Archive for December, 2009


Hi everyone!

I know I ‘posted’ only last week, but it’s actually been quite a bit longer since I wrote anything for this blog–you gotta love the delay posting option. As most of you know, I’ve published under a secret pen name and I’ve been busy promoting those books and I’ve also become an Examiner for the Fresno Family Entertainment section. Yay! 

That plus Christmas and this %$^@ flu and I’ve been pretty busy. Writing so much non fiction has severely cut into my fiction writing time but I’m hoping to find a balance in the New Year. (aren’t we all?)

So what have you all been up to?

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A friend of mine sent me this email and I thought it worth sharing especially as many of us will go on vacation in the next month or so.

Read them all, they’re tips from actual convicted criminals.  They could make the difference in staying safe or becoming a statistic…

1.   Of course I look familiar.   I was here just last week cleaning your
Carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
2.   Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your
Yard last week.   While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make
My return a little easier.
3.   Love those flowers.   That tells me you have taste … And taste means
There are nice things inside.   Those yard toys your kids leave out always
Make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
4.   Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway.   And I
Might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to
Remove it.
5.   If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and
Foot tracks into the house.   Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead
6.   If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your
Alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set.   That
Makes it too easy.
7.   A good security company alarms the window over the sink.   And the
Windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom — and
Your jewelry.   It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.
8.   It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to
Lock your door-understandable.   But understand this: I don’t take a day off
Because of bad weather.
9.   I always knock first.   If you answer, I’ll ask for directions
Somewhere or offer to clean your gutters.   (Don’t take me up on it.)
10.   Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer?   I always check
Dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.
11.   Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.
12.   You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where
You keep your valuables.   But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with
13.   A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm
System.   If you’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town,
You can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering
Glow of a real television.   (Find it at faketv.com <http://faketv.com/> .)

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Santa from hell story

Have any of your ever read Toni McGee Causey? She writes about Bobbie Faye, an act of nature. Suffice it to say, if you haven’t read the books, you should.

I stumbled upon this post by Ms. Causey and literally laughed myself silly. I just had to share. Enjoy

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I usually tweet these but this time I thought I’d blog it.

This evening, 4 yo walked into my room, looked at me and said, “Mom, I wouldn’t want to eat you.”

I glanced at her. You see, I’m used to these kind of statements. “Why would you want to eat me?”

“Well,” she paused. “You might be tasty.”

“I see.” I hide a grin.

“But then I wouldn’t have my mom and I’d want you back.”

“Then you better not eat me.”

“No. I won’t.”

“Good.” I smile. “Are you by chance reading a book with a big bad wolf in it?”

She nods. “Wolves are mean.”

I hesitate. I’m reading Patricia Briggs and I tend to like her wolves. Heck, I like wolves in general so I just rub her head and say, “not all wolves are mean sweetie.”

She’s satisfied with that.. well, at least she stopped talking but that doesn’t mean she stopped thinking. Must be very careful with this one. : )

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Coffee for a cause

My friend, CJ Redwine, and her husband have been trying to adopt a baby girl from China, for, well, as long as I’ve known her. They’ve leapt through hoops and filled and refilled out enough paperwork to build a boat (from the original trees, follow my reasoning. ; ) )They’re getting close to hearing from China with permission to travel and still need 6k to bring baby Johanna home.

Here’s where us coffee drinkers can lend a hand. A coffee company in Nashville, where CJ lives, that roasts its own coffee has decided to donate $5 for EVERY bag purchased. All you’d have to do is follow the link on her website. CJ asked me to let you know that if you didn’t want to buy coffee, there is also a donate button. Every penny counts.

Thank you so much.


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First off, thank you everyone for your encouraging comments. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Now, to the adventure.

 Every year, my oldest daughter buys me a gift card from Home Depot for Mother’s Day and this year I used it to buy paint. Which ahs been sitting in my garage since May.

As I mentioned, I decided Thursday to finally paint the den. When we moved in to this house EVERYTHING was a flat white. Flat white with kids.

I can sense those of you with kids nodding in understanding.

I’d promised the kids we’d put up the tree Thursday evening and I wanted to get it done before then. Originally, I thought just to paint the wall behind the tree and do the rest later.

That was until I pulled the corner desk away from the wall. No way was I doing that twice. So okay, two walls.

Then I started on the prep work: taping, moving things away from the walls, etc. And it was taking way too long. So I decided to paint one wall just to see what it looked like, only to discover this was definitely a two coat situation. I don’t know if the paint was old or what… and no, I didn’t buy primer.

So I put on the music and painted… and painted… and painted. Did I mention it’s a big room? A. Really. Big. Room. And I reasoned. There is no way I’m leaving everything in chaos, I’d better do the whole room.

I’d finished the prep for two walls and painted one when it was time to go get the munchkin from preschool. I brought her home and she said she was so proud of me (awww) and can she help? (gulp)

So I gave he a fairly dry brush and told her to  go paint the white wall. She did pretty well, except for setting the brush down on the floor once. And she quickly grew bored.

I’d purchased two cans of paint for the three walls so when I ran out of the first, I decided to tackle the focus wall. I stepped out of my comfort zone and instead of painting the walls beige, tan or wheat… I went for chocolate brown, Sweet Georgia Brown to be exact.

