For a few weeks on Saturday only, I'm going to give you a snippet of one of my books. It might be an upcoming book and I'll give you the first time ever exclusive excerpt or a scene from one that's been on the market for years!
Today's snippet comes from The PMS Club: (Dixie and her long-time boyfriend, Todd, are having a huge fight over her going away for the summer)
now Sara Evans with her new number one single and I don’t even have to tell you
the title,” the radio DJ said and the song began about a young girl leaving so
quick that she left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hanging out on the
“That’s what you want, isn’t it?” Dixie said. “A sweet little wife
who’ll stay home and do the laundry out on the back porch in a wash tub.”
“Not literally,” Todd raised his
coffee cup to remind her he wanted a refill. “But figuratively, yes, that’s
what I want. A woman who knows her place. Who stays home and makes a home for
her family. Who fills up her husband’s coffee cup when it’s empty. Dixie, you know there’s enough
Riley money that I’d never spend all my inheritance in a lifetime. You don’t
have to work, honey, so what’s this fight all about anyway. Besides, if you
listen to that song, she’s leaving her home to run away with the love of her
“Well, bless her heart. She may be
leaving for a life with her true love. The difference in her story and mine is
that I’m just leaving. I hope you find someone to keep that cup full and the
clothes on the line, Todd,” Dixie slapped the table top so hard that the
crystal candlesticks rattled together. She picked up her purse and started out
of the room, through the foyer and toward the front door.
“If you walk out that door, Dixie
Nelson, it’s over,” Todd said. “No wedding. No children. You’ll dry up an old
Dixie didn’t even look back.
She drove three miles back into the
town of Greenbrier, parked her car in the garage and locked the door.
She went through the two bedroom house mentally checking off each task.
Thermostat was turned off. No need to cool a house all summer when she wouldn’t
be there. Timer set on the lamps in the living room to come on at different
times throughout the three months she’d be gone.
By the time she heard the honk in
the driveway, all she had to do was pick up her bags, turn on the security
alarm and lock the door. Jill and Faith waved to her from the Jeep Cherokee and
motioned that she was to load her things into the back.
“So how did it go with Todd? He
going to come see you every weekend? Somehow I can’t see him walking in the
sand in his bare feet,” Faith grinned.
“We won’t be seeing Todd,” Dixie said.
“No!” Jill drove with one hand and
covered her mouth with the other in one of her famous dramatic gestures. “You
didn’t break up with Todd. Everyone in town says you’ll probably be married
before the new year.”
“Guess everyone in town is wrong. We
did break up. He’s living in the wrong age. It’s probably his parent’s fault,” Dixie said.
“They didn’t potty train him right?”
Faith asked in mock seriousness.
“No it’s all that money,” Dixie told her two best friends.
“They think because they’re rich they can sit on their thrones and play God.
The whole bunch of them would have been better off if they’d been born about
thirty years before the Civil War.”
“What’d you fight about?” Jill drove
south toward Interstate 40. They’d take that route to Memphis, Tennessee then head south to Florida. By bedtime they’d be at
the beach house.
“His crazy notions. He thought we’d
just get married at the end of the summer. I’d quit my job and have babies and
keep his coffee cup full,” Dixie said.
“He proposed?” Faith asked.
“No, he demanded,” Dixie said. “And I’m not quitting
my job. I love teaching. And I’m not going to be his little live in wifey
person who jumps when he yells. I have opinions and ideas, too.”
“What about that biological clock?
It’s been ticking loudly for the past few months,” Jill asked, looking in the
rear view mirror to make sure Dixie wasn’t crying.
“I just took the battery of the damn
thing for the next three months,” Dixie grinned at Jill’s worried
reflection in the mirror. “Now enough of Todd Riley. Let’s go have a wonderful
THE PMS CLUB will be on sale for only $2 for your Kindle for the next three days. Click HERE if you'd like to read more!
My absolutely amazing friend, CH Admirand, wrote this post yesterday and I have to share it with all y'all. Not because it has my name attached to it but because we all hit a "dry spot" now and then and there is a long and winding road back if we just look for it. It might not be a writing dry spot but one of a totally different nature but keep on walking on that road and you will find your way back to what you thought you'd lost!
The Long and Winding Road Dealing with Writer's Block by C.H. Admirand
I started writing for publication over 20 years ago and have always had the gift of words, plot lines, and characters arguing in my head.
Life is filled with ups and downs: happiness, sadness, joyous moments, and devastating ones. I guess I'd never really thought about how I handled these moments and balanced out my family life and my writing life. I just did.
I've always put my family first, and with my mom's health rapidly declining, and our daughter about to deliver, I knew I wouldn't be able to meet the deadlines of the new contract I'd received. I had to cancel the contract and return the advance.
Two weeks later our second grandbaby was born, and 7 days later my Mom died and everything stopped making sense. My Dad died 16 years ago, and I knew they would be together now, but there was this big hole in my life.
