Friday, October 7, 2011

A Wild Time Was Had By All

Stephanie on the left, I'm on the right. 

Sorry I haven’t been around. I had some health issues toward the end of last month. Just as I was feeling better, it was time for the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference in Decatur, Georgia. I’d been looking forward to this conference for a year. Georgia Romance Writers (a chapter of Romance Writers of America) put on one seriously awesome conference! When I got back I took my exhausted body and hid in my writer’s den. So shoot me (or leave snarky comments).

Since the conference was so wonderful, the next few blog entries will be about the trip. The plan is to put in some tidbits that will be of interest to writers while giving non-writers a glimpse into the crazy world of writers conferences. And trust me, writers conferences are like nothing else.

The first hurdle was driving from Chattanooga to Decatur. My good friend, and fellow writer, Stephanie Lilley drove down. I printed out the directions, so I have nobody to blame but me for landing us at the wrong hotel. I knew it didn’t look right, but we’d followed the directions. Turns out I’d printed directions to the wrong hotel. Hey, I’m talented, OK? The good part is that we were only two miles from the right hotel.

We finally got to the right place. Decatur is a suburb of Atlanta, and a gorgeous little town in its own right. The Decatur Hotel and Convention Center is downtown near the courthouse. There are all kinds of shops and restaurants within walking distance, but I saw very little, since I wasn’t there to sightsee, I was there to network and learn. I love smaller conferences, as this one is, since there is more of an opportunity to connect with new people and reunite with old friends.

Monday, I’ll tell you more about the conference.
Sundown tonight marks the beginning or Yom Kippur, the most solemn and holy day of the Jewish calendar. May your fast be easy.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend to those in Canada.
Have a great weekend everybody!

cross posted to WordPress

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Places you're gonna Wanna Visit!

Some great free places I’ve discovered with sage advice to make life easier, and cool stuff to make it more fun.


When housework gets to the CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) stage:

Change your life in 10 minutes a day:

Quizzes to help you understand yourself better:


Puzzles, you pick from pages of beautiful pictures, and the cut of the puzzle. Hours of fun:

Expand your vocabulary and help defeat hunger with just a click:

Furry, funny, two of my favorite sites:


Maybe these don’t appeal to you. Are there other places you like better? Have you ever put random words in Google just to see where the search leads? Do you think people spend too much time on the internet?

I'm moving soon. Get a preview of my brand new Word Press blog:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Painting Sarah: A Portrait of Autism...

Normally, I go for funny on Fridays, but I happened on a video that I just had to share with you.

A couple of days ago, I read Carrie Spencer's blog,  and was blown away by the video she posted. So blown away that I didn't stop with just the one video. I watched several of the amazingly talented Chris Scalf's   videos. And then I happened on the one I'm posting here.

This video is not only one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen, somehow this father manages to capture the autism of his beautiful little girl. How do I know? My grandson is autistic. And yeah, I see him in Sarah. Autism isn’t pretty, but these kids are magical. And somehow Mr. Scalf has captured that magic in his work. 

lDid you know autism affects 1 in 110 children? Do you know anyone with autism? Are you surprised how much the picture resembles a photograph? Awesome huh?

Next Friday, we'll get back to the funny stuff.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Free Brain Food

Anybody who’s ever happened onto this blog probably knows I’m a nerd. Can’t help it. I love learning. And what’s the problem with that? Learning throughout life is a great way to sharpen the mind and increase enjoyment of the world around us. There are thousands of opportunities out there, books, classes, and even free online lectures. You won’t get a degree (but that too is available online these days), but these sites offer a lot if you don’t need the letters after your name.

Disclaimer: I haven’t actually taken (listened to?) any of the courses at these sites, but I have poked around on the sites more than once, and they seem to have good content and easy, free access. There are several courses I’d like to try. As soon as I get my current manuscript polished, I’m going to try one (or more) of these. Why not?

I love the name of this site, and there are a couple of courses I’m going to get into at the first opportunity:

These two also look very interesting:

I’ve heard many good things about the BBC languages site:

Did you know about these websites? Have you ever taken an online course (for credit or not)? Have you ever investigated furthering your education online?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Who's In Charge Here?

copyright Cheryel Hutton 

Cheryel can’t be here today. I tied her up in the closet she had something she had to attend to. Who am I? I’m Quill, Cheryel’s muse. I usually hang out as a dragon, but I’m taking the form of a woman to type this (I make too many mistakes using my claws). I’m here to tell the world Cheryel’s secret problem: she doesn’t type fast enough!

I seriously do not understand. I’m sending her characters and stories, and she keeps shoving them aside. What does she mean she has to polish the last one first? If she’d typed them properly she wouldn’t have this problem. And there’s the one about she has too many stories in her head already. Well, if she’d type faster, she wouldn’t have that problem either. And the worst is needing to spend time with her “family.” Now really, why does she need anybody else when she has all the people I pull into her head.

