Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's What's on My mind

Y'all know what I'm talking about, if I say I have a plastic container like you get sauce in from a pizza place, right? Well, just FYI, if you put it in the microwave with the lid on, after 5 seconds, the lid will pop off and scare you to death. lol

During Sunday School the other day, the children handed out treat bags for everyone. They were just the run-of-the-mill brown, paper bags, but inside was an orange, an apple and a Hershey bar - at least, that was what was in mine. :) So, this morning, I was thinking... Hmm, melt some chocolate, slice the oranges and dip them in the melted chocolate. Put them in the fridge, and a couple of hours later, we'll have us a snack. I have some bananas, too. Wonder if that would be good? But, what about the apples? Apples and chocolate...I don't think so. lol Hey, but I just realized, I do have a can of biscuits. Wonder if I pealed and sliced the apples and then put cinnamon and sugar on them and wrapped them in the biscuits? Hmm, not sure about that They are those big, red apples that are pretty sweet to start with, so I'd better just eat them as is. :)

Sunday evening, we went to my mother and father-in-laws' for an early Christmas. Needless to say, Monday morning was spent fighting with boxes in order to get those toys opened. The 3 boxes of barbies were the worst, and they weren't even from the grandparents but a friend from church. Back when I was a little girl, I remember being so happy that I could open my own barbies without any help. Now, because so many dishonest people have ruined things for the honest, I can't hardly get those barbies loose for nothing. Finally, I got the scissors and went at it. I am firmly convinced that if a person is bound and determined to steal, let them, but for goodness sake, stop making it hard for the rest of us to free Barbie and Ken! When the happy couple were finally free of restraint, poor Ken's leg popped off. I dutifully removed his shorts, reattached his appendage and gave him back to my 6-year-old, saying, "Now, put his shorts back on him so he won't be naked." Haha!

Speaking of Barbie's man, my 6-year-old insists on calling him Kem. What is up with that? I keep telling her that his name is Ken, but she thinks I'm lying to her. She told me it was spelled K e m. I'm like, no it isn't. She said, "Well, you're blind and can't read it."

"Yeah," I said, "but I've kind of been around a bit longer than you, and I know his name is Ken."

Yesterday, my mom even told her I was right, but she wouldn't listen. Deed! She's 6 going on 25. And, poor Ken is going to end up with a complex, if she doesn't stop. lol

Just because I want to share something with y'all that I think is so funny, I'm placing a teensy excerpt below. This is one of my many WIP's,. Feel free to comment, critique, boo or like. :) I wrote this piece this morning, and couldn't stop laughing.

Work in Progress that doesn't have a name yet
“Pizza, huh? Hope you brought a truck load; these kids are like wolves when it comes to food.”
“I counted on that when I ordered it,” he said, following her toward the sounds of children’s voices and the smell of pepperoni and cheese.
The smiles on the children’s faces, Megan decided, were enough to make Jace’s surprise visit worth any discomfort on her part. It wasn’t often they got take out for dinner, and because her favorite people were happy, she was happy.
“So, if you used to live around here, why did it take you so long to come back home?”
It was Cathy who asked it, and because she had been preoccupied with watching Jace and Cody, Megan almost missed it. But, when Jace opened his mouth to answer, she felt her breath catch in her throat.
“Well, Cathy, I was in college for four years. Then, I went to medical school for four years. After that, I did a couple of internships, and I guess, as they say, the rest is history.”
“Wow,” Amy said. “If becoming a doctor takes that long, you can count me out!”
Jace laughed.
“So, how do you and my mom know one another?”
“Yeah,” Missie piped up, “did you two like each other?”
If the floor had opened up and swallowed her whole, Megan would have gladly let it. But, it it stayed in place. Her heart, on the other hand, got caught somewhere in her throat, and she almost choked on her bite of pizza. She could feel her face turning red, but before she could say anything, Jace was answering.
“The first time I ever saw your mom, Cody, was at a church youth raly. She was new around here, and all the guys thought she was the prettiest thing they’d ever seen. The youth director told us to line up for a game, and I was the lucky guy who got to stand behind her. The game was one of those where you have to pass a tooth pick from person to person using only your teeth. If you used your hands, you were disqualified.”
Snickers of laughter echoed around the room, and Megan gave up and laughed out loud.
“Well,” Jace continued, “your mom turns to me with that tooth pick between her teeth, and I thought I was going to die from embarrassment. But, I wanted our team to win, so I leaned forward and took the other end of the tooth pick between my teeth. I mean, our noses were so close. I was about to pull away, when I felt my nose start to tickle. And, before i knew it, i was sneezing all over the prettiest girl in church.”
“Oo! Yuck!” all the girls said before collapsing in to fits of laughter along with the boys.
“Oh, that is so gross!” Amy said. “Were you embarrassed, Aunt Megan?”
“Yes, I was. But, that wasn’t the only time he did that.”
“No way!”
“Yes, way,” Megan said, nodding toward Jace. “He was the snottiest kid I had ever seen. He was always sneezing on me. One time, he even barfed on me.”
That had all the kids snorting and laughing, and Megan grinned.
“That is so gross!” Cathy said around giggles. “I don’t know if I would let him sit at your table, after all that.”
“Hey, I got better after seventh grade.”
“Not much,” Megan said. “Why do you think I started carrying tissues around with me all the time?”
“Prettiest girl or not,” Chris said, “I’ll bet you didn’t have the guts to ask her out, after all that.”
The room grew quiet, then, as all eyes turned toward Jace and Megan, waiting for an answer.
“Well, by the time I had a car and could take her on a proper date, I was on some strong allergy medicine.”
“So, you two did like each other.”
From across the table, Megan met Cody’s eyes, only then realizing how intent his gaze was and had been during the entire conversation.
Jace must have realized it, as well.

Y'all have a happy Wednesday, and you be sure to come back and see me here real soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Books and Writing

I am not a superstitious person. I don't believe in bad luck or good luck. But, I am firmly convinced that if I talk about a story too much without writing it, it will never get written. It's almost like talking about it, jinxes it or something. If I reveal my secrets too soon, I never finish the book.

Here lately, it seems I can't finish any story, talked about or not. Maybe, depression has had some part in this, but I think it's more of a lack of direction on my part. When I published "Wild Heart", there for a while I was on cloud nine. I was ready to get the word out about my book. I wrote the sequel within eighteen months and published it through CreateSpace. I have sold less than fifty copies of that book, I would guess. Publish America says I haven't sold a book in over a year and want to know if I want to pay $149 to have my contract back. Those idiots need a wake up call, if you ask me. I didn't pay to have it published, they have made more money off me already. No way am I paying them for my contract, when I can have it back for free in a couple of years. CreateSpace, on the other hand isn't asking for any money, but my book isn't selling, either. I don't like how it came out, actually. So, what to do?

My friend, Peggy Hoy has her own Christian publishing company and has agreed to publish the second edition of "To Tame A Heart". I would like to do this for a couple of reasons, not the least of which, I could bring the price of the book down, and she can make it look better. But, what keeps running through my mind, is why pay all that money to have it printed? Will I sell enough copies to make it worth while? If I held on to the manuscript, could I submit it to Harlequin or pitch it to a literary agent?

Here are some hard truths I am coming to understand:
1. While "Wild Heart" and "To Tame A Heart" are my babies, they are not my best. I can do better.
2. People, no matter what these vanity presses are saying, do not want to buy books, and if they do, they don't want to pay more than $7.99 for it.
3. Even if I manage to wow an agent or an editor with my log line, signing a contract with a mainstream publisher means a full-time job, which means I will need babysitters in order to meet deadlines. Working full-time doesn't leave a lot of room for homeschooling. I'm not sure that is the route I want to take.
4. I just don't have hundreds of dollars lying around to spend whenever I finish a book.

So, do I sound depressed to you? Or, are these things to consider, things that make sense?

I believe I am called to sing. I believe I am called to play the piano. I believe I am called to be a stay-at-home wife and mom. I believe I am called to homeschool my kids. I believe I am called to write. All I need now, is for the Lord to reveal unto me, just what He wants me to do with it all. :)

Just so you won't think I'm totally negative, I am writing. I had a manuscript lying around here with 6k words. Monday, four days ago, I started working on it in earnest. It's up to 12,393 words, now. It's not a Western, it's not a historical at all, unless you consider the 1980's to be a long time ago. lol I don't have any plans for it, just to finish it and do my best. Maybe, that's all I need to worry about. Maybe, the problem is I wrote "To Tame A Heart" for a few someones. Maybe, this WIP is working because it is for me. But, then again, maybe not. I don't know. I do know, however, I keep praying, and God keeps the ideas coming. I need y'all's prayers that I finished this one. Maybe, when it's done, the third book in the "Wild Heart" series will happen, or the mail-order-bride story will happen, or...well, I could name a number of stories I've started, but I won't. :)

Just for your amusement, here's a story Kierstin, my 4-year-old told me this morning. I transcribed it, just as she told it to me.

"Devils and Pigs" by Kierstin Wells Transcribed by Shannon Wells
the big man that's named Deck. he was so crazy like the crazy man from the Bible. He hurt hisself with rocks like the crazy man did. people tried to chain him up with ropes and chains but he broke them with his teeth, not like the crazy man. The demons got out of him and he broke the chains for kids. The kids had loose pants so they had chains for belts. and then, the demons got in the pigs, then they were crazy like the crazy man. After the demons got in the pigs, they got bad and shouted out like evil crazy pigs. then they hurt thereselfs with chains. they were crazy awful. The pigs were crazy and that's all.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to join the conversation with your two cents worth. Until next time, keep on keeping on. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

After the Weekend

So, I guess by now y'all realized I took a few days off from blogging. My best excuse is that I really could not think of anything to write about. The good news is I'm back, I'm ready to write and I have something to say.

Friday was one busy day. I did laundry, swiffered my house, straightened up the living room, made a pot of chili which I'll tell you about later and made some cheese-filled bread. I bathed my girls and after dinner, went to a Christmas play at my dad's church. Due to the inadequacy of the chili, we had to get cheeseburgers from Burger King on the way home.