The words dried up, plot lines no longer made sense, characters stopped arguing in my head--and worst of all the constant music playing in my head stopped.
I struggled for a long time trying to make sense of what was happening, but in the midst of it all, there were final arrangements to be made, Mom's Eulogy to write, a lawsuit to deal with--her reverse mortgage company was suing my brother, sisters, and myself--and six months later when I'd done everything I had to do, my gift was gone.
First I'd tried ignoring the problem, meditating, praying, baking, cleaning, until I finally tried accepting the fact that my gift was gone. I signed off of social media because it was too painful to talk about.
For a while I kept busy editing, freshening up and reissuing some of my backlist. That took my mind off the real problem. That I'd somehow lost my gift. I wasn't sure if I'd neglected the nurturing of my gift, or if I'd done something horrible to deserve losing it. I was a mess...but my family was there for me, thank God. They have always been and will always be my rock.
Then one day, one of my writer friends, the fabulous Ms. Carolyn Brown, sent me an email with a character's name. She said she usually knows right away who they are, what they look like, and what story they want her to tell...but this time it was just the name. And then she said she realized, it wasn't her character to keep, it was for me. Humbled by her gift, something clicked inside of me as I thanked her, and the door that had abruptly shut on my creativity squeaked open a tiny crack.
I can't say that I'm back to normal sitting down and having the words just flow out of my heart, my head, and my soul...but they're there...just buried beneath years of living and dealing with the gift of life.
I guess dealing with writer's block is different for everyone. For some the answer could be found on the pages of a "how-to" book, for others it might be sparked by something another author has to say during a workshop. For myself, it has been like the Beatles song that just started playing in my head: The Long and Winding Road. Fingers crossed I can get back to my wips and start writing again without the constant worry that I'll do or say something that will chase my gift away forever.
Thank goodness, I have my family--my rock--and because of the gift of a character's name--Tom McNally--I have the gift of hope.
Maybe you haven't heard the song in years but you're in a particular spot where you heard it and suddenly there it is and it will not go away. If you still watch old reruns of Friends or if you own all the seasons and have Friends marathons on at least one weekend a year, you will remember when Phoebe got "Oh, Mickey, you're so fine," stuck in her head. She tried ear muffs, listening to different songs, everything she knew to do but Mickey would not disappear.
It seems like I've been going through a whole play list these past few weeks. A trip through Tishomingo, my home town, put "The House that Build Me" into my head when we drove past the little two bedroom frame house where I grew up and it was gone. All that remains of anything is the tree that Mama planted out in the front yard. She put an old tire around it for protection. The tire survived but the house didn't.
For weeks that song kept playing in my head and then boom, one day I was having a particular tough time and a vision of my sister, who passed two years ago, popped into my head. She was singing "I want to sing and dance, wear my silver buckle britches and my tight fittin' pants." She always sang that to me, with her own twist on the lyrics, and did a little dancing rendition of the spoof from The Pirates of Penzance. I didn't care if the lyrics were only partially right. They made me laugh. Every. Single. Time.
A few days later I saw an old fashioned bumble bee in the back yard. One of those with yellow and black stripes. Now to most people it might not put a song in their head coming from Richard Simmon's exercise tape. But immediately I was humming "Great Balls of Fire." The story goes like this:
Sister decided that she and I would get skinny. We would meet at her house every night right after work, pop in the VHS tape that she'd bought and do all these dance moves with Richie baby until we were in a size three. But, no self respecting woman would exercise without the right equipment so she went out and bought us a pair of tights and a leotard. Mine tights were bright blue and my leotard neon blue and black stripes. Sisters bought herself black tights and a brilliant yellow and black horizontally striped leotard. We were fashionably ready to lose weight and eager to get started that first night. I'm not sure what she saw when she thought of when she looked over at me but I saw bumble bee flitting around the flowers when I glanced at her as we followed Richie darlin' doing his moves to "Great Balls of Fire."
We managed to make it all the way through the tape that night but by the end the bumble bee was stretched out beside me on the floor, trying as hard as I was to breathe. When we could finally make our weak, chubby knees haul us up off the floor, we made a beeline (pun intended) to the refrigerator, got out half a gallon of rocky road ice cream and two spoons and treated ourselves for not passing plumb out. The VHS went into the closet and may still be there.
And today I've got "Great Balls of Fire" stuck in my head and visions of bumble bees in my head...it's going to be a great day. I can see rocky road ice cream at the end of it.
When I'm asked to speak at an event, I often talk for a few minutes and then open up the floor for questions. They can get very lively and it makes for a lot of fun.
Not long ago I was the speaker at a yearly luncheon for a library up north of us and opened it up for questions. Several hands went up and I chose a little gray haired lady on the front row for the first question.
"I just read Sweet Tilly. Did you ever really make moonshine? It sure sounded like you knew what you were talkin' about," she said.