Right now, she’s finally finishing work on the romantic suspense I gave her over a year ago. It took her forever to even start writing it. And she took time out to write a shorter story, but goodness! How long does it take? I have a vampire story I want her to write, and a couple of funny ones, and there’s another romantic suspense that stars characters from her very first manuscript, the one she screwed up so badly that no one will ever see it. At least I hope not.

Yikes! I think she’s getting loose, I mean it’s about time for her to get home. Now don’t tell her I wrote this. Promise?

Writers: Go write!
Non-writers: Do whatever it is you do.

Friday, September 16, 2011

And They're off!

Breaking news: The dog and cat conflict has started. Battle one was noted late yesterday. And it was...cute?

Here's the video:

Do you think the dogs or cats will win? Which is the cutest? Don't you wish humans dealt with disagreements like this?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

10 Random Facts About Me

In July and August, I took a Blogging for Brand class from the amazing Kristen Lamb. I’ve never been part of a group quite like this one. We emerged from the class being much more than classmates. We’re more like a family. We even have our own twitter hashtag #wana711. You are all welcome to come and play.

My wana711 sisters Kate MacNicol  and Linda Burke tagged me to play the 10 random facts game. Tameri Etherton also asked to tag me, but gave up on me and tagged someone else. I don’t blame her, I’ve been very slow lately. But I want to mention her anyway. I feel really bad that I’m only now getting around to doing this blog.

Now the 10 random facts about me:

1.       Due to a birth defect (Tetralogy of Fallot), I had open-heart surgery when I was 3, 9, and the complete repair when I was 20.

2.       I have two beautiful, grown, daughters.

3.       I will have been married to my husband for 12 years in November.

4.       My husband and I have two dachshunds now, but in the past my children and I have had dogs, cats, a chinchilla, iguanas, rabbits, mice, and ferrets. I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting some varmints. Did I mention I love animals? They tend to love me too. Just ask the people who’s animals took a liking to me when they didn’t like anybody else. Odd, really. I believe it’s my Native American genes.

5.       I used to be an RN. Health reasons forced me to quit several years back.

6.       I have a hard time saying any one thing is my favorite. For instance, my favorite colors are purple, blue, and red—it all depends on the shade.

7.       I love music. My favorite is classical, but I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. Especially 80’s pop and classic rock. Truth is, there aren’t many pieces of music that I don’t like.

8.       My favorite current TV shows (remember my problem choosing only one) are Bones, Dr. Who, and Criminal Minds. Second place goes to Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, The Glades, and CSI (all three, but esp. original and NY).

9.       I’m a science nerd. I love reading books about early humans, dinosaurs, and other science topics. I also buy used science textbooks and skim them when I have a minute. Story ideas have come from this odd behavior.

10.   I know American Sign Language well enough to have basic conversations. I know some German, and I’m working on learning Spanish. 
The game requires me to tag four more people, who post their own ten random facts and tag others. I must apologize, I only sort of have 4:  Donna NewtonRiver The Beagle, who's mom and blog assistant is the amazing writer Stephanie Lilley, and Jody Wallace--who is declining the pleasure of tagging others. I'm letting her get away with this because she's a fellow Tennessee author, and she has some really cool cat (and book) videos on her website.

HHave a great rest of the week!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is It My Turn Now?

Most romance writers—and readers—are women. Women have a tendency to put their own needs and desires behind that of other people. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; it’s a built-in instinct that probably has contributed a lot to our species survival and accomplishments. A person, male or female, can do worse than caring about other people. However, the instinct to put everyone’s needs and desires above our own can be a liability when we try to build something for ourselves. Like a writing career, for instance.

Women who are trying to build a writing career are working from home, doing tasks that require hours alone with her computer. They tend to be interrupted. A lot. This, obviously, can make it difficult to get a career going. And it isn’t just women writers who feel the pinch. Women who go back to school, who start other businesses from home, who bring home work from their offices at night. We as women have a tendency to keep ourselves available to our families and friends. We tend to allow the interruptions, in part because we feel guilty about spending time alone with our computers, books, paperwork, etc.

I’m not saying men don’t have these issues also. It just seems that men in general have less difficulty shutting the door and ignoring what’s going on outside. They seem to be less likely to feel guilty about the time spent too. It seems women have more of a problem carving out their own spaces in time to do what’s important to them.

