Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Pat's Problem Pet

Lest you think that Pat only has problem with fowl, allow me to reassure you. That is untrue. Pat has encountered peril and pet issues with cold-blooded pets also.

My brother owned a water dragon. This little creature is a cute lizard, if there is such a thing. One of the cutest things about the lizard is that it can run on it's hind legs. This lizard is also known as a basilisk lizard and Jesus Christ lizard because of their ability to run across water.

I witnessed the speedy hind-leg lizard sprinting once and there was no water to run across, just some children it desired to escape. Most of the time, Tyrone, the lizard hung out on a branch in it's sweet custom cage with it's paintpan swimming pool. He'd eat various tasty bugs, move an eye on occasion and mostly digest.

Because Tyrone was such a laid back kind of a guy, he had free access. The home was other pet free, which meant no predators and honestly, the lizard rarely left the branch. Except during egg laying season. Yep, Tyrone or maybe Tyrecia ,was a female water dragon.

Pat had trouble waking up one morning. He'd showered and gotten dressed in his shorts and t-shirt, ready for a day working around the homestead. But he'd made the mistake of sitting on the side of the bed and then went ahead and laid down. As he dozed and dreamed about getting up and getting on with it, he hadn't a clue that Tyrone wandered the upstairs, looking for a place to lay an egg.

Unfortunately, Tyrone found a branch of an unusual sort in my parent's bedroom. A hairy tree with a really funky root system. I've mentioned Pat's killer knee reflexes, right?

Tyrone came through unscathed (put the phone down. PETA does not need to be notified). Oh, Tyrone probably suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Just because a lizard can run across water doesn't mean it likes to fly.

Pat lived to tell about it, too. No blood was drawn, just a simple failure to communicate.

Tyrone found a place to lay her egg, under a really nice hairless branch next to a lovely blue plastic paint pan pool.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Kathleen Popa Breezes By

Kathleen Popa blew through for a visit to answer a few questions.

Fiction character you most identify with and why?

Jo in Little Women. I’ll bet you get that a lot. Do you suppose Louisa May Alcott knew how many women would pray, “Please God, let me be Jo.”

If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?

I’d go to whoever was proprietor of The Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford in 1939 when the Inklings (a writers’ group consisting of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and others) met there in a back room, and ask, “May I please, please just sit by the door and listen?”

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

I keep an 1.5 liter Gallo Wine jug on my desk when I write – filled with water – to replace mindless snacking with mindless hydrating. It works.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

The past 100 years. My grandfather’s life spanned from one end of the 20th century to the other, and when he passed away, I helped to write his obituary. Out came the photos from his childhood, and there was one of his mother, all whale-boned, bustled and pin-tucked from neck to toe. My grandfather was a young man when he first saw an airplane or an automobile.

And there I sat in my blue jeans and bare feet, summing his life up on a desktop computer, wondering, how did we get from there to here in one lifetime?

The house I live in was built in 1898, and I love to walk through, touching banisters and door jambs, thinking of the all people who lived here, the Victorians and flappers and Rosie the Riveters. What did they wear? What did they have for breakfast? What did they worry about? And especially… what did they read?

What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)

Exactly what I’m writing now— only better. The barriers I care about are in my own mind, and my own heart.

As to genre’s or topics, what would be the point in writing something I have no passion for?

Of course, it helps that I never wanted to write about Amazon floozies with chain saws…

What makes you feel alive?

Getting up in the morning. It’s all life.

How does a story worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

I love stories that make me laugh, and I love the ones that make me cry, and I especially love the ones that do both. But if a story makes me feel that I have looked into the face of God and lived, then that story, and that author, has my heart forever.

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

Only one of each? This is hard.

Easiest to choose: I’d take my husband. I can’t be away from him for more than a day or two without going into a decline.

