Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sometimes You Rock

and sometimes you roll. 2011 brought a bit of both for me. There were moments - big, giant boulder moments. Signed with AKA. Boulder. WISHLESS hit the shelves. Boulder. Moved out of the house I lived in for 17 years. Boulder. But there were a lot of moments in 365 days. I rolled through so many of them - waiting, wondering, hoping, wishing. praying.

Here we are on the precipice of 2012, a brand new year all spit-shined and ready to unfurl. And I'm still rolling, still waiting, wondering, hoping, wishing and praying. I have plans - giant boulder-sized plans.

You have them, too. I know you do. So here's to rocking the socks off of the next 365. Happiness and health to all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And the Winners are...

Yes - we have our Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway winners! Congrats to our friends Kelley Johnsen and Judy Cox. They have each been sent a copy of Wishless. Hope they will enjoy the read. The rest of you lovelies, keep the faith! There is another contest happening as we speak and others just around the bend. My goal is that each of you gets a chance to win. Ya never can tell, right?

Thanks to all who entered. I appreciate your taking the time to be here and lend support. Relax and stay put! Here at The Hook we serve the best virtual brownies you ever wish you could taste ;) Grab one (or two). Nobody is counting...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop

Howdy gangbusters! Can you believe 2011 is nearly over? It was a super-cool year for me, what with the release of WISHLESS this past August. And now, thanks to Kathy over at I'm A Reader Not a Writer,
you have a chance to win yourself a signed paperback copy. The early reviews have been kind and I'm more than excited for the opportunity to entertain new readers! So take a second to enter the Rafflecopter below (read more) and good luck! Don't forget to keep hopping over to the other awesome giveaways happening right now :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Moons To You

If you want the moon, may you have it. If you want the sun, may you have that, too. If love is all you need, may it fill your heart until it bursts.

May the joy of the season be yours for the asking. I wish the very merriest of Christmases to you and yours.


(Click "read more" to view my Christmas card to all of you lovely people.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mid-Winter's Eve Hop and Giveaway is HERE!

Yup, right here. Hey - giving is a good thing, right? And so is making new friends. In the spirit of the season and to thank you guys for taking time out of your day to visit, I'm giving away not one but TWO WISHLESS eBooks! I know. It's madness, yet I'm just loving the mayhem ;) If you "read more" below Rafflecopter will tell you how you can enter to win. It's not hard, I promise! And as a bonus - for liking the FB page you will automatically be entered to win a $15.00 B & N gift card AND a signed paperback. See? I told ya - it's magical mid-winter mayhem.
Thanks to Kathy at I'm a Reader Not a Writer
for putting together another super-fun hop. Welcome one and all!

Let the Hopping Begin!

Check out this awesome group of participants! Have fun - hop on over!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Not in old Kansas Anymore

Watched  a bit of The Wizard of Oz tonight. Have only seen it nearly a hundred times - give or take another hundred times for kicks. Got me to thinking..
Just what is it about "home" that makes it so special? Is it the floors, the walls, the furniture, the wallpaper, the paint? Is it the familiarity? The memories?
We're real busy settling into our new digs - new being the operative word. Brought along some of our old stuff. Only some. Most of it was too ______ (big, small, run down, etc.) I held onto what I could. Deep inside I wondered if dragging that bedroom lamp along might make the new house feel a little more like the former.
It doesn't.
Truth is, when you relocate you start anew. New floors, walls, furniture, wallpaper and paint. It's unfamiliar. The memories have yet to come. I suppose time will be happy to oblige. Time - that dastardly double-edged sword. When you need it to hurry by - it stubbornly lags. When you cling to each passing hour like fresh plastic wrap, it dons wings and travels at the speed of sound.
The days will come and go. New doors will open and let us in and out as we go about our lives coming and going from somewhere over the rainbow. Not Oz. There aren't any munchkins here (or should I say "little people") or Wicked Witches of the West  (although I have been a might fussy lately.) Its the new Kansas.
We'll be alright. I know. Home is where the heart is. The family is in tact. And we've got our version of Toto, here, too. Still, The ole Wiz himself said it best:
“Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.”
I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winning and Spinning

Okay, folks. Rafflecopter has chosen a winner in our e-gift card giveaway. Congratulations to Erin B! Thanks so very much to all those that took the time to stop by and enter and don't forget...if you have LIKED the WISHLESS Facebook page you are still in the running to win a $15.00 B & N gift card AND a signed paperback. So if you haven't been there yet - hurry, go right now!
Stop wrapping those gifts and writing those greeting cards for a minute. Gosh - the holidays sure do keep us spinning, don't they? Winning makes it that much more bearable!

While we're talking contests - there will be more Hops and more goodies to come. Promise. Stick around for a while. I'll make cookies ;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bieber Secrets Revealed!

Okay, maybe not...but made ya look, didn't I? Hey, a girl's gotta do something to draw a crowd : ) Now that you're here and hopefully not too disappointed...check out this interview at Literary Rambles. Leave a comment, if you'd be so kind. Thanks to Natalie for hosting me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gift Card Giveaway Hop

It's the season for giving and I, for one, am stoked about it! Welcome to all you blog hoppers! Hope you'll stick around long enough to enter the Rafflecopter below (click "read more") for your chance to win a $10.00 Amazon-e-giftcard. You could get two eBooks with that, if you like...or whatever your heart desires. (Wishless maybe??)  And speaking of which - if you drop by my FB page and like us, you could win a signed paperback AND a $15.00 B & N gift card. It's just my way of saying thanks for coming by and hope we meet again soon. And please check out the other great blogs participating in the fun.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let Sleeping Dogs...

We are inches from the big move now. So close I can taste it. Today I found some old boxes of baby clothes from my now-grown cuddly gangstas.
Nope- I won't cry.
Even with the teeniest onesies that belonged to my boy-child, who now towers over me.
Nope - I won't do it.
Even with the handmade Valentine my daughter made me in Kindergarten. It says, "Mom, your the bast."
Nope- I really won't.
And the photos I unearthed of our first dog, Pookie.(Was that even in this lifetime?)
Really, really no crying.
And my high school year book. "Dear Louise, Well we made it. We won't ever 4get that night at the park with you-know-who and me with Greg (gross!)Have a great summer!" What night? What park? Was that in this lifetime?
I'm dry-eyed, I swear it.
And the photo albums with pics of all the places I've called home before we were here, in this house for 17 oh-so-quick years.
(Sigh) Oh why didn't I just let sleeping dogs lie? Let bygones be gone? Leave the past in the past?
Ugh - I really hate crying.
That's the thing about moving. You clean out, you toss out, you realize it's a short distance from one end of this life to the other.
Enjoy the puppyhood while you can, folks. Hold your memories dear.
Then let go. Move along.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ten Lords A-Leaping (in sensible heels)

Since we're singing Christmas songs all this month here at The Hook, (check out the Holiday Hitz corner for a new melody every day or so) this morning I am humming "The Twelve Days of Christmas"...if for no other reason than I'm cleaning out my shoe closet. What's that you ask? Connection please, you twisted little Blogger? It's those Nine Ladies Dancing and boy are they dancing up a storm! Not only do I have more than enough shoes for all of those women to party down in, I have enough for those milking maids, the pipers and the drummers drumming.