Well, it all happened like this. My step father, my Poppa, was twice my mother's age and back in prohibition days he did a little time at Leavenworth for making shine. When Mama married him, I was about twelve years old and he told me all about how to make moonshine. A year or so went by and my younger brother and I decided that we'd see if we could make it on what information he'd given us.
The garden was done for the summer and Mama wasn't going to be using the twenty five quart pickling crock anymore so we hauled it down into the cellar and set up a mash with some cornmeal, a little sugar and some yeast. In a few days it was bubbling just about right so we found the copper tubing out in the shed and got ready to still it off.
We came home from school the very evening we'd planned on setting a fire in the cellar and our mash was gone. Not a sign of it or the pickling crock or even an indention in the floor where it had been setting. We sniffed the air and there we couldn't even get a whiff of the sour mash that had been there the day before.
To say the least, neither one of us wanted to go to the supper table that night. No sir! But we did, fully well expecting to be in big trouble but not a single word was said. Poppa acted like nothing had happened. Mama didn't even mention it. And my brother, Douglas, and I sure did not say one word!
And now as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story: About fifteen years later we got up the nerve to ask him about the mash and he laughed until tears flowed down his cheeks. "I smelled what I thought was mash when a good south wind was blowin' that day. I went down in the cellar and found what you kids had done. I fed it to the hogs and sold off all the copper tubing on the place. But I got to tell you, I did not have a sick pig all winter that year."
Before I became a mother, I had the mistaken idea it was going to be all smiles, giggles and sweet smelling tiny humans. I had no idea that if you looked up the word, worry, in the dictionary you would find the first synonym listed was mother.
Aunt Molly tried to tell me that my ideas were twisted and the dictionary was right. But what did she know? Back when she raised her six boys and five girls, things were different. Nowadays we had changed our ways of thinking and the dictionary hadn't been updated in decades so it was wrong.
I was in my twenties the first time I had to take my son to the emergency room for stitches in the top of his head. What goes up, must come down. The tire iron went up to shake the jump rope belonging to the little girl next door out of the tree. The tire iron came down on top of my son's head. I turned green and thought I'd pass plumb out from worry. As soon as I got out of the emergency room I called Aunt Molly to ask her when a mother stop worrying?
She laughed and told me to think about it and call her back when I figured out the answer because she sure didn't have it. Her kids were all grown and she was still worrying about them.
When I was in my thirties and all three children were various forms of the rebellious stage, my childless neighbor said, "Don't worry. They'll outgrow this and then you can stop worrying and enjoy them."
I called Aunt Molly and she said the neighbor had rocks for brains.
In my forties, I got calluses on my knees from praying that they would all survive to adulthood and I wouldn't be locked up in a padded cell before they did. A psychology major who was a dear friend said, "Don't worry. This is normal. They'll all turn out fine."
I called Aunt Molly. She said to take the psychology book from the friend and beat the kids with it.
In my fifties, the kids were all out of the nest and had kids of their own so I could stop worrying. Right? Wrong! Now the worry business took on a new wrinkle. I could worry but there wasn't one thing I could do about it.
I called Aunt Molly and she said now I was beginning to understand the foundation of motherhood.
I got wrinkles and gray hair from worrying. I gained twenty pounds from worrying. A friend said, "You are pale. Are you worried about something?"
I called Aunt Molly. She said to tell the friend to adopt a kid, keep it twenty years and then she could talk about the art of worrying.
There is a bright side to this story. Last week, Mr. B and I were out of pocket for a whole evening and both of us forgot our cell phones. When we got home the light on the answering machine looked like twinkling Christmas lights. The kids and half the grandkids had been tying to call for hours.
The message was the same in many different voices. "Where are you? I've been calling all evening. When you get home, call me. I don't care what time it is. I'm so worried about y'all."
Aha! The torch has been passed.
I called Aunt Molly. She laughed and said to unplug the phones and wait until morning to call any of them.
As most of you know, I'm not the only author in the Brown household. Mr. B writes fabulous mystery books and next week his sixth book will be available at Amazon (in Kindle, paperback and if you are a member of KU, you can even read it free). I'll be shouting from the rooftops the day it's available!
Front and back covers...
Sometimes you get just what you wanted,
only to find out that it wasn't what you wanted after all....
He was a blue-eyed, blond-haired predator preying on
vulnerable young women. He liked them blonde and petite. And nobody knew he
Kinsey Patterson was blonde and petite, bored with small
town life and determined to live in a city--any city would do. When her fiancé
refused to go with her, she made the move alone.
Mark Thomas, her fiancé, a welder and a rancher, warned her
not to go. She couldn't survive in the city alone, he told her. She would get
herself robbed or raped or killed.
She laughed at his warning. The first thing happened, and
then the second. Then Kinsey woke up bound to a bed, and it looked like Mark
was going to go three-for-three.
We've had a couple of fairly cool days for August in the south. Not cold enough I have to start eating words because some time in the past I'd said, "It will be a cold day in August when that happens." But nice enough that the tom cats are happy to lay on the lawn chairs out in the back yard and not cry at the back door to come inside.
