It’s Not All Gravy

Musings on Life and Writing


Books Make Great Gifts

Posted by mcm0704 on December 6, 2019 |

My whole family are avid readers, and we often gift each other with books, especially at this holiday season. It’s an extra bonus when we can get an autographed book, and the ones I have reside on a special shelf in my bookcase. When I moved, almost two years ago now, I had to downsize from four large bookcases to two small ones, so I had to sell a lot of my books, but I kept the signed ones.

I read a lot of mysteries, but I also really enjoy some women’s novels. One of my favorite authors, Kristy Woodson Harvey, recently sent a newsletter with a couple of her holiday picks: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, Educated by Tara Westover, The Small Crimes of Tiffany Templeton by Richard Fifield, and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.

I’ve read Educated – it’s great – and I plan to check out the other books as I appreciate Kristy’s recommendations.

Kristy also mentioned her books, as well. We authors would be remiss if we didn’t give our titles a brief mention, just in case. 🙂

Anyway, this image of her books all bundled up for giving caught my attention.

Photo via Porter Co. Book Shoppe

Photo via Porter Co. Book Shoppe

When I saw it, I realized I’ve read every one of her books and reviewed them here on my blog. We are not family. She doesn’t slip me a little payment in the mail. 🙂 I just do it because I like to pay it forward and her books are worth touting. They feature strong women who face life challenges with great courage and charm, and I enjoy the visits to the Carolina coast where I can vicariously enjoy a day at the beach.

So, you might want to consider getting one or two, or the whole bundle of these terrific books. Between now and December 19, Kristy will be happy to send signed book plates, bookmarks, a KWH book light and a coozie (while supplies last!). Contact her at

Here is a link where you can find purchase options for all of Kristy’s books.

Another book bundle that readers might enjoy is this one I picked up at Bouchercon in October.

No. You can’t have my copies, but copies are available at all retail bookstores, including small independent stores.

You can find all of Timothy Hallinan’s books here.

Purchase options for Pretty Things, which is coming in April 2020. I was lucky to snag an ARC at the convention.

Purchase options for Bring her Home

Purchase options for Never Tell

And now a mention of a few of my books. Some of your friends and family might enjoy Evelyn Evolving, A Story of Real Life, which is an accounting of my mother’s challenging life. It’s historical from about 1923 to 1945.

For those who prefer mysteries, you might want to consider the critically-acclaimed Seasons Mystery Series, or the historical mystery, Boxes For Beds. Doubletake is a stand-alone mystery,and all the books feature strong women in the lead roles. You can find a list of all my books, as well as buy links for a variety of retail outlets on my BOOK PAGE

Like Kristy, I’ll be happy to send signed bookplates and a nice bookmark. Just contact me before December 19.

For a special treat, you can gift copies of my Christmas short stories to friends and family who have Kindles. These are both feel-good stories that capture the magic and excitement of Christmas.

The Gift – “Ralph has been like a grizzly bear in a dark cave for too long, and Stacey gets a wild idea to buy him a puppy for Christmas. Maybe that will make him smile. But that plan gets detoured when she meets a homeless man who has much more to be depressed about than Ralph.”

The Last Dollar – “A feel-good holiday short story that can be enjoyed year round. There is something especially magical about the Holiday Season. Find out how the magic touches Kate and her family in this story of giving and receiving.”

That’s all for me folks. I’m off to do some shopping myself. I have book-lovers on my holiday gift list.

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Those New-Fangled Car Engines

Posted by mcm0704 on December 4, 2019 |

Slim Randles is back as today’s Wednesday’s Guest, and he’s introducing us to another one of the guys that hang out at the Mule-Barn Truck Stop. What an interesting group of men, and I suspect they are not all made-up characters. But no matter, they’re always fun to share space at the counter and have a cup of coffee with.

Grab a cup for yourself and enjoy. 

It was a rare treat to have Vince come in the Mule Barn truck stop and join us for coffee. He’s usually too busy taking care of what we all know around the valley here as the “gas station gun shop.”

Vince is one of those lucky guys who figured out how to scratch his passion itch while earning a living. The passion is guns and the living is pumping gas. Ever since he received a firearms license from the feds, it’s been more fun to fill up at his place.

He often has 12-gauge shells on sale, you see.

“Yo Vince,” Steve said, “everything okay at the gas station gun shop?”

Vince sipped coffee and shook his head. “I’ve found myself to be on the horns of a dilemma, guys. That’s why I came in here today. I need advice.”

Someone actually asks for advice from those of us in the world dilemma think tank?

