Monday, December 20, 2010


I'll be taking a break until January 3rd. Please have a safe, happy and blessed Christmas. I love you all so very much. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I signed up for the 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge. Sounded like fun to me and I can't resist a challenge so here we go: 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge (Can I still find these books? I'll let you know. :)

From the sponsor, My Reader's Block: 

All books must have been written before 1960 and be from the mystery category. So I'm in. Can't wait to see how many I can read. I loves me a good mystery. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Boys need more stories! Can I interest you?

We need more writers willing to write for boys. Boys love a good story with a male protagonist. And boy type topics. Action/adventure, pirates, science fiction, anything that makes reading fun and not a boring chore. The writers that target writing stories that specifically appeal to boys, Bruce Coville, Jon Scieszka, Max Elliot Anderson and Chris Crutcher to name a few, use the GROSS OUT factor which goes hand in hand with their excellent storytelling.

Their books are WORTH the effort it takes to sit down and have quiet time for these kids. I have an interest in this and plan to write one in 2011. A lot of these boys are also reluctant readers. Which makes this all the more important. Motivating these kids is vital. 

Now I am a female. So I have absolutely NO idea what a boy feels inside, how he thinks, and what is important to him.

But I do have an 'in'. I have six boys. And I can remember how they reacted and if I'm not sure, I will ask.

So can I interest you? :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

I have two presents. YIKES! But, I love the Christmas season. It's the rush-rush, push-push I don't like. At least at this time of year people could be considerate. Be nice. Smile a little. Have you noticed a Grinch around your area of the world?

I thought I would post some pics of how my small  town looks at night around this time of year.

Now didn't that make you smile? Spread it around. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Love You Dadai

Diane Estrella is doing a different sort of blog hop. It's about loss and connecting  with others who have experienced loss. If you want to read about it and read about Diane's Mama then pop over to Diane's house

Here's mine:

My  Dadaí (This is the Irish Gaelic word for Daddy.) was a strong, kind, honest gentleman. He went HOME the week before Christmas in 1997, seventeen days after Ivy was born. Kidney cancer took him, but it could never take the memories.

It was always our job to go get the Christmas tree. (My brothers and sister were all ready grown with families of their own by the time I was born.) We lived in South Florida and every year Mamai would send us out. It was ALL about being together We loved it. Just as we loved heading out to the shooting range together. (Uh yeah, I'm a sharpshooter, he made sure of that.) We'd stay at the range for hours. And no matter how many times that gun sent me flying backwards, I'd get right back up and try it again. Eventually I became an expert shooter.

This man taught me the value of honesty. And he taught me the value of a dollar. :)

I miss him so  much. He built my cabinets that are in my kitchen when he was 76 years old. That's what he loved, what he did to make a living. He was a wood worker. And the best I've ever seen. He was also a self taught mathematician. He worked out calculus/trig problems for fun. He had loads of books. That's where my love of books came from.

He was a father. And the best I've ever seen. I leave you with a quote from my Dadai:

"The first hundred years are the hardest." :)

Where do ideas come from

I've given this A LOT of thought. There isn't one answer. Ideas come from everywhere. Just look around you. At the grocery store, the park, the coffee shop, books, and the hospital. (Where I spend a lot of my time.)

Wherever there is atmosphere there is a story to be told. I see a picture of a giraffe. I think, hmmm, great picture book story. Or, I overhear an argument between a mother and her daughter at the mall. (Because writers ALWAYS have their eyes and ears open. Bam. A story idea hits me. We see something that triggers an idea. But of course we all know the ideas come our heads.

All writers have heads full of these wonderful ideas. If you're a science fiction writer you have ideas about that. But something triggers the idea. Just ask Beth about what really triggered her idea for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Something very simple. (Don't forget to buy the book.)

The non-writers will tell you they have this AMAZING idea and they want you to have it.


They say they only want to split the money when the book and er, movie come out. UH-HUH.

I just tell them I am working on my novel right now and have to spend all my writing energy on this project. :)

The ideas come and then we create these extraordinary worlds, with  remarkable characters and incredible settings. Ahhhh, but it AIN'T EASY. Non-writers think that we whip out a book in a month. I had a man tell me (when he discovered I was a writer, because I had my laptop) at Christopher's hospital that he was going to write a book. In a month. And then he planned to send it to one publisher, S&S. He figured the book would come out in a few months. What did I tell him? Nothing. I nodded and smiled. There was no sense in going into a long drawn out, five hour discussion about it. He wouldn't have believed me, anyway.

I leave you with this quote from Neil Gaiman: "You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it."  'Nuff said. :)                        

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Have you read this book?

I love, love, love this book. I thought I'd recommend it to all of you. It tells the story of Zibby and how she wants to boycott Amber's party because of the coupon chatter. (some girls got the special coupons and some didn't.) I had a lot of fun reading this book. I know you will too.

It made me think back to school. The popular versus the unpopular girls. UGH! I never want to go back to that scene again.

Have you read this book? It's the third book in the series. Now I have to get the others.

Have any books you'd like to recommend for me?

Monday, December 6, 2010

What's going to happen to picture books?

Don't know if y'all saw this last month. It's a New York Times article on just how unpopular picture books are these days. Here's the link, head over and read it and come back: New York Times

This was taken from the article. “So many of them just die a sad little death, and we never see them again,” said Terri Schmitz, the owner.SAY HUH? No one buys picture books for their little ones anymore? What are they buying them to read? The New York Times?