Not so easy to choose: I keep changing my mind on this one, but I think I’d take some beautiful Andean music by
Oscar Reynolds, because it’s perfect for a happy day. I saw him playing live one Christmas in the middle of a mall in San Jose, like a one-man band with his guitar and a whispering set of panpipes rigged under his chin. He must have seen that I was enchanted by his music. Over his panpipes, without missing a note, he shot me a wink.

Almost impossible to choose: Perhaps my
Thomas Merton Reader, if it’s going to be a long trip. There’s enough in that book to keep me reading, and thinking, for a very long time.

As to food:
Penguin Mints. Sugar-free peppermints laced with caffeine, in a natty little black, white and yellow tin. The perfect writer food.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

In 2004 I went to Ireland with my family – a lifelong dream. I didn’t want to leave, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. I especially want to revisit the Seisiun they hold Thursday nights at the Tír na nÓg pub in Cranny, County Clare, where the local farmers and their wives stand up, one by one, to sing (somehow they can all sing), or recite a poem, or dance a jig. That’s my new definition of a perfect evening.

That trip put an appetite for travel in me I’d never had before. Now I find I want to visit other places, like Paris, and Tuscany, and the Holy Land. For some reason I also want to visit the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and I’d love to see Machu Pichu in Peru— though how I’d get there I have no idea, since I’m scared of heights. I recently watched—and loved—
The Painted Veil, and now I want to see whatever part of China I glimpsed in that film.

Oh— I’d also love to fly into outer space, and dive to the bottom of the sea.

Favorite season and why?

Autumn. I love that first gust of cool air on my skin, and the impulse to buy new pencils. I love the geese flying overhead, and the wind brushing through the trees at night, and the clouds rushing past the moon. I love the leaves. The sugar maple outside my window turns the most amazing golden color, and when the morning sun washes over, it splashes this intoxicating amber light into every corner of my bedroom.

Thanks, Kathleen. Delighted that you stopped by.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Deja Vu to You, Too.

I listen to other people’s conversations. Not to pry -- just simple curiosity -- always seeking a creative twist in story telling and/or material.

I never use listening devices. If someone is loud enough, I’ll turn my ear their direction in case there’s a story brewing. People watching. Yeah, that’s it, harmless character gleaning.

While waiting in line at the video store the other day, I observed a man engaged in a discussion with the clerk. “What do you mean I have late fees?”

Clicking away on the keyboard, the clerk pulled up his file. “Yes, from June 2nd.”

“No.” He started naming movies and holding up fingers. “I rented three and returned them. After that, I rented Déjà Vu, but I know I returned it on time.”

My inner giggler picked up on that and I started a silent chuckle. Finally I had to bite my lip to keep from blurting something like. “Been there, done that, eh?” or “I want to rent Déjà Vu how much does it go for? Oh, never mind, I got it last month.”

But I’ve learned – call it déjà vu if you will – that what seemed terribly quippy or clever in my mind – usually invites an open-mouthed stare once I share it.

That’s why I blog. Because I can imagine you all laugh at my witty posts rather than scratch your head and mutter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - To Dance in the Desert

Newcomer Kathleen Popa is making a splash in Christian literature. Her novel review is below. Make sure to check out other reviews by clicking on the book cover. And go visit her website. Her Dregs interview is Friday 7-27

My Review:

Kathleen Popa's debut novel blends a heart-twistingly beautiful tale of human frailties and ugliness with the love of God working through broken characters.

From the rigid Bible professor who has God all figured out and bullet-pointed directions for anyone else who might need help, to the inner whisper that tells Dara that she is sought by God -- this story is full of forgiveness and renewal.

Love blows through the narrative like a wind across a desert, lifting, shifting and rearranging thoughts and raising questions.

Grace abounds and amazing reconciliations and understandings bloom into joy.

The characters reached in and grabbed my heart, leaving shadows of subtle influence behind.

