It’s Not All Gravy

Musings on Life and Writing

0

Looking Ahead to Christmas

Posted by mcm0704 on December 11, 2017 |

Due to the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations added to the hustle and bustle of moving preparations, there is not much time for writing right now, so this may be the last blog post until closer to Christmas. The following is an excerpt from my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck, in which many of the stories were first published in a newspaper when I wrote a weekly humorous column. 

If I publish the book as an indie author, this may be the cover image.

 

The Christmas Season was always a source of great excitement at our house. It was also a time of great panic. Every year I found the Christmas Season closing in fast with me panting to cross the finish line before Santa Claus.

I’d immediately start my “Holiday Hustle” working non-stop for three weeks to get everything done. There were gifts to send out of state, and cards to mail. Since I didn’t start early enough on that task, I had to decide if I would write one letter and copy it for all our friends, or try to find the time to write individual letters. This was before the birth of The Holiday Letter, which has now become a standard way for friends to stay in touch. Some people don’t like them, but, you know, if the alternative means not keeping up with friends, I’m all for it.

Maybe instead of getting angry at the stores that were putting out their Christmas stuff before Halloween, I should have taken their reminder seriously. Then I wouldn’t have let Thanksgiving slip by without a thought of the next holiday.

My basic problem was, and still is, the fact that I don’t get in the Christmas spirit until a couple of weeks before The Day, and then the frantic juggling act begins. If I could just bring myself to think about Christmas in October I wouldn’t be faced with the necessity of regimenting my time down to the last second to get everything done — structure and discipline being the closest thing to medieval torture I can think of.

However, I knew that I had to have some structure, so sometimes I made a calendar with Things to Do. Monday was slotted for shopping. No giving in to the urge to sing carols with the kids or start making decorations. Friday was slotted for singing, and decorating would start the following week. Tuesday was the day to finish the Christmas cards. No fair claiming writer’s cramp as an excuse to quit for a while and play with the dog.

Wednesday of that week started out easy. That was the day to write my column, and I didn’t have to stress over what I would write about as I had all this great material to work from. But the strangest thing happened as I wrote about all the things I hadn’t done yet. I had to fight the urge to quit working and dash out to the store when I thought of the perfect gift to get Uncle Barney. Not to mention all the other things I’d forgotten on Monday.

While fighting down that urge, another distraction popped up. The Girl Scout caroling party. I still hadn’t called the leader to tell her what songs I’d planned for the girls.

Then I remembered someone else I should have mailed a card to.

Then I remembered I was supposed to get pop for a neighborhood holiday party.

I don’t even remember the rest of that week.


One year, I was able to take one thing off my To Do list of holiday preparations. It was the year that necessity put me in the position of making a lot of our gifts. At first, I was disappointed that our checkbook couldn’t be as generous as our hearts, but as I decided what to make for each person and started working on the projects, I got a new perspective. The time I spent on each gift made me feel closer to the person I was making it for. It was like time spent with them, thinking of all the things that make them special to me, and I realized the extra benefit of a handmade gift. A benefit I didn’t always appreciate in quite the same way.

After my husband and I moved to Texas, we rarely made it back to Michigan for holidays, and my mother always sent handmade gifts for Christmas. Necessity has ruled her entire life, and we became accustomed to not expecting gifts of any great monetary value. Even so, the arrival of her annual box always sparked an eagerness in me that I never fully understood. The gifts were either hand made or just a small trinket, and sometimes there were even gifts for ‘we-don’t-know-who’. Sometimes we didn’t even know what the gift was or what it was for; usually something she knitted or crocheted that could be a small afghan or a large lap blanket.

When the kids were young, they never understood my excitement over mother’s box, either, but I couldn’t fault them for that. It’s easy for a simple gift to be diminished when stacked up next to one larger and more expensive, and like the kids, I often saw my mother’s efforts as a mere gesture.

But the year that necessity forced me to make gifts, was the year that I finally understood what a gift really is, whether hand¬made or purchased.

A gift is not just a thing. It’s a connection between the person giving and the person receiving that says something special about the relationship between the two. And a gift should never be rushed. The longer you think about it, plan it, and work on it, the stronger the connection.

That’s the special, intangible ingredient my mother wrapped up and sent to us for all those years.

