Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What made you write that first story?

What made you write your first story? Was it a dream? Did your characters keep yammering away in your mind demanding their story be told?

I guess the first story I ever wrote was for my mother. A heart transplant recipient, mother’s health was always rocky. Unfortunately, the anti-rejection drugs that kept her precious new heart acceptable to her body eroded away the strength of her bones.

Her bones were quite brittle and shattered worse then they should’ve when she wrecked her van on the way to church that day. They flew her out to the hospital where she’d received her heart transplant. Twenty-five years ago, they hadn’t done many heart transplants and I believe she was number eleven. I don't remember the number for sure. She's been gone over twelve years now. That's the number I remember.

The doctors and nurses at the hospital were wonderful…EXCEPT for the orthopedic surgeon. He walked into the room, never made eye contact, never spoke to my mother or the family…cold, calculating, no nonsense, strictly by the numbers. I don’t think he even knew any of us were in the room. He looked at the chart, glanced at my mother’s prone form, spun on his heel and left the room. I shrugged it off since it was the first visit. I was sure the man was swamped. Tomorrow would be better.

Tomorrow wasn’t any better. He was a brilliant surgeon but when he checked on her the following day he reduced her to tears. I blocked the door and asked the man his prognosis. His face darkened, he was obviously angered that I had the audacity to stop the Orthopedic God. He jerked his head toward her bed and told me her bones were mush and would I please step aside he had other patients to see.

So, that’s when I sat down and wrote my mother the story about the dreaded Orthopod Ogre and how he was eventually beheaded due to his inflated pride. This time, she cried from laughter. Somehow, the floor nurse and the hospital social worker ended up with copies too. I swear I didn’t send them.

So, what prompted you to write your first story? Was it a vision or a dream?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The joys of country living...

Jasper invented a new sport last night. I’ve dubbed it, “Possum Skiing”. Perhaps, a little background information would be helpful. We’re nestled in the middle of about five acres of woods out in the middle of nowhere. The back of our house has a covered deck with about a two-foot crawl space running underneath it.

Jasper is a rat terrier/chihuahua mix with the heart and soul of a rottweiler. He guards his territory and our cats against any beast daring to challenge his clearly marked trees. Fiona is our outside cat that adopted us. We can’t allow her inside with Niko (he’s so old, he just couldn’t adapt). Therefore, her nice warm bed and food are outside on the covered deck. You guessed it. Dry cat food is a delicacy to every possum and raccoon in the surrounding three counties.

During the week, I go to bed early because the day job alarm goes off at 4 a.m. Usually, I’m intelligent enough to look out the window BEFORE opening the door to ensure the deck is varmint-free before releasing the hound for his last pee break before we retire for the evening. Not last night.

A possum doesn’t move very fast UNTIL it has a dog attached to its tail. Then it’s surprising how fast it can drag a nine-pound dog across a treated lumber deck with his legs in the locked position.

They traveled over the length of the deck and over the edge, with me bellowing behind them. I will give Jasper a nine for the dismount because although he did lose his grip on the possum’s tail, the possum rolled twice and Jasper landed on all fours. Then they disappeared under the deck with Jasper barking, the possum hissing and me yelling for Jasper to leave the possum alone.

While catching my breath between shouting at the dog, I glanced at Fiona who hadn’t bothered to move out of her bed. She flicked an ear at me and yawned as if to say, “Ditch the dog. I’ll go in the house with you and we can go to bed.”

I finally decided if I got the flashlight and glared at Jasper face to face perhaps I could convince him to leave the possum alone. So, I trudged into the house, located the elusive flashlight and went back out into the frigid night air with my gown tail flapping in the wind. My fury kept my top half plenty warm but the north wind was frosting my butt.

I got down on all fours, shot the beam under the deck and snapped, “JASPER, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!”

Now, I’m no math whiz, but even I knew when I looked under that deck, I should’ve seen two sets of little glowing eyes reflected in that light. But all I saw staring back at me was one set of eyes and the only response I got was a very irritated hiss.

I knew Jasper had stopped barking. I figured the little rascal was just catching his breath. I shined the flashlight underneath the deck. The scamp had disappeared.

I started to panic. I was also freezing. I needed a heavier coat. He never strayed but I couldn’t leave him outside. I’d just run inside, get a heavier coat, and come back out and find him.

As I walked through the door to grab my coat, a movement on the couch caught my eye. Jasper curled up on his blanket munching on one of his milk bones. I hadn’t seen him when he’d slipped in through the partially opened door when I’d come in to retrieve the flashlight. Apparently, possum skiing works up quite an appetite and Jasper knows when to come in out of the cold. I just have to have enough sense to trust him.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Every year, my family pelts me non-stop with the same question from Thanksgiving right up until Christmas Eve. “What do you want for Christmas? You’ve got to tell us, what DO YOU WANT?”

