Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Back from the past and on to the future.

Locusts rear their heads and re-enter the scene once every seventeen years.  I didn't take that long but for the past few years I haven't been heard from. My last blog was…well it's embarrassing to admit to that long a hiatus, but I was my husband's 24/7care-giver for over two years. My darling Lenny passed away in July of this year. Grieving is not an easy job but I know where he is and I'm sure he'd want me to get back to writing. He was such an enthusiastic inspiration to me.

As a writer I thought getting back to writing would help to balance me in this period of grief and resurrection. But, I couldn't write. Or, I thought so. Coming home from our 13th FWA Conference has stiffened my spine, opened my mind and filled my heart with longing to begin again -- to go on. I'm sure this week I'll get back to the two manuscripts I left six months ago. In glancing over the material, I know I'll have to re-write most of it. My writing had dwindled down to short periods of time when I could sit at the computer, usually late at night. Heaven only knows where my mind was but it apparently wasn't on the plot and the poor characters were definitely on their own. Those operative words, 'go on', have inspired me.

The FWA Conference is a wealth of many things. Being with fellow writers and inspired by the workshops, my 'I can do that attitude' is picking at my brain again, my fingers itch to strike the keyboard, my thoughts are stirring, escaping from the dark space they had hidden in for far too long. It was the writers, the presenters, and that wonderful staff at the Conference who have inspired me to work again and I wish I could personally thank each and every one of them. those who so willingly give of their knowledge, time and expertise. I can't wait for next October. In the meantime I'll have a permanent smile on my lips as I work and remember. I love those two words.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Intelligent breaks

It's amazing how one's opinion and behavior will change with the years.  As a much younger woman I thought rests were just another name for idleness and a chance to be lazy. Boy, has that opinion changed, and for the better I must admit.

Afternoon naps were something babies and very old people took, or else perhaps the napper was just lazy. Now I look at 'rests' as being an intelligent break. A short nap and/or break is like charging your batteries which, of course, makes sense. But there are other things which constitute a necessity for a 'break'. Things like taking time to read, even though the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, or there's a load of laundry in the washer that should, sometime soon, be put in the dryer. I love to read and lately haven't taken enough time off to pursue this embedded love in my life (reading is taking a break) so I'm going to change that as much as I can.

Then there are activities which I've put on the back-burner because there just doesn't seem to be enough time to take a break then. Well, yesterday I changed that pattern, big time. I went to Lake Placid, which is about thirty miles south of where I live. I went with a group of ladies from my church, Sunridge Baptist Church. We were invited to Leisure Lakes Baptist Church to have lunch with a lovely group of ladies and were enthralled with a vibrant and funny speaker who brought along with her an impressive musical woman who sang and played the auto-harp. I'd never seen an auto harp before so it was not only a pleasure to see and hear it but it was a learning experience, too. We joined in on some of the songs, which always pleases me as a former choir member.

The speaker was a knock-your-socks-off presenter using a plethora of knowledge and a keen sense of humor. The musical addition was an excellent complement to her words of wisdom and outlook on life . The luncheon was great and the desserts even greater (you can see where my heart it - the more icing the better). But the obvious value was the break from my normal routine which consists mainly caring for my darling husband.

There were other important features of this BREAK. I got to mingle with other Christian women and the group from our church was made up of 8 chatty women, some of whom I didn't really know. Pack 8 chatty women in a van and you find out things you'd never have before. We had such a good time sharing our thoughts and laughing, which is another important part of a break of this kind.

So, today I've taken another break. I've taken time to think out this blog and reminisce about the wonderful time I had yesterday. It certainly was a battery charger. Try it, you'll like it.

Have a great day. God bless

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I've fallen -- but I can get up

I have  broken a promise I made to myself. You will note I didn't use the word resolution, as in New Year's day activities. No, I promised myself I would write something every day, create a blog at least once a week, work on my unfinished manuscript and do other writing activities as I chose.Well, I've fallen short.

I did something unusual for me. A novelist who can't tell the story in less than 100,000 words, I wrote three short stories. One for an emag site and two for the FWA 2013 Collection. I enjoyed the challenge. I also just wrote a book review for our book club which meets later today. It was a random choice from the shelves of our in-house library. I was enthralled with it. The book, Epiphany, written by Paul McCusker and I loved it. Gave it a 5 star rating. Well written, different and captivating with just enough passion, an interesting voice and a good plot. One thing that I never miss (if possible) is my book club which meets once a month. We have a rather unique program. Rather than all of us reading the same book and reporting on it (when many reports are the same), we all read a book and then give a report and rating. It is such fun and introduces us to many books we might not ever choose.

