Monday, July 30, 2012

Someone Cared About Me Once

A woman I called "The Blonde" and I spent the next hour curling hair, doing makeup, getting dressed and being absolutely girlie before going to a party. It was hard for me—a practical granola who had shunned such things for so long. And the longer The Blonde and I talked, I realized we had absolutely nothing in common. Either she’d changed drastically since I'd met her or she was finally being herself.
    “Take those ugly earrings out,” The Blonde ordered.
    “They . . . Well, they don’t come out.”
    “What are you talking about. Of course they come out.”
    “I don’t want to take them off.”
    “But they’re rusted and old.”
    I smiled and looked at them in the mirror. “Maybe my face doesn’t look like my own anymore with all this makeup, but those earrings still remind me of who I am. When I was eleven, my brother took me on a long camping trip where we climbed mountains and hiked all around. We used to bury cans of Spaghettios under the fire so they could get warm for when we’d eat them.”
    “And what do those ugly earrings have to do with any of that?”
    “One day, we looked over a big valley. We’d spread a blanket next to his trunk. The sun had gone down. The stars came out and my brother gave me these metal earrings. He put one in his ear and gave me these. He said it was a sign that he’d always be there if I needed anything because no matter what he’d love me since I’m his little sister.” I cleared my throat and touched one of the earrings with my left hand. They were little loops, nothing special to anyone except me.
    “I guess I didn’t realize it until now, but whenever I’ve had a hard time, I remember these earrings and they make me feel better.”
    “Does he still wear his earring?” she asked me as if it was a fashion faux pas and not something that had carried me through so much.
    “No,” I whispered. “He doesn’t.”
    “And yet you refuse to take yours out now. Between those earrings and your stupid beliefs . . . That’s great if you want to keep the memory in your heart of how someone cared about you once, but you don’t need to wear those earrings forever. The earrings have turned from a blessing to a burden.”
    She really didn’t get it. Who cared that I hardly had anything, or that my brother no longer wore his earring. They were a sign to me that his words and actions had impacted my life. And If I wanted to carry those memories with me—memories of his kindness and the fact that someone had thought I was worth something once—that was my own decision.

    This is an excerpt from a book in The Golden Sky series.  How awesome that the final book is almost done!

    You might be wondering why I'm writing about my brother so much lately.  It's because his very first book is coming out this Wednesday.  I'm so excited for him.
    For more information about his book, please go HERE.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Manly Man, Leg Crosser or Intellectual: Part II (I told a lie)

Yes this is me . . . Elisa, and I told a lie, a fib really, but it gave me nightmares, so I swore I'd never do it again.


    "Did you read my stuff?" a sweet lady asked after four of us gathered for critique group.  The truth was I hadn't.  I wasn't her ideal audience and I had other things I'd done instead.  I know I sound mean, but having four kids leaves me with little free time.
    Instead of telling her the truth I said, "My printer is ummm . . . broken."  I looked at the sky, the playground, my other friends' faces, my kids.  "Yeah.  It's not working.  I'm real sorry."
    "That's too bad it's broken.  So you only read stuff if it's printed out, now?"
    "Yep, pretty much.  And my printer's . . . not working."
    "That's too bad."  
    Why did she keep saying it was too bad?  Didn't she believe my lie?  What's wrong with people these days?  Can't they just let a lie be?  There was a reason I'd lied and she was being rude by saying it was too bad.  "The printer majiggy won't budge."  I put my hand in the air and moved in a "cartridge won't budge motion."  Then I wanted to kick myself.  "See, it's moving like this.  Cha ching.  Except there's no ching to go with my cha.  It's goes, cha . . . cha . . . cha."  I went on and on about the stupid printer like I was a printer repair woman!  It would have sounded more legit if I'd just stopped there.  But no, I went on like a lying idiot because I suck at lying!
    That night God taught me a lesson about my big-fat tongue of doom.  I dreamed that Pinocchio chased me through the desert.  "You're a liar!  Liar, lair pants on fire.  Nose as long as a telephone wire."
    "Is not," I screamed back, but touched my nose to make sure it wasn't growing.  I ran, scared of his Disney face with those pink cheeks.  He really freaked me out even more than a horror clown.  I slipped across sandy hills until I'd left him far behind.  I smiled greedily.  He couldn't run as fast as me; he still wasn't a real boy!  And he wasn't as fast as the gingerbread man!
    Then as I cackled into the dry air I saw a tree in the desert!  It waited beautifully, and I knew I should pull it up and bring it home.


    I tugged on that tree, yanked on it with all my might.  Even though it was big, it started to come up easily.  The further it moved the more I noticed a problem.  It didn't have roots.  It had a face connected to that tree!  And it was Pinocchio's face.  I screamed.  The tree was his nose!!