Segue into the heart of the matter - what is it with us females and our feet? Why exactly do we need fourteen different pair of flip flops? And if I'm being more seasonally correct...why do we require that our closet shelves house more boots than we can wear in our lifetime? At the risk of being painfully sexist, I dare wonder: is this a G-I-R-L thing? My Significant Other has a shoe repertoire that consists of approximately three changes of sole scenery = new work boots, work boots, and gross work boots.
Hey, whatever works for ya. Far be it for me to judge. Oh, but wait! Seems I've forgotten about his dress shoes, the pair he wears for attending weddings and funerals. The same pair he's had since 1987. I stand corrected.

With only two feet, is it fetish-ish to indulge the desire to dress them up in as many looks as possible without having to take a second mortgage on the house? This isn't about expen$ive footgear. There isn't a Manolo or a Louboutin in my collection (she sighs.) That's the stuff of Carrie Bradshaw's walk-in, not mine.

I'm merely suspecting that from the first time I clomped around in my mother's sensible heels, it's very possible I got, well - hooked. So, this Christmas am I expecting Santa to bring me a new pair of something fuzzy or stacked, something peep-toed or sling-backed or Italian leather?
The odds are favorable.
Or I can take it in a whole other direction and ask Santa for five golden rings...
Either way. I'm easy to please :)
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Movers, Shakers, Winners & Dust Bunnies

Thanks so much to all those who entered the Blog Hop eBook contest. Rafflecopter has chosen two winners who have been notified. Congrats to Yto and Tami Brothers! Hope you guys will enjoy WISHLESS!
The Blog Hop was a great distraction. Truth be told - I needed one. We're in the eleventh hour of our move and the boxes are piling up. I'd climb the walls if only I could find them. Musician Dave Mustaine said, "Moving on is a simple thing. What it leaves behind is hard."
Simple? I beg to differ.
After seventeen years it seems we've acquired the household contents equivalent in mass to one moderately sized third world country. And here I was, positive that I'd been diligent in effectively heaving and hoeing throughout the years. Now I'm thinking...not so much.
So, for the next couple weeks I will be shaking things up around this place. The sanitation men will likely have my photo on their dash with a giant black slash through my face. Sorry for the trash boys, but its time for this girl to pack up and get a move on. The only things I plan to leave behind are the dust bunnies under the stove. And that's only if the Swiffer doesn't reach that far.
PS - Stay tuned for the next contest, gang. I had way too much fun to stop now!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Author Blog Hop and Giveaway

Welcome to Of Thoughts and Words visitors! Thanks for your interest in WISHLESS. Please take a second to check out the book (upper right hand side of the page.) I hope you'll enter the eBook contest below (click "read more" for the rafflecopter) and as a bonus - you'll find another contest going on as we speak over at the Facebook page. SO cool, right?
Happy Holidays everyone!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Author Blog Hop and Giveaway - Part 2

Hey guys here's the list of the other wonderful authors participating in the hop. Hope you'll check them out!

Reindeer Games

In the spirit of all things merry and bright, I wanted to let you in on the Wishless Facebook Holiday Contest.
Just drop by the page here: - like us, leave your picture if you want to (for an extra entry) and you'll be entered to win a $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card plus a signed paperback copy of Wishless.
Also, while you're here at The Hook, if you feel like some tunes - check out the Holiday Hitz on the bottom left hand side of this page. Every day I'll be posting another of my faves of the season. AND I'm taking requests. What song do you want to hear?

Oh and Rudolph - you can play, too!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Turtle Can't be a Turkey - A Thanksgiving Story

Theodore was a very disgruntled turtle. Not all of the time, mind you. But lately, it seemed, he'd begun to feel, well, unimportant, in the scheme of things. The thrill over those Ninja Turtles had pretty much died down and now nobody really paid any attention to turtles as a group and Theodore in particular. So with Thanksgiving only a week away, he concocted a plan to pretend to be a turkey, since those guys got ALL the attention.(Theodore had no idea why folks kicked up such a fuss anyway since turkeys were the planets dumbest animals.)
His best turtle friend, Thelma, told him to, "Just chill, Theo." Yet Theodore didn't listen. He went out and plucked a bunch of feathers from a nearby nest and glued them to his backside (ouch) and tried his best to walk on just his hind legs, (not an easy task at all) in hopes that someone would think he was a turkey and bring him home for the holiday.
Three days went by and most folks just gave Theodore a strange look, or suggested therapy, but nobody bought him. Huh. He was more perplexed and peeved now than ever. When Thanksgiving eve came and he was still homeless, Theodore tore the feathers off his butt (#*!!*) and nursed his wounds glumly. Thelma sat down beside him. "Theo, you can't be a turkey if you were born a turtle. You have to be who you really are. And besides, don't you know what happens to those guys on Thanksgiving?"
Theodore shook his head. Thelma leaned in and whispered in his ear. Theodore gulped and nearly toppled over.
And so it was that Theodore began to embrace his turtlehood. It was then he decided to strive to become the next big thing in Turtle Cinema. He figured if those Ninjas could do it, why couldn't he? Oh, and he finally got up the courage to ask Thelma for a date with a not-so-smooth segue,
"Your shell or mine?"
Have a Happy Thanksgiving :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Sign of the Times

So, the first book signing went off without a hitch. (Blogger emits gigantic sigh of relief.) The Book Revue in Huntington, NY (check them out here: is the happiest place on earth, after Disneyland. They were so kind and accommodating. I couldn't have asked for anything more. We had a good turnout, great food, & amazing friends and family support. And $ales. I venture to say it's a sign of the times. I am hopeful, which isn't an emotion I tend to visit a whole lot. I thank God for the blessing.

And I thank Neutrogena for their skincare line. (Huh?)
Truth be told I was on pimple patrol all this past week. Figured it had to happen, right? Big day. Lots of attention (squirm) Pictures (say cheese). Speech (ugh). All eyes on you (double ugh). It would only stand to reason I'd get a zit. Somewhere smack dab in the middle of my face. Yes?
No. (Blogger emits second sigh of relief.) Vanity thy name is Writer.

Admit it, we all want to put our best foot (or face) forward, don't we?

But I digress. Thanks to all for receiving me so warmly. Book Baby is ever so grateful. Now I'll ride off into the sunset.
Or not. Hey, I could get used to this author-type stuff...

Friday, November 11, 2011

With Thanks...

Just want to pause for a moment today, on this Veterans Day, and remember that our freedom didn't just happen. It's  man-made. Thanks to all the men and women who fight for the cause so selflessly. May God bless and keep those who gave their lives in the process.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Perfect Shmerfect

"And in fact, I think the more we start to worship perfection the more soul leaks out of art." 

