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Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I really hate to say this, or think this, but I am not too spunky.  I keep saying I will get spunky real soon, but it is not happening.  I had said I was going to be honest through all of this and hope it helps someone along the way to never give up.... I am not giving up, but we do not know what happened to me or what is wrong.  I would like to think I am just crazy but I have always been a little crazy (it is what gives me character) and that is not it.  I am weak enough it is hard to get from one room to the next and I begin to feel so shaky I can hardly stand up.  I have slept most of this week and become so tired I will be unable to stay sitting up after a couple of hours.  What ever happened last Thur that sent me to the hospital, was more than the high blood pressure.  They are scheduling CT scans to try to find out what and why this is happening.  I am not confused but tend to just go blank.  A dozen ideas flood through my mind of the things I want and plan to do....and then I am so tired it all just shuts down.

 I will find a way to make it to the writers meeting on Oct 2 no matter what if they have to wheel me in.  Surely I can sit and talk for that long. What I have not been able to do is respond.  I wrote this in different sittings.  I thought the mass under the aorta was enough to do me in but I am still here.  The head on collision was a nightmare.  When they said cancer and have to take out the whole upper lobe of the lung we did not know if there would be a tomorrow.  That was two years ago come Nov 16.  I do not give up easily and will not give up now, but sure am moving slow.

So many people comment and like and keep in touch with me and it means so much.  Often by the time I read them I have to lay back down and do not respond.  I want everyone to know that every one means a lot to me.  This is my connection right now to the world.  On Twitter so many have RTed for me and new followers and I have not been able to respond.  I want everyone to know that all they do means more to me than a simple click here or there.  I do not feel so alone.  I thank you and I will be in and out as much as I can.  I just wanted everyone to know that when I say I am tired it is not that I don't care to reply... I really am hanging in there and doing the best that I can.  I am not giving up on getting the new novel out but as you can guess things are slower than I ever dreamed until I can be back up and around.  I thank you all and will be back soon.

 One last thought before I go...  Pleases don't miss the coloring pages from my Children's book you can copy for free.  Kids love to make books and decorations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I am starting another page and I will call it FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND THE WRITERS WE LOVE.     The twitter one is @FriendOfWriters.  I have to laugh as I think of it as a writers family and friends support group.  My poor husband listens patiently about my books...the books...the books...the characters...the editing...the covers....the illustrations....the....and so on and so on. He has to drive me and go to all of the meetings. He lives with a writer. My daughter and grandson and all who know me accept me but understand I may see something that is common or everyday and an idea for a story pops in.   When we are passionate about something it feeds into our lives and those around us.  These are places where they can share their thoughts and what it is like to live or love or know a crazy writer like me.....

I want a better understanding or just a way for us to share with others our passion and views of the world as they can share how they understand or do not understand us and all that we are working to do. See it from their point of view, but we have a voice to breach the gap that may exist even if we do not know it.  We may have others who like our books...have read our books and they want or might like to ask the author or share what they thought about the book. It would be great if they would write a review but most do not. Many think.... I am not a reviewer. I thought the same thing, but a review is an opinion and we all have one of those.

This site is a place where people can ask questions about the writers as well as the books but also share.  They can share things about the writers they know or like.  They can ask others about living with a writer or things that relate in their lives.

 Some people see a beautiful sunset and just enjoy the moment. An artist can picture how they could attempt to create the image in a painting or other art form.  A photographer might try to capture the moment of ever changing colors as the sun sets in a photo.  A writer might have a flood of words fill their mind describing the sight and feeling it gives.  Some people just see a sunset and puzzle over the complex reaction of someone wanting it to be more or trying to capture the moment.

I used one of my photos for the book cover of my first novel published.  The site of it had remained in memory and I knew it was something that would be special for the story.  See ... There I go again with the books....the books....the books.....

In the Fall I can get so excited if we go up into the hills seeing the colors and mountains folding one into the other. A certain tree blazes out with color almost glowing. I get excited. "Look, Look at that.  Look at that beautiful tree.  It is so bright it almost seems to glow.  The colors are so beautiful.  Look at the tree."

My daughter often teases me but at times does view things differently.  "Look at what?   We are in a forest and as far as the eye can see there are trees."

 "That tree right there. It almost glows it is so bright. Look at all of them all around. The colors are so intense you can feel them."

