Sunday, August 31, 2008

Oh My Gosh...I have to get busy

Someone important is coming to visit on Wednesday and I have to get this place tidied up. Cheryl St. John, the author of such Harlequin greats as "The Preacher's Daughter, The Lawman's Bride and the Montana Mavericks (series)" is coming to visit lil' ol' me.

I bet you had no idea I knew Cheryl. Well, surprise, surprise. She was with a group of friends at the Romantic Times convention in St. Louis, and I horned in...uh introduced myself. Meeting her made the experience a memorable one, and we've stayed somewhat in touch since then. She's such a fun person with a wonderful sense of humor, and I'm hoping I can inflict myself on her again sometime.

I invited her to blog here, and she graciously accepted. I hope you'll come on Wednesday, September 3rd and make her feel welcome.

Don't mind me...I'm just gonna buzz around and knock down some of these dust bunnies and cob webs. *smile*

A Scientific Study Proves It...

Late-breaking information worth sharing with friends both male and
female:



A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.

For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features. However, if she is menstruating, or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with duct tape over his mouth and a spear lodged in his chest while he is on fire.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

To Chase OR Not to Chase

I had some sort of stomach bug this week and spent an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom where I keep my stack oF Reader's Digest. I've read several articles of late about unlicensed drivers, and there is a particularly interesting one in this month's RD issue.

A statistic quoted..."One in five fatal crashes per year involves a driver without a proper license." That puzzles me. The immediate question that popped to my mind...Why would not having a license play a part in fatalities? I don't think the tests we're given at the DMV really test your ability to drive in the real world, anyhow. But I understood as I read on.

The point of the article is that we have far too many people STILL driving after their licenses have been revoked. But how do you stop that? One scenario revealed took place in Washington DC. A TV crew stationed themselves at a local courthouse and secretly followed people who had just lost their driving rights back to their cars, where they promptly got in and drove away. Did anyone do anything? Nothing was mentioned.

Two states have started impounding the vehicles of offenders, making it less likely they will repeat the offense. Maybe all states should, even if the vehicle belongs to someone else. Make others accountable to lessen the number willing to jeopardize their own licenses by loaning their mode of transportation. People can only drive if they have wheels. Right? It's a good start.

I truly believe deaths could be drastically reduced if police didn't pursue these people with such aggression. One woman, mentioned in the article, was fleeing lawmen when she broadsided another car. Did they really need to actively pursue her? They have her license number and can track the car, so why put other people in jeopardy? Is this such an immediate threat that it has to escalate at that particular minute? I think not. Use the license plate to find where she lives. Arrest her when she's not behind the wheel of a potential murder weapon. Under the stress of pending arrest and conviction, people frequently do not react with reason. This has been proven time and again.

Anyone who watches COPs on TV knows you can't outrun the radio, but still people try. It's part of our "Fight or Flight" response to stress. So, for the police, there's a time to take action and a time to use common sense. I've read about too many incidents where the police were in pursuit and their efforts caused a fatal collision. It's time to set realistic priorities in determining deadly force.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Characters, Stories, Lockets and Garden Hoses...Oh My!

How do I stop the endless flow of characters passing through my brain and dropping off story ideas? I'm sure you remember that rather than plotting my stories, I'm a pantser (write by the seat of my pants). Characters pop into my head at will, introduce themselves, a plot and expect me to start plunking their story out on the computer. Well, it worked well the first couple of times, because I typed until I finished. But now...? Oy Vey! I have too many stories rattling around in my head and I'm getting my characters confused with the journey they expect me to take.

I've spent the last two days working on "Hope Springs Eternal," and finally finished it. When I proofed it one last time before shipping it off, I was surprised to find Carrie, my character from "First Degree Innocence" had slipped into a scene.

Now that I'm finished with Hope, Carrie is screaming for my attention, but then I have Odessa tugging at me, too. My brain is wrapped around a non-fiction that I want to write, Souled Out, but while I was on vacation, my sister gave me fodder for a great story concerning a locket. Another romantic suspense, but lean on the romance because she's more into true crime than loving. *smile*

The good news is I'm making progress. Next month, Forever Faith will join my first release, Chastity's Charms, building toward a four novella anthology that will hopefully one day be offered in print, Stages of Love. Here's a little teaser from Forever Faith: CAUTION: IF MAY BE TOO SPICY FOR SOME... If you prefer, skip down to the next scene from Hope Springs Eternal.

Faith Oliver suffers from a weight problem and has no real beaus in her life. In fact, she’s never been with a man. Maybe that’s why she’s surprised when a delectably handsome male begins to invade her dreams and command her body. Driven to diet to find a boyfriend to replace her hunky dream lover, Faith undergoes hypnotherapy to determine the meaning of her night visions. Her sessions draw her back to another life, to an era far removed…and a strange name she’s heard before.

Excerpt:

Faith woke with lips feeling bruised from passionate kisses. Her breathing came in quick gasps as if she’d just finished a bout of voracious sex.
Until last night, her dream lover had only touched and kissed her. She hadn’t really gotten a good look at his penis before. She was still awed by the size of it. If that was a weapon, the man was heavily armed.
Faith pushed herself up into a sitting position and rested against the headboard until she composed herself. If she smoked, this would be the perfect time for a cigarette. This dream had been the most fantastic yet!
Her nameless beau had actually made love to her, really penetrated her this time, gone all the way! She had no idea what she’d been missing. She exhaled through pursed lips and reveled in the moment.
Her nipples were still pebbled beneath her nightshirt, and from something other than cold air for a change. Warm and moist, her nether regions still contracted from the thickness, while her whole body quivered in delight. She pinched herself to make sure she was awake.
Is this what the afterglow of intercourse feels like?
____________________________________________________________________________________

Hope Springs Eternal, which I just submitted and has yet to be edited, is a medical romance. I offer this 'un-edited' scene for your reading enjoyment:

“What?” Jerrod jumped to his feet and glared down at her. “Not see each other anymore? Why on earth not.”
She peered up at him, her heart pounding. “I think it’s best.”
“That doesn’t tell me anything.” He ranted. “Best for whom?”
Her mind spun. How could she break it off without divulging the real reason? God, she adored him. He’d never said he loved her but clearly he felt something to be this indignant.
She stared into her lap. “I-I’ve given this a lot of thought and I don’t see a future for us. I think it would be easier if we called it off now before either of us gets too attached.” The lie clung to her tongue like peanut butter on a spoon. She glanced up.
He started to pace. “I can’t believe this. I’m already attached. I thought you felt the same.” He stopped and stared at her. “I love you, Hope. I don’t want this to end.”
Oh my God, he’d said the words she dreamed of hearing, but now it was too late. She steeled herself against his blue eyes, his trim frame, his good looks, but most of all his heartfelt words and stood. Though painful, she locked gazes with. “I’m sorry, but I’m not changing my mind. I need you to leave, please.”
If he didn’t, her resolve would crumble and she’d beg him to stay, to take her to bed and show her how much he loved her. She walked to the front door and opened it. “Goodbye, Jerrod.”
He passed by her without a word. Tears glistened in his eyes and his shoulders sagged, but he didn’t even glance at her. She quickly closed the door behind him, leaned against it and slid down into a tearful heap on the floor. He was gone and her heart felt as though someone punched her in the chest. She hugged herself and rocked back and forth. “Oh, Jerrod, I do love you. I do. I do.”
____________________________________________________________________________________

So, now I've taken care of Chastity, Faith, Hope and Grace. Joy has yet to be fulfilled, but Carrie and Odessa take precedence...at least I think. Detective O'Conner has dumped the name of the first victim in the locket stories on my desk, and the lure of a contest entry has me working now on a historical short set during World War II. I completed three short stories and submitted them to a new magazine. One has been contracted and I'm waiting to hear on the others. I submitted a short Christmas story to another magazine, and am waiting on that as well, and I'm also anxious to see Roselle Fountain to make her debut in Sparta Rose...coming soon from Eternal Press. They say the third time is the charm, and if Ellie Fountain, as she's called, doesn't emerge from the ashes of two burned contracts, I'm giving up on this one. *lol*

Add in the task of two pending video trailers I need to complete, new characters trying to crowd their way into my head, and the constant stimming of my autistic grandson in the background, and you'll probably be able to figure out why I'm the nutcase that I appear to be. Oh, I forgot the most important distraction at the moment...Kelly in his new headgear for his sleep apnea. It's really fun trying to doze off when your mate is wrestling with a six foot hose attached to a little machine on the nightstand. I gave up the other night and moved to the couch. It's like sleeping with an animated garden hose. Please Lord, let the break in period be over soon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm awed!


How exciting. I was nominated for this award by a new friend, Lacresha . I hadn't met her until she invited me to join a very active yahoo group on marketing/sales. So you can imagine that being nominated by someone I've just met is quite an honor.

Part of the obligation of this award is, in turn, nominating a few sites that I find deserving. So, my nominations are: Anita Davison because I always enjoy visiting her blog, viewing her creativity and watching for more new releases that are sure to entertain; and Cheryl St. John because she's a favorite author of mine and I'm inspired by her success. Her blog is one of the most entertaining, and contains links to others equally so. Finally, I nominate Kim Richards. Kim is a constant source of amazement. She's plays a very important role at Eternal Press, keeps the authors updated and on track, yet still manages to maintain a newsworthy and entertaining blog. You go Girls!

Now my nominees get to post this same award to their blog and nominate up to seven others. Don't forget to link back to me for nominating you. I considered this an honor and I hope you will, too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Killing with Unkindness - Reviews Revisited

Continuing on the topic of reviews...a discussion on one of my loops prompted todays blog.

I'm not addressing 'a' review in particular, but why review sites are allowing their reviewers to post some summaries that provide no helpful content. Luckily, I've remain unscathed, but I know a few friends who bear the wounds. It's needless pain.

One of the most nail-biting experiences for an author is submitting work to be reviewed. Imagine someone has worked for months, perhaps years to finish a manuscript, find the right publisher, wait for a release date, and now, has to send the manuscript out and hope someone open-minded and kind selects it to read. The waiting starts anew to see what's said in the review. It's another anguishing time for us.

Believe it not, reviews are critical to authors as well as readers. We try to learn and grow from opinions. Although author's try to develop a thick-skin, painful comments from reviewers without any constructive guidance really hurt. Picture yourself pushing your baby along in a stroller. A total stranger walks up to the carriage, chuck's the child's chin and says, "that's the ugliest child I believe I've ever seen." Knife to the heart! Why would you possibly say something so hurtful when it serves no purpose? One can only surmise you're just a sad and lonely person wanting other's to join you. Reviews reflect the reviewer much the same way.

Opinions are subjective. (Let me clean this phrase up a bit...)They're like noses...we all have one, BUT it's possible to mention, in a constructive manner, that the book wasn't your cup of tea, or perhaps had editorial flaws that distracted you, but to totally bash the book and find no redeeming qualities only serves to destroy the creditability of the author, publisher, editors and anyone else associated with the book. There must have been something worthy about it, trust me. In today's publishing world, with small press closing all around us, there are plenty of submissions to choose from and no one is going to bank on a loser.

So why are nasty reviews posted. I can only guess. It's a free service, workloads are increasing, and the kinder, gentler generation is withdrawing. Is that it?

Times are tough and people are stressed. Nastiness comes out in the most unlikely places. Is that a reason? I'm stressed, but I certainly wouldn't bash a fellow author. I'm not talking mediocre reviews...we all get those. I'm talking about 'book burning, character annihilation, word slashing, cruelty.' If I don't like a book, I don't review it. Simple as that.

Luckily the credible review sites have guidelines and won't allow 'bashing' reviews. It's a good thing, because one person's nasty and negative opinion can determine what others think of a book. One bad review or rating can sully the waters for sales, even though it's only ONE person's opinion. Unfortunately, people tend to be like sheep, following the leader. Sad but true. How many wait for the NY best selling lists to decide what they want to read? I used to, but I don't anymore. I found so many there that made me wonder what criteria was used to rank them over others.

Since I became an author, I make my own decisions. Some people like Pepsi, some people like Coke. A vegetarian won't eat meat, and a Lactose-intolerant person steers clear of dairy products. I'm certainly not going to let their experiences define mine. I hope you won't either. I'm saying this, not because I'm e-published, but there is a wealth of talent in this field that deserves notice. I've got a whole new list of favorite authors and I rarely buy books listed on the top selling list in New York. Heck, most of those people got there on the talents of a real author (Ghostwriting). Yes, I'm taking a poke at Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton. Imagine the money their ghostwriters made. I'm jealous. *smile*

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The thrill is gone!