So what’s the answer? I believe each person must find her own personal path. Just as no one writing method works for every writer, no one technique works for every person trying to find the right balance between caring for others and caring for herself. Personally, I’m amazed at the number of writers who manage to become successes with small children at home. Writers like Nora Roberts, Heather Graham, Allison Brennan, and others. Nora Roberts, who sons are now grown, says that when her children were young she taught them that when she was writing not to bother her unless there was blood or smoke. Maybe we could all take a lesson from this. Our families and friends are capable of caring for themselves. Yes, it’s a good thing to care deeply for others, but we also need to allow others their own spaces. We need to let others learn independence. And we need to take care of ourselves.

Do you think women are more likely to have difficulty in carving out space and time for their own needs and desires? How do you deal with this issue? Are you guilty of giving up your desires to cater to others?

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On this 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers, let’s remember those who were injured or killed. Then let us extend that sentiment and remember all the other victims of terrorism. The thousands of victims from all over the world. To all of them, and their families, let’s extend our heartfelt sympathy.

And let us hope and pray that very soon we will learn to live together on our little blue ball, and that we will learn that disagreeing with the way a person lives is no reason to hurt or kill them. We are each one of us different, each of the billions of occupants of this planet, no two are the same. Let us celebrate that difference, and not hate each other because of it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cat Reads! Stop The Presses!

Kitty takes time from conflict preparations to catch up on her reading. Or is she learning how to attack dogs?
Either way, she's cute!

Have you seen a cat read before? Do you think this is for real? Do you like cute videos?

Have a wonderful Weekend!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Procrastination or Hoarding?

We got a new clothes dryer today. This forced us to clean stuff off and around the old one. That cleaning unearthed a couple of treasures—and a lot of junk. Oy!
The purging we had to do reminded me, again, of how much smaller this duplex is than the one we had before. Which was smaller than the one before, which was much smaller…well you get the picture. The reality is that we have too much stuff.

I cringe when I see previews of TV shows or news stories about hoarders. I did a gig as a home health nurse a few years back, and I was actually inside a house that could be on one of those shows. The one thing video can’t convey is the stench. It really is awful. I see video of a place like that, and I feel a little better about myself. I’m not that bad, I think smugly. But setting here at my writing desk, I see the clutter around me, and I know there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. But can I do what needs doing.

I could offer up excuses. My husband uses a wheelchair, I have chronic medical problems. I’ve been getting a lot of writing and writing related stuff done. There just plain aren’t enough hours in the day. The truth is most of the problem is plain old procrastination.

This actually is good news. I can’t control my health, or what my husband can/will or can’t/won’t do. I can work on the procrastination. I wrote about procrastination Monday, so I should be well on my way to achieving great things.

But I procrastinated.

Have a productive hump day and a wonderful rest of the week!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Fear and Longiing

Last week I blogged about procrastination—with videos. I thought it would be an easy, fun way to get my Wednesday blogging done. Thing is, I learned something about myself.

To review: According to one of the videos I posted, there are three types of procrastinators. 1. Relaxed. This is the most common type, and is mostly avoidance of hard work. 2. Genius. This type of person waits until the last minute because they know they can. The result might not be great, but it’s passable. 3. Avoidance. This type has good intentions, but tends not to follow through. They are not good at time management and frequently become overwhelmed. Basically, they avoid because they’re apprehensive.

I’ve been guilty all three types of procrastination, but I firmly believe I’m primarily #3. I avoid and hope the issue will go away. Sometimes it actually works, but most of the time I’m just overwhelmed and behind. I don’t know if this is part of the pattern, but I tend to take on more than I can possibly do, then feel like a failure when I don’t meet my own, impossible, goals.

I really do mean well, I intend to do what I say I’m going to do—what I want to do. Thing is, I worry too much. OK, I’ll admit it. I’m scared. Scared of success? Failure? Don’t know. Just scared. Afraid of making a mistake, I guess. If I don’t try, I won’t have to face success or failure.

Now that I’m aware of the reasons behind my procrastination problem. I’m hoping to find ways to defeat my procrastinating ways.

Have a good week, and I hope the weather is good where you are.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Dancers Wear Fur

Blithely unaware of the strained relations and impending war between cats and dogs, chimpanzees continue to rehearse for the first presentation of the Simian Dance Company.

must point out here that the title of the video is “Dancing Monkeys.” However, these are not monkeys, they are apes. The easy way to remember is that monkeys have tails, apes don’t.
Chimpanzees are our closest relatives with less than 2% difference in our genetic codes
And yes, I too was surprised how well they could dance.

Do you like to dance? Have you ever danced with an ape? Would you like to? How about a zebra?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Procrastinate Like a Pro

After beating myself up all morning, I finally decided to procrastinate prepare a blog entry by watching YouTube videos. I found this one, and just had to share with you.

I felt a little guilty after procrastinating so much this morning, so I watched this video on the three types of procrastinators (I'm either type 2 or type 3, can't decide).