But, getting back to my failed promise  the unfinished manuscript is still unfinished and the blog got shoved aside for other activities and duties. I must admit (not seeking any pity party) that my time is taken up by necessary things. A glance at my calendar for February indicates that in all I had 4 days with noting noted and that count didn't include Sundays. For the rest of this short month, I have 3 days not filled. These activities include doctor's appointments, things we have committed to prior to February and minor things like a hair cut and getting Lenny's driver's license cancelled (he hasn't driven a car in 8 years and will not do so in the future, hence, why a license?) Still, minor things take time and I promised (that word again) that I wouldn't put more than one, or maybe two things in my day. There are other important things I have to do at home.

To be honest, I am not looking for excuses but then perhaps I am. Still, even if I've fallen short of my promise, I will get up and get going --- soon. I have a book signing scheduled for February 23rd -- Yea! It is going to be at a little garden cafe in Sebring and I'm looking forward to it. Then there is an appointment with a reporter who is doing a piece on local authors and how they got published. Another plus. I even have another book signing set up for March 9th. I've been unable to do many book signings this fall and winter so I'm really looking forward to those events.

So the whole thing doesn't look as grim as it started out to be. With faith there is a future for all of us. Happy reading. God bless.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Trash and Treasures is the elegant name given to our once a year substitute for a yard sale, bring and buy or flea market. It is held on the last Saturday of January every year and it is usually a smashing success -- depending upon how you did.

First you scramble to get a table inside. If you don't get to the event planner quick enough you are stuck with a table outside. I say stuck but lots of residents prefer an outside stand. Perhaps it gives the whole thing a more rugged ambiance  Still, I always try for a inside position. I made that decision when I first took part in the Trash and Treasure event because before this particular one in January 2013, I promoted my books and, since it's usually damp (our clubhouse faces a lovely lake and January can be damp in the early morning hours, and books tend to curl up when damp), I fought valiantly for an inside space, and succeeded.

But, this time was different. I didn't even bring a book to this years Trash and Treasure because I was determined to get rid of lots of treasures. I don't know of anyone who participates ever considering their wares as trash. So for the past few months I've been poking into closets and casting a wary eye over treasures all around the house. When they had been collected and put in the shed, they amounted to an enormous pile of treasures. But, I soldiered on, promising myself that I wouldn't really miss any of them. The next step was to box and package these items. That took a lot more time than I thought I'd have to spend and when they were all contained in boxes of various sizes, packed so as not to spoil anything, I stood back and wondered what in the world I was thinking.

But it was too late, the spot has been reserved and paid for, the treasures had been cleaned, polished and lovingly packed in papers where necessary. A dozen wine glasses have a tendency to break when bounced around in boxes unless cushioned with newspaper and paper towels. My special crystal pieces deserved folded paper towels. Anyhow, yesterday two of my friends very kindly volunteered to help me lug the ever-growing pile of stuff (you will note it is now stuff, not treasures) up to the clubhouse. We are allowed to set up on Friday and then market on Saturday. I can't imagine what I was thinking, but the amount of stuff exceeded the table provided so some of it went under the table to replenish the spaces left empty by the sales that were going to be great and wondrous.

This morning I hurried up to the clubhouse and uncovered all my stuff. It looked wonderful, even better in the light of day. The crowds swarmed the building and outdoor spaces. Women with shopping bags on their arms picking up and examining items they had no intention of purchasing, men searching for men-stuff like tools, golf clubs, sweatshirts with their favorite team emblems or just meekly following their wives with wallet at the ready.

We opened at eight o'clock and the stampede petered out at eleven-thirty. The Trash and Treasure was officially over at noon. I had sold a lot of stuff but had an unexpected amount left over. There are two things you can do with leftover treasures, take them  home or donate them to the charity that picks up the unclaimed treasures/stuff. I decided what I wanted or even was able to take home. Believe me this whole thing took a lot more manpower than I thought. I was bushed and as I cast my eyes over what was left, a lot of the stuff didn't seem so necessary. So, I picked out the best of the unclaimed treasures and hauled the other stuff over to the section of the driveway relegated to collecting for the charity. I was amazed at what I really didn't mind giving up.