I know they are expensive to produce, but what will the little tykes do without them? How will they nurture their love of the written word? The words and the pictures in picture books produce wonderful images in the heads of little boys and girls. But instead of reading their children a precious picture book, the parents let them fill their time digitally?

What say you on this very important topic? If you have little ones, are you concerned about this?

I read picture books, because I write them. I love reading them. My kids always loved them. This news saddens me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

From Kate McRae's mama, Holly

 Kate STILL has shown NO sign of new cancer in her brain. There is something on the scan that they are watching. Please pray and read this from her mama Holly. (A super woman, I might add.) She needs any help that you might be able to give for families of children fighting the same rare brain cancer that Kate has. There are about fifteen families that Holly and Aaron(Kate's daddy) want to help this Christmas. A couple of the families lost their children to this cancer in 2010. Here's the address if you would like to help:
 Kate’s Crazy Cool Christmas, c/o 1437 W Auto Dr Tempe, AZ 85284. THANK YOU!!!!

"Kate now calls me her "emotional momma". The Christmas drive continues to resurface the many emotions this journey can bring. Diving in with other families, makes us revisit our own questions, fears and blessings. At times I have to do some of the work for it in the quiet of the night so the tears can fall unseen. And yet, there is nothing that seems more fitting than journeying with others, and assisting them around Christmas. A month crucial to our faith, and the month we celebrate Kate's birthday. So thank you for honoring Kate and her upcoming 7th birthday (December 26th) by loving on other families battling cancer this Christmas season. It is very special and personal to our family.

I know I sound repetitive, but we love hearing your stories as you donate. I am often surprised and moved how God moves hearts through tragedy. Oftentimes the people who donate are those who themselves have been touched by tragedy of some kind. Maybe individuals see the need more profoundly if they themselves have walked in similiar shoes, or if they have been on the receiving end of someones generosity at some point.

So I have some more requests tonight, unfortunately not all of them. Bear with us, as we wait to hear from the other social workers with the final lists of some other families. I do want to tell you of another family you are helping tonight. This is a young man fighting the same type of tumor as Kate. Many of you might know, it is extremely rare. I am trying to collaberate with other families with this diagnosis and have around 15. There is no one else at our hospital with the same diagnosis (that we know of) and we have only met one other family in person with the same diagnosis. So when a need arises within this small circle, let's just say it does feel personal.

So Nick is 14 and battling a recurrent PNET. As he was finishing treatment 3 new tumors were found. He is just starting an experimental study in hopes to finally beat this. His mother told me that Nick has followed Kate's journey. He rejoiced with her newest great news, despite receiving some of the most devastating news himself. He is currently not in school as he is recovering from a most recent brain surgery and from the side effects of previous surgeries and treatments. His spirit has stayed strong despite fighting a very uphill battle. Please join me in helping to love on him this Christmas!

Items we can use for multiple families
~gift cards to department stores.... many families are in need of clothes and winter coats
~Target gift cards seem to be a favorite!
~art supplies for all ages
~new release movies
~again itunes gift cards for the older kids
~kids games, especially kids sequence, guess who, monopoly, lego games etc.
~lego sets
~princess things
~gas gift cards!
~ballerina stuff
~Thomas the train stuff
~nintendo ds games! (especially mario games)
~wii games
~country music cds
~Fry's food grocery gift cards
~Walmart gift cards
~Macys gift cards
Pleae keep in mind multiple children have visual impairments due to brain surgery. So be creative when thinking of ideas!

We also have a few very specific one time requests... (email me at if wishing to fufill these)
*a medium adult mens snow jacket
*size 6-7 boys winter coat and hat
*size 7-8 girls winter coat and hat
*Kohl's gift cards
*I also have requests for a few larger items. If you would like the details please email me.

The parents are all desiring help with gas and groceries this Christmas. Thank you for donating! We are excited to bless these families as they fight through very difficult days! Please spread the word so we can stay available to any last minute local needs! I will continue updating ideas as they come in! And again if you would like to fufill a separate specific request email with SPECIFIC REQUEST with an amount you would like to spend and we will send you a request to fulfill. If you have done so we will be sending you yours shortly. Again thank you for your generosity!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Writing is HARD!

Thank you all so much for all the prayers for Christopher. He's fine! And I am breathing again. :) Everything went well, NO COMPLICATIONS from the Sturge-Weber. :)

Now onto the post. :)

 Any writer knows this. Writing is just plain hard. It ain't easy. But nothing worth having is. Of course, we all know that anyone can type words onto a computer screen. It's making those words into something that readers will love that takes effort. And, well, it's just hard.

But it will show you if you've got what it takes. Write a  novel and then stick with it through the grueling revisions. Then you'll know if you're a writer. If you come through the revisions excited to start your next book, you're a writer. If you never make it through the first revision, uh, er, better try something else. :)

And if you can't find the time to read any books, maybe you'd better try something else. A writer must read. It is the best teacher. We can take online classes, go to conferences, meet with our crit partners. But there is no better writing teacher than reading what other writers have written.

We learn to develop our own unique voice by reading other writers books. And we learn what voice is. We also learn how chapters need to end and how new chapters are started. We learn about tension when we read tension.

So yeah, writing is hard, but it's the best way to earn a living that I can think of. Write on. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


 Christopher has his mouth surgery today at Chapel Hill. Please pray for him. There are all sorts of complications that can pop up with the Sturge-Weber that he has. He is my sweet, sweet guy.


 They grow up so fast.

She is 13 today. YIKES!

Have a very happy birthday, Ivy. :)