Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

We are going on a short vacation for a few days, so I wanted to take a minute before we head out to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

As we cross over from one year to the next, it always seems to be a good time for taking stock and perhaps deciding to make some changes, but as far as resolutions go, I don't think I'm going to make any.

I never was good at keeping the ones I used to make, so why bother?

But I will try to be more mindful of the good things in life and savor the moments that make living so worthwhile. That way I might not mind the swift passage of time so much and might discover a little gift of nature that could have gone unnoticed.

I hope good things come to all of you in 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Make My Day

We who write so often do so without a lot of personal feedback, and it is always exciting to get a note from someone who was touched by our words. Yesterday morning, I was pleased to find two wonderful messages in my guestbook on

" I loved your book "One Small Victory" and am grateful to have this opportunity to thank you for your fine work! Continued success in 2009!" Denise DiFalco, Fort Gratiot MI

"One Small Victory touched just about every emotion I have. I loved the way you felt as if you truly knew the characters and could feel her anguish as much as her courage. This is one of those books which linger in your heart and mind longer after you have read the last page." Laura Emerson, Biloxi MS

It is always such a thrill to find a fan letter, and these came at a time when I really needed the boost. Thank you ladies!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Writing a Synopsis Doesn't Have to Kill You

I am guest blogging today, sharing some tips on how to write a synopsis here: It's a technique I learned sort of by chance, but has really helped me.

Stop by if you have a chance.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Yuck, Germs!

Being sick on the holidays is no fun. I started with a cold early this past week and sniffled my way through Christmas Eve and Christmas. Then I wasn't getting any better so I went to the doctor yesterday to find out I have a severe sinus infection -- as opposed to an ordinary sinus infection, I guess.

Anyway, this has sure put a crimp in all my plans to do some projects with the new cordless drill I got for Christmas. Or maybe start working on one of the jigsaw puzzles.

No, what I do is maybe a little bit of work and then collapse on the couch for another nap. And the work isn't that productive. Not when my head feels like it is stuffed with cotton. Not much clarity of thought under those conditions.

My hope is that the doctor was right and I will be feeling a WHOLE lot better by tomorrow.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What Success Means

I had several recent signing events for One Small Victory, and I am pleased that I will be able to donate a nice sum to the two charities benefiting from sales this month. The Trails Country Centre for the Arts and Morgan's Mercy Mansion, a drug rehab center for women in East Texas are the charities I am supporting.

At the most recent signing, a nice young boy, about 12 or 13 stopped by my table for a piece of candy. He seemed genuinely impressed to meet a real live author, and we talked a bit about books, and reading, and writing.

He left, then came back and asked if he could take one of my books to see if his dad would help him buy it for Mom for Christmas. "I know she would love it," he said. "I just have to ask The Man for money."

This young man was such a delight to talk to, and he was so excited when he came back so I could sign the book to his mother. "This is the kind of book she reads all the time, and she will be thrilled to have one signed by the author."

Moment like these make all the hassle and work of signing events worthwhile. I know I should be more of a capitalist and be more focused on selling lots of books, but I can't help it. To see young people so excited about reading and writing, just does it for me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sock it To the Consumer

I heard on the news today that one of the large oil refineries is going to cut production because the cost of oil is more than the price of gasoline, so they cannot continue to produce until the price of gasoline goes back up.

Excuse me. This is the same oil refinery that six months ago had record profits. Why can't they suck this shortfall up like the rest of us do when we face hard times?

No, their response is to make sure they get more money and hold the consumer hostage.

Is anybody ever going to get the fact that we simply cannot survive if the economy continues to be driven the same way it has in recent history? We can't just be focused on our own bottom line without regard to the impact on other businesses and other people. And we can't continue to just keep throwing more money at the problem and inflating the paper economy even more.

We have to put money where it will do some good. Like into the marketplace and into individual pockets to stimulate retail sales.

Instead of corporations being bailed out or going into bankruptcy, why not ask the highest paid people to forgo their salary for a year. Certainly those who make millions every year have enough in the back to live for a year without the salary. And that money could go toward keeping the company afloat.

And instead of the government increasing the deficit to find money to help people through this crisis, why not a hold on all top-level government pay for a year? And streamline administration to save millions in man hours and redundancy.

Okay, rant over. I feel marginally better. That is until next week when the price of gas jumps for Holiday travel....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Better to Laugh Than Cry

Here's another bit of humor from my friend, Tracy Farr.....

