Thursday, May 31, 2012

Taking Off the Cape . . .

Lately it seems like things are spinning out of control.  I hate admitting this now, not because I want to be a ball of pride but because my writing career has really taken off--which is amazing.  More people have heard about Zeke and his story.  I've spoken at fifteen assemblies and had eight signings in the last two months.     
    With Sky getting sick, though, with certain people--who are close to me--not being supportive of my writing . . . things have gotten tough.  I won't give up even if I do need to slow down.  
    Being a mother of four is busy, and as you all know, my kids need to come first.  Plus, doing all of this career stuff, well, it's like trying to be Wonder Woman--and I learned while skydiving, I suck at flying.  So, I'm going to take off my cape.  According to many, capes can be quite dangerous anyway.  

    I'll just be posting every Wednesday for the next while.  Fishducky has generously offered to post every Monday and Friday while I'm slowing down.

So, back to the Hippie . . .   
    The doctors still don't know exactly what's going on with her.  We really do appreciate your prayers.  Melynda called yesterday and said her family was praying--in French!  The Hippie thought that was awesome.  (Remember when she was thrilled with Altoids since they're made in Great Britain.)  And later she even told me, "Someday I'll go to France because the people there already like me."  
    We were at the hospital for a while again yesterday.  She's had so many blood tests.  We finally got bored in the waiting room and so I pulled out an advance copy of my next book The Best of EC Writes, and started reading it to the Hippie.  For you to see how funny this was, I need to show you the front and back cover:
Yes, the following picture is of me on the toilet again.
Read that story HERE

    Well, I read a very silly chapter to the Hippie.  It was about how I bought a planter barrel.  I grabbed it at the entrance and when some old man yelled, thinking I stole it, instead of politely telling him I'd paid, I started running.  Still . . . I don't know why I ran, but it WAS hilarious.  Anyway, some of the people in the waiting room looked at me as I read.  A couple of them snickered quietly.  That's when I noticed a fancy woman staring at the cover of my book.  
    "You know," she whispered to the girl next to her.  "The cover looks like the woman who's reading the book."
    I knew they looked at me and then the cover.  Then the young girl said, "Oh my gosh!  Is that YOU . . . on a toilet?"
    "Shhh." her mother said.  "Of course that isn't her . . . on a toilet.  No one reads a book with their own picture on the cover."   
    I cleared my throat.  "Actually, it is.  I'm checking it for typos.  It's the final proof copy."
    "Are you kidding, can I look?" she asked.
    "Sure," I said.  And by this point, the Hippie seemed a bit amused.  I hoped the whole situation took her mind from the pain.
    The lady opened the book, read for a long time, went from red to pale.  She laughed so hard at one point, wiped the tears from her eyes and gave it back. "I have to buy that."
    "What story did you read?" I asked, clutching to her words.  It must have been the best story in the whole book! 
    "Oh, just about the time you got The Clap."
    Then MY face went red.  Of all the stupid stories--why had she read that one!
    "I'm gonna be laughing about your book all day."
    "Mama," the Hippie said later, "what's The Clap?"
    "I just found out last year.  Trust me, you do not want to know!  Like Uncle Shane said, no one ever told me about The Clap's true meaning.  They said the less I knew about it, the less chance I'd have of getting it."
    The Hippie just looked confused.
    "Never mind, I'll tell you when you're older." 
    "Not that again.  Mama, people are praying for me in French!  Can't you tell me grown-up things now?"
    "No, Honey.  Not until people are praying for you in Italian."

    If you'd like to find out what I thought The Clap was, please go HERE
    I'll be back next Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We went to Primary Children's

The Hippie got a fever and wouldn't stop throwing up. She complained of more stomach pains, so we went to Primary Children's. We were there until midnight last night. Anyway, they think she either has an ulcer or Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance). Everything else looks great--which is so good. We're exhausted, but I feel better knowing what's going on. Poor kid. She's been in so much pain on and off for a long time and the docs just kept saying it was the flu. We're going back in today. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We're in the E. R. :(

The Hippie woke up with such severe stomach pain she was screaming last night. I freaked out just thinking about how much pain she was in. Plus, Cade did that when he had a hernia. Zeke had a hernia too. Anyway, it's scary. So they've done some tests. Her blood test came back abnormal, now they're doing a CT scan. I hope everything will be okay. Sorry to post this here. I'm just nervous and I think the Hippie could use some prayers. She's just hurting so bad. I'll post more later. It's hard writing on my phone.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Cade and Zombie Elf!

    The Zombie Elf is four today and Cade is thirty-two.  
    Isn't it amazing how things work out. . . .  
    We always wanted a boy, but when Zeke died all of my dreams crashed to the ground.  Who thought that years later we'd have another boy on Cade's birthday?  We'll never forget Zeke--and I'll do everything I can to get his story of loss, hope and healing out there--but I'm so thankful for the boy I do have.
    The Zonbie's such a cutie.  He opened a present and screamed, "HOLY MOLEY!"  Of all the things he's learned from me, I'm so glad it's that.  I've been so stressed lately, I'm sure I've said some naughty words one too many times.
    Anyway, since it's my boys' birthday and last year I wrote about Cade, today I thought I'd share a fun memory about my Zombie Elf.
    Here goes:

    That night I couldn't wait to get my kids to sleep.  As I gave my two youngest children a bath, the Hippie kept chanting, "C-A-T spells cat.  C-A-T spells cat."  Then she'd turn to my two-year-old boy (The Zombie Elf) and say, "What does C-A-T spell?"
    "Bad guy," my boy said in a low monotone, like he was an Italian gangster.  He'd say that every time because in his world everything revolves around good vs. evil--good guys and bad guys.
    So, I gave them all their drinks at six and then a couple hours after, I put them to bed.  The Zombie Elf got mad at me when I wouldn't give him more milk.  "No. No, honey."  I patted him on the head and kissed him.  "I don't want you waking up all night because you have to go potty."
    He folded his arms and stuck out his bottom lip.  "Mama say 'no no'."
    I chuckled; even when he's mad, he's cute.  "Goodnight, baby," I said as I shut the door and scurried off to bed.  Sometimes when the kids go to sleep, it just makes me happy inside.  It's like I could conquer the world--if I had my broom I'm so good at sweeping AND whacking with.
    I smiled, snuggling into my fuzzy blanket.  I thought I had everything under control--I was terribly wrong.
    At two o'clock in the morning I heard screaming and a tremendous racket.  SOMEONE WAS IN OUR HOUSE!
    The noise ate at my nerves, ready to pounce on my sanity.  I sat and immediately thought of how our house had been broken into before!  I wondered what I should do. 
    So, as I heard the painful cries of help, I realized they were from my boy. It sounded like someone was beating him with my own cookware!  The water ran, and I heard slapping of liquid hitting itself.  My boy screamed again, obviously terrified and it made me so mad I could have strangled the intruder!  No one hurts my babies; NO ONE!
    Without a second thought (and even though I didn't have my broom) I moved toward the kitchen.  I didn't know what to expect, so before I turned the final corner, I gulped a huge piece of air and closed my eyes.  "God, please help me be strong enough," I whispered.  I imagined myself grabbing a broom and fighting better than Jackie Chan in fast forward.  When that intruder broke into our house he obviously didn't know what happens when you make a Mama mad.
    But when I turned the corner, I realized I hadn't been expecting the sight before me.  I gasped and covered my mouth, leaned against the wall and whimpered.  Some things are too painful to understand.  I'd only thought about hurting the intruder, I hadn't imagined how much pain my son might be in.  That's when I screamed.  My scream echoed up and around my house; I'm sure it traveled down the block.  I wonder if it reminded anyone of Wesley's scream in the Princess Bride because it was the sound of true agony.
    On the floor rested all my pans, all my cooking utensils, a bunch of broken eggs, a pickle jar that was LUCKILY still intact.  But what made me scream more than anything was the Zombie Elf!  He wore nothing more than a diaper and sat in the middle of A POOL OF MILK!  I hadn't heard running water!  I'd heard the sound of him dumping an entire gallon of milk onto the mess in the kitchen.  He smeared eggs and milk together.  Mixed them up in pans.
    He saw me and his eyes went wide with true fear.  He screamed with me then, wailing like a villain who's about to start a life-sentence.  Then he held the empty gallon of milk up to his dirty lips and as one little drip entered his mouth, I saw the fury build again.  "IIII WAAANT MIIIILK!"
    I grabbed him and we glared at each other.  That kid had scared the crap out of me.  I'd been ready to wield my broom and poke someone in the E-Y-E.  I'd risked my sanity--for a little turkey-turd!
    So, he did get a bath AND a spankin'.  I put him to bed without any milk; I figured he'd had enough for one night considering the jug still rested empty on the kitchen floor.  I knew it would take forever to clean that mess.  Milk had seeped into all the kitchen rugs, some liquid even ran under the fridge.  
     As I put the Zombie Elf to sleep, he turned and asked, "Mama?  Am I bad guy?"
    "No . . . "  I tucked the blanket under his tiny feet and pushed it around his shoulders and tummy.  "No, but that wasn't nice.  Now I get to stay up and clean.  We're going to have the cleanest floor in the neighborhood . . . because of you!"  At the moment, I didn't think that was something to be proud of.  I didn't want a clean floor.  I wanted a good night sleep--for once!  Then I looked at him and asked the one question which practically killed me.  "Why?  Why! did you do this to me?"
    He turned to his side, closed his eyes and whispered, "'Cause Mama say 'no no'."
    That turkey!  When I cleaned up the mess, I did have to laugh at one point.  "Mama say 'no no'," I chuckled.  The picture of him sitting amidst that mess, the empty gallon resting on his dirty lips.  That boy plays a symphony with my heart strings--even when he's naughty.
    After he fell asleep, I tip-toed into his room and hugged him extra hard because he always reminds me of how happy I am he's healthy.  After Zeke died, no matter how much crap happens, I'm just glad my other kids are healthy.  They might not always be the best kids, or the most well-behaved, but they're mine and I love them.  Even when they throw worms in people's hair, show up tardy forty-one times and break into my kitchen, I'm just glad they're still here!
    So with that being said, my boy is really a Zombie Elf.  It's because he's the best kind of Zombie, the merry kind Santa would approve of, the kind that makes me laugh even in the worst of times. 

    Happy birthday, Cade and Zombie Elf.  I love you!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ever Been to a Cajun Boil?

Our signing last night was amazing.  Deseret News came and everything!
    I'll tell you more about that later.  We're just getting ready for our gig tonight.  If you'd like to come to a real Cajun Boil, here's that info:

Saturday May 26th 7- 10 pm Playing Music & Signing at

Moon Dog's Cafe

792 West Hill Field Road
Layton, UT 84041 

Here are some fun pictures from Balance Rock Pub last night. Photobucket 

Please Visit 
For more great info about these pics.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I’M SORRY, MOM (PART 2—SORT OF); Fishducky Friday

Cade and I have traveled a lot for our music, but this is the first time we're traveling for my writing. ;)  We're just getting ready to visit Carbon County.  We're playing at the Balance Rock Pub in Helper, UT tonight-- the second oldest building in town.  It'll be fun to post pictures later!
    Take it away, Fishducky.

    Last week I left you in Garmisch-Partinkirchen, Gernany.  Did you enjoy your visit?  I think it was from there we went to Berlin.  It may have been on a different trip, but I don’t think so.  This was in the early 1980’s, which was several weeks ago, & my memory’s…who’s calling, please?
    At this time, there was still an East & West Berlin & the Berlin Wall was still standing.  The Wall was covered with political graffiti & every few yards there was a small memorial to someone who had unsuccessfully tried to escape.
    West Berlin was essentially rebuilt, although some bombed out buildings were deliberately left standing as a reminder of the war.
    We had two interesting experiences in West Berlin.  They had just completed a new concert hall, built in the round, with the orchestra in the center.  The concierge tried to get us tickets.  All they had left was seating in the student’s section, behind the drums.  We took them & I’m so glad we did.  Since we were behind the orchestra, we could watch the face of the conductor.  We never realized how hard he worked or how completely he was consumed by his job.  It was fascinating!  Our other marvelous surprise happened when we went to a small museum & found this bust of Nefertiti.  I had seen pictures of it before, but seeing it in person was breathtaking!  She was so graceful—just exquisite!

