Wednesday, December 22, 2010
~~I'm walking on air as you can imagine. This is so exciting. Next time, I won't be as shocked when the store calls and says, "We need more copies, please." ; )
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
~~Sunday is the day our Angel Tree Gifts are due at church and we are the organizers of this ministry. John suggested it over twenty-five years ago. We get names of needy children from the Carrollton Schools Christmas Sponsorship Program. This year the church is providing gifts for seventy-five children and five adults. The mothers' requests were poignant--flatware, cook books, baking tools, pots and pans. They want to be able to feed their children. John and I are honored and blessed to work with this project every year.
~~On the writing front, I'm doing well. In December I have written 5289 new and reworked words. This includes a comprehensive look at the overarching theme and controlling image of Friendly Fire. To say this is good is an understatement.
~~Book sales have been good. In December, I've been to a family Christmas Party, spoke at Bethel Baptist Church, FBC's Current Events class, and will speak at the Adult I department tomorrow. Add an interview with Spencer Crawford of the Times-Georgian on this coming Wednesday and you have a great sales month. Look for the interview in the "Sunday Living" section of the Times-Georgian on Sunday, December 19.
~~So, enjoy December, freezing temps, snow flurries, gifts, books, good food and family. John and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
~~Over at the Forum, among the crew of talented writers I share the Research and Craft and Writers Exercises folders with, there was an astounding output of words for NaNo month. The final tally is in the neighborhood of 910,000 words. I'm blown away by the number of creative people who reached the 50,000 goal. That includes one, Clarice in NZ, who wrote 100,000+ words.
~~November is a month to celebrate writers and words. May the words continue to flow for all the writers in the world. I can't live without them. ; )
Monday, November 22, 2010
~~If you know our travel history, you know we have been to Jamaica nine times, Mexico twice, the Bahamas twice, and Aruba once. What can we say, but we love warm beaches in the winter. I had had to take off my shoes several times when they began the pat downs. John, of course, sailed on through in nothing flat, when they began to pull me over. Let me tell you, I've had gentler mammograms. The first time, I was shaking in my socks. Remember, I've already taken off my shoes. ; ) But pat down number two was harder. I nearly laughed in the woman's face. For some reason, I don't think that would be conducive to moving on to the plane for Atlanta. I wouldn't be worried now if I had to be patted down.
~~I'm not trying to make light of any one's concerns. I'm just saying there are far worse things than an airport pat down. Like being blown out of the sky.
Friday, November 19, 2010
1. Clean the house for company
2. Plan and start the cooking for Turkey Day
3. Keep writing at least 600 words a day and type them all in
~~And I need help! My puppy boys aren't much help unless you count licking my face and wagging tails. Where is my Jesse? Watch this marvelous video clip to see what I mean.
~~By the way, my new word total for Friendly Fire in November is now 14,270. That includes my "monster day" on Thursday when I wrote 1700 words.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
~~Before you question my sanity, I'm not an official participant in NaNo. I know the physical limits of my wrists. But I do have a group of friends on the Forum who are. We have a thread going so that we can share our output and number of words created every day. I'm piggybacking on the energy and momentum of the group. Some of then have already written nearly 10,000 words in two or three days. I'm proud to say, I've been productive if nowhere near their output. I wrote 600 new words on Monday and 900 new words on Tuesday. If I maintain an average of 600 per day for the month, I'll create 18,000 new words for Friendly Fire by the end of November.
~~I'm going to try. Keep your fingers crossed. ; )
Friday, October 29, 2010
~~During the Cherry Hill House Party on the Forum--Here, we found some of the characters in the past of my mythical west Georgia town of Cherry Hill. My novel-in-progress, Friendly Fire, is set in the present, but as I created back story for the other writers, I created a history for Laura Grace Chandler's hometown. That history included the founder, Lawton Cherry or "The Law." As we wrote, he became more than than just a name in the "history book" of Cherry Hill to me. Law Cherry began to speak and tell me his story. I thought you might enjoy reading two snips about my ghost. Who knows, someday I might have to write his story.
~~Lawton Cherry was six foot eight and weighed a bit over two hundred pounds. It was the ranginess that fooled them into thinking Cherry was weak. That mistake was apparent the minute they challenged him. Law Cherry could out reach and out punch anyone. For one man, it was his last mistake. But he wasn't worth a cuss any way.
~~"Law, I know you is prodigiously wealthy," Josiah Barnes spat a brown stream dangerously close to the large mud-caked shoes, "but why you won't buy a slave that's cheaper than any 'cropper is beyond me."
~~The light brows drew down over the slate blue blue eyes. Anyone else knowing the man well, would have run then.
~~"I might consider it, Josiah, if I needed all my money for 'bacca and lightning like you do." The voice was quiet, but full of disdain.