On Saturday, I washed dishes, did laundry and thought a lot about baking. I never did bake, though. I kept wondering why my tongue was so sore. I even had the hubby to look at it to see if something was obviously wrong. It burned every time I ate or drank anything even remotely acidic, and every time I turned around my mouth was watering. What on earth was going on? Ha! It was that crazy chili. See, I accidentally put too much chili powder in it. As a result, it set my tongue on fire. It's still sore today, but not as much, thankfully. As for the cheese bread, my girls and I finished an entire loaf on Saturday, mostly because it didn't hurt my mouth to eat it. lol

So, Saturday night rolls around, and the 6-year-old is coughing. I gave medicine for it, sent her to bed and prayed. The next morning, she gets up with a fever and a bad cough. No Sunday School for us. Instead, her daddy took her to the doctor who gave her an antibiotic and offered to write a note for her teacher so she could miss school the next day. This teacher plans to take it easy for the poor, lil thang. lol

So, while the man of the house and the 6-year-old were at the doctor, the 4-year-old and I played barbie, watched some TV and made 2 batches of cookies. Ok, I made the cookies, but she helped. The Christmas tree was lit, and the house smelled yummy. By the time Dad and Sis got home, cookies were ready to be tasted. I made chocolate chip and chocolate sugar. After cleaning up from my bake fest, I did more laundry, then sat down to rest. Bedtime came, we gave meds and tried to settle down for a long winter's nap...uh, wait a minute - wrong story. What I meant was, we tried to get some sleep, but the 6-year-old was wound up. She got up to go to the bath room; she got up to get a drink. She got up to blow her nose, and walked back and forth before the sink...oh, dear, I'm rhyming. Somebody stop me! lol

Needless to say, it was a long night, but not a sleep-filled one. But, this cold Monday morning, we're awake, at least the 4-year-old, the man of the place and I are. My man's off to work, I'm blogging at the kitchen table, the youngest is eating coco puffs cereal and gabbing my ear off, and the big baby is still sleeping away. No plans to wake her up anytime soon, I can tell you.

Since y'all seem to like to hear about my books, I've started working on another one that has been on the back burner for a while. This one is a contemporary Christian Romance. Well, it's contemporary if you think 1989 is modern-day. :) I have about 6k words written, but most of that was when I started it months ago. For the past few days, the storyline has been running around in my head, I've changed some names, and I've written a paragraph or two. One thing I'm slowly learning, writing full time and homeschooling full-time is almost impossible. :) Is it ok to take a day off from school and write? Is it ok to take time off from school, when you've already taken some time off this year? Hmm, I don't know.

When I start thinking of making sure my first grader is doing first grade stuff, I feel like hyperventilating. Am I covering everything I should be? Am I missing something vital? Should I consider having her tested either now or at the end of the year to see if she is really on a first grade level? Ok, I'm getting wound up. Let's talk about something else.

Let's see, baking, homeschooling, writing... What else do y'all wanna hear about? Tell y'all what, you drop me comments letting me know what you want to know, and I'll do my best to write about them. Have a question about blindness or blindness related issues? Ask away.

Until next time, keep smiling, keep praying, and hang in there. We have something to be thankful for, after all; we're not pushing up daisies! Amen?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just the Everyday

A few minutes ago, my 6-year-old said she saw a spider in the floor. I told her to go get a shoe and smash him. She and her 4-year-old sister ran to get a shoe. They came back, but by that time, the spider had ran and hid under my husband's desk. They sat there for about five minutes, waiting for him to come out. He never did. I told them the spider was probably afraid, and wouldn't come out from under there until their daddy came home, and when he did come home, I'd tell him to stomp on that spider. They were happy about that and ran to the other room to play. As they ran off, I heard the 4-year-old say, "I don't wike spidas, cause day are cweepy." Hahahaha!

A couple of days ago, I read a book just for the pure enjoyment of it. We didn't do school, I didn't bother with laundry, I just read and washed up a few dishes. I didn't even cook dinner. Had the man of the house to bring pizzas home. It was nice to read a book, it was nice to be lazy, but I tell you, I was out of sorts all day long. I couldn't concentrate on anything, and I didn't want to do anything, either. Was the book worth it? Maybe, maybe not. Ok, probably not.

Once, a friend's husband told me that entertainment wasn't good for him. I remember thinking, "Are you crazy?" I mean, who doesn't like to enjoy some free time for entertainment. After all, nothing wrong if it's clean. As it turns out, he isn't crazy. The other day was a prime example, for me, anyway. Ignoring my responsibilities just for my own pleasure was not the best decision. Reading for enjoyment, now there's nothing wrong with that, but I could have been a bit less selfish while reading.

Note to self: If you want to read a book, do so, but don't be so selfish while you do it. :)

What else has been going through my head? Oh yeah, we're supposed to get some snow. At least, the mountains are, but I don't think this valley will see much of it. For one, the ground is too wet and warm for anything to stick. Yeah, I know they are calling for it to be a heavy, wet snow, but it has been raining cats and dogs for like the last two or three days. Everything is sopping wet. It would have to be freezing if anything was to stick. Hope it snows some, for the girls, anyway. They love to see it snow.

Haha, that reminds me, my mamaw used to say, "sopping wet." You ever heard that one before? Sopping wet...or how about this one? "Do ye want to sop ye biscuit?" lol Mamaw used to fry eggs so that the white was just done and the yellow (yalla) was done but easily broken. She'd "bust the yalla" and I'd "sop" my bread in it. Wow, I want some breakfast! lol

Nowhere else, I don't think, except the hills and hollers of the Appalachians will you hear such biblical sayings as "sop" "ye" and "reckon". Here, I used to think that it was old-fashioned for my grandparents to say, "I reckon I'll sop my biscuits in gravy", and turns out Jesus might have said the same thing. Hahaha!

Well, once again I have switched which WIP I'm working on. Having good ideas for the third book in the Wild Heart series. Haven't done much work on it, but school does come first, ya know. Maybe, I'm crazy, maybe I'm ADD when it comes to writing, but going from one book to another seems to keep the boredom away. :) Usually, if I give myself a couple of weeks and go back to a problem story, the parts i thought were real bad aren't so bad after all.

Oh, my, well, the 4-year-old is whining today, the dirty dishes are taunting me, I need to make more koolade and sweet tea, and I should listen to my first grader read to me, one more time before saying school is out for the day. If that big snow doesn't come, we're taking the girls to youth tonight at a local church to practice for the Christmas program. If it does snow, we're staying home. Either way, there's dinner to cook. I think we're having chili. Not sure. Y'all have a happy Wednesday, and remember Jesus loves you. Be sure and come back again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday's Random Thoughts

People, like characters in books, are multidimensional. That is a big word for a Monday, I know, but it simply means that there are a lot of different things that make up our likes and dislikes, our hopes, our dreams, and how we feel about everything. People are not like numbers, always the same no matter what. We can't be classified, even though some would like us to be.

Where didd this observation come from? I have no idea. Hahaha! I guess I was just thinking about myself and realizing that I, and everyone else enjoys or does not enjoy a lot of different things for a lot of different reasons.

I believe we can think we know someone. We can know their likes and dislikes, what they believe in, what they were like as a child, and why they have a passion for this or that, but even then, there are things about us that remain a mystery. Maybe, if my husband and I are blessed with 50 plus years of marriage, we might know each other pretty well, but I'm not so sure.

I developed a liking for hot tea with sugar in it, because my mom always drank it. She likes so much sugar in hers, though that if you let it sit in the fridge long enough it would turn to pure sugar. lol Me, on the other hand, now I like it a little less sweet. I also like a drop of milk in my hot tea. I do not like milk in my iced tea, though. My grandparents always liked coffee, and now I like it, too. I grew up drinking Pepsi, but I'd rather have Coke. My mom always salted my food so much when I was a kid, because that's the way she liked it. Now, though, I don't use salt hardly at all. I wore jeans when I was a teenager, and I like wearing them now. I grew up in a 14 by 70 trailer with 3 younger sisters, and now I really need a few minutes a day without any noise at all. I used to like to sit in the dark in my bedroom as a kid and listen to audio books. Now, I am totally blind and still like to be read to. Speaking of that, I think I developed a love of audio books, because my mom always read out loud to me. I don't mind the smell of perm solution, because my mom is a beautician. I like music, because I grew up hearing so much of it. From Southern Gospel to Bruce Springsteen, I was exposed to a lot of different genres and styles.

We're all like that, different and as complex as ever.

. I asked a lady once what her favorite kind of music was. Her answer made me laugh. She said, "I like country and heavy metal." lol
I still can't find the connection, there, but - whatever.

I grew up in a mostly white community. Most of the folks who lived around me were very prejudiced. But, because I am blind, I went to a school 20 miles away in a community that was not mostly white. Most of the kids I went to elementary school with were black. Most of my friends were black. All of the kids in my classes at school were the same to me. I did not grow up to be prejudiced against someone because of the color of their skin. As I have mentioned in a previous entry, I had a teacher who was Jewish. Therefore, I did not grow up thinking that someone who believes different from me is a "bad person". Experiences we have as children help shape what we will become, but they do not define who we will be.

The one thing I know for a fact, the one thing I am sure of, is that God knows me better than I know myself. He knows you, too. He created us and knows what makes us tick. He also knows who and what we will be in 10 or 20 years. I am glad I do not know.

This entry seems random, and I can't seem to keep my mind on it. When I drank my coffee this morning, I felt the heat of it in my ears. What's up with that? My ears don't hurt, but it felt good to swallow something hot. My kids won't stop fighting, and i had to separate them. Why do they fight after such a good day, yesterday? Why do I feel like it's wrong to want some time to myself? I guess we all need to do our own thing and be left alone for a while. Y'all take care, keep us in prayer, and come back Wednesday.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Are You Happy?

What does it mean to be happy? Does it mean having everything you ever wanted? Does it mean being with that special someone? Does it mean having everything to suit you? What about everything going the way you want it too, is that being happy?

Now, y'all should know me better than to think any of the above are true. Of course, being with the man or woman we love is happiness, or it can be. ;) Having things we like can make us happy. We would all agree that a day where everything goes our way feels good. We all like to be entertained, and certainly a good story or funny joke can bring a smile to our faces, but are these things what make us happy?

I heard someone in a Sunday School class say once, "Well, I think God wants us to be happy."

The teacher of the class ignored the woman, which in my opinion was a mistake. But, maybe the answer strikes a little too close to home for us to be able to talk about it, comfortably.

This morning, I was listening to some music, and all of a sudden, I felt this overwhelming joy. Chills ran over me and I smiled for no apparent reason. I thought, "Oh, Lord, I am so happy!" And I am. But, why am I?

