Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My New Year's Intentions

My New Year's Intentions
I have made many New Year's Resolutions over the years and I can say, without a moment's hesitation, that I have never kept a single one--nope not one.
So, this year I'm going to do something different; I'm going to make New Year's Intentions. Just to be clear, the idea of New Year's Intentions is not my original idea. The idea of New Year's Intentions came from the sermon Reverend Christy Snow gave this past Sunday. An Intention is an inside thing, something I can do to improve my spiritual being. It is based on the four principles she outlined in her sermon. So here goes:
1. I want to have humility--not me but God kind of attitude about the blessings I have received and having gratitude for them.
2. I want to rely more on Divine Wisdom, that inner voice that whispers the truth I need to listen to more often.
3. I want to be open to Agape Love--the love of all human beings, creatures and creation that God has created.
4. I want to allow my light to shine, to be who I really am every day, in every situation.
If I can put my best Intentions forward in 2010, I will improve my spiritual being. I won't be perfect. Let's face it, no one is going to be perfect, but I can strive each day to be a better person.
So there it is, my New Year's Intentions. I hope that this year will bring you health and happiness and that you will let your light shine and love each and every day as it comes.
Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Christmas is right around the corner and, finally, I am done shopping. I'm getting ready to do some baking for Christmas Brunch in just a bit. My tree is decorated and my presents are wrapped. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to have it all done. Whew!

I feel better now that I made some donations to my favorite charities, The Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society of Charlotte and Defenders of Wildlife. All I have to do is watch Animal Planet when they're doing Animal Cops or see the advertisement featuring abused animals with Sarah McLaughlin singing In The Arms of an Angel and I am driven to do something. It's so heart wrenching to watch. Cesar Millan is right up there with Stephen Hawkings on my hero list.

I want to tell you that BITTER NOTES will be released by Amira Press around the middle of January and I am really excited about it. Yeehaw! It was inspired by an actual event. Day after day I drove by this house that had a baby grand piano sitting out in the front yard. At first, I thought they were having difficulty figuring out how to get the huge thing in their house. But when I saw it sitting out there in the pouring rain, I knew it was left out there on purpose. It was so sad when, eventually, its rotted boards and splintered keyboard sat on the side of the road waiting on the garbage collector. God, why didn't they donate it to charity or to a school where its purpose could have been fulfilled--filling the world with the sounds of beautiful music? It broke my heart and so I wrote a story about it. It's a story of revenge, letting go and hope. Please check out my books section for the blurb and excerpt.

In the meantime, I hope you have a safe and memorable holiday. Merry Christmas!!


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I almost forgot to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. Well, even though it's after the fact, I I hope you had a good one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Here it is, the cover for my upcoming contemporary book at Amira Press. This cover was created by the multi-talented Anastasia Rabiyah who is not only an artist but a terrific writer as well. Whew! this cover is beautiful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I am positively psyched that my new contemporary, BITTER NOTES, is now contracted to Amira Press.

This story was inspired by a sad event. Every day I passed by this baby grand piano that someone had put out in the front yard. At first I thought they were trying to figure out how to get it into the house, but as days passed with it still out there, I realized with horror that it was intentional. There was no "For Sale" sign on it and I thought how crazy it was that they didn't even donate it to a theater or a school. Baby grands are worth around $3000. Eventually the rain poured down on it and, as time passed, it fell into ruin and ended up set on the curb for the garbage collector. It was the saddest thing I'd seen in years.

So I wrote a story around it and used the story as a catharses of sorts. Hopefully, I can get the edits and the story can be released soon.

In the meantime, I want to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving if you live here in the USA and drive safely if you have to be on the road during the holidays.

All good things to your corner of the universe.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Having A Great Day

