Saturday, December 31, 2011

Life Lessons, Miracles and Happy New Year

This is kind of long but I haven't blogged in a while and you'll see why.

Again, I deal with the ups and downs of life. I've been fortunate but I've also had a see-saw, turbulent, happy, sad and sometimes uncertain path. I didn't find the right answers very often until I made the monumental, life-altering decision that I couldn't do all this on my own and turned to Jesus. (Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me") It didn't happen until I was 30 (I'm not usually that slow)

This past ten days has reminded me in many ways of the necessity of that constant focus on what matters and what doesn't and, again, that I can't do everything I want to do and certainly that I'm never alone. I can't fix things; make things happen; be perfect or even try to be.

Lenny's health hasn't been the best in the past few years. When we married seventeen years ago he was a bundle of energy, healthy in mind, body and spirit. The last was the most important, of course. But, and there are always 'buts' 'whats and 'whys' in life, aren't there? There came a time not too long ago when we both realized he wasn't his old self but we all slow down with age. Then, it wasn't just slowing down and we found he had Parkinson's disease. He also was diagnosed with neuropathy in his legs and feet and slight dementia. He's had macular degeneration for years so his eye-sight was challenged but, again, it was getting a bit worse. The number of pills and doctor visits increased but he still has his wonderful sense of humor and optimistic outlook. So he walked a little slower and needed the cane and walker. So? We were still active in our community and enjoyed our life together.

On December 20th I noticed a bigger change. He was slower, less in the moment if I can use that expression here. He shocked me when he said he didn't want to play cards on Tuesday, something I never thought I'd hear him say. He loves to play cards at the clubhouse. On the 21st he was even slower and confused about simple things like the time of day or things he should know. I suggested that since he wasn't himself we should get some help but the independent Lenny surfaced and he said we didn't need help. Not yet. By midnight I knew differently. We did need help and I called 9ll. He was admitted and the hospital circus began. What was it? Test this -- test that. He was not able to stand or walk and his imagination took on monumental proportions of weirdness. Still no answers. Maybe this, maybe that. He had pneumonia Meds were changed and I watched and waited, praying constantly.

The diagnosis became multiple suggestions; perhaps it was an intensifying of the PD or dementia; perhaps it was a change of Meds; perhaps it was an infection (the pneumonia?) Maybe it was a combination of two or more of the maybes. Four days ago he was sent to a Rehabilitation facility in Sebring. By now my resolve was weakening and I was praying constantly. Praying for answers, for strength, to be a comfort and make the right decisions; praying for miracles and always giving thanks and praise for the wonderful blessings we had enjoyed together.

Never think that miracles only happen in a monumental manner. Tiny miracles also happen. Like he almost stood up two days ago; like he is rational again; liike today he not only stood up but took a few faltering steps. He is trying so very hard to do the therapy and keep his spirits up. He wants to get strong enough to come home. We spent Christmas day in the hospital and we'll spend New Year's Day in the Rehab facility. We don't know all the answers and we may never know them. It doesn't matter. Once again the miracle of faith has been given to us. A gift, not wrapped in pretty paper and topped with a bow. A gift that goes to the heart, that lifts our spirits. A gift that reminds us to be thankful for the difficult times because it only makes us stronger and more aware of the wonders God can do; the power of prayer and the gift of basic faith that relies on the Father we both turned to many years ago.

I am grateful for these life lessons. They make me stronger (even though I might feel weak). Tomorrow we begin 2012. We are going to celebrate in the dining room of the rehab facility with a couple of friends who want to share the day with us.

Happy New Year everyone and God bless you. Remember the blessings and forget the trouble, they sometimes are blessings in disguise.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Season

The 'season' has begun. Here in Florida that means it's somewhere between October and April. That's when all the snowbirds return after flying away the previous spring. As soon as the weather gets a bit dreary up north, they return to our sunny haven. We love having our snowbird friends return. It's great to renew friendships and kind of pick up where we left off when they headed back north. Of course, the highways are clogged, the stores are filled and the lines at restaurants are a bit longer, but that's okay. In many ways it's kind of like getting parts of your family back.

It also means more activities. Living in a senior community, we are always busy here; things at the clubhouse, the tennis courts, the pool, the golf course and in the Florida rooms of our homes makes for more entries on the calendar. It also is good for business, if you know what I mean. A boost to the local economy and additions to our personal calendars. Mine has begun to fill up, not that it is ever empty. I manage to keep busy 12 months of the year, but the 'season' adds even more.

Tomorrow I have to be at the Mall by 10:00 to set up for the Heartland Cultural Alliance event "Arts & Music Fest" which also includes sculpturing, wood carving, and book signings. Of course, the latter is what I'm doing. It's a three day event, December 2,3,4 and I'm going to be there (with two other writers from my writing group). It should be a good venue but we've never done this before so we are all excited to break this ice. I won't be able to be there for the first day (because of my Friday writing group) but I'm going to have my table set up with free handouts announcing my next two teaching events, brochures and business cards. I've also had a large poster made at the local Office Max with my picture and the covers of 6 of my books. The poster states, "Please Santa, all I want for Christmas is an autographed copy of one of Sunny's books". Hope that catches a few sales.

In the meantime, our community newsletter came out yesterday with a long list of holiday events for us to participate in (or not) as we choose. This is always such a busy and happy time of year. The newsletter also had a little write-up about my latest awards (submitted by a dear friend)so the phone has been busier because not only are people calling to congratulate me but also to ask for the new book. And it isn't even published yet!

Of course, I have the steady regular things I do, like my writer's critique class every Friday, the book club, the FWA monthly meetings and the twice monthly writers' reading event at a local coffee house. (We manage to slip in some card playing time several times a week, too.) Seems there is always something to do. My calendar is filled with 'things I have to do' along with 'things I love to do' so it's a nice balance. You know about the things I love to do, the other things are doctor's appointments, etc. The necessary things that everyone has on their calendars. Soon I'll be getting ready for the creative writing class I'll be teaching at SFCC in January and February. Another thing I love to do.

So, not only am I looking forward to all the above, I'm beginning to get into the "Holiday Excitement." I'm blessed because the things I love far out-weigh the things I must in many ways.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

After all this time -- good news!

I know I've been away from my blog for way too long. Lot's of things seem to have gotten in the way and I've used excuses I shouldn't have. One of the excuses was that my husband had to go through a series of physical therapy sessions, four times a week for 6 weeks. It took a chunk out of our days but the happy news is that we see some nice results so, of course, it was well worth it.