Here's the second video, in case you really do want to stop procrastinating. Don't blame me if you go on great things.

Have a great hump day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Break From Disaster

Today, instead of my usual FYI Monday, I’m going to go the easy route and post a video. With earthquakes, hurricanes and everything else that’s been happening, I thought it was a good time to remind us of how beautiful nature really can be.

Where are your favorite places to enjoy natural beauty? Does the outdoors inspire you? Energize you? Make you wish you were in the city?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Warrior Dachshunds In Training

Last week, I brought you footage from the cat’s secret training camp. Not to be outdone, the dogs have set up some training areas of their own. Here is one of them. As you can see this is primarily a dachshund camp. It appears there are facilities set up for the training needs of different breeds. If I can verify this, I’ll let you know.

The dogs are also working on secret weapons--or is this simply an exercise machine. This video was smuggled out of an underground research and development facility. I apologize for the commercial at the beginning. That’s there to help disguise the actual subject of the video.

I’m reporting all this in the deepest of secrecy. Please don’t tell the cats!

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Advice of Dubious Wisdom

Lucy had to go to school today, so I’m taking her place for today. I don’t have Lucy’s training and  savvy, but I’ll do my best. Without further ado, here is my advice to you:

Don’t drive with your eyes closed.

Don’t get in the car with a serial killer.

Don’t play an electric radio in the shower.

Don’t swim with sharks.
Don’t eat moldy cheese.
Don’t play tag with a bear.
Don’t play chicken with an 18 wheeler.

    Don’t drive fast directly toward the edge of the Grand Canyon.
    Don’t go outside in your underwear because you hear a strange noise.
    Don’t eat at that restaurant. You know the one.
    Don’t forget to come back Friday for something cute and/or funny.

    Do have a great hump day!


    Special thanks to Gina Delgardo, who gave me the idea for this post. :) 

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    The Scoff-and-You-Will-Regret-it Fairy

    What do you think of when you hear the word “allergy”? Do you think of runny nose? Rash? A medical emergency?

    What do you think when you hear “food allergy”? 

    I know what I thought. I was skeptical. Yeah, there is the odd person with a peanut or strawberry allergy, and I knew from experience some babies don’t tolerate milk. But to be allergic to food just seemed counter-intuitive. I’d never heard of it before, and suddenly it seemed everybody had it. I tried to be open minded. After all, one of my daughters doesn’t tolerate pork. At all. We just never called it an allergy. I hate being small-minded, so I tried to believe suddenly all these people were allergic to stuff that keeps us alive, but it was difficult.

    And then my granddaughter was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. She got off dairy, and her health vastly improved. More energy, less abdominal swelling, no more dark circles under her eyes, no more exema, even her immune system worked better. It wasn’t easy for my daughter and son-in-law, but they managed, and I was suddenly a firm believer in food allergies. But the scoff-and-you-will-regret-it fairy wasn’t finished yet. 

    Recently, I went to my doctor. My weight had shot up with no real reason. I was having times when my asthma was totally out of control. My stomach would swell and be tender. See where this is going? On the way home from his office, I realized what all that added up to. With one exception, I’ve been dairy free for a month. The exception was the day before my birthday. I had homemade cherry cheesecake after lunch and homemade ice cream later that afternoon. I was so sick. I swelled up all over, I was irritable,  I got dark circles under my eyes that almost looked like I had two black eyes.  Forty-eight hours later, I’m feeling much better, and my scoffing days are over. Food allergies exist, are probably under diagnosed, and can make a huge difference in the quality of a person’s life.

    Was I right in my perception that this is a new thing? Possibly. It may be that food allergies just weren’t diagnosed even a few years ago. It’s also possible that because our environment has changed so drastically over the last hundred years that we’re triggering allergies that once were extremely rare. Most likely, the reality is that it is a combination of the two.

    Lactose intolerance is NOT the same thing as an allergy, by the way. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose—the sugar in milk. Becoming lactose intolerant happens to people as they grow up and age. While intolerance can cause some of the same symptoms, it is not really an allergy. People who are lactose intolerant can drink buttermilk, eat yogurt, and lactose-free milks. 

    Those of us with an actual allergy cannot tolerate milk in ANY form, even hidden in bread and other baked goods. Dairy allergy, like all allergies can be serious. Some people are so severely sensitive that they can go into anaphylaxis and even die. And no, not everybody grows out of it. It can be dealt with, though, the diet just has to be watched closely. There are several good websites for children with dairy allergies, but not very many for adults. One good one I use a lot is Go Dairy Free. Lots of information, and even help with eating out. 

    So, I guess that’s what I get for doubting. Food allergies are real and can be very serious. Trust me. I've met the scoff-and-you'll regret it fairy. I learned my lesson.

    Have a good week!


