Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life in the Waiting Room

Yesterday I got to thinking, how do other people handle the stress of their loved ones undergoing surgery, or severe illness?

On TV, the loved ones seem to gulp mass quantities of coffee, spend anxiety-ridden moments in tears and reliving every moment with others until the dr appears with the good or bad news.

I don't operate that way.

When D had back surgery in 1995, I spent 6 wonderful hours with my notebook, happily working on Forbidden Love, and the only anxiety I felt was when I happened to be writing a steamy sex scene and the chaplain came over to offer spiritual support. Talk about an embarassing moment! I was silently praying he would NOT ask me what I was writing! And when another woman sat near me with a book, I noticed it was a Victoria Holt, and commented on the title. We had a wonderful discussion on favorite authors!

In 2003, when D had his heart valve replaced, yeah, I spent some quiet solitude (it was 6am) in quiet prayer, and then promptly opened my notebook and began writing what was in my head. Two hours later, when the rest of my family arrived for emotional support, I had written the prologue to (working title here) Love is Weightless (Yes, I'll change it! It's #7 in the series) and was eager for my SIL's reaction to it. I was also well into chapter 1.

Later that day, when my children arrived and I could not write due to the noise level in the room (not to mention that after we went to lunch, I lost my quiet corner!), and the doctors had been out to tell me everything had gone well, I coped by getting on the telelphone and calling people who were anxiously waiting for news of his operation.

And the next month, when I discovered the computer on the 3rd floor, I started sending emails to everyone with daily updates. I've already told you how I coped with his near death experience (can't remember the exact post, but it's in there somewhere...I'll find it and let you know what date), and yesterday, I surprised D when I lugged the laptop to the hospital.

I wasn't able to access the internet, but I did get a rough blurb and synopsis written while my 16-year-old baby was having his throat cut into. And when he needed me, I was there, holding his hand, feeling him the cherry slushy, and wiping his face when he vomited. I've given him his painkillers (liquid form!) and his nausea pill, and put up with his grumpiness over being hungry, yet not able to eat anything solid just yet. And yes, he was very upset when he discovered his father had eaten the last of the mashed potatoes the night before! But we hauled out the blender and fixed him a milkshake, and he settled down again.

So tell do you cope when a loved one is ill? What's your waiting room attitude? Mine was also irritation, since I liked my corner and could write in peace. But when I lost it, I coped by being cheerful and sharing progress with others.

UPDATE: K got up at 3:30 this am and played 'Mobsters' on MySpace. I guess he's feeling a little better?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


K came through his surgery well; he's home and fast asleep. He's already discovered he can't put very much in his stomach!

I was able to get both the blurb and the synopsis written. And since the laptop doesn't have a floppy disk drive, I was unable to read Witch Ball! Argh...I've read the prologue, and would like to get through the 1st chapter....

Maybe later, if things go well with the patient!

Wednesday News

First of all, the computer gods are giving me a break. We brought the extra keyboard up from the basement, and I'm happy to say that everything is running smoothly this morning, except, of course, for the same pesky problem with AOL. But that's okay; nothing pressing to be read this morning. I'll fire up the laptop later this afternoon and check it.

Surgery Today
K is having his tonsils and adenoids removed today. I fixed him a delicious pork loin meal last night, as he won't be able to swallow chunks of meat for a few days. We've also stocked up on popcicles and ice cream. And thankfully, his job at the potato farm is finished, and things look good, should he want to work again next ye ar. So he's going to relax, recupperate, and maybe go spend some time with his grandmother next week.

I finished it!
I wasn't happy with a short story I had written in May; it fits the criteria for the submission, except for one of the chapters has the heroine interacting with her potential step-children. And then, if you'll remember, I started typing my fingers off on the 4th of July? Well thanks to the Novel Sisterhood challenge (writing 500 words per day), I finished it yesterday afternoon! Of course, it also helped that K was at work, and Jackie 'kidnapped' S and W around 9 am! I had a fantastic day...I spent the morning cleaning up the living room, and went downstairs to scrub the shower thoroughly. Around 1, I turned on my Bon Jovi 'Lost Highway' CD and by 4:30, finally typed 'The End' and checked the word count: 10,544! Quite a difference from the other wip, where I had to TRIM 1000 words to get it under the word limit!

I rechecked the submission guidelines, and I can submit both. I just hope one will get accepted!

Today, I'll be writing the blurb and synopsis for both stories, while my oldest baby is undergoing surgery. I won't be able to access the internet, but I can take the laptop with me and write.

Single Men and Reality TV
From the responses I've gotten, I may simply have to go with Survivor for my story, or the 'Dancing with the Stars' one. I'll continue to ask guys I know or meet; or if anyone out there has any ideas for a reality show a man WOULD watch, let me know. If you want, I'll find a way to work your name into the book, or simply acknowledge you at the beginning when I finish it.

I'll check in again later today; I've got roughly two hours to read my friends' blogs, shower, get dressed, and go to the hospital. Oh yeah. And make sure K doesn't eat or drink anything...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Didn't Mean to Break It, Honest!

My keyboard wouldn't respond to the desktop this morning. I rebooted; nothing.

So I got the bright idea to unplug it and reconnect it. it won't go in the slot!

What the...

What is it with me and electronics these days? I should just stay away from them until I've had my daily caffeine? Fully dressed? Go back to the library?

Jackie came over and said one of the prongs was bent. She tried to fix it; nope, won't connect. An hour later, K walks in and plugs it in WITH NO PROBLEM! Oh still doesn't respond.

I may go get the other keyboard and see if it will cooperate!

Do Men Watch Reality TV?

I posed this question last night, and received 2 answers: Survivor and So You Think You Can Dance. I'd forgotten all about the Celebrity Dance one; would a man in his thirties watch it, and have an 'office pool' type thing on who wins? What are your thoughts?

I asked a couple of teen boys; they don't watch Reality TV...but my son likes Survivor and (gag!) Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just a Thought...

What types of reality shows do single guys watch?


Big Brother?

Biggest Loser?

Temptation Island? (Yeah, I know it's been off the air for a while!)

Beauty and the Geek?

Shot at Love?

Pussycat Dolls?

American Idol?

America's Got Talent?

Any thoughts? I've got a new wip in the works, and the guys are watching a show. I want to make sure it's believable what they're watching.

Getting off to a Slow Start...

E-book Update: I tried to order Witch Ball, but the PC locked up on me at the final order stage, so I was unable to complete the order process. I'll try again this afternoon.

1 Hour Later: Success! Both Gabriel's Gun and Witch Ball safely on my hard drive!

I'm fighting with my electronics again.

What started out to be a quick, 1-hour, check-the-email-and-read-the-blogs has turned into a 3 hour mess! I tried to wake up the desktop. It rebelled, so I shut it down. Poured myself another cup of coffee and went to make the bed.

Fifteen minutes later (no, it doesn't take that long to make my bed; that's how long it typically takes for my PC to quit loading), I sat down and clicked on my internet button. A news blurb on the morning news caught my ears, so I got up to watch it. A few minutes later, I was back at my desk, expecting to see the sign-on screen.


I double-clicked again. Nothing.

I right-clicked; same thing. I went to the start menu and clicked on it there. Nada.

Okay, now I'm getting irritated. So I unplugged my DSL line and shoved it into the laptop, and fired it up. Logged in my daughter's password and went to change the channel on the TV.

Came back and there's an IM from one of her friends. I wrote back, saying I would have my daughter call her, and typed in my AOL addy. I deleted some junk, and went to compose. Wrote a letter to a friend...and the curser locked up. I waited five minutes; problem did not clear. I hit CNTRL-ALT-DLT...nothing. Now I'm getting pissed. I shut down the laptop manually.

Guess what's on my desktop screen? The sign-on screen! Well too damn bad, because to hook it back up to the internet requires rebooting the system. And the laptop is faster.

So another five minutes go by. I feed and water the dog, and give my now-awake toddler his breakfast. I reboot the laptop. Success! It's now nearly noon; I'm still in my pj's; but my important mail is taken care of; I've visited my friends' blogs; and I'm posting my own.

Hopefully the rest of the day won't be as 'pukable' as my morning!

Oh-oh...the rats are complaining. Guess I'd better feed and water them as well!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Something Different Today

Last Christmas, I got a 'Stupid Sayings' daily calendar for my teenage son. This week, there are three that are absolutely hilarious. Enjoy.

"Please use thongs when picking up the bagals..." (No thanks...I'll use a fork!)

"Tongues must be used to pick up cookies..."(Yum! But not very sanitary...)

"The painting Wheatfield with Crows, probably painted before Van Gogh committed suicide..."( was his ghost!)