Yep...Sleep Apnea. I thought about breaking out the camera and snapping a picture of my husband in his new nightwear, but I found this photo that demonstrates what he looks like. For those of you old enough to recall, Sea Hunt...I feel like I'm sleeping with Lloyd Bridges.

I may as well buy my lingerie at Ace Hardware. I'm thinking perhaps yellow waders with a fish net to put over my head. I never fit into anything at Victoria's Secret, so maybe this is a new beginning for me, too.

My husband has been complaining about the general decline of our sex life. Well, honey, I hate to tell you, but hold on the memories because as long as you look like a comatose scuba diver, it ain't happening. *lol*

Seriously though...Sleep Apnea is a dangerous condition that can cause a multitude of symptoms. In fact, it's so dangerous that the machine my husband uses as night has a smart card that will be read at intervals and determine if he's eligible for his DOT health card to insure he keeps his Class A CDL. I wonder how many drivers are out there who suffer from it from have never been diagnosed. The doctor said that most men with necks measuring 17 inches or larger or most likely candidates. Overweight men also. My husband meets both criteria, although his weight issue is minimal.

Symptoms are:

Snoring
Tiredness upon waking
Excess fatigue during the day
Waking at night to urinate frequently
Sweating during sleep
Frequent Heartburn or chest discomfort

If you or someone you know suffers, please advise them to visit their doctor. I'd rather have my husband look a little strange at night than to lose him to this fairly unknown condition. We must take care of the men in our life, because they certainly don't take care of themselves. *smile*

Corner on Reviews

Never heard of it? That's because it's new. Scroll down on the left-hand side and you'll find it. I strive to keep things interesting and couldn't think of a better addition to my blog than reviews of some of my personal favorites.

Hmmm, now that I think about it. What happens if you find a new favorite author? *grinning* That's just fine, I have a few favorites of my own, and one's work doesn't diminish another's talent. Every author has a unique voice and story to tell. I really can't say I've find two that are the same. That's the glory of reading. Tired of TV reruns...read a book. You may find a similar plot, but the story will always be different.

Don't expect to be inundated with a laundry list of things to read because these days I'm barely finding time to critique a chapter, let alone read an entire book. I've started with a handful I've most recently completed and will add more gradually. I'd love to add all the wonderful books I've read, but I have to start somewhere.

To all my reading fans. If you find time to read one of the books I've listed and really want to make an author's day, drop him/her a line at their website. Most usually have an email link, and nothing brightens the day like hearing from someone who loved what you wrote.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Oh for a smooth talking man...

I should be working on finishing my current novel, but I took a lunch break and watched yesterday's episode of General Hospital. For those who don't watch, Robin is pregnant with Patrick's baby and she's had serious reservations about their relationship. Both are doctors at GH, and today, he got on the hospital's loudspeaker and made a public announcement about his devotion to the mother of his child. "Robin is compassionate, caring, and kind. She's tender and loving, beautiful, and I know one her greatest fears has been me..." Of course you realize I'm paraphrasing, but he continued, "I want her to know that she no longer has to fear me. I'm ready to step up to the plate. We can solve our future together...as man and wife. Robin,my darling. I love you. Will you marry me?"

The scene made me think back to all the romantic things that led to my marriage. Was it, "You actually have larger thighs than most women I've dated?" Nah, I don't think that was it. Maybe it was when we picked out my diamond together and once we were back in the car, with his eyes focused forward on the road, both hands firmly on the wheel, he muttered those captivating words..."You can either consider the ring as a birthday present... or an engagement. Whatever you want." Duh uh...I already assumed he wanted to marry me. We lived together. How silly of me. My birthday never entered MY mind. So, I guess that wasn't the romantic moment either.

I know...it had to have been the actual day of. We were scheduled to drive his classic car to Hot August Nights in Reno as he had so many years before. Unfortunately, on the way, the car broke down on the side of the road and we had to have it towed home. Rather than feel defeated and upset, he turned to me, and with the eagerness of a kid at recess said, "Just because we can't take the car doesn't mean we can't go. No use wasting the trip. We can get married." Yeah, that's it? The grand proposal. You can't accuse him of having scripted lines. No one could write that stuff. *lol* Somewhere in what he said where all those romantic things Patrick said to Robin...I'm just the only one who hears them. Sometimes!

Are you Kidding Me?

God spare me from anything else to worry about! Wasn't it enough that the media had me in a panic over using my cell phone when they announced they might cause brain cancer? Now our vegetables are going to be zapped with radiation to kill the germs and virus' that cause e-coli. I was appalled to discover they've been doing that to certain meat products for a while now. No one asked my opinion. Have I consumed some and didn't know it. Maybe I should turn off the lights and see if I glow in the dark yet.

Just reading the side affects listed on medication gives me nightmares. If I leave my bottled water in a hot car, I might get cancer, cancerous polyps might be lurking in my colon, my cervix might growing cancerous cells...oops, I don't have one. But, if I forget my sun screen I might get cancer. There's a hole in the ozone, you know? That in itself is a big concern.

The ice caps are melting, the jet stream is too warm or too cold and it affects our weather in crazy ways. Deadly pollutants have made their way into our precipatation and rain down and cause...you guessed it, Cancer! What doesn't cause it?

Then we have the elections. John McCain doesn't know how many houses he owns. Should he really be president if he can't answer that question? Obama can't just announce his VP candidate, he wants to TEXT it. Can you tell he's seeking the younger vote? How many senior citizens do you know who text? Frankly, I don't see the need. If I have something to say, I'll call you. I have better things to do than try to figure out cryptic messages. If you ask an expert, they'd probably tell you that stressing over texting can cause cancer, too.

I have a great suggestion. How about instead of investing in more homes, Obama and McCain donate to cancer research. Just think, if every candidate used a portion of their campaign money, asked every professionally overpaid athlete to donate the proceeds of ONE game to the cause, we might be able to eradicate the disease and never have to worry about it again. What a concept! I don't care how great Brett Farve is...Who in the hell would offer someone TWENTY-FIVE million dollars to remain retired? But it wasn't about the money...Brett just wants to play, so he will be playing...for the Jets. If Green Bay has that kind of money to throw around...throw it to Cancer research or feed someone. People are starving for Christ's sake. No wonder this country is going to hell in a hand basket. Actually, I don't think we can afford a hand basket, what ever that is. If by chance we can, you can bet it will have a 'made in China' label somewhere on it. They manufacture over half of what we use daily, and we're borrowing money from them??? Oh... I have to stop...my head is exploding.