After an initial struggle to ease into Kathleen's rhythm and voice, I caught the nuances and rode it to the solid conclusion.
A sensitivity alert, also, as this novel contains grittiness that may be too intense for those looking for a simple escapist read.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Shreds from Eric Wilson

If you don't want to get sucked into Eric's novels do not read the rest of this post. He gives some great answers, with some supreme writing samplers...thanks for playing in the dregs, Eric.

If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?

Assuming the dead could speak, I’d love to ask Einstein why he wore his hair like that. I mean, come on--you’re a genius, admired by millions, and yet you have this image to overcome. You look like a bit deranged. A simple comb could’ve solved everything.

If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?

I love the Barbara Kingsolver novel, “The Poisonwood Bible.” It shows the destruction brought about by dogmatic religion, as opposed to the reality of a relationship with Jesus. My only complaint is that each of the story’s four missionary daughters (told in distinct and masterful voices) turn their backs on their childhood beliefs. I wish Barbara would’ve shown the balance, using one of the daughters as an example of coming to terms with the past and learning from it.

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

In the Jim Cavaziel version of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” there’s a scene that is so simple, yet so powerful. After years of serving an unjust prison sentence, he tells his mentor: “I don’t believe in God anymore.” “That’s okay,” his mentor responds, “God still believes in you.”

If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

I hope to write a spiritual memoir someday, titled, “Finger in the Sky: One Man’s Struggle to Know the God of the Bible,” referring to two different fingers I’ve raised in my life—and the lessons I’ve learned from those experiences, good and bad, a work in progress. Here’s what I’ve written so far:

Oh, this is just beautiful, God!
In November 1985 I got the call that my uncle had committed suicide. He’d funneled the exhaust from the tailpipe into the cockpit of his Dodge Rambler, then climbed behind the steering wheel and smoked a joint while the engine’s fumes sucked the life from his body.
He did it for the sake of others, his letter claimed.
People who try to fit death and suicide into tidy little religious boxes really have no clue. My uncle, years before, had become a follower of Jesus. He read his Bible, met with other believers, prayed and put on his shiny church face.
He’d been saved, baptized, redeemed and sanctified.
So why, he wondered, did he still want to have women half his age? Was he beyond even God’s help? Was he one sick puppy?
After years of failure, despite the presence of competent spiritual counselors in his life, he found a way to end the sin raging through his limbs.
Call it selfish, call it the unforgivable sin, call it what you will…
He believed death was his friend in those final moments.


“Honey,” my mother said, “there’s something I need to tell you.”
The call found me in Vienna, Austria. The next morning I would be going into communist Romania with medical supplies, children’s clothes, and hundreds of smuggled Bibles.
I’d graduated from high school six months earlier. My best friend and I had saved up money for a trip to Europe. I’d worked late hours as a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver, scarred my arms loading sharp blankets of sheet metal in a factory, and frozen my fingers to the bone washing FedEx vans in a windswept lot on the west side of Eugene. We were idealists, with Jesus in our hearts and spiritual activism strapped to our belts like loaded guns.
My throat clenched as my mother spoke. I knew my life was about to take a turn. I heard it in her voice; I sensed it in my gut.
“Go ahead,” I said.
“Uncle John,” she said, “is dead.”
All that stuff about denial, about how you go into emotional shock to deal with pain, must be crap. Before she could say another word, I had tears streaming down my face. The fact of his death was the worst of it, but the fact that I couldn’t share in the grief with the rest of my family was no picnic either.
En route to Romania, the rutted road through Yugoslavia shook the tears from my head the way a dog might shake the life from a captured rodent. I was helpless. I loved my uncle, and I would never see him again.
Not in this life anyway. And I don’t know about the next.
Of course the loss of a loved one can be a huge stone plunging into the heart of a family, rippling for years across the family’s otherwise calm surface. His decision triggered other things, good and bad, in the Wilson clan. Our reactions ranged all over the place.
On my end, stuck halfway across the globe in sub-zero Romanian temperatures, grief and despair turned into a stronger spiritual commitment which served to mask my deepest doubts and questions. People were dying in this battle between darkness and light--people like my uncle, victims of sin’s strangehold--and God needed my help to fight the good fight.
As long as I kept swinging my sword, I wouldn’t have to think about the wounds piercing my own soul.
Just keep swinging, I told myself. Keep swinging.

