Dear Marion Winik

I just returned from a weekend of laughter, inspiration, education, and a tad bit of humiliation at the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.

There were seven workshops spread over two days. Each time slot had multiple classes from which to choose. Narrowing down which to attend was like Sophie’s Choice. I made my choices though, several times. My decisions were based on what the workshop topic would be, as I’m not good at remembering the names of the speakers/authors.

Friday morning, I settled down in the Memoir Boot Camp, ready to take my personal essay skills to the next level. Our speaker introduced herself as Marion Winik and proceeded to captivate us by reading some of her own essays. For a brief moment we felt all warm and fuzzy, and then it was time to get down to business and do some writing of our own. (more…)

Stream It! – Part II of my Book Signing Fun

Wouldn’t you, like to buy a book, from me?

It was a beautiful day for my first book signing. Bob and I were joined by our friend and Prevail Press publisher as we set up in front of the Barrel of Books and Games in Mount Dora. I wasn’t nervous, I’ve sold things before, but this time it was like I was selling myself. (You know what I mean). For years I was a Tupperware lady. That is a lot like being a stand-up comedian who specializes in food freshness. You engage people and make them laugh until they realize that, not only do they like that bowl, but they must have it. It translates – yesterday a bowl, today a book.

We barely had my books on the table when an extremely friendly woman literally ran up to us saying that I had been chosen as one of two that she was going to stream live. She was using all the right wording to make me believe that she was a sweet Christian lady and probably worked for the Chamber of Commerce. We all looked at each other in that way you do when you can’t quite believe you’ve found such good fortune.

But, soon we realized that we had indeed found something, and it was a far cry from good fortune. (more…)

Happy Meal, Happy Writer, Famous Author – Part I of my Book Signing Fun

I woke up on Friday with a list going through my brain. Tomorrow would be my book signing. Today would be errands – Post Office, Target, Lowe’s, Costco. It was going to be a run-around day. By the time I crossed the first two places off of my list, I knew I needed to get lunch before braving Costco. You can’t always depend on those samples to see you through.

Since my obsession with Chick-fil-A (click here for an explanation), I have been very neglectful of McDonald’s. And, seeing as it’s right across the street from Lowe’s and Costco, and since I had heard that Snoopy is in the Happy Meal, I stopped in.

At this point I need to tell you our family secret and our great family shame. (more…)

Loss and New Obsessions and Why I’m Going to Dayton

I am gearing up for a trip of a lifetime – this is bucket list kind of stuff. On April 5, I’m going to Dayton, Ohio, for a long weekend. DAYTON! I know you’re envious, but I have dreamed about going to Dayton in April for sometime. Something very special happens there every two years. Something worthy of the trip. It’s the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton, her alma mater. (more…)

DST – It’s Not a Disease

Every spring it’s the same thing. DST arrives and it messes with me. It sounds like a disease. Yes, I am experiencing Daylight Savings Time even as you read this.

To be fair, switching back to standard time also messes with me. I am easily messed with, just ask my children. Every time after the time change, it takes me a few days to get in the swing of things like a weird, non-travel jet lag. (more…)

Postpartum Post

My baby book is one month old now! I thought I’d give you a little update.

The gestation period was extremely difficult and terribly long and drawn out. Sometimes I wasn’t sure I would deliver a healthy book. The last few weeks before the birth were sprinkled with anxiety, and I had trouble sleeping. There was so much on my mind. Would everything go okay? How was my life going to change? Had all of the characters developed properly? (more…)

My Calendar is Driving Me Crazy

I live with the constant realization that I have the capability of messing up my calendar – writing in the wrong date or forgetting to write something down. That is why I use both my iPhone and a paper calendar which hangs on my kitchen wall. They back each other up. Or do they?

When I looked at this week and saw that on Friday, I have something on my iPhone calendar that I didn’t enter, it made me wonder – am I keeping my phone too close to my bed at night? Maybe I did enter something and I just totally messed up the entry? Finally, it came down to the big question: Who or what in the world is Holi?

Yep, “Holi” is listed as an all-day event for this Friday. If I’m supposed to participate, I sure don’t want to miss it or her or him. What if he, she, or it is important? What if they are relying on me? What if the fate of the entire free world lies with me participating in this?

What if I take it down a notch and use google? Of course, the answer is always right in the palm of your hand. And this time the answer is: my phone is trying to convert me to Hinduism. Holi is the Hindu holiday known as the Festival of Colors which is observed in India and features colored powder covering everything and everyone in celebration, I believe, of spring, among other things.

I’m not sure why my phone thinks I’m open to converting to other religions. Maybe I haven’t had enough Christian events on my calendar. Maybe it doesn’t recognize the initials that I use, like CG for our church Community Group or Peggy means Bible Study (don’t try to figure that one out). Maybe I confused it by going to see The Book of Mormon last year. I don’t know.

Next in my investigation I picked up my phone, clicked on the event, and discovered that Holi is part of US Holidays. What? Now I’m really confused. When did this become a US holiday? Is this simply some app-maker’s idea or could it be part of a larger iPhone plan to unify the world? I don’t know. Maybe it’s due to the fact that my phone was made in Southeast Asia. What I really want to know is – who included this day as a US holiday? And, more importantly, do they know how that messes with me?

