Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Officially Released!

Friday Lunch is officially released as of today! I'm so thankful for Tate Publishing and the amazing team that walked with me through the process of making my dream a reality. Such sweet people with great talent.... and patience. 

Read about the women of Friday Lunch. 

My web site has three different places to for purchasing your copy, and it is available as an eBook download from the publisher's site. Just be sure to scroll down.

I have a dear friend, Doreen McGettigan, who is promoting my book on her blog today. Check her out and take a look at her book while you're there. I'll be having her here in the next week, so you can learn more about what a great person she is. 

One little girl asked me recently if I liked my job. My job.... funny that I never think about my writing as my work, but I love what I do because it's who I am. So, my advice to her was to love what you do and live what you love. 

So thanks to all of you for following along on this journey. Hang on, because this is just the beginning!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Let's Celebrate Operation Christmas Child... Benjamin STYLE

Does everyone in the blogosphere know about Operation Christmas Child? If you haven't  heard about it go here. We had the wonderful opportunity to create boxes to send off with a group on Tuesday. Benjamin was delighted to have a box of things to send off to some little boy for Christmas. He drew a picture of himself. We included a return address on a card. Benjamin made sure we wrote on the letter that "Jesus loves you." He was so happy.

This morning he waited until I was alone and said, "Mommy?" He looked so confused and upset. I said, "What's wrong?" He said, "So do they take my box now and put the wings on?" It took me a second or two to figure out what box with what wings. But I remembered the big deal of getting your sticker when you turned your box in. I saw him looking at his sticker yesterday, but his sticker was serious to him.

I explained how his box will be ON the plane and that was just the picture they used so you would always recognize it as OCC.

He asked how would they know who to give it to. We checked off the square on his label that said his box was for a 5-9 year old boy. I told him they make sure it will go to a boy. So some 5 year old may get to enjoy all the things he gave. For a moment he just stood there thinking about all I had told him. Then he hugged me and smiled. I said, "Does that make you happy?" He said, "Yes, I just wish I could see him open his present."

So, if you want to experience your own smiles, follow the Operation Christmas Child link and be the blessing for a child this year!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let's Celebrate "Show Not Tell"

For the final campaign challenge from Rach Writes and the Platform Building Campaign, we were given the following:
Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:
  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.
Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

So, let's get on with it, shall we? Enjoy..... 

The Other Side

"I didn't think I would ever witness the sky light up with a new day." Thoughts of the storm crashed through her.

"I know, me either. Nice swimming, by the way." He whispered in his usual synbatec tone, making her warm with security.

A thick heat spread across them with the climbing of the sun. She sighed. The tacise of the sand cut through her skirt, now drenched. Water rushing to the shore should emit peace. Here, the tide mocked, pulling away bits of sanctuary.

“How long do you think it will be before we’re missed?” She blurted into the lengthy quiet. The maddening silence ended.

“A while.” His face flushed red, and sweat popped out across his forehead.

“Are you sick? Is that horrible stench getting to you?” she fanned her nose and breathed a few shallow quick breaths. “What is that?”

They stood investigating the small area, discovering just beyond them the partially eaten swollen animal. “Oh my no!” She screamed not able to take her eyes from the jagged blood stained teeth. “The Wastopaneers are real!”

His stomach rebelled as the heavy air filled his nostrils. An acidic swallow produced a cold wet clamminess across his neck.

“The stories. They’re real.” She hushed her words. “We won’t make it here will we?”

Reality hammered into his mind. “Don’t you know?” He laughed.

“Oh, do be quiet. They’ll come. They’ll come, and we won’t be able to fight them off.” She closed the distance between them, broken shells splintering into her feet.

“If there’s truth to the stories, and this,” he pointed stepping back, as not to fill his lungs again with heated air of rot, “this THING is dead….”

Her eyes widened.

Stepping to him and sliding her hand into his, she whispered. “Then so….. are we?”


