Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Memories

Some of my favorite holiday memories of 2009
We loved the delight on Max's face when he saw Santa's presents--he gripped his broom, yes broom, and took his Elmo slippers to his Papa to put on him and refused to open any other presents for a while. (As I type this, he just walked by me sweeping his broom along the floor!)

All of Max's grandparents and his great-grandmother were here bright and early Christmas morning to see the excitement.

Making Christmas cookies was fun with all the grandmas. Max pat-a-caked the dough but didn't seem to care much for the baked cookies. The icing, on the other hand, was an entirely different thing.

Snow pelted the mid-section of the U.S. and we received enough to have a white Christmas. Although not everyone was able to make it though the storm, we hosted 20 family members in our home.

Playing Dirty Santa is always entertaining with my family. Plus, I lovelovelove my present of pottery this year! Garrett received the re-gifted, unopened Elvis dvd. I have a feeling we'll see that in the game again next year.

A local artist created two pastels of Max, which we gave to our parents for Christmas. Although completely unexpected, I think they both liked them immensely.

The office had a fun luncheon where we exchanged gifts and ate yummy food. They tolerated playing a Christmas trivia game. It's great to work with such nice people.

I'd never before chosen donated to the Angel Tree. While I was checking out at Walmart, my basket filled to the brim, I looked over my son's head at the tree, still filled with angels--someone's baby. I saw a child walking around the tree, looking at tags, and wondered if he searched for his name. He seemed satisfied and left. After dropping off our supplies at home and retrieving my husband, we all returned. On Christmas day, I kept wondering about our little Christmas angel and hoped she enjoyed her gifts. I definitely plan to do that again.

G, Max, and I built a snowman in the backyard. Max gleefully ran through the yard. Only when he landed on a patch of ice and couldn't get up did we realize he'd lost his right shoe. I followed his tracks in the snow--one Nike tread, one socked footprint--and discovered he'd lost it at the site of the snowman. His little foot was so cold, but he was having so much fun he cried when we brought him inside to warm him.

Seeing the Christmas lights in Branson with my parents as well as with Max who managed to stay awake in the car long enough to enjoy both viewings.

In all the hubbub of the holiday, Garrett and I forgot to open our stockings or presents from each other. When everyone else was asleep that night, we remembered and raced into the den to retrieve our gifts. We rushed back to the bedroom and opened them. It was a quiet, cozy end to a busy day.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Journal: magical powers

Sometimes I wish I could control time.

Sometimes I wish I could control my hair.

Journal: What superpower would you like to have and why?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Big boy toothbrush

Pulling the purple Abby Cadabby brush and toothpaste from its package, I said, "Max, do you want to brush with a big boy toothbrush?"

He ran all the way to the bathroom while chanting, "Bzzzzzzzzzz."

Although it wasn't an electric toothbrush like Mom and Dad's, he didn't seem disappointed. He brushed his teeth for ten minutes and cried when we finally took it from him.

This morning, I urged him to brush carefully and tried to guide it to better clean his teeth.

He furrowed his brow and jerked the brush from my hand. That didn't stop Mommy Who Cleans Relentlessly. I dove back in, trying to explain that he needed to brush the backs of his teeth so that the milk wouldn't rot them. (Hey, I clean him relentlessly, but he's still on two bottles a day.)

He jerked the brush from my hand again and aimed it at my face.

I said, "What are you---" and he shoved the brush in my mouth and waved it around. Then he pulled it out, stuck his hand on his hip (still holding the toothbrush), and said, "Bubbabwaha gungha bu, Mama."

Translation: How do you like having someone shove that thing in your mouth? Not nice, huh, Mama?"

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Garrett and I had an entertaining afternoon in two historical homes. The first one hosted a Christmas celebration that told visitors all about different cultures' take on the holiday. Among many others historical figures, we met Father Frost from Russia and a little Icelandic elf. Black Peter from Turkey handed me a stick when we entered the room. I later found out that meant I'd been naughty this year.

Don't tell Santa!

Afterward, Garrett and I went to an open house held by a writing friend of mine. She and her husband restored a home built in 1908. They did an amazing job. Like me, her husband collects Frankoma. He has more green dishes than I do--his service is for 24--and served beautiful, tasty treats on them. Since both of them have artistic leanings, their home revealed those touches. Jim's handmade baskets, soapstone carvings, and beadwork were prominently displayed. I loved Karen's cozy, quirky study. She collect possums--because she thought they'd be rare--and the entire room was filled with possum paraphernalia: a tinsel possum, stuffed animals, books, pillows, etc. Hilarious! Writing in a quirky, fun room like that must be inspirational.

We enjoyed our day with friends and festivities.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Journal: Do you see what I see?

Ten years after Lasik surgery, I picked up a pair of glasses. Apparently, many women require adjustments after having children. Stupid hormones.

Confession: I actually totally love them. One reason is I can see to drive at night, which is a good thing. Another reason is they cover up any hint of laugh lines forming around my eyes. Plus, it's always fun to look different. I think I may get several radically different styles. Just for fun.

Journal: Write about seeing with new eyes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


We toured the Titanic museum when the temperature in Branson was about the same as the temperature of the water on that fateful night back in 1912. When we entered the exhibit, the tour guide suggested we touch an iceberg display. I'm sure it was impressive in the summer, but I had my down coat and lined leather gloves on. The weather outside had prepared me. It also made an impression on me as to just how cold and frightening it must have been for all those people who were awakened in the middle of the night on a ship they thought was unsinkable.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the museum. It was fascinating. The tour guides were dressed like members of the crew and were soooo polite. Seriously, they were probably as courteous as those on the ship itself.

They were full of interesting facts, too. For example, did you know that the black and white floors of that beautiful staircase--a replica was made for the movie--were linoleum? Linoleum! On the glitzy Titanic. It was new and modern, and so it was installed as part of the ship's first class fancy floors.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Santa Clause

Dear Santa,

It was an honor to meet you tonight in Branson, Missouri. You seemed very nice when I met you for the first time...but I heard you when you told my mom to drop me in your lap and run if she wanted a picture. I also heard you when you said I was already starting to cry.

I. Was. Not.

I was just surprised. How many other guys in furry clothes and a beard do you see running around in the Ozarks?

No, wait, let me clarify.

How many guys in furry clothes with flying reindeer do you see running around in the Ozarks?

See?! You're a little intimidating. Plus, Mom, Dad, Papa and Grammy were so excited to meet you it made me nervous.

Just to be clear: I am not afraid of you.

So...there's no need to avoid our chimney at Christmas. I'll even leave you and your reindeer a snack.

Baby Max

Friday, December 4, 2009

Journal: criticism

He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.
--Abraham Lincoln

Journal: Write about a person who has the right to criticize.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Journal: Know what you like

I've done this exercise many times, but I recently saw a version of it somewhere and did it again. It helps remind me of what makes a good story. Rather, what makes a good story for me. And who are you writing for anyway? If the writer doesn't like it, will anyone else?

1. Make a list of your favorite stories or characters (movies, plays, books, etc.).
2. What do they have in common?
3. Make a list of your least favorite stories or characters.
4. What do they have in common?
5. Write a story that contains as many of your favorites as possible and don't use the other.

Happy writing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Blog entries have been minor during this month, and there's good reason.

I'm busy because...

It's National Novel Writing Month.