What makes you feel alive?

Air, hot showers, hiking in the mountains, good books, firm mattresses, playing basketball…oh, and my wife’s unbelievable kisses!

Where would you most like to travel and why.

Some remote island in the Caribbean, a place my wife and I could have to ourselves for, oh, a month or two. We would read, write, swim, sunbath, eat, drink yummy beach drinks, and have a second honeymoon. We’ve been dreaming of it for a long time. We love to be with each other, but our attentions are diverted and distracted most of the time.

Anything you’d do but don’t because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex. Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.

Oh, man, I would love to dive off a hundred foot cliff, or bungee cord jump off a five-hundred-foot bridge, or skydive from ten thousand feet. I guess I have a thing about heights. I still have dreams that I can fly--that sense of freedom, soaring, weightlessness. One day we’ll get that feeling, caught up in the air with the Lord, but for now I’m scared to death of heights. I try to be manly, though, and face my fears. I’ll be one of those eighty year olds who goes bungee jumping for kicks (or to straighten out my gnarled limbs!).

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

When I speak, I’m not as precise as when I write. In fact, I throw in slang, dangling participles, all that stuff. The one that annoys me, though, is when someone says, “Do you wanna come to the store with Johnny and I?” No. It sounds right, but it’s not. “Johnny and me,” I want to bark back. If I say, ‘Come on over and have dinner with me and Carolyn,” someone is bound to pipe up with smug satisfaction and make the correction, “Carolyn and I.” Does that bug you? I, too. LOL

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Yeah, this one is easy. Cell phones are like a plague: people driving under the influence of cell phones, talking loudly in public places, holding up the line while finishing a conversation, even gabbing on their cell while talking to you on their landline. Stop. Enough. Agggh.


Pick one of the “story starters” below and give us a sample of your voice.

Lauren stared at the clock. Eleven forty-five. Oh, if only it read ten forty-five. Everyone should be allowed one do-over hour in life.

And why not? Lauren wondered. If golfers were allowed mulligans, if kids on the playground were allowed take-backs, then adults dealing with serious issues should be allowed a second chance. Especially when it came to marriage.

“You ready to get ‘er done?” Darrell asked, touching Lauren’s shoulder.

She turned, felt the weight of the wedding veil on her head. His words blew across her coals of tension, rekindling a dull glow of anger. She raised an eyebrow. “Get ‘er done? Honey, you’re not even supposed to see me. Not yet.”

“That’s just silly tradition. Anyway, you look incredible.”


“Maybe we should skip the ceremony, save some money, and boogie on outta here.”

“To get ‘er done?”

“Now you’re talkin’!” Darrell winked.

For one second, with his right eye closed, he was reduced to half his charm. Lauren had melted into those deep blue eyes when they first met, fallen prey to his playful humor and old-fashioned manners. Now that The Big Day was here, Darrell was strutting around like a conquering hero. Like he had her right where he wanted. Like she was his for the taking.

“No, we’re done talking,” Lauren whispered.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Shred of Truth

Happy Monday to you all!

Eric Wilson will be dropping in tomorrow with an interview Dreg-style. His new book A Shred of Truth, second in the Aramis Black series, released last week.

Keep reading for my review and click on the book cover if you'd like to check out "Shred."

My Review:

Eric Wilson's Shred of Truth is a novel full of compelling writing, history and mystery.

This is my first visit into the life of Aramis Black and I missed the in-depth story as shared in book one, but I believe I still got an accurate feel for the character and his life. Told in first person POV, Aramis continues to struggle with his generational ties to Meriweather Lewis.