I would give anything in the world to get one of those boxes from my mother this year.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

0

Holiday Miracles

Posted by mcm0704 on December 6, 2017 |

There are a lot of things worse than the flu. I know. But when you have been knocked down with the fever, chills, sore throat, aches and fatigue, it is the worst thing of the day. Or the week. Hoping mine does not last a whole week, but…

In the meantime, Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a nice story about miracles. Tis the season. And in honor of the season, lets have some more sugar cookies with some tea or coffee. Sugar cookies are my favorites. What are yours?

Now here’s Slim.

It began the way most miracles do: by accident or the hand of God, take your pick.

It might have been the weather, at least partly. For December, the day had been almost balmy and warm. You know, sweaters instead of heavy coats. No mittens in sight.

Then there were Christmas lights on the stores, and that little bunch of Girl Scouts out raising money in front of the Read Me Now bookstore. Jasper Blankenship was inside going through the books to fortify his cabin’s library for winter and sat, listening with a smile to the girls as they laughed and waited for customers that weren’t really coming along too briskly.

“It’s a shame there aren’t more people out today for those girls,” said Sarah McKinley, behind the counter. Jasper nodded and paid for his books, then walked out to the truck. He stopped and thought for a while, then brought out his violin, rosined the bow, and walked over to the sidewalk next to the girls.

“You girls like fiddle music?” he asked.

“Sure do.”

And Jasper began playing fiddle tunes.

Carla Martinez was driving down the street, headed for the Soup ‘R Market when she saw the Girl Scouts dancing with each other in front of their table to Jasper’s music. Before he’d had time to finish that tune, she’d returned with her guitar and joined the fun. Jim Albertson, the elementary school principal, showed up with a harmonica, and he wasn’t bad at it.

Dud got out his accordion and joined in the fun.

By this time, it was getting dark in the street, and several people turned headlights on the area in front of the bookstore. Older people had joined the Girl Scouts dancing in the streets, and Delbert Chin from the Chinese restaurant across the street sent one of his girls out with a huge pot of coffee and paper cups.

The party was on.

It lasted until the cars headlights began to wear down the batteries, but during its brief lifetime, the street dance and mid-winter party cast a blessing on us all

It must have been the weather.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Cedar Ridge Leather Works, fine custom leather for the shooting sports. www.archeryleather.com

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Don’t forget to grab your free copy of my short story, The Gift. It speaks of miracles, too. As does my other Christmas short story, The Last Dollar.

That’s all for me folks. Hope the rest of your week goes well.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

3

Monday Fun and a Free Book

Posted by mcm0704 on December 4, 2017 |

Thought I’d start the day with a fun meme. I love this little kitty, and she can steal my mouse any time she wants.

Things are getting busier and busier for me as I get closer to my moving date, which will be sometime right after Christmas. Adding all the things that have to be done for that, to what I should be doing for Christmas, and I am overwhelmed. Luckily, I do have most of my gifts purchased, but that is all. I think I will have to start making some lists and paring down the preparations for the holiday.

I did, however, find the time to make my short story, The Gift, free for Kindle readers starting today and running until December 8. I love to give something back to readers, and this story about compassion and giving makes a perfect gift. Do grab a copy, and tell your friends about it.

In the meantime, I have an estate sale going on this week, then it will be back to more packing.

Since this is such a busy time for so many of us, I thought a bit of levity to start the week off would be in order. A friend sent me these little quips, and some of them made me laugh out loud.

I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People get out of the way
much faster now.

Gone are the days when girls used to cook like their mothers. Now they
drink like their fathers..

You know that tingly little feeling you get when you really like
someone? That’s common sense leaving your body.

I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes five years in a row.

I decided to stop calling the bathroom the “John” and renamed it the
“Jim.” I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.

Old age is coming at a really bad time. When I was a child I thought
“Nap Time” was a punishment. Now, as a grownup, it feels like a small
vacation.

The biggest lie I tell myself is, “I don’t need to write that down,
I’ll remember it.”

I don’t have gray hair; I have “wisdom highlights.” I’m just very wise.

Teach your daughter how to shoot, because a restraining order is just
a piece of paper.

If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would’ve put them on my knees.

Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven’t met yet.

Why do I have to press one for English when you’re just going to
transfer me to someone I can’t understand anyway?

Of course I talk to myself; sometimes I need expert advice.

At my age “Getting lucky” means walking into a room and remembering
what I came in there for.