At what seemed like long last I shoved the left-overs into the trunk and went home. It's amazing how the body reacts to unusual trauma, and standing for four hours, smiling at passers-by, hawking the best of the best on your table takes a lot out of you -- or at least out of me. I collapsed into my recliner and sighed. My husband asked if it was a success and I told him it was. But I had to confess to parting with things that a few minutes ago I could do without and now seemed extraordinarily precious. Oh, well. It was for a good cause.

My legs ache, my feet hurt and I feel as if I had been beaten about the body but I'm sure in a day or two I'll be right as rain again. But for now, it's lean back in the recliner and eat leftovers for dinner.

January 2014 is a long way off.

Friday, January 18, 2013


As promised here comes the blog on the letter C. I've chosen CHANGES as I blog through the alphabet

CHANGE, after all, is what life's about. Just think of the changes you've encountered in your life. But what stirred me to make today's blog about CHANGES is that things are surely changing, and pretty fast lately. For instance, this morning when I got out of bed, the first thing I checked was the thermostat. It was 62° in the house! I might remind you that I live in Florida. They say (whoever they are?) that your blood doesn't thin. Well, pardon me, but I disagree.

I remember when I lived in Pennsylvania 62° anywhere was wonderful. But, after living in Florida for over twenty four years, year 'round, I'm COLD (another C word) at anything under 70°. So, I put the heat on and now it's a reasonable 72° in the house, but I just checked the weather on the computer and it's 48° outside. That's COLD. Of course, our COLD doesn't usually last long and before the afternoon is out it will get up to at least something in the 70s. I shouldn't complain as I look out the window at the blue sky, the green trees and lawns and my ever faithful Crown of Thorns blooming their little red heads off. Even my yellow hibiscus is still blooming. What wonders God does provide.

But, getting back to changes, yesterday I wore Capri-length pants and a tee top. Today I'm in a sweater and jeans. So there goes the theory of your blood thinning. Mine must be the consistency of tea right now.

Then there's the theory of climate changes (more C words). I seem to remember this past summer that it was hotter in Indiana and surrounding states than it was in Florida, which is tropical and usually has temperatures I love. My children live in Pennsylvania and often when I was speaking to my son this summer, it was hotter there than here. I don't really know about this climate changing thing the experts are arguing over but it seems to me a hurricane in the northeast in late fall or early winter is strange and certainly an unexpected, dangerous and serious change in weather conditions. Florida is supposed to have hurricanes during the hurricane season, May to November. Thankfully, we haven't had any real dangerous ones since 2004 when we were inundated with four dramatically serious hurricanes, all in one season and which we lived through.

I don't know but I think theories are just that -- theoretical. Still, when the temp is lower than 70° in the house, I'm cold and my thin blood lets me know.

I know the weather has been pretty awful in some places this year, but then that's in my opinion. Snow can be beautiful—from a distance. Ice is never nice unless you're skating on it in an indoor rink and frostbite is out of the questions. Hope you are having the weather you enjoy. Have a great day and God bless.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

B as in blessings

Some weeks go better than others but all weeks and days have blessings. 

This week started off with me having to cancel and reschedule a doctor's appointment for me. You know how that is, you search your calendar, they check their's trying to fit another thing into the days. 

On the second Tuesday I meet with the ladies group from our church for our monthly luncheon. We always have a great time of fellowship and food, two great words. Since at this meeting we celebrate birthdays falling in that month, and it being January, I was honored for my 81st birthday. We even had cake with lots of icing! I love icing. Then I made one of my many trips to Wal-Marts and picked up yet another prescription. I really think Lenny and I win the prize for the number of prescriptions we need each week (and the amount of money we leave at that Pharmacy). Still, it was something that he needs, a new medication which we hope takes care of an ongoing problem.

Wednesday I got my hair cut, after waiting two months to get around to it. I changed the appointment twice before I just said, I'll call you when I can come in. She always does such a great job and I 'treated' myself to an eyebrow shaping. She had enough white hair on the floor to stuff a small pillow. Phew!

Thursday, today, is a day I look forward to every month. On the second Thursday of the month the Crystal Ball Book Club meets at one of the members homes. We are a congenial group of women and we share news, laughs and the books we read. It is a different set up than a lot of book clubs. We don't all read the same book, but give a report on one we've read during the past month. That way we all get to take part in the program and each of us is quickly jotting down the names and authors of some of the books reviewed. It seems to open us up to more books and if there's anything better to reading gals than more books I don't know what it is. Of course, the hostess for the month always manages to have some scrumptious snacks for us, too. I truly treat this event and the ladies who make it such fun as definitely a blessing.