    He jumped from the ground and drug his nose behind him. "You're a liar! A big fat liar."  I woke up.  That's when I swore I wouldn't lie again.  Too bad I broke my rule yesterday.
    I wrote a blog about my husband and my brother.  It's called Manly Man, Leg Crosser or Intellectual 
    I didn't want to come out and say hey, my husband refuses to sit when he pees and he won't cross his legs to save his life.  I felt it would be equally bad to write that my brother crosses his legs and sits when he pees.  So instead, I called them "Charlie" and "Nate"--quite nice names if you ask me.  Then in an effort to smooth the whole "identity change," I made them blood brothers instead of brothers by law.
    My brother (the leg crosser) who is actually my hero, read my blog.  I thought that was pretty cool.  He's really one of my favorite people in the entire world.  He used to hang out with me for hours.  Our Dad always worked away from home and my brother was there when my dad couldn't be.  He played sepa with me.  We played tether ball (which I always won even though I'm nine years younger and I'll be dreaming about Pinocchio after writing that.)  He read countless books to me, helped me with homework, jammed with me on our instruments, created silly messages on the answering machine.  The list goes on and on, so much that I can honestly write: my brother was and is one of the biggest influences in my life.  He helped make me into the woman I am.  Because of his generosity with his time and love, I was able to stand strong when I got married VERY young and then later when my son died.  My brother taught me what life is about: family and love and taking care of each other because family is what lasts.
    So that's why, when he called yesterday and wanted to know who I'd written Manly Man, Leg Crosser or Intellectual about, I had to lie.  It was a Pinocchio summoning sort of lie.  "I'm actually scared to know who this is about," he said.
    "It's about . . . Cade."
    "And who else?"
    "Ummm."  I looked around the room.  I hoped something would help me.  "It's about Cade and . . . his brother."
    "His brother?"
    "Yes.  He crosses his legs."
    "That's interesting.  It's a funny thing because I cross my legs too."
    I was in trouble.  "But so does Cade's brother."  What had I been thinking?  He'd known the truth of course--he'd been there for the entire thing.  Cade even asked him if he pees sitting!  We hung up shortly after, and I felt worse than a mouse in a mouse trap. 
    I called my mom.  "What do I do?  I lied.  I lied hard!"
    "Tell him the truth," she said.
    "I can't."
    "You can."
    So I called and told him.  I told him everything.
    "You don't need to lie to me."
    "I'm sorry . . . but you said you were scared to know who it was about.  That scared you and then it scared me."
    "Well, I'm going to leave you a comment," he said.  Then when I checked my blog late last night he had indeed left a comment.  You have to read it because it's gold, pure and sweet.

Here it is:

Anonymous said...
This story sounds vaguely familiar... Perhaps it is because I’m the author’s brother, or that I’m an engineer. Or, maybe, it’s because we had this exact conversation! And yes, her now-spouse asked me if I pee sitting. And, yes, I do on occasion. Why? I don’t know. And, no, I don’t care who knows. I would have you know I just called she-who-shall-not-be-named and asked her who this post was about, and she had the shear gall to lie! She lied to the older brother who read to her for hours on end; the older brother who pushed her for miles around the house on her tricycle. For shame. For shame. To amend the record, I would say there is a correct and an incorrect way to go into a full crossing of the legs. Of the utmost importance is to ensure the tender bits are out of the way first. Otherwise, said legs become the jaws of a nut cracker. Second, do not play with the legs, bobbing the ankle up and down or swinging the distal end about. This may indeed threaten a male’s manliness. Finally, limit the time spent in such a position. For while comfortable in the short term, it can cause a lack of circulation in certain critical areas. It brings to mind the words blue and ball , and no one wants to see that. Shame on you EC Writes for misleading the public. Shame on you.

    I'm sorry I told a lie, but this comment was well worth it.  So, I told a lie, confessed, got an awesome comment on my blog and didn't dream about Pinocchio, all in all I think everything turned out all right.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Manly Man, Leg Crosser or Intellectual

In high school most of my close friends were guys.  Sometimes they forgot about me being a girl, and had crazy conversations right in front of me.  They talked about who they would date and how far they'd go.  They punched each other in places I don't want to talk about and made fools of themselves in ways they never would in front of other girls.  As I think about it, one of their conversations sticks out; it was how to separate a manly man from a leg crosser.
    To give you a good picture, let me show you an example of a "very cool" manly man.  I think everyone would agree on this.  If you don't think James Dean is manly, your mama dropped you when you were a baby.  I'm sorry to ruin her cover, but it's time you should know . . . she most likely never told you about it.
    Here's a picture of heartthrob James Dean.  This isn't my favorite picture because Natalie Wood is up in his grill.  In this picture she doesn't know a thing about personal space and James doesn't look like he wants her being that close--just staring at him.  It reminds me of those people who keep their eyes open when they make-out and that's just Silence of the Lambs scary!
Anyway here's the picture:

And here's a better one.  Wasn't he a good looking guy!