    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Warrior Kitties

    In an undisclosed location, cats gather their troops. Here, at this elite training facility, cats become soldiers to go fight in the war with the dogs. This smuggled video shows amazing feats many would have deemed impossible. Are the dogs going to be able to deal with super cats?  

    Did you know cats could do these things? Have you been trained in martial arts? Are you the one who snuck this video out? Is the release of this video just a tactic to scare the dogs?

    What are your plans for the weekend? I'm going to my mom's to celebrate my birthday (on Sunday). Do you believe I'll be 29? Boy, are you easy :)

    Have a wonderful weekend!


    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Heart Melting Linkage

    Do you love animals? If so, this blog is for you. Here are some of the best links I could find. I’m sure there are many others—feel free to share yours in a comment.

    The animal organizations that come to mind are the Humane Society and the ASPCA. Their tireless work on behalf of animals is legendary.

    Less well known are organizations that rescue animals from disaster areas. Possibly the best known of these is Noah’s Wish. This, and other, organizations go into dangerous areas in the aftermath of floods, tornados, and other disasters in an effort to rescue animals. Here’s to the brave rescuers!

    If you’d like to have a pet, or support an organization that works tirelessly to find forever families for animals that would otherwise be euthanized, Petfinders is the biggest and best known. Their website is a central place where large and small rescue operations can show off the cute and wonderful creatures and melt your heart.

    There are rescue organizations for specific types of animals like the National Cat Protection Society. And quite a few for different breeds of dogs, like beagles. And dachshunds.

    Sugar and Cujo recommend visiting these sites and letting your conscience and heart be your guide.

    Have a great hump day!


    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Strangest Animal Ever?

    The Platypus is one of my favorite animals. Not that I really want to get up close and personal—they have sharp claws, and the males are venomous. They are incredible animals, though, and under the proper conditions (behind glass, maybe) I’d be happy to examine one closely.

    From the looks of the platypus, you could almost believe they are some type of mythical chimera come to life. In the original Greek myth, the chimera had a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a snake’s tail. And it breathed fire. The platypus has a bill like a duck, a tail that looks like a beavers, and claws that resemble a badger—on webbed feet. What a strange critter. But then, I like strange critters.

    Other strange facts about the platypus is that they are mammals, which means the mother produces milk for the offspring. All but one other mammal—the echidna—gives birth to live babies. The platypus and echidna lay eggs. The platypus is furry, and, as I said earlier, the males are venomous. They have stingers in their heels.

    It’s odd, and very cool. And only found in eastern Australia and Tasmania. Want more info? Go here.
    What’s the strangest animal you’ve ever seen? Do you believe animals like the Loch Ness monster and Sasquatch could exist? Would you like to see a supposed mythical creature in real life?

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Breaking News! Cats vs.. Dogs!

    Breaking news: After years of seeing cats take center stage for cute and funny, dogs are mounting a resistance effort.

    funny dog pictures - I am the troll of this area and require noms to pass.
    see more dog and puppy pictures

    Do you think this will escalate into a full-out war? What kinds of noms do you give? Are you a cat or dog person? Do you think you have to pick sides?

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Bad Kids, Good Kids, What is the Difference?

    I was planning to write a rant today about wild children whose parents don’t seem to care. Instead, I decided to put a positive spin on today’s blog. I went looking for videos of well-behaved children and quickly found there aren’t as many of those as children totally out of control. Make of that what you will.

    Up first is a video from a classroom. Quiet, interested kids. This warmed my heart.

    This one is of two kids scraping snow from a vehicle. Cooperation. Work. I like this, although the one scrape had me cringing.

    Finally, I’d like to present a video I just happened upon. This thing took my breath away. Warning, it’s eye opening.

    Do you think today’s kids are out of control? If so, is this the parent’s fault? Society’s fault?
    Why is it we only notice the out of control children? Do we give too much attention to the wild kids and not enough to the well-behaved ones?

    Have a happy hump day!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    What CATegory is this??

    I’ve heard of Cat burglars, cat scans, catalogues, and catastrophes, but I’ve never heard of a cat doctor. No, not a vet. And not a human vet who takes care of cats. This cat takes care of dogs. Don’t believe me? Here’s the video:

    In other news, the cat with the loudest purr has been named. My dogs want to go head to head with this feline, their bark against the cat’s meow. What is the world coming to??

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    So You Think You Can Write

    Are you good enough to make it in today's tough writing market? If not, or for those if us who want to learn and grow as writers, there's a lot of help out there. I’ve seen so many great resources lately that I want to share. Below is a sampling of the many wonderful resources out there:

     This blog asks a very important question:  is your novel salable?

    Nathan Bransford offers a simple solution to all writing problems. His blog has a lot of resources. I read it regularly. 