(Bryan Adams)
October 25,2009 has been a very good day.
It started with a wonderful sermon by Christy Snow called "Mastery" but was really about being who we really are--our authentic selves. I needed to hear that. I sometimes play to an audience just wanting people to like me. I guess we're all a little involved in that.
The music at church is always inspiring and, since I am also a musician, I appreciate the effort that goes into creating a beautiful, harmonic sound. After church, we had a surprise lunch of my favorite food, chili and cornbread with delicious desserts. Loving the desserts, too.
So, filled up with some good spirit, my sister and I went to see Bryan Adams who is doing an acoustic concert. It was just Bryan with his guitar and Gary on piano--no band or loud electronics. I never realized how much his lyrics meant until I heard them sung without the big band behind him.
He was funny and kind, explaining how he came upon certain songs and he managed to good-naturedly put up with some members of the audience who were listening to the football game with the Panthers (who apparently lost.) He encouraged the audience to sing along with him and we did--most enthusiastically.
I like the McGlohon Theater because of it's beautiful stained glass windows with back lights and charming ambiance but it's also an intimate place. The audience and the performer get to have closeness even if you're in the last row at the back. For those of you who don't know the place, it used to be a church in downtown Charlotte many years ago and was converted into a theater for the performing arts.
My day was not marred by a single negative energy or event. The worst thing that happened was that my sister and I didn't get to stay to eat the food we ordered--but they gave us our coffee for free because the service was slow and I felt that that made up for it.
Tomorrow may be crap. The sky might fall or a bill come due, but for now, I had a great day and just wanted to share it with you. I have to treasure perfectly good days because they don't happen that often and must be held in graditude. And so it is.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Halloween's Comin'

Halloween Is Coming

This is a photo of me with my pumpkin cake. I made it for my friend’s Halloween party some years back.

Halloween is just around the corner. It’s my favorite holiday because I can become anyone or anything I want from a witch to a walking hamburger. My most inspirational costume was a dead foot on a flip-flop—a sort of after the accident clean up object. I used a green sheet as the foot making sure to create each of the toes and painted the toenails with red fabric paint. The flip-flop was created from a piece of egg crate foam used on mattresses and a large flat piece of cardboard. I was the foot with the flip-flop hung over my back using a strap wedged between my head (the big toe) and the stuffed stand up toes that ran across my shoulder. It was a pain moving around but worth it.

My friend, Kathy Groce used to give a Halloween party every year and each year had its own theme. So one year, she decided to make it like a carnival. Each guest played a game to win tickets for the other events. Her brother, Dave, who is a tall, handsome schoolteacher, was a tattoo artist. Okay, actually, the tattoos were the kind you apply water to and they come off on your skin. A couple of showers and they’re gone. My “booth” was the fortune-telling booth. I read palms and gave a little gift of a fortune telling fish to each of my “customers.” I found the little fortune telling fish at a magic store up the street. What I loved most was that some people actually believed I had the ability to tell their future and one person wanted to hire me for another party. Were they just gullible, or was I just that convincing in my roll?

Madeline, my 8-year-old niece, is as excited about Halloween as I am and planning her costume as we speak. I think she called it a witch princess outfit. I guess that means it’s Cinderella dressed in black. I’d like to figure out how to make a Pez container costume. How do you get the candy to shoot out of your neck?

I hope your Halloween is fun and safe.
All good things to your corner of the universe.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Welcome to my new website

I hope you all like my new website that Jodie designed for me. Things still need a little tweaking but I think it's looking pretty fine right now.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Oh my word, I had no idea how many prizes were being given away for the TwoLips Reviews Scavenger Hunt. Here is the tag to see for yourself what the prizes are. Someone is going to be mighty lucky!!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Scavenger Hunt

The TWOLIPS SCAVENGER HUNT is on and I am a participant. Look for their icon here on my website. If you need to know the rules and what you can win, here's how:
www.twolipsreviews. com click on scavenger hunt and you will find the rules! come play with us! and win win win! over 100 prizes to be won come on and play!
So start playing already!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


HELLO my darlings. In case you missed these recipes when I posted them during my featured Author Day at The Romance Room, here they are:

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
½ cup butter or margarine 1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
2/3 cup sugar ¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk (set aside the egg white) Vanilla Filling (below)
2 tablespoons milk Granulated sugar or
1 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans finely chopped
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour 2 dozen Hershey kisses

Cream butter, 2/3 cup sugar, egg yolk, milk and vanilla in small mixer bowl; blend into creamed mixture. Chill dough about an hour or until firm enough to handle. Keep the egg white at room temperature until dough is ready to handle. Then beat the egg white until frothy and place in a small bowl. Roll each ball in either the granulated sugar or the ground nuts and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Make a thumbprint in each cookie.
Place in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
While the cookies are cooling,
Prepare Vanilla Filling:
Thoroughly combine ½ cup confections’ sugar, I tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons milk and ¼ teaspoon vanilla
Once the cookies have cooled, place a dollop of vanilla filling in the thumbprint and top with a Hershey Kiss.