    We took a bus tour of communist East Berlin.  What sticks in my mind is that although the rest of Germany was lovely, in hundreds of shades of green, East Berlin (& its people) seemed to be only in shades of grey.  Our military guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are always standing & marching with dignity.  Not so at the Russian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Below is a picture of some guards leaving the tomb.
    We took the QE ll back to the US.  The clocks were turned back 1 hour each night to adjust to the time change.  The notice posted next to them always made me smile.  It said, “Clocks will be retarded for 1 hour each night at 3:00am.” I imagined them acting very silly.  The cruise was fine, except for the bland English food--& the hellacious storm on the last night.  The waves broke 50’ above the bow.  There were open fractures in the dining room from people being thrown off chairs.  The picture below was shot by the ship’s photographer—no way was I going to be on the deck!  By the way, there’s a shot you can take that gets rid of seasickness, which we both had.  I believe it’s called PHENERGAN.  The doctor injected lots of people, including us, the next day & it worked within a half hour.  We were blown 250 miles off course.  We got into New York about 12 hours behind schedule.
    We had reservations for a suite (2 small rooms) at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.  By the time we arrived, they had given it to someone else.  They managed to find another suite for us at the same price.  It was normally used by foreign dignitaries, but, after all, we HAD reserved a suite!  The 2 pictures below show part of the living room (yes, that IS a full size grand piano!) & the dining room, which seated 20 people & had a working fireplace.  There was also a full kitchen with a breakfast room & service porch (with a washer & dryer) & 2 bedrooms.  I took a bubble bath & would you believe the TV over the tub wasn’t working?  I decided NOT to call maintenance.  I believe you should just accept whatever little you are given & not be a complainer.
    I’ll tell you about our drive up the East Coast next time.

    Be patient----fishducky

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Epic Fail or Ultimate Victory? VLOG-style

    The radio interview yesterday morning was for an area that's pretty far away from me, so the conversation took place over the phone.  Want to know how it REALLY went?  
    Here's my side of the story--I try acting calm and collected--too bad THE TRUTH IS OUT!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Falling Prey to the Man Code

I'll be on Carbon County's KARB (98.3 FM) in less than half an hour--I'm excited! It's to adveritise my signings this weekend. If you're in Carbon or Davis County and would like to meet me, check out my Signing Schedule Tab. I hope this radio interview will go well. Since things are still a zoo over here, I'm reposting a story from last year. Here goes . . .     I grew up with a very sweet girl.  She'd always smile and laugh.  If our personalities were cast as roles in a movie, I would be like snarky Scarlett and she would be an unpretentious Melanie.


    This girl was wonderful.  Maybe that's why I always cry when I read that section of Gone With the Wind; you know the part when Melanie dies and Scarlett realizes what a schmuck she's been--that's the part I can't smile through since it's too close to home.
    Anyway, I was great friends with "Melanie."  Now, I don't know how I never noticed this, but one day we had a sleepover.  (We were probably fourteen or fifteen at the time.)  We sang songs, danced, giggled.  Then it came time to go to sleep and we washed our faces.  That's when something horrendous happened.  
    As Melanie washed her face, mascara and base flooded into the sink.  She did look different, but I gasped--literally gasped--when I turned to her again because her eyebrows had come off with the rest of her makeup!  That kid's face went on forever like a Klingon in Star Trek, and I wondered if she was an alien!

    Side note: When she auditioned for Star Wars, maybe this is how she landed the part.  I LOVE Portman, but you have to admit, she pulls off the "alien look" quite well! 