That’s it for me for today. Do leave a comment and tell me which little joke you liked best. Or you can add one of your own. Spreading fun and chuckles is always a good thing.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

Supporting Cancer Research

Posted by mcm0704 on November 29, 2017 |

Please help me welcome Randy Rawls as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. Randy has written a number of books – more about that in his bio – and his latest is a fun romp, Jingle and His Magnificent Seven, which I reviewed last Sunday.

Just like there is never too much pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, there are never too many sugar cookies at Christmas. I know it is a bit early, but can you resist? Snag one to enjoy while reading Randy’s post.

Now here’s Randy…

I’m one of those who enjoys every book he has written. It was the best I could write at that moment. But, more fun is appearing before groups and talking about whatever they want to hear. And, if they happen to be bona fide readers, that’s even better.

One example is the group I visited with today. They were women from the City of Hope Charity in Palm Beach County, Florida. They attended a literary luncheon sponsored by Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore in Delray Beach. Following their lunch, they came into the bookstore, were given a copy of my Jingle and His Magnificent Seven, and settled in to listen to my words.

This was an especially important group to me because I am a Stage IV head and throat cancer survivor—cancer free for three and one-half years. Any day I get to meet and thank the people who raise money for cancer research is a super day. And I did that today.

Afterwards, I talked, they listened, then plied me with questions. The whole episode lasted an hour, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Following the talk,  I personalized their copies of the book, and they went on their way.

A day well spent.

I have also spoken to various Pap Chapters and had the pleasure of thanking them for all they do for cancer research. Cancer is an insidious disease, but thanks to groups like Pap, City of Hope, and many, many others, it is ever so slowly succumbing to new and improved techniques for combating it.

Oh, I know there are many large charities who do wonderful work in collecting funds. However, their gatherings are too large for someone like me to be invited as a speaker. But, small memberships, such as City of Hope and Pap Chapters look for entertainment at a much lower level. If I can insinuate myself in front of them, make them smile, and they walk out with one of my books, I feel blessed. And I know they are going to keep raising money and continue to finance cancer research.

Thank you, cancer fundraisers everywhere.

Maryann suggests I write about an unusual bit of research. Okay, here it comes. I wrote myself into a difficult situation in my latest about Jingle and his friends.

Because Jingle is a Santa-Elf, he can do nothing that would harm a human, and that goes for his human partners, too. So, they’re going up against a dirty dozen and must leave them unscathed.

So, you say, call the cops.

Nope, can’t do that because the police would never believe their story about a terrorist cell, especially the part about a Santa-Elf tipping them off to the group.

So, what can my seven do to bring the bad guys to justice without either ending up in the loony bin or being arrested for assaulting the dirty dozen? Took a lot of research, but I found a way. Justice was served and my seven walked away free of any association.

Pretty danged proud of myself.

Thanks, Maryann for allowing me to spend this time with you. You do a wonderful service to readers and writers everywhere.

Aw, shucks, Randy, now I am blushing. 🙂 And you have every right to be proud of yourself. You did a great job in getting yourself out of that corner. Also, congratulations on being cancer-free. May that continue!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Randy Rawls was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. From there, he says he inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country. As a career US Army officer, he had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from his parents. Following retirement, he worked in other ventures for the US Government. Every job has in some way been fun. Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and he cherishes the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.

Today, he has short stories in several anthologies, and a growing list of novels to his credit. As a prolific reader, the reads across several genres and takes that into his writing. He has written mysteries, thrillers, an historical, and two books featuring a Santa Elf. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.

You can visit him on his WEBSITE and on FACEBOOK

BUY LINK for Jingle and his Magnificent Seven

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

Book Review – Jingle and his Magnificent Seven

Posted by mcm0704 on November 26, 2017 |

Jingle and his Magnificent Seven
Randy Rawls
ISBN-10: 1548898295
ISBN-13: 9781548898298
Trade paperback, 129 pages
October 2017, $13.99

BLURB: When Jingle Bell, Santa’s SEIC Santa-Elf-in-Charge) for Southeastern operations of the SBI (Santa Bureau of Investigation) is assigned to recover the naughty list from a rogue elf, he finds himself in need of human partners. He recruits Nep Thomas, a PI in Coral Lakes, Florida. But the problem grows as Jingle, aka Rocky, discovers that his adversary, Rime, is dealing with Abdul Abaddah, a Mid-East terrorist recruiter and financier. More support is needed. Soon, Rocky’s group grows to a magnificent seven, but they face a dirty dozen. Only when the dozen has been neutralized – without serious injury – can Rocky bring Rime to justice.