~~There were only two vices in Lawton Cherry's book--wasting time and wasting his money.
~~Have a happy Halloween. May your ghosts all give you good stories. ; )
Monday, October 18, 2010
~~Before you remind me that a novel's title isn't set in stone (or ink) until a publisher prints it, let me assure you, I know. My need for the best working title is all for me. When a friend, who knows the story of the novel commented that she wouldn't pick it up if all she knew was the title, I knew something was wrong. In fact, I think I already knew that. I'd been having trouble answering the question, "What is your novel about?" for some time. As I mentioned the characters Rosemary, Dean, and Mack, my subconscious was telling me that Mother's Day didn't fit. So, I went on a title hunt.
~~My first try was Lady in Waiting. At least I could tie this title to Laura Grace, Samantha, and Rosemary. Some of my fellow CCWC members liked it better than Mother's Day, but something was still wrong. Lady in Waiting sounded like a historical romance. And my book isn't either. It's a contemporary and not a romance at all. So, back to the drawing board.
~~On the Forum, the October Exercise in the Writers Exercise folder proved to be fertile ground. And yet, I still didn't see it. John did. The exercise centered on Mack Singer, a retired Marine, now teacher. As he spoke through the free association exercise on physical and emotional abuse of Dean, he used the term "friendly fire" and it was perfect. It just took me a week to realize it.
~~During MeccaFest, I was asked constantly about what I was writing. As I used Friendly Fire to describe my novel, I was struck by how easy it had become to explain my theme. In other words, the perfect title had appeared.
~~So, here it is--my new elevator pitch for Friendly Fire. Tell me what you think. ; )
Our deepest wounds come from the friendly fire of those around us who should be our strongest support. Laura Grace Chandler, a retired, recently widowed teacher, finds her friendly fire comes from losing her husband of many years and childlessness. The foster child she adopts has been sexually abused. Laura Grace's best friend and her son are abused by their husband and father. Healing must come by helping each other. Their new friend, a retired Marine, has wounds from his own friendly fire. Together they will learn to heal and love again. Friendly Fire is the first of two novels set in Cherry Hill, Georgia.
~~By the way, as an added bonus, I've found the title for Friendly Fire's sequel as well--Line of Fire. I'll save that story for another day. ; )
Friday, October 15, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
It was HOT! When you sit in the middle of a parking lot, surrounded by asphalt, you expect the heat, but the reality is way beyond expectations. John said it was only 89 degrees, but it might as well have been 95. There was a breeze and that helped. T. L. Gray and I had a good day selling our books and making contacts with various people. Check you T. L.'s website http://www.thebloodofcain.com/ Her book is wonderful! Be sure to read all the reviews. I recommend it highly if you like good stories that are well told.
We'll both be at MeccaFest, October 9-10, at the Cultural Arts Center in Carrollton. The Carrollton Creative Writers Club will not only be selling our books, but also will be presenting "Local Voices". We will read excerpts, poems, and stories from our works from 10:30 till 3 on Saturday and 11:30 till 4 on Sunday in the Mabry Auditorium. I'll be reading three excerpts form Mother's Day, my novel in progress. At least the readings will be inside. Come and see us at the tents or enjoy the creativity of the members. We'd love to see you all.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
No, I'm not kidding. Thirty-three years ago on September 4, John and I got married. We were twenty-one years old and ready to take on the world. Since we met at what was then West Georgia College in a Political Science class titled "Foreign Relations", you might not be surprised that we get married at Kennedy Chapel on the Front Campus. At eight in the morning. Really. We knew how busy Maple Street was during the day and wanted the ceremony to be outside on the steps amid the trees and flowers of Front Campus. So, early in the morning on Labor Day Sunday, we said our "I do's". Pleasantly cool air greeted the twenty-three guests. I had made my dress and John's shirt and tie.
After the ceremony, we ate brunch in place of a reception. So is it any wonder, that we celebrated our anniversary with a buffet breakfast this morning? What could be better?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
~~Well, I'm ecstatic! We had a stellar house party. Among us, we wrote 180,976 words from Thursday night, July 29, to Saturday night, August 7. I had prepared about 10,000 words before hand. I didn't use all of them, and some had to be reshaped to fit the story as we went. As the other writers interacted with their characters, I found myself describing more and more about Laura Grace Chandler's home town, Cherry Hill, Georgia.
~~My characters--Laura Grace, Samantha, Rosemary, and Dean--had to respond to the story as well. I wrote a total of 13,646 words across the nine days of the house party. My total original words of all types connected with the house party is 18,410. That's amazing! Much of this material will be useful with some reshaping in my novel, Mother's Day. More importantly, my understanding of the relationship between Laura Grace and Rosemary has become clear. This is one to the emotional cores of my story. I hadn't seen a way to tell this part of the story until my fellow writers reacted to my town. Now I can write Mother's Day as it should written.