I'm #23 in the challenge, so pop on over, scroll down, and "like" my post. Looking forward to reading all the entries!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Let's Celebrate Arrested Development

It's all over the news! Even Jason Batman has tweeted that Arrested Development will air 10 episodes and a movie. Cult fans unite with cut off jeans and shout hurray! The Huffingtonpost ran it's story, and at the bottom of their page is the famous chicken dance. Ron Howard's tweets say he's still narrating.
There are some things that just make life more fun. If you haven't seen the show, then go back to season one. You can watch on Hulu, but I suggest just investing in the complete series (Seasons 1-3). Become a fan and join the following! Oh, you'll thank me, or not.... but either way..... I'll meet you all down at the big yellow joint. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's Celebrate the Fair

Don't you just love the fair? The smells, the noise, the people. There's nothing like being little and enjoying it all. There's nothing like watching your little ones take it all in either. Recently my crew joined my sister's family and my mom at the fair, and I must say it was more fun than I expected. I laughed more and smiled more in those few hours than I have in a long time. You could feel the excitement just standing in line.
The fun began! Rides that go round and round. I must admit, I had to take this next picture and turn away. I don't do rides that go in circles or spin. 
(Now, that's happy!)
Smallish people were warned. Stomachs aren't made to take continual spinning. But, what do I know right?
Oh, the lessons learned. I'll not name names but, I'm right.. you're wrong. I'm right, you're wrong, I'm right!

Isn't fair food better than any food you can prepare at home? Seriously... a hand dipped foot long corn dog with a giant lemonade. 
The much anticipated bag of cotton candy.
And, then there was my hot dog... yes, it's under there. That's a pile of awesome!
The fun was evident!
So when you hear the fair is in town, break out the hand sanitizer, baby wipes, tums, and your camera, and simply go enjoy the laughter of your children.
There's nothing like seeing them smile on a ride...
And... then praying all the bolts are secure when they flip upside down...
Then with tired little people and exhausted big people... 
.... we bid the fair goodbye... until next year!

Everyone give a big shout out to my sister! Today is her birthday! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Let's Celebrate Pickin' at Dusk

Having four kids means going and going and going to whatever they do. Taxing at times, yes, but I wouldn't miss one moment of fun. I've posted before about how much fun we have at the theatre, and last night was such fun I wanted to share it with you.

The kids at the theatre are raising money to go to competition in October, so last night they sponsored Pickin at Dusk with an evening of bluegrass music, food, and fun.
Music everyone enjoyed.
That's one way to arrive.

This type of music...

is like coming home.

We were entertained with the music of Gary Waldrep.

And, I watched my family smile.

I looked around at all the happy faces of the crowd and realized my daddy would have loved to have been there. There's so much to be thankful for these days; like being in a place where people are real, family means something, and good friends know how to have a good time. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Let's Celebrate The Worst Movies Ever!

I love a good challenge! Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting the
The history of me... I don't do scary anymore, but once upon a time...... well, I became a horror movie fanatic quite early. I've seen them all. A product of the 80s and the first VCRs, my movie rentals were complete each weekend with at least two horror flicks. Therefore, my "worst movies ever" are mostly horror films because if I showed up at the movie rental place, then I came home with SOMETHING regardless. So here's the list... not much description needed. The covers say it all!

(Walking over those manhole covers just never was the same.)

(Trolls, really?)

Ghoulies II
(Just.... funny to me.)

(Drop kick and go, how can you not escape?)

Puppet Master
(Disassemble.... how hard is that?)

(Did anyone stay awake through this? I... could... not.)

Silent Night, Deadly Night
(Just a shame.)

Howard the Duck
(I refuse to comment. Just agree.)

Swamp Thing
(Don't you just want some things to be scary?)

My number one pick for the worst movie of all time.... Basket Case. Oh, please tell me if you've seen this. I look forward to visiting the other participants in the blogfest, and we thank the movie industry for all the picks.. you give us reason to read and to write! Happy popcorn eating! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let's Celebrate UPS

I've waited ever so patiently on the arrival of the very first copies of Friday Lunch via UPS. (Sure I did.) Regardless of how many times I checked the front porch because I swore I heard that brown uniformed man out there, that space remained desolate except for Tabby... who adopted us. (That's another story.)

Today.... today was a different sort of day. What once lay barren was filled with bounty. The UPS man was unknowingly stealthy. (My doorbell doesn't work. I usually hear him drive up, but perhaps he thinks ringing the doorbell is what causes me to appear). Can't you just imagine the boxes and boxes of books?Actually, only a fraction of my order arrived, but hey, I'm not complaining.
Just after I took the first picture my camera died. I had to WAIT until the battery recharged to open the box and take the next three.
I've got the first copy I took from the box sitting on my desk. 
The preordered copies are being signed, sent out and delivered.
I look forward to having all of you meet the four friends of Friday Lunch.

So THIS is what it feels like... you know, the whole fishbowl thing. The first time someone bought Friday Lunch as an eBook and read it, was like having her walk through the creative chambers in my mind. This box of books beside me is wildly unnerving and terribly exciting. I'm ready to sell a million copies, so spread the word!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let's Celebrate Favorite Authors

In getting to know more bloggers, writers, poets, authors, moms, and friends I have discovered the art of writing on a new level, the art of reading in more genres, and the art of friendships in all areas of life. There's always common ground. Plant, nurture and watch your lives grow.

