Monday, April 30, 2012

I Am a Diabetic

I have been a diabetic for close to 14 years. Up until 4 years ago, I took my meds and really paid little attention to my diabetes. Since my wake up call I've lost 100 pounds. It was not easy but I did it. I feel 100% better for having done it. 

Thursday I begin the next phase of my weight loss. I have been reading The 30-Day Diabetic Cure by Dr. Stefan Ripich. What he says makes more sense than anything I have read.

I will be blogging my successes and my downfalls for the next thirty days. I know that it is not possible to cure diabetes. It is possible to get me off the meds that will damage my organs and send me to an early grave. That is my goal. This is going to be a life style change.

If any of you are following this or some other diet to help you regain your health, please feel free to comment. I'd like to hear how you are doing.

I will be seeing a doctor for some medical testing. I need to have before and after tests. I need my doctor to be on board with me or I will be seeking a new doctor. The goal here is to be healthy. I still need to lose weight. I need to increase my activity level.

Being a writer does not allow a lot of time for exercise. I am actually setting up a schedule for the things I need to get done each day. It means you might not find me on Facebook as often as in the past. If you instant message me on yahoo, I might not be sitting at the computer. This is going to test my self-discipline but I've tested it before with good success.

This is not a fad. It is eating healthier and wiser. It is knowing what sets off my sugars. It is monitoring myself. It is about smaller meals more frequently. I am someone who often skips meals which is not good for me and causes spikes or lows in my sugar levels.

I hope you will follow my journey.


Y is for Yarn

I skipped Y so am going back to it. Y is for yarn because I spend hours and hours making baby layettes. I have four to complete at the moment. I can hardly keep up. But I love making them so I keep on.

Y is also for yarn as in I'm going to spin a yarn or tell tale. It's what I do for a living. I write mysteries so each one of them is yarn. The tales I create around my characters and the mysteries they are embroiled in is the other passion in my life.

So in finishing my first ever A-Z challenge I've thoroughly enjoyed myself hope you all have too.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Z is for Zoom

Zoom that is how April has passed. I took on the A-Z Challenge to force myself to write and I thought it might be fun. I've found new friends and new blogs to follow.  It hardly seems like we've gotten started and we're done.

I have enjoyed reading the blogs. I've learned things I didn't know. I've gained ideas on how to do this next year. Or I might stick with writing off the cuff.

As we zoom into new projects I hope it is with zest and zeal. Do your creative things with passion and thoroughness.

Blessings to you all on your ventures.


X is for Xenia

Xenia is not the name of a futuristic character. It has to do with botony. It is the effect or influence of the pollen on structures other than the embryo, like the seeds or the fruits.  I didn't want anyone to confuse it with Zinnia which is a flower.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wonderful

I am filled with wonder this morning.  I checked my e-mail to find a link to my latest interview. I wonder sometimes as I'm giving them if I make sense. When I see them, I am full of wonder at how well they have gone.

This is the link:   I was thrilled that Morgen Bailey could fit me in. She interviews a different author every day. I happened to be number 351. I looked over the list and saw many of my writing friends there. I feel honored to be included with them.

I am filled with wonder most mornings but today it was a special kind of wonder.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Venture

There have been several ventures in my life. The one that has been the most rewarding has been writing. I did a stink with silk flower arrangements for weddings. While it was fun it was not real fulfilling. I also sold Party Lite candles for several years. I just couldn't seem to make it work for me. It was fun, but left me wanting. Teaching was my career and I loved it. I loved the challenges and the children. I would not have been able to do it if I didn't.

The one mainstay in my life has been writing. I turn to it when I have issues I don't know how else to deal with. It's a great outlet for emotions. I can vent on paper and then shred it. No one gets hurt and I  don't have any bottled up anger or frustration. I have learned to use that emotion to create those feelings in my characters. It gives them flaws and makes them more believable.

Now I am venturing into new territory. I am writing a series, something I've never tried. Also I've chosen to write in first person. I have taken on writing articles and am going to be co-authoring a mystery...that could also possibly become a series.

I ventured into the South Carolina low-country and found that I truly love it there. So I am working to sell my house so I can relocate there. I foresee different locations for future novels and short stories.

Nothing ventured is nothing gained.


Monday, April 23, 2012

U is for Unique

I read all the books on how to write a query letter. I practiced. I sent out queries. I found I was getting no response. Not even a rejection. I got nothing.