Some of us have been waiting years to hear that.

“What’s the problem, Vince?” asked Doc. “You know we always have advice for people whether they want it or not. All kinds of advice.”

“It’s the computers, Doc,” said Vince. “They’ve got ‘em in all the newer cars now, and I don’t know how to fix them. I don’t even know how to tell when the darn things go on the fritz.”

“Are you sure they’re plugged in?” asked Dewey. We figured that was about all Dewey knew about computers.

“They’re in the car, Dewey,” said Doc.

“Oh … yeah.”

Steve doesn’t know much about them, either, but he’s real big on giving advice.

“I think I have the answer to your problem, Vince,” Steve said. We all looked at the mustached seer of the sagebrush.

“Yep,” Steve said, “I think what you need is to hire a teenager. That should take care of it.”

We don’t even charge for this, you know.
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Brought to you by Ol’ Jimmy Dollar, an illustrated kids book about a houndman and his family of dogs. Available at You can also find it at Books A Million. If they don’t have it on their shelves, they’ll order it for you, just in time to gift it to someone special this Christmas.

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Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 


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Black Friday Shopping?

Posted by mcm0704 on November 29, 2019 |

Happy day after Thanksgiving everyone. Are you as stuffed as the turkey was and lounging in front of the television, not venturing out to the stores this Black Friday? I’m not stuffed, but I’m still not going out. I’ll be sharing time with my daughter-in-law putting up her Christmas tree. Then later going to my daughter’s to do some Christmas crafty stuff. 

Leftover pumpkin pie might be involved. I’m happy to share, so grab a slice before it’s all gone.

The following essay about Black Friday was originally written on my blog in 2010. The sentiments still apply. 

I remember a time when shopping the day after Thanksgiving was fun. A lot of people were doing the same thing, but there was no pushing, no shouting, no mad rush to get the latest must-have toy, and nobody grabbing it out of your hands once you had it.

For the most part, everyone was relaxed and in a Holiday mood. Smiles were exchanged and clerks and cashiers wished everyone a Happy Holiday. It always made me think of the wonderful Christmas song, “Silver Bells”, and I could imagine we’d entered some magical place where people passed “meeting smile after smile. And on every street corner you’ll hear…”

It was also a time when stores opened at a normal time, and people came and went, then more people came and went. Stores did not open at some ungodly hour in the AM, so shoppers had to set alarms to get there on time. Folks also didn’t camp out in parking lots and on sidewalks for days to be the first ones in. And they  didn’t stampede into a store and injure other people in their desperation to make sure they got the best deals offered.

For most of this past week, we were bombarded with reminders of this all important retail day. The media made a big deal out of Black Friday, airing what I’m sure they thought were cute human-interest stories about what people were doing to prepare. Plus there were all the ads from department stores, and it seemed like they were competing to see who could open the earliest. Some were even open on Thanksgiving and just stayed open all night and into today.

Watching this all unfold, I realized that Thanksgiving is getting lost. Think of all the retail personnel who were not able to truly celebrate the day because they had to get ready for The Big Day. And what about all the people who opted out of getting together with family at all because they preferred to be the first in line at Best Buy. One local man was interviewed on television and said, “Sorry, Grandma, we’re not coming for Thanksgiving.”

He laughed. The news anchors laughed. But I wanted to call up Grandma and tell her how sorry I was that her family preferred the X-Box over her.

Whatever you are doing today, be safe. Be Happy.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by mcm0704 on November 28, 2019 |

Slim Randles is here again as today’s Wednesday’s Guest, bringing us another distorted history lesson from good ol’ Windy. You just never know what he’s going to come up with, but it always brings achuckle or two.

Before turning the space over to Slim and Windy, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your gathering is filled with good food and good friends. Family can be friends, you know. 🙂

Windy Wilson waited while the first cup was poured, there at the daily meeting of the world dilemma think tank at the Mule Barn truck stop. When Windy shows up, it’s always an interesting lesson on vocabulary and remembrance of things that may or may not have occurred.

“Fellers,” Windy said, “you know Thanksgivin’s ‘bout here, don’t ya?”

We did.

“Brings me to mind of that Indun girl, Poker-hontus. Now she were a proper honey, I’ll tell ya. Not only did she keep her daddy from wipin’ out them foreign homesteaders, but she taught ‘em about Thanksgivin’.”

Windy grinned and sipped.