¼ cup butter ¼ cup shortening
¼ cup brown sugar (packed) 1 egg separated
¼ teaspoon vanilla 1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt ¾ cup finely chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla. Work in flour and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1 inch balls.
Beat the egg white until foamy. Roll each ball in the egg white then roll in chopped nuts and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Press thumb in the center of each ball and pplace in oven for 10 minutes.
After cookies have cooled, place a dollop of vanilla filling (below) in the thumbprint and top with whatever turns your key—candied fruit, Hershey Kiss, Walnut or Pecan half, etc.
Vanilla Filling:
Thoroughly combine ½ cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons milk and ¼ teaspoon vanilla

3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar 2 cups water
½ cup Hershey Cocoa ¾ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking soda 2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes at medium speed until thoroughly blended. Pour into a greased and floued 13x9x2 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.
Cool and frost as desired. Personally I like White Mountain icing but some of my family prefers peanut butter icing.
I got this recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa Cookbook that was free when I bought a can of cocoa many years ago. I have never known it to fail to rise into a beautiful cake that is delicious and always moist. My best friend and I used to make it for birthdays when we worked in coronary care years ago and everyone loved it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Remembering An American Hero

I received a message from a friend of mine, Kathy Groce, a veteran from The Gulf War and The Irag War where she helped med-vac soldiers and cared for the injured in an Air Force ground base hospital.
It is amazing to me the things that we Americans choose to honor. There are heroes among us, men and women willing to do whatever it takes to help others, to protect us all and do what needs to be done quietly and persistently—every day ordinary people we seldom hear about because they aren’t entertainers or politicians.
So, I ask you to read about this American hero and let this story sink in deep in your heart and remind you that this is what it means to be an American and a human being.
Subject: Ed Freeman

No matter what your race, creed, color, religion or political preferences, this deserves to be read and honored.
Michael Jackson dies and it's 24/7 news coverage. A real American hero dies and not a mention of it in the news.
Ed Freeman
You're a 19-year-old kid. You're critically wounded and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley , 11-14-19 65, LZ X-ray, Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in. You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter and you look up to see an unarmed Huey, but it doesn't seem real because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
He's coming anyway.
And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.
Then he flies you up and out, through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses. And he kept coming back, 13 more times, and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.
Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died on Wednesday, June 25th, 2009, at the age of 80, in Boise , ID. May God rest his soul.
Medal of Honor Winner Ed Freeman!
Since the media didn't give him the coverage he deserves, send this to every red-blooded American you know.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Congratulations, you have found the banner for the Twolips Reviews Scavenger Hunt!!

Have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July. I'll be on my deck at sunset watching my neighbors' fireworks as I sip my cool drink and eat my ice cold watermelon.
Have fun enjoying our Independence Day!



I hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating our Independence Day. So, bring on the hot dogs, barbeque, watermelon ice cream, drinks and whatever else you're having today, enjoy the day and please keep safe. I'll be watching fireworks from my deck. My neighbor, Carlos's cousin, who is a fairly new citizen of the USA always has a big ol' party with real fireworks. It's going to be a wild and crazy night and I don't even have to leave home. Ha Ha

Happy Birthday America!

This is the banner you are looking for to play in the scavenger hunt at Joyfully reviewed

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Way back when, my dad took this picture of our family when he and mom had my oldest sister, Marlene. You can't see it but, in Pop's hands, he has the trip wire for the camera. He had so many interests that it was hard to keep up with them all but photography was one. So here they were with their first baby when my dad became a dad for the very first time. I would be his last.
I look at this picture sometimes when I feel like I've lost my way or I need a hug. Just being in my dad's presence often made me feel safe and calm. He was the solid base we all leaned on and the wisdom I frequently called upon.
No one in this picture is living now. I miss them. Sometimes I dream about them. It brings me peace.
So on this Father's Day, I remember Pop with fond memories for the times we shared while he was still on the earth. Happy Father's Day. Pop. I will always love you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

This is my friend Kathy and her company while they were in Iraq. Shouting out a thanks to you, Kathy, for all the times you served on foreign soil to help the sick and injured get back home.

I hope any of you who have someone in Iraq or Afganistan, that your loved one stays safe and comes home soon. Thanks to all the men and women in the service working to keep us all safe.


Saturday, May 09, 2009


On this day every year since my mother died, I am filled with the sharp edges of missing her.

Mom was the glue of the family. We all came home for holidays and gathered around the table laden with familiar favorites she made especially for each of us.