Shred has it's share of blood, so the Big Honken Chicken Club might not be able to handle it.
Wilson did a great job with red herrings and twisted motivations. Several paths veered into dead ends and the mystery remained intact until the end.

Historically the reader is treated to a blend of Knights Templar, KKK, Lewis and Clark, Masonry legends and the Russian Czars. These all add to the story, making it feel very much like the movie, National Treasure.

If you love Eric Wilson's previous novels you'll find much to like in Shred. Action, crime drama and history buffs might want to check him out as well as those who just like a good solid story.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - One Step Over the Border

Western lovers - check out Stephen Bly's new book. Click on the cover and then mosey on over and visit Stephen's website.

Have an excellent weekend everyone.

Hopefully, I won't have any young men attempting to drown me. I hope the same for you.

Coming soon...my embarrassing housekeeping moments as appearing in a newly released book.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Robin Parrish - Borrowed Time

Robin Parrish has dropped by to leave us with thoughts to ponder and a really good glimpse into the inner workings of his mind. If you love what he's saying - I think you'll really enjoy Fearless. (Click on the title to head over to Amazon to see other reviews and more book info.)

Thanks, Robin. It was great to "chat" with you.

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

I always find myself identifying with the underdog hero who's just trying to survive all of the insane circumstances life throws his way. Peter Parker. Frodo Baggins. And of course my own character, Grant Borrows.There's just something about that character who isn't really all that extraordinary at heart, who keeps getting beaten down by life over and over... but no matter what, they get back up every time and press on. I find that incredibly inspiring.

If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?

I'd love to ask Tolkien what his response was if he was ever told that his work wasn't "Christian enough."

What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day?

On a good day I'm Sky Blue. On a bad day, I'm Burnt Umber.

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that's given to you." - Gandalf the Grey, in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. This is pretty much my whole worldview summed up in one phrase.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

Medieval times. I'm a sucker for a good Robin Hood or King Arthur story. You've got castles and knights and swords and bows & arrows... C'mon, what's not to love?

What makes you feel alive?

The act of creation. Making something -- anything.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

The moon, definitely. I'm fascinated by outer space. I mean for starters, why is there so much of it? Is it the battleground for the war between Heaven and Hell? Could there be other life out there somewhere, somehow? Or is God simply so big that he just requires that much space to stretch out in?God doesn't do anything without a reason, so if the universe is as big as it is, then he must have a doggone good purpose for it, and I'd love to know what it is.

Favorite book setting and why?

I can't think of any fictional, nonexistent setting that is more detailed or more fully realized than Middle Earth. I'd love to contribute something of that scale and importance to literature someday. (Some day far in the future, that is.)I'd also love to roam around the Marvel Comics universe, chat up Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Avengers, or the X-Men.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

Whenever I get a comment about how something I wrote changed someone's perspective on something, really opened their eyes to looking at the world in a different way... I don't think it gets much better than that.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

The only people who could ever cut me that deeply are the people I take that seriously, and that would be my family. And except on those really bad stressful days that we all have now and then, support and love are all I ever get from them.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

Make sure that my wife was taken care of, and record some messages for our unborn child, so he or she would know who I was.After that I'd probably travel somewhere I've never been but always wanted to go.

What is your favorite word?


What word annoys you more than any other?


Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

I wouldn't mind having Wolverine's healing ability. I seem to stumble over some kind of health issue or another rather often, and Logan can't even catch a common cold.

Favorite chore

I don't mind vacuuming so much.

Anything you'd do but don't because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex. Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.

I'm a chronic pain sufferer, so fear of pain doesn't really hold me back from anything. If it did, I'd never make it out of bed in the morning.

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

Oh man, there are so many...Biggest would probably be improper use of an apostrophe. As in the difference between "it's" and "its." That drives me bananas. Getting quotation marks in the wrong place bugs me too. I was taught that quotation marks always go after the period or the comma, even if the quote is just a phrase or just a single word. So many people quote stuff "like this". That quotation-mark-period thing totally grates.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Anyone who knows me at all already knows what I'm about to say, because I harp on it all the time:Traffic!For the life of me I cannot understand what it is about getting behind the wheel of a car that makes so many people's IQs drop about 70%. People get in their cars and they just turn stupid. It's an epidemic, and I can't explain it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Maybe....Nah! Part 2

Yesterday, I left you with the burning question -- will she or won't she?