According to the main expert on this, (let's call him Charlie) manly men like James DO NOT cross their legs; if they have to, they cross their ankles.  As he said one day, "It's physically impossible for a true manly man to cross his legs. And if he does, by some miracle cross his legs, he definitely DOES NOT sit when he pees."
    It reminded me of the princess and the pea.  I love fairy tales but this was real life, a dream come true.  With the leg crossing thing you could watch anyone and know if they were manly or not!
    The whole thing kinda stuck with me.  I'd ask Charlie about different people we knew.  I didn't mean to sound judgmental, but it was more interesting than cinnamon toast.  I love people watching anyway and the leg crossing thing made it fifty times more interesting.  You could watch someone's mannerisms and see into their leg-crossing soul.  The more I learned, the more I understood.  It wasn't about sexual orientation--never about that--just about if a man was truly "manly" or not.  I swallowed his theory faster than that one about global warming.
    So, Charlie said . . .

This was acceptable:

This was not:

This was acceptable:

This was not:

This was acceptable:

This was not:

Now as you look at these pictures, you've probably already realized there are some VERY COOL leg crossers.  I unfortunately didn't pick up on this as quickly as you did. 
    Instead, I believed the lie.  My friend and I lounged around talking for hours.  He'd boast of some guy that probably sits when he pees because he crossed his legs like they'd been super glued together backwards.  It wasn't until one day while we visited Charlie's family, that his theory blew into pieces.
    Charlie's brother, let's call him 'Nate'--his ultimate hero--sat on the couch across from us.  We talked about chess and how Nate would be an engineer soon.  Charlie laughed hard, loving every minute he got with his brother, but that was when it happened.  I saw it in slow motion, as Nate squirmed, looking uncomfortable.  He moved slightly.  Itched his thigh, then his knee.  He grabbed his ankle and started lifting his leg slowly.
    I wanted to scream, "No!  No!  You can't be a leg crosser.  I've watched too many good men fall . . .  Plus, you might hurt yourself!"
    Before I could say a thing, his ankle rested atop his other knee.  I sighed.  He was safe for a moment, just as long as he didn't seal the deal and cross his legs completely.  I felt relieved; if he was a manly man, that would be physically impossible anyway.  Why had I been so worried?
    As I sat, breathing hope, that was when it happened.  Nate went for it, sending his leg down, down into a clenching crossed leg position.  I stared at him.  My jaw fell into my lap.  I'd never known he wasn't a manly man!  I swallowed as I gaped at him because he didn't seem hurt at all.  I expected him to gasp for air, like he'd just been hit in the groin with a hockey puck.  I pictured two water balloons about to burst!  But he didn't even wince.  He just sat there, laughing about engineering and chess.  It wasn't until I looked at my friend, that I almost spit out my drink.
    Charlie's face withered to ashes.  He turned to me and shook his head.  "I never knew," he whispered.
    "It's okay," I said, suddenly doubting the theory.  "Maybe there are exceptions."
    "I don't think there are," Charlie said in a monotone.  We both eyed Nate who stared back curiously.
    "You two okay?" Nate asked.
    Then Charlie, being the brave manly man I knew, dove right into the fray.  "Nate.  Do you . . . sit when you pee?"
    Nate laughed and sat straight.  "Why, yes.  Yes, I do."
    I wanted to clap for him, tell him, "job well done," because what he'd just said took guts. I was proud of him for being himself and showing that the rest be damned!
    Later, when Charlie took me home, he said he'd been wrong.  His theory had been flawed.
    "How so?" I asked.
    "It's because there are three types of men.  Any guy can be in one of three categories.  A man can be a manly man, a leg crosser," he paused, "or an intellectual."
    That conversation makes me giggle because "Charlie" still believes his theory.  Even though I'm not a complete believer I think it's hilariously awesome.
    With all that being said, what do you think of the theory?  Do you think it's ready to go to the "law" phase or still a work in progress?  What type of man did you marry or what type of man are you?  Do you cross your legs and sit when you pee?  Go ahead, this is the internet, feel free to let us know. 