The answer I got was.... "Mom, it is a tree. There are millions of trees. We are surrounded by trees." It was special. She was not being mean. It was a tree. There were a lot of trees. We all see things differently. She patiently smiled as she teased in the way we have with one another.  I want to bridge the gap and let them know it was not just a tree. It was the tree and the moment.  It was the feeling the sight gave me and it makes me smile.... I write about it's beauty, it's color, it's majestic stance silhouetted against the sky filling with turbulent clouds that foretell of a stormy night ahead. But she was right. It is a tree.

Why do I write?  It is natural and my way.  Words flow like breath as we inhale.  Are we different?  I think that each and every person is different and special.  The really special thing, is trying and being able to understand and accept differences.

Even with understanding there are times that I am tedious to others.  I have so much enthusiasm about what I am working on and ideas for other projects and books, that I can tend to ramble on.  I read and try to learn as much as I can and often share this and that and more and more about writing, publishing and other related things. 

I often need to remind myself that not all people think alike and what is so interesting to me may have no relevance to others.  I need to take the time to smell the flowers. 

Writers often discuss the difficulties and challenges they face in writing and publishing what they write.  Here will be a place that others can share their view points about and to us.  The photo I chose is one with a bridge.  This might become a bridge of understanding.  A grandfather holds his granddaughter's hand crossing the bridge together sharing a special time together.  Hand in hand we can go through this life. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Albert, my husband came home one day looking as if something was on his mind.  His eyes twinkled and he smiled slightly as he walked up on the deck out back where I was sitting enjoying the day.  It had been so long that I could not go out at all.  I could hardly get out of a chair for many months.  After a head on collision caused so much damage I treasured the days I could take a few moments and sit enjoying the sun and sites outdoors.

"I know we discussed it being so difficult for us to get another dog.  I also know how much you miss having one.  Now, before you say anything, I want you to let me explain.  I agree we can not get a dog that could jump up on you because it would be so easy for you to loose your balance.  We can not risk an infection from scratches or bites even if it is a puppy playing.  I understand about your immune system after all of the steroids but....."

I had to laugh at how he danced around telling what was on his mind.  "Don't tell me that you bought me a fish?"

His expression changed showing a sadness instead of the comic reaction I expected from the fish remark.  With a frown creasing his brow he said, "Not a fish.  There is this little dog.  Before you say no you have to hear about him.  I would have said no until I heard about him and saw him.  He is little and can not jump up.  He is not a puppy that would chew or play.  He needs a home.  He needs a home so much but he needs to be loved."

Before he could say more I felt overwhelmed with my own limitations.  "There is no way I can take care of an animal even a small one.  I can hardly get around now and risk falling.  There is more to it than just letting them live here.  You know how hard it was when BoBo died.  They are part of the family."

His smile returned.  "I will feed him and clean up and do what ever he needs.  All you have to do is what you do best and give the little guy love.  He needs love.  He has never in his whole little life had anyone love him."

I knew there was so much more to the story but it was going to come out a little at a time.  "What makes him so unlovable?"

"It is not what he is other than he is a very valuable breed of dog.  It is who had him all his life.  I ran across a friend of mine who had him.  He found him when he was looking for a little house dog for his wife.  She has been sick and can not have a big animal or one that jumps up.  He thought it would be good for her to have a pet to keep her company.  He found this place in some add and when he got there it was one of those awful puppy mill kind of places.  They kept trying to sell him a big dog and he was ready to leave when he saw a little dog in a tiny cage back out of the way."

Albert paused and then went on to explain that the man who ran the awful place said, "You can have that little .... for free.  He's no use to me anymore since he is too old to breed.  He's nothing but a breeder and that's all he's ever been.  He used to get top dollar.  He's old."

As Albert explained the rest of the story I could not help feeling sorry for the little dog.  The man who owned him went on saying, "What in the world you would want him for is beyond me.  He would never make a pet.  You will never house-train him because he has lived his whole life in a cage.  He knows nothing but the bars of his little space and what to do with a female.  Now that he is too old to be good at that he is useless.  He is a stupid old has been."

As Albert sat down beside me I could not help but feel for the little animal and could see how deeply touched Albert was.  "My friend said they tried to housebreak the little thing but the vet he took him to, said that would be impossible.  He had never developed control living in his own filth in a cage and was too old.  It would be physically impossible to expect him to understand, let alone train the muscles of his organs to hold and release at designated times.  Their yard is not fenced in and any animal that came up could kill the little thing.  He has a lot of problems.  He has no idea how to be a dog or how to do anything.  He needs us and in a way....we need him.  I know how bad you hurt and how long the days can be.  I know how much you miss our own dog when he died.  Will you at least let me go get him and look at him?  He is a Yorkshire Terrier.  He has all his shots."