Go to to check out the madness.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Journal: respect

Once we give up searching for approval, we often find it easier to earn respect.
--Gloria Steinem

Journal: Write about a person who embodies this quote. Maybe write the scene where the evolution of the character occurs.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Journal: Ceremony

Last Friday, the sun shone and the temps were in the 70s--not your usual cliche setting for a funeral. Arthur Lee was not only a former military man who fought bravely in WWII, but he was also a Mason.

At his graveside service, men stood sentinel. Beside men in military uniform, stood men wearing suits. The latter also wore small white aprons, white gloves, and a sprig of evergreen in their front pockets.

Taps resonated over the hillside, carried by the wind. The flag was given to his spouse.

The leader of the Masons talked about the evergreen representing the soul. He relayed other beautiful words, but I couldn't catch them all due to the wind. They placed the apron on the casket.

Each of these ceremonies had been conducted a multitude of times over the centuries. I enjoy ceremony. I find it soothing. Ceremony lends dignity to any occasion. Each was absolutely beautiful.

Rest in peace.

Journal: Write about a ceremony.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Journal: mistaken identity

Until last January, my husband has lived in the suburbs his entire life. He has adapted well to small town life, but there are some details about rural existence that he's still learning.

1. Around here people sell livestock at a sale barn. When my dad told him he'd worked at a sale barn when he was younger, he thought he knew what they did there. G thought they made sails for boats.

2. We used to drive by an expanse of land that advertised itself as a Limousine Ranch. He mentioned something about never seeing cars there. He thought it was some sort of car lot. A Limousine is a breed of cow.

3. Earlier this week, he thought it was raining outside, so he peered through the front porch window. On our doorstep he saw a small white bundle. Thinking someone had left us a package, he opened the door to retrieve it. Then the "package" looked up at him. He claimed it had a long snout. It must have been a possum scratching on our front door.

Journal: Write about mistaken identity.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Age spots

My husband has a shiny bald head.

I'm always pestering him to wear a hat. Reason 1. I like hats. Reason 2. I don't want to be married to an old man with a sunspot speckled melon.

This morning I noticed a dark spot on the back of his head and thought, he cut himself shaving. I saw it again later and though, Geez, we need to make a dermatologist's appointment.

As we were waiting at a drive-thru window during lunch, he reached back and felt the place. I said, "Yeah, I noticed that earlier. I hope it's just blood."

He didn't change his facial expression when he said, "Smoothie."

While making smoothies this morning, he dropped a spoon in the blender while it was on. It splattered his face, the floor, the ceiling... and the back of his head.

No dermatology visits after all.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Journal: scary story

Colorful leaves blow through the air.

Little ghouls and boys will wander the neighborhoods tomorrow.

Get into the spirit!

Journal: write a scary story

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dance, dance

Before my son was born, one of my favorite things about my marriage was that we'd dance in the kitchen.

Now that Max is here, one of my favorite things is watching him dance..and dancing with him.

Just tonight, I played the piano and sang along. His knees bent and he bounced. The kid began to boogie with a big grin on his face. Eventually, he joined me at the keyboard and banged along with the correct rhythm. Then, his dad scooped him up and they waltzed around the room.

Who says live music and dancing goes out the window once you have a family?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hey there, Delilah

Julie and Mark* wanted a family. They tried the traditional way. They tried the scientific way.

Nothing seemed to work.

They decided that someone else must be destined to deliver their baby, so they began the long process of adoption. Finally, they were matched with a pregnant girl who wanted to give her child a better life than she could provide.

Julie and Mark were overjoyed. When the baby was born, they brought him home. Family and friends surprised the couple and baby David with a baby shower. His nursery was filled with all of the items and love any child could want.

After two nights with his family, David's parents received a phone call. According to the agreement, the birth mother had a time in which she could change her mind. The birth mother wanted David returned to her.

Julie and Mark couldn't give him back. They had someone else return their sleeping bundle of hope. Afterward, those same loved ones who had given a baby shower offered to box up David's things. Julie and Mark refused.

Two and a half months later, the birth mother listened to the popular radio show Delilah After Dark. Someone dedicated a song to a birth mother, thanking her for offering her child a better a life. The birth-grandmother, who had never wanted the adoption to go through, was listening, too.

Another phone call surprised Julie and Mark. Baby David was finally returned home, where his nursery was just as he'd left it.

*This story was told to me by someone who met Baby David and Julie. Names have been changed. But I hope the story warms your heart as it did mine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


My husband and I took the flu mist. He was fine. I ached and felt icky. Getting out of bed didn't entice me. I kept thinking, If I hadn't had the vaccine, I'd think I had the flu.

(insert head thunk here)

I just learned that the mist is a live virus. After I took it, I signed a thing that recommended against people with asthma and allergies taking it. I have both.

(insert head thunk here)

I guess I had a mild case of the flu.

Now, the real question is whether or not to get the H1N1 vaccine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Journal: in the details

As I turned onto the highway heading out of town, which is just a couple of blocks from my new house, a thought occurred to me: Since I've been old enough to select my homes, I've always lived right by an easy route to get out of Dodge. Whether it was a mile from the turnpike or a block from a train station, I've had easy access to transportation.

What does that say about me?

Am I unwilling to commit? Do I simply like to travel? Am I always looking for an escape?

I think it sounds like a great way to develop a character.

Journal: Create a character from a small detail. Place that character in a scene where that detail is important.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Page 42

A meeting with my dear Inklings last Friday revealed the truth: My novel begins on page 42.

The rest was backstory.

I'd suspected as much but needed validation. I received it with smiles, hoorays, and colorful markings all over my submission. To me it was as good as a ticker-tape parade. I know I'm moving in the right direction.

Plus, Sonia brought a great plotting tool to our critique group. Go here and click on "helpful sheet" to find it yourself. You'll be glad you did. Focus, focus, focus.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mummified Fairy

What happens to fairies when they die?

Make this mummified fairy for your next Halloween party!

Thanks to my brother for sending the link. I now know why I gave him a pressed fairy book once (like a pressed flower book, but with fairies). We must share a similar sense of humor.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Family Reunion

Last Saturday we had a family reunion with my dad's first cousins' families. Some of them hadn't seen each other in 47 years. It was fun to meet so many "new" cousins.

Baby Max had a blast. He ran laps around the house from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. I swear we don't give the kid caffeine, but he had more energy than anyone there. With all of the people and Molly Dog to play with, he had plenty of distractions, too. He met a 2 third cousins and a third cousin once removed who were all about his age. He's never had such unlimited time with so many playmates.

The picture shows my brother hanging out with two of the little guys.

Meeting new relatives wasn't the only first I had that day.

One of the boys grabbed for Max's bottle. Due to all the illnesses going around right now, I took it from him quickly and said, "I'm sorry. That's not yours. Let's go look for your bottle."

Little Luke didn't crumple into tears, screams, or hysterics. He calmly released the bottle. His eyes never wavered from mine as his knees bent and he sat down. Without pausing, he extended his body until he was lying supine on the porch--still staring at me.

I had just been stared down by a thirsty 16-month-old!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Journal: costumes

I love Halloween!

We're trying to come up with costume ideas at the office. Should we dress as a quartet? Should we surprise each other?

I stood in a magazine aisle the other day for half an hour looking at various ideas for costumes. I love the creativity and innovation. Who knew a box and some dirty clothes could become a washing machine? Of course, this sounds awkward. I've heard several people comment on wearing a leotard with purple balloons all over them to transform into a grape...definitely uncomfortable. Buying a pre-made costume is out of the questions these days because regardless of whether one dresses like a nun or a fire(wo)man, a ladies costume purchased at a store makes her look like one thing: a stripper. What's up with that?