    So, back to Melanie.  She came to visit me a few months ago.  Excitement flooded my every action.  I couldn't wait to see her, introduce her to The Scribe, The Hippie, The Zombie Elf, Doctor Jones.  When she got here, she started by acting like the Melanie I always knew.  She was very quiet and poised.  Sweet and kind, like Melanie.  The only thing I didn't like was how close she sat to Cade.  She wore a very low-cut shirt, a short skirt AND her painted on eyebrows.
    I know it's terrible, but the whole time she scooted closer to Cade, I kept remembering what her face looked like without those brows.  It was a freaky memory, so I got up and made us all cookies.  We sat and she didn't say much.   "How have things been?"
I asked her, and it seemed for a moment like I was the third wheel--in her mind--because I rested on one couch while she'd claimed the one Cade sat on. 
    "Great, they've been great," she said.
    "Do you have a boyfriend?"
    "Nope," she responded.  "I dated a couple of guys over the last few years, but then I found out they were married."
    O-kay.  Things traveled nowhere fast.  "You like cooking?"
    "You like kids?"
    What was the deal with the one-word answers?  The rest of the night went like that until she finally left.
    "She's pretty," The Hippie said.
    "Yeah, but she doesn't have a personality," Cade said, still having no clue that Miss Eyebrow-less had practically thrown herself at him. 
    "Wait a minute," I said.  "You think she's pretty?"
    "I didn't say that."
    "Oh, yes you did.  The Hippie said, 'she's pretty,' and you said, 'yeah.'  Tell the truth!  You think she's gorgeous."   He stayed quiet, which is man-code for "Oh crap; she's onto me!"
    "You want me to be honest?"  He paced as if coming closer to the pit of quicksand he didn't know was there.
    "Yes.  I'll even make this easy on you.  Is she prettier than me?"  I bit my lip--so the question that killed me was out there.  The girl with the big boobs and the fake brows had hit on him.  I needed to know what he thought of her.  He could either give the "right" answer, or crash and burn from the trickery of my inteligencia!  (I had to throw that in there; it's one of the only words I remember from Spanich class.)
    Cade looked around.  I know he smelled danger afoot, but part of his man-sense must have led him from the holy path of goodness.  Instead of answering with a safe bet, he took the hard way, the one men should never take--he took the road of . . . HONESTY!!!  Dun Dun DUN!
    "Maybe she's . . . just a bit prettier.  She could be a model, a real model, but she has no personality.  You have A TON if that to go around.  I mean, look at what you did the other day.  You had me roll'n!  You . . ."
    He kept talking, but I no longer had ears to hear his honestly-tainted words.  I wanted a magic mirror!  I wanted to become the fairest in the house THAT DAY!  I wanted to be the girl who could paint on angry brows because I had no real ones to be proud of.
    I glared at Cade and his mouth hung open, then slowly swung shut.  "OH . . . no," he said.  
   "Oh, yes."  I fumed before turning quiet like that Melanie girl.  No wonder Scarlett was so mean to Melanie!
   "Did I say something wrong?" Cade asked--honestly!
    "No," it was a one-word answer, and apparently opposite day as well!
    "Is that woman code for 'yes'?"
    "No," I said, but nodded, hoping he'd catch my clue.
    "You're confusing me?"
    "And you're too honest."
    "But you asked me--"
    "It was woman code!  We've been married . . . for ten years! I thought that was long enough for you to get the code.  Missionaries learn a language in two months and they know it good enough to convert other countries!  And you . .  You've been studying woman code FOR YEARS!"
    He gaped.  "Well, your personality is the best I've seen.  You're even cute when you're mad."
     As I peered at his happy-go-lucky smile, some of my anger flew out the window.  "Thanks." I slumped next to him, deflated.  "I guess that's worth something."  Maybe the man code wasn't quite so bad.  At least I knew he was being honest.  I suddenly felt like an idiot.  Sure he should know the woman code, but I should know the man one.  If I asked him a question, of course he'd take me at face value.
    "Yeah, looks aren't forever and when she's going through the change, she'll look terrible.  I bet she looks weird without all the makeup."
    "She has . . . no eyebrows.  It was one of the worst experiences of my youth, but I found out at a sleepover . . . once."  I confessed it, like it was the saddest damn thing in the world.
    "No way!  How did I miss that?" he asked.
    "I don't know, but I missed it for years too.  It's pretty creepy when she washes her face.  We didn't talk for years after I saw her without makeup.  It was like an alien invasion, in my very own home!" 
    He hugged me then.  "See, she has nothing on you.  You have a personality and eyebrows."
    "Ummm . . . thanks," I said and decided I should learn the man code better than I learned Spanish--because that would show my true inteligencia.  
    If I don't want to hear the truth, I shouldn't ask for it.  But on the bright side, at least Cade likes me and I still have my eyebrows.

    For another awesome post on this topic, please visit:

    On a side note, have you ever fallen prey to the man or woman-code?  Did your story end well? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Writing a Companion Cat Book

My trip to Eastern Utah yesterday was awesome.  I'll be interviewed on a Carbon County radio station at 7 tomorrow morning--wish me luck.  This will be fun preparing for the signing on Friday.
    I'd like to thank Dee Ready for guest posting for me since things are so busy.  She's back again today--I wanted her to tell you about her new book.
    Take it away, Dee!

Years ago, I lived with Dulcy—the sweetest of cats. For seventeen-and-a-half years, she and I cherished one another. On July 8, 1989, two days after she died, Dulcy began to channel through me the purr of our relationship. The words came from that deep center of myself where Oneness dwells and surely Dulcy and I were One.
            In April 1991, I sent a query letter plus five chapters of the book to Jane Meara, an editor at Crown Publishing in New York. In her return letter she asked me to delete half of the 42,000 words of Dulcy’s manuscript by concentrating only on our relationship. Immediately I ruthlessly rid the manuscript of any story that didn’t concern the two of us.
            Of course, being a hoarder of words, I pasted everything I cut into a separate document. (If you’d like to know more about Dulcy and our relationship, please click here for a guest posting I did on Elisa’s blog yesterday.)

            Crown published A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story in September 1992. For the following six months I enjoyed the hoopla of signings, readings, interviews, and local talk-show appearances. By the following spring, all that ended. Two years later, the final count for the sales came to just under 14,000 books in the United States.


            I do not know what the sales were for the editions published in Korea, Germany, Taiwan, and Japan. However, the advance against royalty from each publisher plus the royalties on the US edition enabled me to visit Greece for four weeks to research a novel, on which I’m still working.
            During the next two years, I tried to create a salable manuscript from the stories  I’d cut. To do so, I changed the point of view to third person and introduced Tromley, the cat who lived in the house behind ours. In this first attempt to create a companion book, Dulcy used the deleted stories from A Cat’s Life to teach Tromley how to win a human’s love. 
            Jane Meara’s response?
            “It doesn’t work for me.”
            No contract.
            Next, I tried to use the deleted sections to create the life of Tromley. No go. Down deep I was glad. Using the material that way felt like a betrayal of Dulcy.
            Finally, I came up with the idea of cobbling the material into twelve distinct stories. Once again, Jane Meara turned down the manuscript. “No thread holds it together,” she said. “Nothing compels me to read beyond the first story.”
            In other words, no glue held the stories together.
            So I set aside the material that had been cut in 1991. Someday, I thought, I’ll figure out how to get Dulcy’s other stories out to an audience.
            That someday came several years later when I got the idea to divide the stories into twelve habits of successful cats. Dulcy would “purr” these habits. Then I’d follow each with a short reflection about how the habit had influenced my life as her human. I titled this new manuscript Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats and Their Humans by Dulcy and Dee Ready.
            By this time, Jane Meara had left Crown. I tried the agent route but was unable to interest anyone in even reading the proposed book. Once again, no chance to get Dulcy’s words to readers.
            Now we come to today. I’ve concluded that finding an agent or an editor in today’s publishing milieu is almost impossible. However, Wayman—a small, but growing, publishing house—expressed interest. Both the paper book and the e-book are now available on Amazon.