It wreaked havoc with my week. I was afraid to plan anything for Friday in case there was something I had forgotten – had to keep it open for Holi or whatever I really meant to enter on my calendar. So now Friday is just a blank spot – nobody to see and nowhere to go. A veritable waste!

Wait a minute, that’s a win-win for me. Now I have a free day to do whatever I’d like! That’s awesome! I need to celebrate. You know, do something colorful and festive – go all out – pretend it’s a holiday! Want to join me?

This is the color I enjoy!

Bob and the Fob

Time for a Fob Story

We have two cars in our family, but mine is clearly the favorite. It’s newer and has more safety features than Bob’s does. For instance (in the newer category), I have a push-button starter. I leave my key fob in my purse. You can also start the car remotely, which has been helpful in keeping good attitudes when it’s 95 degrees outside so we can enter our car with the AC blowing. I have used it for the heat once, but if I lived up North, oh baby, that would be a desirable feature.

But initially there was a very minor, oh so small, downside. I hesitate to mention it because I know by now you think of me as a technological genius, but here goes:

The adjustment to the key fob was fraught with problems for me. You see, I’m a checker. With this newfangled thing, you simply have to have the fob with you for the door to unlock or lock. A pass of my hand over the “lock” and it locks. Or does it?

With my old car, I would yank on the handle to make sure I locked the door. Now, with my fob in my pocket, I would yank on the handle and the door would open, like it’s supposed to. How in the world was a checker like me ever going to be confident that her car was locked? It was mildly traumatic. For a few weeks I would dig my fob out of my purse and manually push the lock button, like someone would do way back in the year 2013. Embarrassing. Even I knew this was ridiculous, so I engaged my handy-dandy engineer, Bob, to help trouble shoot this enormous problem. (As I’ve told you before, always have an engineer around. They come in very handy. I’m so glad I had the good sense to marry one.)

Bob indulged me by keeping the fob in his pocket, locking the door, and walking away. I’m not sure if he walked away for the test or just to distance himself from me, but either way it worked out because I could pull on that car door handle until the cows come home and have proof positive that the car was locked.

Now I hardly ever doubt myself (at least when it comes to locking the car). I am a confident door locker – I thought you’d be happy to know that. I can pass my hand over the handle and walk away.

But Bob has his own fob problems. He has trouble with the unlock feature – his hands are not as delicate as mine, so sometimes it takes a couple of tries for him to register the unlock feature when he puts his hand around the door handle. Another problem with Bob and the fob is that he loves the remote start. Often on a cool evening he will use that feature and when we enter our car, I’m greeted by an AC blast. Well, that drives me crazy, but Bob is so happy to start the car from far distances, I’d hate to end that kind of entertainment for him. Then one day I realized that I always have a fob in my purse, so I can get in the car first and shut off the air. I tell you, my life is complicated.

While on the subject of riding in the car with my husband, I’m wondering if anyone else goes through a scenario like this one. It’s getting slightly warm in the car, so I open my window. Things are perfect for about two seconds, then Bob realizes that he, too, is warm, so he opens his window. Of course, I become cold and wind-blown, so I close mine. Bob becomes aware that I’m uncomfortable so he closes his window. It’s the cooling cycle of life, I guess. We finally give up and turn on the AC with the dual control feature.

Yes, there are a lot of things to overcome in our modern world, but as long as we laugh with each other about them, I think we’ll be okay.

So, Now I’m Famous(er)

I am overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from you, my wonderful readers and friends. You shared my post about my new book over 20 times, and I have received an enormous amount of encouragement from you in my comments and on my Facebook feed. Thank you!

I have to say, I’m having the time of my life. This is a dream come true for me. It is made possible by my friend and writing mentor, Rob Swanson, who is the creator of Prevail Press, the micropublishing company that has walked me through the entire project to create this beautiful book (illustrated by Anna Kester). Rob has a vision to enable good writers to publish good books. He knows the challenges of traditional publishing and the time involved in that pursuit and realizes that it won’t work for everyone – actually it won’t work for most of us. I love his business plan. You can check it out here and see what is going on in these beginning stages of Prevail Press, as well as meet their other authors.

In addition to all of this, I am now a YouTube star! I know what you’re thinking – it was just a matter of time. Please check out my video explaining why I wrote the book. Filming it was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done, but you have to give the public what they want!

https://youtu.be/NWygNFDc0BE

Thanks again and remember, just in case you haven’t ordered it already, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC is available through Prevail Press and on Amazon in both print and electronic versions.

Click here to order on Amazon.

 

Suspense Can’t Really Kill a Person, but It Can Be Mildly Annoying

 

Hi there! Can I have your attention please?

I haven’t forgotten that you are waiting for my announcement.

I have decided that it’s time to tell you my big news – tomorrow.

One more day – that’s 24 short little hours.

I should have all of my ducks in a row by then. So, hang in there, faithful readers.

Get lined up, ducks!