Friday, December 27, 2013


Typewriter With Screen

One of the writer groups I belong to has a December tradition. We all write goals for the next year on two index cards. One goes to the president to keep until next December and we keep one. At our meeting the following year we read them out loud and admit to everybody what failures we are.

Some people actually achieve most of their goals (I hate them).

I never even get close.

Is it because I set my goals too high? Nope. Example: Last year I wanted to read a book a month. Not difficult, right? Wrong. I think I completed 4 books. Not even 50%. Out of five goals, I only achieved one:  Keep submitting BTH. Palm to forehead. What is wrong with me? Shall I list the reasons again? Sure.

  •  My day job sucks my energy.
  •  My day job sucks my energy.
  •  Oh, wait, I've already used that one.
  •  I'm lazy.
  •  Repeat.
  •  I'm the World's Best Procrastinator.
  •  There's a new t.v. channel that I'm in love with.
  •  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. 
  •  And let's not forget my favorite bar.  
All of these I've covered at length in previous posts, so explanations are not needed. What is needed is somebody to give me a swift kick in the ass. Maybe that will dislodge my head from it and I can get closer to my dream of being published.

What gets in the way of your goals? And don't say nothing because I won't be your friend anymore.

Friday, December 20, 2013


I admit it. I'm a horrible housekeeper. HORRIBLE.

In my defense, it's just me living here. I don't care how many dust bunnies I have or if they get a life of their own and try to strangle me in the middle of the night. Also, I spent all of my married life (24 years) cleaning, cooking, etc. I guess I'm over it.

I do keep the bathroom and kitchen clean. Sort of. I don't let trash accumulate. And I wash my clothes when needed so I don't stink. :-) But dusting is not my thing. Especially when the minute I finish, more dust particles land where I just wiped. Really?

With family coming in for the holiday I feel obligated to at least attempt to clean. My plan was to do a little each night. Have I? Not so much. Maybe I'll just put sheets over everything and tell them I'm getting ready to paint.

Do you enjoy cleaning?

Friday, December 13, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Something for your enjoyment


Today I am hosting my good friend and wonderful author Allison Merritt and her soon to be released book The Convict and the Cattleman. 
She has supplied links at the end of her excerpt for your convenience. Please visit her and tell her how much you enjoyed this. And check out her other books on Amazon.
Blurb:   His love is the key to her release.
Sentenced to seven years of servitude in the penal colony of New South Wales, Bridgit Madden is thrust into a world unlike anything she's known, dangers she never imagined and enemies with their own interests at heart. Certain that the conviction has ruined her chances of ever having a real family, she is fearful of her future.
 Despite his reluctance to take in a convict, Jonah Andrus, a grazier and pioneer cattleman, needs a servant to care for his orphaned niece. When presented with Bridgit, who is far too beautiful and distracting, he initially tries to refuse. However, with a busy cattle station to oversee, he needs help right away.
Upon her first meeting with Jonah's niece, Bridgit immediately falls in love with the girl and becomes entwined the mystery surrounding her birth. As she gets to know her employer better, Bridgit makes it her mission to remind him that family is priceless. When it seems as though she might have found the place she truly belongs, their love is threatened by lies and deceit, and both of them might lose everything they hold dear for a second time.
“There, there. Bridgit will be along any second. She knows how to take care of  you. Uncle Jonah will drop you. You’re too small.”
Surprised by his own admission, he stared helplessly at Olivia. When was the last time he’d paid her any attention? She’d grown and he hadn’t noticed. Babies did; he knew well enough from watching his calves during the summer. The baby he remembered was tiny, wrinkled and didn’t look like anyone. Charlotte, exhausted, but elated, had smiled proudly.
 “Isn’t she beautiful, Jonah?”
Recalling her voice made his heart pound. The silly girl didn’t have a sense of shame. She’d been nervous when she admitted her tryst and the subsequent pregnancy, but she had defended her child. Not unlike one of his cows. They protected their young fiercely.
He hadn’t found the words to answer her question. All he saw was Rob Langnecker’s face. The desire to kill him had blotted out everything else. Langnecker had ruined his sister, left her alone with a bastard child and went off chasing other skirts. She’d died in the room where Bridgit slept, believing he’d come back for them.
If I ever catch him.
 Jonah ran his hand down his face.

“Is something wrong?”
Bridgit’s warm hand closed around his. Pity shined in her eyes.
“The chores are waiting.” Clammy sweat dampened his shirt.
 She tugged his hand. “You need to stay. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Go sit down.”
He didn’t understand why he obeyed, but he sat in the rocking chair by the window. His father had crafted it for his mother years before Jonah was born.
Bridgit lifted Olivia, nestling her into his arms. The cries eased to a whimper.
“Hold your arms like this. You’ve got to support her head.”
“I know.” Charlotte had insisted he hold Olivia hours after her birth. He remembered it clear as day. Accepting the chubby baby, he was surprised at her weight.
She’d been so small. “She’s healthy.”
It was more a question than a statement. Olivia gazed at him, eyes wide. Her fingers toyed with one of his buttons.
“Aye. Growing like a weed. She’s learning to roll over.” At his confused look, she explained, “That’s good. She’ll be crawling before long. She talks to me and follow things with her eyes. Everything she’s supposed to do.”
“Good. Charlotte would be glad.” His voice sounded choked and he cleared his throat, hoping Bridgit hadn’t noticed.
She lifted the bottle. “Here. Feed her. Tip it up, so the air gets in the bottle.”
He let her show him what to do, surprised again when Olivia grasped the bottle with her tiny hands. Her features were clearer now. Charlotte’s nose and chin. Those couldn’t be his ears, could they? Dark blue eyes stared up at him, then drifted shut as she suckled greedily. Her eyes were the only resemblance he could find to her father.
Bridgit kneeled beside the rocking chair and swept dark locks from the baby’s face. Her hand settled on his knee. “There. She’s happy now.” A wistful smile played across her face.
A jolt ran through him. With Olivia snuggled against his chest and Bridgit beside him, the moment belonged to a family man.
Author bio:
A love of reading turned Allison Merritt into an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She graduated college with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.
She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.