    Bob Mayer talks about changes over the last few years. His is another blog I read regularly. I’ve taken his Warrior Writer course, and it’s great. He’s written a book about the concept. I haven’t read it, yet. But it’s on my list of books to get soon.   

    I have to put a warning on this next link. Four letter words. Lots of them. On the other hand, lots of good advice.

    Kristen Lamb is amazing. Not only is she a genius at social media for writers, she’s a lot of fun to read. I read her blog—and I have her book, We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. It’s amazing!

    Donald Maass is a literary agency and the author of some kick-butt books for writers. My favorite is the Breakout Novel Workbook (it is stand alone!), but you really can’t go wrong with this guy.

    The most awesome teacher and coach of writing craft is Margie Lawson. Anybody who is serious about writing  should be looking at taking  her classes or buying her lecture packets. She is awesome!

    For the days we writers just need a kick in the muse, this website is great:

    Yes, there are many other resources out there. What are your favorites? Do you hate any of my choices? Do you write your own blogs or other resources for writers? Tell me about them.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Do You Have A Clone?

    Do you have a clone? You do if you’re an identical twin, because identical twins have the same DNA—the same genetic structure (different fingerprints, though). Oh, that’s not what you think of when you think clone? Me either, actually. So let’s find out what a clone actually is.

    Definition from;
    (Science: cell biology) a propagating population of organisms, either single cell or multicellular, derived from a single progenitor cell. Such organisms should be genetically identical…

    Okay, what? You don’t understand that definition? Does it help that propagating means reproducing? OK, calm down. How about this definition from

      [klohn]   noun, verb, cloned, clon·ing.
    1.Biology .
    a.a cell, cell product, or organism that is genetically identical to the unit or individual from which it was derived.

    Clearer? That sounds more like the traditional idea of clones. You take one cell from an individual and presto-chango you have an adult with all the memories and traits of the individual the cell came from. Except…
    A clone starts out with one cell just like everything else. That cell reproduces over and over to become an exact genetic copy of the individual. A baby. And if you know any identical twins, they aren’t necessarily alike in temperament. They’re individuals. The same is true of animals. We are shaped by many things, both genetics and life experiences. The same would be true of a clone.

    Let’s say I was cloned. Nine months from now, I could give birth to myself. Right? The baby would have my genetic heart condition and my Elers-Danlos Syndrome. She would have brown eyes and dark brown hair. And her life would be totally different from mine, She would develop her own beliefs, her own style, her own way of doing things. She would have different memories, experiences, friends. She would be her own unique individual—just like identical twins are identical genetically, but not necessarily in any other way.

    Now that we have that settled, would you like to make a clone? Simple take a cutting from a plant and put it in a pot and care for it. Soon, you’ll have a clone of the original plant. Unless I touch it. I did not inherit my mother’s green thumb.

    Have you ever cloned a plant? Do you think Hollywood could use a genetics lesson or two? Are you an identical twin, or know a set? Are you/they the same or very different?

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    Please Don't Eat My Shoes!

    My dogs are not happy with me. I've been featuring cats on here, and they are insulted. To make sure they don't eat my shoes, I'm offering up one of the cutest videos I've seen on YouTube. Here it is, I hope Cujo and Sugar approve!

    Do you have a dog? Cat? Other? Does your pet ever let you know in uncertain terms that you are neglecting them because it's been two whole hours since you last scratched their head? No? You must not have a Dachshund!


    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    NASA, gibberish, dogs, and fun!

    I want to do a mash up today, a bunch of links. I won't say there'll be something for everybody, but I hope there will be something for you. Enjoy!

    Did you know NASA and space travel is responsible for some great technological advances?

    Can you read gibberish?

    The band Journey has been around 30 years. Their biggest hit "Don't Stop Believing" came from actual advice, and has inspired many of us to reach for our dreams. They were recently spotlighted on CBS Sunday Morning.
    Official Journey website:

    Love dogs? This blog is for you:

    Doggie fun:

    Have a happy hump day!

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Don't Look,It'sThe Romance Section!

    I spend a lot of time in my local library. I like writing there because it’s not home (no dogs, phone, or housework), and because I see all those books and my mouth waters at the thought of having several of my books on those shelves (I have one here—Snoopy dance. OK, calmer now). My favorite table at our library is beside the paperback romances. Perfect, huh? It’s also a learning experience. It seems romance is still a yuck worthy thing for a lot of folks.

    Picture it, the library patron starts down at the mystery section, works their way past science fiction/fantasy and westerns through fiction. And then they find themselves in front of a bunch of books with a little heart sticker on the spine. And they edge away like they just saw somebody scratching themselves in public. Romance fiction is apparently the modern version of the leper colony. If the books are the lepers, what does that make romance authors? The virus in our society?