For those of you who don't know me that well, you may not be aware that I have this thing about perfection. I really like the notion of it. A lot. Yeah, yeah, I know. It's like Santa; exists only in your mind and spirit - blah, blah. Still, when you tend to strive for it, and it eludes you, it's a tough pill to swallow. I've spent the past few days working on a story and struggling to get it down the exact way I want to. It's gone something like this: Write, delete, write, delete. Chocolate. Not a pretty picture, gang.
As of this morning I've decided I need to relax my standards. It's nearly impossible to be creative with a self-imposed perfection pistol poised at your temple. I realize this is going to take some getting used to. Rome wasn't built in a day and all that. I plan to start small, with a page, not an entire chapter. Just a page. In a writers world, it's a baby step.
I'll admit I'm no stranger to  Perfect Shmerfect. I'm privy to the actualization that my Book Baby is not without it's technical difficulties. You should know that a spit-shined manuscript, once out of your trembling hands, meets many other hands. Sometimes mistakes are unavoidable. Finished products are not always presented for your intense scrutiny. For the perfectionista like your truly, it's a bit like a traffic accident - gory, yet I can't help but stare. I've had to take a crash course in reality. Accept the fact: that's the way it goes, and move along.
All this said, I'm still going to shoot for 100%. I'm still going to aim high. I'm just not going to stare down the barrel of the gun.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Things That Go Bump

Now that I'm of a certain age, sleeping through the night is a little more of a challenge. Okay, I know I'm not close to pushing up daisies yet (I hope) but it's fair to say that Mother Nature comes a callin' at 3:00 a.m. now more than ever before. So there I am, entertaining a pre-dawn stroll to the powder room when - squish- I step bare-footed on Puppy's newest chew toy. It squeals. I jump. Stumble. Smack. A doorknob to the hip. Then a shoulder bank shot off the door frame.
Ouch. Bleep. Choice swear word.
This morning finds me sporting polka-dotted skin. I'll admit it isn't my best look. In fact, it's downright spooky. On this night before All Hallows' Eve, I wish you lovely readers, a very happy Halloween. May your treats be o' plenty. And remember that thing that goes bump in the night, just might be your mother.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gone Fishin'


I'm at about the halfway point with my current work-in-progress, as yet officially unnamed. For kicks I call it Nancy, mostly because it's a novel that's kinda sorta got some elements of mystery - a la Nancy Drew. (If you don't know who she is you are obscenely young.) It's usually at this time in the creative process when I notice that the characters and I need a little break. By now, we've become well acquainted. Some of us are on our way to a lifelong friendship. While others of us will be more than happy to jump ship at the next nearest exit. Not to worry. The plot is still there. Still playing out through the mysterious combination of keyboard and muse. And the manuscript love, well naturally it's still flowing. Then what gives, you ask?
Simply put, Nancy and I just aren't so hot and heavy for one another at this moment. No, we don't need emergency manuscript therapy, religious intervention or a dose of Dr. Phil. Nor do we require the honeymoon suite and unlimited supplies of cheap champagne. We need a time out. 
Nancy (as a collective group) and I have hung the sign. Gone Fishin'. We're taking a breather in order to refresh and reload our batteries. Typically what I'll do with this time is dive into a good book and meet some new people. No, Nancy, that doesn't mean I'll forget you and no, you'll never be replaced.
It's merely for inspirational recharge. It was Ernest Hemingway who said:
I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it. 
So for today, tonight and possibly tomorrow, Nancy and I will part ways. And before long we'll be at it once again. With me willingly, excitedly filling the pages of her story, giving life and action to her cause. It's a writers way. Bait and all. Worms anyone?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mama Said There'd be Days Like This

Disclaimer: I love my mom.

Let's face it. Call a spade a spade. People originating from a certain era (say somewhere around circa 1940 give or take) sometimes aren't the most tech savvy individuals. This isn't an example of ageism. It's merely a fact. At least it's the case in my family. Take my mother, for example. She tries, bless her heart. And after about a year  or so of fiddling with the "dang dopey internet mail" I think she might finally be getting the hang of it. I think.
Or not...

So I called her the other day to see if she wanted to check out an author interview I gave here:  and we had this exact conversation.

"Hi Mama. I forwarded you a link to an interview I did online. Check your email."

"Oh, dear. I can't."

"Why not, Ma?"

"I forgot my passcode."

"It's password and I thought you wrote it down."

"I did but I can't remember where I put it."

"Well, Ma, there's a way for you to reset it. Just follow the prompts."

"Oh, dear. That sounds confusing."

"No, Ma, it's not really. Okay forget that. We'll go at this another way I'll tell you how to find it. Go to your search bar."

"Oh, dear."

"It's that long open line way up at the top of the screen, Ma."

"I went there once. It wasn't pretty."

"You really have to make your peace with the world wide web, Ma."

"The what?"

"It's what the www stands for."

"Well I'l be darned. Isn't that clever? Look dear I have a pot roast in the oven. Why don't you just tell me what channel the interview is on and I'll watch it later."

"No, Mama it isn't on a channel. It's a website and you can't watch it you have to read it."

"Oh, dear."

"What is it now, Ma?"

"I forgot where I put my reading glasses."

"Okay then. My work here is done. Goodnight, Ma."

"Goodnight, dear."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog

Blogger has been watching a good deal of Long Island Medium lately. It's my newest guilty pleasure. It fascinates me, the whole business that takes place on the "other side." I often wonder how it feels to sit down and chat with the dearly departed. In honor of the month of all things ghoulish and ghostly, I went there.
The preceding psychic encounter is purely fictional. No dead people were harmed in the creation of this post.
(Blogger dons her purple satin cape, spreads her tarot cards and closes her eyes. And then, alas! A bustle in her hedgerow)

Me: Hark who goes there?
WS: Pardon? Does thou know who I am?
Me: Bill? Is that you?
WS: That's Mr. Shakespeare to you, madam.
Me: My apologies. Why have you chosen to come forth to me on this fine evening, Mr. Shakespeare?
WS: I'm done to death by slanderous tongue. Was the hero that here lies!
Me: (sighs) In English, please Mr. S.
WS : I'm pissed.
Me: Wow. What gives?
WS: Tis a nasty rumor surfacing that slanders my original talents.
Me: You mean the latest movie claiming you didn't actually write your own stories?
WS: Otherwise known as this thing of darkness.
Me: You know, it's kinda obnoxious to continually quote yourself.
WS: I am dying, Egypt. Dying.
Me: With all due respect Will, you're already dead. The drama is over the top. Anyhow who cares what people think. It's just a theory.
WS: It's rubbish dear girl. Lord what fools these mortals be!
Me: You're doing it again.
WS: Sorry. I've called upon you to spread the word of truth. Defend my honor.
Me: Well, okay but...but what if its true? What if you weren't actually the author of all that cra - uh - stuff they made me read in high school. I mean the word is you were uneducated, and that your will makes no mention of your plays, poems or writings. It's a little odd, don't ya think? Maybe all that glitters is not so gold.
WS: Et tu, Brute? Please, woman how else can I set the record straight?
Me: Why don't you just chillax, Willie? Stop worrying. Isn't there something better for you to do with your time these days?
WS: Hmm. There is that Caribbean poker game I have lined up with King Henry the Eighth and Elvis. But those guys cheat.
Me: Get at it then. Thanks for dropping by. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
WS: Ciao baby.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Tail of Two Cities

The way I see it there are two types of doggies in this world. There are the ones, like mine, who spend their days lounging on the sofa, between two perfectly plumped pillows, cold water dish at the ready, wee-wee pad at the back door just in case Nature calls before the humans get home. They have a wardrobe closet complete with woolen jackets for inclement weather walks. These are the upper-crust canines, the pampered pooches.
Then there's the kind that kick it outdoors most days, trapped behind a gate, digging in the dirt for amusement and seeking out a splotch of decent shade when the midday sun blares harshly from above, an awning when the gray skies let loose. I affectionately refer to these as the every-dog, average Joe-junkyard variety.
Both are born equal. Yet where they end up is anybody's ball game. I'm beginning to wonder if there's a class distinction between these doggies. Maybe not so much upper and lower. Maybe in a dog's world it's more like Inner Class and Outer Class.
I was taking my pup for a stroll yesterday when we trotted past an average Joe-junkyard, his nose wedged inside the fence grating as he sniffed us out, deciding quickly that he'd better bark to keep us back. Pampered Pooch barked a greeting in return. If I were to translate, I believe the conversation actually went something like this:
AJJ: Hey pal, nice sweater. Your human knit that for ya? (snicker)
PP: Nice yard. How's that cement bed treating you?
In reality perhaps the greatest thing about dogs is that they have no frame of reference, no prejudice. Upper, lower, inner, outer, its all the same to them. Reminds me of one of my fave quotes on the subject:

In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human.  The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.  ~Edward Hoagland


Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Contest Time. Get while the Gettins' Good!