Friday, December 6, 2013


Fir-tree Branch

According to  Bah humbug comes from the word hum, meaning 'night' or 'shadow', and the word bugges meaning 'apparitions'. Bah humbug is used to mean nonsense or something intended to deceive, a hoax or fraud. It was made famous by Ebenezer Scrooge in the book A Christmas Carol.

It has been brought to my attention that my last post confused people. I was too nice. Love it! Apparently I need to get back to my Bah Humbug. Although I don't really agree with the above description.

I don't feel like a Scrooge. I just have my own beliefs, as we all should. If it's one thing I can't stand it's somebody who tries to make everyone like them.
I try not to deceive people. In fact I can be brutally honest, sometimes to my detriment. I would not want to fraud anybody either.

So what does the expression mean to me? Anything that makes me do something I don't want to. Like shop or survive winter. I really dislike winter. It makes me cold. It makes me have to wear spiky shoes so I don't fall. It makes me have to scrape my car off after work. (Although last night one of my co-workers scraped every one's car off. Yea!). And it makes me angry. I know I don't have any control over the weather, but it still makes me mad. My Bah Humbug really comes out this time of year.

I often use the expression to annoy people. I love annoying people especially if they are easily annoyed. And people are easily annoyed this time of year. What fun for me!

So if you hear a voice yelling Bah Humbug, you can bet it's me.

What annoys you, especially this time of year? Is it people like me?

P.S. Come back next week when I host a writer friend of mine - Allison Merritt.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Turkey Day Candle
Since Thanksgiving was yesterday, I'm still in the thankful mood. I'm going to take advantage of it because sometimes, when life gets funky, it's hard for me to remember to count my blessings.

1. My son and daughter and grand children. Even though I don't get to see them often, they are present in my heart.
2. My job. Sure it drives me crazy and I really would rather not have to work, but I know there are a lot of people who would love to have a job.
3. My little house. Yes, it's in the ghetto and it's old and run down. But, I love it. Plus it's really cheap and my landlords are nice people.
4. My new car.
5. My friends. There aren't many, but the ones I have are true blue.
6. My relatively good health. My knees are bad, but other than that, I'm healthy.
7. My novel. Even though it hasn't found a home yet, I'm proud of it.
8. NaNo. I failed to reach the goal, but I got some words down. And without this wonderful program, I wouldn't have #7 to be thankful for.
9. Price Cutter grocery store online shopping. I hate going to the store and for a $5.00 fee, they will shop for me and all I have to do is go pick it up!
10. Beer.

I thought it would be hard to come up with ten things, but it was easy peasy. I hope you all had a happy and thankful Thanksgiving.

Now it's your turn. Tell me at least one thing you are thankful for.

Friday, November 22, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - To Kill Or Not To Kill

Raw-head  3

Yep, that is the question. I keep wanting to kill this guy, but then I think of the mess it will make.

Before you call the cops, I'm talking of course about one of my fictional characters (or am I?).

I hate horror and suspense. I can't watch any of the popular shows today - Walking Dead, True Blood, CSI, etc. And forget going to a movie that has any hint of killing, or slashing or blood. I admit it, I'm a weenie. Give me a good love story, a comedy or family drama any day. This is why I'm having a hard time killing this rat. He deserves to die. He's mean spirited and selfish and weak in character.

The problem I'm having is not in the killing, but in the complications it creates for my main characters. Did one of them do it? Will jail be involved? Will it stop their blossoming romance or enhance it? I realize that's what makes a good book. Twists and turns and mess. What to do, what to do? The ideal would be to write it both ways and see which is better. But, to heck with that.

Tell me what you would do.  

(and as you can see by my NaNo graph, I am painfully behind, so any suggestions to help move this along will be greatly appreciated)

Friday, November 15, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Random Thoughts

Well, believe it or not, I'm way behind on NaNo as you can see from my miserable word counter. Oh well.

Received another rejection this week for BTH. Up to ten now, I think. I've lost count and interest. I'm really tired of the whole process. Sending the query or whatever the heck they want and then waiting, waiting and waiting. Only to get turned down. Considering putting it on Kindle. If I could only have a week off work so I could do a cover and format it and all that good stuff. I don't think two days on the weekend will be enough. Plus I don't have a clue how to do a cover. There are peeps who have offered to help. We'll see.

Work is kicking my butt (which is my excuse for my pitiful word count). A person in our department is leaving and the three of us that are left are trying to divide her work up between us. My old brain is having to learn new stuff. But, MAYBE, if they don't need to hire somebody, we can get a raise when she leaves. Not sure I'm going to survive to see that.

On a brighter note, I'm loving my new car. Need to take a road trip soon.

Which brings me to my question of the week. Where do you like to go on a one day road trip?

It's A Wide Open Road 2 2

Friday, November 8, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - 50,000 or Bust

Yes, I'm still attempting to do NaNo. I'm behind in word count, but I'm trying not to stress over it. In fact I'm not paying any attention to where my count should be each day. That could be a mistake, but I'm trying it.