    So many folks seem to think romance is easy to write, formulaic, cheesy, unrealistic. I’d like to address these ideas, working backwards.

    Idea I:
    Romance novels are unrealistic. I am really sorry to burst your bubbles, but fiction is unrealistic. No matter if it’s mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, mainstream fiction, literary, or romance; it’s not life. Fiction isn’t life. I you read a novel that started with a guy getting out of bed going to pee, showering, farting, brushing his teeth,, getting dressed, making coffee, drinking coffee, taking coffee with him, going out to his car, getting in the car, complaining about the high cost of gas…Are you bored yet? Fiction, in any format isn’t life, it’s a prettied up, exciting, fun place to be. If it hits too close to real life, it bores the crap out of us.

    Idea II:
    Romance novels are cheesy. Why? Because it has a happy ending? If that’s cheese, then I must be a mouse. I’m a sucker for cheddar, and endings where the girl gets the boy, the mystery gets solved, and the long lost brother comes home. It’s a simple story? Have you actually read any romance novels? I’m sure there are some cheesy romance novels, just like there are cheesy mystery novels cheesy horror novel, cheesy literary novels. Cheese is an easily spreadable substance. But the majority of romance novels, like the majority of the mystery, horror, and literary novels are not cheesy.

    Idea III:
    Romance novels are formulaic, by which I suppose means written to a formula. Like the three-act structure? The one used by all moviemakers? Or is it that genre formula, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl? How about dead body shows up, detective questions everybody, red herrings sidetrack him/her, detective finds him/her facing down the villain, villain goes to jail (or dies). Or a character is introduced, things happen, more things happen, nothing changes—but there is lots of description (literary)? Formulas are not the enemy, formulas can be a structure to make the novel understandable. They speak to our subconscious. Mystery readers read because they know the mystery will be solved. Adventure novels lead the adventurer back home. Literary novels offer the reader a specific experience. Romance readers know the couple will get together in the end. There are unlimited ways to get from point A to point B, no matter which type of fiction you read. But Readers have certain expectations, and if they don’t get what they want from the book, they’ll be mad. I would be. If I read a mystery that just stopped without nabbing the killer, I wouldn’t buy any more of that author’s books again.” Formula” is really a shorthand way of saying a reader expects certain things. Like you expect when you order a stake, you’ll get a section of beef.

    Idea IV:
    Romance novels are easy to write. Many times this idea comes with the line, “I think I’ll write one myself one weekend.” To which I say, Try it, sucker. Just don’t come running to me complaining. And before you ask, no I will not write your amazing/perfect/guaranteed-best-seller idea and split the profit. Ideas are the easy part. It’s the writing that’s hard. Plus, I have enough ideas to last me several lifetimes. Sorry.

    So, what do you think, romance novels, a good thing or the scourge of the literary world? Do you hide those romance covers when you read romance? Have you ever tried writing a book?

    And so we don’t get too serious on a hot Monday morning, here’s a video for your enjoyment:

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Cat or Dog? You Decide

    Now available from Acme Pets, the Cat/Dog or is that Dog/Cat. Either way this new animal solves that age old problem of do we want a cat or a dog? You don't have to choose anymore!

    Do you think this is an authentic video? Are you a cat person? A dog person? Hate animals (but then, you probably haven't read this far).

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    They were funny then too!

    I'll be you didn't know i had a time machine. Ha, lots you don't know about me.

    Today we are going to hop in my time machine and go back in history. Have fun!

    funny pictures history - MOUSTACHE BATTLES
    see more Historic LOL

    funny pictures history - Ah, Good Sir...
    see more Historic LOL
    funny pictures history - There's a thin line between  bravery
    see more Historic LOL

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    I Like Your Genes

    Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA, for short) is the basis of life on planet eart. DNA is the code, the blueprint for living beings. DNA is reported in the news, discussed on TV shows, and has the power to convict or clear criminals. But what is DNA?

    By the mid 20th century, science knew that traits were passed from parent to child. What science didn’t know was what was exactly how that happened. Something must tell the organism if it is supposed to be a chicken or a frog or a beauty queen. Something tells a human body if they are to be blonde, brunette, or redhead. But what?

    In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double helix form of DNA. They had just found the blueprint of life. They got a Nobel Prize for this.

    DNA is made up of four nucleic acids (from which DNA got its full name deoxyribonucleic acid), adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. These nucleic acid form pairs and attach to a “backbone” of sugars and phosphate that holds everything together. These ingredients form the famous double helix of DNA.

    Every cell in your body contains DNA. Each tiny piece of you carries your entire blueprint. Through a marvelous and complicated sequence of events, a cell in your big toe knows it is not supposed to be a liver cell.

