As most of you know my husband is in the Navy. He is pretty old, okay not really, but old for Navy standards. I laugh as I write this, because that makes me old by Navy wife standards. That’s alright we are growing old together and that is what counts the most. Together being used loosely, as it is the Navy, and together and the Navy does not always mesh.
My husband joined back in the day of the dinosaur; otherwise known as 1977. We were married in 1980 so I have been there for most of the journey. Before you start doing the math and say there is no way he is still in, he has broken service. Meaning he got out and came back in, twice actually. I have always said the Navy is in his blood, and apparently the powers that be know this as they kept letting him come back.
It is funny hearing him talk about the people he works with and realizing he has tattoos older than some of the senior guys. I think he has even shared this bit of trivia with them on more than one occasion. They just shake their head and look at him as if he is some kind of relic. Maybe he is, but he is my relic and I love him.
I have to smile when I hear some of the newer, younger, spouses complain that the e-mail is down. Or they haven’t had a phone call lately. Don’t get me wrong, a missed e-mail still sends me into panic mode because I have gotten used to them. I want them. I need them. But then I have to remind myself that there was a time when we did not have e-mail. Heck we did not even have phone calls except for the rare occasion when the ship pulled into port and I was woke at 3am from a collect call from Israel or some other costly place. I can guarantee that phone bill was not pretty on Petty Officer pay!
At the risk of sounding like my parents, who had to walk to school in blinding snowstorms, uphill both ways, I have been there. Afraid to leave the house, because you never knew when the call would come. Before you say it, I have to remind you this was a time even before cell phones. So a missed call was indeed a missed call. There was no e-mail. There was what we now refer to as snail mail. This was race to the mail box everyday in hopes there would be some word, some envelope, that had traveled around the world at a snail’s pace with news so old it didn’t even pertain anymore. Still it was
that life raft which managed to keep me afloat just by knowing he had sealed each envelope with a piece him himself. You know, saliva, as this was even before peel and stick envelopes!
It is funny what we get used to, and what we come to expect. When snail mail was all we had we dealt with it. But now in the “new” Navy, we bitch when the ship’s internet is down and he can’t get on facebook. We complain when the ships phones are down or heaven forbid they have a delay! It is so much easier now than it was in the past. Through creative code I know when my husband is going to call, or when he is going to arrive at what port. Separations are tough even with all the new ways to communicate but at least the “new” Navy is helping to make the ocean feel a whole lot smaller. I am sure at some point they will have the capacity to Skype from onboard the ship. Of course that may be years in the works and I am not sure if we will still be in to see that. Of course if they install people elevators on the ship then maybe we will. As my husband likes to joke that he will retire, when they block his way and tell him he can’t bring his walker onboard the ship!
I am going to end this now, as I just received an e-mail from my hubby. Have a wonderful day!
If you’ve read my work then you know I write mostly romance. Quirky romance that sometimes stretches the limits of romantic norm, but still they tend to fall into the romance category. Well this past weekend I
was fortunate enough to attend a writers conference.
Now this was no ordinary romance writers conference as I have attended in the past. This was the Writers Police Academy. A fun filled weekend of hands on training that is invaluable to writers who strive to hone their craft in all things criminal. The weekend was crammed with exciting lectures, guest speakers and realistic props, so that each writer could fill his or her senses with realism.
We were offered actual police training, albeit abbreviated, on the real goings on in everyday law enforcement, forensics, specialized investigations and courtrooms proceedings. Those lucky enough to be in attendance got treated to a simulated police chase, K-9 demonstrations, building searches, FATS (firearms training simulator) and so much more.
I got handcuffed, shot (thankfully they didn’t let us use real weapons), and got to try on the jacket and helmet they use to disable bombs. This was not as fun as it sounds as the jacket alone weighs in at nearly 100 pounds. The officer who helped me into the suit said it is said to weigh 80 lbs but he has it more around 100. After trying it on I have to agree with him, as all I could do was stand there like the little boy in A Christmas Story. I
was not able to put my arms down. Heck who am I kidding; I couldn’t move a single muscle. I half expected to float away like a helium balloon the second I was freed from the cumbersome jacket.