We've had our share of ultra hot summers when it hits three digits by nine o'clock in the morning and I do not bask in the loveliness of this cooler weather and forget what it could feel like when I venture out the back door to check on the morning glory blossoms. There were times when I wondered if the temperature would pop the top off the thermometer hanging on the garage door. In those days I thought seriously about investing both of my quarters in the paper fan industry.
Remember those old kind like we used at tent revivals in the middle of a hot summer? The louder and longer the preacher talked about hell being seven times hotter than the hundred plus degrees we were experiencing in that tent, the faster the folks fanned.
Just thinking about it still gives me a case of acute hives. And to make matters worse the 23rd Psalm was most usually printed on one side of the fan and an advertisement for the local funeral home on the other side. Make your choice...and do it quick!
But even the cardboard fan stapled to a popsickle stick wouldn't help around here on a really hot day. The air conditioner, putting in overtime and working its poor self to death, can't keep the pure old sweat out of my eyes.
Granny always said that a lady perspired when it was really hot and if she just had a little moisture under her nose then she was "dewing up." I believe she was talking about those cute little tennis players who wear the flippy tailed skirts and matching head bands. The liquid that comes form their skinny, muscular bodies is just salty water. It can be washed off with a nice cool shower and good smelling soap.
Evidently I am not a lady!
When I go out into that triple digit weather, my fat cells begin to melt and it's not totally unlike the days when Mama rendered lard on butchering day. If you got any of that grease on your hands while you were squeezing the cracklings through the ricer to get the very last of the grease, it did not come off with cool water and good smelling soap.
What beads up on me is as slick as lard and it takes a hot shower and lots of that soap that is guaranteed to cut grease to get it off. So I'm not going outside unless the thermometer swears to me that it's not one degree over eighty!
What about all y'all? Are you hot weather folks? Do you perspire, sweat or dew up?
Click right HERE to go to my Amazon author page where all my books are listed.
Flip through them to find what you'd like to read.
Emma had too much fire and determination to marry a man she didn't love even if her father did think he was an excellent match. But the tables were turned when she ran away and suddenly found herself with a husband she'd never met and children to boot!
Five sisters who meet for the first time when they travel from four corners to attend the father's funeral who deserted each and every one of them. He was dead when they arrived, penniless and no where else to go, so they join a wagon train taking one hundred brides to the gold miners in California. (The fifth book, Gypsy, isn't on sale right now but it is only $3.99)
Everyone in town thought she was dim witted but Alice didn't care what people thought. That made them stand back and leave her alone to be who she wanted to be and do what she wanted to do, which was run The Black Swan hotel in Huddig, Arkansas with a firm hand. Then Ira, who was supposed to be dead, came home from World War I, broken and with nothing, and suddenly Alice wanted him to see her in a different light.
Their mission was to describe, catalog and photograph pictures up across the center of the United States for a college project that would eventually be several calendars. It wasn't to fall in love on the trip.
Mr. B and I both worked hard all day in our writing caves and decided that dinner would be hamburgers from our local Sonic tonight. I do love an occasional hamburger with mustard, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes so there was no complaints from this department.
But it set me in a time machine that took me back to my growing up years in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. When I was a little girl it was a big treat for Mama to bring home a bag of burgers from Martha's Café when she went to town to "pay bills" once a month. Then when I got into high school and could walk to town for lunch rather than coming home (we lived across the street from the elementary school so that made it real convenient to go home every day for lunch) I could be found at Martha's Café most of the time.
Martha and her husband, Ed, ran that little café until they were both too old to make another hamburger. It was one of those shotgun places with booths along the side, a bar with stools on the other side, a soda pop machine at the front of the store and Martha made donuts every day. So it was hamburgers, soda pop and donuts or else the kids could go to the drug store up the street and eat potato chips and soda pop or an ice cream sundae for lunch.
The thing about Martha's was that the hamburgers were twenty cents each, water was free and donuts were a nickel so we could easily get filled up on a quarter a day. Soda pop was only for special days and it was a dime a bottle. Pretty expensive when you could get two extra donuts for that amount and drink water with your meal.
And it was where all the kids hung out during the lunch hour right up until the first soft ice cream joint came to town. It was close to the school, offered all kinds of extra things over and above burgers like steak sandwiches, like French fries, hot dogs, tacos (we'd never had anything like that in our little town) and soft ice cream cones in both chocolate and vanilla. But I still liked Martha's burgers better and besides they were a whole lot cheaper and I got donuts.
Tonight's hamburger wasn't nearly as good as I remember Martha's being and I didn't get a donut with it, either. AND it cost a whole lot more than a quarter but it sure brought back some good memories of all the fun we had at Martha's. I bet we solved more school problems, made more dates, broke up with more boys and flirted with even more at Martha's than we did at any other place in town.
Nostalgia...it's a good thing. So tell me what memories does a plain old burger supper bring back to you?
