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…)

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…)

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.

 

We have Winners!

I had the hare-brained idea to get my dad’s Bunny Rabbit out of retirement to select the names of the two people who have won a copy of my book. He was so excited, he spent all afternoon at the hare dresser.

(When you read my book, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC, this will make more sense to you, if you can’t figure it out already.)

Bunny Rabbit was always a wild and crazy guy. He’s a little unconventional. He usually made a huge mess when he would assist my dad with his magic act. He is soft-spoken (he does have a hare lip), but his heart is in the right place.

One at a time, Bunny Rabbit!

I put all the entry names in his hat and asked Bunny Rabbit to choose one and then another. I don’t think he entirely understood me as he immediately started throwing things around. So, I adjusted my plan accordingly and decided the last two names in the hat would be my winners.

Congratulations to Melodye Jones and Kim Sutter. You are the winners! I will contact you soon about getting a book to you.

Congratulations, Kim and Melodye!

Remember, Always Look for the Magic is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/097932517X.

 

THE BIG REVEAL

Once upon a time a woman began writing down the stories her father told about growing up in Baltimore during The Great Depression. Knowing that one day her father would not be around to share them, she wanted to make sure that they weren’t lost for her children and grandchildren. She had always been entertained by the antics that seemed to be an everyday part of his younger life, and she loved the way his eyes would twinkle when he told those stories.

As she began to write down those stories, they took on a life of their own and became a work of fiction – my work of fiction. Yep – I’m the woman!

So, here’s the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m excited to tell you that my new novel, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC, is now available on Amazon, both in print and digital formats!


Here’s the link where you can order it: https://www.amazon.com/dp/097932517X

This is a light-hearted book, full of warmth and laughter, that will be enjoyed by people from 8 to 88.

I hope you will click on over there and order a few dozen for yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, and your neighbors’ children.

Also, after you read it would you kindly give me a review on Amazon? That would be so helpful. Thank you!

 

AND, THERE’S MORE! You can win a copy of this brand-new book! Here’s how to enter:

1 entry for commenting on this post.

1 entry for sharing on Facebook.

1 entry for sharing on Twitter.

(You can use the hashtag #look4themagic.)

I will do a random drawing tomorrow (Thursday, Feb 1) at noon and announce two winners. Winners must reside in the United States.

Thank you so much!

Why Do These Things Happen to Me? (Don’t answer that)

When your computer says your document is locked for editing by another user, and you are the only user, you wonder how you have once again sabotaged yourself.

Not exactly a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling, but it got the job done.

I am working on investigating my actions to get to the bottom of this. I have collected the necessary items from around my house to conduct a self-interrogation. You will have to excuse me while I lock myself in the closet because it is the only room with a single light bulb in the ceiling. I will sweat the answer out of me if it kills me.

I am sitting on a folding chair so as not to get too comfortable. Where was I on the night of the 10th?

This is a stupid question, because I know I have trouble remembering what today’s date is. I’m going to have to do better than this.

A cup of water waits for me on the other side of the door if I will just offer up any information leading to the cause of this minor inconvenience. Maybe a glass of wine would have been a better idea. That always helps my memory! But alas, I have no idea how I do this stuff. And, I have discovered that sitting in the closet on a folding chair is not all that uncomfortable. I think I could actually take a nap in here – it’s dark and quiet and relatively un-distracting, save that box in the corner which I don’t seem to recall ever seeing before. It’s taunting me, but who cares, I’m going for the nap. Maybe my document will be unlocked when I wake up.

 

Adventures in Computer Land

Lately I have been busy tending to my writing life. By busy I mean that I’m thinking about it. I’m giving myself pep talks laced with guilt to help me get on with my projects. And, I’m taking naps when that gets too exhausting.

Seriously, I have been working on submitting my middle grade novel to various agents. This is extremely taxing. I have to figure out what they want and how they want it and turn that into a dazzling submission.

I was working on Submission #3 when a problem arose. I do not want to put in writing exactly what that problem was just in case the people to whom I am submitting decide to read this blog post. I don’t want to show my hand and have them thinking stuff like – Can we really work with this woman?