I also took a time off -- attending the annual Florida Writer's Conference in Orlando Florida. It was a four day trip and I thoroughly enjoyed every single moment of it. Five of us 'gals' from the writer's critique group, smilingly named Avon Park Wordsmiths, went together. We had a ball and the workshops, the intermingling with other authors (there were over 450 in attendance) the speakers, the programs, the food, the facilities -- I could go on but I won't. Another very nice occurrence was my dear, dear friend, Bette Crosby, from the east coast of Florida, came to the banquet. I hadn't seen her in four years. It was a wonderful reunion and she was warmly greeted by my other dear, dear friends who accompanied me. But the icing on this lovely cake of good times was the Awards Banquet. First Bette won second place in the unpublished women's fiction and we all celebrated that (loudly). Then wonder of wonders, my name was called as winning first place in the same genre for Finding Amy. Bedlam occurred as I rushed to the front to receive the award. Then on my way back to our table I took a detour to visit my publisher and while I was speaking with her I heard an outcry "Go back, Go back, They want you up front again." Stunned I rushed back to the front to find that Finding Amy had also taken the award for BOOK OF THE YEAR!! It's been two weeks and I still get shaky inside when someone wants to talk about that. And to think, I almost didn't go. Prayers are answered and no, I didn't pray to win anything, I just prayed that I could go. Another perk that went with the Book Of The Year award was that I got an interview with a New York agent. She has since requested the entire manuscript for Finding Amy and I'm just waiting to hear from her. I will share that news when it comes.

But while I was away, my wonderful friends here in our community rallied around and looked in on Lenny while I was away, seeing he got to his card game, that he took his pills, that he had dinner, and also that he didn't have to miss the wedding of two of our friends, Alice and Les. He even was the recipient of some tasty cranberry muffins!It was truly a blessing to know he was being cared for while I was away. So, because of their kindness and love, I was able to enjoy a wonderful break and he was able to keep well and happy until I returned.

Since returning I've been fortunate in receiving many messages of congratulations, hearing from friends and family far and wide. Since I consider any talent I might have as being a gift from God, I am sincerely humbled by all this.

Now I'm working on my next manuscript tentatively entitled The Journey Back (but subject to change along the way -- that's how it happens sometimes.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finding Yourself

I remember hearing a young man say, "I can't do that until I find myself." I thought that was an odd statement. Find himself? But as I continue down this path of living I think I know what he meant. At first I thought he was just dodging responsibility but now I think we all find ourselves at various times in our lives. Each year we live brings new frontiers and pushes old ventures away, sometimes so far away that they are no longer parts of our lives. We're finding new phases of this life God has provided for us.

Even now I've found a new frontier. I've been a writer most of my life. Unfortunately, not much of it found it's way to paper for much too long. But, when I got started—Wow! I've written and published eleven books and created more poetry and short stories than I can count. Most of the poems and short stories are lost because I didn't think they were worth saving. I've since learned otherwise and rued that original thought.

But, on to the new frontier I've recently landed upon. A couple of months ago I received a call from a dear friend, also a wonderful author, asking me to consider editing a book she was ghost writing. The offer include a nice compensation. For a long time I've been writing, learning about writing and taking part in all phases of writing. For some thirteen years I've been a part of and chaired a writer's critique group. Along the way, other writers I have met have asked me to 'help' edit their work and I did, not for money but to help. I've been asked to teach creative writing at the local community college and in preparing for these activities I've studied and learned, mostly for my own edification, but also to share with other writers. You see, I feel so blessed to have made this obscure dream of writing come true that I have to give back in whatever way I can.

In doing the editing and providing an editorial review I, again, learned a lot while doing what I love. It was an engrossing job that took many hours. But part of this new frontier is another request for an editing job. This past week another author, a past student of mine contacted me about editing her latest book. A frontier I never expected but I'm enjoying!

I've always said, echoing my father, never say never and when something comes up and it looks interesting or challenging to you—grab on to it and have fun. I'm really looking forward to editing this new book. Maybe I've found another 'self' along with a new frontier.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I have a new pet. Not an earthshaking statement unless you know that I'm not a pet person. Don't jump to conclusions -- I'm not a pet person because I'm allergic to cats and dogs. Put me in a room with a cat and within a half hour my eyes are streaming, my nose is running and I'm gasping for breath. Dogs don't do quite as much damage but they still go into the allergy category. I love dogs and believe it or not usually watch the entire Westminster Dog Show, marveling at the little balls of silky hair that sweep across the floor and the tall and majestic mastiffs that lift their heads in disdain at all the fuss. My friends have pets and I'm pleased to see them on a limited basis. No one, however, has a pet gecko.

When I was a child we had a couple of dogs and I loved them but the allergies came later and pet ownership just wasn't to be. Ah, but now I have a pet. A small gecko has taken up residence in my bathroom. This little guy must be almost two inches long and most of that is tail. How he got in is a mystery. Living in Florida these little creatures are a normal thing. Flitting across the driveway, diving under the house, we must have a hundred but one has ventured inside, how he got there I don't know. But, I'm not getting rid of him, he'll just have to find his own way out. I can't imagine how you would go about evicting a gecko anyhow. You can't catch them, they're lightning quick and if you tried to contain him you might hurt him, or worse.

Of course, we've had more interesting pets along the way. When my children were young and whined about not having a dog or cat, I bought them fish or parakeets. The fish were definitely not exciting but you could teach a parakeet a few words and he tipped his head as if he was really listening to you.

I discovered my pet gecko a few days ago when I opened the blinds in the dining room. He clung to one of the slats, raised his head and tried to stare me down. "Go back where you came from," I said turning away. When I looked for him and couldn't find him I assumed he'd left the way he came in however that was accomplished. But, two nights ago I found him glaring at me from my bathroom floor and last night he was still in the bathroom resting next to a small table with a pot of fake flowers on it. "So, you're still with us," I whispered wondering what does one name a pet gecko. I still haven't named him and if he stays I don't know what he'll live on. What do geckos eat? If he's going to stay, I hope he has that cute Australian accent the green gecko on television has.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Clubs and Lessons Learned

A few years ago someone invited me to join a book club. I really didn't think I needed a book club and at the time my schedules were pretty full so did I want to add another thing to my already full calendar? After all I've been reading for most of my life -- I'm an avid reader. But since the gals were urging me to join them, I did. I can't even begin to tell you the way book clubs have added to my life. The biggest surprise was that I had narrowed my book world down to a comfort zone. I read my favorite authors, not a bad thing to do, but I didn't realize it limited my exposure to some wonderful new authors. When I moved from the east coast to the center of Florida and I found they didn't have a local book club, I started one!