So I decided that since I am different my query had to be different and unique. I had my main character in my novel write the query to a small publisher. She introduced the problem. Then she introduced me. Finally she sent the editor my first 5,000 words.

Would you believe I had a contract within a week??? Yep. My book was published about six months later. We are working on a book launch party and book signings too.

Find a way to get your personality across when you send a query. Be the Unique person that you are.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Liebster Blog Awards

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers with fewer than 100 followers. I'm awarding it to two different blogs. This blog is written by a young woman with spina biffida and it very heartwarming.

The other is a blog written by a former student of mine.

Both young ladies are making a big impact on others. Please check them out.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

T is for Tenacity

Tenacity is something every writer needs. People who are successful have tenacity. They hang on to their belief in themselves and their abilities. I know I have this trait.

I was twelve when I set upon my journey of being a writer. It took me twelve years to put together enough poetry to create a book. Only a Start was a labor of love and a journey that began with my early writing. I only had fifty copies and most of them were given away. It took nudging from friends, family, and colleagues to actually republish the book and when I did I added a second section of my writing and retitled the book Only a Start and Beyond. It's a good book if you want to look at my growth as a writer.

I stuck with it. I read every book I could find on writing. I even self-published four more books before finally finding a small publishing house that wanted to take me on. It's that dig inside and hang on ability that keeps me striving to make my work better and better.

Are you tenacious?


S is for Sad

I am sad that my visit with my niece and nephew was cut short due to a mouth infection I have. Ugh. I am sad that I will get home to my house and for the second year in a row I will have no water. I am saddened that for some reason my water pump turned on and ran for an entire month with no one at the house causing an astronomical light bill.

I am sad that I could not make it farther than Morgantown, WV today. Rain and fog had me getting off to stay here. I had hoped to at least make Wheeling, WV by the time I stopped.

Otherwise life is good, just sad.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

R is for Rotten

Rotten luck seems to be following me home. Ugh. I have an unexplained pain in my upper right jaw. So bad, that it makes me cry. The right side of my face is swollen. Eating is not fun. I am still brushing but have backed off the flossing.

Am at the moment waiting for the advil pm and advil to kick in. About to douse it again with Kanka. Just want it gone.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Q is for Quality

Are you a writer? What kind? The kind who puts out an ebook every month? The kind who slaps together a novel in six months? Think about what you are writing. Is it quality work?

Self-published authors are flooding the market. Yeah!!! Go Indies!!!! I think it's great. However I am appalled at the quality of some of the writing out there. I strive to make my work the best it can be. I've put it through writing workshops to make it better. I get it critiqued and edited to be the best it can  be. I continue with each book to try and make my writing better.

I have a small publisher who believes in me, but I was self-published first. I have a following which helps. I'm not where I want to be. I'm not on the NYT Best Sellers list. That's my goal. I want to be able to walk into Barnes and Noble and take a photo of my Dad pulling my book off a shelf. Those are attainable goals. Why?
Because I believe in quality work.

Look for quality. Accept nothing but your personal best. Find reviewers. Not all of them will like what you write. Let them be posted anyway. Take the bad stuff and make it work for you in your next piece. Quality is what you are striving for. If you write quality you will gain following.


P is for Possible

I don't care who you are, anything is possible. If you have your heart set on doing something or being something, you can make it happen. It takes work to attain your goals. It is possible.

I think every young boy wants to be a professional athlete at some time in his life. Most don't make it. Some because they are not athletic, some because they don't believe they can. I always told my students to have a back up plan.

I wanted to be a writer from the time I was twelve years old. My parents supported that but, told me I needed a back up plan. So I went with my second option. I studied to be an English teacher. I ended up teaching special education. But I never forgot about my writing. It took longer than I'd thought but, my first book was totally self-published in 1978. I typed it, paid to have it bound. There were exactly 50 copies. I gave most of them away. It was 2004 until I published again. It is now 2012, I have several books under my belt. I am now finally coming into my own as a writer. Now, that I have retired from teaching. Anything is possible.

Follow your dreams to possible.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Options

Life is full of options. I'm retired so every day has different options. I can decided how much I want to work and what I want to work on. 

When I'm writing I can choose whether to work on a novel, an article, or just my blog. It's up to me which publisher I wan to put books with. For some it is up to them whether they choose to self-publish or find an agent or small press to publish. 

It's up to me whether or not I am productive. I can choose to do absolutely nothing or be active an energetic. Life is all about options. Which options will you make?


Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Nobility

Nobility something that has gone the way of all things old. The European caste system has pretty much gone by the wayside and with it the last of the nobility.

This country was founded on a system of equality, so nobility has not had roots here. We are a country of haves and have nots and in some cases it's because people have worked hard to make what they have count. The closest this country came to nobility was the Kennedy's and yet, many of them have proven they are no more noble than your next door neighbor or the panhandler on the corner. In fact, in many ways the panhandler might be more noble.

Yes, the world is still filled with royalty in the figurehead sense, but the nobility is all but gone. Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.


Saturday, April 14, 2012


I will be traveling for the next week or so as I meander home to Michigan. I will endeavor to keep up with the A-Z challenge as I am really enjoying it. You all have a blessed Sunday.


M is for Mystery

Mostly because that is what I write. I love a good mystery. One that keeps me guessing all the way to the end. If I have your book figured out in the first 100 pages, I may or may not bother to finish it. It depends on whether or not you're also telling a good story.

When I was teaching reading one of the things I did was read a mystery to my students. Mysteries engage the mind. They make you think. You start wondering who is next, or what will happen next. Sometimes a writer can tell you "who dun it" and do it so that you don't believe them. That is a talent.

I'm often asked who my favorite author is. My answer is always whomever I'm reading right now. I've read Agatha Christi, Sirr Arthur Conan Doyle as well as the big name like Patterson, Deaver, Cornwell, Paretsky, and the list could go on forever. I've also read John Gilstrap, Lee Childs, and William Kent Krueger names  you might not know as well. Along the way I've read Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney, Mary Higgins Clark, Mary Jane Clark, and Carol Higgins Clark. Again I could make you a list.

So, I probably fell into mysteries by reading them. I look for mysteries in life because life is full of them. Have you picked up a good mystery today?


Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Learning

I had a hard time choosing between learning  and  leaving. I'm learning to accept that I have to leave my winter haven and return home. It's not going to be easy, however, I can come back.

It's what you learn that's important. I have learned that you have to make an effort wherever you are. Whether you are in school or out in the world. You cannot learn by doing nothing.

So,  this winter I have learned that you can make good friends in a short time. That those friends will be there even if you are not and they will be waiting for you to return.

I've also learned that in putting forth effort good things happen. They may seem insignificant at the time, but they happen anyway.

I've also learned that learning can take place anywhere. It doesn't have to be in a classroom. It doesn't have to be taught by a specific person. It can be learned from research and experience.

Lastly learning is something to share. It's better when you can help someone to learn without them making your mistakes. But knowledge is power and sharing learning is sharing power.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

K is for Kindness

In this post I am using the following definition of kindness: the quality of being warm-hearted, considerate, humane and sympathetic.

I journeyed to the South Carolina low-country in January. I've been here for four months and am leaving for home on Sunday. I be been met with nothing but kindness from every person I've encountered. I don't think people here get angry. Southern hospitality is everything and more than I would have expected.

In the first month I met a few people at a church I chose to attend. Over the time I've spent here these people have become true friends. It hurts to think of leaving them. Not that I don't have friends at home, I have wonderful friends there, too.

In a solitary walk on the beach one day I met this amazing woman. She went through cancer with her husband when they were young. Together they have raised an amazing son. Tanner is a basketball player at Clemson University, but that's not what makes him amazing. While in high school Tanner started Tanner's Totes. He fills large  plastic totes with items for pre-teens and teens who will have extended hospital stays. The program has grown and is a non-profit. I was so impressed when I went to the website that I have decided with Tanner's permission to sponsor them. That means I will be giving money to his program with the sales of my books. It won't be massive amounts of money (I'm not making James Patterson bucks), but it will be a way to give to those who are in need.

I've met a group of people who thought nothing of giving two weeks of their lives to travel to Costa Rica on a mission trip. There one of my new friends found an autistic child. She had read that if you touch an autistic child you need to completely hug them. Through an interpreter she was able to get permission to do that. She slowly approached the young boy and the interpreter asked if the woman could hug him. The boy not understanding agreed. When she wrapped him in her arms he immediately wrapped his arms around her. No one had been able to touch him since he was a baby. The tearful parents thanked her in every way they knew how, because once again they would be able to touch their own child. He became very calm after she hugged him, something else his parents were amazed at.

Others have opened their homes and hearts to me and showered me with kindness. I hope when you meet someone new you will do the same.