So, I set out to fix my problem. It should have been simple. Emphasis on “should.” After repeated attempts, I called my resident IT guy and brilliant husband at his office. Bob the Engineer is a logical and linear thinking guy who has a tendency to roll his eyes. I think I actually heard them roll when I told him my problem.

He walked me through it, and nothing worked. Thankfully, I wasn’t in a time pinch. I let Bob off the hook, and he said he’d help me that evening. But silly me thought I would give it one more try, and I managed to lock myself out of my own documents – something that would never have happened if Bob was in the room because my computer fears him.

After dinner that night, Bob offered to look at my computer. I said that I didn’t want to do that, because I was not speaking to my computer and he should join me in giving it the silent treatment. More eye rolling, but he was smart enough to leave this one alone.

The next night Bob forgot about it until bedtime. He innocently asked if I had checked to see if my documents were unlocked. I told him I was still avoiding the computer. I had not forgiven it for making me feel like an idiot. He turned around, presumably so I wouldn’t see him roll his eyes, and we dropped the subject.

By the third day I was feeling forgiving and allowed Bob to help me out. It took him about 30 seconds to rectify things and the next day I submitted my novel.

But now I have a new chapter in my computer saga. I write the blog for the Women’s Ministry at our church, which is posted on our church website, which is run by some church media group. We had a guest writer so all I had to do was format her words and post. Easy? Not this time.

I don’t know what came over me. For some strange reason I decided to get fancy and explore a new area using a featured photo that I thought would attract more attention to the site, since our guest writer had written a tremendous piece.

This is the photo I decided to delete. The photo that mocked me over and over. I should have thrown my computer over the cliff when I had the chance.

After I had the whole thing ready to go, I decided I didn’t like the photo that I chose, so I deleted it. Honestly, I did. But it had mysterious staying power. I’d get out of the program, go back in, and there it was. It refused to go away, much like the random calls that I get from people who aren’t selling me anything. Very annoying! Then I tried staying in the program and deleting the picture (again) and clicking to upload another picture. The twirly circle would just spin and spin and lock me out of my document.

I was starting to get a complex. This time I knew that it was not operator error, though in all honesty I have known that before and it turned out to be operator error, so I’m never too confident. I sent a help message to the web master, and lo and behold, it was their fault! They were having server upgrade problems. Isn’t that the best news?

It was to me, since I was locked out of two different documents in a week’s time. I told Bob that I think I may be getting the hang of this techy trouble shooting thing. I think he rolled his eyes.

I’m a Fairy Blog Mother – Meet my Blog Daughter

I recently became a fairy blog mother. That is to say, barely a fairy blog mother. I have a wonderfully funny friend named Roxanne who has been threatening to start a blog for some time now. She asked me if I would meet with her to help her get started. Yes, she is that funny – I laughed and laughed. Only she was serious.

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that all of my computer prowess is attributed to the wonderful man I married, Bob the Engineer. (Yes, that is part of our wedding vows. I must ascribe to him all tech glory.) It is only because of him that I have not thrown the computer out the window.

You might not be aware, since I have been doing this blogging thing for a while, that I have a fairy blog mother. Her name is Debi and she is one of my bestest friends. She writes a blog called The Romantic Vineyard. She had the painstaking job of getting me on WordPress. She is very patient.

Roxanne and I met one day to get her started. The first thing I wanted to establish is why in the world she would ask me for help. She said (and rightly so) we think alike. It will be fun.

2 Ibuprofen for the laughter headache

The first meeting would have been more fun if Roxanne had remembered to bring her computer, but still we plugged along. We met again, this time with her computer. We were definitely making progress. Not! I suggested we call Debi, who I keep on speed dial.

Debi came to the rescue. She planned a meeting with Roxanne on a day that God chose for me to have other plans. (He is a good God.) They got it together. Now, Debi is a fairy blog grandmother. It’s always nice to have a grandmother around, blogging or the regular type.

Roxanne just started her blog, Not That Big a Deal, last week. Please check her out. I know you will love her as much as I do. Click here to laugh along with Roxanne.

And, if you would like to check out Debi’s blog, which is all about inspiration for your marriage, you really should! It’s a great resource. Click here to be inspired by Debi.

Happy reading!