Tomorrow, Friday, I have to get up early (ugh) and take the car in for an oil change. I had to get an early appointment because from 1:00 to 3:00+ I chair the Avon Park Wordsmith's writers critique group. It's held in the library so I'll probably pick up one of the books mentioned today if I can. I did get one of the books reviewed today because the reviewer offered to share it. It's The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. I'm already thirty pages into the book and know I'm going to love it. In the evening we will be going to the clubhouse to play Pinochle. We both love cards and the friendships that go along with the games.

Saturday looks like I might get time to wrap up some of the things I'm going to take to the Trash and Treasure Sale at the clubhouse and try and turn the treasures I'm parting with (in the hopes that we sell the house before too long) into a veritable fund of money Ha! Ha! At least it will clear out a couple of cupboards and closets. I am an admitted pack-rat.

Sunday will be the same as always and isn't it nice to have one day of the week that is normal and comfortable with no appointments or surprises (or at least rare surprises). We'll go to church in the morning and then we usually go to breakfast/lunch with a couple who are not only fellow members but our dearest friends. Then in the evening I get to watch PBS and now it's a series of  Downton Abby. It's the third series and is a story about an English Lord and Lady and their immense staff. It is so well written, the actors are wonderful and the photography is great. I've watched it from the first series, then the second series and now the much awaited third series and it is certainly not overdone or boring. I can hardly wait for next Sunday.

So that's a rundown on an almost typical week for us. Fortunately, it wasn't as filled with doctor's appointments, lab tests and therapy sessions. We are also fortunate that right now the therapy sessions are held in the house. That saves a lot of work and traveling. Lenny is getting such good home health care and that is another blessing.

Guess that's the week in a nutshell. Exciting life, eh? I'm trying to keep up my intention of writing a blog and working on my manuscripts. I did write two short stories for submission to the FWA Collection #5. A new collection is published each year and all the entries are based on a given prompt. This year it's It's a Crime and all the stories have to be about a crime. Fun. I love competitions, especially short stories because they are a challenge for me. I usually can't tell a story with less than 100,000 words. Guess that's why I write novels.

Take care, stay tuned and God Bless,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

BLOG - A - as in apple

Well, I promised myself, and anyone else who might be interested, I would begin a regular regime of blogging -- so here goes.

When planning on going through the alphabet for this blog series (and it doesn't mean that I might not stick some other un-alphabetical thoughts into this project) I considered skipping around -- you know e, then h, and maybe t, there seems to be a lot of interesting words that begin with t -- but then I thought about it and decided in my present state, I'd probably get confused so we're beginning with A-- simple huh?

I struggled for a while going through words that began with an A when it suddenly hit me -- A as in Author. Duh. After all, I am an author. When I first began writing I was told by someone that when you wrote books, you were only a writer until you got published and then you were an author. I don't know who made that rule, it sounds kind of silly but then again I guess there is some measure of prestige in being published.

Then I thought, what can I write about me as an author and came up with just about zero beyond what my friends and readers already knew so, I thought, let's pick on other authors that I really enjoy.

Now there's a broad subject. I'm not always pleased when someone asks me who my favorite authors are because I have so many can they really be cataloged as favorites? But, as all other readers, I tend to gravitate to the same authors. Here's a list of my really, really favorite authors not in any order of favor. I love Maeve Binchy and I'm looking forward to her last book (she died last year but had a book ready for publishing); I also love (and get used to that word) Rosamund Pilcher; then there's Nicholas Sparks (I have most of his books and 7 are signed by the author), and, if you want a laugh, read one of Donald Westlakes books especially the Dortmunder series). I also enjoy books by Richard Paul Evans.

One of my very favorite books is A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith. It's the only one of his that I could attach the word love to. Then there are writers such as Grisham -- too many to list; and books that I read because of my dear Crystal Lake Book Club such as The Help, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, (those two are so funny) and Caleb's Crossing. I have friends who are authors, so many that I hesitate to list them. They know who they are and there're so good in so many ways. One thing I do know, an author must have regular contact with other authors or something goes amiss. My collection (you should see my bookcases) an eclectic assortment of books and authors whom I have enjoyed. I know I've left a lot out, (and again) you should see my book shelves, but I guess this is enough for now.

After reading all this I really could have made this an A for author and B for books blog. Well, never mind, I'll find something else to write about for the next blog. The real B one.

So long, for now. Take care and God Bless