I am continually surprised by the choices made and the enjoyment I get out of these 'new' authors, some of whom I regret I overlooked in the past. Our book club here is two different entities, the winter one, or as Floridians say, the 'seasonal one' which has about fifteen to twenty ladies every meeting. We meet once a month in a members house so that means we also get coffee and cookies or other lovely stuff. In the summer when our snowbirds have flown to points north, we, at first, disbanded. Then those of us who were left decided that just because we were small in number didn't mean we couldn't continue on. Our program changed. At winter meetings we chose a book, everyone reads it and at the meeting we discuss it. For our summer meetings we meet and discuss whatever books we've been reading. It gives us an even wider scope to investigate and I find myself making a summer reading list after every meeting. It always amazes me that each reader has something different to say even when we all agree it was a great book (or otherwise). They have honored me by reviewing one of my books and that was especially fun because I urged them not to sugar-coat their review. And, they didn't, another learning experience I thoroughly enjoyed.

But getting back to reading things you never would have chosen. Last week a friend suggested a book, in fact she even loaned me her copy. At first look I thought "I'll never read this," but politely took it and that night opened it up for the first time. Yesterday was our monthly book club and I wrote a review on this new book, a totally new-for-me adventure. This novel is Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. Here's what I wrote.

"If anyone had told me I would be reading a book about a 400 year old angel who lived with his family, mother included, in an exclusive, opulent New York penthouse and is losing his wings because of mold, has blood the color of sapphires, I'd have said, 'Yeah, right!' First of all, the angels in this book are certainly no angels; they are cruel, vicious, manipulating and down-right evil. But this book is fascinating in several senses. First it is beautifully written; second, it contains exceptional and brilliant imagination, religion and history. The research is unbelievably deep and well done. The story begins in a convent in upstate New York and the mystery that entwines the characters runs throughout the book and includes a young nun, her past family, an art dealer, a convent full of interesting and unusual nuns and religious history (beautifully done), angels, ancient history, modern history (WWII) and current history. I also involves art and culture. The book is written in definite segments. Spheres One, Two and Three and The Heavenly Choir. I absolutely loved the first part, thought the second part, while accurate was a bit tedious as far as background and scientific and religious input goes. Of course, this is a novel but the amazing part is that the author has woven a 'story' around and through a lot of history and scripture. I haven't finished the third part or the ending yet but I'm going to although I'm surprising myself. You just never know what lies between those covers unless you explore.

I'm a writer, books are my life and I've loved them all my life. So who needs book clubs? Everyone.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

When you have something to say…say it.

I have been in the doldrums lately. My mother once used that phrase…I remember she was asked when she thought her ship would come in she said, "I don't know, it's probably caught up in the doldrums somewhere." I wasn't sure what the doldrums were so I looked it up. In addition to being 'low spirits' it also means 'equatorial ocean regions having little or no wind.' In other words her ship was caught in limbo. Well, that was me. I like to keep my blog going but lately there just wasn't anything to say. I was in those darned doldrums. But times are a'changing.

As I mentioned before, I had finished my latest manuscript and submitted it to my publisher and I was also debating whether to go back to one I'd started writing several times over the past few years. Well, I came to the conclusion, after several rewrites and injections of what I thought might be kickers, that this story just isn't going anywhere and I was pushing a loaded cart uphill. So, another set back, or so I thought. But, that wasn't what it was…because after some serious meditation and a few talks to myself, I realized I had another, completely new plot brewing! I haven't put fingers to the keyboard yet but the words are accumulating and will probably burst forth at any moment. So, now I have something to talk about. Not about the characters and plot, it's too early for that, but the burning embers I'm blowing on to create the necessary fire to go forth is there. It certainly is a spirit lifter.

And then…as if that wasn't enough I receved an exciting email from Florida Writers Association. Having been a member of FWA and planning on attending the conference in October, any communication is always welcome and this one hit the spot! I had submitted two short stories to the latest-to-be-published anthology the FWA publishes each year. This project began two years ago. The first collection was "Our Family to Yours" and submissions had to be about family matters, true or fictional. I submitted a couple of stories and one was picked for inclusion in the publication. Wow! Great! The next year the anthology was based on and called "A Slice of Life" and every story couldn't have a beginning or an end; it was just to be about a moment in time. A challenge for sure. Again I submitted some work and one was chosen for inclusion in book, too. Another Wow and Great! This year the anthology was more of a challenge, not that the other two weren't but the one for 2011 was entitled "Let's Talk" and all the entries had to be conversation only. That meant not one 'she said' or 'he remarked' not a single description…just dialogue. Another challenge but I love writing-challenges so I sent off two submissions. Last week I received an email saying one wasn't accepted. Was I disappointed? Sure but I thought to myself, "you can't win them all". But yesterday I received another email stating that they had chosen the other Let's Talk submission. Another Wow! Great! If truth be known I thought the first one might make it and was not at all sure the other would. Who knows? It's a matter of who reads them and what buttons they push. I'm pleased beyond words, if that's possible for a writer. Anyhow, the doldrums seem to have picked up a few new breaths of wind.

Guess I'll be saying something before you know it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Laugh-Out-Loud Moment

Being slightly OCD (obsessive compulsive -- I'm going to leave the word disorder off) I'm compulsive about a few things and then again a messy desk drawer doesn't bother me a bit. But if someone moves something on a shelf or puts something in the 'fridge where it 'doesn't belong', I am compelled to move it back where it lives.
The same rule has been applied to such rituals as reading the newspaper in a specific order, hanging everything in my closet by color code and type of garment, and counting the silverware and dishes as I remove them from the dishwasher.
I also hang onto old, very old, habits. One thing I remember from my childhood was my father telling me that by reading the comics in the newspaper every day you not only learn life lessons but begin your day with humor. I still read the comics every day, however, they are not on the top of the pile of newspaper sections. I sort the sections in order of reading, local news first, then world news, followed by other sections that appear on certain days of the week, like food columns and, lastly, the comics because that's also where the crossword puzzle is and I absolutely must do the puzzle! He also said that reading the want ads was a clear clue as to how the economy was going. I don't do that. Sorry, Daddy.
This morning, reading my daily newspaper, I got to the comic section and read only those strips that have made my 'list'. I always read Pickles by Brian Crane. Today's made me laugh out loud; causing my husband to look up from the sports section (I never read that). I had to read Pickles to him even though he isn't a laugh-out-loud kind of guy. He has a wonderful sense of humor but laughing out loud is not his thing. He did think this one was very funny, though.
I have to share this morning's Pickles with you. Pickles is a small box of three or four cells. The characters are an elderly couple. Today they are lying in bed, she reading the paper and he obviously trying to go to sleep. She reads, "It says here that when men sleep, 70% of their brain activity sleeps too. But when women sleep, only 10% of their brain activity goes to sleep. That's why I'm always more tired than you. My brain won't go to sleep."
And, he says, "It's probably just keeping your mouth company."
Hope you laughed out loud.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Betwixt and between