My story is not moving along very well, but I am flushing out some of my characters a little more, finding out what makes them tick, what their motivations are. Yes, there will be a lot of editing when this month is done. But, as I've said before I like the revision process.

Luminous Keyboard 4
This is a three day weekend for me because of Veteran's Day. Thank you all veterans out there for your service by the way. Any way, I have no plans except for our Sleuths' Ink writers meeting Saturday. So, I'm planning to write, write, write. Who knows maybe I'll get caught up.
When is your best time of day to write? Are you a morning, night or weekend writer?

Friday, November 1, 2013


I'm in. And yes, son, I'm crazy. Every year my son asks me why I want to put myself through this. And honestly, I don't know. It's crazy. 50,000 words in one month. 1667 a day, every day. And, every year I find myself getting behind. I've spent many a Thanksgiving at my son's house typing away, trying to catch up on my word count, while everybody else visits. And although everyone gave me encouragement, I could tell there wasn't a single soul who understood my insanity.

What drives me into this mess? I wouldn't have a finished novel under my belt if it weren't for NaNo. And I wouldn't have three others started. That's why I do it. It's hard for me to get the writing muse to cooperate and generate new material. I'm much more interested in revisions. But, without that start of 50,000 words, I would have nothing to revise. So, I need NaNo. My plan this year is to finish one of those unfinished stories. Fifty thousand words should about do it.

I admit the last couple of years, I failed miserably. I'm going to blame it on laziness, my constant companion. These last few months, I've had some health set backs and maybe that's why I'm determined to succeed. I need something positive.

I've added a word count widget to my blog to help keep me accountable.

Who's with me!!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013


This started off as a pity party post. Here's part of it. "What a frustrating month. First, I fall and go boom. Now, I have the mother of all colds. And to top it off, it's looking like I didn't make it to the top 50 of SYTYCW contest. And now my desktop computer is acting up."  I deleted a lot, believe me.

Communicate 5
Somebody get me a little cheese with that whine would you? I prefer Colby.

Life is full of shitty days. One thing I really try to remember is - This too shall pass. And I know it all will be a distant memory someday. But, I must say of all the trials and tribulations of this past month, the one that hurts the most is the writing contest failure. Because, dammit, this is a good story.

All writers believe their babies are the cutest, the best, the top in their class. We gave birth to this story. It's a part of us. When it's rejected over and over it hurts. Everyone knows this is part of the traditional publishing business. I'm up to 10 rejections including this contest. I've heard all the stories of famous author's books and their many rejections. You know what, it doesn't help.

So, pass the cheese and then tell me how you deal with rejection.

Friday, October 4, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Better Late Than Never

I know, I know it's been a couple of weeks since my last post. No excuses. Well actually a couple of excuses.

Experienced both ups and downs a couple of weekends ago. It was our much anticipated Ozarks Romance Authors Convention (ORACON). See pictures here.

As secretary I was in charge of name tags for over a 100 people. So, being the procrastinator I am, I worked most of Friday afternoon on them. I was sorry to miss the book signing of our talented presenters at B&N. But, I wasn't going to miss the fancy dinner at Flame Steak House for our volunteers and speakers.

All was well until I went to the bathroom. Being a bit unsure on my feet, (and no I wasn't drunk), I tripped over the threshold going into the one seater. Landed on my bad knee of course. And, because of my bad knees and, well, my weight, I had a hard time getting up. I wasn't about to ask for help and spoil every one's fun. Anyway, I did something really bad to my foot.

So, the day of the conference, I could barely walk. But, I had to be there because I had all the name tags. Thanks to some awesome pain meds and even more awesome friends Allison Merritt, Lisa Medley and Sara Jordan in particular, who waited on me hand and foot (get it?), I made it through the day. Even managed to pitch my novel to Holly Atkinson with Samhain publishing. And, although my head was a little groggy and I'm sure my pitch wandered off course a bit, she asked to see the manuscript. Yeah!

Several x-rays later, nothing was broken. Still bruised and hurting though. It's been hard to concentrate on anything. Ah, the trials of getting old. But, as they say, it's better than the alternative.

So, let me know - have you ever injured yourself being clumsy?

Friday, September 13, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Support Local Business


I bought a CD today. WHAT! Yep. Felt good, too. And I didn't buy it on Amazon. I bought it at a local store, CD Warehouse. In case you didn't know, it's shop small business weekend. I think it's important to support our neighbors. Plus I really love a song on this CD, so it was a win, win. And it sounds great on my new car's sound system.

I have an i-pod and I download from I-Tunes but there's something better about a CD. The art work and the words to the songs are included. And you can hold it in your hand. It's not something in a cloud somewhere.

I also visited ABC Books and bought a . . .  book. WHAT! Yep. Felt good, too. I have a Kindle, but there's still something about a real book that makes me happy. And I could tell my business was appreciated.

I also plan on eating and drinking local tonight at Trolley's.

I can't remember the last time I went to the mall or ate at a chain restaurant (except fast food).

And speaking about buying local, we all need to support our local authors. Two great opportunities coming up in Springtown. ORACON 2013 Sept 21   
And Wordfest Sept 27 & 28!/

Hope to see a lot of you at both of these events.

Do you shop and support local businesses? Please share.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Yep. That's my new vehicle in my driveway. If you read last week's post (and I hope you did), you know I was contemplating this. It's a 2011 Kia Soul. I like it. Now I just have to figure out how to pay for it (not to mention the taxes and insurance). Ah, the joys of modern life.

