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Letting Go, with Love!

J Logo sm[NOTE: this is a repost from two years ago, but worth revisiting.]

Isn’t it odd, that when the time is right, the Universe sends you the one message you need to hear on any given day? I found that to be true, today. This is Saturday morning, late September, and I’d slept in. I’d just finished my coffee so thought I’d empty the dishwasher. That load had been waiting several days already. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re busy people. Don’t judge, okay? Okay.

The bottom rack has the utensil basket and I always start with that, then move on to everything else. With all the hardware back in their slots and bins, I noticed a three inch long piece of masking tape, edges curled and crisp from age, in the bottom of the utility basket. The tape had finally come loose from a pie server that had belonged to my mother.

Mom had been a second grade school teacher for 32 years, played the organ every Sunday at mass, and sang at many weddings in our little community. It was her habit to mark stuff when taking a pot luck dish to the numerous events, and over the years, I got used to having my last name on the back or bottom of most everything we owned.

"Giddy-up, Grandma!" Many years ago, my sons and my mom. Great memories!

“Giddy-up, Grandma!”
Many years ago, my sons and my mom.
Great memories!

Mom passed away eight years ago and, like everyone else who’s suffered a similar loss, I’ve missed her every day. I’ve since incorporated many of her kitchen items into my own, but that one pie server is the only item that refused to let loose of the pesky label. Who knew that masking tape was that strong? I’d dug my fingernail into the ends of the tape, run the thing through the dishwasher numerous times, and it’s never let go. Until today.

Tears filled my eyes as I saw that bit of tape—with my maiden name inscribed in my mom’s unique handwriting—at the bottom of that basket. It was like mom was hugging me from Heaven. Of all the days in the year, she picked this one day to let me know she’s never truly gone away. You see, today is my birthday.

Thanks Mom, I love you, too!

Luggage, Road Trips, and a Sleepy Muse!

J Logo 75

My new luggage. Love!

My new luggage. Love!

I’m in luggage heaven. Look what just arrived! I’ve been searching for carry-on size luggage pieces that are suitable for a long weekend trip, or longer. These fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, are very light weight, have space for my writing stuff as well as clothes and toiletries. And, the unexpected bonus: the two pieces fit inside the itty-bitty trunk of my Z4 with plenty of room left for my travel partner’s stuff. Road trip!

Speaking of road trips, I’ve got two trips scheduled for 2015. My sister and I will be heading up to our old stomping grounds this coming summer. We plan to see a few family members as well as attend our high school reunion. It’s been a while since either of us have seen the home town crew, so I’m sure we’ll be checking out those name tags. Ha! The trip will take us from Houston up to Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and back to Texas, with various stops along the way. With all that gorgeous scenery and fun, my artist’s well is sure to be restocked and well fortified by the time we get home.

My second road trip in 2015 will be to attend a week-long writer’s retreat near Nashville. I’ll be meeting up with my online critique group, The Lalalas. This is still in the planning stages, but be forewarned, there will be about 18 of us in the neighborhood sometime in October. Oh, yes, while we’re there, many books will be plotted, brainstormed, revised, edited, and written. I know this is a whole year away, but I can hardly wait to spend time with these incredibly talented ladies. I’ll be plotting and storyboarding a new writing project just for this event.

See what a couple pieces of new luggage did for my sleepy muse? I’m all but salivating with the urge to pick up the pen. I can already visualize the settings for a story, and a couple characters have popped into the fray, ready to create some mischief. So, have you ever stumbled onto a strange way to kick-start your muse? I’d love to hear what works for you. Apparently, my muse has been pouting for luggage.

 

Ceramic Cooktops and Hubby Training–not!