Betwixt and between. That's how I feel right now. It's a mixture of emotions, game playing and the dreaded "what lies ahead." But, it isn't something I haven't lived through before because it happens every time I finish another novel. You see, while writing I become so intertwined and part of the lives I'm creating they become real people to me. Close, as if part of my family. So when I write The End,even if it's only in my mind it's as if I've cut the umbilical cord, pushed the last bird out of the nest and watched as the last ship leaves shore.

Writing Finding Amy was a true labor of love, because it was, in part, based on fact. I loved the story, the characters, the outcomes even though at the start of the book I never expected the end that came about. You see, I'm not a true structured writer. Some authors have the entire plot in their heads before the first word is typed into the computer. Not me. I have the beginning of the plot and the characters in mind but the entire story is still a mystery in some ways. And, even if I think I have the plot kind of outlined, my characters sometimes have another view and off we go. Finding Amy took more time than any of my other novels. Probably the health problems for both me and my husband and the recuperating afterwards played a big part in that process. But, there was also a lot more research to be done with this book. Not that I'm complaining. I love researching because it's kind of like going back to school. You learn so much more than you even need to for the plot.

Now I feel ready to begin the next book. The outline has been wandering around in my mind for several years and I think this might be the time to begin. Still, I feel bound in some way to Finding Amy. It hasn't actually been launched, there are things that might need attention so am I ready for the next set of characters, the next set of plotting?

That's where the betwixt and between comes in. I seem to be in a flux, caught between the present and the past and peering tentatively into the future. It's a confusing time and I find myself not able to really concentrate on anything.

Then mix in the three day weekend and what I thought was Saturday was Friday and today, Monday, May 30th, feels like Sunday and not only is it Memorial Day but it's my granddaughter's thirtieth birthday and I'm 1200 miles away and you can see my indecision. Maybe I had better just lay low for a day or two, go to the pool and exercise with the girls, finish the book I'm reading, lounge a little. The only trouble with that is I'm not really a lounger so I'm going to have to put some effort into that too.

One thing I know though, it will all work out and before long I'll be grinding away at the computer doing what I love to do best in all the world.

So betwixt and between is just a hiatus. Good, now I've got that sorted out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bits and Pieces

There are so many things going on…some real and some in my head, perhaps trying to become real. Anyhow I thought if I jotted them down I might be able to reorganize my thoughts and actions, at least for the next few days.

First and foremost—I finished my latest manuscript! I am really happy about that. Of course I have come to love the story and the characters; that always happens. Somehow they just take a piece of my mind and heart right from the start and then go shooting off to the finish. This time though, I had a lot of interruptions, serious interruptions which have resulted in periods when I just couldn't work on what I wanted to…the book! Interruptions which were mainly health related and while they are not all solved or ended, recently I found time to work on 'the book', disappearing into my studio for longer and longer periods of time until this morning it is finished. This manuscript took a bit more research than some of the others but that's always interesting too. Of course, the dreaded editing and rewriting are looming before me but I honestly have to say I love that too. What I call the 'screen edit' has been done. That means I've been staring until I'm cross eyed at the computer screen. This morning, in between loads of laundry, I printed out the manuscript. All 368 pages of it. I've already eliminated about 1,000 words so I'll be looking for more ways to write a bit tighter. But,I'm convinced that in the near future I can honestly say, "It's finished". That is until I send it to my publisher.

Also on my mind are a variety of other things. One night last week I suffered one of my more sleepless nights. No matter what I did things in my head just wouldn't go away so I got up and jotted them down on paper. Sometimes that works. This time it didn't. The next morning, blurry eyed from lack of sleep, I looked at the paper. I'd listed poems and songs as well as books from my childhood. Now I have to admit that my mother was a great story reader and she also loved to recite poems and sing songs from her childhood. It wasn't until I was well into my adulthood that I realized what a treasure these were but of course, the hectic pace of life put them on the shelf. I hadn't thought of these things in years and years. I wondered if it had anything to do with Mother's Day because I sure thought about my mother a lot on that day, not that I don't think of her every day.

The fact I couldn't remember many of them made me nervous. As a writer and a supporter and teacher of the importance of keeping a record of family history, I felt compelled to do something about this. So, thanks to the Internet I Googled the names of the books, songs and poems. I found all of them except one but I'm determined to find that one too if it exists somewhere. My list contained Rudyard Kiplings Just So Stories and I copied all four of them from the Internet. I found one song, My Grandfather's Clock" and a poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter from Through the Looking Glass. The only poem I couldn't find was one that included the words, "Yesterday, beneath the rick, I broke his prison with my pick" It was a poem about a toad. Ah, well, I'll keep looking when I can.

Tomorrow I'll have another set of things to consider and that's okay too. I'm not complaining about anything because I love challenges and think that life itself is a challenge at times. I love my life, past and present, good and bad and we all have that. I thank God everyday for everything that has become part of my life because that's what makes ME.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I've always thought I had a pretty good command of the English language. I attribute much of that to my father, who insisted we use words properly; that we challenge ourselves to broaden our vocabulary. One of his hard and fast rules was that if we didn't know what a word meant or heard a new word, we looked it up. When one of my daughters was in the fifth grade her teacher gave each of her students a button to wear on their shirts or jackets. It was bright yellow with red letters that stated "We never guess, we look it up". I think that was meant to cover reading, history, geography (do they even teach that anymore?) and,of course, English.

I know I'm not the run-of-the-mill language buff. I have a dictionary in the magazine rack next to my chair in the living room and if I come across a word I'm not familiar with, I look it up; there's a dictionary/thesaurus near my desk; and if something comes up on television, or in the newspaper and I don't know exactly what it is or means, I run to the computer and look it up. My gosh, that lesson has stayed with me!