She did.

My little wanna be dunker enlisted the help of my daughter-in-law (this is a fluke I am NOT old enough to have a married son).

She took over the booth while my assailant led the way to the gallows. Actually, the dunking "machine" kind of looked gallowish -- fairly primitive arm that dropped (gulp) a hinged (oh my!) shelf.

The bucket tipped while the victim stayed -- but there was a rope involved.

And the sounds. Wow. The clang as the baseball hit dead center, followed by the clank of the door opening, the splash of the refreshing water cascading over the victim's head, the inevitable scream.

I'll have you know that I did my gender proud. No squealing like a prissy girly-girl. No whimpering, sidling or whining. When it was my turn, my little "friend" motioned me to the seat. Regally, I think, I crossed to the wet chair, sat, folded my hands in my lap, crossed my legs at the ankle and closed my eyes, awaiting my destiny.

Of course I knew the kid was a dead arm. Wham. Clang. Clunk. Splash. No scream. (It felt really good - 90+ degrees, standing in the sun for hours, yeah, it felt real good.) But I didn't tell him that.

I returned to my booth with dignity. My opponent in the game of wits begun forty-five minutes earlier returned to say good-bye. Clutched in his fist was the bag holding his booty purchased with my easy tickets. With a wicked grin he said. "That was the best part of the day."

I can't say I've often heard I'm the best part of someone's day.

An hour later another young man returned to repeatedly to fulfill his junk needs. "Can I go again?"

"I gotta make you work for your tickets. It's too easy for you."

He sighed and shot the ball backward over his shoulder as instructed, giving me the eye the whole time. I handed him his latest hard won tickets.

"Hey. I want to dunk you!"

Yep! I've always had a way with men.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Scribble and Scrambles - Maybe I Should Be More Cautious

I think this might be a bad thing.

Our church held a summer fun day event for the community on Saturday.

The coordinator placed me at a children's activity.


Maybe not so good because boredom set in. Heat exhaustion, dehydration and boredom -- not a good mix.

Apparently I gained a reputation as "easy." I gave out two tickets (which could be turned in for amazing and exciting plastic trinkets that parents could later step upon, slice open a toe with, curse at and then toss said trinket into the trash) for each "basket" made by the child.

The rules had to be changed often because some of those children had great throwing arms and serious junk-lust. I ended up with a queue of kids most of the time. Repeats who'd try their luck at each readjustment of the rules and then whip around to the end of the line for another go at it.

Banter ensued. Sometimes a bit of a heckle from Carnie-Barker Kelly.

After about seven visits from one young man, and many humorous comments by the now totally punchy booth manager, he looked at me and said. "I want to dunk you."

Several booths down loomed the splash chair. One could toss a baseball at a target and a bucket of water dumped on the poor victim in the chair.

So, this kid wanted to dunk me.

Ha, ha.

Didn't sound so awful as I glanced out and watched the heat waves undulate off the pavement.

But I wouldn't make it too easy on him. I said. "I'm running the booth. You go find me a replacement then you can dunk me."

An evil grin spread across his face. "Who should I ask?"

I described one of the "floaters" and he sped off.

A few minutes later he returned. Disappointment rounded his shoulders. "He's running the Bingo game right now."

Just then another floater walked near.

to be continued....

Friday, July 13, 2007

Scribble and Scrambles - Just Use it Already!

This is how neurotic I am.


I have carried a special writer's notebook around in my purse for nearly two years.

A lot of writers do this.