Is it the place where I live? Um, no. I live in a house that is too small. The town i live in is so rural, I can't afford even a cab to go to the Walmart. I have to rely on others to go anywhere, unless it is the Post Office the doctor or the playground. Is it my family that brings me happiness? Well, yeah, sometimes they do, but being a stay-at-home mom of 2 can be challenging and hard, sometimes. I don't always feel like laughing. And, yet, I am still happy.

I think that sometimes, folks have trouble being happy, because they have a mixed up view of what happy really is. I think we remember how it was in our school days, and think, "Gee, since I'm not as physically well or have as many friends as I did back then, I'm not happy."

But, true happiness does not come from without, it comes from within. Now, all you fundamental Christians calm down a minute. :) Let me explain. If the true source of joy, happiness, peace and love is living in your heart, then it will be within you and come out of you.

All these kids shows on TV tell you to trust your heart, and believe in yourself. I know they mean well, but folks, there is nothing within us that can give us anything. Jesus says that we are the branches, He is the true vine and God is the husbandman, or the carer of the vineyard. If I'm a branch, then it's safe to say that I can't nourish myself. Do you see branches living after you pick them? Of course not. When you pick a leaf off a tree or a flower from a plant, it always dies, doesn't it. That's how we are when we are not living in the vine, Jesus Christ. We whither and die. But, if we stay connected to the vine, we receive the nourishment that we need and we live. Just in case there is some misunderstanding, I'm talking spiritually, here, not physically.

Jesus lived a perfect life. He did no wrong. Yet, He lived in a sinful world. He got hungry. He got tired. He probably got a splinter, seeing as how His stepfather was a carpenter. He had siblings. If He wanted to go somewhere, He had to deal with crowds of people. He knows what it's like to pay taxes. I'm sure He knows how it feels to have annoying family members, too. :) He knows how I feel. He knows how you feel. And, He cares. He loves us so much that He gave up His life for us. Go read it in John, if you don't believe me. I think it's safe to say, we can trust Him with our hearts, homes, lives, children, spouses, finances, health, in-laws, weight difficulties, and everything else in between.

A few years ago, I was volunteering at an assisted care living facility owned by some friends of mine. I was in the kitchen, and they had those baby monitors, so you could hear what went on in the rooms, and the monitors were turned up real loud in the kitchen. I couldn't help but over hear, one day, as one of the owners went in to a patient's room and started singing at the top of his voice.

"Where do all these happy people come from? Where do all these happy people come from? They come from Jesus!"

The poor patient was unable to speak, but you could hear their grunt, as if to say, "Bah humbug!" :)

But, that did not deter the man's enthusiasm for sharing God's love. And, turns out, he's right. Happiness, the lasting kind can only come from Jesus. Hands down, no other answer for being happy; just Jesus. Why, just saying His name brings me peace.

Y'all have a happy Friday, and a wonderful weekend. If you get lonely, read St. John, or any part of the Bible you wish. Need an uplift, remember I'm praying for you all, whoever you are. All I gotta say is, "God, please bless those who read this blog." He'll do it, too. He is faithful, don't forget.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday's Writings

Inside my head is a lot of useless knowledge. Maybe, a tenth of it comes in handy when writing my books, but probably not. The main character in my current work in progress is a farmer in 1866. I'm wondering if it would have been possible that his neighbors and he got together and put money in to a reaper or threshing machine. He and his neighbors could have shared it, especially if there was a lot of grain. So, because I had a few minutes while eating my breakfast of buttered toast and coffee, I went a-googling.

There were articles on eHow with directions on how to thresh and winnow some home grown wheat, which I thought was interesting. Maybe, someday that can be a science project? Hmm. Anyway, I happened upon a blog that I thought I'd share, in case your mind is strange and works like mine. Here's the link
It's interesting from both the literal definition of separating wheat from chaff and from the biblical point of view. I guess that since my family doesn't usually plant and harvest wheat, I just didn't know how hard it was, or what it meant. Now I do. :)

I know that in my writing I don't need to know all about a threshing machine, but I wanted to know what my character's new wife might think of it. What might she see if she paused at the kitchen window to wipe the sweat from her brow? What might she hear? What particular job might her husband have in the whole process? Neither Google, eHow nor YouTube gave me those answers, of course. lol Guess I'll have to fake it until I find the answers.

Coming up with conversation the women in the kitchen might have, now that's easy. They will talk about their husbands. :D It will be hot in the kitchen, and it will smell heavenly. I'd like to be there, in fact. Let's step in for a minute, and see what's going on.

Ok, we're flies on the wall, and we hope those ladies don't see us, because this could get interesting. There are two ladies standing over there by the cookstove, and man is it hopping with heat and boiling pots. Smells like coffee, potatoes, gravy, and are those green beans from this summer's garden? MMM! Oh, my, what is that white-haired lady rolling out on the table over there? Looks like pie crust to me. Oh! Oh, and are those apple slices in that bowl? Apple pie, yes that's it! And, there are two other women cutting corn from the cob. Will they can it today, do you think? All around us is conversation and laughter. Every now and then, a mother scolds a child for putting his or her fingers in a forbidden bowl, and there's one of the mother's from over at the stove, comforting a tot with a burned finger. Wait! Someone is opening the oven. They are pulling out a pan with...fresh bread! Oh, see how golden brown and yummy it looks? Ah, I hope we get to eat some of that. Yeah, I know we're flies, but we can sample it so fast, those women won't have time to swat us away.

On the other side of this big room is the living space with a couple of rocking chairs, a cot, a fireplace, a sewing basket filled to the brim, and an old, rag rug on the floor. There are a couple of girls who look as if they are about fifteen. They are minding the babies, each holding one. One baby is fussy, and nothing seems to be able to calm him, while the other sleeps, blissfully unaware of the bustle around her.

Oops! Buzzy, I think we've been spotted. FLY! No, no, not that way! That's not a door! yes, this way, the mosquito netting is broken around this door frame. Watch out! Fshew! That was a close call! Let's go back down to the barn, where it's quieter.

Hahaha! Can't y'all tell I've had some caffeine today?

Since it's the last day of November, the last day for National Novel Writing Month, I just want to say, that the WIP I was working on, the one that has 21k words and holding, is sitting there, waiting for inspiration. In the last two days, I have written 3k words on another WIP. Won't tell you anymore than i already have, but it's one I can't seem to get out of my head. I'm glad I didn't sign up for NaNoWriMo, but I do wish I could have written more on the sequel to "To Tame A Heart". The ideas just aren't there, though. So, I'm writing on the one that wakes me up in the middle of the night, the one that makes me think of my mamaw who past away back in February. She would have loved this type of story, a Prairie Romance complete with a mail order bride and all. :)

Well, time to get off here and print some stuff out for school. Happy Wednesday to everybody and thanks for stopping by. I'll be blogging again on Friday if not before, so y'all come back, now, ye hear? lol

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Kitchen Delight

The other evening, I was finishing another Joanne Fluke book, "Candycane Murder", when I suddenly HAD to have a cookie. Not just any old cookie, either. I wanted a chocolate sugar cookie. But, the recipe called for cream of tartar, and I am like Old Mother Hubbard who went to her cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. Just like her, when I got there, my cream of tartar shelf was bare, and so when it came to chocolate sugar cookies, i had none. However, i was not giving up so easily.

On a whim, I pulled up my sugar cookie recipe, the plain one and started mixing up ingredients. Here's what I did, how I did it and the end result.

First I preheated my oven to 375 degrees. Remember the sugar cookies I wanted to make in the post "Kitchen Nightmare"? Well, that bowl of flour and such contained 2-3/4 cups of all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. So, in a bigger bowl, I beat together 1 cup, that's 2 sticks of Land O Lakes butter that had been melted in the microwave, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of white sugar. When it was mixed well, I added one egg and beat some more. Then, I put a teensy drop of vanilla extract in there and some imitation maple flavoring and mixed. I put my beaters in the sink, after licking them a bit, and poured my flour mixture in to the butter and sugar mixture. I stirred carefully, and then put my hands in there and finished the job.

I greased my cookie sheets with olive oil and used the oil to put on my hands. Then, I rolled out the cookies and baked them at 375 for 10 minutes. Turns out 10 mins wasn't enough, so I went to 11 mins. What came out of the oven were some yummy, warm cookies that made me think of maple and brown sugar oatmeal - without the oatmeal, of course. Hmm, wonder if oats in the cookies would be good. Might have to think on that.

Maybe the idea isn't new, maybe it is, but I was tickled pink by my experiment, especially when the end result was so good. If you've been following my blog, you'll remember a couple of weeks ago, when my time in the kitchen was not as successful. The other night's success, though was like a balm to my soul. And, all because I wasn't willing to settle for plain old sugar cookies.

Today has felt like a Monday. Today has even sounded like a Monday, what with the rain dripping outside and the sighing of yawns in the house. All my girls and I want to do is laze around on the couch, but we did manage to get some things done. Faith practiced her handwriting, her reading and reciting of the Lord's Prayer. We had a Bible lesson that was taken from Luke 10:33, which talks about the man who fell among thieves and was rescued by the Good Samaritan. The girls colored pictures illustrating the story and hung them on the freezer to show their daddy. We also started a science project with beans. We took a white bean, actually 2 of them, because you can't have just one with 2 kids. We talked about how they felt and looked, then placed them in water to see what happens. Every little bit, Faith and Kierstin go check on their beans. At one point, Faith tells me it's starting to look wrinkled. I asked her if she knew what else got wrinkly in water. When I told her it was her and her sister, she wanted to know if our skin was like a bean's skin. Haha! I said that, yep, in a way, cause our skin has tiny holes in it that soak up water. :)

But, now, it's time to get off the internet and go wash up some dishes in preparation for dinner. I had planned on hamburgers, but my husband said there was a cook out at his work today, so no hamburgers, please. Hope he has another good idea, cause I'm fresh out. Deed, just bring me a chicken basket from Dairy Queen or something from the Chinese place, and I'd be happy. Thing is though, there was too much month at the end of the money, because I went Christmas shopping on Amazon, so we'll have to make due with what we got.

Before I say bye for the day, I want to congratulate Heather C for winning the contest! Always love hearing from my readers. Congrats, Heather, and hope you enjoy the book.

Until next time, y'all keep on keeping on. God is faithful. Amen?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Early Morning Thanksgiving Thoughts

Do y'all know why stores started decorating for Christmas before we even had a chance to buy the turkey for Thanksgiving? Do you know why stores are open for Christmas shopping during Thanksgiving? Do y'all know the real reason why people are encouraged to say Happy Holidays, instead of Merry Christmas? Here's my opinion, for what it's worth.