Seems like these days we have to fill out a form for
everything that we do, expect to do or have already done. It doesn’t matter
what we apply for, buy sell or trade, it’s got a form attached to it. Got to
fill out a form to fish, to drive, to get married, to name a child, to get
divorced and even for medical attention.
Heaven forbid if you forget to mention on any form that you
took a vitamin pill and two aspirin that morning. It can land you in jail where
you have to fill out another form to get into the cell and still another one to
There are short forms and long forms. If you’re going to the
City Hall for a permit to have a garage sale so that you can get rid of all
those white elephant gifts you got for Christmas last year (and hope to goodness
Great Aunt Molly really does have an appointment in Oklahoma City for new
dentures), then you only have to give the minimum of information. Now if Great
Aunt Molly comes home early and finds out that you’ve sold that lamp shaped
like a mermaid, then you might have to fill out a form at the emergency room
because she’s liable to shoot you. Don’t forget she has a license to carry a
fire arm and she’s not afraid to use it.
Then there are the long forms that look more like an old
time Sears catalog. Those are for when you want a loan to buy a house or a new
car. You will need a wrist brace before you are finished and at least two dozen
ink pens (and they must be black or blue so don’t take those purple and pink
ones that the granddaughter gave you last year for Mother’s Day).
Last week I heard about a guy who went down to the beauty
shop to get a hair cut. He had a job interview the next day and he already knew
there would be forms after forms and that was just to get through the doors for
the interview. If he got the job, he would be expected to fill out even more. His
hair had gotten a bit long through the summer and he sure didn’t want it
falling into his eyes. That would make a bad impression for sure.
So the first thing the lady hands him is a form—in the
beauty shop! Honest, this is a true story, folks. She needed his name, SS
number, marital status, eye color and who to call for an emergency.
I’m thinking I might have left before giving them that last
item. After all, what was she planning to do? Nip off half an ear lobe?
He blushed scarlet when he reached the point where it asked,
“Do you tan in the nude?”
The lady setting beside him noticed the look on his face and
reported this story to me.
Anyway, he whispered, “Did you have to fill out this form to
get a hair cut?”
“Years ago. They keep up with what colors I have and all
“Colors? I only came in here to get a hair cut and they want
to know about colors?” His eyes got big as silver dollars at that time.
That’s when the beautician rushed across the room and
grabbed the clipboard. Seems she gave him the wrong form. The one he had was
for the folks who wanted to use the tanning beds. The one he had to fill out
only asked for his marital status and his name.
But I’ll but you dollars to cow patties that the next day
when he had to fill out the forms for his job interview that they made a lot
more sense than that one in the beauty shop!
One of my friends posted this last week and it looked so good that I made it. It was so easy and believe me when I say it was scrumptious. I did keep it in the refrigerator after it cooled!
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt (omit if using self-rising flour)
1 tsp. baking soda (omit if using self-rising flour)
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple in its own juice (including juice)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, eggs and pineapple together and pour into
a 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle the top with one cup brown sugar and one cup chopped
pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Cook the milk, sugar, margarine and vanilla until mixture comes to a
After the cake has baked and out of the oven.., pour the cooked milk
mixture over the cake.
My wife and I went into town and visited a shop. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and I said, "Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?" He just ignored us and continued writing the ticket.
I called him an "a**hole." He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn-out tires.
So my wife called him a "s*ithead." He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing more tickets.
This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote. He finally finished, sneered at us and walked away. Just then our bus arrived, and we got on it and went home.
We try to look for cars with political stickers. We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's so important at our age!!
I scanned through the magazine rack while waiting for the
eight million people ahead of me at the store got their full baskets checked
through. I thought maybe I might buy one of those bright shiny issues but
although, the floral arrangement on the front was pretty, the magazines were
filled with articles on diet and exercise.
My fat cells were about to go into acute shock when I just
looked at the titles but there were still a dozen people ahead of me and only
one check out lane was open. So I picked up one of those gossip tabloids
thinking it might entertain me but when I opened it up there was a headline in
bright, hot pink: “Outsmart your fat cells.”
Those people have grits for brains if they think a mere
mortal can outsmart even one fat cell. Fat cells know there is strength in
numbers so they invade our bodies in astronomical hordes or maybe it’s flocks
or herds—I’ve never heard just what more than one is called other than
Their brain power is greater than Einstein’s IQ and R2-D2
combined. They have ESP and know the exact minute the word “diet” filters
through my brain. And two seconds later they turn everything from rice cakes to
carrot sticks into pure, unadulterated fat.
I’ve been in the business of outsmarting my fat cells since
the editor of that magazine was crawling around in the newest Birdseye fashion.
I have complete conversations with my fat cells. They have names and
personalities. Those on my thighs are more temperamental than the ones on my
derriere and the ones on the inside of my knees are sassier than a teenage
daughter on a bad hair day.
I put the book back on the rack and picked up one with a
skinny lady in red sequined dress. The biggest headline was “Lose ten pounds in
one week and wear a purple bikini to an island beach.”