“Read up on it back when I was in elemnecessary school, ya know. That were a while back, too. Yessir, them poor Pilgrimites had no idear how to cook a turkey. I mean, they never seen one ‘til somebody shot one and brung it home. But good ol’ Poker-hontas saved the day. She told all them folks that this was the terditional Thanksgivin’ bird and showed ‘em how to baste it and cook it, and how many minutes for how many pounds and all that stuff.


“Then them Pilgrimese folks was so tickled at her, they sent her on a boat to go have tea with that there queen of England and teach her how to cook a turkey! Like I say, she was a special lady.”

Shame most history books missed that.
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Brought to you by Home Country with Slim Randles, the radio show. Check it out on a classic country music station near you.

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Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program.  

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Book Review: Stories We Never Told by Sonja Yoerg

Posted by mcm0704 on November 24, 2019 |

Stories We Never Told
Sonja Yoerg
File Size: 3144 KB
Print Length: 332 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (May 1, 2020)
Publication Date: May 1, 2020
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

BOOK BLURB: A suspenseful novel of love, secrets, and obsession

Psychology professor Jackie Strelitz thinks she’s over Harlan Crispin, her ex-lover and colleague. Why should she care if Harlan springs a new “friend” on her? After all, Jackie has everything she ever wanted: a loving husband and a thriving career. Still, she can’t help but be curious about Harlan’s latest.

Nasira Amari is graceful, smart, and appallingly young. Worse, she’s the newest member of Jackie’s research team. For five years, Harlan enforced rules limiting his relationship with Jackie. With Nasira, he’s breaking every single one. Why her?

Fixated by the couple, Jackie’s curiosity becomes obsession. But she soon learns that nothing is quite what it seems and that to her surprise—and peril—she may not be the only one who can’t let go.

REVIEW: For the first half of the book, this is a slow-moving tale of obsession, love, secrets, and the lies we tell ourselves as the author sets up the characters. They are all keenly developed and slowly became more likable for me as the story progressed. I did find the friendship between Harlan, the ex, and Miles, the husband a bit odd, but later it became clear why that story element needed to be there.

The reader gets glimpses into the inner workings of academia, which is a culture unto itself, as well as the inner working of Jackie, who has a public persona contrasted with the one she’d like to keep hidden: That obsessive, jealous, insecure woman who dances between memories of the past with Harlan and the present she has with Miles. As the story progresses, she waltzes closer and closer to the edge of losing the funding for her research project and maybe losing her marriage.

The author’s use of language is beautiful and refreshing. In describing Jackie’s approach to dating and relationships, Sonja wrote “Love wasn’t on the table, it wasn’t even in the room.” What a lovely, succinct way of letting the reader know that without having paragraphs of explanation. One knows exactly what is contained in those few words.

When Jackie is thinking about how uncertain things are with her stepson, Antonio who battles drug addiction, she muses, “We are frail, propped up by hope, leaning against each other like reeds.”

Aren’t we all.

Grace, Jackie’s sister is a stabilizing force in her life. Grace is happily married with a “passle of kids” as my grandmother used to say. Jackie is happy when she spends time with her sister and the five young children, but she is also a bit envious of Grace’s family. Remembering the day Grace and Hector got married, Jackie thinks a lot about the depth relationship, comparing it to what she has with Harlan, who she is committed to at the time. What Grace and Hector have is nothing like what she has with Harlan. Could that change? Her thinking culminates with, “Their love was a faraway city and I lacked a map and the courage to wander. Did I want it, though?”

This book is certainly worth adding to your reading list. It releases in May and is well worth the wait. That pre-order link will take you to a page to find all the retail outlets for the ebook and the paperback.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, studied learning in blue jays, kangaroo rats and spotted hyenas, and published a critically acclaimed non-fiction book about animal intelligence, CLEVER AS A FOX (Bloomsbury USA, 2001).

Sonja has since published four novels; her most recent, TRUE PLACES, is a Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her upcoming novel of psychological suspense, STORIES WE NEVER TOLD, will be released in May 2020. She  is a member of Tall Poppy Writers.

Sonja lives with her husband near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where she tends an ever-expanding vegetable garden.

Visit her WEBSITE where you can find more about her books, as well as links to follow her on social media.

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Your Friendly Driving Instructor

Posted by mcm0704 on November 22, 2019 |

I have a surprise guest on the blog today. Nona is just bursting to offer a continuing education course to drivers and begged me to let her do the class here. Look at that face. How could I refuse? 