One area so many of us share..... books! Everyone has favorite authors they follow or books they hold dear, so I'll give you my list of Christian Fiction authors to enjoy. Let's call this....


So, here's the challenge for you. If you see even one author on the list that you haven't read, make a purchase today, go to the library, or borrow from a friend. 

Now it's your turn. Tell me some of your favorite Christian Fiction authors, and then journey through these links. You'll find web sites, facebook pages, and twitter accounts. Great writers are artists of words. Enjoy their weaving of tales that keep us turning pages.

Take time to visit the family fiction site.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Let's Celebrate A Challenge

I'm always up for a challenge. I'm a single mom of four, my days are filled with challenges. However, today I'm talking about a writing challenge. I have the honor of being a part of the Platform Building Campaign Challenge at Rach Writes. I linked in at the last moment at #384. You can go there and click the "like" if you like.
These are the directions for our first challenge:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

So without further delay, I give you.... 
A Heart Mended

The door swung open. She had heard the familiar knock that said ‘I’m here, I love you’. His funny knock that she had once looked forward to hearing, and the knock that haunted her days, thinking she would never hear it again. She had heard his knock, while sitting on the couch, coffee in hand, dreaming of him. And now, after all this time, there he stood. Time melted away. 

So many years were stolen from them. So many misunderstandings. Her heart began to pound in her chest. This was it. This was the moment she had waited for, and now, there were no words. All she thought she would say, she couldn’t. All she thought she would do, she didn’t. Her happily ever after was standing before her, ring in hand.  So many tears. So many years. So much unnecessary pain. He had left. A heartless goodbye. Yet her heart carried hope. She longed for his return. Praying forgiveness into her soul. No other’s love could compare to the love she carried for him. 

Hurt runs deep. Scars misshape love into something dark. Time passes. Instantly a heart is healed. She sighs, steps back inside. The door swings shut.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Let's Celebrate Sleep

That's right, I'm posting at 2:51 am. I celebrate sleep because it's what I lack at the moment.

Ever had those time you absolutely could not fall asleep? Or, how about asleep but keep waking up? Or, going to bed early and then waking up in the middle of the night.... wide awake? Or, nightmares?

I can raise my hand to all of those lately. Perhaps it's the chaos around me. I'm not doing well at managing my schedule at the moment. I realized this...... the more creative I become, the less organized I become. Why is that? It causes stress.

Anyone else out there feeling the September stress? The back to school blues? The no more summer nervousness? The it's just about winter worries? The single parent scaries?

Pick the stressor in your life that seems to be weighing you down or keep you awake. Want to share?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Let's Celebrate Hot

I'm just about over all the record temperatures this summer, aren't you? I think I'm ready for fall. Not winter, no that's a beast I can do without, but fall yes. That's another post for another time. The "hot" I'm actually talking about is the "hot" I like to add to my meals.

EVERYTHING just tastes better with a dash of one or a smear of the other. I've always enjoyed adding "hot" to my food. Well, that is until I lived alone in Nigeria. I had gone to the market alone and bought hot peppers to add to a rice dish I was creating. I needed to give it bit of spice, so I found some fabulous little peppers. I had heard they were hot, but I had never eaten one or cooked with one. They were little right? How hot could they be? 
I chopped and added them to my pan. It just didn't seem like enough. So, I chopped and added more. It still didn't seem like enough. Just a little more......Perfect. I had steamed vegetables and rice stir-fried with peppers. I won't tell what happened with the homemade bread. That's different story for another time. I sat myself down and began to eat. I was so hungry, and it looked so pleasing to the eye that without considering the outcome I took a giant bite. That world changing bite filled with beautiful orange habanero peppers. I had forgotten to pour myself anything to drink. Imagine that? Ever had your taste buds stripped from your mouth?

I've never cooked with these again. I stick to jalapenos which are better fresh off the vine from my yard. Did you know that boiling jalapenos will make them a little less hot, but will saturate the air with the oils from their skins causing all the air to be sucked from your lungs? Oh, that's not entirely true. Feels true, but that too, is another story.

What's your favorite "hot" to add to your meals?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let's Celebrate Zombie Ducks

Yes, you read correctly. Zombie Ducks! If you haven't read my earlier post about my encounter with birds, click HERE. The background information is valuable before reading THIS post.