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Wishless by Louise Caiola





          by Louise Caiola



            Giveaway ends October 19, 2011.


            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




      Enter to win

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Un-Birthday to Me

I was listening to the radio on the way into work. The deejay was hollering a list of birthday shoutouts a country mile long. Got me to thinking. What is it about our birthdays that make us want to celebrate, anyway?
Is it like, "Yay for me! I survived another 365 days"? Or "Hey, I was BORN once, exactly 32 years ago today. How remarkable is that?!"
Remarkable.* (*Blogger footnotes underwhelming sarcasm here.)
Okay, so it could be a sign of aging. These birthdays do seem to come around more quickly the older you get, careening, hurtling at you like a rogue space satellite charging for earth. Only, the odds are in your favor -you're going to be hit.
Perhaps I've just had one too many scary clowns attempt to entertain me at my parties when I was a kid. Either way, I have decided to make the best of the other 364 days. From now on I am going to celebrate the un-birthdays.
All of them.
Maybe I should call Hallmark. Think of the possibilities. Un-Birthday cards will fly off the shelves faster than they can be stocked. And what about the flower shops? Imagine the Un-Birthday bouquets being ordered and delivered 24/7. Cha-ching.
If you feel like treating yourself to an ice cream cake you now have a valid reason. You don't have to wait all year or feel guilty for your indulgence. After all it's your Un-Birthday. You're entitled. Clearly this will make the gyms happy since most folks'll have to work extra hard to dump those un-birthday pounds.
It's a win-win, no?
But the real high point is that chronologically speaking you'll be no worse off than 24 hours ago! Dig that.
If this catches on you'll know who to thank. You can forward a gift at your convenience.
Oh and - happy un-birthday to you, too!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Of Bucket Lists & Best Sellers

I usually do my best reading at the nail salon. I also do my best eavesdropping. It can't be helped. So it was at my appointment this week when I sat with my toes in the suds and a book in my hands, four feet away from two women boisterously discussing the recent updating of their bucket lists. I'll call them Lady Loud and Lady Louder. Lady Loud was pleased to report she's added  "learn to speak Russian" to her list. Because, she said, "it's like having to climb a mountain. It's there."
Ahem. Okay - if you insist.
Lady Louder countered with the latest addition to her bucket list. "I'm going to write a best seller," she announced.
Lady Loud was only slightly impressed. "Oh, yeah. That's on my list, too."
I coughed. I squirmed. I wanted to ask them if they'd every written anything before. I wanted to mention, in passing that I had and so did about a gazillion other people and how we'd ALL like to be on that elusive best seller list, thank you very much.
Turns out that neither one of the Lady Loud's had ever written anything more than a grocery list - according to their conversation. Yet, this "bestselling author hard could it be? I mean, that Harry Potter lady did it and it seems she's making boatloads of cash."
I kid you not. Um...Beuller? Anyone?
I could have invited myself into the discussion. Introduced myself as a struggling writer/starving artist and enlightened them on the ins and outs of the game. But then I thought, maybe, it WAS that simple. Perhaps if I
just add it to my own bucket list, it will happen.
Or not. Probably not. Most likely not.
I'm not a Pessimist. I'm a Realist wrapped in a Dreamer. The idea is to work hard, play hard, study hard, write hard and keep plugging when you think you can't plug another second. And by all means, keep at those lists. Might have worked for JK and hell...
if the Lady Loud's can do it, hopefully, so can I.

Monday, September 5, 2011

On this Labor Day...

I have only one teeny, tiny request...

Bathing suits are giving way to backpacks. The sun is knocking off work early these days. Took Puppy for a walk last night and needed a sweater (me, not Puppy.) It's inevitable. The coming of fall and then - the dreaded W word.
Is it just me or does it seem that time is on steroids?
Not here to complain. Only to beg, plead. Hold onto summer with all my might - before another one slips quietly away. Again.
Eat, drink and be merry, gang. Soon, it seems, we'll be singing jingle bell rock. Again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

You don't mess with Mama N.

Mother Nature must be pretty ticked off. Over the past couple months, we here on the east coast have been subject to the trifecta of weather events. First a hail storm, then an earthquake and most recently, hurricane Irene.
So many people are wondering why. What's the deal with all this atmospheric mayhem?
If you ask me, MN, that dear old girl, was thinking that us earthly type needed to be reminded we aren't ever really in control. At any given moment, with a flick of her weatherly wrist we could be running for cover, shaken out of our seats and blown halfway to kingdom come.
I imagine the Wicked Weather Maker herself, perched up on her throne in the sky. She's sorta bored. She's kinda annoyed. Needs a hobby but they all don't seem to fit. Mother Nature - the Cross Stitch Queen? Not so much. She has cramps. Maybe she's even menopausal. (She IS all about nature, right?) It's Tuesday. Or is it Wednesday? She's so sick and tired of the typical sunny summer days she could spit. She knows it's naughty, but whose to stop her? She reaches down into that sack of tricks, gathering dust next to her chair.
And - wham!! Take that - earthlings.
She watches the mass hysteria from overhead, half-amused. Then she realizes it wasn't that entertaining after all. Perhaps she feels a little bad for the trouble she caused. She throws us a week of calm sunshine as a peace offering which we lowly earthly type graciously accept. And somehow, if only for a week or so, we're humbled by her power. We're reminded that the control we perceive to have is just an illusion. We pitch our tents, plan our picnics, our beach days, our nature hikes. We go on as if. Because it's what we do best.
I, for one, hope we good folks on the east coast don't do anything else to piss her off.
She's one tough cookie.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mama Leone left a Note on the Door...

...she said Sonny move out to  the country...

After some 17 years in our home we are preparing to relocate. At this time I have only one question.


Sorry for the rant. It's been a long couple weeks. The process of cleaning out and deciding what to pack and what to chuck has taken its toll. Blogger is a wee bit, shall we say, edgy? I'm trying to look at this as a good thing, really I am. A fresh slate, an opportunity to get organized. To part company with the Clutter Creature that seems to have crept in, in its sneaky little way, and quietly taken hold of my closets and drawers. It's cathartic, actually. All the heaving and hoeing. Yet it isn't without contradiction.
It's an ending. It's a beginning.
Which, exactly?
Both, exactly.
Moving is a coin. Heads it's happy, tails it's sad. Flip and see which it'll land on today. The bigger part of me is enjoying the moment - desperately ready to expand, contract. Chances are we have months to go before we say goodbye to the old place, hand over the keys to the next owner. For now it's about decisions. Keep the lamp or toss it? Does that sofa go? Oh, hell no.
This morning I'm going to tackle the cabinet in the basement where the kids stored all the videos they watched when they were little. Yet I wonder...what does one do with 48 Disney movies - VCR format - when nobody has a VCR anymore? Won't the Little Mermaid be peeved if she winds up staring at the business end of a Hefty bag?
It was dear Walt Disney himself who said :

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Yes, it does.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Baby Got Face & Stuff - It's a Book

And so, after spending many, many months growing all its fingers and toes, book baby Wishless has arrived!
I want to thank the terrific L & L team for working so hard to help bring this story to life. They did an outstanding job on the cover, editing and "delivering" a bouncing baby e-book, soon to be in print and available also at Amazon, B & N, & Fictionwise.