Okay my fellow travelers on the great highway. Not the Great Highway of Life, although we are all on that one together, but I’m referring to the actual highway with cars and drivers and all. This is Nona, who, after a few weeks of frustration while driving, has popped in here to sound off. Well, maybe not that exactly. I’ve already vented to my cat, who really couldn’t give a damn. Really. You know cats.

But I digress.

Maryann has graciously allowed me to borrow her blog to share a few reminders of traffic laws and courtesies that perhaps you’ve forgotten because it’s been so long since you took driver’s education or even looked out the window of your car while driving to see those around you.

First let’s review this clever little sign. You recall seeing it now and then, right?

What this means my dearies is that you get in the left lane, you pass a vehicle, then you move over, and we all proceed merrily on our way.

It doesn’t mean that you get in the left lane and stay there for miles and miles and miles, often creating the most frustrating logjam.

It doesn’t mean that when an 18-wheeler has pulled out to pass another 18-wheeler and things are going slower than we’d like, you look for any opportunity to try to speed things up. Whipping around to the right lane and squeezing into that little space between those two trucks is an absolute no-no, especially when a whole bunch of other drivers decide to follow your lead.

Do you know how dangerous that is? Do you just throw that caution to the wind and take that awful chance no matter the physics of speed and velocity and the whole principle of once an object in motion…

Oh, dear. It makes this old heart go pitter patter just thinking about what could happen.

Another thing about this passing business. When you pull out to pass and you’re driving perhaps 73 miles an hour in a 75-mile an hour zone – which is a perfectly okay speed to maintain, that’s the speed that I kind of like to go actually – you should maintain that speed. No fair slowing down, boxing the car behind you between your bumper, the truck beside you, and the truck barreling down the left land. Nobody likes to be the meat in that kind of sandwich, believe you me.

So dear, darling driver that you are, when you pull out to pass, you should either maintain that passing speed or perhaps even increase your speed until you’re past the vehicle and can move back to the right lane.

Now imagine another scenario. You’re cruising along on a lovely four-lane freeway, and ahead in your lane is one of those large 18-wheelers that always seem to be going slower than the rest of the traffic. You note – you do pay attention don’t you? – that there’s another car between you and the truck. The driver of said car has their turn signal on, indicating, of course, that they wish to move over in order to pass that truck.

You do know, don’t you, that the courteous thing to do would be to let that vehicle ahead of you move over and make the pass. Taking turns is so much safer than whipping around that car and blocking it in.

Courtesy on the road. What a concept.

Now, before I go, I have one last driving trip tip. This one doesn’t involve interstate or freeway driving, but it’s an important reminder. Did you learn in driver’s education, or perhaps when your mother or your father taught you how to drive, that when you approach an intersection to make a left turn you pull forward far enough to make about a 90-degree turn? You don’t turn on an arc, cutting that angle from one point to another and almost clipping the front end of a car that’s sitting there waiting patiently for traffic to clear. I’m sure they would love to proceed to their destination with all parts of their car intact.

Now, in closing, Maryann insists, er suggests, that since I’ve claimed this spot today, I need to remind you kind readers about the contest that has only two more days to go. Maryann is one of the authors sponsoring the  BLACK FRIDAY Giveaway that ends at midnight  November 23. People can enter as many times as they want for a chance to win a $400 Amazon Gift Card to use for their holiday shopping. I’d say check it out, you could be the winner, but I’d rather be the winner.

Ta, ta everyone.

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Friends Just Want to Have Fun

Posted by mcm0704 on November 20, 2019 |

Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest, bringing us another visit down at the Mule Barn Truck Stop. The thing about good friends is, well, you can have fun with them while funnin’ with them. These friends know how to do that in spades. Grab a piece of pie to have with your drink of choice and enjoy…

Dewey Decker showed his new business cards to the other guys at the Mule Barn Truck Stop’s philosophy counter, and each member of the world dilemma think tank got to keep one.

Steve, our owlish-appearing cowboy, scratched his head as he studied the card.
“Okay, Dewey, I’ll bite … what’s a verm-a- ….?

“Vermiculturist, Steve,” Dewey said, proudly. “It means I raise worms.”

Dewey, the beloved accident-prone member of the think tank, began his new career with just a shovel and his pickup, spreading manure in people’s yards. Now, thanks in great part to the genius of his girlfriend, Emily, (she of the magnificent cheekbones) he was earning a decent living. Back when they fell (literally … he tripped) in love, she took this crash-and-burn disaster and molded him into a multi-dimensional businessman, while still keeping him away from sharp objects or things that crush.

Dewey has branched out now into compost, worms (excuse me … vermiculture) and fertilizer tea. The tea goes on the lawn, not in the tea cups.