I decided it was time to show my kids it's good to face your fears. We go to the park often. The fabulous four play, I write, and many times we will picnic there. However, on this beautiful afternoon I told them we could feed the ducks. This was not something I was looking forward to, but my son thought it would be a grand adventure. My girls understand my fear of birds and could not wait to see how I would react.

We arrive at the park. I think to myself, "I've got this. Those six little ducks are nothing to me." I haven't seen more than that ANYTIME that we had been there before. Well, today, you would think they had put the word out that I would be there. We pulled up near the water and my kids erupted in laughter. A bazillion ducks were waiting on us. The crazy thing.... when I stopped the van, they all stopped whatever they were doing, looked our way, and started their zombie waddle toward the van. My 11 year old laughed, "It's Zombie Ducks!", and even the kids didn't want to jump right out into that flock of fun.
Yes, I know that doesn't look like much of a threat.... but....
this was the rest of the crazy coming at us.

The feeding began and my fabulous four braved the multitudes. Don't you like my lofty few from high up on the picnic table?
I'm supermom right? I thought to myself... I got this! I can feed the ducks. So I descended from my place of sanctuary and threw out the first little pieces of bread. I had the perfect  opportunity to take some great pictures. Two of our fine feathered friends were not happy about my camera. 
HISS #1!!!!
I waited for this one to move along and then I thought I had the chance to take the picture I wanted.
HISS #2 (notice how the eyes cut back over to me). 
In my mind I could hear the voice of Major Payne, "You plottin' on me?" The hair on my neck was standing up and by now I was sweating just a little. 
HISS #3 
(Oh, and see the little duck back there... that's the group I was expecting.)
Multiple ducks were hissing. My crew continued feeding the masses, and the more they fed the more fights broke out. One duck snipping another. Others being chased into the water over a crumb. Wings flared as one duck moved another out of the way. It was a bit more than I could take. I had goose bumps all over. I was so thankful that we ran out of food. We made our way to the docks to enjoy the view.
(This is just one of my favorite places to sit and think.)
When we absorbed the beauty and the heat, we left the docks to move on to the playground. However, when we had moved so did the zombie ducks. One watcher waited at the edge of the dock. He lay there watching the water in front of him until we walked by. Until I walked by. He turned... mouth opened... tongue out, and HISSED again. I took my camera out bent down as close as I could without completely screaming out loud and took his picture. 
In your best Gollum voice can't you just hear him say.... LEAVE! 
Our brave adventure was over. I survived to tell the tale. One of the fabulous four made the comment, "Zombie ducks make Dead Duck Wednesdays okay with me."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let's Celebrate Birds

To me that title is completely oxymoronic! Here's a bit of history for new friends, and those who think they know me but don't understand the dark side.

I attended the University of Alabama, and while there, I worked as a secretarial assistant which was a glorified term for gopher. I ran every errand that the department needed. Fine by me. Walking around campus to deliver items from one department to another, chatting with friends along the way, and getting paid. Work... what work? My job was easy.... until....
I became a target. I've heard of birds being protective if you are near a nest. I was walking out in the open. The sun was bright and the air crisp. A lovely day, and then from out of nowhere this angry bird decided I needed to be destroyed. It dove down and hit me in the back of the head. Kamikaze blue jay. That's right. It hit me in the head... not just once... but over and over! I ran back to the office bewildered and received no sympathy. Oh, there was laughter, but no sympathy. 

The years pass, and I was teaching American missionary children in Nigeria. We had problems with hawks nesting above the school and the parents actually had to walk the kids to school with bats. 

Understand my fear of birds had taken root. One afternoon, after the kids had all gone home, I looked out the door and the hawks weren't there. Good, free to leave. I started walking down the road and then heard it. The horrible sound of wings beating against the air. When I saw that giant bird descending, I picked up the hem of my skirt, lifted it high, and in my flip flops I ran with the speed only Olympians can comprehend. The beast of the air was quicker. It swooped, talons extended, and went for my head. Latching on to my hair, scraping my forehead and beating my face with it's wings, it had me. I continued to run. I'm not sure how long it held on, but I  never stopped running and it finally let go. I ran straight into the missionary's house across the street and slammed the door behind me. She came out of the kitchen and screamed. I had no idea my forehead was covered in blood and my hair was frightful. I was simply shaking. After I was cleaned up and sat for a while, I was able to go home. Wiser. Looking up, and forever fearing the terror in the skies. 

Wait until tomorrow's post. You'll get to hear all about ZOMBIE DUCKS!