Drop by Ginger's blog and leave a condolance note. Her FIL passed away yesterday.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Change of Plans

Only K will be heading north later today. His friend's band is playing tonight, and hubby doesn't want to spend the night. Am I disappointed? Sure...I wanted to go up and see my friends. But there's a BSA camp-out and Court of Honor, and I'm hoping it coincides with the local Fish Fry. With these stupid gas prices, I still haven't made it back to the hometown to promote my second book!

Looking Ahead...
I have several opportunities coming up, praying that the van is running, gas money is available, and people are willing to let me sleep at their house.

Aug 2nd: Local Watermelon Festival, and I think my parents are coming down for the weekend.

Aug 15-17: Indiana State Fair. My friends Tracy and Travis will be there Saturday, when the Indiana Horror Writers have their day in the Author Showcase; my slot is on Sunday. Maybe I'll be able to finally swing by both Borders stores and do a signing at one or both? Or even Friday evening???

Aug 22-23: BSA Camp out/Court of Honor. If the Fish Fry is that same weekend, I could set up Friday night and Saturday afternoon, until time for the BSA pitch-in.

In September, I'd like to do the Monrovia Festival, the Anderson Orchard Festival, as well as the huge author event at the B&N in Evansville. And also be able to make the trip up to Ft. Wayne and do the event I missed in May.

And yesterday I found out that our county has a Fall Festival in October. I also have another signing on the 3rd.

November is my parents' 45th wedding anniversary. I joked last month that if my 1st adult book is accepted and released (I know...I'm stretching it here!), we could have the 'Launch Party' at Nicky's in Estes Park, Colorado.

So that's what I'm looking forward to in the coming months. What about you? Or do you try to plan that far ahead?

Since it's Saturday, I'm going to go shower and get to work on hubby's laundry. And buy my books later today!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Prognosis: Excellent!

Currently Reading: Am buying books today! Check back this weekend or Monday to see how I liked them!

Guess what? If you put gas in the vehicle, it actually moves forward at the speed you want!

K came home yesterday, convinced there was 'something wrong with the van.'

"I can't go faster than 20 mph, Mom!"

Instantly, I thought the fuel pump had croaked again. He thought it was the crank shaft.

An hour later, I had to pick up S from an overnight with one of her bff's. I sent W to the neighbor's, explaining that if the van quit, I didn't want to have him with me, should we have to walk.

Got in the van; it ran fine. According to my Fuel Usage thingy (the gas gauge is broken, so I keep track via the digital read out above the rearview mirror...and when I gas up, I note the gallons I put in and calculate how many is in the tank. Confusing, but it's nearly $1000 to fix the sensor!), there was only 2 gallons of gas left in the tank. So I added 7 more, gasping that it was now $3.95 per gallon! Wow...finally below $4...(now keep dropping...and least $3 more....)

I had no problems. After picking up S, we returned home and collected K and W, along with two of his friends, and went to the fair. We noted where we came in, and I informed the teens that we were meeting back at that spot at 10pm.

And you know what? It's a little fair. S stayed with me as W rode the rides, and occassionally her older brother consented to have her along with his group. We basically followed each other around the midway for two hours.

But at 9:30, the teens disappeared. S had gotten bored and went to Jackie's house; I had taken W to the bathroom, and let him ride the kiddie coaster 4 times. I looked at my watch and I coaxed my angry toddler away from the rides.

Fortunately, he's got a short attention span, and was soon happily playing on the John Deere displays while we waited for the others. I waited twenty minutes, and then started walking back toward the entrance to the midway, praying for a K sighting.

And it was granted. He was happy to see I wasn't too upset, and after a quick search for his friends, they were located getting off the Gravitron, and we all headed home after stopping to pick up S.

So a good evening was had by all, though I did take some ribbing when I brought the unbrella with me. It was sprinkling when we left home, and Murphy's Law seems to apply in these cases, so my reasoning was, if I take it, it WON'T RAIN!

And I'm happy to note that I was right.

Still can't get AOL to let me into my mail. I'm going to hook up the laptop in a few minutes and see if it will behave for me.

And hopefully plans are still on for the trip to Morgan County on Sunday!

Kelly's asked a thought-provoking question. Check it out for yourself and ask yourself, what would You do? Me, I'm still wondering.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I'm having another fight with the electronics in my home. I swear, they're ganging up on me!

K left the ethernet cord in the laptop. Fine; I'm slowly getting used to it. I booted it up while I was finishing up some chores; came back and expected everything to be loaded.

Wrong! The curser's locked up, and suddenly a screen pops up which states Windows has detected an unexpected error and is shutting down. Pop! The screen goes black. So I shut the thing off; waited 5 minutes and tried again. Success....until I typed in AOL. It very nicely showed me who I had mail from in the preview section...but wouldn't let me access it. And then the internet froze again. I couldn't even exit the program!

So, being the impatient internet user that I am, I shut it down manually, switched the yellow ethernet cord back to my (cough) trusty desktop, and turned it on. Now this machine habitually takes 15 minutes or so to load, so I went off and did my own thing. Came back and everything is working the way its supposed to.

Except for AOL! Once again, I can preview my mail; I just can't access it! Is anyone else having this problem? Is it system-wide, or is it just my connection? I had the same problem yesterday, except I WAS able to access it from the laptop!

Fortunately, there is no pressing mail to be read in it at the moment. Just some jumk mail and a couple of forwards by a friend of mine. But I am anxiously waiting for word of a submission, and I did request it be sent to my AOL account. So I hope the problem clears up soon...I don't want to see the email addy in my preview box and unable to see if I've been accepted or rejected! I may just have to drop my toddler at the neighbor's house and run out to the reliable computers at the library!

On a More Positive Note
Am taking the kids to the county fair tonight. It's Bracelet Night on the Midway, which means Mom shells out $15 per kid and turn them (teenagers) loose while I take the toddler around to the kiddie rides. We'll be eating Fair Food tonight, which means hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, elephant ears, and whatever else catches our taste buds. If Jackie's feeling better, she's going with us, which means I'll have company while I snap pictures of my little guy, now that he's old enough to enjoy the rides! He was a little shy last year, although we did get him on the merry-go-round.
Update: K came home from work with the news the van refuses to go faster than 20 mph...unless I get behind the wheel and it cooperates, we're staying home. And he doesn't have to work tomorrow...but this also means plans are off for the trip to Morgan County. CRAP! I'd say something else, but my daughter and her friends read this.

New Creamer Flavor: Verdict is Undecided...
I ran out of my Irish Cream flavor yesterday morning, and made a mad dash to Walmart last night. They were completely out of it, as well as the French Vanilla flavor, so I grabbed a small bottle of White Chocolate Mudslide. It was good, but one cup was enough for me this morning. And W seems to enjoy it, but either hasn't noticed the flavor change or isn't awake enough yet. Will I buy it again? Probably not, unless all other flavors are missing from the dairy shelves again.

Sometimes I keep a small jar of the powdered creamer in the refrigerator, for emergencies. The problem is, I forget to restock it. It's okay; I'm not addicted to my coffee. It's just nice to enjoy a cup every morning, but no big loss if I have to skip it.

Yay! One more day until I can buy more books...anyone else feel this way about Thursdays?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Anniversary, of Sorts...

Currently Reading: Read Unexpected Encounter by Samantha Gentry last night, and boy is it good! I'm putting her two others on my list as well. Friday, I'll order the other books mentioned yesterday.

Tomorrow is a special day.

No, it isn't a birthday, or wedding anniversary.

It's the day I decided to try my hand at regular blogging.

I was hit and miss through May and June, and in the first part of July. In fact, some of my earlier posts were simply my reactions to other bloggers out there, that I was too shy to comment on their blogs.

So I took a different approach.

I'd write my own opinion on their topic, and after several days/weeks of reading, I contacted the authors by email.

Of course, I wasn't with Blogger yet; I posted my thoughts on my 'Notes' page of my website.

I've somewhat abandoned that page now; it isn't getting the traffic, and copying and pasting can be a royal pain. I don't think Citymax likes that feature! And there's a delay when I try to write on it. I'm a person who likes to see the words immediately; not wait 5 seconds to see if I've hit a typo!

Right now the only page I regualarly update is the front page and my 'Books' page. On my business cards, I list the website; there's a link on the front page if anyone is interested in going to this site.

I'm lax about my MySpace blog as well. Once in a great while I'll post a bulletin, and even copy my regular post if it happens to contain publishing news or other book info.

In person, I'm kinda shy, especially in a group setting. But if I'm meeting one of my blogmates, I'm a very friendly person, especially since I feel we've already known each other for a year!

And from what others have been blogging about lately, I'm living in the wrong state. The Michigan authors have been getting together more often!