If you decide to make a purchase, first-off I thank you! I hope you'll enjoy the read. My goal was to lift you out of the day-to-day details of your life and entertain you for a little while. Maybe you'll forget a trouble or two. Perhaps you'll even laugh, cry, and smile along the way.

Now that its here, I'll surely be busy with all the 3 a.m. feedings. At least the morning sickness has finally stopped. Kinda...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do You Believe?

It wasn't as if I was in the mood to debate the subject of miracles. Yet, I recently ran into a woman I know who was hot and heavy on the miracle bandwagon. Up until now I've been a bit of a miracle agnostic. Perhaps that's too harsh a term. Maybe I've just more or less outgrown the notion, the way you do Santa Claus or happily-ever-after. (Boy oh boy, Blogger is certainly surly this evening.) Not really. I suppose I need some solid proof, something tangible to hang my hat on. This woman caught me during the right week. If ever I needed a miracle its right about now. So she says it's all about having faith. You must, she advises, always believe in the impossible.
But isn't that an awfully big commitment?
I guess I could try it on for size for the next few days. See how it fits. If things work out, I might actually become a miracle convert. Will she or won't she? Tune in again next time to find out the answer...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Monkey Business - In the Doghouse...

When the thermometer scaled triple digits yesterday, I overheard a woman exclaim, "These are the dog days of summer!" Got me to thinking about the way we randomly toss innocent animals into our phrases, oftentimes imposing a dreadful fate. Poor dears. Why is a sweet little pup affiliated with the stifling heat? It's a head-scratcher. So I began to consider some of the other curious phrases I have not only heard or read but even repeated on occasion. These are some of the ones that bug me the most (oops, did I say bug?) You need only read them to figure out why.
Beat a dead horse - This is horrible. I much prefer to hold my horses, thank you.
More than one way to skin a cat - Hideous. Are we to assume that curiosity already killed it?
Kill two birds with one stone - More senseless animal cruelty. Perhaps we just flip the bird  instead?
Like a chicken with its head cut off - A headless chicken? For the love of God, why not just count them before they hatch?
Shoot the bull - Oh my. I suppose he's been rifling around the china shop again.
Cook your goose - This might occur after a long wild goose chase. Run, goose, run!
Like a lamb to slaughter - Sheesh. Why not just let the lamb shake its tail twice?
Sweating/eating/bleeding like a stuck/pig - All that oinking when they fly gets annoying.
Dead duck - Perhaps it stepped out of the row of other ducks.
Blind as a bat - Must have happened when he shot out of hell.
Dumb bunny - Just not quick enough, I guess.

I could go on. But, I'll let sleeping dogs lie. Or perhaps skulk away with my tail between my legs.
That's about enough monkey business for one day, right?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Nation of Imagine

"Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared."
From J.K. Rowling's Speech from Harvard Graduation Ceremony

I'm thinking about why it is I've chosen to write fiction. Or have I? Perhaps our genre's choose us. And maybe it isn't done cognitively. Maybe it's pre-destined. Like your hair color, your height, your political affiliation. Um - scratch that last one. I can recall being just a kid and considering how it might be to belong to a different family, one from the opposite end of the world, who spoke another language. Then I remember writing those very  scenes, starring some girl who wasn't really me (or was she?) and sending her to all the places I might never really get to go. One of my first stories involved a trip to the moon. It's safe to say in spite of Virgin Galactic's generous offering of suborbital spaceflights, I'll remain ever-earthbound.

Fiction gives me a chance to visit that nation, the one J.K. made a desperately delicious living from. And for that, this little dreamer, is grateful. I wonder if one day I will venture beyond fiction's door, maybe crank out a lovely memoir, coin a catchy catch-phrase for some commercial product, perhaps try my hand at penning a textbook - (okay, I kid.)
 Yet, in the nation of Imagine we never say never.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

She Spies Shells & More at the Seashore

Just got back from a week down at the Jersey shore. R & R has never been more in order. And yet, I spent a good deal of that time "working" if you will - editing a manuscript and checking out the latest in beach reads. Hey somebody has to do it. I'm here to report that folks do more than build castles in the sand. They also actively consume their literature of choice under the bright, sunny skies while carefully re-applying the 15 or 30.

 I saw a few Nooks and Kindles in hand but far more print copies, equal helpings of paperback and hardcover. Though it isn't polite to stare, particularly when the crowd is in various stages of undress - I did so anyway. I mean, what else are sunglasses for? It was all in the name of research (mostly - with the exception of one visitor with a six-pack of abs to die for...but I digress.) I wanted to see if I could determine which genre pulled in the most beach-readership. Magazines aside, and after much consideration the winner was: The Thriller. Won't Grisham, Patterson and Baldacci be, well...thrilled?

I confess I was expecting The Romance Novel to be a front runner. It wasn't. I noticed an equitable split of both men and women partaking in the written word, although the women were generally holding onto slightly less spine-tingling subject matter, the likes of Room, The Help, and Silver Girl.

Overall it was a perfect vacation - filled with plenty of family, food and festivities. And work, of course, can't forget about that. Though I must admit to feeling as if I could use a tad more time to complete my study. Perhaps another week or two? Can't fault a girl for trying...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Free to Be Buggy - Don't Lick After Dark

I remember like it was yesterday. The 4th of July when I ate a bug. And not just one - a whole damn bug family. It was shortly after the ice cream man came and went, bells jangling behind him. I'd ordered a vanilla soft serve in a sugar cone. The sun had retired leaving us younguns romping under the street lights. We ran around in the thick hot air infiltrated with those pesky winged critters that stuck to your sweaty neck, sucked your young blood, leaving itchy welts in their wake.

I didn't recall asking for chocolate sprinkles. Thought it was sweet of the ice cream man to elaborate. He probably figured I was a nice kid. Deserving. So I licked and played, licked and played. Ice cream melted down my arms but it was yummy, in an odd way. I licked some more until one of my sprinkles flew away.

This day also became known as the 4th of July I puked on my little sister. Twice.

Happy Independence Day, all. Relax, chill out. And whatever you do, don't lick after dark.
May freedom ring on!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Write, Camera, Action

It's a special thing when books turn into movies. As a reader I'm filled with two parts anticipation, one part dread. After all, they don't always make the transition seamlessly. (If only) Sometimes it isn't possible to relay the beauty in the perfect turn of phrase - case in point "The Soloist." Loved the book - the movie, not so much. Of course the flip side of that coin is dear ole Harry Potter. Seems he's right at home no matter where he hangs his hat. I just finished reading "The Help." For me it was one of those can't-wait-to-get-at-it novels. Made me annoyed when I had to tend to life's pesky little details like going to work, earning a living. I wanted to just keep reading. It's set to open in August. And I have my fingers crossed.

On the writer end, it makes me wonder how it feels to have your brainchild meet cinematic reality. With my book only a few short months from  birth, I can't help visiting that fantasy. How cool would that be? A call from the agent. We've had an offer from a big shot movie producer. Or a small shot movie producer. Hell, I'm not picky.
(sigh) We writers do enjoy our delusions.

So what's your favorite book to film? Which one, in your opinion, made the most successful crossover from page to screen?
My dad swears it's "The Godfather." My best friend will bet her bottom dollar it's "The Lord of the Rings trilogy."  Care to weigh in??