REVIEW: While I don’t normally like a book that throws a lot of genres into one mix, I found that this story worked for me because the mix worked. One could believe that an elf could come from the North Pole to recruit a PI to jump headlong into a mystery. And who could not love an elf who makes the world’s best crepes?

Mind you, the reader has to suspend disbelief and jump headlong into the mix like Nep and his girlfriend, Cassie, did, and the author makes it easy for us to do that. All of the characters are quite engaging – and did I mention the crepes? The humor is laugh-out-loud funny in places, especially Nep’s internal debate early on when he is trying to decide if Jingle is real or if Nep should spend less time in the sun.

The writing is spare. There is not a lot of description or narrative summary, and that works well. The snappy dialogue propels the story as much as the plot elements, and the author does an excellent job of making the voices unique to each character. I just went back re-read the opening few pages, and noted again, how Nep and Jingle and Cassie have their own voice.

The main mystery element – the theft of Santa’s list – is wrapped up neatly in the end, and the only caveat I have with the story is that I thought Nep and Cassie accepted the case a little too quickly. I wanted just a little more of the debate before they decided to believe there was an Elf there wanting to hire them for a job. Let alone in the kitchen cooking crepes.

BUY LINK: Amazon 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Randy was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. From there, he says he inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country. As a career US Army officer, he had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from his parents. Following retirement, he worked in other ventures for the US Government. Every job has in some way been fun. Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and he cherishes the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.

Rawls has short stories in several anthologies, and a growing list of novels to his credit. He has written mysteries, thrillers, an historical, and two mixed-genre novels  featuring a Santa Elf. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.

Randy writes because he enjoys it and smiles because life is fun. Learn more about Randy and his work at www.randyrawls.com. And please come back on Wednesday, when Randy will be my guest with a post about cancer research and writing your way out of a corner.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

2

Apologies and Jokes

Posted by mcm0704 on November 25, 2017 |

Perhaps it was the holiday, or perhaps it was because the server was down, and I did not know it because of the holiday, the website was nonfunctional for several days. My apologies for not seeing it right away, but all is well now.

I do hope that all my U.S. friends and family had a good Thanksgiving. I was laid low with some stomach issues, which didn’t make the holiday feast what it could have been for me, but I did manage the second sliver of pumpkin pie late in the day. Thanksgiving is just not right unless one has two pieces of pie.

We ate all the pumpkin pie, but here is some berry cobbler we can share. Enjoy…

I am still on the mend, and still swamped with moving chores, so I will leave you with a few jokes and be back tomorrow with a book review.

Q: Why do pilgrims pants fall down?
A: Because their belts are on their hats.

A teacher asked her students to use the word “beans” in a sentence. “My father grows beans,” said one girl. “My mother cooks beans,” said a boy. A third student spoke up, “We are all human beans.”

What’s a turkey’s favorite song? “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”

A proud and confident genius makes a bet with an idiot. The genius says, “Hey idiot, every question I ask you that you don’t know the answer, you have to give me $5. And if you ask me a question and I can’t answer yours I will give you $5,000.”

The idiot says, “Okay.”

The genius then asks, “How many continents are there in the world?”

The idiot doesn’t know and hands over the $5. The idiot says, “Now me ask: what animal stands with two legs but sleeps with three?”

The genius tries and searches very hard for the answer but gives up and hands over the $5000. The genius says, “Dang it, I lost. By the way, what was the answer to your question?”

The idiot hands over $5.

Math Teacher: “If I have 5 bottles in one hand and 6 in the other hand, what do I have?”

Student: “A drinking problem.”

My friend told me he had the body of a Greek god. I had to explain to him that Buddha is not Greek.

Tags: , , , , , ,

0

Early Thanksgiving Treat

Posted by mcm0704 on November 15, 2017 |

Looking ahead to next week, it is not too soon to have a fun Thanksgiving story from Slim Randles.

It’s also not too soon to start testing the pumpkin pies. In my mind, there are never too many pumpkin pies. Help yourself.