~~To my Forum family, thank you, one and all, dear friends for this gift. It's beyond anything I could have imagined.
Monday, August 2, 2010
~~The long answer takes some explaining. ; ) I'm a member of the CompuServe Books and Writers Forum and an active participant in the Writers Exercises folder. My fellow members and I do writing craft exercises every month and every few months, we hold an online house party in the setting of one of our works in progress. This time, my Laura Grace Chandler is hosting over forty characters that range from contemporary to historical and fantasy to scifi. Twelve different writers are adding to the running story that started late Thursday night and will continue into the coming weekend. They are from all over the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We trust each other with our characters and, as the story evolves, we can find our creations doing all sorts of strange and wonderful things. The greatest thing about a house party is that, as you write by the seat of your pants, you have to respond to suggestions and situations you could not have thought of by yourself. Characters have a way of deepening and stretching in reaction to the scenes and the writer's grasp on the person that inhabits their stories deepens with it.
~~If you would like to sample the story go to:
You do not have to be a member of the forum to read the story. But a word of warning: It is wickedly fast, well over 200 posts long, and no where near to completion. You just might find yourself hooked. ; )
If you want to get a glimpse of how we communicate with each other outside of the story, try the commentary thread here:
~~Happy reading! ; )
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
~~...1980 when we began to extensive renovation of John's grandparents' house in Temple. It's the lovely lady home you've seen all spring in my posts. We moved on September 1 and on September 5, I had us a new kitten. She was small and all black. In fact, she was too young--only five weeks old, but she was ours. I named her Darkness. No usual name like Blackie nor Midnight for my kitty. ; ) Her yellow eyes glowed in contrast to the glossy fur. The vet did ask me what I paid for her. I told him nothing. He grinned and said, "Good. Because you now owe for flea treatment, testing, and worming." I guess $70 wasn't so bad...
~~The first night we took Darkness home, we put her to bed in a large appliance carton. It had all the comforts--litter box, food, water, and bedding. But in the morning, Darkness wasn't in it. Her tiny claws had nicked the side where she climbed out. Now where would you go in a 2000 square foot house when you are only the size of a person's palm? We began the hunt among the boxes and the furniture and finally found her. She had scaled the sofa and was sitting, paws tucked in regal splendor on the folded afghan in the living room. And so the Queen had arrived. ; )
~~From that day forward, she took over our hearts and settled in. And never stopped amazing us. We knew cats greeted each other by touching noses, so we would touch her nose and make a kissing noise. Imagine our surprise when she began to "kiss" us back, smacking her lips. We then would make the sound when we came in the room and would then come over a repeat the nose touch routine. Darkness began to kiss back from a distance. But the day that she kissed us first from the other side of the room was a red-letter day! Who has ever had a cat who blew kisses before? ; )
~~I'll continue Darkness' story in later posts. You've not seen anything yet!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
~~I'm thankful to John for taking me to the ceremony. We met Joann Dunn, and Frank and Mary Rogers for supper then went to the KSU Center. Joann was nominated in poetry for The Implied Now and Frank's book, Upon a Crazy Horse, netted him a nomination in First Novel. That's a fine sampling of the creative output of the Carrollton Creative Writing Club. Here's to all of you for the lovely words you spin. ; )
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
~~My first cat was Puff, a large tuxedo tom in the classic markings. His white, dipped-in-cream feet and white chest were perfect. But why would a tom cat be named such a frilly name? I didn't remember for years until someone reminded me that our first Dick and Jane readers had more than one pet. The cat's name was Puff. That tells me more about myself than the cat. ; ) I loved to read and my cat bore the name with dignity. We lost him to a mouse or rat that had been poisoned with strychnine. I didn't immediately add another cat. Daddy didn't let me. But another cat thought differently about the situation.
~~When a full-grown, plush-coated tom took up with us, I fed him. His smoky gray fur was soft and thick. Pale green eyes watched everything carefully. He had survived without help and he didn't relinquish control of his life. He came and went as he wished and lived with me for several years. I named him Malek after a wolf-human hybrid character in an Andre Norton book. As you can see, I was still reading. Malek was a comfort and a hunter. His skill at catching squirrels from what looked like a deep sleep never ceased to amaze me. He wandered off one day and didn't return, always the independent operator who allowed me to share his life for a while.