When were were growing up, Mom made most of our clothes. I loved how she would invent things when necessity met with her whimsy. Mary and I were growing fast and our favorite skirts became too short. Mom cut them about six inches above the hem, inserted wide lace and sewed it back together--a fabulous new style.

She made Easter baskets for us even after we were grown and married. And she worried over us as only mamas do with unconditional love.

On this day I light a candle beneath her picture and place a note there telling her how much I love her, miss her and then I update her on the news.

I know that even if I just whisper it out into the great universe that she'll hear me when I say, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I will love you always."


Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Spiritual Experience--At A Bar

Christy Snow And The Free Spirits
I ran into a spiritual experience quite by accident when I went with a couple friends to The Grape at the North Lake Mall last night. Okay, it is a bar but that just makes my discovery all the more extraordinary.
The entertainment was Christy Snow and the Free Spirits who played songs that ran the gambit from funny tunes about camping trips and a dog to new found hope and confidence in the unfolding of life. A few songs were familiar to me but most of the songs were written by Ms Snow. She played the guitar, harmonica (often together like Tom Petty) and the Native American Flute. There’s something haunting and peaceful in the music of the Native American Flute. Her voice resonated in a rich, smoky tone that reminded me of K. D. Lang.
At break time I got a chance to talk to her and found that she used to work in corporate America making a pretty decent salary and gave it up to go into her musical career full force. I couldn’t help but relate to her on that level since I just retired from nursing to pursue my writing career even in the face of this recession or depression according to how you feel about a drastic drop in the economy worldwide. Her philosophy was that your life unfolds the way it should and you just have to be open to the positive. I asked her to give me her life philosophy in one sentence. Yeah, I put her on the spot but not intentionally. I just wanted to understand how, based on the content of her songs, she could come up smiling with such a great attitude about life. She responded faster than I would have been able to with, “Life is for us.” Sounds simple enough unless, like me, you feel so often that life is against us and spin in a spiral of negative thinking about the if only’s in life. She also said something else that I can relate to. Having worked in the emergency room for many years, I’ve seen the frequent underbelly of life and the way human spirit can deteriorate into self-destruction and self-gratification not to mention abusive behavior. By the time I retired, I’d had about all I could take of the “what’s in it for me” mentality. Ms Snow said, “Whatever you believe, like people are basically good, you have to believe even when times get rough.” Way easier said than done but a thing to hang on to like a raft in a storm.
Turns out Christy Snow is a minister. Wouldn’t you just know it? She delivers sermons and sings her uplifting songs every Sunday at The Center For Positive Living at 6101 Idlewild Rd., #332, Charlotte, NC 28212.
As a writer, I was interested in lyric writing. I can write stories long and short and I can write poetry but lyrics, well, I just don’t seem to have that unique gift. I asked Ms Snow about that, about being born with a gift to write lyrics and she insisted that anyone can do it if they want to. She said an amazing thing in regards to poetry and lyrics. A friend of hers sent her an eloquent poem and told her she could use it to come up with a song. Ms Snow said the poem could be changed into several songs. She “chopped it up” into the lyrics for several songs saying that lyrics are easier to write than poetry. Lyrics still mystify me but I’m going to take her word for it and figure that I must not “want to” enough.
I hope, if you ever get the chance, you go to one of her gigs and hear some spiritually uplifting and sometimes funny songs and her amazing talent on her instruments. Her website has the dates and places where she and the Free Spirits will be playing. www.christysnow.com You’ll come away with an inspired heart.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Snookie

My oldest sister, Marlene whom we fondly called Snookie, would have celebrated her seventy-first birthday today. I love this old high school picture of her. This is how I remember her the best before life took its toll on her.
She made me laugh and she loved road trips. She was one of the few people I totally trusted in a car. She taught me how to drive but I was not that good a student. She had a lot of courage just taking me on since I stink at driving.
Snookie made the best peanut butter fudge I've ever tasted and she played canasta with me and the parents as my partner. We cheated. We had this whole hand signal thing going on but we rarely won. My parents were like the champs at canasta.
Snookie had five kids and they were more like my siblings than nieces and nephew. We hung out together. I went with her and her five kids to my first rock concert--the Dave Clark Five. You probably don't remember them but it was quite a scream fest and I loved it. My first husband who was my best friend then, went with us.
My big sister died on February 13, the same day my dog Kate died. Years of smoking and not taking very good care of herself took her away. She took a part of my history with her especially my restless, reckless days, that I can never have back again. There is one less person for me to reminisce with about the "old days."
So, here's to you Snookie, wherever you are in the universe. I hope you're having fun, maybe getting in another game of canasta with the parents.
I will always love you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter/Passover