First, the season of Christmas, no matter what religion you claim is a money maker. Stores and businesses want your money, and it would seem they aren't above doing anything to get it. If they think they can put you in the Christmas present buying mood to get your money, they will. The second reason they push Christmas so early, and the biggest reason they seem to ignore Thanksgiving, is simply this: the devil uses anything he can to keep you from being thankful. Think about it. Don't the children learn in school about the Pilgrims who came to the new world so they could worship God in their own way? And, aren't we supposed to think on what we are thankful for? So, who don't want you to be thankful? Who wants you to be as miserable as you can be? Doesn't it make sense? I mean, how can you concentrate on being thankful, if you are busy shopping? How can you focus on how good God has been to you, if you're rushing around like a crazy person, just to get a better deal on a gift nobody really needs after all?

Now, about that happy holidays thing. There's nothing wrong with wishing someone a happy holiday, nothing wrong in it at all. I mean, it is easier to say that, than to say Merry Christmas, happy Thanksgiving and happy New Year. Here again, though, if the devil can use something, he will. subtly whispering in your ear, Satan says, "You don't want to offend anyone, seeing as how you are such a great Christian. Better say happy Holidays, so you won't hurt anyone's feelings." Sounds right enough, doesn't it? I mean, God don't want you to hurt anybody's feelings. It's just like when those Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door. You either hide so they won't know your home or you are so polite to them and wish them God's blessings. Am I right?

Ok, so here's the deal. When Jesus sent His disciples out two by two to preach, he told them to go in to a city and ask if anyone is worthy, which in today's terms kind of means, "Hey, anybody interested in learning more about Jesus and willing to let me come in and talk to them?" So, Jesus tells these men that if anyone is worthy, go in and abide in peace. (Shannon's interpretation) But, if the people are not worthy, those men were to shake the dust off their feet and go on. Y'all, we're not supposed to wish for God to bless a ministry that does not follow what the Bible says. If something is causing us to stray away from God, even if it is being inclusive, we're not to do it. When Jesus comes back, He ain't going to be asking if you spent your life being politically correct.

Some Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door once, and because I'm kind of mean, I told them I didn't want their booklet cause I was blind and couldn't read it. Hahaha! They came back the next week with a copy in braille so I could read it. I read most of it, just because I was nosy. When they came back, I told them what I thought and opened my Bible. They didn't stick around much after that. I did not wish them success, because I don't want them to be successful; I want them to be saved. They were such a nice couple, and it's a shame we don't have those kinds of folks ready to spread the Word. What's the matter with us "regular Christians" anyway?

Back to Merry Christmas. If my belief and trust in Jesus bothers you, get over it. If your unbelief bothers me, which it does, I'll pray for you, but I will not harass you.

I had a teacher in elementary school who was Jewish. She brought in a Dradle and taught us to play a game with it. She told us all about Hanukah. Yet, every Christmas she would take us to a local church to sing Christmas songs. she always asked me to sing "Away In A Manger". I wonder now if her heart was searching for truth. She made Christmas crafts with us, and always wished us Merry Christmas. We in turn, wished her and her family a Happy Hanukah.

Wherever you are, Shelley Kanner, I wish you a Happy Hanukah, but more than that, I pray you realize that the baby Jesus in that old Christmas song, is the one who can bring true peace to your soul.

Wherever you are today, folks, and whatever you do, take time out to be thankful. God is the one who has provided, remember to thank Him. Don't wish someone a happy turkey day, say "Happy Thanksgiving".

Something I thought was funny, one year someone told me back in October that they had already bought the turkey for Thanksgiving. It was just a 5 pounder, but that didn't matter. She had put it in her freezer and was looking forward to turkey gravy and stuffing. When the first part of November came, she said she still had that 10 pound turkey. I didn't say anything, but I was like, I thought she had a 5 pound one. lol Then, on Thanksgiving, she said something about a 20 pound turkey took a long time to cook. Hahaha! I told my husband, "I reckon that there turkey done growed in the freezer."

Now for the contest! Y'all thought I had forgot, didn't ye? Well, I haven't. Leave me a comment either on here for Facebook and tell me how you plan to spend your Thanksgiving. I'll randomly pick a winner, and that winner will receive an audio CD version of "Wild Heart". If you've forgotten what "Wild Heart" is all about, go check it out at
Contest ends Sunday, Nov. 27 at 11:59 PM. Winner will be announced on Monday. Probably not blogging until then.

Happy Thanksgiving, and don't eat too much. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011


Do y'all remember that Loretta Lynn song "One's On The Way"? Well, thankfully there isn't another one on the way, but other than that I feel like the woman in her song. My favorite part of the song says, "But, here in Topika the flies are a-buzzin', the dog is a-barkin' and the floor needs a scrubbin'. One needs a spankin' and one needs a huggin' and one's on the way." lol

Last night before going to bed, I purposed in my heart to get up at a decent time, spend some time in the Word, start at 9 A.M. sharp with a Bible lesson, a few hours of school including math, reading and some learning about the Pilgrims. I planned on cleaning up my kitchen while Faith worked in her book. I planned on cleaning my house. But, here's how it went down.

The 3 year old woke me up at 4:22 crying. She didn't want on my side of the bed; she wanted in the middle. I said no and she said no. Hahaha! I finally got her to sleep in her own bed, but by that time it was 5, so I put on some coffee and turned on my computer. I was almost finished with cup number 1, when here she comes. Hadn't even opened my Bible, yet. She's upset and will not go back to bed without a huge fight. I'm not in the mood for a fight, so I held her for an hour while listening to music on iTunes. Around 7:20 I get up off the couch where I had been sitting with her and watching Little Bear to go talk to my husband before he went to work. While in there, the phone rings. While i'm talking, my little one starts crying again. She was sad that I had left her on the couch. At 7 A.M. I was the greatest mommy ever, but by 7:20 I had turned in to the meanest. lol All morning long the girls have fought. "Mom, she won't share! Mom she hit me! Mom she won't let me sit in my favorite chair! Mom, she won't leave me alone!"

I tell y'all, sometimes I want to buy a pair of earplugs. At one point, I said if they couldn't figure out a way to share, then we were putting it away. Both of them about cried then. Deed, mommying is not easy, and yet the Bible says in Psalms 127 that children are a reward. When the girls were much smaller, I remember thinking, "A reward for what, my own bad behavior?" Hahaha! Maybe so? lol ;) Truthfully, I'm thinking that isn't too far from the mark.

Makes me wonder what goes through God's mind when we bicker and fight. Opposing ball teams pray God will let their team win, and clearly, both can't. We pray for world peace, and turn around and cut somebody off on the freeway. Some folks never even acknowledge God, and yet, they expect Him to bless them with riches untold. What does He think of all this? More to the point, what does He think of me? Do I fuss and argue about what He has given me? And, more important, do I shut my mouth and listen when He speaks?

Ouch! Hang on a sec while I pull my feet in a bit.

Admittedly, I'm not all that smart, but here's a few things I'm beginning to figure out.

1. Children will teach you just exactly what you are made of.
2. Children will make you realize just how much you are loved.
3. Children will tell everybody all your secrets.
4. Children, especially those related by blood will treat you just like you treated your mom and dad.
5. Children will bring out the best and worst in you, usually at the oddest times.
6. Children will give you a good reason to climb up out of that depression that plagues you.
And, last but not least
7. Children will be one of the greatest blessings you'll ever receive from the Lord.

As for home school, we did manage to get some math and reading done. We still have some home ec to do, though. lol

Happy Monday, y'all and be sure to come back Wednesday. Still trying to figure out when I'll do the next giveaway/contest, but it'll either be Wednesday or Friday, so be sure to come back. And, if you can't think of anyone to pray for, pray for me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kitchen Nightmare

Do y'all ever watch that show on TV? We do. In fact, we watch a lot of cooking shows, especially with Chef Gordon Ramsey in them. I get a kick out of watching people mess up real bad. I like to think I wouldn't be that stupid, but knowing me, I would. lol

Today, I am so very glad Chef Ramsey is not coming to check out my kitchen. It's not as bad s it was, but it sure isn't what it should be. Of course, I'm not cooking for anyone and making them pay for it, but still. If a chef, or anyone else for that matter would have been in my kitchen today, they would have thought I didn't know how to bake. All my cookies, except for 3 pans, stuck, badly. All except 3 pans needed put back in for an additional minute or 2 and never did feel done. As for the rest, most were ok, some got too done and others fell apart to the point we are eating them in pieces. Honestly, y'all if I had managed to goof up this bad in the beginning of my cooking days, I would wait a very long time before trying again. Luckily, I know I am a better baker than I was today. Also luckily, I like bread better than cookies. Ha! I'm better at bread, too. I have messed up my bread before, of course, but not this bad.

What did i try to make? Well, I mixed up a batch of chocolate sugar cookies, a recipe I got from one of Joanne Fluke's books. I can't remember which one. "Apple Turnover Murder" maybe? I don't know. Anyway, the first silly thing I did was tip my mixing bowl too much and splashed hot butter and chocolate on to my hand. It was a yummy mess, but it was hot where it had just come out of the microwave. And, yes, I melt my chocolate in the microwave. Sorry Chef Ramsey. :) Then, I made my dough balls too big and that first dozen didn't get done. Had to put them back in for another minute. After that, some of them stuck to the pan. My recipe didn't say whether to grease the pans or not, so I didn't. Probably should have.

The next batch of cookies was a recipe I found online somewhere. I don't know what they were called, but I call them pecan filled. When I measured out the nuts to put in the bowl, I spilled about half of them out on to the table. My 6 year old was happy to tell me I had made a mess. lol Basically, with these cookies, you make your batter, roll them in balls, press your clean thumb in them and put a pecan mixture in the thumb print. Before I had even finished rolling all the dough out, I had run out of nut mixture. Also, because the last time I made these cookies they didn't rise well, I made them bigger. Mistake. Last time my baking powder and baking soda were old. This time I had fresh, and y'all fresh works better than old. Haha! Needless to say, they spread out way too much, stuck to each other and the pan and made a mess. Tasted good, though, but had to throw a lot of them out.

I put together the flour and other dry ingredients for sugar cookies, but when I saw that last batch of pecan cookies looking that way, I put foil over that bowl, set it aside, cleaned up my mess, took out the trash, poured me some tea and gave up.

Note to self, next time you want to bake a lot like that, get more than 3 hours of sleep. I tried to sleep more, truly I did, but the baby was kicking me most of the night. She had sneaked her way in my bed without my knowing it. By the time she got there, it was too late. I was awake for good.