Sunday, June 19, 2011

'Cause They Said We Could Fly

...we thought we had wings. Cause our dads said we had wings we took off, never looked back. We knew they were watching. If we fell they'd be there to catch us. Like Daddy's do. Like only Daddy's can do.
Happy Father's Day to the men who protect us, provide for us and love us unconditionally. And to my father, who taught me, among a million other things, there's nothing can't be fixed with some duct tape. ;)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Winnie and The YA's

I promised myself I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't jump on the Defend-Realistic-ContemporaryYA bandwagon (as if it really needs defending.) However there have been some folks squawking over the content matter of the books meant to entertain our youth. Not the Itty-Bitty's but the older, on the verge of adulthood crew. How dare we poison their innocence with our tales of sex, drugs and rock and roll? But seeing as how this is my genre of choice these days, I figure I'd toss my couple pennies worth in the ring. And here they are:
Please. Stop.
Since the dawn of time writers have been reporting the so-called dark side of teenage life. And by some stroke of fortune the large majority of kids made it to adulthood with little or no emotional scarring. Is it any wonder? I won't bother to mention Shakespeare, even the Bible where one can find a plethora of stories rated PG or above. (Oops, mentioned it didn't I?)
It's important for books to provide an escape from reality. But it's equally important for all readers to have something to relate to - a touch stone. A "this could be me" moment when their personal circumstance springs forth from the pages and ignites their senses. Let's face it, life at any age comes with trauma, grit, heartache and hopefully enough love and laughter to balance it all out.
Hey, to each his own. If it's too hot in the kitchen you can use your God-given legs to step outside and cool off. Read some Winnie-the-Pooh. It was Winnie that said:
If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
(Awwe. I love that bear.)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What Big Teeth You Have

It's June. You know what that means. Graduates stuff themselves into their caps and (wrinkled) gowns. Moms stock the freezer with ice pops and compile lists of things to do all summer to keep the kids from killing one another entertained. For many its a time of the infamous Family Vacation - those special days meant for bonding with the ones we hold near and dear. Ours is coming up in less than a month. We are heading down to the shore. What's that you say? White sandy beaches, clapping waves, smell of coconut sunscreen. Naturally.
And don't forget the sh-sh-sh- shARK.
 It's all Peter's fault. Peter Benchley, the writer whose novel created such a panic when it arrived on the silver screen with the likes of Jaws. Don't tell me you can't hear that menacing music the second somebody mentions the name.
I'm a land lover my friends. More so ever since that Great White with a Vengeance. I'll admit my fear is largely unfounded, centered around the distinct possibility of one of those massive man-eating maniacs showing up in such places as the bay, the bathtub, the baby pool. (Hey it could happen.) While the majority of our group is planning to participate in various death-defying feats including jet-skiing, para-sailing and otherwise frolicking in the ocean, I'll take my chances on dry land - thank you very much.
Is it true that sometimes sharks can tunnel up from under the sand? Don't answer that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pete and Repeat in Editland

Yes, I've gone missing recently. Wish I could say I've been backpacking through Europe, sailing the Caribbean sea while working on my tan, or running loose and wild in Mickey's hood. Fact of the matter is I'm holed up in a neat little place called Editland, hanging with my pals Pete and Repeat. These guys are the uber-funsters, rummaging through a perfectly content 70,000 word manuscript and wreaking havoc.
I speak of those pesky words, applied over-frequently, here, there and everywhere. They're like too much salt in the soup pot - ruins the broth.
Writing requires the use of a steady supply of fresh stock, brand new ways of saying the same old thing. It also demands you watch for falling ands, buts, hes, shes and thats.
Under the wise and watchful eye of my ever-patient Editor, I am very busy beating this bad boy into respectable shape. Banning Pete and Repeat from the likes of my world forever. Hopefully.
So writers, raise your hand if you despise finding these two characters idling within your pages.
And now, I'm told I need to take a mudslide, a deep breath and get back to work.
Editland awaits. Pass the sunscreen.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Over-readers Anonymous

So, if we are what we eat, does it also stand to reason that we are what we read? The way I see it, they are both ingested - food and literature - and each an art form in their own way. I've never been much of a foodie. I eat to live, not the other way around. What if, by chance, we read a little too much? I mean, is there really such a thing? My appetite for books is a lot like that infamous pit with no bottom. Each meal leaves me wanting more. Perhaps one day you'll find me on a reality TV show for over-readers. Some perky/annoying hostess will be snarling at me to "Drop that novel and give me five." Hey, lady - don't you know? There's no crying in baseball and no calories in rEATing.

Being a book glutton is easy, too. It's instant gratification. You'll never be required to stand in a sweaty buffet line with fork in hand. These days you can download, upload, or order up whatever your heart desires from the comfort of your home while simultaneously munching on a pizza, or maybe a little something sweet like a sleeve of chocolate chip cookie dough.

My taste varies but it never wavers. It's like they say, "Once a reader, always a reader." I've been knocking back my fair share of YA fiction lately, with a side dish of memoir.
Once I finish that off I'll be staring down the business end of a best-seller, a la Stockett style.

I know I'm not the only one with this affliction. You have it too, don't you? I can see you out there with your fully loaded Kindles. You skipped breakfast but you devoured the first chapter of something Grisham on the train, didn't ya? The first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem.
But wait. I don't want to get over this. I'm perfectly content with this addiction. There'll be no intervention for this girl.
The show is over, folks. Thanks for your concern. Now move along.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back when I was Nancy - Surviving Sweet Suburbia

While the other kids were getting their jollies playing Running Bases or Dodge Ball, I got mine by being Nancy.
They thought I was reading. Again. And they'd do their best to lure me away from my latest caper. Sometimes I'd go. After all, what eleven-year-old girl could resist a rousing jaunt on a pogo stick? It went something like this: bounce, ouch, bounce ouch. Soon I'd return, fresh Flintstones band-aid across my chin, to the pages where I'd catch up with my boyfriend Ned. (What a hottie.) Or Bess, George and I would rush off to such eerie places like the haunted bridge or the moss covered mansion. There was usually some great mystery to perplex/entertain us. But, naturally, despite the danger and the odds, we'd not only survive but solve the case. Talk about brave.
I guess you had to have guts to be a kid, back when I was Nancy. We had toys like Click-Clacks; those giant plastic balls that you had to swing up and down 'till they met and clacked. One summer I was the reigning Click Champion. This was also the same summer I had black and blue polka-dotted arms. We baked chocolate chip cookies using just a 60 watt bulb. This was when I learned that water treats burns better than butter does. We had our Sit 'n Spins, which was generally what we chose to ride just after we'd consumed large amounts of Wild Berry Kool-Aid. What kid doesn't need a good purple hurl every now and again?
Yet when all was said and done, I'd retreat, back to the streets of River Heights with my dad, Carson Drew and good ole' Hannah our housekeeper. Where it was safer, in between those pages, then it was to be a real person, growing up in sweet suburbia.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thou Shalt Be Politically Correct

On news that the Bible has recently been edited to reflect a more popular vernacular, this blogger's tongue is firmly planted in her cheek today. The following account is purely fictional:

Writer: So, Mr. Publisher, I have this manuscript. The working title is: The Bible.
Publisher: Hmm. Interesting. Word count?
Writer: 774,776, give or take.
Publisher: Steep. Whose your target audience?
Writer: Mankind. Um, scratch that. Make it PEOPLEkind.
Publisher: Genre?
Writer: It's a compilation, really. Some memoir stuff, some mystery. Something for everyone.
Publisher: (flipping through pages) Has this thing been through editing yet?
Writer: Well...
Publisher: See here! (points to paper) You can't say "virgin." Perhaps we use the phrase "young woman" instead.
Writer: Ya think?
Publisher: (pointing again) And here. What's with the "booty" reference? "Spoils of war" is far less offensive.
Writer: To who, uh whom?
Publisher: Look, today's readers are a highly sensitive bunch. We have to be careful not to rock any arks.
Writer: You're the expert.
Publisher: With a little tweaking we'll get this baby into every house of worship across the country. Maybe even across the world.
Writer: Holy smokes!
Publisher: Pardon?
Writer: (sneezes) Nothing. Allergies.
Publisher: Gesundheit. Um, I mean, bless you.