  P.S. This is a re-post from last year.  It started a whole Blog War because one of the people in this story is my brother!  Why put it up now?  Well, let me explain.
    Yesterday I had a great time at a family function--until my brother put soap all over his hands and then grabbed my arms.  He thought it was so funny, teasing me like that, too bad my reflexes took over.  I held a sack filled with diapers, and the wet yucky feeling was too much.  "Don't . . . make . . . me . . . do . . . this!" I said in slow motion, swinging the sack toward his face.  I watched as the sack smacked my brother's head and glasses.  It moved too quickly since I might be half-ninja.
    Anyway, he laughed it off (later) but deep in those pranking eyes, I suspected I'd gone too far. 
    The thing is that when my brother and I had a blog war last year, we did mean things to each other.  He left a box on my porch that was labeled "Bomb."  Don't believe me?  Go HERE.  Another time I put a fake finger in his soup.  That story is called "I Gave My Brother the Finger."  I know--there's no way he can top that one!  And then we blogged all about it because there's nothing like public shame.
    Well, in honor of the fact that I hit my black-belt brother in the face, I decided to post the two stories that started it all in February of 2011.  I'll post the second one tomorrow.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stephen Covey Lived What He Preached

Eleven years ago a stranger made a lasting impression on my life.  He gave me strength to pursue my dreams, and always try no matter how hard and hopeless it seemed.  He never told me his name, but rather gave me his son's name--Sean Covey--and even his son's book Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers.  The point remained that I was a teenage runaway and this stranger had taken Cade and I off of the street if only for a night.  
    Later, after I made the connection and realized who had taken a chance on homeless kids like me and Cade, I vowed to somehow thank Stephen Covey.
    Sometimes life is bittersweet, filled with amazing irony and moments that can't be bought.  For you to understand, let me take you back into my memories . . . a long time ago when Cade and I were homeless street musicians.

    We'd performed for hours, hoping to draw a crowd, but every time we did, the Hare Krishna devotees would chant near us, and all of the Waikiki tourists would jet.
    The two Spaniards who played guitars came up to us that same night. “Something has to be done. We’ll all starve if they don’t stop this Krishna chanting. We don’t want to go back to Spain—work for our father in the vineyards—but we will if they don’t stop scaring off our business.”
    Cade and I both groaned. “It is a serious problem. But what can we do?” Cade asked.
    “I tried talking to one of the cops. They don’t like any of it though. They don’t even want music on the strip anymore. If they get enough complaints, they want to shut all of us performers down, or make us buy permits.”
    “That’s harsh,” I said.
    And the night continued. Every time we’d get close to making money, Hare’s name would fill the street and everyone would run.
“God,” I prayed, “please help us make some money so we won’t starve. I came to Hawaii trying to find myself. Instead I’m realizing how much I hate starvation.”
    We finally started playing another song, a fast one we called “Famous for a Moment” because it pulled people in. That’s when a fancy car drove up behind us.
    “Hey, you two musicians,” a man said from the driver’s seat.
    “Us?” Cade asked.
    “Yeah. Would the two of you like to play at a party? I’ll pay you well. Food and drinks will be there. You can help yourselves and eat as much as you like.”
    That was all I needed to hear. “Absolutely. I’m in if you are,” I said to Cade.
    After a moment of studying the man’s fancy car, Cade nodded. “It sounds legit.” With that, we grabbed our packs and our instruments and we got into the back seat. I almost wanted to wave to Hare Krishna's friends as we drove away, but I decided against it. I was trying to be the bigger person.    