It's more than just a haircut

Our country is going through some dire times. Banks are collapsing, the American auto industry is hitting speed bumps, and people are just not buying executive jets like they used to. So, it is up to us -- you and me -- to get this economy going again, and that's why I did my patriotic duty this weekend and got a haircut.
Tim is my barber. He's been cutting my hair for almost 15 years. He knows exactly how I like it cut without me having to tell him. And if Tim's barbershop goes under, so goes the country.
It's a known fact that my money ($10 plus a dollar tip) helps to keep Tim and many others in business. When I pay Tim for my haircut, he spends it on things like rent, shaving cream and magazine subscriptions. His landlord is happy to be able to keep landlording, the shaving cream company is happy to continue delivering Tim's favorite shaving cream, and the magazines are happy because they are assured they can print next month's edition.
Tim takes a portion of that $10 as his salary and spends it at Wal-Mart, thus guaranteeing job security for the Associates. The Associates use their 10 percent discount to buy T-shirts and Jessica Simpson posters, thus guaranteeing that the T-shirt companies and Jessica Simpson stay in business. The T-shirt companies and Jessica Simpson are so happy to be making money that they decide to work together and make a Jessica Simpson T-shirt, which the Wal-Mart Associates buy in bulk and wear on their days off.
Since Jessica reaps the benefits of being worn all over the place, she takes her cut of the profits and produces a Christmas special, thus employing a bunch of Hollywood types who know just how to make a cheesy TV program but wouldn't be caught dead wearing a Jessica Simpson T-shirt. These Hollywood types produce "The Jessica Simpson Wish You Were Here Holiday Christmas Sing-A-Long Special" and make millions on advertising by airing it on prime time TV, thus causing simple folk like you and me to say, “How can they get away with putting this goat poop on television?” at which time we turn off the TV and get down on the floor to play games with our kids.
Because of my little $10 haircut, hundreds of people are employed, millions of dollars exchange hands, thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer are emptied trying to keep all those germs at bay, families all over this great nation are doing something family-ish, and I feel like I've done my part in bringing this country back from the brink of disaster.
So what are you waiting for? Our country needs us! Go get a haircut, and together we shall save the world!
The Daily Spittoon -- Almost worth a shave and a haircut!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Excerpt Contest

One Touch, One Glance Anthology -- A collection of "sweet " romances

I am so pleased that my story "New Love" is part of this wonderful book and I am sharing space with such terrific writers. The book will release officially on December 9 -- It can be purchased HERE

As part of our release celebration we are having a contest. If you come here as part of the contest, the excerpt you are looking for is below. Have fun and good luck.


Love can be just as sweet the second time around. And there are no age limits.


“What am I doing? Acting like a love-sick teenager, that’s what.”

He made the personal indictment aloud while driving slowly down the tree-lined street checking addresses. Ten hours of driving had left him with burning eyes, and the shadows of near dusk were hard to penetrate. It didn’t help that he hadn’t been here in ten years. What if she’d moved since they had last seen each other? What if she didn’t want an eighty-year-old man showing up on her doorstep with courting in mind?

Then he saw it. Her house. A little yellow frame structure nestled between two sprawling brick ranches. It was so unique, he should have remembered the distinction and not bothered with trying to read addresses. He started to stop in front of her home, but panic struck and jangled his nerves. What if she’s married again? Accelerating, he drove past to the end of the street. There, he pulled to the curb and took a couple of deep breaths. Leaves of gold and red scuttled down the sidewalk driven by the evening breeze. God, Patrick, why didn’t you think of this sooner? A simple phone call would have answered that question.

He pulled out his cell phone and looked at it. It was a present from his kids. They had all agreed they would feel better if he had one while he was traveling. His son had programmed all the important numbers into the phone to make it easier for Patrick to call them. But he didn’t need numbers programmed for him. He might forget a lot of things. But not numbers. Even after all these years he still remembered Jean’s number. He could call now, and if a man answered, he’d hang up.

That thought elicited a chuckle. Was his life now a cliché?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Directing "Scrooge"

This has been a busy week as we draw closer to opening night of the play, Scrooge, at a community theatre here in East Texas. Tonight is dress rehearsal and we open tomorrow. I am directing, as well as playing a small role, and the nerves are going into over-drive.

We are a small theatre, so there is no real depth of tech support, etc. People step up to help, which is great, but we never seem to have a designated stage manager or producer who take care of all those responsibilities for the show that shouldn't fall to the director. And no matter how hard we all try to plan and organize, it seems like there is always a new problem to deal with every day. Actors who can't continue so we have to find replacements. Props that we forgot we needed until almost the last minute. Who is going to do sound and lights? Who can do make-up?

There is always a lot of pressure to get a show mounted, especially one with a large cast and lots of set changes, sound and light cues. But when it all comes together and the magic happens on stage, it is all worth it.

So I am going to go to rehearsal tonight, take a deep breath, and let the magic begin.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Who's Responsible?

I just read an update on the tragic incident Friday in New York where a Wal-Mart employee was trampled in the "Black Friday" stampede of 2000 shoppers. According to the following statement by a union leader, the store is at fault, not the people who were so crazed with greed and "me first" that they became an unruly mob.

"This incident was avoidable," said Bruce Both, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, the state of New York's largest grocery worker's union.

"Where were the safety barriers? Where was security? How did store management not see dangerous numbers of customers barreling down on the store in such an unsafe manner?"

This is not the first commentary I have read that is deflecting the blame from the people to the store, and I can't beleive that good thinking people can go in this direction. It is almost as big a disgrace as the behavior of people who make shopping turn into a battle for survival.

On that tragic day, where was common sense? Where was concern for fellow shoppers and store personnel? Where was patience? Ethics? Acceptance? All the elements that are part of what we used to see as "strong character". It was a lack of all that that caused the death and injuries, not an oversight by the store management. How were they to know that they didn't have a crowd of regular shoppers, but had a crowd of crazed animals?

Next up, I'm sure, will be an announcement of a lawsuit by the families of the man who was killed and the people who were injured. The media and the union are helping to provide plenty of arguments in favor of making Wal-Mart dip into their deep pockets.

Shame, shame on them.

If a lawsuit is to be filed, how about rounding up all those people who stormed the store and holding them responsible?