 

Blogger Fodder

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since we became empty-nesters and moved out of the neighborhood where we raised our children. Our new house is larger and has afforded us the privilege of having lots of company. I think there’s something to the fact that there is a separate area for guests and no children to compete with over the bathroom.

For the majority of the summer we have had adult children and grandchildren staying with us. When one family leaves, another arrives. We love it!

Selfishly, I figured it would give me fodder for my blog, so I created a little writing niche where I can go behind closed doors and create. But there are either ideas to write about or time to write them. Not to mention how distracting grandchildren are – all that cuteness! It is wonderful to be surrounded by people again, but there are a few drawbacks.

For instance, privacy – having grandchildren around means never peeing alone. I will tell them that I’ll be right back – I just have to go to the bathroom. They will even acknowledge me. Then off I “go” and within seconds they are yelling across the house for me with important questions like, “Can I have a piece of gum?”

It’s been a long time since I was a mom of school-aged kids, and I forgot the importance they place on having an immediate answer to questions like this. So I will teach them that like their mom, any question asked of me while I am in the bathroom gets an automatic no.

Even as I typed that last sentence I remembered the loop holes. Kids are great at loop holes. What if they ask if they can do the dishes for me or help a sibling with chores? Do I really want to say no to those types of questions? Wait a minute, there is little danger of these questions ever being asked so I think I’m 95 percent safe with my automatic no.

Another drawback is that kids can be kind of judgy when you do something differently than their parents do. For instance, while being a prize-winning grandmother and playing with my grandkids in the pool, I took a break from being squirted in the face with squirt guns and sat in a lounge chair to read a book. This is not the time to read anything that I need to concentrate on. War and Peace will have to wait. It is, however, the perfect time for Seriously…I’m Kidding, by Ellen DeGeneres.

So there I was sitting in the sun and reading Ellen’s funny little essays about life when I noticed I was being watched. “You’re reading that? Mom doesn’t like her.”

I glanced down at the book making sure I hadn’t accidentally picked up a copy of Mein Kampf. Little did my granddaughter know that for me, reading humorous books and stories is like taking my vitamins, except I don’t always remember to take my vitamins. In fact, excuse me. While I’m thinking about it, I better go take them right now.

Thanks. I’m back.

Later when I asked my daughter about this, she was equally baffled. She surmised that her daughter assumed her dislike of Ellen due to the fact that every time they go on the Epcot ride that Ellen hosts, she ends up falling asleep.

I remember those days. When we took the kids on the Haunted Mansion ride and they would snap our pictures. I was the one enjoying a nap on that dark, cool ride.

Speaking of falling asleep, my dad used to say, “Your mother could fall asleep while running for a bus.” I’m like that. Since having grandchildren around more, I’ve reverted to my old ways of dropping off to sleep at inopportune times, like while waiting at red lights, playing with children on the floor, watching movies at the theater, and even while zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. You get the picture – just like the people at the Haunted Mansion did. As a matter of fact, I hear my pillow calling me now.

Is There a Time Machine in Your Future?

I love making new friends.  I’m not talking about facebook.  I am talking about real, flesh-and-blood, face-to-face humans that I can reach out and touch.

I have a fairly new friend from church and we are enjoying getting to know each other.  We are both writers so there is an instant bond there.  A bond which might cause us to assume things about each other.  And you know how that usually works out.  One thing she obviously assumed about me was how computer savvy I am, which is not much.  (Not that I didn’t appreciate her higher opinion of me.)  I discovered the error in her perception when I received the following email from her, which I read from my phone.  This was all that showed on the screen.

IMG_4831
Honestly, I thought her account had been hacked.  A time machine for her desktop?  Asking me for advice about backing up my computer?  Clearly we need to spend more time getting to know each other.

I asked my resident IT guy (yes, he resides with me; he’s my wonderful husband) about it and he quickly resolved my questions.

  1. She had not been hacked.
  2. There is such thing as a time machine. It is used to back up data.  No, it does not look like a British phone booth, but that would have been awesome.

This was a relief and a disappointment.  While I was relieved that she wasn’t hacked, I was hoping maybe she had traveled in time and met future me, the computer wiz.  That would have been amazing.