~~When I reached ninth grade, my piano teacher raised Siamese cats. She had several and offered to give me a tom from a litter of chocolate points. Daddy agreed and that is why my last cat before graduating from high school and college was named Etcetera. My sister Thea suggested it because the king of Siam always loved saying "et cetera, et cetera" in the "The King and I". And it fit. The long, sleek, sophisticated cat clearly knew he was special. Daddy even allowed him to live inside for a few years. In that time, I became very accomplished at meowing in Siamese. It has a distinctive sound all its own. Etcetera was my confidant when teen-aged angst hit and even took revenge for me when my siblings teased me too much. Have you ever had a large cat pounce into the back of your knees and make you nearly fall? That might be why Daddy decided that in the house was just too close for comfort. Etcetera had a room in the garage with the freezer to keep him warm in the winter. He continued to be my listener as I grew up.
~~All these cats hold special places in my life. That might be why, when John and I moved to a place that would allow us to have pets after three years of marriage, our next cat was home within a week of our move. I'll tell you about Darkness next time. ; )
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
~~The cherries are nearly ripe and Mother's Day is here. We can't help but wonder if our avian acrobatic troup is about to appear. Let's be fair, though. We've only seen them once. On Mother's Day 2008, we looked out the solarium windows and found our Yoshino Cherry trees buzzing with wings. Small birds were going in and out. We had never seen them before and had to look them up. They were eating the tiny cherries that our trees create every spring after their glorious blooms are spent. Ornamental trees often produce small fruit that birds and squirrels eat. Our trees are no different. The event inspired a scene for my novel in progress, Mother's Day. The point of view is my main character, Laura Grace Chandler. The child is Samantha, her newly adopted daughter. I hope you enjoy it. ; )
I jumped at the sink and water showered my chest not my face. What could be so important this morning? Grabbing the towel, I went to investigate.
“You’ve got to see this!” Her excited voice drew me to the bay window of the living room. Raucous calls of “zeee” rose from fluttering birds in the Yoshino cherry tree on the other side of the deck.
“There’s hundreds of ‘em!” Samantha stared, mouth open, as the birds fluttered among the leaves. Acrobatic feats of flying rewarded them with choice, ripe cherries.
“Get the Peterson’s Guide.” My hand rose to my heart. “I can’t believe this, but I believe they're cedar waxwings."
She bounced back and handed me the book. “Waxwings?”
I flipped the pages. “Let’s see. ‘Crested brown bird. Yellow band at tail tip.’ Yes.”
“Look at the wings.” She pointed. “Looks like red Christmas candle wax on ‘em.”
“Guess that’s where they got their name, don’t you? I’ve heard of them all my life, but I’ve never seen one.”
Samantha ran back to the bookshelf and grabbed a book on North American birds. She giggled. “It says sometimes they get drunk if the fruit’s fermented. Calls them ‘tipsy birds.’”
“That would make flying difficult, I imagine.” I laughed. The delight of the birds' antics warmed my heart. “I think they’re tanking up to fly north to their mating range.” I looked back at the field guide. “Yes. Here’s the map.”
“It says they have to sober up to fly again. That’s just weird!” She stared at the birds again. “Wonder how long it will take for them to eat all the cherries?”
“Not long at this rate.” I glanced at the clock. “Oh, Samantha! We have to hurry. The Mother’s Day service won’t wait on us.” I grinned. This was a special day. It was my first Mother’s Day since I had become Samantha’s legal mother.
“Okay. I just got to dress. Then I’ll watch the birds till you’re ready.”
She skipped down the hall in front of me. Thank you, Lord, for the gifts of this day. Samantha’s mine and cedar waxwings to entertain us. I grinned at my reflection. “I don’t deserve this. I’m so happy,” I whispered to the wrinkled face, wreathed in smile lines. As I grabbed my purse, I heard Samantha singing. The child was a happy as I was.
“Momma, I just can’t imagine a tipsy bird staggering on the deck. Bet it’d be as funny as Dale stumbling around when Craig let him drink beer.”
I stopped. Closing my eyes a moment with my hand clinched, I felt my heart thud. Would Samantha ever escape that horror? I took a deep breath. “Let’s go, angel. We’re late.”
**************************************************~~Happy Mother's Day to all of you. May your day be filled with delights of family and nature!
Friday, April 30, 2010
~~During the last two weeks, John and Rayford, a family friend, have removed the ninety-year-old siding from the west side. It was beginning to show its age. By the way, this is the side of the house with the cherry tree referred to in my blog title. They have replaced it with plywood weather sheathing, house wrap, and new concrete fiber siding. Then they are painting her with a new, darker coat of green paint. If you look at the photos closely enough, you will see the name of the building supply store we purchased materials from. ; )
~~John plans to tackle the east side next spring. Around here, I don't create "Honey do" lists. He creates his own "Honey, I'm going to do this next" lists. It's great to be married to a handyman. ; )