Upon leaving the exhibit I was asked by a lady in a golf cart if I’d like a ride down the hill, no thanks, I think I will just float down I thought. That feeling was short lived as I hurried to climb onboard before she changed her mind. I justified this ride by the fact that I had been taking the stairs at the hotel when time and strength allowed.
In the handcuffing demonstration I was the guinea pig, I mean suspect. Cpl Jackson, a former Marine and now tough as nails female police officer used me to demonstrate how to arrest someone. After being in the cuffs only moments I was pleased that I had not chosen a life of crime. Being handcuffed is not all it is cracked up to be. Before any of my readers e-mail me to educate me in the pleasures of being handcuffed, let me remind you these were real police grade handcuffs, not padded leopard cuffs. :)
After I was handcuffed, everyone was invited up to see how the cuffs should look when on properly. I was released and we all got to take turns handcuffing each other. Partnered with author Alexandra Sokoloff, I handcuffed her hands securely behind her back, or so I thought. Within seconds she was able to maneuver her legs through her arms so that her hands were now resting more comfortably in front of her body. While
this is something that most people would not be able to do, Alex was able to bring her arms to the front with little more than a tender wrist and broken fingernail. Luckily for me I was not a real cop, with a real gun. One she could have easily taken from me, had I thought her arms still securely behind her. We were told this was the reason they stopped using the chain handcuffs, instead switching to the unforgiving hinged cuff which is impossible to maneuver to the front.
While some may think experiences such as these simply a perk of the job, I can attest that hands on scenarios help to heighten the creativity, moreover they help writers to get it right!
While I had a blast, my voices must have enjoyed the experience as well, as they have been talking nonstop since returning home. For me this unexpected journey has opened new doors and taken me in a whole new direction. It has shown me that every now and then a person must step outside their comfort zone and see what life has to offer. I am sure glad I did as I feel this was only the beginning for me!
Make sure to go my pictures gallery to see more pictures from the weekend.
Like many women my age, I struggle with my weight. I exercise most days, and try to make healthy food choices. Okay the optimum word there is try, because if I am at a
restaurant it is difficult to forgo the fries. I realize it is not actually the potato that appeals to me in those situations but the salt that coats them. I know this, because there have been times where I have eaten cold, limp, grease laden, fries all the while asking myself why I continued to eat them. It was the salt that kept my attention.
So, given the fact that I make mostly healthy food choices by day, I was surprised when last night I had a dream, and healthy food choices were the furthest thing from my mind. I was riding my bike at the airport, okay that in itself is rather bizarre but let’s stay on topic here. I was hungry, and the next thing I knew I was eating a hotdog. I don’t know where the hotdog came from. It was a dream, it just appeared. The point is I do not eat hotdogs. I have maybe two or three hotdogs a year, and that is normally when we are out and there are no other options. I am not only eating this hotdog, but I am enjoying the heck out of it. I have no doubt that I even moaned in my sleep while eating this hotdog. I give my dreaming subconscious credit, because after taking that first delicious bite, I actually questioned whether I should be eating that. Even in my sleep I knew I would balloon up something fierce, but my hands chose to ignore my subconscious and continued to feed my face.
The dream was very vivid, and even now, I remember every scrumptious bite. So much in fact, my mouth actually watered while writing this. Does it count that all the while I was enjoying that sodium filled cylinder, nestled in that soft white bun, that I
was still riding my bike? Probably not, beings I was heading to the store to purchase other forbidden items.