I'm telling you I need to avoid watching the news. It's just downright depressing.

Note: If you read this earlier, I had seven million as the amount Brett Farve was offered to stay retired. I got my millions confused. The seven million is what Red Bull paid someone to wear a cap bearing their logo while being interviewed on the Ellen DeGeneres show. And they say our economy is in the dumper. For some it is, but others seem to have money to burn... or waste.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bible Stories From a Kid's Point of View

I couldn't resist. I received this via email today and it was just too cute not to pass on, especially after I tackled Religion as a subject last week. :)

The Children's Bible in a Nutshell
In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God,darkness, and some gas.

The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did. Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some of her people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments.

These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff.

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New. He was born in Bethleh em in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.')

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

How cute is that?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ever Wonder Why...

...it takes so long to hear back when you submit something?

I borrowed this picture from a post sent by a friend. This is identified on "Flickr" as a co-worker's slush pile from one imprint. I think I recognize one of those envelopes, but I can't be certain. *lol* It appears to me that the co-worker needs an assistant.

When I worked at the University, this is what our office looked like daily at Fellowship application deadline time. It took two or three people all day just to open the envelopes and get the contents together. I'd forgotten those days, but this picture dredged up a painful memory. *smile* Even now, I hate looking at a letter opener. Can you say P-A-P-E-R C-U-T-S?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Literary Agents

It's no wonder that we often feel like our manuscript has a black cloud hanging over it. If you spend a day reading agent blogs and websites, I guarantee you'll end up more confused than when you started.

A good friend of mine, Anita Davison, recently had a few quotes taken from a literary blog. This month's Writer's Digest provided a list of "What Agents Hate." For the sake of brevity and maintaining your sanity, I'm going to quote only a handful:

On Prologues...
"Most agents hate prologues. Just make the first chapter relevant and well written." Andrea Brown (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)

"Prologues are usually a lazy way to give backstory chunks to the reader and can be handled with more finesse throughout the story. Damn the prologue, full speed ahead!" Laurie McClean (Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents)

Ginger's Comment: Okay...I guess that blows the theory that prologues help set up the story for the reader. Scratch Beside Myself for me...it starts out from the perspective of my serial killer. Dang!

On Descriptions...
"I dislike endless 'laundry list' character descriptions. For example: 'She had eyes the color of a summer sky and long blonde hair that fell in ringlets past her shoulders. Her petite nose was the perfect size for her heart-shaped face. Her azure dress--with the empire waist and long, tight sleeves--sported tiny pearl buttons down the bodice. Ivory lace peeked out of the hem in front, blah blah, blah.' Who cares! Work it into the story." Laurie McClean (same as above).

"Slow writing with a lot of description puts me off very quickly. I like a first chapter that moves quickly and draws me in so I'm immediately hooked." Andrea Hurst, Andrea Hurst Literary Management

"Avoid any description of the weather." Denise Marcil, Denise Marcil Literary Agency

Ginger's Comment: Now I'm really confused. I do agree that the example above is tiresome and far more than I need to know about the character all in one breath, but editors insist that you let the readers get to know the characters. I suppose the secret is doing it in small increments that don't bore Ms. McClean. As far as Ms. Hurst...don't we all like a chapter that hooks us immediately? See Mr. Lazar's comments about 'cheesy versus convoluted' hooks below. Which would you prefer? And... I guess Ms. Marcil isn't interested in weather reports, although sometimes if your heroine is caught in a storm and her nipples are exposed through her wet tee-shirt, it's rather hard to explain it to the reader without a little explanation about the rain. I guess all those sun-tanned heroes are shot to hell, and there goes my short story entitled, Hurricane. Gads, I just can't win.

On Action...
"A cheesy hook drives me nuts. They say 'Open with a hook to grab the reader. That's true, but there's a fine line between an intriguing hook and one that's just silly. An example of a silly hook would be opening with a line of overtly sexual dialogue. Or opening with a hook that's just too convoluted to be truly interesting." Daniel Lazar, Writer's House

Note from Ginger: I guess the dilemma for the writer is to figure out which one Mr. Lazar considers cheesy and which one is too convoluted. One person's cheese is another's salami...or something like that.

On Cliches...
"I don't want to read about anyone sleeping, dreaming, waking up or staring at anything." Ellen Pepus, Ellen Pepus Literary Agency

Note from Ginger: Wow, that rules out anything I've written. I'm quite certain that somewhere in each of my books, my hero or heroine has stared at something, and I'm pretty sure they weren't awake during the entire time either. No dreaming either? She's a tough one.

No adventures that turn out to be a dream, no death of the main character in chapter one (does anyone really do that?), no descriptions that make the hero/heroine too perfect, no inauthentic dialogue, no stories that open on the protagonist's mental reflection, no information dumps in the first few pages, no cliches, no predicable openings (would you like some cheese with that?), and never, never have your heroine awaken to find a strange man in her bedroom and find him attractive. *lol* I have to agree with Kristin Nelson (Nelson Literary Agency) on the last one. She says she'd be reaching for a weapon instead of admiring the view, and I'm with her. Handsome or not, stay out of my bedroom in the middle of the night. (Unless of course you're Tom Selleck and you've finally considered my offer.)

Oh my gosh, the hate list goes on and on. My question...what exactly makes these opinions valid? I could announce that I've become a literary agent, but that doesn't immediately make me an expert. I'd have to build a reputation by selling the work of authors to mainstream publishers and learn what they require. I haven't the time to research those named in the article, and other than Kristin Nelson, I've not heard of them. Unfortunately, I've seen her name on a few rejections of mine. For reasons even I don't understand, she's the agent I'd love to have. My chances of being in the 2012 Olympics seem just as likely as landing a deal with her. :(

I received my Writer's Digest this week and immediately contacted a fellow author who is looking for representation. One of the head captions on the cover is, "28 agents who want your work." She sent an email to one of those listed and received a lightning response that he was not taking on new authors. You just can't believe what you read these days. I suppose the other twenty-seven are busy, too. *lol*

Okay, some may say I wrote this because I'm jealous because I don't have an agent. You're right...I am. I'd love to find someone who was willing to take a chance on me, but I just don't see it happening. The number of authors submitting each day far exceeds the agents likely to take them on. Given the limited number of releases by mainstream companies, my chances are nil. I've had two agents so far...one left the profession because of family obligations and the other landed me a nightmare of a deal with an e-publisher that I could have gotten on my own. See why I'm skeptical? But, if anyone with a literary background reads this, I'd be more than happy to send you the first three chapters and prologue of my latest work-in-progress. *lol* I'm not too proud to beg. Please...someone, anyone, help me achieve my last goal of seeing one of my books in a REAL brick and mortar store. I really don't want to have to sneak in a copy and leave it on a shelf...the thrill just wouldn't be the same.