In today's world our word usage has expanded immensely. I have to admit I don't know what some of the new lingo means and when I look it up I don't even understand the technical language, but I try.

Lately, and even though I don't want to get into politics, I have strong feelings about come of the current topics, but what I really want to see is something I call common sense put into place. Can something as simple as this prevail? My most current conundrum is the situation with gas prices which hit and hurt just about everyone in this country and are part of the myriad proposals facing us all. There seem to be many solutions and blame connected with this subject, offered by many people. One of the words bandied about is the word subsidy. It seems big oil companies need subsidies.

Excuse me but just look up the word subsidy. It means; financial support, financial assistance, financial funding, financial backing, grants and subvention. Notice all those 'financial' words. I always thought subsidies were a system used by government at all levels to help a struggling entity, to give a lift to new business or programs, or to help people with real needs.

Now here's the problem I have with this subject. How, I ask, does a company who boasts and posts bigger than enormous profits for one quarter of the year, qualify for a subsidy? What kind of financial help do they need? Are they in need of financial assistance? Financial backing? Grants? Small struggling businesses, businesses that, with some help, could expand thereby picking up some of the people who are looking for jobs, and people and programs in need might qualify for subsidies. But major, giant, thriving businesses don't need subsidies.

I think I might share this with some of our congressmen, maybe even the President. It's one small voice but perhaps we should raise some small voices. It's not against the law to raise a question or prompt a discussion. Subsidies for giant oil companies?

Another lesson my father taught me was that it was a privilege to be an American citizen (he was naturalized) but with that privilege came responsibility. We've always been a nation of responsible, privileged people. We help the poor and downtrodden. We share where we can. Isn't that just common sense?

I think we've all learned this kind of lesson sometime in our life. Lessons we should use.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A friend named Janie

Every morning, as early as possible in my busy days, I read from my daily devotional. It is a calm, rewarding break for me and I share the reading with my husband. We discuss the message for that day, look up the accompanying scriptures and often marvel at how spot on it is for that particular time, current 'problems' or concerns.

The very story behind the devotional is unusual. I read from a little book titled Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. It is written in first person Jesus, so it's as if He's talking to you personally. I received the book from a friend in New Jersey. Nothing unusual about that but in this case there is. I have never met or spoken to this friend in Jesus. Another friend from Florida was receiving a daily "hug" from a lady named "Janie". She asked if I'd like to receive a hug every day and a spiritual message every evening. I, of course, said I'd love that. I can't tell you how much delight I've received from not only the wonderful book Janie sent me (when she learned I was dealing with a serious medical problem for my son) but also from her personal messages once in a while. We communicate via email and she has become a fan of my books, but I digress.

Yesterday's message really hit home. Of course, I cannot say that doesn't happen often because it does. But yesterday not only did the message hit the spot it drove itself right into my heart. Here's just a portion of the message, 'Walk with Me in holy trust, responding to My initiatives rather than trying to make things fit your plans. I died to set you free, and that includes freedom from compulsive planning. When your mind spins with a multitude of thoughts, you cannot hear My voice."

Well, that hit the nail on the head because I am a compulsive, obsessive PLANNER! In fact, here it is not even May and I'm planning for an October conference. There are some serious things to consider with regard to this event, but already I'm planning what might or might not occur. My plans usually are fraught with what I call my 'what if' syndrome. And, all this time I was wasting brain time. Oh, it's not that I haven't prayed about what I'm planning and I'm pretty sure that's okay but just taking over is not what He wants.

Every once in a while you have to bring yourself up short, open your eyes, which you thought were already open, and turn things over to God. I thought I was doing that but apparently I hadn't planned on this eye-opening, back to basics message I received yesterday. I'm grateful ever day for the blessings in our lives. I'm blessed - with many things and many people. One of them is named Janie.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Progress - is it all that's it's cut out to be?

I just spent a mind-boggling five days getting my latest book, Forgiven, entered into the Florida Writers Association RPLA competition. Two of my previous novels were entered and won some recognition. I love competitions, not only for the opportunities they sometimes provide but also just challenging myself and trying to get into the rush of things. Also, getting feedback from real judges is a great boost to an author. I hope all my writer friends try competitions and/or contests. It doesn't have to be something you think should really be on the New York Times best seller list (and how realistic is that?) but competions are a great writing tool. I tell my students that stretching your writing ability will only produce better writing. For me, I don't really enjoy writing short stories. I need 300 pages and 100,000+ words to get my story told as I'd like it. But I enter short story and poetry contests(another thing I'm not paticularly good at) just to see what happens. Sometimes I've been pleasantly surprised and at other times, I don't even get a response. Must have been pretty bad. But, the stretching part for me is to actually get a short story across in 1500 words. So, when this year's FWA competition opened I planned to enter my latest book.

Now we get to the progress part. In the past I read the instructions, typed up what was needed, crossed every 't' and dotted every 'i', pushed it into a properly addressed envelope with all the other things the competition required and took it to the post office. Easy, right? But, this year we have gone technical. All submissions must be electronic i.e., sent via email. Being totally inept at these mechanics, I studied and studied the instructions. They use language I'm not familiar with. So, I pored through the 20 pages of instructions again so that I would cross every 't' and dot every 'i' but it wasn't the 't/s' and 'i/s' I needed to be worried about. It was the instructions on how to get this into the email with the proper identifications, in the right order and to the right person.

This morning I assembled my submission, checking and rechecking the instructions. By jove I think I've got it. But, and here the heart comes to a slow halt, after I pushed the send button my mind catapulted through those 20 pages of instructions. Had I? Did I? Should I have? Oh, drat. It's gone and I'm hoping it just gets to the right person and gets processed. This is harder than writing the book! I guess it's progress and sometimes I think we as a culture try to simplify things by making them more difficult. One opinion, I'm sure.