J is for Just

Just a minute, just hang on, just wait. What does that mean? We use those expressions all the time. Am I supposed to time you for a minute?  What am I hanging on to? What am I supposed to wait for? I think we take language for granted.

Is the "just a minute" said in frustration or to gain time to finish whatever you are doing? Is there a good reason for making the other person wait?

When you say "just hang on" is it because you are trying to save someone? Is it said in annoyance? What is the other person supposed to hang onto? Are they hanging on to a tree limb so as not to fall?

Then there is "just wait" usually said in the early stages of anger or frustration. Just wait until dinner is ready. Just wait until your father gets home. Or just wait until Mom finds out.

Sometimes you need to think about what you say to others and how it's perceived.


Monday, April 9, 2012

I is for Incentive

Sometimes in life you need the right incentive to get things moving. In my case, I have now have it. I've spent the winter in the South Carolina low-country. I've fallen in love with the charm of the place. I've met some wonderful people. I've been more productive with my writing than I have in a long time.

However, it is now time to head home. I don't want to leave. So, my incentive to be able to make this my permanent home...I have it. I will head home via the long way. Put my house up for sale and do everything in my power to get it sold.

If you are in the market for an old farmhouse one almost three acres in northern Michigan, drop me a note in the comment section. I know have one for sale.

I have my incentive, do you have yours?


H is for Hurrah

Hurrah because I have so many exciting things going on with my writing. My hubpages are starting to make some money. I have a new 99 cent Ebook out today.

My book that was released in February is starting to sell. I have two book signings coming up in May and June.  I am working on the second book in the Macy McVannel series.

Hurrah, that the Lord allowed me to awaken this morning to a glorious day.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Gratitude

Sometimes in our busy lives we forget to be grateful for the things we have. Gratitude reminds us that  we have much to be grateful for.

I have a beautiful daughter who makes me proud of her. Who has gone back to college while working full-time,  raising a family, and keeping her marriage alive. Many of us would quit faced with the daily challenges of life. But she has persevered and will graduate in May.

I have three wonderful grandchildren who amaze me daily. The are constantly coming up with new and clever things. I love them dearly.

I have parents who are still active. And a brother and sister who love me. I have been surrounded by nieces and nephews. As well as my extended family of cousins and friends who have become like family.

I was blessed with the ability to tell stories and be able to write them so that others may read them. I also have relatively good health.

Then there is my winter haven. I am so grateful that I was able to find it. Nestled on an island on the Atlantic sea coast it has been an extraordinary place where I've found many friends.

Today I am grateful just to be alive.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

F is for Frustration

Frustration, probably the worst word in the writing world. It is frustrating to me as a writer to have put my best effort into a novel or short story and see it go no where. I learned the hard way about vanity publishers. They cost an arm and a leg, do nothing at all to promote you, and you can only hope that you might make your investment back. I am close but I'm not there...frustrating.

Today's frustration came out of Createspace, the self-publishing baby of Amazon. They told me that for $25 I can get expanded distribution into bookstores, libraries, and schools. My royalties on a $15 book will be $0.01. Yes, that is correct one cent. I'm saving my $25 and they can keep that program. This is the first book that is within four sales of actually paying for itself.

Frustration is knowing I write as well or better than what some of the "Big" publishing houses are selling, and being unable to get a foot in the door.

As frustrating as all that is, I keep writing. For me writing is a must. I live and breathe writing. I lose sleep over writing. I can talk about writing for as long as you want. I even know something about it. Imagine that. I will not let the frustration stop me. It's just one more obstacle to overcome.


E is for Effort

You can have all the dream and determination you want if you put forth no effort they go nowhere. Effort is what it takes to get the job done. Whether it's writing or something else you have to make an effort.

The great American novel will not be written if you don't pick up a pen, pencil, computer and  make an effort to put words on paper. This is a stumbling block for many. They want to do something. They dream of the success they want to have, but they do nothing to get there.

I wrote. I still write. I studies writing and wrote some more. I taught writing. I wrote. I self-published. I wrote. I attended conferences. I wrote. I came away energized. I wrote more. I took writing courses. I wrote. I joined an on-line critique group. I rewrote. I still write. That's effort.

I found a small publisher. I have their support. I'm still writing. I'm expanding my horizons as a writer. I still attend conferences. I write.

What effort do you put behind your dreams? You need to work to make them happen.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Determination

Having the determination to follow your dreams is hard. Dreams are what you hope to achieve. But many give up along the way. Life gets in the way of creativity. The dream seems unattainable. There are thousands of reasons for giving up.