Honey, it would take more than a week to put my body into a
bikini and I do not believe manufacturers make bikinis with that many Xs behind
the number so that book went right back to the one where I was going to
outsmart a fat cell.
The next one sported a chocolate cake with the promise of a
recipe inside so I could make that lovely dessert. But when I opened it, the
whole thing was devoted to exercise. “Joy Ride Across the United
States. Start training today.” It even had a
picture of a lady in cute little cycling shorts on a bicycle. My fat cells
laughed so loud that a couple of women turned to stare, then nod their heads in
agreement when they realized what I was reading.
Finally, I got a hold of one with a lady on the front who
was smiling—women do not smile when they think about dieting or exercising so
maybe I’d found the perfect magazine. The first headline inside said, “Drop a
size without dieting.” This could be my magazine for sure.
Excitement built up while I thumbed through the pages in
search of the magic thing that would let me drop a size without that dread “D”
word coming into play.
Beware of anything with a graph! Especially one that begins
with week one and does not finish until week thirteen. It had blue and purple
lines about walking a mile the first day and building up to ten miles by week
thirteen. It’s hard to un-see something that evil but before it burned a hole
in my brain forever, I slammed it back onto the rack, made a fast trip to the
frozen food aisle and bought a gallon of rocky road ice cream. That should help
erase the horrible picture.
For all y’all who believe that you can outsmart your fat
cells, drop a size in a week or without dieting, there’s plenty of
encouragement down at the local food store. I wish you luck.
Me? I’m going to sit here in air conditioned comfort with my
fat cells and eat rocky road ice cream.
We undertook the job of rearranging the book case and took
three boxes to the library to make more room. During the process several novels
surfaced that I had not had time to read (they did not go into the giveaway
box) and one evening I decided to treat myself to the luxury of reading without
guilt. Now most of the time, I like books with a good looking hunk on the front
and the promise of a happy-ever-after at the end.
That evening something else caught my eye. I bypassed the
roses and wine and picked up one of those action things about super heroes who
were fighting terrorists in New York City.
It did have a love interest so I thought there might be a happy-ever-after even
if the cover didn’t have a hunky feller.
When I read, I truly read. I only put the book on “pause”
long enough for potty breaks, to make another cup of hot tea or maybe raid the
refrigerator. So by the time the terrorists were caught and behind bars my
blood pressure had risen a few degrees and I was as jittery as one of those
long tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs.
And when I finally went to sleep, I was plagued by
The next night Mr. B picked up his book and I chose another
one. Three hours later I finished one about a serial killer that made the
terrorists look like a meeting of my Granny’s Sunday school class.
I know how to take precautions in case that west coast
killer or the east coast terrorists could rise up from their graves and haunt
my dreams. Mr. B had already gone to bed when I finished the book. He couldn’t
hear a tornado if it picked our bed up, twirled it around six times and dropped
it down in Africa. So it was up to me to take care of
I propped the broom by the back door and moved a chair in
front of the front door. Not that either one would stop a cold-blooded killer
but at least if he opened either door, the chair would skid on the hardwood or
the broom would fall on the tile. Since I am a light sleeper, I would wake up,
grab my trusty BB gun and pepper spray and protect my fortress (that being me,
Mr. B and the tom cats). Maybe in the dark the sorry sucker would think I had
an assault rifle and run away in terror.
I slept like a baby until the wee hours of the morning until
I awoke and the only thing I could think of was those powdered sugar donuts in
the pantry. I was all the way to the dining room when I remembered the killer
and the terrorists…the chair was safe in front of the door so everything was
No one with a lick of sense would bypass donuts and they
hadn’t been touched so that was a good sign. I poured a glass of milk and
devoured a package of six little donuts. I was on my way to put the empty
package in the trash when I noticed the broom was right beside the trash can,
where it belongs, and the back door was standing wide open.
That could mean only one thing…
I strained my ears to see if I could hear him breathing but
all I heard was Mr. B snoring loud enough to be in competition with the freight
trains running west of town. I tiptoed through the living room, checked under
the beds and in the closets but if he was in either of those places he would
die from dust suffocation by morning and be the absolute laughing stock of all
the serial killers and terrorists in the whole universe.
Evidently he’d come and gone, staked out the place and would
come again another night. Well, I would be ready for him. Next time I’d bypass
the BB gun and load up Mr. B’s high powered pistol and maybe I’d watch Home
Alone again for some ideas on being proactive about this thing.
The next morning Mr. B asked me if I finished the book and I
told him that it had been based on facts and that the killer in it had escaped.
I knew because he’d moved my broom and come into our house.
“Oh, I wondered why the broom was there when I got up to let
the tom cats out. I put it back where it belonged and must left the back door
open when the boys went out,” he said. “What’s for breakfast?”
From now on I will read funny women’s fiction books that
make me giggle in my sleep!!!