What's that? I should have went to bed earlier? Well, yeah I should have, but here's that story. See, I got my yarn yesterday that I had told y'all about on Wednesday. I had to work with it a bit. Made myself a pair of my wristers in pale green velvet spun, which is lovely BTW. I finished the second one around 11 and turned everything off so I could go to bed. But, before I made it to bed, I had an idea for my WIP. Knowing I would forget it, I hurried to turn the mac book back on and write. An hour later, I turned it off again, got a drink and hit the sack. So, I think I slept about 3 and a half hours.

Ok, so now a bit about that yarn. The velvet spun, like I said, it's wonderful. You have to be careful when tying it off, though, because the fibers are long and not really tight. For me, paying $5.99 a ball was worth it. I wore the wristers last night when I did my writing. Kept my hands warm, too. As for the angora marino (probably spelled wrong) well, it isn't quite what I expected. It is soft, wonderfully soft. I love the feel of it. But, where it's a real fine yarn, it takes patience to work with. Also, after balling it up and crocheting a while, I felt like I had little fuzz balls all over me. :) I think I did, cause Kierstin said something about me having fuzz balls on me. Ha! I'd say if you are allergic to animal fur, you might not want to buy it or wear it. Would I buy it again? Maybe. I crocheted a chain and one whole roe so far, so I really can't say how it works up, but I think that if one had the patience, it would make a lovely sweater, shrug, or scarf. Thinking of a scarf with this particular bunch. We'll see, though.

So, that's my Friday. How was yours? Some of you have asked for a post about baking, so there you go. Hope you got some enjoyment out of it. I will tomorrow when i can laugh about it. Today, though, I'm just tired. :) Take care and come back Monday. Also, feel free to comment. love hearing from y'all! It keeps me writing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Of Yarn, Writing and Rolls

It is one rainy Wednesday out there, y'all. Makes me want to go back to bed, but who can do that with a couple of restless rug rats in the house? lol

I did something the other day that I don't normally do. I bought some yarn online. Like I said, this just isn't usual for me. For one thing, I do not need yarn, y'all. :D I have a huge, wooden box sitting in the middle of my living room floor, absolutely full of yarn. Also, I have several balls of it back here in my computer room. I do not need yarn. The other reason I don't like buying it on the internet is that I can't feel it before buying. The very best thing about buying yarn is feeling it. Drop me off at a Michaels or A C More (probably spelled wrong) and I'm like a kid in a candy store. I walk up and down the isles, hands outstretched touching every piece of yarn I can. Each strand that passes by my fingertips gives me an idea for a project. From baby afghans to sweaters, from wrist warmers to wash cloths, I love to shop for yarn.

So, what made me buy it the other day without feeling it, first? Well, Lion Brand had a sale. :) Twenty percent off some of their luxury fibers. Now, y'all, you just can't buy some of this stuff from a craft store. The only two ways to feel it are to buy it like I did or go to the lion Brand studio in New York and feel it. Since New York is a bit too far for a quick shopping trip, I decided to splurge and get some. I ordered it Friday, and I got the email that it shipped on Monday. Y'all don't know how bad I want to go to the Post Office today to see if it's there. Haha! It's probably not, but I still want to check. I can't, though, because of all this rain. Taking the girlies out in it when they are getting over colds would not be a very good idea. I must wait.

However, in the mean time, I did get started on some Christmas gifts. I sat down yesterday, grabbed up some cotton yarn and my size G crochet hook and made a wash cloth. Actually, the finished product looks more like a doily, but oh well. It was supposed to be in the shape of a hexagon, but somewhere along the way, I made a huge mistake. It's the shape of a pentagon. Haha! At least it's different, right?

Over the weekend, I finished a pair of what I like to call wristers. It's basically a fingerless glove. Even the thumb sticks out. There are countless patterns all over the internet for these, but I just made up my own version. The first pair I made was out of some left over chenille I had laying around. It was a category 6 yarn, which for you who do not know is just real thick yarn. I used a size N hook, and it worked up really quick. Lion Brand stopped selling that lovely-feeling yarn, so I had to look for another. I didn't have a lot of money, so I bought some Michaels brand called Loops & Threads, I think. It said Charisma on it, and it feels really nice. It's warm and cozy and makes a wonderful pair of fingerless gloves that are great if you do a lot of typing.

As with most things in life, the fact I am not a millionaire keeps me buying the cheaper stuff, but even then I am very picky about what yarn I use. The biggest reason is if I'm going to hold it in my hands for hours, I want to like the way it feels. I've used Red Heart and Caron. Both are great for afghans, but Caron is my favorite of the two. I like to get those cones of cotton from Walmart for washcloths and oven mitts. I used some bernat once to make a scarf, and loved it's silkiness. It was a category 3, so I'm not sure if it was a baby yarn or not, but it made wonderful Easter sweaters for my girls. Lion Brand's BabySoft is great, too. I don't like the feel of cashmere, sorry to say. :) I don't like real fuzzy yarns, either, like that eyelash stuff. It's too hard to feel my stitches. Lion Brand's Homespun is one I like, though. I felt some of Lion Brand's Velvetspun once, and that is one of the yarns I bought on Friday. Three skenes of it, actually. The other one was angora marino - I think. :) Not sure how that one feels, but I will know in a couple of days.

So, with November half way gone, how am I doing with NaNoWriMo? I've written approximately 18,811 words. I got about 16 thousand, and the Lord tells me to take it another direction. I'm praying, researching and thinking, but I don't know if I'll reach that 50K words by the 30th.

Oh, and next week is Thanksgiving, for those of us living in the US. Of course, it should be thanksgiving everyday, no matter where you live, but you know what I mean. :) There are some who are hoping and praying I make rolls again, but then, I think there are folks who hope I don't. Last year's roll making was a disaster. Think, bad yeast. Yeah, yeast can die, and when it does, folks, ya don't wanna be using it in your bread dough. Haha! But, this year, the yeast is good, so I might try again. Rolls should not be hard to make, and they aren't, except, my family like those rolls they used to have in school, and that recipe calls for a 5 lb bag of flour. Five pounds of flour, plus 6 to 7-1/2 cups of water can make a mess, as you can well imagine. It's so much dough that I have to use a big soup pot to mix it up in and about 4 big bowls to let the dough rise in. This year, because of the successful halloween we had, I have no big bowls. I might have had one, but I broke it this past summer when I dropped it full of banana cookie dough. For the record, those cookies weren't worth loosing my favorite bowl over. Deed, anyway. lol

Have a happy Wednesday, and come back to see me on Friday, where hopefully I'll be able to report on the yarn purchase and be able to tell you I've written thousands of words on my WIP. Don't forget, sometime soon, I'll be having another giveaway, and you won't want to miss it. Take care and keep smiling.

Monday, November 14, 2011

We Have A Winner!

I was so excited to see the response to my contest, and I am happy to announce we have a winner. Congratulations goes out to Salvatore Buttaci for winning a copy of "Wild Heart" my first published book.

Now, don't y'all go getting down in the dumps on me; I'll be doing another one in a couple of weeks, probably after Thanksgiving or maybe in honor of it. :) Not sure, so you'll have to keep coming back to find out. "Wild Heart' is available in audio and then there's the sequel "To Tame A Heart" which is in paperback and audio, as well.

Speaking of winning, I'm reminded of a verse from the Bible. Phillipians 3:14 says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." I heard a preacher say once that Jesus is the prize, but I'm thinking the high calling is the prize. What's a high calling, though? Well, a high calling from God, I would think, would be to live according to His standards. Maybe, to be a separate people, a peculiar people?

No one in today's society wants to be different, especially kids and teens. To be different is wrong, bad, socially unacceptable. If you don't conform to the ways of your peers, nobody wants to know you or be seen with you, but being different from the rest is what God calls us to be. If we say we are His, we need to act like we are. In this Bible verse, Paul says he is pressing toward the mark for the prize. In other words, he's working hard to get the prize, which is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He is working hard to be different. He's working hard to be what God wants him to be. Paul wants to win that prize. I think he won. Do you agree?

People everywhere want to win something, especially when there is no effort involved. They pay a few dollars here and there, hoping to win that power ball. Millions would be nice. :) They spend a few dollars to enter to win stuff being raffled off. From motor cycles to concert tickets, quilts to free pictures, people work hard to win something. Ever wondered what this world would be like if we all pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? What if we all embraced our differences instead of shunning them?

Thanks to those who participated in the contest. I really appreciate it. Thanks, too for being a faithful reader. Like I said, I'll do more giveaways. Promise. Until Wednesday, take care, keep smiling, and ask the Lord what it is He wants you to do. One thing about God, He is faithful, and He is long-suffering to us-ward. Aren't you glad? :) Amen!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Calling All lurkers! Enter The Contest!

If I could name one thing I love about the internet it would be the fact I can lurk and nobody knows it but me and the Lord. In my everyday life, I couldn't lurk if you paid me. I'm loud, I make too much noise when I'm trying to be quiet, and I don't know how to do things unseen. :) But, online I can. I read a lot of blogs and rarely ever comment. Yet, I wonder why only a very few comment here. lol Maybe, y'all just like lurking, too.

Well, today, y'all might want to forget about lurking, cause I'm having a contest. In honor of those men and women who fought and are still fighting for freedom, I'm giving away an autographed, paperback copy of my first book, "Wild Heart". Interested? Just comment here or on FaceBook. Tell me in your comment why you like the internet. Contest ends Sunday Nov. 13 at 11:59 PM. I'll randomly choose from the answers I get. The winner will be contacted either through FaceBook, or your email addy, if you give it to me.

Forget what "Wild Heart" is about? No problem. Here's a synopsis and a link to the books' trailer on YouTube.

Gage Colton, ex-gunman turned Christian is searching for the man who killed his father.  After witnessing a gunfight in Tombstone, he feels God urging him to change his plans.  If he obeys the Holy Spirit, it may cost him dearly; possibly even his life.  Shewana Christy, a young Cheyenne woman, is bent on revenge, in the hope that it will finally bring peace, something she has not known in a long time.  She has already avenged her mothers death and is looking for her father's murderer, when she is kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to hit the trail in the middle of the night.  With a posse in hot pursuit behind them, unknown dangers lurking ahead, and constant friction between them, will Gage and Shewana find what they were looking for, or will they answer that still, small voice of God, leading them in another direction?  