This brought me to think about another 'progressive' thing I've experienced in the last couple of weeks. Two weeks ago I was at my doctor's office and he thought he found something that needed to be checked. I hadn't planned on this at all. In fact, I was on my way to my hairdresser. But, instead, the doctor sent me to the hospital for a test. Plans changed and I was a bit nervous. Upon arriving at the hospital, and God knows I've been there too often in the past couple of years, I checked in at the front desk. Usually you check in, they take your driver's license I.D. and your insurance cards and then send you off to the proper department. So, being savvy on these things I arrived at the front desk, cards in hand, expecting to follow the usual procedure. But, No. Things have been modernized. They didn't need my cards and I.D. The lovely young woman behind the counter handed me one of those square gadgets you get in restaurants which will alert you when your table is ready. You know the things, they blink inoccuously for a while and then go into a frantic buzzing, flashing and vibrating and you know your table is ready. The lovely young woman directed me to a waiting area and said when the 'buzzing thing' went off I could go into the lab. I did as I was instructed. Did I tell you it was pouring, one of Florida's quick and saturating downpours? Sitting on the chair with a very wet umbrella, the doctor's orders, and my I.D. cards in my hands I was comtemplating this unexpected turn of events when the buzzy thing went off. The umbrelly fell wetly to the floor, my cards flew in several directions and the doctor's orders suddenly became wet and wrinkled. My heart was in my throat; after all this was a bit scary just being there. Is this progress? I really think it would have been a whole lot kinder if I'd just waited my turn and had the lovely young woman call softly to me that it was my turn to go into the lab. I guess I'm just not programed for all this progress.

But, and there is always a but, I passed the test and I'm praying my submission entry flew through cyber-space and has safely landed in the right receptical or in front of the right eyes. Time will tell. We must keep up with progress even if it kills us.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Mother's Birthday

Today is my mother's birthday. I can't bring myself to say 'would have been my mother's birthday' because every April 3rd is my mother's birthday. She left us way too soon, dying well into her 90th year. She would have been (those awful words again) 105 today.

I always thought of myself as a Daddy's girl but I certainly didn't love my mother any less. It was just that Daddy and I were so alike in many ways. I remember after his death, when my mother came to live with me, she'd often say, "Oh, you're so like your daddy)and her voice was wistful because she missed him terribly. I wondered, after his death, how she would manage because they were so close, but she stiffened her spine and carried on. They were the closest couple I've ever known, doing so much together and in their later years the bond became even closer, if that was possible.

I truly think of my parents every day even though both died many years ago but the memories of a different ilk. I remember fun times with both of them but the difference was that with Daddy it was always different or exciting and with Mother it was comforting, supporting, calming and loving. My earliest memories are of Mother reading to me. She read every day until my teen years when the after-school activities took over. Even so, we all read a lot, sharing favorite passages or reading to each other. As a child I remember Mother cuddling me to her when I scraped my knee, had a bad day or made a goal I'd set for myself. Her cheering was quiet, Daddy's was exuberant.

My parents didn't have a lot of friends they could interact with because they traveled so much, but I don't think they had a single enemy. I cannot remember an incident where my mother was angry or upset with anyone. She offered strict yet gentle discipline because while instilling in me a sense of what was acceptable and what was not, she never lost her temper. Was she a saint? I doubt it but to me she came really close to that stature.

I remember my mother with love and thanksgiving because that's what she instilled in me. I often wish I could leave the legacy she did but we had such different adult lives. She had Daddy for 53 years and he was a wonderful husband and father. Her life was steady, not that they didn't have difficult times but they faced them and solved problems together. My life was pock-marked with bad decisions and unfortunate happenings. I had a difficult time and it's only now in the last 16 years that I have the steadiness and love that I longed for. I loved my children with all my heart and I did my best.

For as long as I live, when April 3rd comes around I'll quietly celebrate my mother's birthday. I miss my mother.

P.S. When September 22nd comes around I'll celebrate my daddy's 105th birthday too. I miss him too.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Giving a Little

This is perhaps a double-edged sword about giving a little and reaping the good things in life.

We recently put our home on the market, yes, even with the dismal real estate situation, we thought that now was the time to take this step. It's based on several things. With consideration to the recent medical problems for both of us and the economy (ah, yes the economy), we thought that even though we love our home and our location, this might be the best course for us. When we made that decision it tugged at my heart. At our age? I thought. Do I want to be uprooted again? We've moved a lot in our 16 year marriage and prior to that my life seemed to be one long dislocation. But that is the past and now is now.

You see, we are not young anymore and things like maintenance and upkeep become more entailed and difficult. Our lovely home is bright and cheery and just what we always dreamed, a late-life gift, if you will. The five window, pale yet sunny-yellow kitchen is a dream come true. The spacious rooms are just that -- spacious. The laundry/pantry room is not a closet but a real room. I could go on and on about the pleasant surrounding we have occupied for the past six years but it isn't necessary. To top off this accolade, we live in a 55+ community with wonderful friends and neighbors. There is a Clubhouse for interesting activities,a great pool, tennis and an executive golf course to name only a few of the 'amenities'. The activities sound like a vacation heaven and yet you can opt to take part or not. Of course, our weather is wonderful except for our brief, unusually cool winter, and I know that makes our northern family and friends giggle. Cold to us is anything under 65°.

So why are we leaving? Well, for starters we aren't leaving our community, just the large home. There are other homes right here that are smaller, more compact and beautiful on a smaller scale so we wouldn't (hopefully) be leaving our utopia, just changing addresses. We are praying that this course of action will actually take place, and if it doesn't, well, although we can't turn back or erase the number of years God has gifted us with(nor do we want to), we know that whatever happens will be the right thing. We both find comfort in knowing that what we decide doesn't really matter because long ago we put our lives in His hands. So perhaps a double-edged sword might not be the right phraseology. We are blessed, not only by our surroundings but by the most important choices we made a long time ago. We put ourselves in God's hands and that's what really counts.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Fine Line

Sometimes some really good things happen and when it happens to you there is a fine line that must be considered. Is a show of exuberance a bit over the top? Could a lovely compliment be fodder to an inflated ego? Recently, I received an unusual and exceedingly welcome telephone call. When I hung up I ran through the house and told my husband the happy news. Gentle and loving guy that he is, he has to have the lowest level of outward excitement quotient in the world. He was happy and impressed. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last Friday I received a telephone call from Gwen. I have to admit I didn't readily recognize the voice or the name but the caller continued. "I met you at Office Max and then you spoke to our women's church group in January." Oh, yes, now I remembered Gwen and her quick smile and friendly manner.

"Good to hear from you," I replied, thinking this just might be another speaking opportunity but she had other ideas.

"Remember I bought one of your books, Following Daddy?"

"Yes," I replied. I did remember she purchased a book but wasn't really sure which one it was. It was quite a long time ago. "Hope you enjoyed it."