I'm Baaackkk!

How come I can't come back from vacation and share something interesting like some people can? My friend Rayka sent me a postcard from Berlin, a lucky coin from Ireland and a very cute little purse from another exciting place she visited. I only left my mother's house long enough to take her to order another hearing aid. She already has an assortment, so I'm wondering why this one will do the trick, but we'll see. I've already been to the local Walmart and Big Lots, and the scenery hasn't changed much since I left. I suppose I could have mailed some of you a postcard, but that would have meant I'd have to exert myself. *smile*

Show Low Arizona doesn't have much to offer in the way of excitement...I know, I lived there for almost a year. The most stimulating thing I did during that time was join the local Senior Patrol. I was the youngest member and only one of two females. I found it pretty boring to sit in a parked police car with some old geezer and scare passing motorists into slowing down. We couldn't even issue citations for parking in a handicapped slot...we could only WARN them. Wooo! Scare me. After working in a jail for a year, it was a little too low-keyed for me.

I was decked out in a uniform, complete with badge, and a hat if I wanted to wear one, but discovered the officers were more a carrier or delivery service than anything else. That dawned on me when we had to drive the Dog Catcher's vehicle to the repair shop. Considering that it's all volunteer, I didn't last very long. My middle name is 'danger'...okay so it's really Susan, but that job was almost as boring as that. I resigned when one of the old men wrote on my website that he 'liked' how I said his name. Geez, how many ways can you say "John?" Trust me, he wasn't my type.

Back to our visit...My husband's mother drove up from Bullhead City and stayed for a few days so we didn't have to divide our time with driving. We all sat on the front porch and chatted... days and days of chatting. I think by the third day we were all starting to get sick of one another. You know what they say..."after three days, house guests are like dead fish...they both begin to stink and you want to throw them out." I wish I could tell you that I saw exotic places and did exciting things, but unless you consider that a plastic lawn chair and a few pine trees fits the bill, then I'd be lying.


This is the guest house where we stayed. It was quite comfy and we were well-fed. It wasn't a five-star hotel, but the purpose of the trip was to spend time with people we love, and we did. Actually, it's quite cozy inside...nice bed, little kitchen, bathroom, TV. What more could you want?

It's always nice to leave, and even nicer to come home. Spencer was happy to see us and I missed him like crazy. Although I poke fun at the lack of excitement on our trip, I enjoyed the time I was there with my mom and my sister, Gwenn. We laughed a lot and that's always a good thing. But, I'm back where I'm comfortable...here in my computer chair in front of this blasted screen.

I know you enjoyed my guest bloggers. Thanks to Ciara and Anna K for filling in for me. I owe you both. After I weed through all my emails and pay my bills, maybe I can think of something creative to blog about. In the mean time, I have money I have to dole out and dusting to do. Back soon.
Hugz,
Ginger

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where do all the hours go?

Each day, I keep thinking, things will slow down and I'll get more done. Heck no! I've been trying to get to the post office all week and mail out some packages. They are still in my car. I did get to the UPS store and mail out some raffle baskets for two RWA chapter conferences coming up. Then I was half way home before I realized I should have gone to the post office, too. Since I'm only a little over a mile from the post office, I should have turned around and gone. Alas, I didn't.
The reasons I don't stop while out and about is that if I'm on my way somewhere (such as lunch with author Skhye Moncrief or to my part-time job) I'm usually running late. Yes, I'm one of those chronic late people. Then if I'm on my way home, my granddaughter, whom I babysit has fallen asleep - finally - and I don't want to wake her up. Thus, the packages are still in my car. I hope I can get them mailed out tomorrow.....I have an appointment at my job to learn some of the computer files, then I'm having lunch with my mom. I'll probably stop, sleeping granddaughter or not, on the way home. Two of the packages are for soldiers in Iraq, and I really want to get them sent!

So, then I try to find time to write and usually, I'm so tired when I sit down or too busy reading e-mails that I don't write. Or my computer goes on a tantrum and puts me out of the mood for writing, unless it's a scene where someone dies......

Oh, another thing I'm doing tomorrow, is a booksigning of sorts with Skhey Moncrief. A local play place is holding a swap and shop Friday evening, and we'll be going there to sell our wares. I have a few of the anthologies I'm in on hand and I've burned some CD's of my short story to sell or give away...who knows what I'll decide to do in my sleep-deprived state? Cause the sleeping hours seem to disappear, too.

So, if you're near League City/Webster, TX tomorrow by Bay Area Blvd and Hwy 3, stop by Monkeyin' Around and say hi. We'll have a prize basket up for raffle.

In the meantime....where DO all the hours go?

~Anna Kathryn
www.aklanier.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm guesting today

Well, I can't hope to be as witty or fun as Ginger, but she graciously gave me the opportunity to blog on her spot while she vacations. Ah, the glory of vacationing and spending time with family and friends.

I love getting ready for a big trip. The planning, the packing, the anticipation. But - once you arrive, there's this immediate sense of let down. I've learned over the years not to get my hopes up too high. Even with visiting family, there's always this initial awkwardness of what to discuss and how to act. Any relationship requires time to feel comfortable. Even one with close relatives.

And then there are those BIG trips, the ones you pay lots of moolah for. Once there, you feel as if you have to do and see EVERYTHING just to get your money's worth. I got to go to Paris this summer for about 7 days. Way too much fun, but now that I've been home a month or more, it feels as if it were all a dream. It happened so fast and we did so much, I never really "absorbed" being there. Bummer that. I have pictures to prove I was there, but my memories are already hazy.

Well, enough rambling. I'm hoping Ginger is having a marvelous time. What are your feelings on vacations and trips spent with family. Fun or torture?