            If you have any interest in reading Dulcy’s words of wisdom—or mine—please click here to get to its location on Amazon. The cover—designed by Elisa—is lovely, and Dulcy’s purr is sweet. As to the text I wrote, it represents experiences I’ve had in living a long and happy life. May you know peace today in your own lives.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dee Ready's New Book Just Came Out!!!

Today is the first day that I'm really traveling for my writing.  I'm going to Price, Utah, to talk and prepare for a signing on Friday.  Wish me luck.
    But today is VERY special for another reason.  Wayman Publishing just published . . .
Click on the picture to buy it.

    To celebrate, I've asked the author, Dee Ready, to guest post for me for a few days.  She is amazing!  I've read her latest release through Wayman and I absolutely love it.
    Before handing things over, let me tell you a story.
    Many years ago. I went to a dinner party.  About a million people sat around.  I started laughing and joking like I do, and before long everyone had turned and was listening either with amusement or horror, to the things I said.  
    At one point I turned to the women at the table and said, "I think every sane women, whether young or old has thought about being a nun, or at least dreamed about it.  Wouldn't that be an amazing life, devoting yourself to God alone!"
    Two of the prissy women shook their heads.  "Absolutely not.  I've never dreamed of being a nun."
    I'd been daintily sipping my water, with my pinky out and one eyebrow raised.  But when she said that, I nearly spit my water onto the freshly pressed tablecloth.  After all, I'd just said, "Every SANE person has thought about being a nun."  That woman should have stayed quiet; did she really want everyone knowing how peculiar she was?

    Needless to say, when I met Dee from
Coming Home to Myself, and found out she had joined a convent and (like me) dreamed of being a nun, I knew I'd met a kindred spirit.
    Dee is truly amazing--an inspiration.  She's been traditional published twice (once even by Crown, a division of Random House).  I'm so thrilled to have her guest post today. 
    Thanks for joining us, Dee, and for sharing more about Dulcy and your journey to becoming a published author. 

How A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story Came to Be

    Seventeen and a half years after she selected me, Dulcy died of kidney failure. Without her, the house felt soul-less. I missed her in the marrow of my bones.
   She’d been a constant in my life for almost eighteen years, moving with me many times—from Ohio to Missouri to Minnesota to New Hampshire and then back again to all these places. She’d pawed my face gently when I cried. She’d sprawled on my lap as I hallucinated. She'd loved me through seasons of darkness and moments of giddy gladness.
She’d never deserted me as had my dad and mom when I was five. She’d stayed with me through depression and fear and thoughts of ending my own life. She was dear to me in a way that no one else was.
She died on July 6, 1989. Two days later I woke alert, compelled to go to my computer. As I sat in front of it, my hands automatically began to type. The first words that came were these: “At the end all that matters is love. My love for my human and hers for me. I have planted the memories of our life together in her heart. She will find them there when I am gone and they will comfort her.” I stared at the words, realizing that this was Dulcy speaking.
Each morning for the next two months I spent an hour at the computer before beginning my freelance projects. During that hour, I sat before the computer, hands poised, waiting for Dulcy’s words.
   She never failed me. Each day she shared memories of our life together. I’d forgotten these stories, but from some place deep within me—that place where Dulcy dwells in Oneness with all creation and with me—the remembrances of our life together spilled forth. Even in death, she gifted me. She channeled our story through me.
After completing a first draft, I began to edit. Dulcy tended to be wordy and as her editor I tried to find the essence of what she wanted to meow. Slowly the story glued itself together.
For a year and a half, I sent out query letters about Dulcy’s story to editors. In return, I received only form rejection letters. Then in April, nearly two years after Dulcy died, an editor at Crown responded with a typewritten note. In it, she said that if I’d cut half of the 42,000-word manuscript, she’d be happy to look at it again. She advised me to concentrate only on the relationship between Dulcy and me. She suggested that I cut out any mention of other cats.
    Within three days, I did the cutting. (Truthfully, I couldn’t abandon Bartleby and so one other cat has a large role in Dulcy’s story.)
I sent the manuscript back to her.
    Two months later I had a contract.
    A year later, Crown published A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story. 
    Another gift then came my way: The publishing house decided to hire Judy J. King to illustrate the book. A truly gifted artist, Judy captured Dulcy’s sweetness. Her cover was as lovely as the one that later enhanced the story of Dewey, the library cat. I think Dulcy and Dewey would have been great pals.
    The royalties from Dulcy's hardcover enabled me to do three things
·      Buy a new Mac.
·      Take six months off work to write.
·      Travel to Greece for four weeks to research a novel

    I’d been aching to write since I’d been in the sixth grade and studied World History.
    One of the joys of being published is the letters a writer receives. I’ve read many letters from readers who have somehow gotten hold of a hardcover or a trade paperback copy of Dulcy’s book. They write to tell me how the book has touched their lives and changed their relationship with their pets.I know this pleases Dulcy. It certainly pleases me.

    Both the hardcover and trade paperback editions are now out of print. Only 670 copies of the paperback are still available and I have them all right here in my office! Her story has now also become an e-book. Both the paperback and the e-book are available from my blog: 
Coming Home to Myself

            A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story is a love letter she wrote to me after her death. I will always treasure it. I hope that if you get the chance to read it, you will treasure both the book and Dulcy.

In closing, if you'd like to advertise Dee's book on your blog (like I have), I've included the code below.

Coming Home to Myself

Find this book at Amazon; here's a coupon

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm Sorry, Mom (Part 1)

Today is the last day of the Bible Girl & the Bad Boy book launch.  You can see that HERE.  We've had over 65,000 entries so far!  I'm amazed. Also, today is the last day Bible Girl will be on sale for $.99 HERE: Bible Girl.
All right, Fishducky, take it away!