    “You two are very talented,” the man said.
    “Thank you,” I said. “We’ve had a lot of adventures in Hawaii.”
    We drove for a while, and I remembered thinking how fun it felt being inside of a real car. When we got to the house, I was stunned. Gorgeous plants grew everywhere. The place was very elegant in a tasteful sort of way. It made me wish I’d done my makeup or at least been able to afford some.
    “Wow,” Cade gasped. “This is somethin’ else.”
    We walked in and the nicest people greeted us. We hadn't talked long when the man who’d hired us insisted that we eat before playing. Just looking at the food seemed like Heaven. I tried acting sophisticated, like I wasn’t starving and I actually lived in a home and not on the street. I felt so low class because of my own insecurities. But those people remained kind. Visiting with us as we slowly ate the elegant food I wanted to devour.
    I met one man who wrote a book about Hawaii. He’d taken all of the pictures for it and as I looked as his work, it amazed me. “How beautiful!” He gave me a copy of his book and I put it reverently in my pack. I’d always wanted to be an author, so meeting a real live photographer and writer was a dream come true.
    I wrote a ninety-page book when I was in elementary school. Then in junior high I was on the school newspaper. It wasn’t until high school that I gave up my dreams. I’d joined a creative writing class. Anyone could try out to be in the honors writing program. The teacher just required some poetry, short stories and outlines. I got everything together and gave them to her. She called me in after school. I couldn’t wait to talk with her because she held all of my hopes in her hands. “Elisa,” she said slowly. “Some people aren’t meant to write. They’ll never be good at it. Even if they try, it just isn’t a gift they have. I’m sorry to say that you . . . are one of those people. I’m so sorry. Keep pursuing music. You have real talent with that.”
    I gave up writing and promised myself I’d never get rejected like that again.
    We played on and off for a couple of hours. The whole time I thought about writing and how hard it was giving up something I loved because someone knew I wasn’t good at.   
    After we finished playing, The Host visited with us for a long time and I wondered if he knew how much his words were changing my life. “Both of you are very unique, special people,” he said. “I’d like to give you something.” He handed me a book. “My son wrote this. I think I was supposed to meet you, to give you this book. It’s about becoming the person you’re meant to be.”
    “We met another author here, too,” Cade said. “So unreal.”
    “This is one of the most amazing nights of my life. Good food. Wonderful people. I feel like royalty, really.”
    The Host chuckled. “I’m glad I followed my instincts and asked both of you to come here.”
    “Me too. It’s inspiring talking with all of you. It was always one of my biggest dreams to be an author.”
    “Then maybe you’ll write a book someday,” The Host said. “Believe in yourself and you’ll accomplish great things.”
    “Thank you.” And the rest of the night I kept thinking about how much love shone in his eyes when he talked about his son. That was one lucky kid.
    The Host ended up asking us to stay the night in his son’s room—which was practically a whole house. We stayed, cleaned up and sneaked away the next morning. It felt so good sleeping in a real bed just once and the kindness from the previous night stayed with me and kept me warm.
    When we got to the strip, another street musician sat next to us. “Both of you seem pretty happy. What happened when that man picked you up last night?”
    “We played at the most wonderful party. It felt like a dream. Oh we got two books. One is from a photographer and then this one was written by the host’s son,” I said opening my pack and showing the books to the kettledrummer.
    “Do you know who this is?” he asked.
    “No, why?”
    “This author is very well-known, but his father—the man who picked you up—he’s also an author.”
    “No way! I wonder why he didn’t say anything?”
    “I don’t know. If I were him I’d be telling everyone. His book alone has sold millions of copies.”
    “What’s it about?” I asked.
    “Becoming the person you’re meant to be. Pursuing your dreams. He was really nice to you.”
    “So nice, I almost swore God sent him our way.”
    “Now there’s one man who practices what he preaches.”
    I smirked and sat on the sidewalk. Not only did we get a good meal, but I felt like another part of my journey had been fulfilled. I was discovering myself. Maybe I would take The Host’s advice. I didn’t think I’d ever write again after people told me I wasn’t meant to be a writer, but I could do other things. I just needed to believe in myself and hopefully my destiny would follow.

     It makes me cry because I never got to tell Stephen Covey thank you.  I always planned on finishing my book Homeless in Hawaii and then sending it to him.  For a kid who had NOTHING--to be treated with such kindness and generosity is astounding . . . So today I decided to write this and say, "Thank you, Stephen.  From a girl who had a small chance of accomplishing anything.  I grew up, and because of kind people like you, I became a published author . . .  Thank you for taking a chance on a homeless kid--you inspired me to accomplish great things.  You inspired me to try." 


This is an excerpt from my upcoming memoir Homeless in Hawaii.  If you'd like to add this to your to-read list, please click on the following picture.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

My fifth book was released and so was my obituary

What do you want to emulate?  What will people say about you after you die?

    I may not be the smartest, wealthiest or prettiest person around, but I have spunk and I get things done the best way I can.  People may call me quirky and eccentric because instead of swatting flies with a swatter, I spray them with a water bottle.  After they quickly drop to the ground wet, that's when I step on them.  

Instead of using a scrapper to get ice from my windshield, I dump lukewarm water on it and all the ice instantly melts away.

Instead of standing on a ladder to prune bushes, I use the window.

I cool off fast food by holding it out of the van's window!
 Yes, I suck at photo editing, but you get the point.  
This is supposed to be someone holding a corndog out of a car window.

Since we can't afford a trash compactor OR a second garbage can, I solved the problem myself.

When I get mad at my husband, I think of creative ways to get him back--like the time he didn't unclog the toilet and then found me outside patiently waiting for him like this AND bringing property values down all in the same day.
    P.S.  These pictures--which Cade ended up taking--are real and YES, I did have short shorts on--don't freak out!
 HERE's that story if you're interested.