Happy Easter
Whether you have a wild and crazy Easter, a fun family time dinner or a sweet time for two Easter, just enjoy it and be happy to be on the earth for another unfolding of Spring and renewal.
My family is coming for an Easter luncheon. We are all pitching in with our favorite dishes. Betsy is bringing a bunny cake, ambrosia and asparagus, Matthew made a squash casserole and iced tea, Madeline and I dyed eggs and made party favors and I'm making deviled eggs, salad, baked chicken and potato salad. My sister, Mary, is off the hook because she volunteered to work today. I have to appreciate that she usually has the Sunday dinners.
I'm also going to take a little private time today to remember those that I've lost this year, my friend, Joyce Henderson, my loving dog, Kate and my sister, Marlene, whose birthday would have been April 17. Then I'm going to start planning my vacation to Hilton Head (a retirement gift to me from Mike Hinson) and start looking for a puppy and plant a garden so I can get some happiness back into my life. It's time for me to look forward to something.
Whatever you and your family are doing to celebrate today, I wish you joy.
All good things to your corner of the universe.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I thought you should know that my books from New Concepts Publishing, DARK ISLE and LAKE OF SORROWS, are no longer available. The contracts have run out on them. I'll continue writing The Valmora series but through another publisher some time in the future. THE LIGHT OF VALMORA is in progress as I speak and I have fallen in love with the main character, Falcon.

Here is the blurb:


To free his father from the Queen of the Dark Isle, Falcon must find the legendary Light of Valmora which lies hidden in the darkest place on earth. To complicate things further, he is falling in love with Izabelle, his brother’s woman.

Once rejected by Peregrine, Izabelle wants revenge. But when she tries to use Falcon to initiate her plan, everything gets out of control along with her heart.

In the meantime, I'd like to remind you that the Amira Press Egg Hunt is still in progress. To find out the details just go to http://www.amirapress.com/ and click on the egg icon. If you're looking for the egg icon on my website, here's a little hint: scroll way in down the blog and you might get lucky.

Ta Ta For Now


Monday, March 16, 2009


My dad (Jim McNeal) with his dog Guess

All my life I shared my birthday with Pop. Our birthday is on March 18. As a kid I resented sharing the attention with my dad. Being the self involved urchin that I was and most children are, I wanted my own birthday cake. So, for a while, we had two cakes: coconut for Pop and vanilla with bananas between the layers for me. I know my mom was glad when I got over that episode of “it’s all about me” behavior.

As we spent more and more birthdays together, we began to plan our birthday dinner in cooperation each getting a choice on what food we wanted and what kind of cake (only one) we desired. When we went to renew our drivers’ licenses every four years, we started planning what costumes we would wear. I did everything from a Nehru jacket to a cowgirl outfit. It became an event and was special to us.

Pop was quite a liberal thinker. He let my sister, Mary, and I draw pictures and write on our bedroom walls. When notes came home from my teacher that I kept my book bag with me at all the time, even at recess, my dad sent her a note back telling her to let me do it because it was my way of dealing with separation from my mom while I was at school. He laughed when Mary and I burned down the closet and the fire department came to put it out. Okay, that was after he punished us and he had no idea we heard him when he made light of it. Being a meteorologist, he taught me about the weather, how fronts worked and what the different clouds were. We went on nature walks, learned how to make a vegetable garden, what the stars were in the night sky and taught us to always have bird feeders and what the different birds like to eat. I learned how to write a check and balance my checkbook, trust in my fellow humans and how to become self reliant from my dad.

I was thirty-seven when I spent my first birthday without him. The magic and fun was suddenly gone. Some years I don’t really want a fuss made over me on my birthday and other years I’m okay with the special attention. But regardless of how I feel, happy or sad, I always remember to play my dad’s favorite bagpipe tune and light a candle in his memory. Even though we used to scrap a lot with each other and our tempers would flare from time to time over my need for independence, my dad was my protector, my guru of wisdom, my sparring partner and my friend. He believed in me and he stuck up for me and I will hold my memories of him dear to my heart always.

Happy birthday Pop.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Amira Press Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg Hunt at Amira Press

Amira Press is going to be starting an egg hunt starting March first. You could just win a bunch of goodies for gathering up the egg icons from the authors. So why don't you get on over there and check it out soon. http://www.amirapress.com/

I'll have more details for you later most likely so stayed tuned.