Am I so old that I want to be comfortable and costumed?

Journal: Write about a costume.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All gals--and guys--should watch this video

I can't figure out how to post videos on my blog. Grr. Oh well. I'll link it!

This video reminded me of a major theme of my novel Glamour. Click to watch it: Evolution of Beauty

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Even the kitchen sink

G and I had tried a sale twice since we've been married. Once, only one person came and we didn't make enough to pay for the ad in the paper. The second time was during a neighborhood sale and we sold a bedroom set and most of our old living room furniture. We learned that in Edmond, most people don't shop garage sales, they just go buy new stuff.

People shop garage sales here. And they are serious about it. Especially when the ad says that kitchen appliances will be there. Not only do they show up early, but they also haggle.

It was a gorgeous fall day, and I was surprised at how much fun we had.

Max had the most fun of all, though. Here he is exploring toward the end of the day.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Journal: reflective reading

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
--Edmund Burke

Journal: Write what you think about something you've read recently.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Love and Logic for toddlers

As a young teacher I swore that if I ever had children, I would find the toddler version of Love and Logic and read it. Well, I recently purchased the book and am barely into it. So far, it's very similar.

I can't believe the strategy works as well on my 13 month old as it did on my teenagers in the classroom. Frankly, I didn't believe my son had enough of a grasp on the language for it to work, but you tell me...

Max happily played with a box of Elmo bandaids as I carted him around Walmart this morning. Then, it occurred to him that shaking the box was not nearly as fun as taking the bandages out and dropping them on the floor.

I figured it was as good a time as any to try Love and Logic for the first time with him.

Stopping the cart, I said, "Oh. How sad."

I picked up the dropped bandaids and placed them in the box. With a sad face, I said to Max, "I'm so sad because if you do that again, I'll have to take the box from you and you were having so much fun."

Returning the box to him, I said, "Here you go. I hope you get to keep playing with it."

Our shopping continued and he gleefully shook the box of bandaids until several flew out on his lap.

I stopped the cart and said, "Uh-oh." You should have seen him scramble to collect them and try to stuff them back in the box!

Could Jim Fay's Love and Logic be the answer to my parenting as it was to my classroom management? Oh, let's hope so!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Love and Logic

Jim Fay is a genius.

I knew it the first day I student-taught. A kid stormed into the classroom in the middle of my lesson and began cussing. His face looked like tears had freshened it. He carried his button down and wore only his bloodied, formerly white tee. He strutted so that no one would guess he was injured.

And I, only about four years older than he, used Love and Logic on him.

And it worked!

I don't remember exactly what I said, but I remember after giving him two choices that he calmed down instantly. The class calmed.

I was the teen whisperer. At least for that moment.

It was sooooo cool.

Teacher preparation in college makes one learn a lot of useless information that can never be used in the real world. Nonsense is thrown at us in the form of pedagogy and psychology and philosophy, and we're supposed to swallow it whole--and never use it.

Over the years, I used Love and Logic with my students, and it worked every single time. I always gave a packet of one-liners and other basics to my student teachers. Using strategies on kids who drove other people nuts actually became rather fun. I loved getting to know the real person and not the persona.

If you're a teacher or parent of a teen reading this, I urge you to read more about it and use it. It's classroom magic.

Here is a link to articles that help you use Love and Logic in your life.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Journal: out of place

This weekend was beautiful. Not a raincloud shadowed the sky. On Saturday morning, I entered a convenience store to see two children scampering about in galoshes. The little boy wore a white tank top and cut off jean shorts. His little sister wore a yellow t-shirt and panties.

I'm always annoyed when I see people take children out in public half-dressed. For one thing, it's indecent and exploits innocence. For another, I imagine that these children grow up to be the adults whose body parts we see more of than we really desire.

Did I mention they wore galoshes?

At the end of the evening, I saw an entirely different family. The kids wore galoshes.

A magazine article recently suggested adding a "fun" twist to an ensemble by wearing rain boots when it wasn't raining. These kiddos were too young for fashion to be of much interest to them. Instead, I imagined the parents struggling with them to put on normal shoes and the children insisting on the galoshes.

Fun must be the explanation.

Journal: Write about a character whose attire seems out of place but actually has a purpose. Show that purpose in the scene.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mama Mia!

Why did I wait so long to see this show?

It had the longest standing ovation of any show--on or off Broadway--I've ever attended. Sure, they kind of did an entire concert thing that kept us on our feet, but people could have sat down.

They didn't.

They stood. They clapped. They swayed. They danced.

If you know me, you know I love musicals. REALLY love musicals. One of my fantasy weekends is to go to NYC and spend a weekend doing nothing but breakfast, lunch, matinee, dinner, evening performance, late dinner. Then repeat.

The touring show of Mama Mia! could not possibly have been better on Broadway. I was really impressed. Not a single dud in the cast. And I was shocked to note one of the actors was Mr. Electricity from the propane commercials.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Journal: You're-in trouble

Max whipped off his diaper and peed on the floor. He was all giggles on his victory lap around the kitchen until he slipped in the puddle and fell.

Journal: Write about someone who makes a mess of things.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good things

1. My friend Jesse suffers from trigeminal neuralgia. This disease is so painful it's nicknamed the suicide disease because so many sufferers take that road as an escape. He and his sweet wife Alecia learned this week he is a good candidate for microvascular decompression surgery. They'll be in Cincinnati on Tuesday for the procedure. Hope is a wonderful thing.

2. My friends Stephanie and Josh sent an exciting piece of mail this afternoon. They submitted their film to the Sundance Film Festival. Creation is a wonderful thing.

3. My writing group, The Inklings, finally scheduled a time where we can get together in Edmond and critique. On the morning of the meeting, I'm hopefully having a hair appointment with "my Amy,'' whom I miss desperately. Friendship is a wonderful thing.

4. I've had the good fortune of hearing from several former students this week. They seem to be doing well, their futures are bright, and I'm so proud of them. Promise is a wonderful thing.

5. I feel sick, sick, sick--but I'm going to bed early. Rest is a wonderful thing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Needing Direction

On Saturday I climbed into my Xterra to drive a couple of hours in Seattle-esque weather to the cozy town of Chandler, Ok. Even though I'd been awake since 4:58, I was in a good mood because I was heading to Oklahoma's SCBWI fall conference. This organization always provided valuable information and great speakers. Once my bag and drink and phone were all in their travel-ready positions, I realized my GPS was missing.

No problem, I thought. I had printed directions off the computer the night before just in case weather caused satellite interference. I was prepared.

So, I went on my way. An hour into the journey I realized that I could have been in the same place in half an hour if I'd taken a left, instead of a right, when I turned out of my driveway.

No problem, I thought. In fact, I was a tad smug that my geographically challened self had discovered this fact without the aid of maps or computers.

Twenty minutes later, I panicked. My missing GPS had not dinged and announced, "Recalculating" as it often did when I took a wrong turn. Instead, my inner GPS (which should rarely be trusted) announced, "Are you sure you're going the right way?" In The Middle of Nowhere did not seem like a good place for a turnpike exit, so I whipped out my iPhone and plugged in directions. (Yes, I pulled over before doing so.) My heart beat in a way that had nothing to do with morning caffeine. The GPS on the phone told me I was on an entirely different road than any near the directions I was attempting to follow.