I could not say no.  Albert was back in no time with a little brown furry thing tucked under his arm.  He brought the cutest, saddest looking little dog I had ever seen.  His eyes had a sadness to the soul.  There were none of the usual reactions of fear or aggression or even nervousness with strangers to him.  He just looked at me.

"What happens if we don't take him?"  I reached out petting his little head.

"I don't know.  They really can not keep him.  She is starting chemo and so sick.  He would never make it in an unfenced yard with stray dogs and what ever else came up.  He needs us."  He paused for a moment watching my reaction then smiled and sat him in my lap.  "I will go tell them we will take him.  We can do this and I think it is the right thing to do.  I know it will not be easy but it is the right thing for him and us."

As I stroked and petted him talking softly he gazed at me with those soulful eyes.  He had long and shaggy hair.  He was my little shaggy dog.  When Albert came back he said they asked we agree not to try to sell him but give him a good home.  Albert assured him the little thing would be loved.  The dog had papers with a big long name on it but the man said it was only a legality.  No one had ever had enough human contact with him to ever teach or give him a name.  We could call him whatever we wanted.  He had no real name only one on paper for breeding.

I softly said...."Shaggy.  His name is Shaggy."

Albert had to laugh and asked if I was sure.  "You really want to call a registered Yorky, Shaggy?"

He smiled and agreed that that was his name.  That was the beginning.  When Albert sat the little dog down on the porch we saw a sight that at first left us speechless and then we had to laugh.  We did not laugh out of a cruel nature, but the surprising sight of the little creature that was now part of our family.  You love them no matter what and at times have to either laugh or cry.

Shaggy stood so still for so long in the same place Albert had tried to encourage him to walk around.  The little guy finally seemed to realize what Albert wanted but seemed unsure or unable how to go about it.  How do you take off walking when all you have known is a very small cage?  All at once he got so excited he tried with all his heart.  His hind end sprang up into the air so quickly he looked spring loaded.  His front feet we planted and hind end shooting straight up almost vertically and then down in rapid succession.  He then began to turn in an circle with the back side bouncing up and down.  I had never seen anything like it.

Albert looked totally shocked and amused as he stared wondering why in the world he was doing what he was doing.  After going so long not using some muscles after the accident I realized how much they can weaken and even draw up and get stiff.  Could it possibly be that Shaggy had never used his muscles of his legs in a walking manner?  Was he unable to even walk around?

I am now sure that is what his problem was.  One little step at a time he ventured from inches to feet and finally real steps.  It was a slow process but he got so excited.  As the days progressed he quickly became able to take more than one step.  He could quickly take little trotting steps but he only went in a small tight little circle.  He would zoom round and round the deck of the back porch.  The circles got bigger and bigger and he would fly round and round and then stop at my feet waiting to be petted and talked to.

We had two cats we had had for years that had adopted us.  I would say we adopted them but they are independent creatures and we were their people and this was their yard.... except there was a strange new little creature there.

The dog we had lost was a big dog.  When we got him as a puppy those two cats adopted him too.  They would clean his head and took care of him.  They were all so cute.  I call the black one Momma Kitty because she is like a momma to all creatures.  When the dog grew up he never lost his love of those two cats or they the love they had for him.

Time passed and we spent as much time as we could with the dog.  We cooked out back and enjoyed talking and working with him and still show plenty of attention to the cats to avoid jealousy.  The cats jumped up on the table looking almost fearful of the little dog spinning and making circles around the porch.  About every fourth or fifth step his hind end would bounce up in the air as if it was trying to pass the front.  I have never seen two cats look so confused.

The dog finally tired himself out and lay at my feet napping.  The cats had watched for some time deciding to get a closer look.  Their natural fear of a strange dog...stranger than any they had ever seen was overcome by their curiosity.  They seemed to know he was here to stay by our reactions and it was time to make contact.  While he slept, seemed like the best time so the would stalk closer and closer sneaking up on him.