 

Steve will have Thanksgiving dinner over at Doc’s and Mrs. Doc’s this year, and any number of his friends are grateful for that. Steve is one heckuva cowboy and trainer of young colts, and a good friend to all, but he’d never make it as a dinner host.

Very few Thanksgiving dinners achieve legendary status, but “Steve’s Thanksgiving” was certainly one of them. Some said it happened because he’s lived alone and cooked meals for himself for so many years. Some say he has worked alone for so long that he isn’t of a coordinating mind. The answer could be buried in the middle there somewhere. Steve himself isn’t certain.

It all happened early in Autumn a couple of years ago when Steve completed his cabin up in the mountains here. He’d even finished the turret. In about September of that year, he’d started cleaning the place up on his infrequent visits, because he just knew somewhere inside that he’d created a modest monument there and wanted to share it with his friends.

Naturally.

So, back at the ranch bunkhouse down in the valley, he’d studied up on how to roast a turkey: what to put on it, how to thaw it, how to tell when it’s done, all that stuff.
Then he invited his friends for Thanksgiving dinner, up at the cabin. He told each one that he’d be fixing a turkey dinner up there and to come on up and have some fun. And each of them, in turn, asked Steve what they should bring for the dinner.

“Oh, I don’t care,” he’d said, “you know … whatever you’d like, I guess.”

He said that to Doc and Mrs. Doc. And Dud and Emily. And Herb. And Bert and Maizie. And Marvin and Margie. And Mavis at the Mule Barn.

That Thanksgiving Day was a sparkler … crisp sunshine, Fall colors. Oh man, it was great!

And the turkey was in that wood-fired Home Comfort range and looking brown and juicy when the friends started to arrive. They’d each made the considerable drive up the mountain to the end of the road, then walked in the last hundred yards to the warm and cozy little cabin.

And each of them … every one of them … brought a pumpkin pie.

Turkey and pumpkin pie. Traditional favorites on Thanksgiving. But … strangely enough, after three of the pies had been consumed, there were still some left over.

But hey, that turkey turned out all right. And this year, Steve’s going over to Doc’s and Mrs. Doc’s for dinner. Mrs. Doc told him to bring biscuits.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Brought to you by Arizona’s Book of the Year, “Stories from History’s Dust Bin,” by Wayne Winterton. Available everywhere online.


Before you go, don’t forget to enter the giveaway contest that I’m sponsoring with several other authors. The prizes include a 7″ #Kindle Fire, $25 Amazon eGift Card, and a book-lover coffee mug from a great site for Reader Giveaways -The Kindle Book Review. Just click on this link and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. The contest runs until November 30, and you can enter every day to have more chances to win one of the prizes.

I’m sponsoring that giveaway with the first book in the Seasons Mystery Series, Open Seasonwhich is a bargain at only 99 cents for Kindle.

I’m also sponsoring the $400 Black Friday Giveaway on another site, and you can ENTER HEREThe prize is a $400 shopping spree at Amazon, just in time to do some Holiday shopping. This one ends November 22, so enter soon, and often. The book featured on that site is One Small Victory

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

Monday Morning Musings

Posted by mcm0704 on November 13, 2017 |

I have had a long love affair with trees. It started when I was a child and would climb the large Elm in my backyard. Sometimes to read. Other times to just sit and be away from everything and everybody else. Often it was a refuge. And I was devastated when the people who bought my mother’s house said the tree had to go. We even had to pay for the removal.

Not my tree, or my house, but this is quite lovely.

When we built our home in Texas, I carefully nurtured a few saplings that had popped up, and those saplings grew into very large Elms that my kids enjoyed climbing. So did my grandkids when they came along.

Fast forward almost forty years to where I now live in East Texas. My home is surrounded by massive pines and hardwoods. When my neighbor cleared the fenceline on his property across the road from me, I cried when he took down the magnificent birch that was arrayed in golden splendor every autumn.

Obviously not the actual tree, but this one is very close to the one I used to admire every Autumn.

 

More recently, I cried when the tall ceder fell on my property. It was a tree that my husband particularly liked, as it was shaped so perfectly like a giant Christmas tree. We often joked about what it would take to bring the tree inside to decorate, but ultimately decided that it should stay outside where we could enjoy it for more than a season.

So when I found this article at Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, I was intrigued. She writes interesting articles about all sorts of topics, including the many aspects of creativity.