Apparently, I am one of those individuals who is difficult to buy for because I can never really think of anything I just can’t live without. What can I say? I’ve discovered the more you have the more you have to dust, so less is actually better.

Since times are tough this year, I came up with a list of items I think will be just perfect. The monetary cost of the gifts is zero. The value is priceless.

  1. Forgiveness – Forgiveness for all the stupid things I said or did over the years. They say with age comes wisdom. I am living proof that adage does not hold true.

  2. Patience – I am probably going to do the same stupid things again.

  3. Laughter – Preferably, not at something klutzy I’ve just done…but as long as you’re happy, I’m happy.

  4. Hugs – One for me and one for your sister even when I’m not around to see it.

  5. Just love me even when I’m a cantankerous, growly old she-bear because I got up on the wrong side of the bed.

That pretty much covers my list. What do you want this year?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Art of Give and Take...

How many times have you seen this? If you’re married or have children, or both…chances are you’ve faced this rather exasperating sight at least more than once. I’ve been married over thirty years; have two daughters and a grand-daughter. And I’ve stopped counting the number of times that pathetic bit of tissue has waved at me from the bare cardboard roll. It used to bother me. Not anymore.

Let me back up and explain. I’ve got about a thirty minute drive home from my day job. The particular day I have in mind, the trip seemed a lot longer because I’d consumed an extraordinary amount of coffee and I needed to use the restroom so bad I was about to gargle. Why is it when you need to go to the bathroom, everyone in front of you drives as if they’re in no hurry to get anywhere at all?

Finally, I got home. I bolted into the house, threw my stuff onto counter, leapt over the dog, tripped over the cat and careened into the bathroom just in time. Ahhhh…blessed relief. And then I see it, the one tiny square of tissue flapping in the breeze.

We live in a modest house. The bathroom is quite small. From the seated position, with your pants around your ankles, you pretty much have to be a circus contortionist to reach the new roll stashed under the sink. Not only that, but we keep a bowl of water for the pets beside the stool because we keep the seat down so they can’t drink out of the toilet.

So, while I’m standing on my head to reach under the sink, I flip the pet bowl and dump the water all over the rug and my pants. As I fish out the roll, every towel in the cabinet topples out into the puddle of water. Oh well, I needed to clean it up anyway.

After this adventure, I backtrack to the kitchen to ask my beloved husband if it would kill him just once to put a fresh roll of toilet paper on the holder. I receive a look of complete amazement along with the off-handed comment. “It wasn’t empty.”

I try to explain to him that a millimeter of tissue doesn’t constitute enough toilet paper for “a serving”. I’m then gifted with a roguish grin and informed, “Jasper did it.” Ever since both daughters moved out, the dog and cats are alternately blamed for anything awry in our house. My darling husband has been nominated for sainthood. I’ll let all of you know when the ceremony is to be held.

By now, steam is coming out of my ears. I’ve had a long day. I’m tired and I now need to change my clothes. He pulls me to his chest, kisses me on the forehead and tells me my supper is ready whenever I am. He also adds he’s emptied the dishwasher so he can clean up the kitchen when we’re done.
So you see? That’s why I’ve decided toilet paper’s not so important after all and I’m going to learn to look BEFORE I sit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

This new adventure called "Blogging"....

I've just signed my paranormal romance, "Beyond a Highland Whisper" with The Wild Rose Press so, I'm new to this mysterious world of blogging. Since I've just submitted all the paperwork for the cover art and not quite started the edits, I thought these first "learning blog posts" would be a good opportunity to introduce myself and get used to this odd little contraption.

As you can see by the photos, I'm an animal lover. I also have quite a nice husband who's been around for over thirty years. He says I love the Jasper more then I love him. He's's just that Jasper doesn't snore...much.

Niko, "The Ancient" is named as such because he's nineteen plus years old. He will never die because he knows my husband hates him. He's living just to spite him. When he was a kitten, he chose hubby's favourite pair of hunting boots rather than the litter box. If you're the least bit familiar with the odor of cat urine, you know the boots had to go.

Fiona, "The Huntress" appeared out of nowhere half-starved wandering up our driveway. We live on five acres back in the woods. I don't know what happened to her but any critter that shows up at the door, I feed it. So, now she's fixed...and now, she's ours and I have to watch where I step every morning. She's leaves me presents of little dead varmints on the doorstep. I guess that's her way of saying thank you for taking her in. Once I stepped outside and she was slinking up on a deer in the front yard like a lioness across the Serengeti. No confirmed kill as yet.

And then of course, there are the raccoons, possums and squirrels. We love our little corner of the wilderness here in Kentucky. Sometimes I think it's the wind whispering in the trees that helps nudge the words loose in my head.