There are also thousands of reasons for sticking it out. Edgar Allen Poe did not reap millions from his work, however he is high among American writers. That fame never reached him. It may elude most writers. Did it stop him from writing? No. Will it stop me from writing? No.

I have been writing since the age of twelve. For those of you doing the math that is forty-two years. It is what I do. When my daughter was little, I told her stories, I only wish I'd recorded or written down. I can tell you I started with poetry. I enjoyed the rhymes. I have evolved into more than just a poet. Now I pen mysteries.

I have written on the back of place mats in restaurants. I have some of those but not all of them. Any scrap of paper will do until I can get to my computer or a journal.

None of  this has been an easy road. It has taken years and years of determination to make my dream come close to coming true. I think I am almost there.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Critcism

Criticism is probably the hardest word to deal with. As a writer, I know I have to be thick skinned. Not everyone is going to like what I write. Some of my best friends look for things they can find wrong even if they like my books and stories.

Knowing that it is given in hopes you will use it and make your next piece better is good rationale. My books are like my children. I have worked with the newest one since 2010. I know my characters, the plot, the twists and turns. I put it through a writing workshop, to help make it better. I've been compared to Agatha Christi and   Patricia Cornwell. To Christi without the pomp and circumstance and to Cornwell without the blood and gore.
Those are high honors, however I find I sometimes forget to give my readers enough to make my writing superior. I'm getting better and I'm working with people who help me. None of which makes criticism any better to hear.

So, when I think of criticism, I think how can I make my next book better. What do I have to do to make my story worth buying? I've grown a thicker skin and no longer take it as a person assault on my work.  Hopefully you will be able to get there too.


Monday, April 2, 2012

A-Z Challenge today is B

B is for believe. Believe in yourself. I was twelve when a teacher told me I had a talent for words and someday he'd see me in print. That was a long time ago, but I believed. I wrote poetry first. It was a way to express myself when I couldn't find my voice to do it. It was not deep, it was just me. I took as many writing classes as were offered in high school, with little encouragement from the teachers.

I went to college and majored in English, language and literature. I also took the journalism and broadcast writing classes. While the instructors told me I had talent, they could not help me develop it. So, I bought books on writing. I filled hundreds and hundreds of notebooks with my writing.

I went on to become a teacher, but not the English teacher I'd expected to be. I became a special education teacher where I learned more about writing in my Masters classes than any undergrad class had ever taught me. I practiced and practiced. I became better at the craft.

I shared my love of writing with my students. I even shared some of my writing with them. It was 2004 before I would see my work actually published. I was self-published, but I was published. From that book of poetry, I have gone on to publish a book for tweens and teens and three mystery novels. My fourth mystery was picked up by a small press. By small I mean fledgling, but someone else thought my writing was worthwhile.

If you believe, others will eventually believe, too. So keep believing in yourself.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for April

For most people today is the first day of April. A day for practical jokes. For me it's March 32nd and it's been that way for 36 years. The cruelest joke of all was getting a phone call, telling me that the second most important man in my life had died. That would be my grandfather.

Let me tell you about him. Grandpa was born in Newquay, Cornwall, England on June 1, 1907. He and his family came to the US by way of Canada in 1921. There he met and married my grandmother. He was a brick mason and carpenter so his hands were always rough and dry. He was small in stature but it didn't matter. He played the mouth organ and concertina...(squeeze box). He also sang. It's probably where my love of music comes from. He was also a talented artist.

During my childhood he had lots of pets. Yes, the normal dog and lots of tropical fish. But he also had a raccoon, South American fruit squirrel, and an ocelot.  I grew up around these animals and his vegetable garden. It was nothing to spend the day with a cup of sugar and a stalk of rhubarb.

Grandpa talked about his family still in England, but he became a naturalized citizen of the US. My father is his eldest child. There were three others two girls and another boy. Grandpa loved them all and he loved his grandchildren. He wrote long letters to me when I went to Girl Scout camp. He later two finger typed letters to me when he moved to Florida.

I regret that he only saw pictures of my daughter and that she missed knowing him at all. This year seems to be the worst in a long time for missing him. I'm not sure why.

So, while A is for April my April begins on the second and that's tomorrow.



My laptop has been at full capacity for the past two weeks. It's nice to be consistently writing again. It's been hit or miss for...