However, my special journal has been sealed in it's original plastic wrap rendering it useless whenever I felt the need to jot something down. So while I dug through my purse for crinkled paper, old receipts, bank deposit slips, whatever upon which to write, I'd scrape my knuckles across my leather bound writer's notebook and feel guilty for not using it and terrified to use it.

The fact that this writing implement was a gift seemed to add to my fear of using it incorrectly. How could I scribble stupid ideas in a sweet, professional writer tool -- what if someone read (or attempted) to read my scratchings and decided I wasn't worthy of something only a real writer uses? What if I read what I'd written on a low and melancholy day and came to that same conclusion?

As we drove to the lake last week I birthed an idea so I dug through my purse for scraps.

It hit me. Maybe I'd take myself a little more seriously if I'd use my tools.

I ripped the plastic off. Opened the book and breathed in the scent of leather. I almost felt like a real writer. With a shaking hand I wrote my idea. Then another, and a third.

Not that tough. The world didn't stop spinning. A pig didn't fly overhead. Music didn't swell in the background.

Next, I'm going to begin writing in the prayer journal that sits waiting for me to fill it and be blessed by the words that are fed to my heart. Who knows what I'll do next, maybe I'll buy new dishtowels...and use them!

Anyone else struggle with this craziness? Please don't tell me I'm alone....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Chuck Holton Drops In

Chuck Holton dropped by to answer some Dreg questions.

His book, Island Inferno, toured over the 4th of July. If you missed it, click on the title or Chuck's name for more info.

Keep reading. You don't want to miss his interview. Chuck is a touch sarcastic. I SO love that in my visitors.

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

Indiana Jones - because I wanted to BE him since I first saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark" at about age twelve.

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

I'm genetically incapable of sitting down for long periods of time, so I write about ten lines, then get up and pace around the house, then come back and write ten more.

Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why? Can be negative or positive.

The pink iguana would probably be worth something. The cow probably got spray painted by vandals. And periwinkle isn't a color. It's a plant or something. Whatever it is, it isn't manly, and I don't want anything to do with it.

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

Horticulture: You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think. - dorothy parker.

If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

Adventure travel tome. Me on some great adventure in a place you've never heard of. It would be a series. Maybe a TV show.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

World War II. It was such a strange period of time when the whole world was turned upside down.

What makes you feel alive?

Crisis. And beginning a difficult expedition, project or trip.

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

My wife. She's my best friend, and I hate to do any trip without her. And my best friend Graham Davis. He makes the most miserable situation fun, and sees God everywhere. And my wife gets along with him.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

I like to travel to places nobody's ever heard of. If there's a crisis going on there, so much the better. I hate touristy places.

Favorite season and why?

Spring. I like everything new. Reminds me of heaven.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

"I got saved because of your book." The way I see it, things don't get any better than that. And if my writing isn't changing people's lives, it's not worth doing.

What word annoys you more than any other?

Behooves. What do little tiny bee feet have to do with anything?

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

Time travel.

Favorite chore

Splitting firewood. I love to split firewood.

Anything you'd do but don't because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex. Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.

Um...attend political functions.

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

Intentionally misspelled words - like Kountrys Krispy Kreations. Aaaagghhh!!

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

People who claim there is no objective morality telling me I'm wrong. :)

Thanks, Chuck.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Fearless

Click on book cover at left to visit the Fearless Amazon page.

Robin's Website.

My Review:

This amazing story reads like a blend of Dekker's Black, Red, White trilogy, the X-Men movies, a dash of Lord of the Rings tossed in for spice, all mixed and baked with historical information along the lines of the DaVinci Code, National Treasure and The Librarian.

If you loved any or all of the above, you should find much to like in Parrish's Fearless.

Fast moving storytelling whips this mixture into an edge of the seat read.

Two warnings. Parrish's characters have great vocabularies, if you often read with a dictionary you may get frustrated. And the final book in the Dominion Trilogy comes out in the summer of '08...if you have cliffhanger angst you may want to wait until spring to read Fearless.