"Oh, I did and now I've downloaded your latest book, Forgiven, to my Kindle," she continued,"and I love it."

Wow, I thought. That's good news and I thanked her for her continued interest in me and my work and her kind words about Forgiven. Compliments are always welcome and I knew she wouldn't have called if her praise wasn't true. But that wasn't the end of it.

It seems Gwen has just had some surgery and so is confined to bed and home for about six weeks. I commiserated but again, that wasn't the end.

"I'd like to purchase the rest of your books," she said.

It's always nice to hear from a satisfied reader and their glowing comments are manna to a writer, so after the smallest pause, I agreed to provide her with the remaining eight books.

Saturday I delivered the books and we had a nice chat. "When's your next one coming out?" she called as I turned to go.

"I'm working on it," I said.

"I'll be looking for it," she called.

I've said before that writing is at times a lonely occupation but it has it's moments and this phone call was one of the nicest. Now the conundrum is, do I post this blog with the self-serving message or do I just privately consider this event as a pleasant and very special occurrence? Will it be bragging? Will anyone else be impressed and should I care? It was a lovely, personal endorsement from a reader. After a lengthy soul search, I don't know what other authors would do but I think I'll just put that little feather in my cap and post this blog. Let's see what happens.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blue Skies

The words to an old song begin, "Blue skies smiling on me, nothing but blue skies do I see." Well, I think I have really come to a blue skies time in my life. Today I was given a 'go ahead' by my cardiologist. Now I can drive, and just in that gift have gotten back a lot of my functionability (if there is such a word). I know, I know, start slowly. It's funny that about two years ago I was telling my son, right after he was taken off life support, he'd have to take baby steps toward recuperation from a very serious ailment. I advised him to take it easy, one step at a time and that one had to crawl before one could walk. Last week he reminded me of that advice. "Take baby steps, Mom," he said.

So today, for a very personal celebration of my passport back to being me, my husband, Lenny and I went out to a late lunch. We went to Olive Garden, one of our favorites and had a delightful lunch together.

I kind of think we have lots of 'blue skies' moments in our life, most of which we sail past in our hurry to get on to the next stage. Of course, most of the time you have to have a few clouds in your life to recognize and gratefully accept the 'blue skies'.

I haven't been able to write and that is upsetting to a prolific writer but I feel the urge to go on now with the manuscript I'd been working before I broke my foot (that's old news now) and really didn't get back into the swing of things during my most recent set back with the heart thing. BUT, blue skies are with me again. I do feel better bit by bit and I have plans—not to the extent I had before when I filled my calendar and days with all kinds of good things, but setting a slower and more reasonable pace for activities doesn't seem boring anymore.

I've made up my mind that I'm going to do things differently. For instance, I plan to get a little moderate exercise in each week. I'm going to the pool just to walk in the water for a while and then I just might rejoin the water exercise group I belonged to months and months ago. With the real Florida blue skies overhead that should be no problem at all. In fact, speaking of our weather, we are back to the usual which means temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s overnight and up in the high 70s and low 80s during the day. Of course we have our usual and traditionally wonderful breezes blowing the Spanish Moss about on the huge, rugged, old Pin Oaks. Truly a comforting sight alone—did I mention the blue skies?

Another self-promise is that I'm going to write even if it's a little each day. I'll get that manuscript sorted out and on its way!

I'm also promising myself and anyone who happens by this blog, that I'll post more often. Sometimes I don't post because I think I might not have anything of any interest to anyone, but you know me…I do love to 'say'.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying my blue skies. Hope you are too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Best Laid Plans

I tend to be a 'cock-eyed' optimist most of the time. I also tend to bite off more than I can chew but somehow always manage to come out okay.

January started off good and after the past year's medical problems for both my husband and me, I was determined to avoid such unpleasant interruptions to my carefully laid plans for the 2011 year.

For one thing, I was going to work on my latest manuscript, something I had let slide the last few months of 2010. It wasn't because I didn't want to do the writing, I'm very pleased with the beginning of my next book. But,it just seemed that so many other things took precedent. "This year will be different," I told myself and began to make plans. I filled my January calendar with lots of events, things I really enjoy like speeches, one especially important one for a fund raiser by a local charity. There were other speeches, several to woman's groups at churches (I love those) and a reading at a local coffee house, all fun, all helping me promote my latest book, Forgiven, and all very doable. I was also teaching creative writing at our local community college. I was flattered that they had asked me back again. I had a class of ten, all enthusiastic about improving or just jump-starting their writing career whether it was for possible publication or something they really wanted to do for themselves. Of course, I was also holding the writer's critique group every Friday at the local library. This schedule, while a bit ambitious perhaps, was what I did during the 'season' in Florida. You rested during the summer when the snow birds had flown back north.

I was going along at a good pace when on Sunday, January 30th at 5:45 a.m.(see I almost made it out of January) I was whisked off to our local hospital with chest pains. My pulse had dropped to 48 and there was a look of contained concern on the faces of the EMTs. Of course, I had completely ignored the indigestion I'd been experiencing for about two weeks, even though I never have indigestion. Also, in keeping a diary for my primary care physician as to blood pressure and pulse, I also ignored the fact that my pulse rarely went higher than 55. I was busy.

It took 7 days, flat on my back, umpteen tests and changes to my meds to settle the problem -- I hope. Fortunately, they found little wrong with my heart but even after a catherization, I had another episode. The cardiologist thinks it is spasms in my heart's arteries. So, I now have to carry nitroglycerine tables. It seems as if I might need a 6-week recuperation period and I can't drive! Again! Fortunately we have the most wonderful friends and neighbors in the senior community we live in. They are doing laundry, shopping, running the sweeper and bringing over the most delectable food. They are also providing all the transportation we will need for the next few weeks. I am truly blessed!

So what lays ahead? Well my calendar is uncommonly undisturbed except for doctor's appointments (for both of us). My teaching class has voluntarily opted to postpone the class until I can return. Some things have been cancelled, perhaps to be set up later in the year. I have learned that I can't do what I did at 40. I have learned to plan my life around what's best for us and not expand my commitments carelessly. So, this first week back home we have home health care for both of us. I am determined to follow all medical directions and have set my schedule for the first week home, limiting my activities to medical necessities.

The best laid plans often do go astray but only because they are over-zealous. I love what I do but I just might have to 'do' a bit less. It is in God's hands. While I was in the hospital I had my husband bring me my daily devotional. I am amazed how each day's reading seemed to be aimed directly at the situation that day. But, after some reminders, I realize that it isn't my schedule that matters and it is God who lays the plans.