We have a friend who was a successful practicing psychiatrist.  He went back into the Army when he was in his 50’s so he could serve his country.  Also, because there was no war & the Army took him in as a full colonel & promised him travel, interesting work & an excellent retirement. (Iran held 52 Americans hostage from November, 1979 to January, 1981.  He debriefed them after their release.)  He was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany when we went to visit him & his wife.
    Germany is an absolutely beautiful country.  I don’t think I have ever seen so many shades of green in one place.  I don’t remember too much about Frankfurt except that there was beer everywhere & that it was much better than American beer.  I also remember that you couldn’t get a meal without kartoffeln (potatoes).This just popped into my mind—there was a street fair & an artist was drawing portraits.  She had a sign that translated into “One hour portrait in 5 minutes.”

      I try to buy a little “duck something” as a souvenir when we travel.  Usually I get a tiny figurine.  This is what I bought in Frankfurt.  It says, “liebe ist… zusammen die enten zu futtern”—“love is…feeding the ducks together”.


     One day they drove us on the autobahn to Garmisch-Partinkirchen.  I loved the speed!  Bud, not so much.  Garmisch is in the Bavarian Alps & is one of the most colorful places we’ve ever seen.  Stores hung an item next to a sign explaining what type of business it was.  A tailor might hang a replica of a sewing machine under a sign saying “Schneiden”.  A hardware store might have a sign saying “Werkzeuge” and a saw.  The ones that surprised us were the jewelers.  Over the door there would be a watch or a huge ring & the sign would read “Schmuck”.  (I’m surprised I couldn’t find a picture of that.)


     The balconies on the houses were full of flowers.  When we were there, they were mostly geraniums.  Many of the houses & shops were painted with scenes from operas or fairy tales.  This one that I took had scenes from “Little Red Riding Hood”.  There is no other word to describe them except CHARMING!
    We were crossing one of the streets in town when we had to stop to let these cows pass by.  A few minutes later, an old woman came riding in on a bike.  She went right up to the cow in front & starting bawling her out & shaking her finger in her face.  We found out later that she owned the cows & that every day at the same time she would let them out to graze.  When they were through they would return to the barn.  This day, however, they apparently decided to do some shopping.  Someone apparently told her they were in town & she came to get them.  I don’t speak German, but it wasn’t necessary in order to understand their conversation.  It was like she was talking to her child, saying, “Do you know how worried I was about you?  You could have been in an accident.  Don’t ever frighten me like that again!”  The cow looked directly in her face & mooed—you could almost hear, “I’m sorry, Mom.”  She got back on her bike & rode home, with her cows following her.


     We came back on the QE ll & toured New England & the gorgeous fall foliage, but that’s another story—or two.

    Auf wiedersehen----fishducky   

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Mime War!

After making my very own potato launcher/spud gun, I wrote about Mimes last year--how there are different stages we go through in life.  Here are the stages if you didn't read them before:

Stage one: Innocence
This is a person who's never seen a mime.  They're happy (SORT-OF) but don't know what they're missing.

Stage two: Seeing Stripes
This is a person who's seen a mime.  Envy hasn't had time to brew in their heart.  They smile at the mime and wave.  The mime waves back--since that's still allowed in the miming industry.

Stage three: Hater
This is a person who's seen a mime, but HATE them.  This is where envy has crept into their mime-loving soul.  They hate mimes because they're really the mimes' biggest fans.

Stage four: Becoming Your Enemy
This is a person who decides to become a mime.  Less than 1% of our population has the courage to reach this point.  I know that's sad and hard to swallow--but it's true!  It's hard to get to this stage, but you'll know if you make it there because you will completely lose your voice and your kids will LOVE being around you.

I'm sorry to inform you that I've regressed from a classic Stage four Aspiring Mime to a Stage three Hater.  Why?  Because my children practically cast me from my Mime-loving pedestal.


I loved mimes.  I was ready to become one.  I thought I could stop talking just like Miss Gilbert in "Eat, Pray, Love," but I wouldn't have to travel half-way across the world to do it.  I'd just don a stripey mime-suit.  But no, my children had to turn the idea on me.

I felt excited at first because my second oldest daughter, the Hippie, stopped looking for Boggarts in the walls.  She was so obsessed with Spiderwick and Boggarts that everywhere I turned, all I saw was honey and traps set to catch brownies.  Well, miming cured her.  She stopped whispering to hob goblins and began eating imaginary apples.  I thought that was gold, pure and sweet, until my girls wouldn't talk AT ALL.  They still giggled--sure that was all right--but wouldn't talk to save their lives.

I said, "Wipe off the table."

My oldest daughter,  the Scribe, shook her head.  She touched the table and acted as if it was scalding hot.  The Hippie followed suit.  They turned to each other and winked.

"You can't wipe the table?"

They nodded vigorously.

"Because . . . "

They touched the surface and I swore it made a sizzling sound.

"It's too hot?" I asked.

They grinned, then the Scribe acted as if blowing up a huge balloon.  That thing must have been bigger than a planet because it took her long enough.  Then when she'd finished, she handed me the balloon's string.  I knew it floated above me--in her imagination.  That was great, but the table wasn't clean!  I looked at the table.  the Scribe motioned to my balloon, bowed, and both girls started skipping from the room.

"Oh no you don't!"  They turned.  Their fingers pointed to each other and did a bunch of alien hand signals.  I hated that!  It reminded me of going to a restaurant where fellow customers talk in a different language NO ONE else understand.  You wonder if they're bashing you--right out in the open.  It's the worst form of mockery.  You feel too stupid to stand up for yourself, yet if you do, they can deny the whole conversation!  Well, that's how this felt.  I didn't know what my girls discussed until they started swinging invisible lassos over their heads.

So, they wanted to play it rough?  "I can play this game," I said and rolled up my sleeves.  I wasn't about to go down like Gulliver in his travels with the little people.  "Bring it on!"  I zipped my lips and threw the key way down the kitchen sink.  Those girls, with the fiery eyes, still swung their lassos, but were about to meet their mime-loving match.

Just when they threw the ropes, I pulled out a huge pair or invisible scissors.  It cut through those ropes faster than a hot knife through butter.  I laughed--because that's how bad I suck as a mime--I know mimes aren't allowed to laugh.  My girls paled.  I'd ruined their ropes.  Maybe they would have to wipe the table!