Carriage And DriverMaybe we should go back to the horse and buggy days. Your only worry then was if the horse broke a leg or the wheel fell off your buggy. You just shot the horse, hooked up another one and put the wheel back on. Which reminds me of a favorite movie from my hippy days. "They Shoot Horses Don't They". I use that phrase often and people look at me funny, When I explain it was a movie, they say they never saw it. And for the life of me I can't remember what it was about. I can't remember anything but the title. Did I mention this was during my 'hippie' days?

On another note, I'm still playing the waiting game with BTH. It's with two publishing houses and one agent and so far no word. Don't they know I'm getting old and I can't play this game like a young'un?

I vow this weekend I'm going to get some writing done. Who's with me?? Bueller. Bueller.

Friday, August 30, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Good-bye Betsy

Dirty Car
The time has come for a newer car. Notice I didn't say new. A used one will do me fine. Betsy has been a good ride for 13 years but she's starting to get cranky and that tends to make me cranky.
Although she still has fairly low mileage (92,000) her parts are starting to wear out. My friends on facebook have heard this all before. For the rest of you, here is a list of some of the things that don't work:
The automatic door locks are no longer automatic unlock. And when they lock there is a horrible grinding noise. I've put up with this for a few years. Inconvenient and annoying but not a deal breaker. 
The hydraulic lifts on the trunk are broke. This is a little bit more annoying because if that trunk lid falls on you it will not be pretty. Picture decapitation.
The front speakers have been blown out for a long time. Ehhh.
The defroster doesn't work. This is very annoying because the heater takes a long time to thaw out winter snow and ice from the windows. Just ask my son Zach about being almost late for his college graduation.
There is an annoying whistling noise especially in the winter. The mechanic says it's probably (note the word probably) a hose vacuum seal under the engine. They would have to pull the engine just to check. Ah, no.
Here is the deal breaker Betsy. The driver's inside door handle is broke - meaning I have to roll down the window (after I remember to pull up the lock) and reach out to open the door with that handle. Okay, I have been doing that for a few months now. No biggie right? Wrong. What if my power window decides to quit AGAIN? No big deal, just climb to the passenger side. Not so easy for this old, fat woman. I have this fear of having to call AAA to get me out of my car.
So what am I doing this wonderful Labor Day weekend? Yep, going to the bank to see about a loan then start looking for a car. Yuck. Not my idea of fun.
I hope your weekend plans are a lot better than mine. Have a safe and happy Labor Day!

Friday, August 23, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - You May Not Know

Grunge Collage

Something you may not know about me. I like to scrapbook. I'm not one of those people who go to scrap-ins or whatever they're called. And I don't do it all the time. Just when I get a wild hair. And, don't tell anybody, but I'm kinda addicted to scrapbook supplies. A trip to Michaels is like crack cocaine for me.

I love looking at books about it. I get up early on Saturday mornings to watch Scrap Soup on PBS. I'm talking 7 a.m. folks. My pages never turn out that creative. But, I love trying.

So far I've done a book about a trip to Chicago with my son and his first wife; one for my son and his second wife's wedding; and currently I am working on one just about me. Places and things I've done and enjoyed. You know like concerts, sporting events, parties. Someday I want to do a family tree book.

Although my main passion is writing, scrap booking gets my creative juices flowing in a different way and actually helps with my writing. I know a lot of my writer friends like to take a walk to get a new perspective. I am limited in mobility, so I think this is the next best thing.  I take a memory walk.

What creative endeavors do you enjoy?

Friday, August 16, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Putting It In Perspective


Life happens. Or it doesn't.

My supervisor at work is dealing with her husband's incurable cancer. She's been gone a lot and when she's here, there are a lot of tears and calls to doctor offices. They've been married over 40 years. She will soon lose the only person she has said good night and good morning to every day for most of her life.

I'm sure she is thinking about all the fights she wish never happened and all the missed opportunities to spend more time together. I see the regret in her eyes at times.

It makes me realize my problems are very, very minor.  The rejection letters that are starting to accumulate don't mean a thing. I still have time to keep trying and keep writing my stories.

Time is running out for Erma and Aubrey. Death is knocking on their door and won't go away. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Another Day, Another Fifty Cents

As I've stated in previous posts, I'm struggling at work with the new computer system. And, it's not just me. Ask anybody I work with and they will roll their eyes or groan or even cuss. Several of us have threatened to quit. I was actually doing some calculations to see if I could live on my 401K. Unfortunately, I can not. That's kind of why I haven't posted in a few weeks.
Brain is frazzled.
network neurons 1

That, and I may be just a little lazy.

I've also been collecting rejection letters for Beyond the Horizon. Yeah!

On a brighter note, I believe I've figured out the beginning scene of my WIP.  At least for now. I was also struggling with a plot twist. Should I kill him or not? Because I couldn't make up my mind and I was using it as an excuse not to write, I've decided to start a re-write and see where it takes me. If I end up killing him again, so be it. Sorry Charlie.

I realize in the great play that is life, my problems don't add up to a hill of beans. (Quick, what movie am I paraphrasing?)

They are my problems and I'm going to embrace them for a while. At least until I strangle the life out of them.

Are you struggling with anything right now? Work or writing? Relationships? Air your complaints here. I promise I won't judge.

Friday, July 19, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Madness, I tell you, madness

Crazy Girl

Yep, that's pretty much how I feel. A couple of posts ago I mentioned we are getting a new computer operating system at work and how crazy the training had been. Well, this week we were supposed to validate transferred content and go live. Has that happened yet? Of course not. Do they bother to keep us peons informed of progress? Of course not.