All of these things and more just describe what a creative goofball I can be.  What people don't understand is that I have to do things myself.  I can't afford paying people to do it.  Cade isn't around to help since he's hardly even in the same state.
    Instead of sitting around and feeling bad, I've had to think of the quickest, cheapest solution.
    You may be wondering why I'm telling you about this.  Well, it's because I thought about what I want my life to stand for.  What do I want people to think when I die?  Well, if I can prove one thing through life, I want to show people that they can do anything they put their minds to.  I don't care how many excuses they make saying why they can't do it--it's time to start thinking of ways to accomplish your dreams.
    I wrote my first book The Golden Sky over ten years ago.  It took years and years to go through the publishing process.  People said I couldn't do it--I started agreeing with them.  It wasn't until after pulling myself from the dumps that I started thinking of ways I could make my dreams come true.  Now I have five books out!  And I'm thrilled to tell you that the fifth one--a silly nonfiction anthology--came out today.
    Just more of my antics . . . AND how they seem to get me in trouble with people, constantly.

    Do you have a dream?  Is it time for you to stop thinking of reasons why you can't and think of why you can?
    When I die, I hope people won't just remember the silly things I did or why I did them.  I hope they'll remember instead what those actions stood for.  And that is this:  Anyone can accomplish great things--they just need to try.  And I hope that's what they'll put in my obituary, right next to the picture of me on the john!

    Signing off,
The proud author of FIVE BOOKS.  Yahoo!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Some Motivation and a Mentor

    I won't sit here and lie to you, not today.  I've been having a hard time since some obstacles popped up in my life.  I didn't know if I'd keep writing.  But all along the way little miracles have happened to show me that I'm meant to keep going.
    Let me back up though, you need to read this from the beginning. . . . 
    I've had a friend for many years who hasn't been very nice to me.  I've told her and myself this, yet still I manage to revert back into old high school habits and get hurt again.  I love this girl and so I end up giving her limitless chances.  But in return she proves that she doesn't really like me.  She says mean things when I succeed and gloats when I fail.  Sadly, I just want her to like me even though it's been like this since we were little girls.
    Anyway, she had me so depressed about my writing and myself, I thought about giving up.  I know it sounds stupid.  I've come so far and all that jazz, but in moments like this--when someone who's known me forever--someone who might know me better than I know myself says I'm "not good," then maybe it's time to stop.
    That's when I met Adrienne deWolfe.  Now I'm not sure if you've heard of her, but if you haven't you need to check her out.  Not only is she a best-selling author AND award winner, she's a a Book Writing Coach.  Click HERE to see what I'm talking about.
    Well, I had the chance to have her look at the first chapter of "Homeless in Hawaii."  The things she noticed amazed me.  I learned so much in a short time, but one main thing--something especially meant for me was what she said about motivation.
     "Goal, motivation and conflict can make your characters come to life."
     I sat thinking about the kindness Adrienne deWolfe showed to me.  I thought about all of her words as I opened the final revisions for Crazy Life of a Writing Mom.  That's when my eyes fell on the story about my hurtful friend.  I took Adrienne's advice and began highlighting different aspects of the chapter.  What were my friend's conflicts?  What were her smaller motivations and overall goals?  I stopped at the end of the chapter and had tears in my eyes.  How could I have been so stupid?  My friend had done everything for a reason.  It didn't make her words better or right, but it gave me understanding and taught me a good lesson.  This isn't my problem.  The way she's acting has nothing to do with me--it was as plain as day highlighted right in front of me. 
    Coming from a writer's standpoint, clearly displaying motivation in your writing is a key factor, but clearly understanding it IN LIFE can be even more important.
    Isn't it cool how writing has helped me?  I don't want to be close friends with that girl anymore, not until she can handle her problems another way.  I don't need to be her victim so she can feel important.  Plus, there are better ways to handle problems like by drinking rum . . . coke--maybe even both mixed together.  Or simply by writing out problems and seeing what shows up after careful observation.
    Thank you, Adrienne for teaching me something I'll never forget.  I was able to go back through all of the things I've been working on to implement your helpful tips.  And you were so right, my characters--even the real-life ones--went from two-dimensional to three-dimensional people after making sure I'd shown their motivation to the reader.
    Here's a picture the Scribe took of me holding one of Adrienne's books.  
I LOVE this novel, but Texas Outlaw is actually my favorite. Oh and if you click on the picture, you can see where Adrienne deWolfe put this photo on her site!  How nice is that?!