Help give my heroine a nick name

The heroine in my WIP is a highly intelligent woman, who has a lot of self-doubts and is very klutzy. Her name is Leslie McAllister. I can change the last name, but not the first. Leslie is a character in my Christmas story release - A COWBOY'S DREAM. I asked a few days ago for some suggestions (on my blog). All of them were great. Thanks for taking the time to help.

I then asked a few friends of mine to read over the suggestions and pick their top three. I'm posting them here, so you can vote on them.

Dizzy Lizzy
Hurricane Leslie
Miss Accident Prone
Grace
Messy Lessy
Klutzy Lutzy

Please vote once and by midnight, Friday August 15th. The person who suggested the winning name will receive WILD WOMEN OF THE WEST an anthology with stories by Delilah Devlin, Layla Chase and Myla Jackson. This book is rated REALLY HOT.

And everyone who votes will be in a special drawing for TEXAS RAIN by Jodi Thomas.

Thanks!

~Anna Kathryn

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Have a chuckle on me...

Here's my favorite comedian of all time...Brian Regan. I think you'll see why I love him. I'm packing today for my trip to Arizona tomorrow. Kelly and I are taking a week to go see our Moms. So, I'll be hit and miss for the next week or so, but I'll drop in when I can. If you get bored...listen to this and think of me.




Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Jury Duty

How much faith do you have in our justice system? Since my 'jury' experience several years ago, I have to tell you that I have very little. There is too much bullying, intimidation and strong arming going on during deliberation to allow those who aren't strong-minded enough to stick to their guns. I sometimes feel society is more interested in closing a case than assuring that they have the right person.

And what fool said, "You are innocent into proven guilty?" How can that be when you are arrested, taken to jail, arraigned and treated like a criminal until you go to trial and have your innocence proven. Actually, you are guilty until proven innocent...don't kid yourself.

When I was eighteen, I was falsely arrested for shoplifting. At the time I had a top-secret security clearance and worked for the United States Air Force so it was humiliating and scary at the same time. I need to blog about it sometime, because it was also pretty hilarious given that during my one phone call my mother fainted when I told her that they'd taken my brother to juvenile hall and me to jail. Luckily, my Dad came to my rescue. He was always my hero. No one believed I was innocent and were hell bent to prove that I took a pair of $2.99 sandals. I guess back then that was a big deal. *lol* If I was going to shoplift, I think I could be much more selective than some crummy shoes.

Anyhow, I watched Montel today. His guest was a man who was just released from prison after fifteen years. He maintained his innocence throughout, was denied a retrial for years, and spent every waking minute trying to prove law enforcement had arrested the wrong person. His conviction was based on bite marks on a dead body even after one forensic dentist was convinced he was not the perpetrator. A second one testified he was and the man was convicted. He lost time from his life, his children's life, and precious years with his wife. When Montel asked if he had a job, the man looked near tears, saying no one would hire him because he was honest on his applications about spending fifteen years in prison. Even though he has now been proven innocent, the system also robbed him of years of job experience and took away his livelihood. He has filed a civil lawsuit, but believes he'll probably be dead before it's settled. How awful for him. It's kinda hard to hide a fifteen year gap between jobs.

I've also been watching Women in Prison and I'm touched by some of the stories. I know from my experience as a Correction's Officer, most people claim innocence, but I also believe there are some who are telling the truth. It seems recently, someone is released every month based on now available DNA that might have saved them from an earlier conviction. Thank goodness for science and the strides we've made, but God save us from professionals like the first Forensic Dentist who was more interested in showboating than finding the real culprit.

So, take my advice. If you receive a jury duty notice, fake illness, lie, get a doctor to excuse you...break your leg if you have to. It was the most unpleasant experience of my life, and had it not been for one woman who had the strength to hold out, a man would have been wrongfully convicted in my opinion. My only regret is that I wasn't that woman. I know it's our civil duty, but I learned one important thing while serving. I'm not jury duty material.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Editing, Headaches, and Dying Brain Cells

Writing can be a joy and a pain at the same time. Of course, when you're in the middle of writing a story, you have no idea the challenges that await you at the end. I can honestly say I've learned tons since my first book was accepted by publication, but you can never assume what you learn is set in stone. Guidelines for publishing vary from house-to-house and what an author believes is a well-written story may fall victim to the editorial red pen from hell. *lol*

There are some things you can truly believe will enhance your story if you avoid them, and I'd like to share a few with you. I have the 'whip marks' to prove that I previously engaged in using these unsavory writing practices, but no more... or at least I'm trying to train my feeble brain to avoid these pitfalls:

Avoid over use of the word 'that.' You can delete 95% of them from your story without changing the meaning of your sentence. It actually helps with the word count, but does little else to enhance your story.

Avoid prepositional phrases at the end of your sentences
. To her, at him, etc., are usually implied and the reader can figure it out. Another tendency to weaken your writing if you engage in this practice.

I tend to be the queen of "Seem." This has been a hard one for me to break. For some reason, everthing 'seems to' rather than actually does something. Now I'm learning to search and eliminate these instances. Rather than saying, "his musty smell seemed to fill the room," I'll use, "his musty smell wafted upward and...." 'Seemed to,' 'tried to,' and 'began to' are considered 'stall' phrases and prevent showing the action as it unfolds.

My good friend, Phyllis Campbell, has kept me on the straight and narrow with her critiques when it comes to Cause and Effect. I've learned you must have a cause before you can have a reaction. Cause and Effect...Action/Reaction. If someone jumps, something has to happen first. Simple rule, but one I never thought about before it was brought to my attention.

Overuse of 'it.' Using a noun over a pronoun to strengthen the sentence is a much better idea. Of course, you have to try to avoid word echoing in the same paragraph, and you don't want to have too many names back to back. Confusing, but sensible when applied effectively. Example: If I had written the second sentence...It's a better idea to use a noun over a pronoun to strengthen the sentence.

Predicting dialogue.
What the heck is that, you ask. I've recently learned myself. Don't place tags that describe the person's voice before they speak. Simple. Here's an example of predicting: Her voice trembled. "Shouldn't we stop?"
Should be: "Shouldn't we stop?" Her voice trembled.

Sensory details. Another good friend from my critique group, Diane, keeps me on my toes by commenting in my chapters, "what does it smell like?" I'm pretty good at describing scenes, but I often forget to include smells. Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, Sound should all be included when you write. Reader's want to sense it all.