After thirty five minutes, a frustrating conversation with a guy at a gas station, and a quick chat with a police officer, I learned if I'd driven a few seconds longer and actually gone over the hill I would have seen the exit. I was on the right track all along.

After another quick stop to ask directions, I arrived and enjoyed some good sessions.

During the conference, self-doubt crept in regarding my writing and my current project. However, as I've written this I've realized the lesson in metaphor the driving experience was.

If you've created a good map, don't listen to self-doubt or secondary directions. Trust yourself.

Excuse me. I need to get my outline and work on my novel.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Journal: unexpected

I learned what it's like to work with farmers today. My dad went out to take a photo of a barn and get a contract signed. While he was talking to the farm owner, the contract disappeared.

A billy goat ate it.

Right out of his hand.

No kidding.

Journal: Write about something unexpected.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Journal: irresponsible

You can learn a lot about human nature by selling insurance. The same goes for teaching. The law says everyone goes to school and everyone buys insurance.

Or at least is supposed to.

I am appalled at the number of people who drive around every day and do not have car insurance. One of the ladies in our office was in a car accident with one of these people. The other guy plowed into her, totaled her car, and injured her. And he didn't have the common decency to have insurance! Luckily, she had Medpay and Uninsured Motorist, so her insurance paid for this other guy's mistake. Everyone involved was lucky that the accident wasn't worse. What would have happened then?

Statistically, this weekend is a dangerous one to be on the road. However, in my experience, the odds are in your favor that if you have an accident, the other guy has insurance. Why? Because drivers fear being stopped at a traffic check and not having a security verification form, so they buy insurance only before busy holiday weekends.

Looking around it's easy to witness people who have little regard for themselves. It's just too bad that they have such little regard for others, too.

Journal: write about a character who is irresponsible and doesn't care about others

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gossip Girl

I'm hooked.

I know the show has been around a while, but unless I discover some wildly popular trend before it's wildly popular, I'm slow to jump on the bandwagon.

However, I've followed the fashion on the show since its inception. Seriously good stuff, right? So, I finally decided to watch an episode, and the rest is dvr history.

I just watched the prom episode and teared up. It's so romantic when someone loves from afar and loves so much that he's willing to make a girl happy even if her happiness isn't with him. *sniff*

Sure, the teens on that show are nothing like the ones who attended my high school--or I taught for that matter. But isn't that part of the fun? We all want to be more mature, more glamorous, more worldly than we really are. The fallout from bad decisions and a fast-paced lifestyle is much easier to handle when we watch it on tv.

Hmmm. I suppose maybe I should try the books. I know that some school libraries banned the series. It's always been my opinion that if a book is banned it's probably worth reading simply to see what offended people.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What a pain

I never want to be one of those people who always complain about an ache or a pain.

So, until recently, I didn't really do anything about mine except suffer. Every day. Every moment. I kept thinking it would go away eventually. During pregnancy, I experienced sciatic pain at night while I slept. It felt sort of like an jolt of electricity tingled down my left leg. After giving birth, I felt that all the time, but it was worse. There was a little cluster in my back that hurt all the time. I couldn't bend over. At all. Until recently, I never picked up Max without hurting. In home videos, I noticed that I move awkwardly because I'm trying to move in the way that hurts the least.

A couple of weeks ago, I almost dropped Max twice and my back gave out on me once and sent me to my knees. Plus, the tingling started down my right leg. It occurred to me that I was planning a first birthday party, which meant I'd hurt every day for the last year. It seemed impossible for me to fathom.

So, I made an appointment with a doctor. I'd been to him two other times in the last year and mentioned the pain, but this time the appointment was specifically for that reason. Long story short, he told me that I "just got old faster than most" and that I would "probably hurt for the rest" of my life. Yep. Seriously. You can imagine how devastated I was.

However, I'd met a therapeutic masseuse in the office one day. After a few minutes of talking she told me she thought she knew what was wrong. Last week, I went to see her and am so glad I did. At one point she shifted my hips on the table and pressed here and lifted there...and I felt nothing. No pain. No pressure. No discomfort. I almost sobbed with relief. Apparently, it's fairly common for women to get their hips out of alignment during pregnancy. Who knew? Um, apparently not the doctor!

In a book, she pointed out what was hurting and why. She poked and prodded the same places the doctor had--and I nearly leapt off the table when they both did a test. But with her, she said, "Ah, that's what I thought." With her massage and yoga exercises she instructed me to do, I've felt little to no pain for the last week.. For the first time I've been able to play with my son without wincing.

I enjoyed being a mother before, but now it's even better.

So, if you ever know in your gut that something isn't right. Don't let people tell you otherwise. Keep trying until you get what you need. It's worth it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Journal: a secret

I loved finding notes left in the hallway when I was a teacher.

I adore my book of published private letters from famous people.

I must be a bit of a voyeur.

The idea of seeing who someone really is when they don't have a deflector shield up appeals to me. Authenticity appeals to me. No matter how honest or upfront a person is, he or she still holds secrets...

...which is why I thought this blog was so hilarious when I ran across it today.

Journal: Write about a secret.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Still moving...

Before we moved to NJ, we placed most of our things in storage. We returned to Oklahoma in January and we still have the storage building. G and I took off work today to try to move a lot of things from storage. We're hoping to have a garage sale in a couple of weeks, so we need to go through our stuff.

We didn't accomplish much.

However, we did get our books--and we all know those are really important. Even if I don't read them all the time, it's nice to have them around me. They're old friends. Some friends need to be shared with others, so we designated a box for us to put in a garage sale.

What we learned after our day of moving was that 1. we need a lot more moving time, and 2. we need a lot more bookshelves.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Journal: Personality and possessions

When I was in school, I was a mess. Literally. I felt sorry for the kids who had lockers underneath mine because books and bags and pencils usually fell on their heads out of my locker at least once a week. Even in college, it was not uncommon for me to reach into my backpack and pull out chocolate-covered papers. I'm really not a total slob, but I am easily disorganized. The funny thing is that I have always known this about myself. Usually, my book bag would have an array of side pockets and zippers and snaps to help with this problem. Often, in addition to a text book, an organizer of some sort might bop a locker mate on the head. I wonder what other things someone might learn from looking through my bookbag, purse, or suitcase.

Journal: Imagine you've discovered a bookbag, purse or suitcase. What's inside? What sort of personality traits might those items indicate?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I completed the detailed outline for my new book. Now all I have to do is write it. And that's one of the fun parts!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baby Sign Language

I've tried signing with Baby Max since he was...a baby. Now, he's almost one, and he's signing back. He's signed "more" a few times. Recently, Garrett had him at the grocery store during bottle time and Max began insistently signing "milk." Unfortunately, G knew what he wanted but had forgotten to pack it. "Uh-oh" as Max likes to say.

This month we've attended two classes for Baby Sign Language. The instructor must be a saint. She calmly chatters away about signing and assigns homework while toddlers and crawlers steal the show. When things get a little out of hand, she blows bubbles or breaks into a signing song.

I can tell that Max is more receptive to signing since we've attended the class.

But the real reason to attend is the kids are hilarious. For many, this is the first real interaction they have with other little ones. I wonder how much of their personalities and reactions predict how they will be later in life.