I have taken just a bit of the article to share with you, and I do hope you will click on the link above to read the whole thing. She writes about what Hermann Hesse and Walt Whitman thought about trees:

“When we have learned how to listen to trees,” Hermann Hesse wrote in his lyrical love letter to our arboreal companions, “then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.”

In the years following his stroke, Walt Whitman ventured frequently into the woods — “the best places for composition.”

One late-summer day in 1876, he finds himself before one of his favorite arboreal wonders — “a fine yellow poplar,” rising ninety feet into the sky. Standing at its mighty four-foot trunk, he contemplates the unassailable authenticity of trees as a counterpoint to what Hannah Arendt would lament a century later as the human propensity for appearing rather than being.

In a meditation from the late summer of 1876, Whitman writes:
“How strong, vital, enduring! how dumbly eloquent! What suggestions of imperturbability and being, as against the human trait of mere seeming. Then the qualities, almost emotional, palpably artistic, heroic, of a tree; so innocent and harmless, yet so savage. It is, yet says nothing.”

I found it so interesting that these creative men connected so closely to trees and marveled at the idea of Hesse listening to trees. Not to the wind rustling through the leaves, I suspect, but to the message in their strength and stature.

Then later in the article when Maria cites quotes from Whitman, the one about the qualities of a tree resonated with me. Especially “It is, yet says nothing.”

If we followed that example we would stop trying to convince others of who we are by our words, we would let them see who we are by our actions. Or by no actions when doing nothing is the wiser course.

Part of what I got out of reading the whole post by Maria, other than the affirmation of how I feel about trees, was the importance of being true to who we are. As well as encouragement to stand tall and strong and stately and let our presence encourage others to do the same.

Before you go, don’t forget to enter the giveaway contest that I’m sponsoring with several other authors. The prizes include a 7″ #Kindle Fire, $25 Amazon eGift Card, and a book-lover coffee mug from a great site for Reader Giveaways -The Kindle Book Review. Just click on this link and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. The contest runs until November 30, and you can enter every day to have more chances to win one of the prizes.

I’m sponsoring that giveaway with the first book in the Seasons Mystery Series, Open Seasonwhich is a bargain at only 99 cents for Kindle.

I’m also sponsoring the $400 Black Friday Giveaway on another site, and you can ENTER HEREThe prize is a $400 shopping spree at Amazon, just in time to do some Holiday shopping. The book featured on that site is One Small Victory

That’s all for me, folks. I do hope your week starts off well and you have a fun, productive time.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

2

Friday Fun and Veteran’s Day

Posted by mcm0704 on November 10, 2017 |

First I want to acknowledge Veteran’s Day tomorrow and give a shout out to the veterans in my immediate family. My son, David, a Marine who was in Dessert Storm. My daughter, Dany, who was in the army and was lucky to avoid combat duty. My brother, Michael, who was also in the army and served in Vietnam.

Hurrah and Semper Fi, and all that.

My family has a long history of service to the military, and while I am proud of the patriotism, the pacifist within wishes that war did not have to happen. This quote from the book of Isaiah (2:4) in the Bible has always resonated with me:

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Okay, now the fun. Since I am so incredibly busy with an editing job, preparing to move, and various other things, I thought I would go back and share some older posts, starting with a piece I wrote a few years ago for The Blood Red Pencil blog.  I got my professional start writing a weekly humor column for a suburban newspaper, and I won’t tell you how many years ago that was.

Primarily the column focused on antics within the family, but occasionally, I would write about the joys of the writing life. I took some of those old columns and shared them with the readers of the BRP blog, and now I share it with you.  Enjoy…. 

When I sold my first short story to a magazine a few weeks ago, we were all happily playing Howard Hughes around here for awhile. My husband started planning his retirement, the kids were picking out houses in the country and I had visions of never having to look at another price tag again before I bought a dress.

I suppose we’re all entitled to our glory dreams, and it sure was fun while it lasted. But now that the excitement has died down to a dull roar and the rejection slips have started to litter my desk again, we have resigned ourselves to the fact that perhaps we’ll have to wait a while before we start recklessly throwing money around buying mink coats and hamburgers.