There's a thought...if and when I get to do that Ft. Wayne signing, do ya think they'd consider coming down for the day? How long does it take to drive to Detroit from Ft. Wayne anyway???

Have a good day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Saw a thing on AOL yesterday that claimed several factors in why people gain weight. These included:
-wearing baggy clothing (the thinking is, if you wear loose clothing, you're more apt not to notice the weight gain, as opposed to someone who wears tighter-fitting clothing.)

-eating in a group, as opposed to eating by yourself or with one other person (groups linger over meals and order dessert. Hello....I still order dessert when I'm by myself!)

-friends who are overweight (what???)

My thinking is, why do we care? I wear clothing I feel comfortable in, not because I feel obligated to squeeze into a number.

I prefer to socialize with friends over meals.

I didn't choose my friends based on their looks or weight.

So why do psychologists care HOW we gain the weight? Do they not have anything better to do? I know exactly how I gained it, and it wasn't any of the factors mentioned. I simply forgot my metabolism had slowed and I could no longer consume large quantities of a certain cereal and not expect my butt to expand.

Here's a sample of my denial of the problem:

"Dr. S, why have I suddenly packed on the pounds?"

"Have your eating habits changed?"

"I've developed a fondness for Frosted Mini-Wheats...I open the box in the morning and eat a bowl...snack on it all during the another bowl at night, and throw away the box."

"Are you exercizing?"

"My house is 80 feet long...and I make multiple trips to and from it every day. But other than"

Dr. S put down his clipboard. I can tell he's trying hard not to laugh at me. "Let me get this straight. You eat a box of cereal a day; you're not exercizing; and you're asking ME why you've gained weight?"

I smile guiltily. "Well, when you put it THAT way, it makes sense!"

I ended up going 'cold turkey' from the cereal, and when I do ever get another box, I'm careful to only eat 1 or 2 bowls a day!

And I also take it easy with the Chex Mix...

Tuesday Happenings

Currently Reading: Finished Conquest of a Fairy last night! Very interesting concept! Next up is Witch Ball, by Kathleen Coddington; Unexpected Encounter by Samantha Gentry, and either Gabriel's Horn by Tess MacKall or Mystic Circle by Bronwyn Green. It all depends on if I can find Tess's website. Dark Eden Press closed its doors; I'll have to Google her name to find the book!

Managed to get myself elected Policy Council secretary last night.

How? Why?

Very simple: The Chairman resigned; the Vice-chair moved into her slot. The secretary moved into the Vice-chair position.

Which left...ME:) I've only been on the board for 3 months now, and I'm still feeling my way. So when the Chair asked for the ayes, the person on my right said it. The Chair asked for nays...I drew laughs when I raised my hand and indicated the other four people across the table.

"How about any of you?"

"We can't...we're staff!"

Crap. But apparently all I have to do is intitial the Executive Board's monthly minutes and send them back. I think I can do that w/o any problems!

Overslept again. I'm seeing a pattern to my summer! Ah's not like I HAVE to be anywhere these days! But still, it throws my entire day off. Take, for instance, right now. It's eleven o'clock; I'm just now posting, and will then make my bed and get in the shower. The baby is eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (he's like me...we don't wake up hungry), and so most likely he and I will both skip lunch today.

Rain is predicted...I was going to take my two boys to the county fair tonight for Bracelet Night on the Midway, but now Thursday looks to be a better choice. And the humidity is supposed to drop tomorrow andThursday! So tonight we'll stay home.

On Sale...Free!
VistaPrint sent me another fantastic sale...yay, rah. I wish they would offer more free pens than just ONE! And why only one pad of sticky notes or notepads? Yes, I'm a sucker for these things. Anytime I see them on display at fairs, I grab one. I use 'em for grocery lists, notes for the kids, and notes to myself. I've been told the ones I picked out with my name on it is pretty; I want MORE, so I can put them on my table for other paper addicts!

I confess...I don't buy the magnets. I bought the magnet kit at Lowes, and make my own. Some look more professional than others, I'll admit, but I'm getting better at lining up my business cards!

Ashley's pondering the promotion question on her blog today Stop by and tell her what you think works, and what prompts you to buy other authors books? And drop by the Grip's site( ) to read a sample of something Kelly's working on.

In the meantime, I'll be trying to recapture my day!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Currently Reading: Finished BB Walter's Sister Light, and....thank god it's a series. I have no idea how these characters are going to tie together, so I'll have to read the second one when it comes out. It was a page-turner, and kept me wondering about the characters, but confusing at times. Just got word that a reviewer gave it 5 stars, so congrats BB! I'll be picking your brain in two weeks for a better understanding! This was definitely my last print book in my home...didn't buy any books over the weekend. Bad Molly....I was right there!

E-Book: Conquest of a Fairy is up next...if I get time to read today. Okay, who am I kidding? I'll find time to squeeze in a chapter or two...

Did I mention my oldest son has a job?

He's working for a potato farmer, and has been 'communing with nature' for the past week.


In addition to sorting potatoes as they come down the conveyor belt, there have also been a few undesirable critters in the truck.

His second day on the job, the digger apparently picked up a live skunk, which did not appreciate being tossed rudely into the truck. Fortunately, it did NOT make the trip down the conveyor belt! Someone else stabbed it with a pitchfork and tossed it away.

The live bird, a momma who was still laying eggs as she traveled past, was also not pleased by her unexpected trip, and hissed at the hands trying to relocate her.

Yesterday, they had a snake and a frog.

Wonder what they will encounter today?

Needless to say, my son has a new appreciation for french fries, and the work that goes into making them now!

Busy Day Ahead...
Dusting. I've not done this in a couple of weeks.
Laundry: Apparently, I missed K's dirty clothes, and he was not at all happy with me this morning!
Policy Council meeting tonight. Means I'll be fixing a Taco Ring around 4:30, so I can grab a bite and head out the door at 5:30.
And at 7, I'll drop off K at BSA, and go join my fellow writers for an hour...or K will drop ME off first, ensuring ice cream for all at 8pm!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mom's Home:)

She feels like a pin cushion, but she's home, and 20 lbs lighter! Hell of a way to lose weight...

I'm off to a workshop on building the eye-catching blurb/bio on the novelsisterhood discussion group!

Come join in!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Update on Mom-Pt 2

Sorry for the late post:)

Mom had her conversion today (they put her to sleep, attached electrodes to her, and shocked the heart...ala 'shocking someone' like on ER, when the CPR doesn't work???) and now her heartrate is better than it has been in 4 years:) She'll be going home tomorrow!!!!

Had my signing at Border's today, and it was slow...only sold 2. But had a fantastic day with the spousal unit! He dropped me off and went to Gander Mountain, and then came back. He bought a Street Magic book for K, a laptop desk for S, and a wooden toolbox for W, plus a signed copy of the children's book by the other local author who was there today, Jane Koch. And they are willing to have me back on a busier day, and when that elusive publisher decides to take a chance on my work and publish the rest of what I'm writing!

I digress here: I met an Aussie from Melborne, and she talked my ear off for a half an hour! She was headed to Denver for the next 6 months (her hubby was transferred), and when she discovered I knew Colorado (thanks Mom and Dad!), we were able to compare notes on that state; however, she had never been to Rocky Mountain National Park! Just Boulder and Denver. I forgot to tell her to go to Nicky's Steakhouse....But if she makes it to Estes Park, she'll go right by it! And yes, AJ, I told her about your wonderful books...

Okay. After the signing, we ate lunch at Panera Bread. I'd never eaten there before, but wanted to, and D had been 'haunted' by the latest sandwich commercials, so since we had no children along, off we went. He had the Strawberry-something Salad and Chicken Salad sandwich with tomato-basil bread; I had a ham and Swiss on rye and a cup of broccoli-cheddar soup. We also got chocolate chip cookies (I wasn't impressed...Subway's are better, IMHO) and breakfast for tomorrow (cheese pastry and chocolate-filled bread/pastry/whatever it is. Looked delicious:).

Next stop: Staples. Author BB Walters had shown up at the Wine and Art Fair with her materials in what looked to be a milk crate on wheels. And since I'm not going to be able to park in front of the State Fair venue, one would be perfect to transport my books from the car. And when we went in, they had black with no lid, or blue with the lid. Hubby graciously told me to go ahead and get the one with the lid.

Gassed up the car ($3.85/gall!) and came home to a quiet home:) Where's the kids? Oh yeah...I forgot to mention...S went back to Jackie's; K took W to a 'Pioneer Day' thing at the park, and while we were eating lunch, K called and said he was taking his little brother to the pool:)

And now we're eating pizza. So a good day was had by all. And did I mention hubby's laundry has already been finished?

Tomorrow, Hubby fixes the brakes on my van. There will be a great deal of 4-letter words being uttered tomorrow...