During class, Max explores and "visits" momentarily with other children and adults in the room. Usually while missing a shoe or sock. He begins fully dressed, but as the minutes tick by he loses one shoe and one sock at a time. (The instructor actually taught us the sign for "shoe" just because of Max!) I threatened to bring him naked next time. It would save me time and laundry.

G attended this week's class with me, and he thought it was hilarious as I did. He also shared my concern that we may be too relaxed. Is it bad when your kid falls down--yet again--and all of the other parents gasp while you laugh? It's not like Max cries or anything, though. We're so accustomed to him falling into things that it's not something we get worried about anymore. If he cries, we know he's really hurt. Mostly, a tumble doesn't phase him in his journies. And he does journey.

He is incredibly easy-going. One of the little boys took a rattle that Max was playing with. It was in the center of the room, so many of us saw it and wondered what was going to happen. Instead of getting upset, Max laughed at the older boy. He tried to reach the rattle, but the other little boy was bigger and held it over his head. It made me fear the future and a bully taking something from him on the playground. I muttered, "Get him." Garrett reacted similarly. But Max just laughed. Another, smaller, little boy decided he wanted the rattle and rammed into the big kid, knocking him over and taking the rattle. Max laughed at the two boys on the ground and went off to explore some more. The parents of the big kid made the older boy give Max the rattle. Max looked at them all like they were crazy for interrupting his exploration and took off again.

In the end, I actually felt sorry for the bigger kid. He was the only one upset with the whole thing. Plus, he was a sweet little boy. He's the only one I saw going around the room trying to hug other kids and pet their hair. Max thought he was pretty cool. After watching the big boy pet another kid's head, Max imitated him.

Ah, the influence of peers already!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Northeastern Oklahoma AuthorFest

I enjoyed meeting readers and authors today at the Northeastern Oklahoma AuthorFest in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Authors had their tables decorated thematically with their books. I had little fairies, twinkle lights, and candy. People dropped in to visit, which is always my favorite part of any book event.

One of the authors at the event was Nicci Sefton, a charming young woman from Tulsa who has self-published a teen vampire book called Luxuria. What makes Nicci so special? She just graduated high school. She began Luxuria while she was 15, and she finished it on her 16th birthday. Her next novel is set to come out around Halloween. Impressive, huh?

Many of you know I'm not a big fan of self-publishing (I prefer to be paid upfront thankyouverymuch); however, some major successes have begun in the self-publishing industry. Eragon, The Christmas Box, and The Lace Reader are a few success stories of self-published authors who made it big in the end. Many self-published works are done so because no one else wants to spend money on them to make it happen, but these authors had something special that made it happen...$BIG$.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Nicci, her parents, and her best friend (who is Precious in her novel). Although I haven't read Luxuria yet, I plan to. Wearing a suit and Converse with little pandas on them, Nicci showed spunk and motivation. Her table was a marketing masterpiece complete with candle stands, flower petals, and wine goblets. Plus, did I mention she is adorable? I, for one, think this girl is someone to watch in the future. Check out her website at

Friday, August 7, 2009

Journal: a brawl

I met a guy today who had been beaten up pretty badly.

"Looks like you've been in a bad fight."


"I guess I can tell who won."

He grinned. "You should've seen the bobcat."


Journal: Write about a brawl.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Journal: Busy, busy

Have you noticed people always talk about how busy they are?

Even when they aren't?

People tend to get caught up in too many little things that never really mattered. Unfortunately, those little things can dictate how our thoughts and days are spent.

Journal: Write about a person who is so busy he or she misses something important.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Author in the 'Quah

William Bernhardt visited the Carnegie Library in Tahlequah. I was impressed with the large group of people who gathered for him. The old library is beautiful and it was a great setting for a man who loves books to talk about books.

As always, he was an inspirational speaker. Whether he's encouraging people to write (and finish) a work or he's telling about his own experience in the writing field, he has a way of making people feel that they, too, can accomplish their dreams.

No Superman cape is required. Believe it or not, he claims that persistence is the trait that gets people published. Sure, talent helps. But there are a lot of talented people who never finished a book and never got one published.

Bill must know what he's talking about. He just signed on for his 31st book with Random House. His first book with them, Primary Justice, went to print SEVEN times in the first THREE months. Now that's a success story, people.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lake Retreat

Each year, The Inklings go on a writing retreat to my parents' trabin on Lake Tenkiller. We call it a trabin because I fantasize it's a cozy log cabin, but it's just a trailer. At the end of the day, though, no one cares if it were built of toothpicks and fiberglass because it has views like this one:

This year, Sonia gave a fabulous presentation on websites that helped her get into the business. She'll provide links on her website soon, so you should check it out. Next, Martha (aka Mama) gave writing prompts inspired from a book of essays.
Dee Dee is intent, isn't she? Either I snapped this while we were sharing our journal entries or during the prompt. I like how the trees framed her.After the workshop, we ate. Lisa, Sonia and I tried to eat on the deck, but the flies attempted to steal our food so we joined everyone else inside.
Karuna and Karen arrived wearing the most adorable hats. Don't they look perfect for a day at the lake?After lunch, most of us took a stroll. Kelly and I are always willing to pause for a photo.
Even though my leg is covered in greenish-yellow bruises from an unfortunate Seadoo incident, I had a great time. The Inklings provide invaluable critiques and the retreat workshop inspires me to write something with a fresh perspective. Plus, even though many may disagree, I got a little tan!

Really. I did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sonia's Tour

My friend Sonia Gensler and fellow Inklings' member recently acquired a book deal with Knopf. Our writing group is so happy for her we feel like we each received a deal, too.

Sonia writes historical fiction, so we asked her to take us on a tour of her novel. I've been lucky enough to read it and was giddy to see where the story took place and hear Sonia explain hidden details not included in the book.

I've heard of Twilight tours and Harry Potter tours. Maybe we'll have The Revenant tours after the book is released in 2011.

Can anyone guess where we are?

Here is the same location years and years ago.

For some reason, no one came around when we wanted a group picture--maybe a bunch of giggly grown girls scared them away--so Kelly took this photo of the rest of us sitting on the stairs inside.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Girls of '93

I was so excited to see my friends. Katie and I've been friends since we were three. Ange, Katie and I have been friends since we were eleven. As Ange's niece says, we're definitely "best friends for freakin' life."

Lots of pics exist of us together, but I have no clue how to scan them. Below is a pic Katie sent me from a high school ski trip. As you laugh, remember we looked cool then.We went to the lake where we had a fun filled day of playing on the lake planned.

Fate, on the other hand, had something else in mind.

When we arrived, I'd left my keys to the trabin at the house. After G kindly brought them to us, we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the boat slip where our jetskis were safely waiting. We only had a few hours together and we rarely get to see each other, so we were excited to get to play. The fact that NEITHER one of the jetskis would start--even though they worked nicely the evening before--dampened our plans a bit. Oh well. We floated around in the lake and snacked and visited, which was so nice. We just didn't have enough time. We never do. I think we should plan a spa visit next time.

Here we are five years ago at our class reunion:

Journal: Write about an outing with your closest friends five, ten, or fifteen years from now. What will you do together? Where will you each be living? What did you have to take a break from in order to hang out?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Journal: Fun

Max loves water. Whether my brother spritzes him with a spray bottle or he's splashing in the sink with a rubber ducky, the kid is thrilled. He may be related to Poseidon.

We went to the lake last weekend and placed a little wading pool on the deck. Instead of wearing his cute swim trunks--with dinosaurs on them--we just put him in his Little Swimmers and let him go. (I was outvoted.)