    In closing, Crazy Life of a Writing Mom will be out soon and I'm offering free eBooks to anyone willing to review it on Amazon and Goodreads.  
    It's a silly book including some of my favorite stories like "The Clap," "Miss Priss and the Wave" along with "I Left the Bag in the Turkey."  I hope you'll love the book if you have time to check it out.  If you'd like to review it, please email me at
    Also, McGuffy Ann and Janie just posted reviews for Bible Girl & the Bad BoyYou can read those at the following links:

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Deep Blue Eyes on the Greek Isles By Dimitri Sarantis

Congratulations to Dimitri Sarantis.  His book,  Deep Blue Eyes on the Greek Isles, just came out today and I'm so thrilled to be posting a review.  He sent me an advance copy months ago and I've been excited to officially post my thoughts about the book.
  Here goes . . .


Dimitri Sarantis writes with passion.  His book captured me from the very beginning.  You know you've discovered an amazing author when they inspire you to write and bring a strong reminder of why you wanted to be an author in the first place; that's what happened when I read Deep Blue Eyes on the Greek Isles.
    While enjoying this book, I felt so much as part of the story, it seemed like I'd rekindled a relationship with a dear friend.

    The characters in this book are real, likable and intriguing.  The relationships are so believable that as a woman, part of me fell in love with Paul, even as I sympathized with Sophie (reveling in the good times and crying through the hard ones).
    I'm so glad to have read Dimitri Sarantis' work.  I would recommend Deep Blue Eyes on the Greek Isles to anyone who loves reading romance.

Please click HERE to add this to your to-read list.

Dimitri @
fiction romance

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Port-a-potty Disaster Story

    Disaster loomed in the future, too bad I didn't know it!  Of all the neat things that can happen at port-a-potties . . . 

. . . something great didn't happened to me.  Instead I had one of my most embarrassing moments ever.
    I sat with Melynda at the fair.  We joked around, cut fabric for people, sold books and giggled.  I read a fantasy book after that.  It was about a pansy of a girl--weak and frail.  The book made me so mad, I wanted to donate it to the library!  Poor girl couldn't do a thing on her own, she needed saving at least twice in every chapter.  Aren't main characters supposed to be a little bit capable?  Anyway, hours passed and at some point I knew I'd have to take a potty break and put the sexist book down.

Me and Melynda at the Fair--I love that woman!

    "Melynda, can you hold down the fort for a minute?  I need to visit the port-a-potty."
    "Sure.  Just don't use the big one.  It's out of toilet paper."
    But that was the one I wanted to use!  It was nice and spacious.  It had hand sanitizer--a real commodity at the fair.  The Scribe had used it the day before, and although the door was hard to open because the thing wasn't level and it slightly tilted forward, it was much better than the old, fly-infested alternatives.
    So I grabbed some toilet paper from a yucky potty and then, with a hand-full, went in front of the nice john.  A couple of ladies jabbered loudly behind me.  "Isn't this fair hot?" one said to the other.
    "Yes," the other woman said.  "I have a tough time staying out in weather like this."  They looked quite fancy, fake-tanned and with loads of makeup plastered onto their beautiful faces.  They quieted, listening to the band who played near us. I wanted to like them, but I'd been reading the story about a pansy-woman and those ladies reminded me of her.  How can people be so weak?  It was ninety degrees--seriously.  And if putting in one day at the fair was tough . . . I'd hate to see them work construction.
    So, I sauntered up to the big port-a-potty's door.  I kept thinking how much I love not being a pansy.  I can tie my own damn shoes, replace my own kitchen sink--make my own spud gun if I have a mind to.  I don't need a man to do everything for me.  Cade married an equal, not a sniveling damsel.  I grabbed the handle and pulled, but the stupid thing was obviously jammed from leaning too far forward.  I pulled again.  I wasn't some wimpy girl they'd sing tragic ballads about in the Middle Ages.  I was Joan of Arc, the girl who could kick down any door--even if an idiot hadn't leveled it.  The music blared.  Cade had joked that the singer sounded like Tom Petty because he couldn't sing either. 
    I readjusted my baseball cap, so the thing was on backwards.  I pulled up my pants a bit and gritted my teeth.  Those pansy-women watched me, probably shocked to see how a real woman gets things done, then I yanked the handle again.  That big potty rocked a bit.  I pulled again, trying harder and harder!
    Finally on my fifth pull--which was great since real women can open doors in less than seven tries--something popped and the door flew open.
    I wanted to gloat, sing to the women behind me, but that's when I had the shock of a lifetime.
     I gaped into the leaning potty and my eyes caught on the shaking man who sat using the john!  His little, red eyes turned to slits.  He hated me and we'd just met!  "What in the Hell?" he asked in a very raspy voice which was hard to hear over the music.  He'd covered himself with both hands and looked as if he might kill me if he got the nerve to move from the pot.
    My jaw fell.  So the pop I'd heard had been the lock.  "Sir . . . I'm so sorry," I said, staying frozen as my eyes kept involuntarily darting to his old, construction hands.
    "I said I was in here!" he rasped as if he'd smoked for nine thousand years--served him right for smoking!  "What are you doing standing there.  Shut the damn door, woman!"
    Man he was ballsy for being naked.  And then, instead of giving him the toilet paper I bet he so desperately needed, I shut the door and turned around.  The two women behind me looked white-faced and terrified as if they might be my next victim.  
    "You still need to take a potty-break?" one asked the other.
    "No."  They just stared at me.
    "Me either."
    What the heck?!  Had they known it was occupied the whole time?  What kind of wimpy, self-absorbed women were they?  Why hadn't they spoken up--they weren't suffering from laryngitis like the poor man behind door number three!
    The ladies shuddered as I sprinted past, so I winked to one of them and waved because I was embarrassed and I couldn't help taking advantage of the moment.  
    Cade called me as I ran away.  I told him the story and started laughing so badly hot tears came to my eyes.  "I was just trying to be tough.  That poor man!  He seemed like he'd be nice under different circumstances."  I knelt on the grass, I laughed so hard as I tried to keep from peeing since I STILL hadn't used the john.  
    I talked to a dear friend on the phone after that.  "I wish I could have seen the whole thing."
    "There wasn't much to see," I said.  "He covered it up really well."
    "Elisa!  Not that.  The situation."
    "Oh," I giggled.  "Just me being an idiot again.  You know, I've walked into the men's bathroom on accident before--I think everyone has--but I've never broken in and entered.  I'm on the path to being a criminal now. The port-a-potty criminal."
    "I bet that man will be telling all of his elderly friends about this--the woman who broke in, just to see him naked." 
    "Seriously.  I can't imagine what he thought as I yanked on the door over and over.  And he couldn't talk loud enough.  Plus, he didn't have any paper to wipe himself.  It's nightmarish." 
    "Did you see him later at the fair?"
    "No, I didn't even see him leave the john."
    "That poor man will never use a port-a-potty again," she said.
    "That makes two of us."  I meant every word.  Port-a-potties, especially the really nice, big ones, suck!