J Logo 75Since moving into this house a few years back, I’ve struggled with keeping my ceramic cooktop clean and shiny. When it’s clean it shows every little bit of dropped crust or crumb–even the remnants of an attack of  salt and pepper seasoning by Hubby Dear, aka: Captain Bulldog. [Yes, he’s earned that nickname, folks.]  CB will often use the clean cooking surface to heat/toast a tortilla. [See what I mean?] Okay, I get how that is easier than dragging out a frying pan, but seriously? It leaves a burnt mess that seems as if it’s become part of the ceramic. [Again, he’s earned that nickname.]

stovestove topWell, this week I stumbled upon the answer to keeping that ceramic cooktop looking clean and shiny–almost brand new. We’ve been using a special liquid cleaner made just for these types of cooktops, but it works best if it sits for a few minutes. I’d started to do up the dishes and wipe down the kitchen countertops when I noticed that Captain Bulldog had recently made tortillas, so I grabbed my bottle of stove top magic, smeared it all over the wet surface, and went on to other chores.

Yup, forgot about the cleaner on the cooktop…and dinner time rolled around. We made do with microwave popcorn because we were both dealing with deadlines which isn’t such an unusual situation around here. Anyway, that was four days ago. One day soon, I’ll finish cleaning the stove, but I’m having way too much fun seeing how long it will be before Captain Bulldog breaks down and finally says something about it. <chuckle-snort-giggle>If you liked this true story, remind me to tell you how I’ve gotten out of cooking these past twenty years. No joke!

Okay, so what’s your most dreaded household chore, and how do you deal with it, or not?

 

 

It’s Camp Nano Time!

J Logo 75If you’re a procrastinator like me, then it’s the day before a month-long writing fest where the goal is to get approximately 50k new words down on paper…which will then be the rough draft of a brand new book. Yeah. It’s March 31st and the write-a-thon starts tomorrow, April 1st. This is me, scrambling for my Storyboard, 3×5 Note Cards, Scene and Sequel Worksheets, Conflict Worksheets…and where-oh-where did I file that Synopsis I’d drafted a while back?

It’s all good though. I’ve found all my cheat sheets that will get this story kick-started. I’ve made a date to spend the day with a writer friend, too. Together, we’ll brainstorm all the basics, drink a couple gallons of iced tea, and end the day with a couple fun new books. Then, it’s solitary confinement for the month of April as we hit those keyboards.

See y’all on the other side of a finished book. Wish us luck!

 

Ever wonder what sparked the idea for my novel, THE 25th HOUR?

THE 25th HOUR, a Time Travel / Historical Romance

THE 25th HOUR, a Time Travel / Historical Romance

J Logo 75This is a question I hear all the time. Where do I get my ideas to write my books? Well, the ideas come from life itself, from all directions, and when I’m least expecting that specific inspiration. Sometimes, the story comes fairly well developed in my mind. Other times, the story might take years to simmer on the back burner before all the pieces fall into place. I wish I could say I was a fast writer, but the latter is how this book came into being.

Back when I lived in Wyoming, I was in the market to buy a house. My realtor friend and I found an amazing Victorian that was far above my price range, but we toured the mansion anyway, because, in my heart, I love to explore. As pricey as that house was, it still needed all the updates to make it livable in the 21st century. Yeah, we’re talking everything: indoor plumbing, electricity, phones, heating and air conditioning, cable/wireless/Internet, etc. As I walked through each room, the feeling was like I’d come home, but I’d never lived in a house that old or so incredibly gorgeous. The pièce de résistance was the attic, itself, which appeared to be an almost finished third floor. The full-length windows let in the sunlight which played along the exposed rafters. I could almost smell my writer’s haven in that attic, and swore that if I ever won the lottery, I’d buy that house…or have an exact replica built. Since the odds were against me on that, I did the next best thing. I wrote a book with that Victorian house as one of the key characters. That story is my debut novel, a time travel romance titled THE 25th HOUR, and is now available here, at Amazon.com.

Ever have something so special, so unique, happen in your life that no matter how much time has passed, you can’t let it go? What inspires you to jot down a few notes, then find the memory will not leave you alone until you flesh out that story? I’d love to hear about your special moments!

Old dog, new tricks…and all that.

TechnoWizard, I’m not. They tell me I need an Online presence. Okay, bought my Domain name and was lucky enough to get exactly what I wanted first rattle out of the box, started this Web Blog and will learn how to do it even if it’s just one little trick a day.

Today’s hurdle? Changed my Header appearance. Snap!