It didn't matter, though. He didn't care what he wore. He crawled in and out of the water. Just because he could. If you look closely you can see where he sat on the deck with his wet diaper and got dirt all over his tush. Again, he didn't care.

Journal: Write about a time when you were having so much fun you didn't care what you looked like.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Journal: changes

Last week the journal topic was about music videos. Yesterday Michael Jackson died. As an elementary school student, I didn't jump on the MJ bandwagon and wear one glove and a red leather jacket. However, I have always respected his talent and influence.

For example, he is largely responsible for making music videos cool. Most people who are old enough to remember can recall marveling at the dancing zombies as they boogied to Thriller. The buzz was that the video didn't simply play during the song, but it was more like a movie--with real dialogue. Beat It was a cool video, too. It was all rough and tough. Then. Not now. Now, the supposed gangs look like a bunch of dancers, which I guess they looked like then, too. But it was cool, so we forgave them.

Certain things happen and we never forget where we were when we learned about them. A few of mine are1. when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up, 2. when Princess Diana died, 3. when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, 4. when 9-11 occurred.

Michael Jackson's death doesn't fit into that category for me; although, other people across the world surely feel differently.

Journal: Fill in the blank and explain. Where were you when______?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sad news

This week has been full of sad endings in pop culture.

1. Jon and Kate Gosselin. I cried as I watched Monday night's show where they announced their intention to separate. Later I read a USA Today article that said they'd been separated for two years. What? Does that mean their vow renewal last year in Hawaii was a fraud? Or was Kate being dramatic and meaning they've lived separately metaphorically? I'm so sad for the kids and for them. No one wants to be a statistic. I'm optimistic they will get back together, though. Yes. That's how I am.

2. Ed McMahon. After years of being Johnny Carson's sidekick and hosting his own shows, the man everyone wanted to see on their doorstep holding a big check is no longer with us.

3. Farrah Fawcett. I had a Farrah doll when I was a little girl. Charlie's Angels was totally cool. The Farrah doll beat the high-heeled shoes and tight pants off of Barbie any day.

4. Michael Jackson. When I heard he'd had a heart attack, death never occurred to me. When I learned he died, the news stunned me. I was never a big fan, but I respected his work. I recognize that he changed the face of music. The man was a performer. He was the King of Pop. He never had a childhood and he never lived out of the spotlight. Since he never had it while alive, I hope he finds peace now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Journal: See the music

A long, long time ago, this wonderful creation that is MTV came into existence. It was Music TeleVision. It showed music from the radio on tv and they called it music videos. I was sooo hooked. Not only did they have the cool dance moves and the latest fashions, but the commercials were the best on tv. I was very young at the time and didn't know most of what the songs or videos were about, but I loved my MTV.

Then my parents moved us out in the country.

Where it was too far for cable to reach.

In an era before the World Wide Web.

Up until I was in the sixth grade, we had four channels. Then Fox came into existence where I got to see The Simpsons, 21 Jump Street (Johnny Depp), and In Living Color (Jim Carrey, the Wayans brothers, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, David Alan Grier). These lively shows were the closest thing to cable I had.

Whenever I went anywhere and stayed in a hotel, I automatically tuned the television to MTV. At home, I imagined what the videos would look like. Sometimes, they met my imagination. A lot of times I preferred my version to theirs.

Today, MTV is mostly reality television. VH1 has the music videos. And you better believe I dvr them every week.

Journal: Select a song. Describe the music video that you would create to accompany it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dearly departed....

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to scrap my novel-in-progress. I've been working on it for a while and am halfway finished. However, with the move, I'd set it aside for a while.

And I lost my rhythm.

I lost the heart of the story.

I didn't care about it anymore.

This, my dears, is not good...for the novel. For me it worked out great.

I'm a Taurus. I'm stubborn. I listen to you, but it might take a while for it to sink in. My friend often expressed that she wished I'd work on a young adult novel again. (The other novel was a high concept humor for adults.) Her argument made sense because I've spent most of my life in high school. It also made sense because I already have one novel published in that genre. (Buy Glamour!) Her words finally sunk in.

The one thing I totally loved about the now defunct project was the characters. They were so much fun that I wanted to hang out with them. Well, now I am hanging out with them in every spare moment. They're just younger. I went back in time to when they were in high school. How cool is that?

Now, I have rhythm.

I have heart.

I care.

And this, my dears, is very good.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Journal: A storm is coming

It stormed today. Enormous clumps of ice dropped into my backyard. Dark clouds swept across the sky like a group of dangerous boys--if I could have crossed the street to avoid them, I would have. The lightning sizzled. The thunder sounded like big potatoes rolling across a wooden floor.

And it rained. And rained.

I hate stormy weather. It makes me want to dig a hole in the ground and hide until tornado season passes. Of course, in Oklahoma, tornado season seems to be at least six months out of the year.

I know people who love it. You probably know them, too. They stand out on their porches and watch tornadoes. They hop in their cars and hunt for them. I would need to inject a whole lot of crazy into my system before I could do either of those without freaking out.

What about you?

Journal: A storm is coming. Where are you?

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Page

On Saturday, I spoke at Hawk Publishing Group's writing workshop in Tulsa. I enjoyed this because I also had the opportunity to sit in on a few sessions. Each time I've heard K.D. Wentworth speak has been rewarding. She makes me laugh and always teaches me something.

The nugget I'll share with you today is that she said that the first page of a novel or short story should include the character, context (setting), and conflict. The conflict should be the worst problem that character can have.

That's a lot to get on the first page.

And she's totally right.

Wentworth is the coordinating judge, which means she's the first judge, of the science fiction contest Writers of the Future. There is no entry fee and the prizes are big. The contest receives about 4000 entries a year.

Does she feel obligated to read all entries? No way. There's not enough time. She claims that the easiest way to weed through the stories is to look at the first page. If the story has character, context, and conflict on the first page, she'll continue. Otherwise, she'll toss it.

Whether you enter the Writers of the Future contest or are submitting a novel or short story to an agent or magazine, make sure your story doesn't get tossed!

Read this great interview with KD Wentworth to learn more about becoming a successful writer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Jounal: Revel in the moment

No more homework! No more books! No more teachers' dirty looks!

Even as a teacher, this rhyme chanted through my mind at the close of school each year.There's something about the sound of that last school bell that is like every first kiss, favorite song, and good book. It was full of promise and satisfaction. I wanted to revel in the moment.

Journal: Write about a moment that held great emotional power.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Workshops are just ducky

Hanging out with a group of 2nd through 5th graders at Okmulgee Elementary School was a great way to spend my morning. The kiddos signed up for a summer program in which they will write their own books. Based on what they shared today, you might see them on a bestseller list soon.

Having such a wide range of ages concerned me at first, but it worked out well. I don't know what I was worried about. These students wanted to write. After all, they did sign up to spend part of their summer inside... a school... writing a book. How lucky am I to get to meet them?

I was lucky enough to get to introduce to them how "to get their ducks in a row" as far as organizing their thoughts into a story. We sang a song, read a book, and played with the basic story elements--as well as my son's rubber duckies.

Hopefully, I'll get to see some of their completed projects. The school has invited me to return in the fall to introduce the writing process to their fifth graders. Maybe I can read the finished books then.