Happy Holiday's to one and all!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

There's Always Womb for Two

No, no. I'm not about to expound on the curious, although cuddly trend of the Hollywood mommy-folk these days. Ya' know, where they all seem to be spitting out twins like pairs of designer shoes. I'm talking about the incubation period of a novel, to which I've likened to that of being with-child.
So here I am, growing a book in my belly when it dawns on me that we are not alone. Inspiration is odd that way, arriving in unexpected doses, tag-teaming, piggy-backing and riding on the coattails of another idea when you're already busy trying to finish fleshing out the first one.
I take it the Concept Fairy regards this as a rather charitable act. And perhaps it is. Believe me, I've been on both sides of this creative coin. It's far worse to be barren, sitting with a blank page and very little in the way of fresh words springing forth. It isn't pretty gang. Searching for something new to say or a unique slant on an already covered topic is hard enough without benefit of that elusive artistic nudge.
So what if that nudge comes when you are already nudged-up, right?
I'm guessing that's what notebooks are for.
The trick now is to turn these thoughts, characters, scenes and dialog into something that resembles a best-seller. Easy enough, you say? Not so fast..I figure if I have a couple of ideas brewing so do about a million other writers out there. 
That Concept Fairy gets around.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Neither Hair nor There

I visited the salon just the other day. It resembled New York City's Times Square on Dec.31st, 1999. Folks rushed about in various stages of what I refer to as Headiting. (Take a little off here, add a smidge there.) This particular establishment will happily layer you up or laser you down. No matter. It's whatever your little heart desires. Hair or bare, they really don't care.
Got me to thinking about this culture of ours. Left or Right, Yanks or Mets, personal preferences aside; there's one thing upon which we can surely agree.
We are a society that is follicularly fixated.
Evidence can be found almost everywhere. Take Broadway, where the musical "Hair" debuted in 1967 and is still being performed in revivals to this very day. And what about that famous fairy tale "Rapunzel?" That chick had an enviable (albeit tangled) mane. If I say "the Rachel" I'd bet you know what I'm talking about. Then there was the exhaustive year, circa 1970-something, that I spent fashioning my Farrah flips.
Who could forget that line uttered by Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. "Ya know I work on my hair a long time and you hit it. He hits my hair."
Anyway, I asked my Headitor what I needed done this time around. She shot for a bottle of $28.00 conditioner, the latest and greatest in taming the testiest of tresses. "We're gonna need at least an hour to get this situation under control," she said. In the end no hairs were split or left unturned.
And that's the buzz for now, gang.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Author X's and O's - Getting Stoned and All

As you may (or may not) recall, when we last met with Author X she was dangerously close to comitting manuscript suicide. Her creative well had run dry. She wasn't exactly feeling the loving.
Enter Friday Night. Apparently she received some super-dee-duper (Barney reference brain warp) feedback from an editor at a small press she's been chatting with. An offer may be close at hand.
"We need to celebrate," she told me. "Do something big."
"How big?" I asked.
"Soooo big. I mean, this is IT. Right?"
I hated to be the one to tell her. Far be it for me to kill anyone's buzz. I suggested ordering a pizza. With toppings, since this was a special occasion. Or perhaps a Happy Meal would be fitting.
"Are you for real? Come on! I said BIG. Do you not get Big?"
Bless her oblivious heart. Of course I agreed to dinner minus the golden arches. And of course this is a good thing. It's what  I call a stone. Of the stepping variety. If we are so fortunate, us writerly type, these will pile up, form a path and lead us to our salvation.
Stones are the little victories. But maybe, just maybe, after a  winter of cold, snowy rejections, one stone can kill a nasty ole' case of the writer's blues.
I'm collecting them too. Building the road. Getting high. Sometimes, getting low. But going along either way.
So we celebrated. Had Dijon mustard on our hot dogs. Hey, I get Big.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Register This

Apparently while I was sleeping/working/playing and carrying on with the otherwise mundane business of life yet another trend was taking root.
The Registry.
Hang on, now I'm not from the stone age. Back when I got married we did not chisel our desires in bedrock. But it was not considered common practice to make any requests at all then. Pretty much, you got what you got. And you liked it or lumped it. (Or returned it, as was often the case.)
Now the bride-to-be, mother-to-be, or anything-to-be can politely make her wants and needs very particularly known.Get me one of THIS in pink, size small and a half. And two of THAT, in the oasis pattern. Thank you most kindly.
Sigh. I miss The Surprises. I remember the days when you opened a shiny package and had absolutely no clue what was inside. Wasn't that half the fun?
I can't help but wonder why it seems I can't be trusted to choose a gift all by myself. Am I that much of a bumbling idiot that picking out an alarm clock or a layette will leave me wandering the store in circles with drool running off my lip? (Don't answer that.)
So if this is the wave of the future - fine, I can roll like that. I'm compiling the writer's registry as we speak. Details to follow. What? I'm an author-to-be. Starting a trend. I know. It may take a few minutes to register this. No worries. I've got all day.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


So of course you've heard by now that the dictionary has graciously agreed to include the likes of these popular abbreviations. Go ahead, LOL, but I kid you not. It's surely a sign of the times. And far be it for me to ever be lagging behind the latest and greatest in word-wear. As someone who spends a great many hours seeking the exact right turn of phrase, a new word or two might actually come in handy. Let's face it they've all been done to death, haven't they? Take LOVE for example. Those four letters have been used, re-used and abused more often than another four-letter ditty I can think of. (WTF is blogger referring to now?) The world may be ready for another word that would stand for the "profoundly tender, passionate attraction for another person or thing." Or not.

Look, I'm no English snob. I can appreciate the modern vernacular, even at those moments when it seems I can't quite figure out what it means. Still, I am wistful. Some small part of me clings to the notion that the language I've been raised on, taught so carefully and now manipulate with equal parts joy and (occasional) frustration should remain unscathed by current cultural fads. Either way, I'm told I need to GOI (get over it.)
Change is a good thing, right?
Or not....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Great Expectations

So the way I see it, I'm roughly 2 & 1/2 months along. Not actually pregnant. Oh heavens, no. Been there, done that. Got the scars to prove it, if need be. I'm anticipating the birth of my first "child in print." She's due to deliver sometime this year, closer to the fall if my calculations are correct. My lovely publishers are working out all the details as we speak.
At this stage of the game it's a lot like walking around with a tiny fetus in your belly. The joy of it being just you two, before the world gets its hands of your little bundle of joy. Conceiving a book baby requires greater effort than the average real baby. For some folks the real baby conception needs little more than a Friday night and a bottle of chilled Patron. But I digress.
It's a quiet and special time, lest for the morning sickness. Soon the planning, the editing, the rolling up of the sleeves. The nesting. It's all coming. Minus the 30 extra pounds in the mid-section. (Graciously.)
Next thing I know, I'll be panting, trying to remember to breathe, sucking on ice chips, and eventually welcoming her into the universe. Naturally I'll have all the typical new mom worries. Does she have all her pages in place? Is she warm enough in her ISBN?
And the new mom anxieties.
Will the other books take kindly to her? Will she fit it, stand out, be liked, maybe even loved?
For now, I'll sit with my expectations. Waiting. Enjoying the moment.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Numerical Crisis

It's a state of mind. Or a state of denial. Call it what you will. It's that feeling of agelessness. Not defying the calender. More like completely ignoring it.
Swiss writer Henri Amiel said, "I'm not interested in age... You're as old as you feel."

