Category Archives: Uncategorized

Football, Facebook and Family

Families.  So many words describe them — loving, supportive, close-knit, and warm.  In January, some families can be described in less than flattering terms as the countdown to the Super Bowl begins.

Our family isn’t any different.  My husband, sons and myself are avid Green Bay Packers fans while several other family members are Minnesota Vikings fans.  My younger brother is such a fan, he has a large Vikings insignia tattooed on his upper arm.

Facebook has become Ground Zero for jabs, trash talk and a whole lot of crowing when someone’s team is doing well.   My feed gets blown up with every snide meme about the Packers on the internet.  The closer it gets to Super Bowl Sunday — the crazier the antics become.  The dinner table is surrounded by purple jerseys and green and gold t-shirts. Conversations go from current events to stats, game plays and predictions about the outcome of the next NFL game.

Plenty of beer, pizza, mini tacos and a boat-load of appetizers make the rounds as all eyes are zeroed into the action on the TV.  We even have soft miniature footballs we throw at the television when we are unhappy with the play-calling or disagree with a penalty the referees have called on our team.

The competitive spirit between all of us ends with the end of the football season; at least until March Madness begins.  But that is another story…

Sticking By Your Resolutions

Each year millions of people make their New Year’s resolutions vowing to lose weight, get rid of clutter, etc.  I am definitely not an exception.

Yet by the end of January, most of us have given up on those future endeavors.  Again, I’m not the exception to this statement.

So what can I do this year to change my past behavior.  This is also a resolution…  This year I kept my resolutions simple, and only focused on one resolution instead of two or three.   dumbbellsMy resolution is to utilize the quiet hour from 6 am – 7 am on fitness or writing.   Seemed easy to do when I made the resolution.  Not always so easy to do when you live with an energetic Labrador retriever.

I tend to exercise more in warm weather because I love walking outdoors.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve dusted off my unused exercise equipment and worked up a sweat on the elliptical and my Airdyne bike.

Writing early in the morning is more of an issue.  Our pup leaves me alone during the time I work out, but if I’m sitting in front of my laptop, all bets are off.  Apparently, our dog doesn’t respect my literary efforts.

Some folks will say our dog is untrained.  I agree to that assessment but only to a certain degree.  He is very well behaved most of the time.  But labs need a lot of attention and sitting at my feet while I write about Clare Thibodeaux and her adventures isn’t the same as playing ball.

I have my work cut out for me, but I hope to keep my resolutions this year.  Hope all of you are having a great 2017 thus far, and if you haven’t kept the resolutions you made…you still have time to start again.



Earlier in the week, I laughed at a terrible proofreading mistake I’d made when I forgot to remove a sentence I’d reworked.  It resulted in two sentences using variations of the word “Devastated”.

Tonight, I feel the word acutely.  I just accidentally deleted my almost completed Chapter 27 in Winter’s Icy Caress.  I’m using a new program and despite the backups the program makes and its constant self-save feature.  I’ve lost the file forever.

I’m going to bang my head against a typewriter (I don’t want to destroy my laptop) and cry.  I will also curse, but I refuse to write the words I will think and more than likely say.

Wish me luck!

Christmas Is…

December 25.  One of my favorite days of the year.  Yeah, yeah, almost everyone loves Christmas.  I hear you.  What’s not to love?  Sparkling lights, Christmas trees, Christmas stockings, Christmas cookies — the list goes on and on.  And who doesn’t like presents?  No one.

Christmas is about family.  Gathering together to celebrate the holiday and the family.  Mary, Joseph and their tiny baby, Jesus huddled together in a stable.  Now each year we travel near and far to be with the people we love and care about during this special time.

Christmas is about children.  Santa Claus, his elves, and that crazy red-nosed reindeer were the subject of stories, cartoons, and some pretty terrible photos with Santa.  Don’t even say you didn’t have certain Christmas programs you couldn’t miss — Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (to name a few).  Parents wrap gifts on the sly while the kiddos are asleep.  Most parents have experienced the early, early  A.M. construction of a bike or a wagon.  It’s followed by two hours of sleep because the kids are up at 5 A.M.

Christmas is about doing good works for others less fortunate than ourselves.  Donations to Toys for Tots and food pantries are synonymous with the season.  Inviting people to your celebration who would otherwise spend it alone with a microwave dinner.  It should be a time of peace and harmony.

Christmas is about our spirit, our soul, and our faith.  A Midnight Mass with the church packed full of the faithful singing the beautiful hymns and carols with real joy.  It’s standing in the cold night outside of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome waiting to go inside to Midnight Mass with the Pope.  A couple of voices join together singing a carol to pass the time.  Before long, a diverse group of people from my different countries add their voices to the song.  This memory from twenty-five years ago can still make me cry with the beauty of humanity.

I wish you a joyful, peaceful holiday where love is the order of the day.

And, I pray for compassion and kindness in abundance this day and every day.


Finding Courage in the Pursuit of a Dream

I wrote this blog for The One Million Project — a collection of 24 stories and artwork contributed by 14 writers to help raise funds for charity.  OMP is a non-profit whose goal is to raise £1,000,000 for Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS.

I am a child of the 60’s and 70’s. I grew up with the Cold War, Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Liberation Movement, Haight-Ashbury, and Woodstock. I listened to the Beatles, the Stones…

Source: Finding Courage in the Pursuit of a Dream

Building Suspense

I love a good mystery or thriller.  Throw in the FBI, CIA and a few Navy Seals and I’m a happy camper.  The genre of my current series is Romantic Suspense, and one of the challenges of this genre is building suspense and keeping the story moving without giving too much away.

The allure of the mystery/suspense story is trying to solve the puzzle before the characters in the story.  When I was young, I was always trying to out-sleuth Trixie Belden or Hercule Poirot. A writer’s task involves dropping some hints and using dialogue and plot points to advance the story.  Just when the reader is positive they know who the villain is — insert a plot twist.

“What is it?”

“It’s a tracker.  Someone placed it on your vehicle, so they could follow your movements…” ~ Dave Cartwright to Clare in Exodus

Don’t you love the feeling you get when you’re at a critical juncture in a scene?  The suspense has been building and building.  I know something major is about to happen.  My heart starts to beat a little faster, and my eyes fly over the words reading rapidly.  I am anticipating what the next scene will reveal.  Boom!   Your theories just got blown out of the water.  One of the best compliments I have received from readers is “I thought I had it figured out, but you had me second-guessing myself through the whole book”.

Secrets can be revealed along the way to advance the plot and to throw some red herrings into the mix.  But the final solution or climax should remain a mystery until the last couple of chapters; otherwise, you lose your readers once they solved it.

Here’s a caveat — some thrillers and mysteries use the antagonist’s point of view to unveil their plot.  These stories build suspense through the unpredictability of the villain’s next actions.   The key is to have certain elements of the story remain in the dark.

I like to give my characters some flaws.  Is the “good guy” telling the truth or acting out of character?  The writer instills doubt with an unexpected action or a sudden change in temperament, for example.

A good story brings the reader along for the ride. A book is an alternate universe and the reader is wanting to immerse themselves in it.  Whether it’s falling in love with the handsome detective or holding their breath during a chase scene, the reader needs to feel the tenderness and the heartache along with the fear and confusion.  If the writer can involve the reader and get an emotional response from them, you’ve done your job.