If you or someone you know is interested in having a writing workshop, please contact me. Although I enjoy the giggles and hugs from the little ones, I also love working with teens and adults. Let me know if you have a specific area of interest, and I'll create a workshop for your need.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Journal: I wish

So often we spend our days saying I wish.... I wish I had more time. I wish I had painted that a different color. I wish I hadn't said that. I wish I had magical powers.

What if our wishes came true?

Journal: Finish the sentence and write the results. I wish....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Say it Ain't So

Jon and Kate Gosselin,

I don't know why I care about your marriage so much. Is it because I watched your show in anticipation as my due date loomed? Is it because I watched taped segments as I pumped milk in the wee hours of the night after feeding my little one? Is it because I understand the desire that drove you to fertility treatments? Is it because I can be an overtalkative so-and-so and my husband was once a happy computer nerd?

I dont' know why I feel so invested.

But I do.

And by letting me inside your life, you allowed me to be this way.

The most important people you owe your marriage to is, of course, your children. But you also owe it to me and the gajillions of others like me who watch the show.

Everyone experiences adversity in life. You guys did and capitalized on it in the most American way possible--with a reality tv show of your family. I applaud your ingenuity.

And I've applauded your triumphs along the way. Because you seemed normal. You seemed like ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, which is what we all are at times in our lives.

But what now? You're not normal anymore. This tabloid brouhaha is pure Hollywood. Sure, most tabloid regulars are regular people placed in extraordinary circumstances, too, but you're different. With stars, they act or sing or dance or something. You guys simply let us watch you live. You allow us that little thrill one achieves from reading someone's diary or email. You're like us.

Aren't you?

For the sake of your children and the love that has been evident in certain episodes, please work it out. Also, continue to provide viewers a model of how couples can make it through parenthood--and crises--in love.

So, as I watch your season premiere tonight, it out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Journal: Sweat it out

Earlier this week, I mentioned my return to yoga. Unfortunately, falling down in class was not my most embarrassing return-to-exercise experience. I've had many.

In high school I went out for track one day.

One day.

It was the middle of the season. Our teams took first and second at state that year. If I'd known we were that good, I definitely wouldn't have thrown on my shorts and sneakers that hot spring day. Still, I lasted the entire day without quitting. Believe me that I say that with pride.

Journal: Write about exercising. The character can be good at it or not. It can be an ordinary day or an extraordinary day in the character's exercise life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I haven't exercised since February of 2008.


I arrived early and freaked out a bit. Svelte bodies in fashionable yoga attire stretched, chatted, and...basically looked fit.

The instructor chatted with me and then said, "Tonight is hard."


"I have a beginner's class on Thursday."

"Do I need to come back then?" Translation: Do I look that out of shape?!

She eyed me. "Have you done yoga before?"

Let's just say she was right. About the hard part. It was the most difficult class I've ever attended. A few times I was comforted with the knowledge that super instructor Libby is a nurse during the day.

I once had lovely abs. Do you know what pregnancy and no exercise do to your core muscles and balance? I do. And I don't like it. Of the three positions that required me to stand on my hands or head, I succeeded with one. I tried another but fell. I didn't even attempt the third. Legs and arms were everywhere.

Oh, but I will return. The instructor and class are amazing. Maybe one day I can look svelte in a cute little yoga outfit.

I can dream, can't I?

I think I'll dream right now while eating an Oreo.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Journal: cozy yummies

Certain foods make me happy. Brownies and milk. Turkey and dressing. Macaroni and cheese. Rocky road ice cream on a sugar cone. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich. It's simple. These "comfort foods" really bring me happiness.

Each one is attached to a sensory memory. Perhaps that is what makes the magic with these foods. This sensory memory is the same reason I refuse to drink milk and eat graham crackers. I threw up after snack time in kindergarten and have had an aversion to the combo ever since.

Journal: Write about a food and a sensory memory attached to it. Be sure to include all five senses.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do you write?

HAWK Publishing is hosting its annual writing workshop June 6-7, 2009. Speakers include published authors (including yours truly) as well as acquiring agents and editors. It's always a cozy weekend in Tulsa with plenty of opportunities to network. Plus, it's not one of those workshops where the speakers talk at you. It's called a workshop for a reason.

Executive Director William Bernhardt is also offering a writing seminar June 8-12 where you can tweak your novel.

So, if you haven't signed up yet, click here. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bunny Toss?

While shopping for Easter presents, I ran across this toy.

Who thought this was a good idea?

At the lake we used to play catch with something similar to this. The ball had Velcro on it that would stick to our "mitts."

Someone must have been confused when they created this game.

Toss the bunny?

At Easter?

Can you imagine fur flying through the air?

I bet the Easter Bunny avoided the houses with these toys.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Journal: fantasy creature

With Harry Potter and Twilight, no one can doubt readers' hunger for fantasy. However, the publishing world is saying that magicians and vampires are a bit overdone now. At a recent conference, I also heard that unicorns were overdone. My novel Glamour explores the world of fairies. The novel I'm currently working on explores another sort of mythical creature.

If you could write a novel with a mythical creature, what would you choose?

Journal: Create a scene using a mythical creature. It can be a main character or simply part of the setting. Describe it in detail and make sure its existence is vital to the scene.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is my son a vampire?

When I returned last weekend, Max had two teeth. When I left on Friday he had the beginnings of one. Over the weekend both bottom teeth sprouted.

And they can do damage.

We were in his playroom last night, and he crawled over to me. I love it when he does this because he either plows right into me or he stands up and hugs me. This time it was to hug me. I nuzzled him and he moved to nuzzle back--his face in my neck.

Then, he bit me.

How can one cause so much pain with only two bottom teeth?

I'm not sure, but I think he may be a vampire.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Home from OWFI

The Oklahoma Writers' Federation, Inc. conference was held in Norman, OK. Marcia Preston was president. She and the other board members did an outstanding job. Not only was the hotel beautiful, but also the sessions were good. I enjoyed meeting new friends and seeing those that I haven't seen for a year. I was thrilled that Amy Shojai was honored as a Lifetime Member this year.

The Inklings, my writing group, has a great time at this conference. As I've mentioned before, we shake the jingle bells in our hallelujah basket when a friend wins and whip out a tiara each time one of our names is announced. Let's just say we wore the tiaras a lot. It's always fun to take home a certificate. It's even more fun when you take home a check. And when your friends do, too, well, that's a party.

This year was the first time I had the opportunity to join the autograph party on Saturday afternoon. Sonia Gensler organized it so well. As always, Best of Books did a great job having the books available. Thanks to all of those who purchased Glamour. I hope you like it!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Go Bulldogs!

I had a wonderful time today with the fifth graders at Okmulgee Elementary. Thank you for inviting me, Mrs. Mitchell! They were great kids.

Since Okmulgee was where I attended school, I was excited to return. It showed in my clothes. I was so full of "bulldog spirit" that I dressed in the school colors of red and black. I told the kids the tiny bits of truth that were in my novel so that they could look around town and recognize the inspiration for an idea. For example, the town square in Forrester is based on the town square in Okmulgee. In most classes, we had the opportunity to do a brief writing activity. It's so much more enjoyable for me to encourage kids to write than to talk about myself.

Mrs. Dove, the media specialist, invited me to return this summer and fall. I'm looking forward to giving writing workshops. One of the workshops will be on journaling and the other is yet to be determined. I'm certain a good time will be had, though!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jounral: locationlocationlocation

In our new town is a great little pizza place called Sam and Ella's.

Yep. Like salmonella.