Yes, there was a small store along the road at the airport, it was a dream remember? I arrived at the store and went straight for the sodas. This is yet another thing that is on
my no no list. I do not drink sodas. Okay, I do allow myself to have the occasional Canada Dry Ginger Ale when we order a pizza, and I have to have one or two big red’s when I go to Kentucky. Big red soda’s, Moby Dick fish, and Mike Linnigs are my Kentucky guilty pleasures. But other than those occasions I do not drink or even purchase sodas. Just ask my two oldest grandchildren, who just spent a month at my house, they were going through withdraws, as Gamma did not buy them sodas! Okay, they would say pop, they are being raised in Michigan, it is a northern thing.
So I am in this store and I ask for a coke. I am not sure if it still holds true as I no longer purchase sodas, but as a child growing up in the south when you asked for coke
they always asked you what kind. You rarely said coke and actually meant you wanted a coke.
Next I am at the counter and they are handing me a Pepsi. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Pepsi girl. Luckily even in my dream I held fast on that, telling them that I had not ordered a Pepsi. The lady pulled the bottle away and asked what it was I had wanted. Before I could answer she said Big Red and I agreed that, yes that was what I wanted. Okay, while sodas are a poor choice at least I was drinking the right one.
I then proceeded to the chip isle, which again is a rare treat for me. Once again
I bought my favorite brand, only I did not buy the small individual bag, I know I have to, in order to limit my intake, no I opted for the largest bag of Cheeto’s they had, knowing I would eat them all.
Next I bought a snickers bar. I never buy snickers bars! While I never actually ate anything except the hotdog I know I was going to.
I woke this morning thinking of that hotdog and am still fighting the urge to run to the store and purchase ballparks for breakfast. But what I was most concerned about was getting on the scale this morning, fearing that somehow the sodium would have wreaked havoc on my body during the night. Thankfully that was not the case. But it got me to wondering, do I always eat during my sleep? If so, is this my body’s way of rebelling against its daily intake of salads and chicken? Maybe my weight issue is caused by the choices I make in my sleep, and not the ice cream I have after dinner each night. Is there a way to control our dreams? Can we train our subconscious to make healthy eating choices in our sleep? I think I may have I just figured out the next big diet fad. I should write a book! Hey wait, that is not such a bad idea. People are desperate, looking for excuses and always searching for the easy way out. Just take a peek at my book
shelves, I speak from experience. I must go now; I have another book to write. Coming soon to bookstores near you, Dreaming Your Way Thin…finally, something that will get me on the morning talk shows!
As the summer wanes I find myself thinking about my fall wardrobe. In going through my closet I’ve found Capri’s, jeans and white pants. My first thought was to switch my white pants to my summer closet as I’ve always heard don’t wear white after Labor Day. But I do so love my white pants, having only gravitating toward them since losing weight last year. I like the lighter look as I am one who is often referred to as the lady equivalent of Jonny Cash. Not because I can sing, but because I am often dressed in black from head to toe.
The climate here in Virginia, is often muggy and much more conducive to shorts than their longer cousins. Since it doesn’t cool off in this area until well after Labor Day, most of my cute white pants and capris remain in my closet for most of the season. Therein lies my dilemma. Should I adhere to the centuries old tradition and banish the white, or do I say phooey, and welcome the new season with my beloved white pants? To answer that question I did what I always do, I turned to the internet for answers. To my surprise, I found I am not the only one who has asked that question of late. I
discovered post after post from women, who were just as contradicted as I. More
to the point, I found post after post of women not yet willing to let go of their favorite accessory, be it white pants, blouse or even blazer.
The funny thing is, there is no real clear reason for not wearing white after Labor Day. It seems as though it is one of those things that got started, and gained support, without any real reason to do so. One article suggested it was something started by the elite socialites, as a way of insuring that the up and coming members of society adhere to a certain standard of dress, in order to show their social class.
I on the other hand wonder if it was instigated for a simpler reason. Back in the day, when water had to be drawn from a well or hauled in from a creek, people were more apt to wear clothes more than once before washing. Water was more prevalent in the summertime, allowing for more frequent washing, and harsh weather may prevent laundry from being done on a daily basis. Maybe it was easier to mask dirt when wearing dark clothes, thus allowing a person to wear a garment for multiple days before washing, hence no wearing white after the water started to ice over. It is just my theory, but
you must admit it makes sense.