But for now, I'm going to relax and enjoy the solitude. Oh, and head over to join Anny on the chat, before I forget again!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Update on Mom

Tribute for the Goddess was good! Next up is Conquest of a Fairy.

Just got word the doctors are going to have to do the cardiac conversion on my mother tomorrow. The medicine isn't taking care of her A-Fib, after all.

I was able to pass along a 'word of wisdom', to have them keep her under until they remove the tape! Not that my mom has a hairy chest or anything...but would you want sticky stuff ripped off your chest right after being shocked?

I thought not!


Currently Reading: Finished Master Me, and I loved the ending! Not gonna ruin it for you; it wasn't the ending I was expecting, so it was great! I may push Josh's story up a few notches. Next up is Tribute for the Goddess...and read the first chapter last night, before going to bed. This one is going to be interesting...and yes, broke my own rule about buying the same author back to back. But it is my rule, and I can break it! I think Bron's Mystic Circle is next week, along with Witch Ball, by Kathleen Coddington. And Hot Under the Collar, by some author named Blu...

Took the two younglings home last night.

They didn't want to leave.

"Nooooo...I don't wanna see my mommy! I wanna stay with you!"

"We're going to eat at Burger King..."


And then it got comical.

"Aunt Molly, you passed it!"

"That's not the one where we're meeting your mommy."

"I don't care! I'm hungry!"

"Just a few more minutes..."

"Aunt Molly, there's ANOTHER one! You said we were going..."

"We have to go to the same one your mommy's driving to. Now sit back and relax!"

And when we finally got there...

They played. They dipped their chicken nuggets in ketchup. They shrieked happily when other children joined them. But when their mother showed up?

"Mommy...I don't wanna go home." (This after five minutes of hiding in the playscape.)

"Uncle Dan is at Mommy's house." (My hubby)

"YAY! Let's go!"

Woke up peaceful this morning. The house is semi-clean; we did a massive toy-pick-up before we left, and all I need to do is run the vacuum and do one last load of laundry. Lucky's still limping; we squeezed in a trip to the vet yesterday and am trying something new for her arthritis in her right front leg.

Thanks for the heartfelt prayers! Spoke to my mom yesterday afternoon and she sounded so much better! She may get released today or tomorrow:)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Currently Reading: I'm up to chapter 3 of Brynn's Master Me, and loving it! But then again, I expected to, as I loved Ryan and Theo's stories! With the extra kids, I'm just not reading as much as I normally do...

Update on yesterday:
We did NOT go to the park and to DQ...heat index was 100, and everyone overslept, so we stayed in the A/C. BUT....Rainbow Beach offered a free swim from 5:30-8pm and FREE HOT DOGS, so after K got home from work, we donned our swim gear and went over.

The water was nice and warm, and not as packed as one would have expected. We had no trouble finding a parking place, and all 3 toddlers had a blast resuming their antics from Tuesday. And Bliss! All I had to do was stand in water up to my waist and make sure W didn't go over his head!

The neighbor girl was there with her parents, and offered her 'water wings' (she's in swim lessons and doesn't really need them) to Ms. Drama Queen, and they actually helped boost her confidence level somewhat. She wasn't constantly clinging to me; she was actually 'swimming' around.

Came home and ate supper (the kids scarfed down 1 free hot dog a piece and went back into the water at 7:30, and were still hungry an hour later), spoke to their mother, and passed out.

Forgot to Mention...
I've been so busy blogging (griping??) about the kids, I forgot to ask everyone to please keep my mother in your thoughts and prayers? My parents went to Michigan over the weekend, to attend a 50th anniversary party, and on the way home on Sunday, my mom started having trouble with her health.

Dad took her to the hospital, where she was admitted with pneumonia. The next day, it aggravated her atrial fibrulation, and they moved her to ICU. She's doing well; the pneumonia is almost gone, but they are having trouble getting her heart to slow down. They're trying a new medicine as of yesterday, and it seems to be doing its job. Dad thinks she'll be home by the end of the week, and that they are going to do a cardiac catheratization in the near future.

My own hubby goes into A-Fib every now and then, and they have to take him down and shock him (cardiac conversion) in order to get his pesky heart to behave. Fortunately, it has been behaving since 2005. But I know how painfull A-Fib can be on a person, so please keep her in your thoughts?

On the Schedule Today...
Doing laundry
Cleaning up the house
Driving the kids an hour north to meet their mom
Driving back home
Watching Swingtown(or at least DVR-ing it!)

My daughter asked me last night, "Isn't Big Brother on?"

I said, "Yes. I decided not to watch it this year."

They should be HAPPY I only hog the TV for an hour on Thursdays and for 4 hours on Saturday! I told her she could watch it, but she opted for Nickelodean instead.

Now the internet...that's a different story! More on this later.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm Sore!

Took the kids to the pool for Dollar Day. And got an eye-opener!

I'd pictured myself standing quietly in the shallow end, occassionally dipping myself up to the shoulders, and keeping a watchful eye as the kids (ages 6, 5, and 4) jumped off the sides, played happily together, and watching them interact with other kids.

Yeah. Maybe in FANTASYLAND???

Reality: I was an active participant as I struggled to show Ms. Drama Queen she wasn't going to sink if Aunt Mommy supported her body while she a) floated on her back or b) tried to move her arms and legs at the same time.

She'd kick, but if I started to move forward, she'd grab my arms. And when instructed to move her arms, she'd quit kicking. And the child weighs more than your average kindergartner, so I couldn't pick her up above the waterline.

Had the same problem with Mr. Energy. He only wanted to 'walk-swim' other words, his feet weren't going off the pool floor unless he had the float ring securely around his waist.

And the 4-yr-old? He wanted to be out in the 'deep water' with the rest of us (14-yr-old S was with us) and wanted to jump into waiting arms. A couple of times, I wasn't ready, and he went in over his head, but I was able to quickly grab him. After the second time, I issued the warning that if any of the three jumped in beyond a certain area (marked by a colorful beachtowel), we were leaving immediately. Not surprisingly, the three younglings obeyed, and no one was in any further danger of jumping in over their heads.

So this morning, my arms are sore from being outstretched for 3 hours; my legs are sore because we did some water aerobics; and my shoulders are slightly sunburned. Seems Mom put sunscreen on everyone except herself!

And after a hearty supper and playing outside with the girl down the block, we all took a stroll around the block (2 were on bikes, one was running) and came in for some ice cream.

The kids passed out with no problems.

Today we may go to the park, and hit Dairy Queen for a cool snack. It all depends on how hot it gets outside.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Strange Dream...

Currently Reading: Finished Endymion Spring last night, and was surprised at the ending:) Great read!

Also just finished Who's Your Daddy...excellent! Brynn, your pair is up next. Master Me, followed by Tribute for the Goddess.

The conference room was packed with women wearing everything from dramatic evening gowns to simple coctail dresses.

Up on a platform was a huge daybed, covered with a white eyelet spread. Kelly Kirch lounged against the brass headboard, and beside her on the table was a massive bowl of fruit. The line snaked around the room, as we all awaited our turn to talk to this wonderful author.

When the final guest had had her turn (and snacked on strawberries dipped in chocolate as they spoke), Kelly stood up and thanked everyone for coming. She told us to be seated, but before anyone moved, a voice rang out from the doorway,

"It's about bloody time to eat, mate! We're all starving our arses off here! Where the hell's the plonk?"

Whispers of excitement swept through the crowd.

"AJ made it! She's actually here! Let the party begin!"

All of a sudden, I heard, "Mom, I'm going to work. Love you..."

And I was no longer in the presence of great authors, but asleep in my bed beside a snoring toddler.

Talk about a letdown!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Part Reptile??

I've noticed something.

If I get up and turn off the A/C in the mornings, I tend to get more done. It's the days where the air is blowing and I'm bundled into sweatshirt and jeans just to stay warm in my own home, that my body seems to not want to move fast, but curl up in my bedroom where the air doesn't blow, and 'hibernate'.

But give me a warm house with the windows and doors open, and I function just fine:)

Until I spend any amount of time outside, and then it's time to turn on the A/C.

On the lowest setting.

Otherwise, I'm back to wearing clothes that suggest the temp is closer to 70 outside, instead of 90!

Does anyone else have this problem?

Busy Day Ahead

Currently Reading: Who's Your Daddy anthology (still!) and Endymion Spring. Will be purchasing Brynn's Master Me and Tribute to the Goddess, as well as Conquest of a Fairy, by Marie Haynes in the next day or so.

There are some days I agree with AJ about Mondays. Today is one of them!


With the extra kids in the house, and everything going on over the weekend with the spousal unit home, housework didn't even make the To-Do list until he threw a fit last night:

"Clean up this house, or I'm not coming home."