“Dewey,” said Doc, “this vermiculture stuff now … how much work is it, really?”

“That’s the good part about it, Doc. You see, I don’t have to do anything at all, really, except keep them in … product, you know. They reproduce without any outside help, and turn manure into the best compost in the world. Then you can sell them to other people to work their compost piles, or to fishermen.”

“Well, Dewey,” said Herb, “it looks to me like simply being a vermiculturist doesn’t really cover the subject. Wouldn’t those red wigglers also make you a compostocologist?”

“Hadn’t really thought about …” Dewey said.

“And when it comes to selling them to fishermen,” Doc said, “wouldn’t you be an ichthymasticatiousdietician?”

“I … I …”

“Yes, Dewey?”

“I refuse to be anything I can’t spell.”
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Brought to you by Slim’s next book, which isn’t finished yet and doesn’t have a name, but you’ll sure need one because all the words are spelled right.

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Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 

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All About Books

Posted by mcm0704 on November 18, 2019 |

Good Monday morning. Today the blog will primarily be about books and a great contest. I’ll share some danish as we read along…


We writers know the tough work of the business really starts after the hard work of crafting a novel ends and we have to start the marketing. It would be so much easier if readers would magically be drawn to our books, but they have to be able to find them among the millions out there. Geesh, just thinking about it makes my head want to explode.

Most authors, especially those of us sort of in the lower middleclass segment of the great pyramid that has the best-selling authors at the top – James Patterson, Lisa Jewell, and the like – have to do our own promoting with little or no support from our  publishers. Not that top-selling authors don’t have to do some  hustling. They do. They are often out on signing tours and visiting book clubs, but those events are usually arranged and paid for by the publisher.

The rest of us do it all on our own dime, hoping we can at least break even on sales balancing out expenses.

So you can understand what a delight it is when a publisher does some promoting for us. Two of my publishers, Arcadia and Next Chapter, recently contacted me with news about some special things to gain more exposure for my books.

First, the audio version of Evelyn Evolving: A Story of Real Life published by Next Chapter Publishing has free samples available at two sites. People can take a listen and then decide if they might want to purchase the entire audio book.

The first place is YouTube and the second  is SoundCloud. and each includes links for the audiobook in the U.S. and U.K.

I hope you enjoy the samples, and I have a few codes to get the audio book free at Audible. E-mail me if you’d like one, and all I ask is that you leave a review.

If you prefer an e-book or paperback, those are available, too.

Next up is news from Arcadia Publishing, the company that published the book Images of America: Winnsboro that I wrote with Winnsboro’s Official Historian Bill Jones. Arcadia contacted me recently to let me know that my book, Images of America; Winnsboro is going to be in select Target Stores. Arcadia already has an extensive online catalog with Target, but this year they are putting a few select books in a few select brick-and-mortar stores, and one of those select books is mine and Bill’s.

Our book is going to be in the Target store in Tyler, TX, but other stores in the Dallas metro area will carry other select titles from Arcadia. They publish a wide range of books, focusing primarily on history, and I’m looking forward to seeing the displays at the various stores around Dallas.

One of the sites I use when I’m doing my own promoting is The Kindle Book Review. It’s a website that offers lots of author services, new books for readers to check out, and hosts lots of giveaways that are sponsored by authors who have a featured book. This month, the BLACK FRIDAY Giveaway is running until November 23. People can enter as many times as they want for a chance to win a $400 Amazon Gift Card to use for their holiday shopping.

I’ve sponsored with A Dead Tomato Plant & A Paycheck, and I will admit that the title is a bit odd next to the romance and mystery books, but I’m not ashamed to be a little odd. 🙂 In fact if you’ve read A Dead Tomato Plant & A Paycheck, you already have an idea of the crazy paths my mind sometimes takes. For those who’ve not yet read it, here’s a short sample:

It’s an indisputable fact that as parents our intelligence ratio is in direct proportion to the ages of our children. The younger they are, the smarter we are.

I came to this profound realization the day my oldest daughter turned sixteen and half my gray matter disintegrated. I could hardly believe that she was the same daughter who used to consider me the final authority on everything from why God made bugs to how the moon got up in the sky.

How fondly I remembered those good old days when she was four and I was smart.

She stood in awe of me because I could answer all her questions, not to mention the fact that I could actually grow a plant from her watermelon seed.

Then she grew up and it reached a point where I would give almost anything for just one brief glimmer of that old wide-eyed wonder. In fact, I would have given anything for a simple nodding acknowledgement that I might know something besides my name, address, and phone number.