Whatever the reason, it seems the old custom is just that, an old, outdated, custom which more and more people are ignoring. I am of a mind to leave the white in my closet, and pair it with darker colors as the chill takes hold. In an age where it has become acceptable to wear your pants below your backside, pajama’s to the mall, and house shoes to Wal-Mart, I doubt my white slacks will cause many tongues to wag. Of
course if I am wrong I will just smile and say, it’s okay, I own a washing machine!
Why is it when you look your worst you get unexpected visitors? I worked in my yard for three hours recently, trimming the hedges, pulling weeds and pulling even more weeds. After the first hour in the sweltering heat, looking less than presentable, the pest guy, who was spraying the house next door, caught my attention asking the status of my children’s book. I let him know it was out, and of course I have copies, to which he said
he wanted one. I went in, washed my hands, retrieved the book, and signed it for his three children. It just goes to show that I never turn down a chance to sell or talk about any of my books!
I went back to work on the yard, and after about an hour the neighbor kid drove up and
decided to come over and say hello. This is rare, as he normally has blinders on and goes straight from the car to the house and back again, without a doubt still numb from the blare of his stereo. But not this time, no this time he walked over to say hello. Keep in mind by now I’d been working in the heat for over two hours. He told me the yard was looking good and I told him no, it is looking less bad. After chatting several moments he went inside and I got back to work kneeling in the dirt pulling weeds.
Two separate people stopped to ask me where the yard sale that was, three houses down, closed for the day, back open in the morning. At the three hour mark I am now totally covered in dirt, the sweat is causing the dirt to run in streaks down my legs. On a scale of one-ten I am pretty sure I was a minus seven on the sexy meter. I looked up and another neighbor who’d purchased a Goblin book the day before, had seen me outside and decided to bring the kids by and let me know they loved the book! The kids had a ton of questions and comments about the book. I answered them all, told them I was
happy they loved the book, and made further small talk until they were ready to leave.
I have few friends in the area so it is rare that I get company, yet today when I looked the worst I’ve probably ever looked I had plenty of eyes upon me. It is funny that even though I looked as though I had walked through a garden hose and wallowed in the mud, not one person made any comment about the state of my appearance. Were they just being polite or were they afraid if they made mention of how hard I was working that I might ask them to help? I guess I’ll never know…
I don’t remember exactly how old I was but from the picture in my mind I would guess my age to be around ten. My parents had taken us to a farm. I am sure it was a farm belonging to a distant relative, but again just who that may have been escapes me. So you may be wondering why I would chose to write about something I don’t remember that well, but that is the thing, while I do not remember my age or where precisely we were, I do remember what happened that day so many years ago.
My brothers and I were watching the farmers harvest the crop. They were using a machine which had a long shoot and loading a semi with soybeans. After they were finished they shut down for a bit and all of us kids got to climb right up into that semi trailer and play in that bed of beans! We had such a grand time. I firmly believe that the inventor of the air filled bouncy house must have got the idea while playing in a semi bed filled with soybeans.
Oh what fun it was walking on that bed of beans, our feet sinking, and disappearing, into the tan colored pellets. Often our shoes would slip off and we would have to dig to recover them. That in itself was fun because as we dug the beans would cave in around the hole, in such a way of playing in a sandbox of loose flowing sand.
After digging for shoes lost its allure we finally took them off and tossed them unceremoniously out of the trailer. After that we discovered a new joy. Oh what fun we had sinking our toes into the countless tiny balls. They were warm from the heat of the sun and kept their heat when poured into the large steel trailer which was covered to help contain the beans. It was open at the end which allowed for the hopper to spray
the beans into the truck and also the route we traveled to climb down into the
In a time before cable, or video games, there was no better time than we had that day.