What then if you don't feel 8, 18 or 80? What if from day to day or moment to moment it varies?
Case in point; a recent decision to attend a concert of a very loud, very kick-ass country band & company. Something I've done for years and years (not that anyone's counting here.) Going in, if I had to call it, I'd say I was about 22 tops. Halfway through I was somewhere in my mid-teens to early 30's. Two and a half hours later, my eardrums banging like a steel drum on sonic boom, I was 76 on a good day.

Sigh.... It isn't an identity crisis I'm having these days. It's a numerical crisis.

I suppose there are some positives to this little conundrum, particularly when writing YA and the need arises to channel my inner 17-year-old snot nose. She's still there, bless her tenacious soul.
Right next to the little old lady knitting those God-awful potholders that nobody really ever uses.

Someday I will figure out how old I actually am. Someday I imagine I'll shed this chronological chameleon skin for one that fits just right all the time. Until then it's anybody's ball game. Or concert. So, as the man says, "turn it up" and for goodness sake keep it down!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Speaking Of Amazing

I recently lost a very dear friend of mine. He was too young to leave this earth; his departure sending a shock wave through a great many people who loved him like I did. So I've had "friend" on the brain this past week or two - thinking about those relationships we forge with others entirely by choice. Most times they seem to arrive via other means. This man and I were once related, though in the end our bond stood unsevered by broken marital ties; the friendship remaining graciously in tact.
It's a rare and glorious thing, to join forces with someone outside of yourself. Should you hail from Missouri and require more substantial proof, might I suggest you visit your local movie house and take in "The King's Speech." This is a brilliantly written and acted account of two men who form a mutually dependent and beautiful union of souls. Although, were I here to report as a critic, I would be obliged to inform that my significant other spent the 2 hours patiently waiting for a decent car chase or the mass destruction of a small alien nation, which did not happen. (An action flick this is not.) But I digress. I spent the 2 hours thinking about the way the universe has of bringing us the people we need to have in our lives. Then I was glad that somebody took the time to write it so eloquently that it be turned into a film.
And then I was reminded that we must hold close those who we cherish. For what's its worth - call them. Let them know. I'd been meaning to call. I was too late.
I've been told that my dear friend who resides in heaven now thought I was amazing. Funny.
That's exactly what I thought about him, too.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Author X & Goldilocks

This time it was an emergency telephone call. When I answered I heard her panting. Thought at first it was my favorite obscene caller. But it was Author X. Desperately seeking sanity. Dangling on the edge.
"This time I swear I'm gonna do it," she told me.
"You're not."
"Yes, I am. Really. I'm about to hit delete. The entire manuscript is going to go up in technological smoke."
She's made this threat before. Happens every time she hits a dry spell. No agent interest. No writing inspiration.
"Think of all the hours you've invested in this project. Do you really want to give that all up?"
She blew her nose and the tears began. So did the song and dance - set to a blues beat. Woe is us - the chosen bunch who dare to think we can PUBLISH. Why, we must be mad, bonkers, complete and utterly loony.
Thing is, what else can you do when you simply have to write?
I let her cry for a while then I reminded her. That gun to your head is in your own hands.
You can pull the trigger or you can set it down and stop with all the pressure.
"But I'm like Goldilocks," she whined. "One agent says my book is too short, one says its too long. I can't seem to find one who thinks its just right. It's beyond frustrating."
"Listen. You're missing it. The very fact that an agent is looking and responding at all is porridge, kid."
So in the end she did not destroy the fruit of her labor. We hung up with her agreeing it might be time for a short mental health break. And maybe a fairy tale or two.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who wrote a little story...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Very truly yours, Miley

After all this time, I finally managed to sneak Mommy's laptop away from her. You probably know me, from the bottom corner of this page. I'm Miley, the wonder-dog. To be honest, I'm the only one who actually calls me that. But I keep hoping one day the humans will think of it on their own. They can be adorably dense sometimes.
Mommy's been busy reading some book written by this mutt named Enzo. I've heard her say it's called "The Art of Racing in the Rain." She seems real impressed by the fact that this canine can write. Shoot, if I thought she'd get so excited over such a thing I'd have snatched this baby a long time ago and jotted down a line or a paragraph. I mean, maybe I don't have an entire novel in me, but I'm only 2 and a half. I hear stuff like that comes with age.
It's not like I don't have my stories to tell. There's a ton of material flying around this house.
At the risk of being a tattle-tail, I can tell you that when Mommy writes sometimes she says bad words. Strings of them. Once she snapped a pencil in two. Once I heard her say that writing is for the birds, which is odd since I had no clue that birds could read. Imagine that.
I know these people love me. They say so every day. Then there's the food and water supply which just magically gets replenished by the same invisible fairy that changes the toilet paper roll. At least that's what Mom tells the kids. If the humans could only get on board with the whole outdoors = potty idea I believe their lives would be a lot easier. Poor ignorant dears.
It's time for me to dash. I hope Mommy doesn't mind the tiny drops of drool on her keyboard. There's a chicken roasting in the oven and if I'm especially cute I just know I'll charm a little of it off their plates.
PS - When Mommy's book comes out, please buy it. She looks much better when she smiles.
Very truly yours, Miley

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Far be it for me to be the one to rain on any parades. A good lot of folks are still reveling. Happy New Years are still flying around the phrase circles in places like the grocery store and the dry cleaners. It seems some people are reluctant to let go of the holidays as they were, and the neighborly spirit as it comes around this time. I wish to respectfully suggest:
Drop that celebration and step away from the cheer.
Christmas is said and done and we've made it safely from one month to the next. Some hail it as a minor miracle. Some carry on as if there were a chance this may NOT have taken place.
And yet, odd as it might be, every 365 days another year presents itself. Presto.
So? Okay I DO get it.
It's a chance to start over - a proverbial clean slate. If 2010 were particularly troubling; if nothing went the way you'd hoped, dreamed or planned for - then perhaps the changing of the Calender Guard was in order. Maybe a sense of hope lay hidden among the last of October's leaves buried helplessly beneath the latest helping of snow.
Be that as it may, I, for one, am Janu-weary.
I suppose I'm a slow starter. Still need to shake off the trappings of the season. Once I catch my breath and recover there's no telling what enthusiastic sentiment awaits.
Until then, I remain true - a wee bit worn, slightly shell-shocked, and ever the eternal optimist that after a few dozen really good naps I'll be good as new. But, for now, the sign dangles from the door handle:
Do Not Disturb

Saturday, January 1, 2011

We Made It - No Blinking

And another 365 days have sprouted wings and left us. Here I am, already having visions of creamy sand beaches and wet toes, hearing the sound of the waves rushing at the shore. If I blink, I just know I'll be there again; at the ocean, welcoming a warm summer day. As quick as quick can ever be. For now, if only for a moment. Maybe I won't blink. Happy New Year, all.