I spent all day Tuesday in a big room with co-workers hunched over reports, highlighting missing or wrong info. We were supposed to do that again Wednesday. We didn't. And Thursday I spent the day twiddling my thumbs cause I'll be damned if I'm going to enter info into the old system just to do it all over again in the new.


On the writing front - nothing. I've submitted BTH to a publisher and an agent and so far no word, which isn't a big shock. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time getting back into the book I want to finish writing. I know I'm just supposed to put 'butt in chair hands on keyboard'. I look at my laptop laying there on the table, its power off and lid closed and sigh. Some people love the creative process. It bogs me down. I would much prefer a first draft just drop from the heavens into my laptop because I enjoy the re-writing part much more.

Cemetery FairyWouldn't it be cool if there was a first draft fairy godmother! She could wave her wand and I would have 100,000 words to work with and mold into something worth reading. Does anybody have a fairy they could lend me? Please.

Friday, June 28, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Congratuations Are In Order


I want to use this Stir Fry to congratulate some of my writer friends who have succeeded in their dream of being a published author. If you're not familiar with any of them I've included links to their blogs, etc. (please don't take offense if I leave anybody out - I'm doing this off the top of my head).

First up - Allison Merritt  This young lady has self published several books and now has contracts from traditional publishing houses for two more.

Barbara Bettis -   This lovely lady is getting her first historical romance published.

Susan Keene - find her on Facebook  This wonderful woman has just had her first children's book published.

Lisa Medley -  This smart lady entered Harlequin's contest "So You Think You Can Write" and has received a contract for her Reaper series.

T. Sue Versteeg - here's a link to Amazon   This talented writer has several published books and just added a collaboration with  NYT Bestselling Author Gemma Halliday.

Cecily White -  This beautiful lady had her first book in the Angel Academy young adult series published this winter.

Pat Tierney  -  just had her suspense novel an Unlikely Hero published.

 Kaye Calkins -   had her Sweet Historical Romance published.

 I am proud to say all of these women are members of Ozarks Romance Authors  a writer's group I am also a member of.   I have learned so much from this group and these women. This post is just a way to thank them all. And maybe one day I'll join their ranks.

Friday, June 21, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Houston We Have A Problem


As some of you know, I've been in computer training all week. We are getting a new operating system at work. It has been a most exasperating experience. Not only is my old, tiny brain trying to re-boot but there has been all sorts of problems with the training software. Really doesn't give me much confidence in the new system. I mean if you have this much trouble with your training modules, how much trouble are we going to run into when it goes live in a few weeks?

The trainer has been nice and very patient with us though. She even went out for drinks with me last night (too many drinks). I'm surprised we are both functioning today. But that's a whole other problem.

Anyway, I've been so tired when I get home no editing has been going on. Again. My ex never understood how a desk job can wear you out so much. After all it's not physical labor. But, I'm tellin' ya, brain labor can be just as tiring. My neck hurts from hunching over a laptop and my eyes are dry from staring at the screen. I know, wa, wa, wa. At least I have a job.

Maybe this weekend I can recover enough to finish edits, and send out some queries. Fingers crossed.

Friday, June 14, 2013

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Living Among Us

Not so healthy

Sorry there was no post last week. I was deathly ill. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. A summer cold attacked me. We are still in a battle. Sometimes I have the upper hand, sometimes not. Anyway, I stayed in bed most of last Friday.

I had every intention to do more edits on BTH all last weekend. Yeah, that didn't happen. Between the nose blowing, the runny eyes, the sneezing and the coughing there was no way I could concentrate. And I've been so tired after work this week, there was a few nights I was in bed before 8:00. So no progress has been made. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

I spent much of my time sitting in my recliner and watching the strange people across the street. Mind you, it's not unusual to see strange people on my street. I live in the hood less than a block away from a liquor store and a Dollar General. Remind me to tell you sometime about coming home one night to find a man laying on my front porch.

Back to my neighbor. There were two men and one woman and I don't know how many dogs and cats. And one riding lawn mower. It seems that mower was their only means of transportation. At one point they attached a small trailer behind and two of them rode in it to the store. Yep, pretty entertaining. You know what though? They more than likely will end up as characters in one of my future books. I don't even have to leave my house to get inspiration!

If you don't live in the hood, where do you go to find interesting characters?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Time In a Bottle

Clock 02

I've been thinking a lot about an old Jim Croce song, "Time In a Bottle". If you haven't heard it, I hope you will look it up.  It contains some really profound lines. There never is enough time, is there?

I'm probably feeling this way because I have a birthday coming up. Each one serves to remind me that time is slipping away. And at a rapid pace. The young don't feel this like us old people do. Somebody wise explained it this way: Young people have a shorter span of time to remember, so to them there is still plenty of time to do what they want. Older people have a much larger memory bank and realize they haven't accomplished near enough and they hear the clock ticking at an alarming rate. Or another way to explain it: On a scale of 1 to 10, young people are at a 2 or 3 and older people are at an 8 or 9.

There are days like today, I would love to take a nap. I don't because I want to keep those precious two hours.

But, what can we really do about the slipping minutes. hours and days? Nothing. Father Time marches on with or without us. We should strive to use our time wisely, creatively and gratefully. Or we can sit and fret and worry about things while the clock keeps tick-tocking away.

How well do you use your time? 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Ramblings

No theme this week, just a bunch of stuff floating around in my little head.