Hmmm...if memory serves me correctly, I believe the house WAS clean when he and the kids arrived Friday! But two extra children, plus two teens who chose to hang out at our house, plus rain equals tracked-in dirt; more toys scattered here and there; and two overnight cases with various clothing scattered.

For the record:
-I did 9 loads of laundry between Friday and Sunday.
-The kids did pick up their toys Saturday. Yesterday, they played outside.
-And when you have seven people spending the night in a two-bedroom house, yeah, it gets crowded at bedtime! The younglings are in S's bed; W sleeps either with his big brother or in his tiny, soon-to-be-outgrown pack-n-play; S is camping on the couch.

I will be returning the younglings on Thursday, and by Friday, everything will return to normal again!

On the agenda today:
-Making corrections to my manuscript
-Taking the younglings to see Grandma (we didn't make it yesterday)
-Fixing Sloppy Joe's for dinner
-Writer's Guild from 5-8; K will drop me off, and everyone will enjoy ice cream when they pick me up.
-Watching 'One Tree Hill', as they are showing the episode I missed last time around.
-Bedtime for the little ones; Mom will drink another glass of plonk before falling into bed.

And I also have to squeeze in another trip to the library to print out the critique pages. I didn't take enough money last night!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ouch! My Aching Ears....

Heard something rather disturbing on the radio.

Does anyone remember Prince's "Darling Nikki" song from Purple Rain?

Some idiot band has chosen to remake it.

Why couldn't they have picked another one?

On a good note...
Had another strange dream last night, along the same lines as the other one. Only this time I was wearing my pink Colts tee and blue Colts pj pants...

At least I had clothes on!

What does it mean when you dream about your favorite character, and his relatives all show up and either warn you or show approval? Am I getting too emeshed in my story? (Is 'emeshed' even a word?? It looked funny with two 'm's...and can't find it in my trusty dictionary!)

Still Moody...

Currently Reading: Who's Your Daddy anthology. I've read the first two; I really enjoyed them! I think Lyn Cash's is the last one. Broken Pottery was fantastic, and now I need to read the others in that series. It made some references to an earlier story. Brynn's Master Me is up next, after I finish WYD.

Print Book: My daughter recommended Endymion Spring, by Matthew Skelton. So far I'm finding it hard to put down! And I went back and finished Jodi Minton's sequel to the Phantom of the Opera. I guess I'll just have to watch the movie first, and then reread it. The final couple of chapters were interesting, though!

Took the kids to church; my toddler tried to show off in front of his cousins and got his butt smacked by Daddy.

And during the 'Sign of Peace', Miss Drama Queen banged her mouth against the pew and ended up with a slightly bloody lip. She's going to live...that will teach her not to jump up and down on the kneeler! She did provide entertainment for the people behind us, as her freshly washed hair chose to curl wildly in the heat! Remember the nursery rhyme, "There was a girl with a little curl right in the middle of her forehead..."?

Her brother, Mr. Energy, has so far been the best behaved, although he is fascinated with the rats and has to be told repeatedly not to take them out of the cage.

I predict more gray hairs on my head by the time Thursday gets here! Now if I can just persuade my teens to stay close to home for 4 days...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Too Moody

Currently Reading: Read Boomerang Love last night, and boy is it good! Highly reccommend it for summer reading! Next up is Broken Pottery...I managed to read the first chapter before my kids insisted on taking over the computer.

I need a new attitude.

Less than 24 hours with the kids, and I want out of here. In fact, D and I are headed to the store to stock up on food for the week.

Pray I survive...

On a good note, my signing is set for the 19th, from 11-1pm in Evansville:)

Friday, July 11, 2008


Okay; I'm all set. Just bought Boomerang Love, Campus Cravings: Broken Pottery, and Who's Your Daddy. Also Dragon in the System...what the heck. I'll read it again! Ack! Forgot to go to EC and get Master Me...must rectify that oversight!

I just finished skimming the final book in the last box. My hubby's 2nd grade Catholic reader...booooorrrrring, so I put it back.

It's taken me easily 18 months to read my way through 11 or so boxes, two sacks, one drawer, and two strays I found in the closet.

I've read everything from the stories of Watergate to Napolean's Waterloo. The JKF years to the Clinton scandals. Amusing 50's romances and mysteries to the more modern John Grisham.

And now I'm out of reading material...unless my mother cares to empty her shelves?

At least now I'll be able to start wading my way through my e-book list faster!

They're Coming!

My honorary grandchildren are arriving tonight. A will soon be 7 and her brother J will soon be 6. They have the unusual distinction of being born on the same day, one year apart.

Why honorary? Their mom came in my hubby's life when she was a mere 18 months of age; her own mother was estranged from her family and chose to live with her new 'adopted' one. And since my hubby was around most of the time, he got to be honorary Dad or Uncle. And since having children of her own, and they lived with us for a year, I'm Aunt Mommy and he's Uncle Dad.

They haven't been here since Easter, and since they are both in school (A just finished her 1st year of kindergarten and J preschool), visits are becoming few and far between. But their mom needs a break; my oldest son 'pinky-promised' them he'd take them to the pool; and having them around will mean playmates for my youngest.

So I'll be ordering pizza tonight, after we get the house whipped into shape. Yes, since having my PC access again, I've sadly neglected the housework...and I predict it will continue to be neglectful, now that I can access my manuscripts again!

Dancer's Delight
I overslept this morning. Blame Anny Cook:)


I am rereading her fascinating story of Dancer and Eppie! And I've discovered details I missed the first couple of times I read it on the computer.

I now have a slightly better 'map' inside my head of Mystic Valley; I understand now how Dancer 'escaped' and found the valley; and for whatever reason, Llyon and Tyger's age is more clear. Apparently the first three times I read it on the PC, I skipped over several details and went right to the dialogue.

I wonder what else I've missed in other e-books? Or was this just an isolated incident, as this book was just one of the first ones I read?

When I get that elusive e-reader, I'll load my entire library of floppies and reread them all again. And after I finish with Dancer, I'll have to go back and reread Trav and Arano...

If you want a really cute story about life from a cat's point of view, pick up a copy of Sandra Cox's YA book, Shardai. I bought this for my daughter; it arrived yesterday and she's not home. So I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it! The sequel, Akasha, is out; I'll most likely get it in a couple of months. It was very well written, and I'll agree with one reviewer: You'll never look at cats the same again:)

Have a good weekend...Mother Nature's not cooperating this week. Today it's going to be scorching hot, but the kids aren't arriving until tonight. Rain's expected tomorrow, and the temps will be in the low 80's until the day they go back! Maybe on dollar day it will be hotter than expected, so they can have a great day at the pool?

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Next E-books to buy: Boomerang Love, by Melissa Lopez; Who's Your Daddy anthology; and a Campus Cravings book by Carol Lynne. I might even catch up on Brynn's Cress series and buy Master Me, now that Josh's story is out! And, of course, Cindy's Dragon in the System.

Oldest son is having his tonsils out on July 30th. Note to self: Stock up on Edy's Dibs ice cream. Popcicles. Ice cream in general.

My flash drive is virus-free:) And they didn't charge me, so I found a CD I wanted; K drooled over the high-def TVs, and W wanted everything in sight.

Made a quick trip over to Borders; the Sony E-reader is a mere $300, and when I spoke to the Community Relations manager, she agreed to look at her calendar and set up a signing for me. I just heard from her; she offered me any weekend this month or early September. Stay tuned for when it's set in stone! Bought W a book while we were there, as well as 2 bars of 'Emergency Chocolate' for the drive home. Rocked out to various artists on the way home.

So I had a good day with my boys, and even treated them to lunch at Mickey D's. There was a huge playscape for W, and I'm surprised he didn't pass out on the way home.

Got home, and S's birthday gift had arrived! I'll wrap it and give it to her tomorrow when she arrives.

Plans tonight include fixing chicken and penne pasta for dinner, and trying to finish another chapter before 'Swingtown' is on at 10. Yes, I'm still watching it.

Vertically Challenged?
Kelly thinks I'm TALL? I guess if you consider 5'6 1/2" tall...but then again, I'm the short one in the family. No joke; I have concrete proof that in April, 1984, I was still taller than my younger sister. Eight months later, when I returned home after my first semester of college, my sister, then a freshman in HIGH SCHOOL, had shot up to 5'8". People at church would see us and ask her, "So how is college life treating you?"

Hello! Shorty here is the high school grad! She's just now getting into it! In fact, twenty-four years later, she's now pushing 6 feet! (Officially, she's 5' 11 15/16"! That's her story and she's sticking to it...)