And my latest discovery, last but not least...Avoid 'to be' verbs. These include is, was, are, were. I wondered most about 'was,' but learned when I use 'was' with an 'ing' word, I'm telling rather than showing. Same with could, would, should. These words make the narrative past tense. Example: was hearing or could hear is better written 'heard.' Could see, was seeing, is better written 'saw.'

There's tons more to share, but I'll save it for another day. By then, I'm sure I'll have even more tips for a well-written manuscript. :) Whatever you do, don't forget to put the punctuation marks inside the quotes. *lol*

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Can you say Confused?

DISCLAIMER: If you are offended by discussions of religion, then read no further. I'm not inviting an exchange of opinions, so if you want to pick an argument...look elsewhere. These are my feelings and I own them...believe me.

As a child I attended Sunday School and Church with the neighborhood Methodist. I was drawn there by my friendship with a schoolmate and friend. I was raised in a home where my father was Jewish, my mother a Gentile, and religion was rarely mentioned. I suppose it was assumed that once I grew to adulthood, I would make my own decision.

Today, I find myself at age 62, still undecided about which church fits my beliefs. In my heart, I'm a Christian, but finding the congregation is a monumental chore. Religion is a personal choice and not one that should be taken lightly, and it's also a sensitive topic of conversation. I tend to avoid writing about it, but today, rather than attend church as I always vow to do, in my quest to find a home, I decided to do a little research, and now I'm even more confused than ever.

I give full credit to About.com and Wikipedia for the information I'm going to share with you. I'm paraphrased what was offered on these sites into more concise paragraphs for the sake of space and time. This brief compilation is only the tip of the iceberg. There are far more religions, cults and sects in the world, so I elected to touch on the ones I seem to hear about the most:

Judaism
Religion based on the Old Testament, and the first five books are considered the TORAH. They embrace one God only. The do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, rather consider him a prophet or teacher.
Romans 10:12 – “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him”

Islam/Muslim
The word Islam means "submission" or the total surrender of oneself to God or Allah. Muslim, means “one who submits to Allah” and boasts between one billion to 1.8 billion followers in the world. This makes it the second largest religion after Christianaity. Muslims believe that Allah’s words were revealed to Muhammad in the Qur’an, and consider it the fundamental souce of their religion. Islamic believers hold that the Jews and Christians distorted God’s Word by either altering the text or introducing their own interpretations.

Catholicism
Catholics employ many of the same beliefs as Protestants. They recognize the Trinity, Christ’s divinity and the Word of God. Differences include the use of the Apocrpha and recognizing spiritual authority of the Pope, bishops and priests. They believe in saints, confession, seven sacraments, and often have icons and statues of saints of display. Angels are considered spiritual and immortal beings with names and purposes. In the same vein of all Christian religions, one can only reach heaven if they believe in Christ. Catholics also believe there is an eternal Hell. They also believe in Purgatory, as a sort of holding place where one goes if they are not purified. The soul remains until they become holy enough to enter Heaven. Satan is a spirit filled with power and evil, and demons are fallen angels who are incapable to repentance. Rosary beads are used to count prayers. The prayers said on the beads are known as “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” and “Glory Be.”

Protestant
Not a denomination as much as a branch of Christianity that originated in the 16th Century when some left the Catholic Church. As a result, many denominations are very similar in practices and traditions. The Bible is the sole sacred book used by most, and only baptism and communion are the sacraments used. Belief in angels is not a primary focus, and the view of Satan differs among denominations, recognizing him in some cases a real and evil while others consider him a metaphor. Faith is a person’s salvation and is unconditional once saved. Those who have never heard of Christ will be saved. Unlike the Catholic religion, they view Mary as the mother of Jesus but do not use her as intervention to God. Heaven is the final destination of Christians, and where they will eventually meet and adore God. Hell is where non-believers spend eternity.


Baptist:
Although there are distinctive beliefs held in common by all Baptists, there are some minor ones that are not consistent from one Baptist church to another. This denomination, as with other Christian denominations, believe in one God, the virgin birth, miracles, Jesus as the savior by his atonement through death, burial and resurrection. They recognize the Trinity, the need for salvation, and the second coming of Christ, at which time God will judge and divide humanity. Christ will decide on the rewards due for things done while alive. These deeds will not get someone into heaven. This religion requires baptism by dousing in water.

Seventh Day Adventists:
The Law of God is the Ten Commandments as embraced by most Protestant religions. The SDA church recognizes Saturday as the seventh day of the week, hence the Sabbath. They also believe in the second coming and end of time. Unlike some religions who believe the mind and body are divisible, SDA do not. The mind, spirit and body are one, and death is a state of ‘soul sleep’ until Christ’s return and resurrection. They do not believe in eternal Hell, rather the wicked will be permanently destroyed.

Jehovah’s Witnesses:
The name Jehovah is a personal name translated from Hebrew letters to mean “my lord.” Jesus is recognized as the only-begotten Son and that Jesus and Jehovah are separate beings with the Holy Spirit being Jehovah’s active force. The only way to Jehovah is through Jesus. JW’s believe in the imminent war of Armageddon where the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous, those living and resurrected) will form a new society on earth and live forever in paradise. The soul is the person, not an immortal entity. It dies with the person and exists in a state of non-consciousness until resurrected. They consider the entire Bible the religious authority upon which they base their church, however prefer their own New World Translation, published in 1950 by their own Bible and Tract Society. They employ a literal translation in most cases, although claim belief that parables, figures of speech and symbolism were used in writing the Good Book. They do not celebrate national holidays, birthdays nor do they salute the flag. Several holidays are considered as pagan in origin. This religion is probably best known for spreading their belief by door-to-door visits, free home Bible studies, and sharing their own publications.

Church of Christ:
Non Protestant. Those believers in Christ who continue to use only the New Testament as the source for Christian doctrine and practice.