    I know it’s complex. But life is complexa. Are you happy with your genes? Would you like to change them? Do you want to learn more?

    If you want to know more, here are some good resources. There are many more. Google away, my friends. Google away!

    Have a great week!

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Not What I Expected...

    As I was working on my latest manuscript, I really needed some input. Since there was nobody around, I thought I would just have to wait. Then I saw this cute kitten, and thought, hey, why not? So I started reading aloud, putting all my energy into the intonation and really getting into the story. The kitten’s reaction wasn’t what I’d hoped for.

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    End of an Era, Beginning of Another?

    Last Firday the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off for the final flight of the Shuttle program. Tears were shed, jobs were lost, an era came to an abrupt end. I’m lucky enough to have seen most of the space program in action. It was a glorious time in history. And unless something changes soon, I fear that it’s over.

    Some would say sending ships, especially manned ships, into space is a waste of money and effort. I can’t help but think those people are either too young to have experienced or have forgotten the wonder of the Mercury and later Saturn space programs.  They don’t remember the indescribable thrill of seeing a live, grainy image of a human being walk on the moon. If you see that, if you really remember that, you know that NASA and the space program is about more than just space. The space program is about a dream. It’s about reaching far beyond our little world, our little lives, our little concerns to something bigger, greater, more wonderful than anything here on earth. If you remember, you know that we, as humans, are richer and happier when we are reaching for the stars.

    I hope with every fiber making up this self that there is another program to replace the Shuttle. That we keep the dream alive.

    Today is Nikola Tesla's birthday. Living from 1856-1943, he held hundreds of patents. Edison invented the light bulb, Tesla figured out how to bring this new technology to the masses. He was an amazing man, who  believed in the potential of space travel and even attempted to communicate with whatever is out there in the universe.

    His legacy continues.

    Friday, July 8, 2011


    E\verybody’s up in arms over a recent verdict. Whatever your—or my—opinion, it’s a done deal. Being a little different (shocked, huh?) this has me thinking in a different direction.

    I heard years ago (after another controversial verdict, actually, that if a jury can’t understand the science they will disregard it. Like DNA evidence, for instance. This blew my little mind. But then, I’m a science person. geek, nerd, whatever. I love me some science. My, not in the least humble, opinion is that the lack of understanding of basic science by the majority of the US population is affecting our entire culture, not just verdicts.

    Now, since this is Friday, and I’m really, really happy to see the weekend coming, I’m not going to bore you with the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) lecture I’d planned. Instead, here’s a video. And it’s not boring. I promise. Money back guaranteed.

    Without further ado: 

    Thanks to Kristen Lamb for suggesting the video!

    Friday, June 24, 2011


    And then it rang again. Keep in mind, I go to the library to have peace and quiet. An odd cell phone or some conversation doesn’t bother me. but this was LOUD!  And the woman let the thing ring five or six times before she answered it. Like she wanted to make sure everyone heard it. I did my best glare, then got back to my work.

    Then the bit…person comes over to my table to “apologize” by informing me that she’s from FEMA, and this the only place they can do their reports. I’m sorry, do they not allow her to do her reports at Starbucks? Can’t she turn her phone down? Go outside to take calls, like the rest of us? 

    I told her she had a loud phone, she said, “I just wanted you to know it was important.” I informed her that my work was important too and that I didn’t believe her anyway. And I moved to the other side of the library—where there is more traffic and more noise. But it’s usual noise, and tolerable, not the ringing of a phone that could be used as a fire alarm. For the hard of hearing.

    Don't get me wrong, I know FEMA is important and I'd put up with a lot to help them, but this woman was over the top.  She obviously thought she was better than anybody there, and that she had the right to do whatever she wanted. I can't stand that kind of egotistic crap. 

    I am proud of myself for standing up for me and my writing.

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    I love the smell of procrastination in the morning

    With apologies to the fans of Apocalypse Now, I offer this little window into my life. I’m a procrastinator. Shocking, you say—as you look back at my lack of entries over the last months. Why am I posting today? Well, because I’m revising a manuscript, and nothing gets a writer doing things they don’t normally do than writing.
    Shouldn’t you love writing? You ask. 

    I do love it. Trust me, if I didn’t I wouldn’t sit here day after day. 

    So why procrastinate? You ask.

    Because, in spite of the way movies portray writers, it’s hard work. But you know how hard work feels good when you’re finished? The sense of accomplishment is like no other. And the magic of taking a blank page/screen and putting a story on there. Of making the words flow, of tapping into the glowing, tingling current of the Muse. 

    It’s a high. A writer’s high, much like the runner’s high, when your body pushes past the limit you thought it could endure to feel the rush of an entirely new level of existence. That’s what writers yearn for, that’s why we write. 

    That, and our characters won’t leave us alone.

    Have a great day!