Christmas '06 my oldest son was slightly taller than I was. This year, I can put my head on his shoulder without having to bend my head. And my 14-yr old is millimeters away from being taller.

At least I still have about 10-12 more years before W hits his teenage growth spurt!

Refresh My Memory...

When you have a dream in which you are caught in the nude, what does it mean?

You're hiding something?

You feel vulnerable?

Or just paranoid about something?

I'm off to Evansville again; this time for not-so-pleasant business. K has to see an ENT doc because he's suffered from strep throat/tonsillitis once a month since November, and each time it gets worse.

Then we're off to Circuit City to test my flash drive!

TTFN...I'll be back with an update later this afternoon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Received a shock while prying my eyes open this morning (more on why later!) while drinking my morning coffee.

Heard a car door slam; nothing new there, but the dog picked up her head and started thumping her tail. Not so usual.

Before my brain received the message that someone had pulled up in front of my house, and my body was beginning to think maybe I ought to get up and investigate, my husband walked up the porch steps!

"We were rained out, so I decided to come spend the day with my family!"

Second surprise:

Received two packages in the mail. Okay, I'm expecting Kelly's book any day, as well as Sandra's. But only one says Amazon, and the other is from Maryland. Maybe Sandra's book was shipped differently?


Anny Cook sent me the hair piks she'd promised AND the signed book covers AND a copy of Dancer's Delight! Wow! Thank you, Anny; I'll definitely cherish them!

The third surprise came last night.

You've heard stories about the people you meet over the internet, and how sometimes the two people can't interact without a computer between them? Not for Kelly Kirch and myself! We talked almost non-stop from the time my kids and I stepped off the elevador until it was time for us to head home so she and her family could get some sleep.

It's great when two people have chatted on a somewhat weekly basis for 18 months online, and to immediately have that person-to-person connection too. And our youngest children had a great time one-upping each other in the acrobatics department! Kelly, your kids are fantastic. And J, I hope to see your stories out there someday. Kudos to your drawing ability:) P, if you're flexibility someday lands you in the State Finals, I'll be cheering you on! (She made my muscles hurt just watching her do the splits and putting her feet behind her head!)

Hope you have a safe trip home today, and I'm sorry the book arrived a day late for your autograph.

Maybe the next time our paths cross we won't be in a time crunch?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday Stuff

Currently Reading: The Balloon Man, by Charlotte Armstrong and Drop Dead Beautiful, by Jackie Collins. I absolutely love Jackie Collins' books!

E-books: I have to repurchase Cindy Spencer Pape's Dragon in the System. Apparently my download time has expired. Not bad; I was able to recover the other 3 from EC, so it's not too hard on my wallet! And as I've stated, my flash drive will be tested on Thursday, and hopefully it will prove to be virus-free, and I can access my files again!

This will prove beneficial in 2 ways:
-I can access my TBB list;
-I can submit my EC story AND continue the critiquing process on my other one! And hopefully, I'll get a favorable response from Eternal Press in a couple of weeks?????

In honor of Kelly's 'coming clean' yesterday, I came up with the following. And yes, she okayed it!

There once was a woman named Blu
Whose identity nobody knew
Her books are so hot
They are actively sought
By everyone but those in the pew!

Her husband's a preacher, you see
The parishioners just wouldn't be
Too thrilled with the news
She writes different views
They would pass out or fall on their knees!

Looking forward to meeting you tonight:)

Promised Recipe
My favorite Zola recipe is on my flash drive. I did make her Moroccan Chicken once; here it is.

Serves 2:

The base:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne (I left it out)
1 Tbsp olive oil

2 large chicken breast halves on the bone with skin (I think I used boneless skinless, but not sure!)

The sauce:
1 medium onion diced
1 Tblsp minced ginger
1 Tblsp garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I left it out)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white wine
3 oz tomato paste
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
15 oz can of cannellini beans (I used white northern)
2 Tblsp honey
1 lemon cut into wedges

On the side:
2 rounds whole-wheat pita bread
onion salt
olive oil spray (I used PAM)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put the base spices in large saute pan. Add olive oit and stil. Spread them around the surface of the pan. Heat on high and add the chicken, skin-side down. Brown chicken for 5 minutes; don't move it around.

Take chicken out of spice mixture and put into 13x9'' pan. Put it in oven to roast, bone-side down for 30 mins. You'l finish the rest while sauce while it cooks.

Add onion to spices left in pan. Stir to mix the onion w/the spices. Add in ginger, garlic, pepper, and cinnamon. Cook on medium for a minute. Add white wine and tomato paste, stirring to 'break up' the paste. Then add tomatoes, broth, beans, honey, and lemon wedges. Stir to mix this all up. The sauce will continue to cook on medium low until the chicken is done, about 20 minutes more.

Remove chicken from oven; check for doneness. Turn off the sauce.

Spray pita bread with spray and sprinkle on onion salt to taste. Heat pita bread in oven, 3-4 mins. You decide if want sauce on top of chicken or bottom. (I don't care for beans, so I put the chicken on top)

New Story Idea
Travis challenged me to put a horror writer into one of my books. I wrote five paragraphs last night; I just hope it's not too cheesy-sounding! Kell, you'll be my sounding board tonight...

Yeah, yeah, yeah; I hear you! I'm still not done writing the last two chapters on the wip last week; nor have I even finished the 2nd chapter of the one I started in June! So why am I starting another one? BECAUSE I CAN:) So don't go getting all Hot Under the Collar; while I'm in Access Denied to my flashdrive, My Last Dark Day will be when my van is totally free of system failure (hey...maybe there's a Dragon in it, hmmm???) and I'll have Sweet Dreams and Satisfaction Guaranteed again. And maybe I'll plant some Chrysanthemums in the back yard. (Sorry Anny...that was the only way I could think to get one of your titles in there!)

I'm going...I'm going...(ducking and running!)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Guest Blogger

Posted with permission And feel free to visit Zola's website at

Where to Eat Before it's too Late...

You people are an inspiration. Sometimes you write me to ask for recipe ideas. Sometimes you just write to say hello and let me know how a column affected you or made you laugh. And then there are times when you write to me about something that makes ME think. This column is about one of those emails I received last week.

The email started off with a reader who said she and her group travel to Chicago every year and they always struggle over which restaurants they are going to eat at while here. This is when I know I have a real group of "foodies" on my hands. Most people come to a conference and either eat at the conference or just wander out of the facility and find food.

Not these people. They want to dine. They want to soak up the atmosphere. They want to enjoy the authentic Chicago. I commend them.

In the email the woman asked me to recommend some restaurants. They figured that if Zola lives in Chicago she ought to make a pretty good restaurant recommendation source; comprehensive even. And they would be right! I used to tell people I've eaten my way from one end of this city to the other. I used to say that when I was skinny. Now I don't think it sounds so good, but I still feel the emotion. I am proud of so many things Chicago has to offer and I'd put our culinary prowess up against even the most highly touted food centers in the world. News Flash!: Chicago's Stephanie Izard just won America's Top Chef competition! Stephanie used to own a little bistro down the street from my place. It was called Scylla, and my husband and I were big fans.

Anyway, back to the restaurants. I wrote back asking her to narrow her request. I could spend an afternoon giving restaurant recommendations. I could do it by cuisine type. I could do it based on budget. I could do it by neighborhood location. I could do it by featuring the newest or even the venerable. You get my drift. I needed to be narrowed down. Then I'd be prepared to shoot off a list.

Her email came back later that afternoon. She asked for American steak houses and Italian. Chicago used to be the "butcher capital to the world" so beef made perfect sense. Italian, as she pointed out, is universally loved, so everyone would be happy with Italian restaurants. Then she added the kicker that really made me think. She said, "Zola, if you found out you had to move and you could only eat at three Chicago restaurants before you had to ship out and never return, which places would you pick?"

I was blown away. No one had ever set me up with a challenge like that one before. I really had to think. My easy way out was to answer her steak request and then her Italian request so that was 7 or 8 restaurants that I could type up in a flash. I was stopped dead by her last request. I realized it was one of the most difficult food-related decisions I could make. I interpreted it to be, "If you could only eat three more dinners in your life, and you had to eat them in Chicago restaurants, which ones would you pick?" It sent me into a tizzy.

My brain went into overdrive. First I focused on the ones I had already given her in the Italian and steak categories. I had to ask myself, if I were picking the last three, would any on those lists make my final? Then my mind started racing all over town. As my brain settled on each restaurant, the menu came into focus and I tried to factor in what I'd order so I knew if that was a perfect choice.