This drug new miracle drug will cure everything from depression to ingrown toenails. It will make you feel better, have more energy, eat less, love to mow the lawn and wash dishes and you will sleep better on it.
All this is said in a soothing voice with calming music or else lovely pictures of the ocean waves or cool mountain cabins. Then there's the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.
The side effects said in a voice that can speak too fast for a human without a robotic mind to understand. If it's a newspaper or magazine ad the whole next page will be filled with side effects that are written in type so small that a gnat wearing bifocals couldn't read.
This drug caused the following side effects in a study of ten thousand people: insomnia, fatigue, sleepiness, ingrown toe nails, hair loss, hair gain, hypertension, low blood pressure, inability to mow the lawn or dust furniture, hatred of cats, allergic reactions to spouses, toe nail discoloration, to hear spouse when he/she talks, sore throat, ability to sing on tune and in key when you've been tone deaf your whole life, muscle aches, low blood sugar, diabetes, etc. etc. etc.
And then there's the last of the story: after six months some law firm is going to figure out that the drug caused a woman to spill her margarita on Saturday night and ruin a pair of brand new cowboy boots so the law firm creates a class action suit against the folks who made the drug in the first place. Now that poor man who's in hot water who couldn't hear his wife tell him to take out the trash, or that woman who has ingrown toe nails has someone in their corner.
I was thinking about this in terms of writing.
Hypothetically, there is a new drug on the market called Miragical. It's a combination of magic fairy dust and a break through drug that creates miracles when combined with the dust. One 50mg pill a day guarantees that an author can write twenty out of twenty four hours, fall asleep instantly and get up ready to go again. The author never has writer's block and absolutely never has to rewrite one word. She/he can produce 5 to 10 thousand perfect words every single day with no problems!
However the side effects include: rapid weight gain, hatred of all nutritional foods such as fruit and vegetable, desire to eat only bacon and chocolate (sometimes combined), potato chips and lattes, chipped finger nail polish, eye strain (from looking at all the research pictures of hot cowboys), inability to speak to normal human beings (that would be those who do not have voices in their heads), loss of voice (from never talking to anyone in a real world), etc. etc.
Do you ever read that foot long list of side effects attached to a prescription? Or have you ever experienced the side effects and then read them?
Here's hoping that your week is starting off with glee as my friend, Holly Jacobs, says. And that it only goes up hill every day with happiness.
I've been in the writing cave all week and my goal was reached. When I'm writing a 90 thousand word book, the first 30 thousand words are like the foundation of building a house. It doesn't matter if I'm writing the seventh book in a series or a stand alone title because a whole new world is built in every single book. This is time when I'm getting to know the characters, their flaws and their strong points and it's when the hero and heroine are dancing around all that electricity that builds when they are in each other's presence. Will they ignore the chemistry? Will they embrace it? Will they take a step back and realize that common sense says they'd better not give in to that desire for just one little kiss to see if it's as good as it is in their dreams.
The second third of the book is what I start today. The foundation is laid. My characters and I know each other fairly well. They are comfortable enough living in my head that they now wake me up at night to tell me that I need to rewrite a scene or add a few details in the one I've already written. It's time to start building the walls, a place to hold the emotions and love they are building in their new relationship. Without walls, there would be no boundaries, no hope of ever having a place to hold their HEA if they ever reach it. There's still so many obstacles and road blocks they have to get around. One of my first editors told me once that you have to put your characters in a tree and throw rocks at them. Sometimes my characters find themselves on shaky tree limbs and I have a rocket launcher loaded with boulders instead of a fist full of rocks.
The last third of the book is when the finish carpentry begins. If you've ever remodeled or built a house from the ground up you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's that time when things start to come together, when there's finally hope that you are going to get to move into this place before long. It's the exciting part of the story. There's still a few road bumps and maybe even a rock or two left for my sling shot but still, there's hope for the HEA where it seemed impossible before.
So today, my characters and I are putting up studs (no pun intended) and a roof but they are still telling me that an HEA is impossible because it would ruin everything they've worked for their whole lives. We'll see...
At our house we like brownies, any kind or style. We like them almost as good as we do cookies so I thought I'd share our recipe for turtle brownies with all y'all this week. Enjoy!!!
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teas. Vanilla extract
24 individually wrapped caramels,
oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
the sugar, butter, eggs and cocoa until just blended. Slowly add flour and one
teaspoon of the vanilla. Mix until just blended. Spread batter in pan and top
with chopped pecans.
about 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.
saucepan over low heat, melt caramels, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat
and stir in remaining vanilla. Drizzle over brownies in parallel rows and press
pecan halves into the caramel in neat rows. Let set for at least 10 minutes.
We’ve all become computer literate and found that we enjoy
having everything from research to shopping right at our finger tips. We can
purchase books, CDs, antiques, baby clothing and gourmet food without leaving
the comfort of our recliners. We can research whether there were fly swats in
1919 and read the news before it hits the newspapers.