And it's decorated with chickens. Everywhere. The first time I ate there I didn't even get the irony of the decorations. I simply thought there were chickens everywhere--on the walls, tablecloths, ceilings, etc. (Have I mentioned that I HATE chickens because they are stupid and filthy creatures? Alas, that's another blog.)

What sense of humor created this little restaurant? Regardless of the silly birds and ominous name, the place is always busy. They serve fabulous pizza. Plus, their salads are nothing to scoff at. The wait staff is young college types who wait on you with a friendliness that's so much a part of this region of the country.

It is a great setting for a story. As I sat in a booth with my husband and baby boy, I imagined the conversations going on at the other tables. What sort of people were they? What had brought them there? What lives did they lead? My mind still churns with the possibilities!

Journal: Describe a public location--real or fictional--where characters can congregate.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Journal: Flattery will get you everywhere

The waiter handed me an iced tea to go and placed something on the bar. "You dropped your name tag." I looked down at a little paper packet that read Sugar.

Oh my.

Pick up lines tell a lot about a person.

Journal: Write a character sketch in which a character is attempting to flirt. Explore the possibilities. He or she can be super successful or painfully pathetic. Feel free to embellish your own experience.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Journal: Sleepover

Goldilocks slept in the bedroom of the three bears.

She slept. In a house. Belonging to bears. Not knowing when they'd return.


No amount of sleep aids could help me accomplish such a feat.

Sleeping is not something I necessarily have difficulty with, but I do sleep some places better than others.

I never slept well on my friend's trampoline--even though I didn't really believe that a ghost of a ballerina pirouetted in her yard at midnight.

I always sleep well on a cruise ship--perhaps because I like being rocked to sleep by the ocean waves.

I don't enjoy sleeping in a tent--especially if someone gets the bright idea to mist water inside like it's some sort of "tent air conditioner." (By the way, it doesn't work. It makes the air humid and your sleeping bag damp.)

I do enjoy sleeping while the air is a bit chilly in a big comfy bed--if it has a down alternative comforter even better.

I like the idea of bed and breakfasts, but I always stay awake wondering about the history of the home or listening to other guests wander the halls.

I don't like music or tv on while I sleep. The songs and shows weave their way into my dreams, and it gets a little crazy.

I really like the idea of closing my laptop, turning off the light, and getting a full night's rest without my baby waking me up.

Goldilocks slept in a bear's house. Surely I can get at least an hour without interruption, right?

Journal: Write about a night spent in a location other than your bedroom.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm back!

I apologize for my hiatus. I'll try to do better.

People who complain they don't have time for things have always gotten on my nerves. I always figured the people who really didn't have time were the ones too busy to claim they didn't have time. So, I'm not going to offer pathetic excuses that you don't really care about anyway.

Instead, I'm going to let you do that for me.

When I began this blog, I wanted to have a journal prompt every Friday. I've not been faithful. Hopefully, you have been.

So... for today's journal...

Journal: Write a list of 20 excuses. For anything. They can be as far-fetched or lame as you like. Just give me an excuse.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm a typical American in the sense that I'm a combination of a lot of different people from different countries. My grandmother's father was an Irish citizen. So, I always feel a little Irish, especially in March.

A few years ago, G and I went to San Francisco and Napa Valley during Spring Break. We happened to go on a wine tour on St. Patrick's Day. We met the nicest couple from Ireland. They laughed about how Americans make a much bigger deal about St. Patrick's Day than Ireland does.

Well, aren't we lucky? Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Barbie is looking great at fifty, don't you think?

Long after my friends had "outgrown" her, I adored her. My friend Katie had an older sister. Together they had created quite a collection of Barbies, clothes, and accessories. When Katie decided she was too big to play with Barbies, I was overjoyed when she passed them along to me. It meant even MORE clothes and glamor!

Check out the history and fun facts about Barbie here.

Friday, February 6, 2009


It's official. We are truly moved in. We're still unpacking, but Max is sleeping in his crib rather than a pack and play--and as of yesterday, we finally have Internet service! Sure, we still have boxes rather than a dining table in the dining room, but they're diminishing.

Our house is not baby proof.

Until about an hour ago, I thought we had plenty of time. That's when I looked up to discover that Max was no longer on his playmat. He was about two feet from it, lying on his back and still pushing with his feet.

There's gonna be a whole lotta babyproofing goin' on.

JOURNAL: Baby proofing our house is supposed to keep our little guy from getting hurt. If you could "baby proof" something so as to protect it from being hurt. What would it be and why?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Santa's request

Santa and I have been friends for years. He dropped me an email the other day to share his concern about something and asked me to blog about it.

And when Santa asks you to do something, you do it. He's kind of like Oprah that way. So here goes...

No one, especially Santa, likes children to be disappointed on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, some children were very upset when their tiny little request was not fulfilled. (He told me that more than one tear was shed on a day that should be joyful.) I hate that this happened, and I'd like to clarify.

After reading my novel Glamour, a number of children requested their very own fairies. Since fairies are little people, Santa could not grant this wish. One can not own another, after all.

By the way, Santa's elves were miffed at this misunderstanding. They are distant relatives of the Naturals and Fayes and wanted you all to know that they work for Santa by their own free will. It's a great job, of course, but he doesn't own them. In fact, many elves go on vacation in January. Since the North Pole is so cold, you may see these elves on vacation if you live in a more tropical climate. Keep your eye out. If you see them, know that they're rather like the Secret Service or CIA. They may not be able to acknowledge that they're Santa's elves, so it's probably best not to ask.

Anyway, back to Santa's request: One of the points of my novel is that Glamour comes from within. True power—and magic—is what is held in your heart. It's what makes each person special. Like the tails of the Naturals, it's the identifier that marks us as unique.

Even though fairies can be very cool to know and hang around with, you don't want to get on their bad sides. If you requested one and it didn't appear in your stocking, be thankful. As you may recall from the novel, they don't like being held captive...and they get even.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Journal: Cleaning

Moving into a new house requires a lot of cleaning--especially if you renovate the floors, counters, and walls. Since we arrived at our new home Saturday night, we've been scrubbing, polishing, and disinfecting. It's a lot of work! However, it's worth it. Everything is starting to look more like home, probably because I'm getting to know all the nooks and crannies. My new home and I are getting very personal. We're getting to know each other.

Journal: Write about a location that has a personality. For example, a building, a mall, a classroom. Describe it. Use mood to establish a sense of place.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Journal: Painting

We bought a house. Even though it's fairly new, we wanted to change a few things: counter tops, floors, walls, tiles. Yep. Lots of dust and lots of renovation.

Everything was supposed to be finished by Christmas.

Yeah, right.

So, I was less than enthusiastic when my husband said, "The carpet isn't going in until Monday. Let's paint our bedroom."

The wood floors were in. The granite was in. Dust was everywhere. Max was thrown off from sleeping in a new place, so I had spent most nights dozing in a recliner with a baby who screamed every hour or so.

And he wanted to paint?

Long story short, we didn't kill each other. Sure, I'm still touching up the molding. If my brother and mom hadn't helped, Garrett and I might never have finished.

However, I am pleased with the colors. The room reminds me of antique Wedgwood Jasper China. I've loved that play of strong color on bright white molding ever since I went to the Monticello and Mount Vernon when I was twelve years old. So, I'm happy. Plus, I get to redecorate everything.

Journal: Think of a beautiful place or thing. Let it inspire you. How would you use it as a guide to redecorate your room?