I don't think we're going to have much of a Spring. Seems to be going from snow the first week of May to Summer the last week. Does one month count as a Spring?

My little desk printer died last week. It had a good life, but man I hate to fork over the money for a new one. Bit the bullet today and went to Staples. Actually got a pretty nice one for less than eighty dollars. It scans and copies, too. I've been wanting a scanner for a while to use with my scrap booking. So maybe I should've thanked my little printer before delivering him into the hands of the recycle guy.

Memorial Day is this coming Monday. I usually have flowers bought by now. I go down to the little cemetery in Douglas County east of Mansfield to my mom's family graves. Then a trip to Greenlawn for my dad's family and my mom and dad. Then White Chapel for my ex in-laws. Not sure I'm gonna do any of it this year. Gas prices the way they are pretty much keeps me from driving to Douglas County. And my knees make it hard to walk in a cemetery. I feel a little guilty though, cause I'm the only one left to pay respect.

For the last couple of weeks I've been editing BTH again! I swear this is it. It's either gonna get published after this or go in a drawer. I'm ready to move on.

Okay, my brains empty. Time for a nap. Everybody have a good week!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - What would you do?

Lottery winner

Hi, my name is Wanda and I have lottery fever.

Come on admit it, you do too. Who in their right mind would pass up the chance to become an instant millionaire. Powerball is up to 550 million!!!!! Save your breath, I know the odds are astronomical. I have a better chance of getting run over by a bus or something like that. I don't spend a lot. I do have my limits. Two tickets, that's it. I hold those tickets in my hand and daydream about what I would do with all that money.

"Hi, this is Wanda and I'm too rich to come to work. Take whatever you want from my desk. I can buy more."

"Yes, you heard me right. I'm paying cash for that Cadillac Escalade."

"Sorry landlord, it's been nice, but I'll be moving into that mansion on top of the hill."

"Son, I'm going to pay off all your bills."

And I would write and write and write. Maybe on a beach somewhere. Or a tree house.

What would you do? 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Blah

TypewriterDid anybody notice I didn't post last week? Please say yes.

Anyway, I had a pity party last week. I believe everyone is allowed one of those once in a while. As long as you don't make a habit of it and become a real Debbie Downer.

Why was I feeling sorry for myself? Several reasons. I received my second rejection letter for Beyond the Horizon. I know that's nothing compared to other writers. We've all heard the story of JK Rowling. And "The Help" was rejected about 60 times. Maybe after the 10th or 20th one I won't feel so bad about the process. Of course all my writer friends congratulated me for at least sending it out there. Whoopee!

Then the weather turned to crap. Friday we had 35 degrees and snow and sleet. Why should that get me down. I HATE THAT STUFF. And to add insult to injury, our work turned off the heat earlier in the week. I literally froze to death at my desk. Turtle neck, sweater, coat and a blanket over my legs. I was not a happy camper.

And probably the most deciding factor in my mood - I'd let my Prozac run out for about 3 days. Not a good idea. My co-workers told me in no uncertain terms to never let that happen again.

But, I'm on the rebound. I'm researching agents and publishing houses and I've got my book with a Beta reader for some feedback. I got my prescription re-filled and the weather has gotten better. And here I am writing a new post.

Here's to hoping when your pity party arrives, it doesn't last long and when you come out the other side, you have re-newed energy and purpose.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - A Passing

Acoustic Guitar

I'm sad. As most of you know by now, the great country singer George Jones died today. Why does it make me so sad? I don't know. It's not like I was a huge fan. I don't even have a George Jones CD.

Lawn IconHe was one of my mom and dad's favorites. Especially when he was married to Tammy Wynette. I think part of my sadness is it feels like the dying of an era. Most of today's country music doesn't remotely resemble the old stuff. The stuff I grew up listening to. Hank Williams, Flatt & Scrugs, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn.

When I heard the news this morning, my mind went back to my dad sitting in his chair after work, drinking a tall, cold can of Schlitz beer and telling me to put a record on. I would rifle through his albums (all country music) and pick out one. He didn't care which it was, he just wanted to hear some sad ballad. Maybe to make him feel better about his life. The person in the song always seemed to have it worse off. Or maybe it made dad feel like he wasn't the only one struggling with demons.

I know, I know, I sound old. It's not that I don't like some of the new stuff. Love Blake Shelton. Hate Taylor Swift. 

Fans of Ol' Possum will know why I have a picture of a riding lawn mower. Rest in Peace No Show Jones.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Why?

Why are people so mean? What makes a person want to blow up a bomb or enter a school with guns and intentionally kill and mame people? Every time it happens, I ask this question. I think it goes beyond mental illness. It is a disconnect with people. Somehow they have lost empathy with other humans.

I have to admit there are times I don't like people. Especially in my line of work. But I can't even think of a scenario where I would think of hurting anyone.

I didn't grow up in a world like this. And I feel sorry for the children of today who will not remember a time when these things didn't occur.

We all need to remember the good in people. Like that viral video of Mr Rogers saying "look for the people who are helping."

Hopefully there will always be more of us willing to help than destroy.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Pitching

Baseball - game time action

Not that kind. Although, it is finally baseball season and I'm happy about that. I'm talking about pitching a novel.

For the non-writers out there - no I am not throwing my novel at somebody. Pitching is a term used when you have a few minutes with an editor or agent to convince them they should buy your novel, or at least take a look at it.
The experience can be quite nerve racking. The person in front of you could possibly change your future - or dash your dreams.