Unfortunately that joy was short lived. The chute appeared in the opening and
started filling the truck. At first it was fun getting pelted with the tiny
balls but soon the fun nearly turned deadly. As those beans flew into the truck
a whirlwind effect started, and soon we found it very difficult to breath. Our
lungs were filling with husks, dust, and whatever else was being forced into the
truck. I think that is the first time in my life I actually worried that I was
going to die. For what seemed like forever, however in reality probably only
lasted a few moments, I had a fear of being buried alive. I don’t know if they
suddenly remembered there were children playing inside of the trailer, or if we
just got lucky but we all survived. I remember not being able to breathe very
well for a couple of days but in that era you didn’t run to the doctor just
because you inhaled a bit of soybean dust.
My husband has always said children grow up in spite of us not because of us. I am not sure where the quote originated but looking back, I think the statement is so very true…
Yesterday I decided that the weeds in my yard were
causing me too much anguish. While I felt guilty not being in the house writing,
I felt that the stress each time I looked at what needed to be done in the yard,
was not doing me any good.
So I decided to allow myself one hour of weeding. Well I
enjoyed myself so much that the one hour turned into 3.5 hours. I got a lot
accomplished and can now look out the windows without cringing.
One of the other things I have been neglecting is my
exercise routine. It is not that I do not want or need to exercise it is just
that I get so caught up in the editing/writing mode that I have blinders on,
and feel guilty when I do anything not related to writing.
The problem is if I take an hour to pull weeds and an
hour to exercise then that is two hours out of my precious editing time.
Well this morning it appears I may have found an answer
to this, a way to cut that time in half. You see while I was pulling weeds I was
squatting, bending, reaching, and pulling (some of those buggers require a bit
of muscle to remove). I did not realize is at the time but I was getting a full
workout doing what needed to be done. I know it was a workout, as today I have
winced more than once at the pain from yesterday’s “workout.” Surely knowing I
am completing two tasks at the same time it will ease my guilt at being in the
yard for an extended time.
That new revolution has changed my outlook on simple
tasks that I have on my “to do” list. I can now mop the floors, scrub the
counters and clean the bathrooms all while knowing that I am indeed multi
tasking. Not only will I get my exercise in, but my house will look well kept in
the process. Instead of mopping the floors I can hand scrub them, bathrooms will
now be cleaned while squatting, not bending and kneeling. Scrubbing the
counters will be done in long deliberate motions. Yes, the possibilities are
I hope to
get to the point where my neighbors think I have writers block. Surely if I have
so much time to maintain my yard and house I could not possibly be getting
anything else done!
Yes, that is the plan, but for now I am going to get back
to editing as all of this talk of house work and lawn care is really wearing me
I’ve decided to give a bit of background on my journey to becoming published.
First let me say that my editor has told me that the reason I can write is because I am a
natural story teller. I come up with an idea and let the voices lead me along the road to completion. She has also told me that the reason I can knock so many storylines out so quickly is because I do not know what I’m doing. Let me explain: unlike most in the writing field, it was not always my goal to become a writer. Sure I dabbled in poetry, wrote letters and even wrote some newsletters for several volunteer organizations I was involved in, but that is really as far as it went.
One day out of the blue I told a friend, who was not in a happy place, that I was going to write her a happy ending. What I thought would be a short story soon took on a life of its own and Amber’s Eyes, which was the “working” title to Tears of Betrayal was born. While I knew I needed help in the punctuation department I felt it was a really good story. It was the first time I thought “wow; I need to see about getting this published.” That leap from writing to being published took me twelve years!
I tried to find friends to edit it (please do not do this) and I even hired an editor (off of Craig’s list who took my money and never edited the novel, so please DO NOT do that either!) I also contacted a real editor who told me I would need to edit my book before she could edit it.
She told me I was a natural story teller but I needed help with the sentence structure and mechanics. I was then really confused, wasn’t this what editors do?