Mormons/Latter Day Saints:

Non Protestant. This religion is based on the Bible and the Book of Mormon (a historical and religious record translated by the religion’s founder, Joseph Smith.) The term “Mormon” is applied to members of the LDS Church. Unlike most Christian religions, The LDS church recognizes Jesus the living head of their church, and believe he serves at his father’s hand. Because of this, they do not utilize the cross as a recognizable symbol of their church. The Book of Mormon provides a deep basis for the beliefs of the church and is far too complicated to compile in brevity. Until 1978 when the Church received negative publicity for ethnic issues, black men were not allowed to descend to priesthood, nor were black men and women allowed to participate in the temple ordinances necessary to achieve the highest salvation. Their practices of changing their rules of religion haven been drawn into question…particularly their stance on drinks containing caffeine. After the church president met with officials from Coca-Cola, the practice of abstaining was lifted. This religion is known as one of the wealthiest per capita and he has also invested in business, real estate and cattle ranching ventures.

As you can see, the differences are endless, and they even increase in number from one church to another among the same denomination. The question still remains in my mind...how can so many religions spring from the translation of one book...The Bible?

I'm reminded of the game we used to play as kids. A group lines up and the first person whispers something in the next person's ear. The practice continues until the last in line repeats what he/she heard. The difference is astounding. What we hear and what we repeat can be totally different. Explaining religion is like watching a car accident from two perspectives. If you have two witnesses on opposite sides of the street, they may relate contradictory stories.

Who is Joseph Smith and why does the LDS put such stock in a book he created and maintains to be true? Evidence of times and places in the Bible have been substantiated with anthropological finds, yet no places, coins, or relics mentioned in the Book of Mormon have ever been discovered. How can there be a Heaven and Hell in some religions, but a holding space called Purgatory in others. I always considered Hell and Purgatory one in the same. Shows what I know. It's embarrassing at my age not to have made a sound choice, but I think my relationship with God will have to continue in my heart rather than in a brick and mortar building.

Why? I can't decide. There is no religion I've found thus far that encompasses what I believe in my heart to be true. The Bible is the word of God as written by man. The Jehovah Witnesses use passages in the Bible to support their refusal of life-saving blood, while the Jewish religion utilize the same to make their meat kosher. While the Witnesses refuse to recognize the flag or the anthem because Jehovah is a jealous God who wants no God before him, the Catholics bow to the Pope and feature statues and icons in their church. The Seventh Day Adventists recognize Saturday as their Sabbath while the rest worship on Sunday. Will the day of reckoning include our choice of the Sabbath as a reason for salvation? The LDS seem to value the male gender more highly then the female when it comes to achieving salvation and change their beliefs on a whim. And, some religions use only the New Testament while the Jewish use the Old. If the Bible truly is the word of God, how can you pick and choose?

My father was a good, honest man. He knew much about the Bible, although he rarely preached from it. He lived the best he could. When he died, I prayed in Jesus' name for strength and guidance. My father had always been my rock and the person I went to for advice. I found solace in the hope of eternal life, and that one day I might be reunited with him...BUT if I truly am a Christian, by Protestant doctrines, I will never see my father again because he didn't embrace Christ as his Messiah. I can't grasp that God is going to pick one religion over another...avow that one group who worships in his name is more worthy than another...that innocent children who have never been exposed to religion will be consumed by the fires of hell because of it.

I understand why there are agnostics and atheists, but I would never be one. I cannot look at the world's beauty and splendor and not believe in a creator bigger than my imagination. I need to have God and Jesus in my life to get by, so I accept them with unconditional question and feel relieved by their presence. They fill a void in my heart, take away the emptiness I see in the lives of those who are non-believers. (My humble opinion).

I've going to live my life the best I can, strive to be the child of whom a father would be proud, and seek God's wisdom and forgiveness through his son. If I can achieve that, how can I go wrong? It's practicing what I preach that's going to be the hardest part. :)

Blessings to you all!

Ginger

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Passenger Seat

The Passenger seat...looks quite harmless away from the rest of the car, doesn't it? But put it back in and it becomes a seat-belt restrained hell from which you can't escape. Especially when you're riding with the king of road rage.
I just returned from Nebraska. Fourteen and a half hours to get there and my stomach was in knots. Instead of our Yukon Denali, we elected to take our PT Cruiser. It's fine for around town, but I prefer to be in something more intimidating if I'm going to challenge big rigs and other SUVs. I've never liked small cars because when you're a big person, it looks more like your wearing it than riding in it. :)

While trying to enjoy the beautiful scenery...endless waves of corn fields, beautiful lakes and rivers, and a multitude of green trees, my serenity was ambushed by constant obscenities and exhibition of the "California howdy" to those my beloved felt infringed on his right to travel the roads unhampered. I really got tired of asking how fast he was going, if he knew the speed limit, and informing him that if we were close enough that I could make out the model name on the dashboard of the car in front of us, we might be following a tad too close. I also resented that since I have night blindness, he insisted on driving faster than I could NAGavate.

It took fifteen hours to get home because we came through St. Louis at 5:00 pm. Not a wise move if your planning to travel that way anytime soon. But, we arrived home safely, thank God, and believe me, I did many times. I took my pillow, but fear of dying in my sleep kept me from dozing off during the ride. I almost threw caution to the wind on the way back, but the blaring horn of the big rig when hubby tried to share lanes made me change my mind. I think next time, I'm going to insist that he wear his hearing aids. I don't think he got the full benefit of my wisdom. :)

Thanks to all of you for your sweet messages of condolences. The funeral was quite an experience if you're not Catholic. All I can say is they certainly get their exercise during their services. Sit, stand, kneel, stand, sit, kneel, sit kneel, stand...I was pooped afterwards. Kelly's father was buried with military honors and the honor guard, twenty-one gun salute and taps was quite a touching experience. Despite the white-knuckle ride, I was happy I could be there to support my husband and his family.

Boys, there's nothing like a funeral to make you question your own mortality. I realize there is much I need to do to get myself in order, so this week I'll be writing down my final wishes, listing all my bank passwords and login IDs, and yahoo group memberships for whoever might need them when my time comes. I pray it will be a long time from now, but I'm not leaving anything to chance. With my luck, I'll be displayed in a sweatsuit with Lay Lady Lay playing in the background. *lol* My best friend was cremated because she feared her husband would carry out on his threat to have her buried in a red belly-dancer outfit and make sure the service was open-casket. Not me...I'm not going to be a display item for the mortician's cosmetologist and hair dresser. No one has ever done my hair right as long as I've been alive, so I doubt highly anyone would go to great lengths to please me when I'm dead.

Ashes to Ashes has taken on a whole new meaning for me after seeing what the family had to go through. I'm going to make it as painless as possible for everyone involved. This way I don't have to have nightmares about someone seeing me naked. :)

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