Just as Momma cat gave him a good sniff on the head he opened his eyes looking directly into her eyes.  For a moment she looked panicked almost in shock nose to nose with a strange dog.  The moment passed and they stared into one another's eyes and any fear there might have been dissolved.  The dog stayed so still he did not seem real.  She finally gained the courage to sniff him from one end to the other.

Little by little the three of them became the best of friends.  Two cats and a strange little dog shared the back yard and our attention.  It was wonderful when Shaggy began to go farther and farther making bigger and bigger circles.  One day he finally ventured into the yard.  I think he really had no conception of space.  It was as if he was discovering the miracle of a new and unexplored world. 

Albert had been right that it was a good thing to give him a home.  We had found he could not be house trained but he loved being outside and free.  The big dog we had had been raised with our grandson from when one was a puppy and the other was a baby.  The dog followed the boy everywhere.  Instead of building a dog house, Albert built a play house for them both.  It had everything a little house had including a window that opened and closed.

Little Shaggy found the house and claimed it as his.  He spent most of his time walking in the yard.  He sniffed and explored and seemed to be free.  He became king of his yard, with his kitty friends.  When we showed him the play house he sniffed and explored then went right back outside to walk free.

I got so tickled to see that now and then he went into the house and would sleep in his bed there.  He had his own little place inside.  It looked so strange to see the big play house with him sitting out front as if he was at home on his own little porch. He progressed so much he could run and play almost like a puppy.  He wandered and knew every inch of his yard.

I started to notice odd behavior after a while.  When we came up to the gate he would carry on as if he did not know us and was going to defend his yard to the death.  As soon as I would tell him to hush up that noise he would stop barking and start wagging his tail so hard his whole body wagged.

He did it so much to my daughter everyday when she came to pick up her son, our grandson she talked to me about it one day.  "Mom, every day that crazy little dog of yours throws fits with me and acts like he does not know me.  I am almost afraid he will become a little ankle biter the way he acts.  I know he is old but I think he is getting senile."

That may sound funny in one way but he did act odd.  As soon as she talked to him and petted him he was his good old friendly self again.  One day Albert had been working in the yard and had placed a big bucket in the yard near the porch.  He had gone on with what he was doing as I sat there with the critters.  The dog decided to go romp in his yard and walked right into the bucket face first.  He was going blind.  He heard strangers approach his yard and acted to protect.  When he heard our voices he knew who was there.  The mystery was solved but it made me sad too.  We did not know how old he was but we knew that for the first time in his life he was free and loved.  He had a place in life, he had a home and he had a family and love.  He and his kitty friends were family too.  They even slept together.

He never minded me brushing him or taking care of him.  He seemed to enjoy any time we spent with him and I enjoyed him just as much.  Albert had been right.  He needed a home and we needed him too.  He had so much love in him when he finally had the chance. 

I could feel sad at all the years of horror that had been his life but I see him as king of his yard.  I see and remember him happy, playing with the grandson, kitties and us.  I remember him with love.  A little puppy love from an old dog living for the first time.  We called him Shaggy.  He was my little shaggy dog Shaggy.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stormy Sky Above

It was a beautiful day filled with sunshine.  The air was heavy and humid and the more the sun beamed down, the warmer it got.  In the distance you could see the storm clouds and they were moving our way.  I will not say that I am terribly afraid of storms, but I have a healthy respect for them and what they can do.

I remember a day long ago before we had the kind of equipment that helps to track and warn us of dangerous weather.  It was a day like today with warm temperatures and humidity so high the air felt thick.  This may sound strange but I have always had an extreme response to the weather.  It is almost as if I can feel the energy of the approaching storm.  I can be so tired but as a storm nears I feel more and more energized.  When I begin to feel like the energizer bunny it is time to head for cover.


That day was similar to today and felt as if the storms could be building.  I remember seeing the clouds churning and rolling.  The dark and formidable mass of clouds looked angry and intense.  You could see and feel the electricity in the air as I knew it was time to run.  The storm hit with such force it sounded like a roar combined with a freight train all at the same time.  The wind and rain and screaming sounds all around from a storm that was swiftly tearing up all in its path.  Most of what was out there were miles and miles of fields but there was a house here or there or the barns.  Some would not be there after this storm passed.