In closing, I'd like to tell you that a darling new book by Pat Hatt just came out today.  The Kindle edition is only 1.99!

Click HERE to buy it now.
The eBook is only $1.99

Follow Cassie as she tries to rid herself of the Wild Cat and sweep him under the mat. From the freezer to the loo, will she chase the Wild Cat from view? Find out as you read another rhyming story from Pat Hatt starring Cassie and the Wild Cat.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Cat's Legacy: Dulcy's Story By Dee Ready

When I first visited Dee Ready's blog I had no idea how much her words would change my life.  I didn't know she'd made a successful living by using her writing skills.  I had no idea she'd written a five-star book with Dulcy called A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story.  I didn't realize she'd once lived in a convent, or led the type of life movies are made about.
    All I know is that last August I sat at my computer, drinking a large cup of coffee as I read a hilarious posting about taxis, gutsy cabbies and dreams.  In that moment I knew I'd met a kindred spirit.
   I HIGHLY encourage you to read that post.  You won't be sorry.  And if you are drinking coffee like I was, you may spit it out from laughing too hard.

coming home to myself: Revelation

    Time passed and over the last year I've been amazed by Dee's strength, kindness and wisdom.  All these things are shown in both of her books, but especially in A Cat's LegacyThis work has become more than just a book to me--it's a foundation to give me strength.      
    The last few months have been hard.  My writing career seems direct and straight in front of me, but other obstacles stand in the way.  Should dreams be pursued without the support of others?  Well, as I've gone through so many tough choices, I've found these Twelve Habits have helped so much.  Not only does this book give parables from Dulcy (a cat the likes of which I'd love to meet), it also shows Dee's own examples of how to live life to the fullest.  I find it so intriguing what habits she picked to be among the twelve.  They have helped me AND my daughters who also cherish the book.  This isn't just another piece of literature to be read and easily forgotten--it's a shining example of how to live a happy, successful life.
     I love books, always have and I'm so thrilled to have found Dee and her writing.  I think she's one of the best writers of our time, this is because she feels more than most.  She writes from the heart and her words are those which can be read multiple times to still find new, deeper meanings.
     If you read A Cat's Legacy: Dulcy's Story, I know you'll love it.  It's a special book--the kind that will impact the reader and help nudge them along the right path, the path of love and happiness.

    For more info about Dee, please visit her blog HERE.