Anjanette has given up her dream of a whole new bedroom set with maybe a new bedroom to put it in. David has gone back to mowing lawns to save the money for his new mag wheels, and Michael is collecting cans for recycling to keep himself in spending money. I’ve resigned myself to another year, at least, in the bargain basement, and unfortunately, Carl still has to get up every morning and go to work. (Someone has to keep me in typing paper and postage.)

Meanwhile the check isn’t even cashed yet. I’m afraid to cash it because I know it will be gone all too soon; and besides that, it’s still a big thrill to go into my office and look at it every now and then. (I know that will pass, since it only took me two weeks to stop opening the magazine every five minutes to see my name in the credits.)

From here on in, no other acceptance will probably ever mean as much or create quite the stir that this one has.

Someday, discussing the terms of a sale with an editor in New York will be old hat. I won’t have to try to act cool and professional on the outside while on the inside I’m jumping up and down for joy.

Someday, I won’t call my best friend to announce, “You are now speaking to a famous writer person!”

“Who is this? Is this some sort of crank call?”

Someday, selling stories will all be part of the routine around here and no one will stop by with champagne to celebrate. The kids won’t be announcing it to every creature that moves up and down the block, and my husband won’t run around the grocery stores making sure the magazine is prominently displayed. (I told him I didn’t get any royalties, but he did it anyway.)

But until that someday rolls around, I guess I can stand all the excitement just a little bit longer.

That short story has been revised and is now available at Amazon with a new title “Making it Home.” It was first published in Lady’s Circle Magazine, and the rights reverted back to me, so I published it via Amazon. One reviewer said that it “Is a sweet tale of growth and love.” Check it out.

That’s it for me, folks. Have a great weekend. And if you are a writer and would like to share a fun story about writing, please do share. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

Contests, Giveaways and Friends

Posted by mcm0704 on November 8, 2017 |

Here’s another fun hunting story from Slim Randles. These are almost as good as “the one that got away” stories. And what would we do without friends to help us out when we need an extra hand? I am sure appreciating my friends a lot in this moving process.

It has gotten a bit nippy here in East Texas, so maybe it is time for some warm apple cider. Help yourself, and enjoy Slim’s story.


And don’t forget to enter the giveaway contest that I am sponsoring with several other authors. The prizes include a 7″ #Kindle Fire, $25 Amazon eGift Card, and a book-lover coffee mug from a great site for Reader Giveaways -The Kindle Book Review. Just click on this link and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. It’s easy & fun. The giveaway runs until November 30, and you can enter every day to have more chances to win one of the prizes.

I am sponsoring that giveaway with the first book in the Seasons Mystery Series, Open Season, which is a bargain at only 99 cents for Kindle.

I am also sponsoring the $400 Black Friday Giveaway on another site, and you can ENTER HERE. The prize is a $400 shopping spree at Amazon, just in time to do some Holiday shopping. Now here’s Slim and his friends.

Dud came in the Mule Barn truck stop all grins. Aha! thought the other members of the world dilemma think tank, Dud’s been up the road in deer camp three days now. We know what that happy look means.

Or maybe not …

“You fellas have GOT to come out to the camp with me and see what I’ve got!” Dud said. “You won’t believe it!”

“Got a nice buck did you, Dud?” said Doc.

“You just have to see for yourself,” he said.

So after another round of refills, the guys went out and got in two cars and headed off to camp. And when they got there, they saw all of Dud’s camping gear stacked neatly, ready to go home, and his camouflage spring-steel-armed ground blind still standing.

Picture an outhouse-sized tent.

“Where’s the deer?” asked Herb.

“Well,” Dud said, “I didn’t get one.”

“So what do you want us to see?”

“The ground blind,” he said. “I can’t figure out how to fold it up and get it back in the bag.”

So Dud got one end and bent the steel inserts, and Doc got on the other end, while Herb and Steve each took a side. After half an hour of engineering arguments and cussing, the offending tent was back in its bag.

When Doc got his breath back, he looked at the others and grinned. “You fellas know I’ve delivered hundreds of babies, but I gotta tell ya, this is the first time I’ve ever had to put one back.”
—–
Brought to you by Arizona’s Book of the Year, “Stories from History’s Dust Bin,” by Wayne Winterton. Available everywhere online.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Copyright © 2006-2017 Maryann Writes All rights reserved.
This site is using the Desk Mess Mirrored Child Child-Theme, v1.0, on top of
the Parent-Theme Desk Mess Mirrored, v2.5, from BuyNowShop.com