(funny aside, I first typed that chocolate brain… and immediately thought of CJ Redwine. ;0)

I was just realizing I just might not have enough paint when the kids came home from school. Boy walked into the den, looked around and said, “It looks like a tornado went through here.” Which, if you have a boy, you’d probably know is a bit ironic. That’s my line.

But he’s right.  Everything that was on the desk is now on the couch and coffee tables and… it seems to have multiplied. It does look like a tornado has gone through.

Sooo… skip ahead to it’s 4:30, I have to take K to my uncle to make sure he has everything for her extra credit science experiment,  E is not home yet (she’s in trouble) and I definitely do not have enough Sweet Georgia Brown. I reason it’s okay if its a bit splotchy because I am going to texture that wall… right? Right.

As soon as I get back It’s 5:30, E is home doing homework-she’s still in trouble-and I am now determined to get that room finished. Did I mention I’d promised we’d decorate the Christmas tree that night?

I ask E to put some water on to boil for mac n cheese (the mom’s go-to-got-no-time dinner.) when K asked if we could just have cereal for dinner. Cereal? It wasn’t even K’s dish night. So… yeah.

I finished at 8; exhausted, happy with the results and ready for bed.

Christmas tree.

Pushed everything back but not against the wall, moved the bookcase and  boy helped me bring in the Christmas boxes. Secretly, I’m always afraid… spiders. Yuck.

Boy and I put together the tree with the help of C and K and then we decorated. I’d have taken more pictures but the kids were… dirty.. Way in need of baths.

When we opened the box with the decorations, C exclaimed over all the Christmas books and sat down to read one when I heard what no arachnid fearing mother wants to hear. “There’s a spider.”

I looked up. “Where?”

“On C.”

I glanced at C. She was only wearing a tee shirt and underwear. I saw no spider but I had a really bad feeling. That’s when K said, “It was on her belly but it dropped off. Now it’s under that.” She points to a piece of foam.

I picked it up and there it was. Big black body, ugly jointed legs. It looked like… I swallowed my heart thinking that damn thing had been On. My. Daughter. It ran away but not faster than avenging mom. I killed it and flipped it over. It wasn’t a black widow… or at least not the female variety.

Well that’s it. The trees up, the den is painted and yes, I love it. I still have quite a bit of work (like hanging the drapes and going through all the papers now stacked on my desk) but it’s done.

It all went fairly well, no broken bones (I’ve done that standing-or rather falling from-something I should not have stood on to reach up high) and only a few drips…. except that later that evening, I discovered C had taken the paint brush down the hallway… yup. I will be making another trip to Home Depot.

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13 Reasons I’m eating chocolate

Ok, I don’t allow myself these ranting-type raves very often *cough* but it’s been one hellava day so here goes:

Drawing a blank on new story ideas. Make that good new story ideas.. ones that have any chance at all of selling.

Wondering if I did start, could I finish? Will I even have time?

My house is a mess. I can’t think in a messy house and  tomorrow I’ll paint my den. Why? That’s the way my brain is working folks.

Why do I expect myself to be ‘normal’ so soon?

Because I have no other choice.

Black and blue from beating myself up.

Finally heard back from the agent who had the last full: No go. That’s a complete strike out


No luck finding a job.

Even received a ‘no thanks’ from the one I thought was a given.

You can only take so much rejection in so little time before you start feeling rejected.

Rejection sucks.

Men really, really suck

                   ~ Chocolate doesn’t.

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Awhile back, Stephen King made a comparison between two authors. This led to a flurry of comments from enraged fans to industry professionals. On his blog, Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown even invited people to give their two cents on the issue and many did. I read, but kept my opinions to myself.

 And then the other day, one of the authors I follow on Goodreads brought up the issue of writers vs. storytellers, and a good friend of mine shared with me her insecurities regarding her writing.  

All of which caused me to ask the question: What is good writing? And how do I know my writing is good?

I don’t claim to be an expert but I know what I like to read. I’ve read critically acclaimed books and failed to see what the fuss was all about. I’ve read King, who has been criticized by experts, and couldn’t put down the book. But do I even have the right to classify something as good and if I don’t who does? The experts? Who are they? The writers? Readers? Critics? Literary professors?

I can’t answer. But it’s made me take a good look at my writing. I don’t pretend to write literature. If I had to choose between them, I’d have to say I’m more of a storyteller than a writer. Spinning a story… that’s fun and to be honest, it comes naturally. The rest is work. I’ve dedicated my life to learning the craft of writing but it’s a perpetual effort. I realize I have a lot to learn and will always be learning.

I’ve belonged to several writing workshops and I’ve read chapters, short stories, and even query letters and thought, What?  The scary thing? The authors of these submissions really thought he or she was writing the next best seller and, in a few cases, they wouldn’t accept any view to the contrary.

I submit my writing to strict criticism because I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to learn and continue learning so that others enjoy reading my work as much as I enjoy writing it. I do not want to delude myself in any way.

I may sound a little insecure. It’s only partly true. I have a confidence in my writing I didn’t possess even a year ago… and I don’t think it’s blind confidence… but I also know I have many bad habits and faults as a writer. There is always more to learn.

But the question remains. Who decides what is good? And if professionals can’t agree, how do you know your work is good?

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