They made some swords.  They looked like big ones too.  They jumped next to me and fought before I could make anything new.  I remembered those scissors, thankfully.  Sometimes it's hard battling kids' imaginations.  They don't forget a thing and they never miss a beat.  The scissors seemed to do the trick though, since I could parry and cut.

Soon my girls backed against the table.  I cackled, feeling the power of victory--thank God for scissors!  That's when the Scribe stepped back.  She let her little sister battle me alone.  I knew the Scribe was up to something bad.  She wouldn't leave the Hippie for just any dumb idea.

As I watched bits and pieces of what "The Scribe" did, fear filled my movements.  She acting as if cutting the pipes, gluing the sections together.  Then when she got to the flint igniter I knew I'd lose.  She'd made a . . . A SPUD GUN!!!  I don't know if you know this, but in the mime world nothing can best a spud gun.

My lip quivered.  I edged back.  My girls guided me until I was the one backed against the table.  I felt like they had me walking a plank.  I wanted to say a farewell--my last words on Earth--as the Hippie touched the table and winched.  She purposely reminded me that I could either cooperate, lose by sitting on the table of fire or get shot with the invisible spud gun.

They had me, they really did.  I'd lost my scissors somewhere along the way, and knew one move could be my last.  Then a smile slithered across my face.  I had a fantastic idea.  I'd make a potato-proof wall.  I'd do one "talk to the hand" motion and the wall would be up!


It was a great idea--in theory!  I made the wall.  My girls looked at each other.  I continued reinforcing the wall.  I glared through it.  How did it feel trying that on for size!!!  Not even a potato launcher could fire through a wall like the one in front of me.  I crossed my arms and smirked.  They could try getting through that, but I knew nothing could break down my wall.  That's when the Scribe started messing with her side.  That wasn't allowed.  What was she thinking?  She made something, slowly altering my wall and I didn't like it one bit!

Before I completely knew how to react she'd made a doorknob IN MY WALL!  She motioned for the Hippie to do the honors.  They opened, my wall and stepped through, still holding the potato launcher!!!  Couldn't they just leave my wall alone?  I'd been so proud.

So, I lost the battle of imagination, but at least my girls did end up wiping the table off.  They still aren't talking much unless we're around other people.  If this keeps up today we might go to a play land, just so they'll have to talk.  I don't know If I'm ready for another mime battle, but I need to prepare just in case.  What in the world is better than a potato launcher--nothing that's what.  Nothing except a bigger one.  All right, I'm glad I wrote this, those girls are going down!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm feeling suicidal, what should I do?

    I was looking through search topics that brought people to my site, and this one broke my heart: 
"I'm feeling suicidal what do I do?"
    I can't describe how many emotions are running through me right now.  "Why?" you ask.  Maybe it's because I've been there.
    I'm not a professional . . . I don't have a simple answer, so today, I took time to write a story that shows how I feel.  When I'm depressed, this line of thinking gets me through.  I hope it will help someone else as well.

    Once, a long time ago, a father lived in a cottage which sat in the middle of a bright, magical forest.   Part of him had crumpled and died from sadness after riding through the test of fate, but new-found joy came from his housekeeper and two children who stayed with him.  His children were very young though, and if their father died, they wouldn't have remembered his name or even his face.  
    The father and housekeeper looked out through the window, and thought about all of this as the children played outside, enjoying the shade and bounty the trees offered.  It was then that the forest turned dark with pain.  The very trees bent away from the cottage, cringing as if they grasped the mood of everything around.  
    A knock resounded from the front door.
    "Hello?" The father answered the door, then his eyes turned wary.  
    A massive snake slithered into the house, grew and billowed, smoking into the shape of a man who was pale, dismal and graying.
    "What do you want?" the father asked.
    "The lives of your two children."
    "Haven't you taken enough from me, Levi?" the father spat.  "Do what you're best at--go prey on the weak.  Leave what's left of my family alone!"
    "Are you afraid?" the evil man asked, chuckling softly.
    "Never!  You're beneath me; your very presence has no power here."  But the father did seem worried despite his truthful words.
    "Then you won't mind taking a wager.  I bet that if your children couldn't see you or even touch you, they would turn into greedy or self-loathing people."
    "No they wouldn't," the father yelled.  "Not my children."
    "Ha!  Well, then, give them the chance.  Let's see what happens to these amazing children without guidance from you or their insignificant housekeeper.  I'll spare their lives now, but if they do fall for my ploys, then when they die, I get to keep their souls."
     The housekeeper ran into the room and tugged on the father's arm.  "No," she pleaded.
    The father didn't listen though.  "You'll both see the power of a human heart," the father said and shook hands with Levi, the darkly-clothed sorcerer.

