir in your heart from this exercise.

Thank you, Debora. I've loved your poem from the first time I read it and I'm so pleased to find out how and why you wrote it. 

Readers, please feel free to leave a message because Debora will be checking in from time to time, to answer questions and/or comments.

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

"Happiness is a sunbeam which may pass through a thousand bosoms without losing a particle of its original ray; nay, when it strikes on a kindred heart, like the converged light on a mirror, it reflects itself with redoubled brightness. It is not perfected till it is shared." -- Jane Porter

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Listen To Your Mother - Update Only

I just received an e-mail from Listen To Your Mother. It was an "Audition Update Only." The four women organizers are going through the process of choosing the ones who will make it to the final cast. 

I should know by March 15th, if I'll be included or not.

blurry photo taken by Becky!

I'm so glad to know the decision date, because I hadn't been sure before. 

blurry photo taken by Becky!

Now I can concentrate on other things.......

"Listening is not merely hearing. Listening is reacting. Listening is being affected by what you hear. Listening is active." -- Michael Shurtleff

"The more personal, the more universal." -- Gary Ballinger

Saturday, March 2, 2013


This afternoon I decided I would share my exciting news about being one of 30 women in the St. Louis area, chosen for a reading audition, for Listen to Your Mother.

Approximately 12 out of the 30 women will be chosen to read their true story in front of a live audience on Saturday, May 11.....the day before Mother's Day. 

My story is titled: Were Those Salad Tongs?  

I didn't want to mention it any sooner because I wanted to wait and see how it went today. Fortunately, it went well!

* I am friends with three of the other women who were also chosen to audition! Patt, Kim, & Linda. 

Patt, Kim, and I are also members of Saturday Writers


The Mission Statement
The mission of each LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER production is to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood–in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor.
LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER aims to support motherhood creatively through artistic expression, and also financially–through contributions to non-profit organizations supporting families in need.
 * Welcome to my newest follower Adhi Das. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! * 

* I loved you enough to ask about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home." -- Erma Bombeck

* I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes." -- Erma Bombeck

Friday, March 1, 2013

Judy Blume

Less than an hour ago I happened to come across the NBC prime time show, "Rock Center with Brian Williams." Actually, The Ronald left the TV on in the family room when he went watch TV in the bedroom. Go figure!

I was in the dining room writing, and since it wasn't loud enough to bother me, I didn't get up to turn it off. And I'm so glad I didn't because all of a sudden I heard something about the author Judy Blume. I stopped my writing, saved it, (of course!)...grabbed a glass of water and headed over to the couch. 

Chelsea Clinton did a wonderful job interviewing Ms. Blume. Judy celebrated her 75th birthday last month, lives part-time in Key West, Florida, and rides her bike around the island. Ahhhh, sounds delightful, doesn't it?

It's during television shows like this that I'm so glad to have the DVR with our cable system. Some of Judy's words were almost exactly the same as ones I've uttered. (Believe me, I'm NOT comparing myself to her AT ALL, in any way. I just found it so fascinating.) So...back to the DVR. I was able to listen, jot down her words, pause it, go backward and forward, and try to get the words right. Now....if I can just read my scribbles!

From Judy: "Writing changed my life. It gave me everything. It gave me courage. It made me understand more who I was.......finding my place in the world."

"I didn't know what I was doing, but I wasn't afraid to do it. I wasn't brave in real life, but I was brave in my writing....maybe because I didn't know any better."

Oh, how I can relate to all of that! Thank you, Judy Blume, for inspiring so many writers! And thank you for helping so many "tweens" make it through those awful growing up years!