Our neighbor had a large barn totally destroyed and their house was untouched right beside it.  Part of our roof came off and I feared we would swiftly follow it the way the storm raged.  As quickly as it began it was over, or so it seemed.  I went outside to see what had happened and saw a sight I will never forget.  All around above us were the rolling masses of black clouds even darker than they were before churning and rolling.  As I looked straight up above me was the prettiest blue sky you could imagine.  The air was deadly calm.  It almost felt as if there was no air.  My breath caught in my chest as I realized I was looking up through the center of a tornado that had lifted off the ground.  The terrible winds we had were only those below it.  I am so grateful it did not stay on the ground at that exact moment.  I had seen others that twisted, turned, went up and down in the blink of an eye and I was right below it.  I ran back into the house as I realized the other side would soon hit just as strong as it had been moments before and hoped it would stay above and not swoop down to destroy and devour.

When it passed part of the roof was gone and windows broken but we were all unhurt.  Those thoughts passed through my mind this day.

I could feel the intense change as the clouds rolled in.  It was obvious we had storms headed our way and the news media had warned of the remnants of the hurricane we would see.  I got busy writing and tend to be totally absorbed in what I am doing.  I have been so excited about the new novel that is the next to be released, that I did not notice how dark it was with the huge mass of clouds.

No matter what kind of concentration you have you would notice when the winds made that howling sound and the rain was not pouring it was driven with such force it had a sound almost like some wild creature raging all around.  It was too late to wonder what it was or tune in and find the latest weather update.  The weather that was, was here.  I can not run.  There was nothing to do and then it was gone leaving heavy pouring rain.  The rain was so heavy you could not see what was beyond and as quickly as it came, it was gone.

I tried to call my daughter but there was no answer.  I hoped she had taken shelter.  I called my husband.  He had gone to the store in town.  He sounded relieved to hear from me as he told me they had said on the radio a tornado had been here.  Not a few miles away but right here.  It had not dropped down enough to do the damage and destruction it could have. 

The storm head headed toward my daughter's house where she and my grandson waited and watched.  I know both of them fear such storms.  The have a fear of any storm but this was one to watch and beware.  I wished they were with me.  I wanted to know they were alright.  The announcement came that all cell phones where she was were not working with anything but some text messages.  I got a message from her about then that they were fine but the phone would not work.

I had the news on and realized how amazing modern technology is with the internet.  I turned on the computer and could see messages from all different family members...everyone was alright.  I have been worried about my nephew for some time as he is in an area where anything could happen.  He is one of the response team sent in to try to help restore the electricity after the hurricane.  They send them in right away so they are on the spot where needed.  Walking or driving into harms way.  When he said their truck was flooded and there was no way it was going to start he meant it.  He sent pictures after they got out of it with water up to the window.  That was after it had gone down some.  They had been trying to beat the rising water to save the trucks when it flooded with such force all they could do is save themselves.  As far as I knew, for the time being, we were all safe.

It does no good to worry and I know that.  Worry does not change a thing.  Worry is very detrimental to a person's health especially if they have hypertension and numerous other health issues.  Even as I say and know these things to be true I still do worry.  When I found out all was well, it was a relief.

I stepped outside and when I looked up at the sky I could not resist using the phone I held in my hands to take some pictures of the clouds.  I could see three layers moving in three different directions and at different speeds.  The turbulence above was still working it's way across and clearing.  Between the clouds there were patches of dark blue sky.

In no time at all the clouds moved on and the sun came back out heating the moist air to steam bake settings and it was time for me to go back in.

They constantly changed and churned as I took several pictures before going back in.  I put the photos on the computer and looked at the intricate and forceful look of clouds that were filled with turbulence.  I have been planning to work on the cover for the new novel Danny.

Danny is a story of a young child in a dysfunctional family living a nightmare that became real.   As I saw the clouds above churning and shrouding unknown and unseen forces of nature, I thought of the cover I wanted for the book.  Those clouds show such intensity and depth.  They are so vividly and visually symbolic of darker times and uncertainty of what will become.  The clouds may part and blue sky return, or they could build and strengthen again to show the power and force of nature in a fury.

I used those photos and even printed them out to see how they look.  I added the book title and author name to see how it looks.  I could have tried to use a picture of the character but I want to find a way to create the feeling.  Those clouds have such feeling and beauty even in the cover of potentially dangerous developments to come.  I know I have more work to do but this is some of what I have been doing this evening.  I hope you enjoy and would love to hear what you think.

When I sleep tonight I will think of blue skies, rainbows and gentle cooling breezes.  I wish you all a peaceful and restful sleep.