Hey, did y'all catch that? "Unknown dangers lurking ahead" Wow, I'm good. lol Didn't even mean for that to happen. :)

Happy Friday. Happy Veteran's Day, and happy weekend to you all. Tell all your friends, so they have a chance to win, or enter for a friend. Christmas is just around the corner, and what a way to get a gift for that special someone. Don't worry, I'll have more giveaways, so you'll have a chance to win the audio copy and the sequel in paperback or audio. Y'all take care and play nice. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

When I Grow Up, I want...

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Adults ask children this question all the time. I don't know if it's just that they have no idea what to talk to the kid about, or if they really want to know, but it is a common question. Grown-ups asked me that, when I was a young'un, too.

I remember answering like any other kid. I want to be a doctor, a nurse, a lawyer, an astronaut, a writer, a teacher. The great thing about children, is they don't think about the money they will make or what type of schooling it will take to achieve that goal. They just want to be it, whatever "it" is.

When I was about 6, 7 or 8 years old, I remember wanting to grow up to be just like my mom. Funny thing, is I see that same tendency in my own 6 year old. She mimics me, patterns her style of doing things after me, and I find myself wondering if she wants to be like me when she grows up. Fshew, that's a scary thought. lol Faith and I procrastinate together, but when we finally get up and do what we're supposed to do, we often start singing together. I'll be washing dishes, while she is picking up her toys, and I'll start a song. Before too long, she's singing right along with me, and soon our chores are done. But, I digress. :)

I don't think I thought seriously about what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was around 15 or so. I thought about it a lot, but there just didn't seem to be much choice. On the one hand, folks would say I could be anything I wanted to be. On the other hand, folks would say I had to be realistic. Having dreams was one thing, but at some point I had to come down to earth and think about what I truly wanted. There were jobs that blind people just didn't do, not because they were not smart enough but because it took sight to do those jobs. I was not, I was informed, ever going to be able to be an astronaut, a doctor, a nurse, a school bus driver, and I might as well get over it while I was still young. In my mind, that left only teaching.

After graduating high school, I did go to college, intending to be a teacher for the visually impaired, but both times i started school, I quit. Then, I got married, and for a time, being a house wife was enough. I went to a local vocational school for a year and received a certificate of completion for medical transcription, but no matter how hard I tried, I never got a job doing that. I did work for a time in Romney WV, preparing braille documents for mailing. After that, I worked at Blind Industries and Services of Maryland as a sewing machine operator. Then, I went to the school of hard knocks and learned what a selfish woman I really was. Or, put more plainly, I got pregnant and became a mom. lol

Now, with my 33rd birthday fast approaching, I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. :) I want to graduate from medical school, so that I can have the know-how to diagnose my families' illnesses and do something about them. I want to go get my driver's license, so that I can give disabled folks a ride where ever they want to go. Finally, just for grins and giggles, I want to be an airplane pilot.

A couple of days ago, I took my 3 year old to the doctor. I KNEW she was sick. For a couple of nights she had had a fever. She was coughing, some and sneezing, occasionally. I didn't know for sure, but I thought it was probably an ear infection. For one, her breath smelled funny, and when my girls' breath smells like that, they need an antibiotic. Just for the record, I've only been wrong once. :) Sure enough, the doctor looked in to her ears and both were infected. She's on an antibiotic. So, am I a doctor, sort of? Maybe. What about a teacher? I only have 2 students, but I'm teaching all the time. Faith is learning about word problems by counting how many bananas we have and then figuring out how many loaves of banana bread I could make with them. lol She's learning to read, and that comes in handy when I need labels on canned foods read to me. So, am I a teacher? Why, yes I am.

As for the astronaut, lawyer and pilot, well, those will have to wait a while. lol My mom always said I'd make a good lawyer, because I like to argue. Ha! While at Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama, I learned that even if I could see, I'm too short to go in to space. As for flying, anybody out there game for taking me up in their plane?

Just for the record, people who are blind can do anything they set their mind to, even if that job requires sight. Where there's a will, there's a way. A few years ago, I read about a man who is blind graduating from medical school and earning his MD. Last year I read about a woman who is blind being a beautician. Several months ago, a man who is blind took his family for a drive around Daytona Speedway. He used technology created by the folks from the National Federation of the Blind and students from Virginia Tech, and drove around the track. They threw boxes in his way, someone even pulled out in front of him, and he and his family still live to tell the tale. I know a man who is blind, and he rides a bicycle without any sighted assistance. I have a friend who is blind, and she makes baskets and sews quilts. I have a friend on FaceBook who is blind, and she writes her impressions of WV ball games, and gets paid doing it.

Here's a couple of things I've been pondering on. First of all, have I grown up to be what I wanted to be? Yes, I have. I'm an author, a singer, a song writer, a piano player, a wife, a mom, a crocheter, a baker, but more important, I am a Christian. Except for the writing and piano, I have grown up to be what I thought my mother was at that time. Second, have I achieved all that I wanted to achieve? No, I have not. Remember that plane? I wonder if it will be as I imagine, now that I have no sight at all. I used to want to feel it lift in to the air and be able to look out and see the sky. Of course, I can't see the sky, but will it be as thrilling, anyway? Guess there's only one way to find out. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ordinary day

I don't know about you, but it seems like it's been forever since Friday. I haven't done a whole lot, not really, but a lot has gone through my mind. I have thought about my book I'm working on, I had some sad times and fun times, and I have had hours of wonderful sleep and some hours without sleep. I've laughed. I've cried. I've worried. I've prayed. And, yet, the world kept spinning. It's Monday again, and I'm still here. So are you, if you're reading this blog. :)

After posting on Friday, I made chocolate chip cookies, went to get hot dogs for lunch, visited with a friend while our kids played, went out to eat and had a good cry. On Saturday, I did laundry, wrote on my WIP (work in progress), washed dishes and took a nap. On sunday, I wrote a little, went to church, went out to eat, went to the grocery store, gabbed on the phone, went to another church, went out to eat yet again and came home and went to bed. During the night, both Saturday and Sunday, I was up holding a fevered 3 year old. So, needless to say, I'm tired today.

This morning, while trying to catch up on a little sleep, a friend calls to ask if I'm ready for breakfast. I'm like, "Um, not really."

"Well," she said, "get ready. I'll be there in fifteen with biscuits and gravy."

Y'all, I don't think I've ever showered so fast. lol In fact, I was ready, the coffee was ready and there was a path through the toys in the living room by the time she came knocking on my door. Haha! As for the breakfast, it was yummy, and I shared it, too.

For supper tonight, we're having ham that is cooking in my slow cooker. I thought it would be nice to have scalloped potatoes, but they won't be ready when the man of the house comes home, because I can't read the directions on the box. Tried to get the 6 year old to read them, but she can't find them on there. lol Oh well, I'll preheat the oven or something, and it'll be all right.

Just another day with you and me in paradise. No other way to say it, God's been good.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Got Any Dough?

I am finally baking again! :) I tell you, just to press my hands in to that warm dough, yesterday, did something for me that is hard to explain. I made some french bread to take to my local writer's group's NaNoWriMo kick off party, and today I'm thinking of baking a quick batch of cookies. I have the stuff all laid out. After I write this post, I'm going to try to whip them up. But, back to yesterday.

I began, like any busy mom, by washing up several dishes. Then, while the water was running hot, I put 2 cups of it in a bowl and sprinkled in 2 tsps of active dry yeast. I let it sit for 10 mins while washing up some more dishes and putting a few away. Then, I measured out 2 tbsps of honey and stirred it in. I had never used honey in place of sugar, so this was a first for me. I mixed in 3 cups of all purpose, unbleached flour, one cup at a time. Then, I added 2 tsps of salt. After that, I mixed in another cup of flour with the spoon, before abandoning said spoon in place of my trusty hands. The lady who taught me to make bread used an electric mixer, but I'm glad I practiced with my hands, because now I know how it is supposed to feel.

When the fifth cup of flour turned out to be not enough, I added about a half a cup more, and kept on mixing. After several seconds, I plopped the mass on to my floured board and went to kneading. I kneaded and sweated, all the while talking to my girls. They asked questions like, "What shape are you going to make it? Who will get to eat it? How much longer before we can taste it? Can I help?" :)

When my dough felt smooth and silky, I placed it in an oiled bowl, covered it and washed more dishes. Then, I took a break. lol

During my break, I drank some hot tea, played on FaceBook, and ate a slice of pizza...and did more dishes.

An hour after placing a towel over my dough to keep in the warmth, I pulled the towel off and tried to separate it in to 3 loaves, as I was taught to do. But, I'm not a good divider, so I ended up with 5 loaves. All we needed now, I remember telling my girls, was a couple of fish and we'd have a dinner like Jesus served to the folks who came to hear him teach. So, as you can imagine, while I rolled out each ball of dough in to a circle-like shape, I told them the story of the 2 fish and 5 loaves that Jesus fed to the 5,000 men plus women and children.

When the circle-like shapes were ready, I rolled them up, pinched the edges and placed them on a piece of parchment paper that was lining my bread pan. I attempted to cut small slits in them to resemble french bread, but I didn't do a very good job. :)

I reached for a bowl to crack an egg in to, but instead of one bowl coming down, 3 bowls came down. I was not prepared, and they fell on to the counter, where 2 broke. One almost in half, the other had a crack in it, but still, I had to worry about cleaning up glass shards.

When that mess was finally cleaned up, I cracked an egg in to a bowl with no cracks in it, and separated the yoke from the white. Let me say here, that Faith is a big help during this kind of separation. lol I took a fork and beat that egg white before brushing it on to my prepared loaves. By now the oven was preheating to 350. Forgot to mention that part. Sorry. :)

I baked the bread at 350 for about 20 minutes. Since my oven is old and doesn't brown things well, I like using the egg white. Folks see a golden color and they have no idea that without that egg white, my bread would be as pale as the dough it came from. Ha!

So, last night at the NaNoWriMo party, my bread went well with the yummy soup that my friend Peggy brought. The bread was crumblier than it usually is, but I do not know if that is because I used honey or if I had too much flour in the dough. Could have ben the weather, too. You wouldn't think barometric pressure, temps outside and whether the wind is blowing or not would have anything to do with bread, but it does.

As for the party, it was fun. We ate dinner together, drank some yummy sweet tea and wrote on our works in progress. I wrote only about 792 words, but I was tired. Still tired this morning and thinking about a second cup of coffee. I shouldn't, but I might anyway.

Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend, and i hope you'll come back and see me on Monday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Write The Night Away

Wow, it's November, again! Can y'all believe it? I mean, wasn't it just yesterday we were trying to breathe in all that heat in July? Now, I'm dreaming of pumpkin pie, hot tea and coffee and wearing long sleeves inside my house. Where does the time go?

If you are a serious writer at all, you'll know that November is NaNoWriMo AKA National Novel Writing Month. The basic idea is to start on Nov. 1 with no words, write everyday and keep track of your word count. Then, on Nov. 30 you are supposed to have 50 thousand words, which make up a story. I did the math and what it boils down to is if you write about 1600 to 1700 words a day, you'll reach 50k. Doesn't sound too hard, does it? Well, it isn't, if you can spend the time writing. As for me, I got a 6 year old and a 3 year old, plus a husband and house to care for. I try to write everyday, and most times I write anywhere from 500 to 2 thousand words, depending, but 50 thousand by Nov. 30? Probably not.

Ok, so I say all that, but around 1 something this morning, I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. Now, I did that on Monday night, and ended up not writing any, so today things were going to change - I'd make sure of that. I lay there, trying, at first, to go back to sleep. After all, it's 1:30 AM, and I don't have to get up until 7 or so. I have a full day ahead of me and need my sleep. Yeah, well, the brain don't listen. I start thinking about a character in my story. He has something to say. He has a story of his own, directly related to my hero. I wrote a small piece on him a month or so ago, so to keep the characters in my head happy, I crawl out of my warm bed, pull on some PJ's and go turn on the mac book. I bring up the story, start copying and pasting here and there, then I have to delete and rewrite a lot of it. But, now it's there. Where does it go, exactly? I don't know. What will be the end result? Don't ask. The getting there is the important part. As far as word count before 5 AM, I think it was 11,058, but now, I started with 9,867. Y'all can do the math. lol I'm wearing down. :)

A friend on FB challenged her friends to post each day of Nov. what they were thankful for. I forgot about it in my sleepiness yesterday, but I posted 2 of them this morning. First, of course, is my heavenly Father. Second is my husband. I have a lot to be thankful for, as do you. God has been good to us all!

How about you? Think you can find 30 things to be thankful for this month? What is your favorite part about this time of year. Do you write? Hunt? Why do you like November so much? Or, are you still thinking of those hot 100 temperature days of July? lol

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween, Date Night and Walmart

Doesn't sound like they go together, does it? Well, friends, read on. :)

When I was in elementary school, I rode a wheelchair accessible school bus with other children with disabilities. I was on the bus for what seemed like ages, but it was probably about an hour to an hour and a half. We had an aid on the bus, and every Friday she would say, "Friday night is boogie night!" lol

Now that I'm all grown up with kids of my own, I have a different saying. "Trick or Treat night is date night." :)

My mom and dad take my girls trick or treating, so the hubby and I turn out all the lights, hop in the car and go somewhere. The last couple of years, our date nights on Halloween have been terribly exciting! Just wait until you hear where we went. Tonight and last year, too, we went and ate dinner at Shoneys. The place this year was practically empty, which was a real treat. We got our food quickly, and it took us no time to eat. We were out of there so fast, I keep wondering what had happened. :)

After dinner, Terry took me to the new Walmart where we shopped for food. That place, too, was practically empty. We navigated that buggy through those isles like nobody's business. lol In no time, we were back in the car and heading to my dad's to pick up the girls.

The girls, I'm happy to say, had a blast. They got so much candy, our trusty candy bowl which sits on top of the freezer for obvious reasons, could not hold it all. We had to sample some candy, one to make sure it wasn't poisonness and two, so we could start fitting it all in one bowl. Ha! Y'all believe that, don't y'all?

So, next time you tired parents want a date night out, have the grandparents or cousins or friends to take your kids trick or treating. I mean, you get time alone with your spouse and free candy, too. It's a win-win situation. :)

So, now the kiddies are in bed, I have a washer a-spinnin', and soon I'll have to put those clothes in to the drier so the man of the house can have some uniforms to wear to work in the morning. I tell you, I'm glad for machines that wash and dry, cause if I had to do it all by hand, somebody would either have to wear everyday clothes or go without. ;)

On that note, I'll say goodnight and apologize for being so late with this post. HOpe y'all had a good day, but mostly, I pray you found time for the Lord today. He's so good, in case you forgot.

Oh, and if any of you have tried sending email to
and haven't heard from me, just comment here or try sending an email to
I have email troubles, and I apologize.

Until Wednesday, don't eat too much of your children's candy and remember to smile; God loves you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Writing, Parties and FaceBook

Since my blog post about writer's block,
I've actually started writing on that story. I still do not have a clear picture of what it will be, but that's all right. In fact, writing in bits and pieces was how "Wild Heart" and it's sequel "To Tame A Heart" came in to being. i like to describe it as a puzzle. Scenes, or rather parts of scenes come to me. I write them down, then over time I fill in the connecting paragraphs until…voila! A book! Ok, so I shouldn't say it's a book at that point; it's actually a first draft. lol But, you get what I'ms saying. Right? :)

A friend told me once that when she wrote her first book, she would sometimes write 60 pages at a time. Ok, y'all, I'd love to say that, but it's just not so. I did write around 2000 words last night, though. One night, while writing "To Tame A Heart", I stayed up until 5 in the morning, just writing, so maybe I got 60 pages out of that, but I don't think so. When I say I'm writing, that doesn't always mean I'm sitting still, typing away on the Mac Book. Sometimes, it means I'm editing something I wrote at an earlier date. Sometimes, it means I am reading what I wrote and trying to figure out where it came from. lol

Ok, I've talked enough about writing. On to another subject.

Took my girls to a Halloween/costume/fall party the other night. They had a blast. There were games, a contest, treat bags and pizza. Ahem, I'm still trying to figure out which was their favorite, the treat bags or the games. lol When asked if I had a good time at the party, i hesitated before saying, "My girls had fun, and that's all that matters."

Parties like that one have not been "fun" for me in a long time, I hate to admit. I feel rather awkward, if you want the truth. I don't know anyone well enough to have a conversation, and if i did, I wouldn't be able to hear them over the noise of the kids. And, lemme tell y'all, that place was noisy. :) In fact, lots of noise like that, added to the fact I can't see, makes me, for all intents and purposes, blind and deaf. Sometimes, I wish I could clone myself. Except, my other self would be able to see; that way, the sighted Shannon could go to parties and the blind one could find something else to do. But, back to the girls, they had fun, and honestly, I'll do it again just to make them happy.

My church is having a Gospel sing tomorrow night. If you live close enough…and if you live far away…you are welcome. :) I wanted to create an event on FaceBook yesterday, so folks would know about it and so everyone would know they were invited. Well, lemme tell ya, it took me over an hour to create that event. I'm not sure I even did it right, but a couple of folks have already RSVPed, so I guess I didn't do so bad. :) I tried to not invite certain of my friends, mostly so I wouldn't hurt any feelings, but I couldn't find a button for that. I tried to invite everyone on my friend list, but then the page reloaded on me, and every box I checked became unchecked again. Deed, FaceBook can be annoying. Anyway, I think that from now on, I'm going to just post an announcement for an event in my status. It would be much simpler and might keep me from sighing so much. :)

So, what nuggets of wisdom have I gleaned from writing, costume parties and FaceBook? Life's too short to get hung up on the little things. If I trust in the Lord, the book will happen. If I'm there for my girls, they will remember it when they are grown. And, the fad of FB will fade one day. Ha!

Y'all enjoy your weekend, and be sure to come back and visit me on Monday. I'm considering a few giveaways, now that the holidays are fast approaching. If you are interested in winning a free copy of one of my books, comment on this post. If I get at least 10 comments, I'll do the giveaways. If not, I won't.

Items available for the giveaway, are as follows:
Wild Heart in paperback autographed by moi
To Tame A Heart in paperback autographed by moi
Wild Heart in audio
To Tame A Heart in audio

The audio books are read by W. B. Ward, and you can find him on the web at

To read more about my books, go to

To learn more about the group singing at my church tomorrow night, go to

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm wondering...

I wonder, do my daughters realize how sleepy I get when they play with my hair? :) My mom used to ask me to massage her shoulders and play with her hair. I'd talk the whole time I was combing or massaging, and she'd always go to sleep. Ha! I used to think I was boring, and I might very well be. But, now, I know better; she just couldn't help herself.

I wonder if we realize how very blessed we are. I have a cousin in the hospital who was having a spinal tap done this morning. i have a friend in another hospital with a blood disorder. I have friends with sick children, and yet, here I am with my 2 healthy girls, I'm recovering well from my surgery, and I have a sighted 6-year-old who is worried about my white spots in my hair. lol :) She is tucking them in so she can't see them very well. She says I can't have a make-over until she hides those white spots. What's up with that? Ha!

I wonder, is it all right to be sleepy and tired because I stayed up until 2 A.M. writing? I'd like nothing more than to lie back down and have my girls do my hair so I can nap. I most definitely do not want to fold and put away laundry, wash up dishes, worry about dinner, work in some school time and go to a costume party this evening. But, back to being blessed, thank God I am able to do these things, sleepy or not.

I'm wondering if it's ok to drink some more caffeine for energy. I have a lot to do, after all, and I'd better quit blogging and get busy. Or, as my mom used to say when I was a kid and didn't want to do my home work, "You'd better git on the ball, ole girl!" lol

Just as a side note and completely off topic, I miss my mom.

I'm wondering why our thinking gets messed up somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Kierstin isn't really sad about my grandmother's death, because in her mind, any minute now, Jesus is coming back, and she'll get to see her Mamaw Johnson again. The other day she asked me…she and Faith asked if they could crochet a blanket to give to Mamaw when Jesus comes back. I was like, "Well, I guess, but she isn't going to need it." They asked me why not. :) I told them that when Jesus comes back, we'll never be cold again. They still wanted to do it. Why are grown ups so afraid to hope like that? Why do we hesitate to answer when children ask questions like that? Do you think it has something to do with parents telling us the truth about things we believed in as kids?

For instance, my girls desperately want to believe in Santa Claus. Faith knows it's just a man dressed in a suit, but Kierstin doesn't believe me, yet, when I tell her he isn't real. She sees nothing wrong in believing in what she can't see or inn things she can't explain. Some kids are heart broken when they learn Santa isn't real. Kierstin can't see Jesus with her natural eyes, but one day she asked if He was sad because His mother is dead. Wow! Are y'all following this? Do we as parents somehow influence our children to stop believing in the supernatural? Why is that?

The Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." That's in Hebrews chapter 11 the first verse. Now, for Shannon's interpretation. Faith is when you know something is real, even though you can't touch, see, taste, smell or hear it. Children, without being taught know there is something out there bigger than them. They know the unexplainable is possible. Sure, we need to teach them right from wrong, but they already know there's a God out there, even though they don't know how to say it.

Lord, I believe you are able to do anything. Help me when I start to doubt. Forgive me when I begin to limit what you can do.

Thanks for reading today, y'all. Be sure and come back Friday. Until then, keep praying. Don't ask someone to pray for you in times of trouble. Instead, get to know the Savior so you can pray all by yourself.

Monday, October 24, 2011

And The Diagnosis Is Writer's Block...

or, is it procrastination?

My dad used to say, "Shannon, you spend more time trying to figure out how to get out of doing something, than actually doing it." Ha! He's right.

I have a book to write. The characters are constantly talking to me. "Tell our story!" I dream about them. They are in my head. They are just as real to me, as my family and friends. So, I try to write their story. I write a few scenes, and I start thinking, "Wow, I've got it! Here's what's going to happen."

Yeah, well, a couple of days go by, and I start thinking that maybe my ideas weren't so good after all. So, I pray and think and get busy with another manuscript. Eventually, these 2 particular characters start talking to me, again. I do research on the current idea, and start writing. Then, I start doubting, again. Y'all see a pattern?

Here's what's funny, and a bit nerdy; I love doing research for my books. I've gotten pretty good at googling. My story takes place somewhere around 1896-1900, so I look up stuff about the Spanish American War. I looked up shipping. I read about clipper ships and steam ships. I read about polio, which BTW was called a lot of things back then, including Infantile Paralysis. I read about Yellow Fever, life on the streets of New York City, the cattle industries back then, medical practices, nursing, women's rights and the lack thereof, immigration, gangs, gold strikes in Alaska, P. T. Barnum's circus, involuntary servitude aboard ship…you name it, and i've researched it. And, still, I'm not sure.

So, what does my first sentence of this post have to do with research? Well, see, I've done so much research, that now I'm confused on what to make happen to my characters.

I ask them, "Hey, why can you two be together?"

The answer I get surprises me.

"Because," she says, "he's married."

I'm like, "Do what?" I mean, I can't write a Christian book like that!

So, I ask them, "What would it take to bring you both to a place where you can trust fully in God?"

The answer does not come easy.

One character says, "I ain't needed a man yet, and I'll never need one. I can do anything I set my mind to do. Sure, my folks taught me about Jesus, but I don't think He will forgive me, this time; I've really messed up."

My other character says, "Where was God when I needed Him the most? I mean, sure I was taught about Him, and I believe He exists, but in order to be good enough, there are things I have to do, first. As for the woman I love, she'd never look twice, if she knew where I came from."

Deed, faithful readers, y'all need to pray, cause I just don't know where this book is going to go. To the gold fields of Alaska? To the high seas during a war? Back home to the ranch and praying loved ones? I don't know.

Tell you something else I don't know, too; I don't know where the man came from or how bad it was. I don't know what it's going to take to get these two together. I'm absolutely stumped.

Any thoughts? Questions? Comments? Ideas? :) Y'all wanna hear about the gold fields in Alaska? How about overcoming temptations of the flesh? Do you think Christian books ought to include characters making bad choices in a moment of weakness? Does anyone even want to read this book? :D Feel free to comment or drop me an email at
would love to hear from y'all.

Goodnight and see you on Wednesday.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crazy Is As Crazy Does

It's late on a Saturday evening. In fact, it's so late, I would consider it already Saturday night. I dozed off in my chair some time around 7 this evening, just after finishing a 20 oz bottle of coke. So, even though the man of the place and the kiddies are in bed snoring, I'm wide awake…and bored out of my mind.

If I were the movie type, I'd be wanting to watch a movie. But, TV isn't my thing. Sure, I like a good movie every once in a while, but to actually watch TV would make a little more noise than I'm willing to make. So, I hop on FaceBook. Well, FB is ok, but I don't play any of the games, and statuses don't change that often, so I check my email. No new messages. So, I go to
and play around. I listen to a few samples, and something starts to happen; I get interested in listening to an audio book. Finally! Something to take away the boredom…only, there's a problem here. Do you see it?

Ok, lemme help y'all out. It's after 11 at night, I'm bored, and I gotta be up around 7 AM to start getting ready for Sunday School. If I buy a book and start listening, I'll be good for nothing in a few hours. And, yet…

Those Samples war good! I don't know how long they are, maybe 3 minutes, maybe 5, but our of the 3 I listened to, 2 of them caught my attention. I really wanna know what happens next! And, they are books I normally wouldn't listen to. One was about a vampire guy who is looking for his werewolf woman who had been kidnaped a year or so before. I feel like I just have to listen and see if he gets her back. I don't even like vampire and werewolf romances. lol

The other book started out with a woman reporter feeling the ground shake. She thought it was a bomb and called 9 11 to ask. They didn't know, but she saw a thin plume of black smoke rising against the sky. What happens next? I don't know, but I wish I did! works with credits. I pay so much a year and get a certain amount of credits, which I use to purchase audio books. In Feb. I had 24 credits. As of today, I have 3 left, and they are supposed to last until Feb. 2012. lol Yeah, like that's gonna happen. It usually does, though. But, in order to make them last, I have to be real careful how I spend those last 3 credits. While these books sounded great, and I'd love to see what happens next, I don't want to throw away my credits. I'll look for these books on another website, where books are free, and if I can't find them, I'll just wait. Chances are, I'll lose the urgency to listen to them.

You'd think I'd be busy writing on my own books, instead of seeing what others have written, but not me. I'm crazy. Remember? Ha! Thing is, I do have my word processor open. The story is there. In fact, there are several I could be working on. So, what's my problem? Um, I don't know.

Here's what I do know:
1. I'm thirsty
2. I think too much
3. I'm in desperate need of a weekend alone with my husband ;)
4. I really want someone to read a passage from one of my books and say, "Man, I have to buy that book!"
5. My cousin's strawberry rhubarb pie is best when you take it out of the freezer and nuke it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. lol
6. I desperately need an exercise program so I can lose weight
and last but not least
7. God is blessing me, even when I'm in a weird mood

So, now y'all know what my temptations are; sweets and books. Oh well. Could be worse. Y'all take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Go to church on Sunday, and come back and see me on Monday for another post.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Presenting WV Author, Salvatore Buttaci!

Happy Friday, y'all, and thank you so much for joining me here on the blog. Today, let me introduce you to WV writer, Salvatore Buttaci!

Shannon: What part of WV are you from? Do you still live there?

Salvatore: I am not originally from West Virginia. I visited Crab Orchard, WV, back in 1957 and fell in love with the state. In fact, I made one of my few predictions that came true: "I'm gonna move here someday!" Of course, my older brother laughed. I was only 16. What did I know! Nearly 50 years later I married my pen pal from Yukon, WV, and brought her to Lodi, New Jersey, where I was living. In 2007, only 11 years later, I retired from nearly 30 years of teaching, and the two of us moved to Princeton, West Virginia.

Shannon: I've been to Princeton. How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?

Salvatore: Since I was about nine. It sounded like a fun way to spend my life. To be sure, I also wanted to be a pilot, a priest, a trial lawyer, a newspaperman, among a list of other vocations. I believe a poem I wrote for my mother got me started. My father told everyone about that dumb poem. "My son's another Dante!" he told them. Remember, I was nine. I bought into that and never stopped writing.

Shannon: Children are very impressionable. :) So, who or what inspires you the most?

Salvatore: That's easier asked than answered. I believe writing is a gift God gave me and the only way I know how to say thank you is to pray and write everyday. Of course, my wife Sharon inspires me because love does that to writers. It gives us a reason to release those awesome feelings we take into ourselves. I am also inspired by all the things and people I observe who I feel should become part of my poem or story or novel: captured forever, saved in those pages even after they leave this world for the next. Finally, I am inspired by great writers like Dickens, Dostoievski, Sandburg, Vallejo--so many geniuses I call my heroes.

Shannon: How many books have you written? How many are published?

Salvatore: I self-published my first book back in 1974. A book of poems. In all I've self-published perhaps ten of them, mostly poetry and a few prose. In fact, one of them, A Family of still selling since I first published it in 1998. It's available at and Barnes and Noble as a Nook book.

Pudding House Publications in Ohio, the largest small press in America, published my Greatest Hits: 1970-2000, and added it to their Greatest Hits Series of American Poets. Two more of my poetry chapbooks were published as well: Boy on a Swing (Big Table Publishing) and What I Learned from the Spaniard (Middle Island Press).

Cyber-wit Publications in India published Two Can Play This Game... (co-authored by the poet Paul Juszcyk) and A Dusting of Star Fall: Love Poems, which I wrote to and for my Sharon.

My two flash-fiction collections, published by All Things That Matter Press and available at, are entitled Flashing My Shorts and 200 Shorts.

Shannon: Wow, you've done some writing! Do you like to read as much as you like to write?

Salvatore: I have always been an avid reader, beginning with the comic books of the 1950s and Classic Illustrated Comics which introduced me to classic literature. Unlike Sharon who reads one book at a time and usually completes it in a day or two, I have the weird habit of reading about eight books, a few pages from each. It makes each book last and luckily--so far!--I know where I left off in each book.

Shannon: :) I've done that on occasion; read more than one book at the same time. Do you have a favorite author?

Salvatore: I have many favorites, but as for the writers of today, I enjoy John Sanford, Alan Folsom, and Jeffrey Archer. 

Shannon: What other hobbies/interests do you have?

Salvatore: Taking walks with Sharon, playing poker, water painting.

Shannon: What advice would you give to all those aspiring writers out there?

Salvatore: If you really want to be a writer, be willing to learn the writer's craft, read extensively, hone your observation skills, ignore destructive criticism, build up your self confidence, write everyday, and be unafraid of sharing your writings with editors and publishers.

Shannon: Good advice. Any other thoughts or comments?

Salvatore: If anyone is interested in ordering my books, they can click on any of these sites:

200 Shorts 


Flashing My Shorts 

Print Edition:     

Kindle Edition:    

A Family of Sicilians

Shannon: Thank you Sal for joining me today and allowing me to interview you. It was a pleasure.

And, thanks to all you faithful readers out there for joining me, as well. Y'all be sure and have a wonderful, safe weekend, and I'll catch ya back here on Monday!