I'll be back with more, when I can. Bless you all for caring.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One day back, One day forward

This past Sunday I played golf! Not an earth-shaking declaration unless you factor in that I've probably played golf three or four times in the last five years. Prior to that I golfed five days out of every week. I loved golf and really enjoyed being out on the links with friends and hubby. (Yes, we found playing golf together to be great). The only reason I quit was because when playing a long course you are usually out there four or five hours and one day I thought, "Why am I out here playing a game when I really would rather be inside at my computer writing?" The answer was simple so I packed my clubs away, not completely out of sight and I must admit once in a while as I saw them abandoned in the shed, I wished I could play again. But, it was not feasible to pay a yearly fee for a few games. This golf on Sunday was the result of a friend who asked me to play in a small scramble tournament next month and since I thought I was too rusty to even try, she talked me into going out for a practice round. A few holes, is what she said. I thought that sounded fine but once on the course, we were having such a good time, we played all eighteen. Funny how that stuff comes back.

Then on Monday I began to prepare for the current week. Since my newest book has come out I've become more involved in the local writing world. Tomorrow will be my first creative writing class in a six-week series at the South Florida Community College. First of all, I love doing this. It's the fourth time they have asked me back to teach and so I'm preparing lesson plans and handouts for the 10 students who have signed up for the course. I relish small classes because then you can give individual help. Also this week, on Saturday, I'll be the keynote speaker at a fund-raiser for a local organization (ARC). For the past few years they have invited authors to speak and I was very honored to be chosen for this year's event. But I have to polish off my speech, prepare brochures and get final plans made for this auspicious event.

Busy? Yes. Loving it? Yes. I guess I love the activity and also the diversity so it's back to the computer. Isn't my life grand?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This Past Week

Sometimes I wonder where the time goes and then I look at my calendar and find out. I've been busy and that's not a complaint, it's a celebration.

I've done some interesting new things, some enjoyable comfortable things and experienced joys I hadn't expected.

On Sunday evening I attended the first of a series of Heartland Cultural Alliance events featuring authors. It was a 'reading' at Brewsters Coffee House,in Sebring. HCA is a great organization dedicated to bringing local cultural aspects to the forefront and attention of the residents of Highlands County. At one time I served on the Board but my expanding responsibilities forced me to retire the position, however, I have maintained my membership and am so proud of the wonderful progress they are making under its wonderful new direction. This event was a first in many ways; the first time it was held and a first for me. Originally billed as a poet's reading event, HCA asked me if I would be the initial reader. Since I'm not really a poet I questioned as to whether I would fit the formula but was assured that I could read anything I had written. I've written a few poems but in no way do I consider myself a poet. Still I decided to read a couple of poems and a short story which had been chosen for a Florida Writers Association anthology. I must say the reading went well and there was a small and interested crowd to fill the Coffee House. The event is going to be held at 6:30 on the second and fourth Sunday evenings of the month. As a writer I am looking forward to hearing others who will take part in this event.

On Thursday I was scheduled to speak at a women's group of St. John Methodist Church in Sebring. I give inspirational and motivational speeches whenever I can. It was very cold that morning and I hustled off at 8:00 to enjoy breakfast with 20 women who are part of a service group associated with the church. I was invited to also display my books. (A lovely plus to any speaking engagement). The topic of my presentation was based on Phil. 4:13, "I can do all things…" My speech was well received, they were interested in my books and I made some new friends.

Later that same day I attended the regular meeting of my community's book club. We have about twelve to fourteen women who meet monthly to discuss a book which has been previously chosen for review. This month they featured my latest book Forgiven. What an honor. I was pleased and looked forward to the critique but wondered if being a friend, rather than an author they had never had interaction with, they would be wary of hurting my feelings. As in the past, I have always maintained that there is no such thing as a thin-skinned writer. I always welcome any comments because I feel this is part of a writer's growth. I was pleasantly surprised at the open and interesting discussion that ensued. It really was fun!

I've also been able to get some work done on the newest manuscript.

This morning my husband and I attended the annual pancake breakfast at the clubhouse and had a nice time socializing with our friends here at Crystal Lake. Tonight it's pinochle and of course scattered throughout the week were the ever-present doctor's appointments and trips to the grocery store that become part of our weekly routine.

Each morning I begin my day with a daily devotional time. A dear internet friend, whom I've never met, sent me a devotional book last year and I love it. This quiet time is precious and often I read the message to my husband which sets off a pleasant and interesting discussion. A great way to begin the day.

I am blessed in so many ways.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Where had Sunny gone? No blog. No news. No nothing (I think that double negative is okay in this instance). Even I didn't know where she was.

It was a weird sensation, a great feeling actually, when yesterday, for the first time in three months, I sat down at the computer and began to write again. In the past, both distant and near, I wrote every day, or almost every day. It is a passion I can't ignore but somehow in October, November and December of 2010 I just couldn't write. I had difficulty concentrating on anything. Were health problems related to both my husband and me to blame? Perhaps, but this hiatus was a first and frankly it scared me. I just couldn't concentrate on anything and I could probably create a long list of excuses, none of which matter now.

As I said, she's baaaack. I was so excited about getting my latest novel, Forgiven, published that I could think of little more in October and November when the book was released by Double Edge Press. There were signings to set up, speeches to schedule and there seemed to be no time to write but that's not true. It was me and I didn't like the me that showed up for that period of time. Perhaps it was because Forgiven was the first book to be published by a 'real' publisher. Up to that time I'd self-published and was not ashamed of that fact, but having a true, real publisher is wonderful. The delicious words "my publisher' sure do enhance a writer's station in the mix.

Prior to yesterday (January 6th) I had attempted from time to time to get back to the most current manuscript. Somehow I had messed this one up. I had difficulty with the continuity so back in December I tried to fix it by cutting and pasting and deleting and adding and it only made it worse. So this past week I began to read what had already been written. I liked it but the sequences were out of order and the more I tried to fix it the worse it became and the more confused I became. I did not, however, ever considering giving up. I came close to trashing the whole thing and starting over, but that's not going to happen. I worked almost all day yesterday on the manuscript and by Jove I think it's coming together.

Today my calendar is filled to capacity but I'll bet you anything, I write a bit more on the book which hovers just on the horizon of completion. I love writing and am so happy to be back.

I missed me!