It’s all amazing until one of those virus things hits and
then it’s a deluxe panic in ultra high gear. The crazy thing is that there are
millions of viruses with names like dark avenger, anthraxia and amoebia mania.
They are all guaranteed to gum up the works inside the computer quicker than
pouring a two liter bottle of Dr Pepper through the vent holes.
The resident bad boy a while back was something called
“Badtimes.” We were warned to take anyone who sent that deadly thing to us
right off our Christmas card list. It was so bad that if someone sent it on
purpose, “he needed killin’” was a justifiable defense in the courtroom.
Here’s how we were to deal with it if we received it.
Delete it immediately. Do not open. Do not call tech
support. Do not finish your cup of coffee. Delete the sorry sucker.
It was guaranteed to erase your hard drive and delete
anything on disks within twenty feet of your computer. If it did crawl into
your computer and set up housekeeping it would demagnetize the stripes on every
single credit card you have and not one of the numbers would work on the stop
from your arm chair places. It didn’t care if you were willing to outbid the
$2.99 price on genuine unbent caps from seven ounce Coke bottles. A little
window would pop up and words would come across the screen saying, “Sorry
darlin’, but you’ve been bitten by Badtimes and there is no tolerance.”
It could reprogram your ATM access code, screw up Netflex
and use subspace field harmonic technology to scratch any CD’s you wanted to
play. It showed no mercy on my Floyd Cramer CD but didn’t put a single scratch
on the kid’s acid rock CD. Go figure.
It could possibly recalibrate the refrigerator’s coolness
setting so all the ice cream could melt, your milk curdle and the cheese grow
moldy within ten minutes time.
It could program your telephone to auto dial your
mother-in-law every hour on the hour and had the ability to put antifreeze in
the fish tank.
It promised that it could and would replace your shampoo
with Nair and your Nair with Rogaine. It could even remove forbidden tags from
your mattress and pillows and replace your skimmed milk with whipping cream.
It was a serious thing but not as bad as some of the new
viruses. If anyone even mentions the idea of a new badtimes virus by any name
at all, you are to go straight to your computer, unplug it from the wall, throw
salt over your left shoulder, turn around three times to the left and twice to the
right, kiss a black cat’s ear and burn six red candles.
And you might want to send this post to all your friends so
they won’t take you off their Christmas card list for withholding important
Yesterday I posted about the things that my mama taught me
about life. Today I’m going to mention a few things that I’ve learned from
A three year old’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a
restaurant and they aren’t a bit shy about telling you what they have to do in
the bathroom and how they need to hurry, hurry to get there.
If you hook a belt to the ceiling fan, the motor is not
strong enough to rotate a forty pound boy wearing Superman underwear and a
Batman cape made from a pillow case. It will however spin two kittens in the
pillow case until they are very dizzy.
You should never throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is
on because if the ball makes contact with the ban, the glass window pane will
not stop it. The local lumber yard does not give discounts on glass windows
just because the ceiling fan helped the kid make a home run around the living
Brake fluid mixed with bleach and dish water soap makes
smoke and lots of it. It takes the volunteer fire department three minutes to respond
to smoke billowing out the garage door.
Certain Legos will pas through the digestive tract of a four
year old. So will buttons and dimes.
When you hear the toilet flush followed by the words,
“Uh-oh!” it’s already too late.
A king sized water bed holds enough water to fill a 2000
square foot house about four inches deep. If the house is smaller, it can
double as a wading pool.
Garbage bags do not make good parachutes or Batman capes.
Put them under lock and key for at least two weeks after taking the children to
My friend advised me that no matter how much Jell-O the kids
put into a swimming pool they can not walk on water and pool filters do not
like Jell-O. I did not buy a pool when the children were growing up. It took
all my time to find places to hide the brake fluid and plastic garbage bags.
You do not want to know what that smell is coming from the
kitchen. Just yell down the hallway that whatever the teenagers are cooking,
they will have to clean up the mess. It might help to check the latest hiding
place for the brake fluid before you go back to reading your book. They could
be doing more chemistry experiments rather than burning macaroni and cheese.
Play dough and microwave should never be used in the same
sentence around children.
Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Those little
plastic dish sets you buy for your daughter will melt in two minutes at 350
degrees. It will take five ours of work and sixteen tons of elbow grease to
scrub one plate and saucer from the racks and the bottom of the oven.
The spin cycle on the washer does not make earth worms
dizzy. They are able to crawl quite well after five minutes of spinning around
in fast circles. Sometimes the agitator will pop their tails off, though.
A six year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock and/or
a magnifying glass in less than five minutes. The volunteer fire department
responds to blazes in the back yard in less than three minutes.
Super glue is forever. If a child sticks his finger in it
and then touches your brand new Willie Nelson CD, you can’t scrape it off, melt
it off or even cuss it off. Acetone will work but it tends to make Willie sound
like a soprano.
Yes, they have taught me a lot but I’m so glad that they are
all grown and are now learning from their own children.