I finally decided I would self publish my book but how could I self publish a book when I didn’t have an editor? The last thing I wanted to do was send an unedited manuscript out into the world. It was all so very frustrating. My prayers were finally answered when I found my publisher, Koehler Books. Not only did they do traditional books but they also offered a
publishing package. Some people refer to this as vanity publishing; I call it an answer to a prayer. If I was going to spend the money to publish it anyway, why not use that money and have someone who knew what they were doing do it for me? Not only that, but in the process I would get to work with a “real” editor and have a “real” book.
While few in the industry condone this, I am not the least bit sorry that I took this route. In the process of getting published I was able to meet and work with Michelle Johnson, a wonderful editor whom I still work with to this very day. I hired Michelle to edit my second novel, The Scars Between Us, and after doing so, the novel was picked up by Koehler Books as a traditional book deal with no cost to me.
Michelle has also edited two of my children’s books, the first of which is due out next month and she and I are currently working on the revisions of my third novel.
I am a good story teller. I have wonderful muses. I have six manuscripts in various stages of completion, with ideas for at least as many more beyond that. I also know I am still learning my craft and that I need to work with an editor to help me polish it to where my audience will enjoy reading it without picking it apart. I am grateful to John Koehler for giving me my start. I am also grateful for Michelle Johnson and her continued patience. She is a wonderful editor and a great teacher and I am so lucky to have found her and in finding the right editor for me I was able to move from “self published” to “traditionally published”.
As a published author, I can honestly say I have never worked so hard in my life. But, I can also say I have never been happier. I am still learning and I am still writing, my journey has only begun!
After seeing recent photo of my blinding white legs I have decided I am in need of a bit of sun on my lower extremities. So for that reason I have taken to lying out for an hour a day. I have found that if I lay out early in the day it is a bit more tranquil and I can toss around storylines
in my head. In case you didn’t know a writer is always writing, even when they look like they are not.
Today was no different. I was laying there enjoying the suns warmth when my tranquility was interrupted by the sounds of the neighbor’s dog. “Quiet you beast,” I called from the recesses of my mind. He continued to bark, and bark, and bark. What an annoying little brute I thought, wishing him to be more like my Oliver. My good, quiet little boy who was lying at the base of the shed, quietly willing one of the new little bunnies to come out and play.
Once again the neighbor’s dog started blaring a round of
woof’s when suddenly I realized that my Oliver, my quiet little gentleman had
joined in on the tirade. I called to him but he ignored me. This was not like
him. After several moments and many more woof’s from both sides of the fence I
decided it was time to investigate. I slipped on a shirt, so as not to frighten
the neighbors, and made my way to the back of the property.
As I approached the fence Oliver, who until this time had
played the spectator, grew bold and began lunging at the fence. What had gotten
the two into such a state, but a tiny little opossum who was clinging to the
top of the fence, holding on for dear life!
My first thought was to try to help it make it to a
nearby tree. My second thought was to look around for the little guy’s mother as
it was without a doubt too young to be on its own.
As Oliver lunged once more the baby bared its teeth
leaving no doubt that it would use them if further provoked. Gone were the
thoughts of picking it up and helping it along its way. Besides growing up in
the country I have seen the damage these little buggers can do when cornered,
which is why I did not follow my maternal instincts in the first place.
Still I could not just leave it there quaking in its grip
on the fence post. So I reached through the fence and picked up a long, thin,
log from the firewood pile, and was able to maneuver it so that the baby would
take hold of it.
My thought was to get the baby onto the log and then move
the log close enough to the neighboring tree for it to get out of harms way. A
plan that worked well for the first few seconds as the opossum decided it would
much rather be on the high end of the stick, you know the end where my fingers
were. At that point I had no choice but to quickly lean the log against the
fence post, which once again allowed the baby to climb up to the top of the
fence. Luckily though this did take it several posts away from its original
position, and a bit further from the clamoring dogs, who by now had seemed to
tire of this game. I retreated to the house, sun and tranquility forgotten, and
the dogs followed suit. Once again the neighborhood is quiet, and the baby
opossum has lived to see another day.