I realized a couple of things that were new to me. I decided, that as a good cook myself, I could get lots of good food. What was going to be a deciding factor in the myriad of good, and even fabulous, Chicago restaurants was going to be the atmosphere. My mind started conjuring up the smells, the music, the lighting, how comfortable the seating is , the service- all of these things more than the food. Interesting observation for a food writer, I thought. The creativity of the menu was important, and did they branch out beyond things that I'd cook in my own kitchen? Or did that matter?

What I wanted was all of those things clustered into one restaurant. Or at least three.

And you know what? In the final analysis and the time allowed, I couldn't do it. I gave her three and gave her my reasoning but I told her I really needed time to visit about 50 or I was always going to feel like I had left something behind.

Then I took it another step, and I'm going to invite you to do this too. I took my internal conversation to cocktail hour. I had a few minutes with my husband before I had to head off to a business dinner. I was sitting with him on our roof deck as the sun was fading and I told him the story of the email and I followed it up with the question, "Which three would you pick?"

Right away he turned it back on me. "Which did you choose? He wanted to know". "You're not getting off that easy", I said. "You give me your list first and then I'll share mine". Dead silence. Then he started trying to guess mine instead of being forced to pick his own. It was the funniest thing to watch. Very interesting. No giggling. I had to just let him fight with it. And oddly enough, his list didn't match mine; although just about every restaurant I've eaten in, I've eaten in with him. He knows my tastes and I know his, but our lists didn't match.

So here's my challenge to you. At the dinner table, or even better, at a dinner party with friends, pose the question. Unless your town only has three restaurants, I bet this will make for interesting conversation. It's not politics, but it's a conversation that can generate some passionate consideration as each person lobbies for their favorite restaurants and why they've chosen them.

Good luck and feel free to report out at:


Where would you eat, in your home town or favorite city, if you could eat 3 final meals?

My 3 would be Ruth Chris's Steakhouse, The Melting Pot, and Chez Jean.

Ruth Chris: Filet mignon

Melting Pot: Surf 'n Turf and fondue. YUM!

Chez Jean: Fabulous French restaurant! Ate there a couple of years ago on our anniversary, and it was an incredible taste bud experience:)

Post yours in the comments. I'll post my favorite Zola recipe tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Sunday:)

I have good news to report:

My van is fixed! My neighbor is cheering:)

Busy day ahead, including a change of plans: Church at 11; birthday party across the street at 2; leaving for Terre Haute at 4; dinner and celebrating daughter's birthday at Olive Garden between 5 and 7. Somewhere in there I also have to go grocery shopping and finish hubby's laundry. I did most of it yesterday; I only have one more load.

Expanded my new story to include 2 more chapters. I wrote one yesterday and the first line of the last chapter last night. I'll include a word count later, and I think I'm going to have to change the title.

Who knew some private attention from my husband and a chocolate martini would kick-start the creativity? Last year at this time, it was a news blurb on the radio!

I'm still drinking my way through a bottle of Sutter Home White Zinfindel. I couldn't find the Blueberry wine in the liquor store, and I wasn't in the mood to drive 4 hours just to purchase it from the winery. If I sell more books (or the gas prices drop!), I'll order a couple bottles and let them ship it to me. I'm having no trouble sleeping at night! One glass a night has turned into a wonderful relaxing ritual. The kids joke about mom getting into the hootch, but if they see me drinking responsibly, then I'm setting a good example, right? And its not like I do this every week!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Memorable 4th:)

Ahhh...what a fantastic day yesterday was! The kids slept late and then scattered to friends' houses; I wrote nearly all day (32oo words...may not sound like a lot, but when I tried to do it in November, it nearly killed me!); the on-and-off rain stopped just before the parade began and stayed away the rest of the evening; and since I was thrilled with what I had accomplished (not to mention forgotten about planning dinner!), my family took me out for dinner.

And then the neighbors came over and we watched our teens set off the fireworks. Even the toddlers enjoyed the sparklers!

(I lifted the following from my website. Since I didn't know many of you this time last year, I thought I'd post it here. Enjoy:)

Another memorable one was the year I was 16. My boyfriend and I had broken up; I was extremely angry about it and trying to win him back. Another friend of mine was having problems with his girlfriend; we spent the entire concert at Tapawingo Park sitting on our 'beach' by the Wabash (so we called our little strip of sand!) bemoaning our problems with the opposite sex. When it came time for the fireworks, we shared a lawn chair, and all of a sudden, a friendly game of Mercy turned into a hand-holding session that sparked something...and I didn't want the display to ever end. But it did, and afterwards, I was thrilled when he collapsed the chair and grabbed my hand again! I know...trivial stuff by today's standards, but the fireworks inside me were also conflicted with my desire to regain my exboyfriend's attention. I can't remember if my 4th ended with a kiss, but I do know that he became my 'Sunday Evening Date' the rest of that year at my church's Youth Group, until he realized I wasn't returning his hindsight, it's a what-the-hell-were-you-thinking kind of moment, the kind where you want to go back in time and give yourself a slap upside the head for throwing away a potentally fantastic relationship!

Grandparents are arriving tomorrow; the toddler's been invited to the other toddler's birthday party at 2pm. Hope the grandparents don't change their mind and want us to meet them an hour north!

Today, hubby is putting in a new alternator and I'm getting ready to tackle the house. Laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, and a complete vacuuming of the floors is in order. Thankfully, the teens are pitching in as well:) So with that said, I'm getting offline and setting a good example for the chores to be started. Hubby and K are already hard at work on the van; W is 'helping' in his own way...he's the 'gopher' and unofficial 'supervisor'. I need to get a pic of him...he's wearing his blue jeans, snow boots, snow gloves (whenever he picks up a tool), and wearing Daddy's hard hat! Bob the Builder, watch out!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Climbing on the Soap Box

Woo Hoo! Finished the story I was working on! Right now it's 6,693 words, but I can keep going if it's too short. No sex until chapter 2, so probably won't qualify for EC. Any suggestions? Not bad for a lazy 4th of July! Can't finish the ones I need to finish, but I can write something new. Go figure...I'm off to go buy some plonk to celebrate:)

Warning: The following contains strong Christian themes. I'm not trying to offend anyone; I just found yesterday's devotional too good to not post.

Yesterday's In Touch topic was titled, A Civic Responsibility. And yes, it ties in with today's culture. Here's the condensed version:

Matthew 5:15 says, "I will take vengeance in anger and wrath upon the nations that have not obeyed me."

Our Heavenly Father has given us a clear indication of what will happen if we don't pay attention and keep his commandments. Yet, we have pushed God out of the schools, removed the Bible and prayer from govornment meetings, and making laws that defy divine commands. Sadly, godless ways are making huge inroads in our country, and many Christians don't fight this trend.

We strive to be 'sensitive' and 'tolerant' to other's beliefs. But when does tolerance include pushing our own basic beliefs aside in order to accommodate others? This country was founded upon basic Biblical principals. But sadly, we're letting the Bible become 'just another book', and even some ministers out there do not even acknowledge Christ as the Messiah! It's happened in my home church; there was a vote to split the affiliation from the churches who were led by timid preachers too afraid of offending anyone from the pulpit. How are we going to 'build a fire' in new Christians' hearts, to inspire a desire to know Him, if we send the message that Jesus 'may be' the Savior of the world? You either believe or you do not; there is no middle ground.

Psalm 33:12 also says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."

Clearly, the Lord will punish the nations who disobey Him or follow other gods. This truth should not make believers fear. Rather, it must prompt us to take a stand for what is right. We have serious responsibilities as both citizens and Christians. Pray that the people will elect leaders who follow His statutes. And then explore your sphere of influence; what can you do to impact people in your daily lives and exemplify Christ in our country?
-Rev Charles Stanley, editor of InTouch devotions

And before you ask, 'But write books that don't necessarily agree with your biblical principal..." and call me a hypocrite, you're right. I don't write Christian romances. But I do try to write stories that provide entertainment, and as we all know, I'm not perfect. My characters do not necessarily reflect my beliefs. My creativity has taken me out of my comfort zone at times, and I've tried to project a tolerant voice in those books.

Just because I write it doesn't mean I practice it.

And even more important: Let's not destroy what our forefathers worked so hard to attain? Freedom.

More on this later; I'm stepping down now. Happy birthday America and God Bless the USA!

In other news
I got inspired this morning. I wrote six pages on that latest idea of mine, and I rather like where it's going.

My mom also told me that my childhood 4th of July concert no longer exists! We used to look forward to the Symphony concert, always concluding with the 1812 Overture, complete with cannon fire. A great way to stir up patriotism! So is 'Stars and Stripes Forever' fact, I can even remember some of the flag choreography I performed in high school at the parade. I also remeber the dance moves to 'Get Away' and 'Tuxedo Junction', but that's another blog topic! I've been told that Connor Prairie may have my beloved 1812 Overture and cannons; I may just have to drag everyone up there one year!