The first time I pitched to an editor was a couple of years ago. I had my book summary memorized, I bought a new outfit and had my nails done all in an attempt to look and sound professional. But, my voice still quivered when I spoke. I thought for sure she would say no. But, to my surprise, she requested the first three chapters and synopsis. I left the meeting on cloud nine. Then a few weeks later, she asked for the full manuscript. I thought for sure I was on my way. But, she left the publishing house and they were bought out and a few months later, my manuscript arrived back in my mailbox. Bummer.

Last year I pitched the same book again, to a different editor. She was less than impressed. Bummer.

This week a writer friend of mine convinced me to do an online pitch. Her editor was taking pitches for one day only. The catch - it could only be three sentences! How in the world do I summarize an entire novel in three sentences? I debated whether I wanted to. I still needed to do some edits and what if she requested it? Would I have enough time to polish it up? I decided to give it a go. I didn't prepare anything. I just got on the site and wrote my three sentences. I won't know the results for a couple weeks.

I think I like online pitching. I can do that in my robe and fuzzy slippers. And my writing doesn't quiver like my voice. This weekend I plan on jumping into those edits, because who knows, this might be my time. And if not, at least I saved money by not buying a new outfit and getting my nails done.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Three Ring Circus

High on life

Love this picture! How many of us feel that way, balancing on a high wire, just trying to get to a safe place?

The circus is coming to town this weekend and that brings up a bunch of similes. Life is a three ring circus, or a balancing act, or funnier than a mini car full of clowns or I feel like a caged tiger. I'm sure there's more, my weary brain just can't think of them right now.
Why is my brain weary? Work is one reason. It's Friday and it's been a hard week at work. Our computer system was down for two days. Man, without that, there just isn't much you can do. You can't look things up, or print letters or schedules. I even gave up answering the phone because I couldn't look up answers to the questions. And our clients have lots of questions and they don't take the word 'no' easily. So, I've spent the rest of this week in catch up mode.

And, as I noted last week, I am participating in CampNaNoWriMo. My daily word goal is low - only 679, but that has been tough this week. I managed until last night when my tired brain just would not generate any words. The circus was over, packing up and leaving town. I'm hoping I can get my energy back this weekend and whip my word count into shape before it eats me alive.

Do you have any comparisons between life and the circus you want to share?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Camping

Okay, call me crazy. I've signed up for another National Novel Writing Month. But this one is a bit different. It's Camping! Well, virtual camping anyway. I'm not going to pitch a tent in the woods (that would be especially crazy considering our weather lately).

"What's different about camp?" you ask. Well for one, you can pick your own word count goal. Awesome! So instead of the arbitrary 50,000 words in 30 days, we can choose anything over 10,000 words. My goal - 20,000 fantastic words.

"Why 20,000?" you ask. (man, you ask a lot of questions) Because, I need to add that amount of words to my novel Beyond The Horizon to get it to 76,000 words and be more marketable to agents and publishers.

"But, I thought that book was done." Well, it is, Ms Smarty Pants. But, I have discovered that at 56,000 words it is too long for a novella and too short for a novel. Therefore, I am going to add more scenes and descriptions, dig deeper into my characters' psyche. Doesn't that sound like fun!

Another thing about camp is you can work on whatever you want. Unlike November when you are supposed to start a new novel, the camp counselors don't care what you work on. I've seen campers post they are going to work on something new, something old, non fiction, poetry, scripts. You name it, there is a camper planning on writing it in April.

I'll keep you posted each Friday about my progress. Aren't you excited? "Why, yes, yes I am."

I might put up a bed sheet tent over my computer desk.  :-)

Here's a link if you want to check it out.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Sequester

So, am I the only one that had to look up the meaning of that word? News agencies and government people are throwing it around like a March Madness basketball. So here's what I found:

1. to remove or withdraw into solitude or retirement; seclude.
2. to remove or separate.
3. Law. to remove (property) temporarily from the possession of the owner; seize and hold, as the property and income of a debtor, until legal claims are satisfied.
4. International Law. to requisition, hold, and control (enemy property).
Clear as mud.



I'm not going to get all political on you but, since I work for a government agency, I guess I should at least try to understand how this will affect me.  Or not.
I'm really less concerned about my job than the people we help. Not the ones who use the system, but the ones in our society who really, really need help. The elderly whose only income is Social Security. (not that secure folks) Or the disabled who are unable to work.
Everyone is worried. Our clients and my supervisors. Worry is wasted energy. If I have to take one day a pay period off, I'll be okay with that. My bank account won't be, but I'll manage. Besides it will give me more time to write!
So, let me know. Is the sequester going to affect you in any way?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Spring Break

Okay, I'm going to sound really old and cranky here, but I don't understand why young people need a 'spring break'.
Abacus Warning; here comes the old part. I never had a 'spring break' when I was growing up. We went to school 24/7 year round. Well, not really, but I swear we went to school more than today's kids. I mean they have teacher conference days off, every holiday imaginable, snow days when there isn't much snow, winter break, spring break and on and on.

I think resort areas started this whole thing. Which I kinda understand. How else are warm, sunny vacation destinations going to make any money unless they get a bunch of 21 year old college partiers to rent seedy motel rooms, get drunk and spend all their parent's money in less than a week?

Study tableOkay, college can be difficult. Professors actually expect you to do the assignments without holding your hand. I understand that. But grade school?
"Wanda, I don't think you understand how hard spelling, math and reading are. They are really, really hard. Not to mention all that learning stuff interferes with my Play Station time like crazy."  Um, yeah, whatever.