That’s all for me for today folks. I hope your week is starting off well. Whatever you have on your agenda, be safe. Be happy. 

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Another Conspiracy Theory

Posted by mcm0704 on November 13, 2019 |

Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a fun story from Steve, one of the regulars down at the Mule Barn Truck Stop. When you have coffee with the guys, there’s no telling what stories you’ll run into. I’m always glad that Slim offers them here for our enjoyment.

So grab a cup of coffee and read on…


“Did you read the paper from the city today?” asked Steve.

The rest of us shook our heads. Most everything pertaining to us occurs on the pages of the Valley Weekly Miracle or is deliberately excluded for the same reason.

“I’ve been following that flat story, you know,” Steve said, nodding yes to Mavis for a coffee refill. “Haven’t heard how that went yet.”

“Flat story?” asked Doc.

“Yeah. You know them guys who think the earth is flat and went to Antarctica to prove it?”

“You’re kidding.”

“No. Really. They said those pictures of earth from satellites and astronauts and the moon was all faked by Hollywood so people wouldn’t know the truth. They swear the earth is flat and that if you go to Antarctica, you can find where the earth ends and I guess you can fall off into space or something.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Doc.

“You ever been to Antarctica, Doc?”


“Me neither. Always sounded too dang cold a place to have much fun there. But them flat earth folks just had to go.”

“And if they fall off,” asked Herb. “What then?”

“Then I think I’ll order breakfast.” Steve grinned.

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Brought to you by Merrick Pet Care  in Hereford, Texas. “We know it’s not just food in that bowl, it’s love. And that’s why it has to be the best.”

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Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 

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What Do We Owe Veterans?

Posted by mcm0704 on November 11, 2019 |

Every year on Veterans Day, I’ve always started my blog by taking a moment to say thanks to the members of my family who have served in the military: My husband, my daughter, my son, and my brother.

My daughter, Dany, was in the Army and son, David, was in the Marines. They spent many years debating which branch was the best, and still have a friendly rivalry. Dany did not serve during an active war, but David served during Desert Storm.

My husband was in the Air Force, and, like Dany, he was lucky enough to miss conflict.

My brother, Michael, served in the Army in Vietnam. It was the worst two years of his life. Need I say more?

Going further back, every generation of my father’s family had men serving in the military all the way to the Revolutionary War. As I walked the small family graveyard in West Virginia a number of years ago, I looked at all the headstones with no small measure of sadness. Many of those men gave very short-lived lives for the wars in which they served.

Was it worth it? Is any war worth the lives it claims?

While serving in the military is something that I support and honor on a patriotic level, I also agree with what the wise and irascible Andy Rooney said on 60 minutes back in 2009. He wondered why we don’t have a day that honors not going to war.

He said, “Too many young men and women with a whole life ahead of them are getting killed before they have a chance to live it – and for what?

Of all the things that men do – historically mostly men – fighting a war to kill other men is the most uncivilized.”

I loved those short segments Rooney did at the close of the show each week, and he never failed to nail a message straight on. No dancing around a sensitive topic for him.

I thought of that comment from Rooney today when I listened to a podcast from Comedy Central – The Daily Show with Trevor  Noah – who interviewed Jeffrey Wright about his HBO documentary “We Are Not Done Yet.” The film showcases his work with veterans who are dealing with PTSD and are processing that through poetry and theatre.

In the interview, Wright made a statement that brought pause, “We need to do more for veterans that merely say, ‘Thank you for your service.'”

And, as Andy Rooney suggested, maybe we need to stop sending young men and women off to killing fields, so we don’t have to say thank you at all, and they don’t have to spend a good part of the rest of their lives fighting a personal war.

Before I sign off for today, I want to let you know about a contest that I’m sponsoring with a number of other authors. We all have our books at discounted prices, so you can get the Kindle version of my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant & a Paycheck, for only $2.99 for the span of the contest, which runs from now through November 23. The book is also free for Kindle Unlimited.

The contest is run by The Kindle Book Review and you can enter for a chance to win a $400 Amazon eGift Card just in time to shop BLACK FRIDAY. You can enter every day, so bookmark the page and go back often.

That’s all for me for today, folks. It’s a damp, drizzly, chilly day here in my corner of Northeast Texas, so I think a cup of hot tea, a good book, and a quilt are in my near future. What about you? Plans for today? The week? Whatever is on your agenda, be safe, be happy.

Do leave a comment sharing your thoughts about Veterans Day.

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