It looks as if the rain will be moving out before fireworks time. Sorry Barb; I think it's headed your way! Or maybe it's heading south?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Successful Operation

No, not on me. On Forbidden Love, #3 in the Arbor University series! Here's a quick blurb:

Keri Patterson meets an older man, and is instantly transported into her first adult relationship. But is Kyle Sampson really telling her the truth about his ex-wife? Is Keri's ambition to someday be a part of an Indianapolis 500 racing crew interfering with her love life?

In the first book in the series, Keri's general outlook on her ambition is clear: She's in college to get certified, be ranked first in her class of all-males, and to work for a racing team, eventually working her way up to becoming the first female Chief Mechanic. Halfway through the book, she meets Kyle.

In the second book, Love Finds a Way, Keri's dating Kyle, and Stephanie fills Amy in on some of the details of the relationship, again, about halfway through the book.

But when I started writing Keri's story, I was also writing Amy's story; Elicia's story was fifteen years from being written; I went back to the beginning and began the set-up. They meet, are attracted to each other...and then I put it down and didn't touch it for six or seven years. When I did pick it up again, I continued on, making the occassional changes, as I had most of Gretchen's story finished. So yes, I wrote Amy first, then Gretchen, Keri, Caitlyn, and finally, Elicia, Stephanie, Susan, and now I'm trying to write Lynne's story. But she's not cooperating at the moment.

I sent Keri off on her merry way, and was first rejected because it does not have the romance gotta-have HEA ending. So I sent it elsewhere, who also rejected it, but who also very nicely pointed out the fact that my first couple of chapters TELL the story; they don't SHOW the action.

Right after I received that email, my PC crashed.

No, it's not that sensitive to my rejection letters, lol! The virus just happened to coincide with it.

But it's been restored; I successfully re-installed Word on it, and yesterday popped the disk into the PC, made a copy of the document, and started ruthlessly cutting.

I ended up cutting the first 5 or 6 chapters and adding in some details to the beginning, as well as other pertinent information so that the readers aren't scratching their heads and asking, 'And who is this person?"

The result? I'm happy with it. Yes, it was painfull to cut several of my favorite scenes, but they still exist in the original document. They are not gone forever, and maybe I can re-work them into a later book?

Now I just hope an editor appreciates my efforts and offers to publish it!

Happy Birthday Sara:)
Jackie called. My birthday girl is eating fresh strawberries and Splenda for her breakfast. They will arrive around 1:00 and we'll all go to lunch at Zander's. Later, S has said she wants Applebees for dinner, and we'll pick up her Pirates of the Carribbean cake and take pictures of her blowing out the candles. And in the grand tradition of holiday birthdays, the celebration will continue tomorrow night with the fireworks, and whenever her grandparents arrive, there will be more presents!

Busy Day!
I also typed the pages I had written Monday (three handwritten translated to 1.5 typed!) and kept going. I'd intended to only work for 2 hours; I actually put in 3.5! I literally had to force myself to stop; otherwise my toddler was only going to get junk food for dinner. And it's a good thing I stopped when I did; I fixed tortellini and garlic bread and he devoured his supper! Afterwards, I gave him a long hot shower, read him two books, and he passed out.

Don't know if I'll work some more on it today and this weekend; it depends on whatever we decide to do. Today's going to be busy cleaning up the house before the rest of the family arrives, and if we go to the family reunion on Sunday. D is fixing my van on Saturday, and my parents are arriving sometime in the next four days to see their grandchildren and to spoil the birthday girl (see yesterday's post!).

I'm also planning on taking my memory card to Walmart and downloading the pictures of Holiday World, the race, and this weekend, so maybe I'll post some for you to see.

Enjoy your day; we're expecting rain again. AJ, I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll try to send it your way:)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Generation Gap?

Currently Reading: Downloaded Carol Lynne's Coach for free yesterday off the TEB website (thank you Ashley for reminding me!!!) and loved it! If you missed the free day, go buy it anyway. So far, I think it's my favorite of the ones I've read by her!

My daughter's 14th birthday is tomorrow. What does she want, other than a ferret (not happening!) or a home back up in the old neighborhood (be will happen one day!)?

A laptop.

And her grandparents and loving aunt and uncle are pitching in to get her one.

Part of me says 'Not fair...I want one first!"

But on the other side, if she gets her own, then she won't be bugging me so much when I'm working or networking???

I remember when I turned 14.

My hair was down past my shoulders, and I received my first makeup kit; a curling brush...the kind you plugged in, let it heat up, and then wrapped the hair around it for curls? I don't know if the curling IRON had arrived yet; all I know is my cousin and I were thrilled, until we tried it out before reading the instructions carefully.

There's a wonderful picture of my sister holding the contraption, with my hair tangled around the bristles. I'm looking rather anxious, and my cousin is frantically flipping through the manual! I think we eventually had to cut my hair loose, and I had to change my hairstyle for several weeks.

I also recieved another electric blanket, records (don't ask by whom...I can't remember everything!), and the first two Trixie Belden books.

But my daughter is a new breed. She's not interested in boys yet; has no desire to wear perfume; loves the outdoors; likes to read occasionally; loves taking care of animals; and has a wonderful aptitude for drawing.

I hope she likes what her dad and I got her, but I know the laptop will be the main attraction for weeks to come.

And yes, the parental controls will still be intact!

And Mom, if you're reading this, can I please have an AlphaSmart for my birthday?

Does anyone else remember their 14th birthday? What did you receive?

Remember my interviews with my guys and gals last fall? Check out Ginger Simpson's blog and read her version! It's hilarious:)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday Happenings

Currently Reading: Finished Demon Wind last night, and boy is it good! I had a private laugh, because one of the minor characters has the same name as one of the characters I invented last August! Fortunately, they bear no resemblance to each other:)

Print: I'm down to the last six books in the box! Read The Marcaboth Women, by Vina Delmar, and thoroughly enjoyed getting inside the four women's heads; I'm getting ready to start The Torch Bearers, by Bernard V. Dryer.

Found something interesting in one of the books I pulled out yesterday: An old letter to my then-soon-to-be-sophomore-in-high-school husband from his Audio-Visual instructor.

Talk about how technology has changed!

The letter is dated August 20, 1969, and talks about how the students will be 'mastering' the following A/V equipment:
-16mm projectors
-Record Players
-Filmstrip Projectors
-Tape Records (esp. RCA)
-Videotape Records, focusing on recordings and playback functions
-Thermofax copying

Are any of these still in use today?

I remember always wanting to be the one chosen to advance the filmstrip, and when I worked in the A/V part of the library, it was the thrill of knowing how to set up the projectors and the freedom of roaming the hallways to push the equipment to and from the classrooms. But when I got to high school, VCR's were used, or the TV/Radio dept would set up the movies.

I've never even heard of Thermofax copying!

Quiet Author Time
Attended my 2nd Writer's Guild meeting, and began a new wip. Yeah, yeah...I haven't even stepped out of chapter 1 of the new one! So why the hell am I starting something new? Because I Can! And so now I'm writing 3 new books at the same time, plus getting ready to perform major surgery on my 3rd finished book. Now I just need to get rid of all my kids for a week...or the summer...any takers? Oh wait...some of them disappear for a day or two, and I actually do manage to get some work finished...

My body shut down last night at 10pm. I'd been awake since 3:30am, but felt as if I hadn't really slept at all. I woke up and tackled my kitchen, which the teens decided they would 'forget' about last night, and oh, I never actually said, 'Don't forget to do the dishes'...the only thing I did say was 'please bathe your little brother'. Mission accomplished. Darn kids...can't they read my mind for once? Or is that asking too much? How often does Mommy fall asleep on her feet, anyway? Don't answer that.

Jackie's coming to pick up the teens, so they can finish helping her landscape the yard. K has already gotten several admiring glances on his retaining wall, and Jackie said the traffic has picked up in front of their house. Apparently the wall is the new tourist attraction in town! I asked K if he'd had any offers by people wanting to hire him, but he said no. And then Jackie said the admirers were probably afraid of how much he would charge them!

What's everyone else up to on this first day of July? The authors at the Oh Get a Grip blog are talking about inaccuracies in the media. Yesterday Anny was talking about the mistakes in books; today Kelly's discussing the ones in movies. I personally haven't noticed any in movies, until they are pointed out. But I have spotted typos and names being changed in series' books, but blame them on the editors, not the writers! Of course, I admit I'm not perfect, and if you spot a glaring problem in one of my books, please drop me a polite line and bring it to my attention? The Space Shuttle mistake...not my fault. Other issues, such as the fact that Fort Ben in Indianapolis is an ARMY base, not Air Force...I'm already working on how to explain creative license when that book gets pubbed.