Pretty sure 'spring break' is here to stay, but I still don't get it. Am I just being a cranky old woman? Tell what you think.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Flea Markets


On the radio this morning, the on air personalities were talking about flea market finds. Apparently some guy almost threw away 30 million dollars worth of art work, but then decided to do a little research. Can you imagine?
I used to have several flea market booths. I loved looking for merchandise. I would go to auctions, garage sales, and other flea markets hoping to find a hidden treasure at a cheap price. And when I did, the thrill I felt was wonderful. Of course, I never found anything close to 30 million, but I made some pretty cool buys. Like the Flip Your Wig Beatles game in perfect condition, for fifteen dollars - sold it for seventy five. I almost wish I'd kept it because I haven't seen another one since.

I quit the business about ten years ago. It became too much work trying to find stuff. People got smart. Thanks Antiques Road Show! I still go to markets and search for that rare find. Who knows, maybe one of these days, I'll find a Rembrandt or a Warhol and you'll be talking about how lucky I am.

What about you? Do you enjoy searching through markets or have you ever found something worth a lot of money? Vote in my poll and we'll see how many share this past time.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Cooking

stock vector : Kitchen and restaurant icons

I don't cook much anymore. At least not a whole meal.
I used to cook. My family didn't starve. But, it wasn't my favorite task. We ate a lot of Hamburger Helper.
In fact, when my daughter had to make an alphabet picture book for school, she used Hamburger Helper for H.
Now days, I might stick a hamburger patty or a chicken breast in my George Foreman Grill and a potato in the microwave, but that's about it. Healthy, right?
stock photo : Attractive Caucasian male reaching into a sparse refrigeratorIn my defense, I am single and busy. And let's face facts, it's so much easier just to pick something up on the way home. Then, I realized last night, my fridge is starting to look like a bachelor's.

I picked up Chinese food before going home and as usual only ate about half of it. When I went to put it in the fridge, there was the exact same container sitting on the shelf. I totally forgot I had leftovers from a couple days ago. My bad. I stood back for a moment and assessed my food supply. Beer, ketchup, salad dressing (no salad mind you), a couple of expired yogurt cups and now 2 Styrofoam containers of Chinese food. Oh, and a few containers of questionable science experiments that I'm scared to open.

So, you may see me at the grocery store this weekend. Or, more than likely, at the drive-thru window of my favorite Chinese joint.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Stir Fry - Re-writes

If somebody tries to tell you writing is easy, slap them in the mouth and walk away. They obviously don't know what they are talking about.
I'm currently trying to add 20,000 words to Beyond The Horizon, my book that I thought was finished. I've found out that at 56,000 words it is way too short for a single title contemporary romance.

There are so many writing rules to follow. Not only do I have to follow the rules of grammar, stay in one point of view and limit the use of 'ly' words, I have to follow some industry standard concerning the length of my work. But, if I ever hope to see this book of mine published I have to do this.  I must do this.
"But, how do I go about this monumental task?" you ask.

I am a pantser not a planner, so I'm kinda floundering. I started by adding a couple of scenes but,  in order for them to fit, I had to change a few things. Well, obviously that wasn't going to work. I could just see the lack of continuity baring it's ugly fangs. So now, I'm going through it word by word, page by page. Adding a word of description here and there; which isn't adding up to much. At this rate, I may have 76,000 words by the end of 2014.

If anybody has any words of wisdom or tricks of the trade, feel free to share them in the comment section. You'll be helping this writer in distress and possibly some one else.

Friday, February 15, 2013


stock vector : Theatrical mask on a red background. Mesh. Clipping Mask

I hate drama. Not the kind you see on TV or on the big screen, but the kind people create in their lives. I'm sure you all know a Drama Queen or King. They don't seem to be happy unless they are in the middle of some sort of confrontation, whether it's real or imagined. And they want to involve everybody in their little stage play.

I often scream in my head - GET OVER YOURSELF!!!

Because that's really what it's about. They want attention. They can't stand the thought of not being the center of every one's universe. I really think they get some sort of high from it like any compulsive behavior provides. Instead of shopping, gambling, drinking or drugs, they are hooked on fake drama.

Of course drama is a good thing to explore as a writer. Without some sort of drama in our writing, readers won't hang around for long. But, it needs to feel real. It has to have some sort of consequence attached to it. Will the hero defeat the bad guy and get the girl? Will truth and justice triumph in the end? Will the world recover from the zombie apocalypse? Give your reader something to care about and they will come back for more.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Friday Stir Fry

Okay a little off subject this week. Not much about writing. More about history. Earlier this fall I went for a Saturday drive. I took my camera and went to one of my favorite places. Doling Park in North Springfield.

Doling Park arcade
When I was younger, much younger, this was one of the favorite gathering places for local residents.  There was a lake (pictured above) where you could rent a paddle boat or fish or just picnic. 
one of the many stone walls
Front wall of skating rink
There was once a big amusement park with an arcade, (pictured on the right), a roller coaster, a fun house and all the typical rides.
And then there was the roller rink. All that is left is the front wall. Weird. My mother and father met there. My dad was quite the skater according to my mom. I celebrated many a birthday party there skating to tunes played by a real organist; not any of that recorded stuff.
And there is a cave. It is said it goes quite a ways under the city of Springfield. There is a fence across the front so you can't go spelunking.

Things seem to change so fast. The park doesn't look like anything it used to. It's very hard to describe places that were so important in our lives sometimes.

Perhaps that is where writing comes in. We are attempting to           capture a moment in time   before it's all gone and there's nothing left except a few old pictures
                                                         and a bunch of rocks.