I'm looking forward to happier times.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

In Honor of Kate and Marlene

My dearest friends, Kathy Groce and Maureen Tohill, came over this morning to support me and remember Kate whom they both had great fondness for. While Maureen made us breakfast, Kathy uploaded these most recent pictures of Kate that I would like to share with you. For the time that they spent with me, my day was a little brighter. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful friends.
More sad news.
An hour after Kate died, I got a phone call from the nurse in Intensive Care in Minnesota who told me that my big sister, Marlene, had died. Her nickname was Snookie. She taught me how to drive. She was the only one with the patience and courage to do it. The best peanut butter fudge I ever ate was made by my big sister. When I was 15, I would go to her house and watch Johnny Carson late at night. She let me smoke cigarettes and drink Bourbon and gingerale. If someone wanted to go on a road trip, Snookie was the first to get in the car. She was like a travel maniac. So, here's to you, Marlene Jeanette McNeal Stubbs, may your last journey be your best.
For Kate and Marlene I wish you a happy Valentine's Day and God speed on your next big adventures.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sorrowful News

Kate is gone. She's out of pain now and able to run on all four legs. I know my dad will take good care of her until I join them. I'm going to miss her so much and right now I feel lost without her. I will hold the memories I have of her close to my heart forever. I will always love you, Kate. You were the best of dogs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Romance Is Not For Wimps!

Romance Is Not For Wimps

Often times people will ask me what I write when they first learn that I am a published writer. My gut reaction is a sudden desire to lie and explain in lofty terms that I write alternative fiction. I want to throw out a lot of baloney about time travel, science fiction, adventure, Western or even experimental dabbling into creative fiction. I could duck the entire issue and act like I just saw someone I know across the room and I must be off to greet them. The last thing I want to tell them is that I’m a romance writer.

I know. I know. I’m a coward. But the minute I tell an enthusiastic person that I’m a romance writer, I have to endure their deflated interest and sudden monotone voice depicting low esteem when they respond with, “Oh. That’s nice.” What the heck? It’s as if my IQ just dropped and my efforts to get that POV right and the hours I agonized working the plot into an exciting revelation meant absolutely nothing—because I write romance.

Some people just don’t get it. Writing about the most tender feelings two people can have for one another and making them find ways to overcome impossible obstacles to have that one person their heart yearns for is an amazing amount of work to get it right and make it lift the heart. Is it nobler to write dark tombs with sad endings than those filled with hope and ending in happiness? Apparently. Is it easier somehow to forge a romance than a murder? In the minds of many, yes.

Well, for myself, I delight in reading romance and I have no desire to write anything else. I enjoy happy endings and stories that make me believe in the impossible. My life is filled with the harsh edges of reality and the sting and bite of everyday existence. When I settle down into bed at night, I like to close my day within the pages of a wonderful romance that allows me to believe that the world really can be a better place.
Now for a little update:
My Golden Retriever, Kate, is still hanging in there. I am amazed, as is the veterinarian, that Kate has managed to make it this far with a diagnosis of bone cancer made on Halloween night. She is getting pain meds that seem to work for the most part and she is getting whatever she wants to eat. Naturally she prefers meat products, eggs, puppy food and peanut butter sandwiches or whatever I'm having except for vegetables (not to her liking). She goes in and out of the house using a special ramp I got her to accommodate her three legged way of being. She's like a moving tripod now refusing to use her left hind leg at all.
Thank God for friends. My good friend, Maureen Tohill, comes to spend hours of time with Kate while I'm at work in the ER 12 hours every Saturday and Sunday. She feeds Kate home made goodies and gives her healing touch treatments along with her wonderful company.
The veterinarian told me last week to prepare myself for the inevitable end and, believe me, I really am trying. For the most part, I deal with things on a one day at a time basis attempting to keep in memory every day I get with Kate. Only once in a while it occurs to me that I am going to lose her and nothing, absolutely nothing I do can keep Kate from dying. In those dark moments I just have to believe that Kate will join my dad in the here-after and that Pop will take good care of her there until I can join them.
Any way, I just wanted to let you know what is going on with my wonderful dog,Kate.
As for my two kitties, Liberty and Acorn, they are doing just fine and happy as little larks.
Until next time, here's sending good thoughts to your corner of the universe.