    Years passed and although the children no longer saw their father, the housekeeper or even the cottage they'd once lived in, they survived in ignorance.  
    The father was a powerful magician as well, and when he'd bargained with Levi, he'd used magics of his own.  Yes, his children couldn't see him or touch him, but if they wished, they could still sense his presence.
    He watched them grow and every time they fell or got hurt, fought or cried, he wished he could protect them from the pain.  But he couldn't, he'd made an unbreakable deal, and his protection could only do so much.
    "I hate him!" the boy said when he was a teenager.
    "Who?" his sister asked.
     "Our father, if we ever had a father.  Our parents must have left us alone in the middle of a forest.  I don't know about you, but I'm getting out of here."
    So, they left together.  And as they traveled, the father and housekeeper followed them closely.
    Rain and snow came, but the housekeeper protected them.  She'd always had a special relationship with the elements, and so she used it to help the children while they were growing up.
   The father nearly cringed when they passed beyond his property because although he couldn't do anything, they were entering the lands of Levi the sorcerer.
    The second they passed the boundary, a strange woman appeared before the two teenage children.  "Are you lost?" she asked.
    "No," the boy answered, "but we would like to find our way out of here."
    "Well what are you seeking?" she crooned.  "After all, the only thing worth seeking is power.  I can bring you to a place where riches can be found and friends can be bought.  Your wildest dreams can come true."
    The girl didn't seem convinced, but her brother jumped at the chance. "Take us there."  
    So they traveled with the woman, and the whole time the father and housekeeper tried warning them with whispers and worries, "Don't follow her.  She's really Levi!"
    But the teenagers couldn't hear the warnings.  And when it came time that they saw a beautiful castle in the distance, the brother sneaked off before anyone could wake up.  He figured if he earned a fortune, he wanted it all to himself.
    The father and housekeeper grieved over the son's poor choice.  But nothing could be done--he'd shown his worth.
    When the sister woke up, no one was there.  In fact, where the old woman had slept, the only thing in her place was a glistening knife.      
    The girl turned her face away. She held her knees close to herself, and cried.  "I'm so alone.  Doesn't anyone know what it's like living this way?  My brother left me.  I never wanted gold or jewels, I just wanted someone to really appreciate me.  There's nothing to live for!"
    "Then do it," a voice whispered into the recesses of her mind.      
    Although Levi, in his true form, stood behind her, he'd made himself invisible to her.  "Your brother is greedy; now you're the most pitiful human known to man.  Just end it now.  KILL . . . YOURSELF.  The world would be better without you."    
    The young girl sobbed even harder.  At first the notion seemed ridiculous, almost silly.  But as she sat there for hours, the more she thought, she nodded.  Maybe it wasn't so silly after all . . .
    "Don't!" the father screamed.  He and the housekeeper had been watching the whole time.  
    Levi laughed as the girl picked up the knife which had rested where the woman had been.  "One simple action could end it all."
    "No," the father ran to her.  "I'm here, I've been here.  You can't see me, but I know you're strong enough to make the right choice.  Don't kill yourself!  Please just open your heart and you'll feel my presence."
    But the girl, so absorbed in her own pain and self-pity, could not hear her own father.  
    "You're terrible. Filthy!"
    "Stop it!" she screamed aloud.  "Won't anyone ever love me.  But why would they?  I am so pathetic."
    The knife came closer, closer to her wrists. 
    It wasn't until the housekeeper sent a wind toward the girl, that she paused in her action.  
    The father tried taking away the knife, but he couldn't.  The choice--the victory if she conquered this test and lived--that would belong solely to the girl.  She sniffled into the wind, sat in the middle of a beautiful meadow, and no longer saw the beauty of life.
    The father cried then, big tears which seemed strange coming from such a strong man and as he cried, the wind carried his tears and they fell on his daughter's cheeks.
    "If she only knew that someone out there loved her.  If she didn't feel so worthless."  The father bent and hugged her.  "I love you.  I'm so sorry.  I wish I could take away the pain, but this is something you have to conquer on your own," he said.  "Please be strong!  I promise things will get better if you just hang in there."
    The knife came closer and then wavered.  
    "I love you," he said one last time, and as the winds subsided, the beautiful girl looked up, confused.  Pain filled her eyes. "Father?" she asked.  The knife slowly fell from her hand.  "Father!" 
    "Yes," her father said expectantly, and his daughter actually heard him.  
    She stood and looked around as a gentle understanding lit her face.  "Things will get better?" she said.  
    "They will."  He stood so proud.  She proved herself strong, resilient in adversity.  She'd faced one of the biggest battles in life--and overcome depression. 
    "Because this is my one life to live," she nodded.  Her face turned to the fading wind and she smiled.  "I'm so glad you're real."  Then her eyes looked at the glowing city.  "I need to tell my brother."
    Levi screamed more upset than he'd been in centuries.  "Leave your brother alone!"
    "Leviathan," the father said using Levi's full name.  "You may think you've gained my son.  But  remember . . . you've lost my daughter.  She was never weak enough for you, and now she's going to share her strength with my son!  My power multiplies growing with love and knowledge.  Your strength only feeds off the weak!"
    Leviathan turned to angry vapor as the father and housekeeper followed the girl.
    "Levi's on his way to influence my son."
    "But she hears you now," the house keeper said.  "Don't lose hope."
    The girl walked ahead of them.  The rising sun kissed her dancing hair and resolute face.
    "She is beautiful," Father God said to the housekeeper.
    "Of course," Mother Nature Replied.  "She was made in your image."  
    They held each others' hands as they followed the daughter, and walked toward the city where each human in tested and tried.

    In closing, I just wanted to write something to the person who googled this . . .
   YOU are special!  
    There have been three times when I've depressed to the point of being suicidal.

    Once, in high school, certain kids were being VERY mean to me.  I asked for help from a teacher and a youth pastor as well.  Unfortunately neither of them helped me.  It was at that point I decided I had some abusive, toxic relationships in my life.
    So, point one is: If you're feeling suicidal because of things people have or are telling you, break off those relationships and surround yourself with people who realize your worth.

   The next time I thought about suicide was months after my son died.  I came through that because I knew, deep down, things would get better.  Life is how you see it.  Choose to see good and you'll see it.  Choose to see bad, and you'll see that too.
    At that point in my life, I started looking beyond myself and my own problems, I began helping others.  Doing this--helping others in need often takes the focus of yourself and will help you realize your own value as well as the value of others.  How can you help?  What is your place in this world?  We're all special, find what makes you special by helping others in the way only you can.  If you've been hurt by someone, find others who have gone through similar things.  Help them!
   Point two: If you're suicidal, look for the good and also try to help someone else.  

    The last time I struggled with this was several years ago when I had SEVERE postpartum.  
    Point three: If you're having thoughts that don't seem logical at times--even to yourself--seek professional help.  

    These resources are often free!
Call a suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Or call for prayer: 1-800-759-0700

Find online resources:

    I know this post might seem silly, but I felt compelled to write it after reading what someone searched.  

Dear reader,
    Please know how special you are.  Whether you believe in God or not, you have to admit we're all different.  You have something amazing and wonderful to offer the world.  Don't give up now.     
    There's a whole future waiting just for you.  Grab ahold of life and don't let go.  Just imagine the positive impact you can make on the lives of others.  Think how many people could learn from your story.
    Things will get better.  Just hang in there.  You are not alone.  And like I wrote before YOU ARE SPECIAL!