I haven't read book one, Relentless, but didn't feel lost and while I wait for book three, I'll go back and pick it up.

Robin has promised an interview. Date unknown, but coming.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scribble and Scrambles - Random Blather upon Re-entry

Hi, all.

I just returned from
five-point-five solid days of R & R.

This is what is currently jelling in my brain.

1.) Anything is better when viewed near a body of water. (Work with me...no, not swamp water or a large pothole puddle. A real body such as lake, river, ocean, or decent pond.)

2.) Going away without children cuts down on whining, fighting and complaining.

3. ) Things change when you leave town for any extended length of time. The biggest change in my neighborhood would be the newly denuded chunk of land near the warty monogram house on my normal route to work.
Note to builders, land developers and Realtors...if you name a housing development "Hidden Hills" you should probably a) leave the hills and b) leave the trees to HIDE THEM.

4. ) Sometimes all you need to feel writerly is a sweet little notebook to jot things in and a pen.

5. ) Vacations -- when it IS fun to be a grown up.

I'm back and re-energized.

Serials and Scenarios - Wedding Belle Blues

Here are a couple of links should you be interested in Linda Windsor's latest novel.
Click on Linda to visit her website or the title to visit Amazon and get loads of info.

Linda Windsor

Wedding Belle Blues

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Island Inferno

Visit the Island Inferno page for more information by clicking on the cover.

You can check out Chuck by clicking on his name.

My Review:

This is a true blend of a character/relationship driven story and a plot powered novel. Holton's diverse and fascinating experiences add intriguing depth to a plot that involves so many characters it could get out of control. But Holton manages to keep things moving along and buttoned down.

I did get lost in some of the jargon, but tool/technology lovers should dig the references to guns, spy equipment, explosives and some other things that went way over my head.

Into this tight mix, Holton, weaves a fair amount of spiritual undertones and truths.

The jungle atmosphere and a legend added intensity to the plot. I appreciated Holton's clarity and strength with point of view. He stayed within the same character's head throughout each scene, making the read much more enjoyable for me.

Action lovers are likely to devour "Island", suspense fans should find much to like, too.

Happy 4th and have a good weekend.

Thanks, Chuck, and all the service men and women who have sacrificed on behalf of the United States of America to secure, protect and win our freedom.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Scribble and Scrambles - The Cat's Meow

It all started when we shaved the cat.

The last few weeks have contained bizarre and unexpected happenings.

I mentioned the excessive raccoon visitations last week…now there have been five more. All have been captured humanely and set free in much more welcoming environments. However, one or more of them apparently invited friends and relatives to our garbage can party and we are beginning to wonder if it will ever end.

Now that we are slightly paranoid, we’ve begun looking into this insane invasion and in the process have uncovered other issues that are making our lives less than serene. At first we thought the advent of financial tremors and leaking air conditioners might have something to do with Fabio. Could he be “waking up” at night and pranking us or acting out over being treated as just a two-dimensional object?

But no, the financial tremor began earlier. The relational maelstroms are new, but could Fabio have anything to do with them? I think not. Unless he is somehow throwing his voice. Hmmm. I’ll make sure to have the next serious conversation far, far away from Fabio, just in case.

The only other common denominator is the cat. Normally, people don’t shave cats. There are several reasons for this. Most of them can draw blood in a New York second.

However, Blackie (the GRAY) cat is elderly and fluffy. This is not a great combination when it comes to grooming aesthetics. Not at all. Taking pity upon her we had a family “shave the cat” night and liberated her from her unruly hair. Not completely mind you. She was left full-fur faced, full plume tailed and fluffy little slippers.

I’ll admit that she hated the process, just call me stumpy. But the after effects, though less than attractive, have been an improvement. She seems to like her sleek new look. Really.

But maybe not. Maybe the recent string of upheavals are the result of a cat curse.

You might want to check into that should you have a hankering to buzz cut a feline.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Pat Cries Fowl

Pat’s fowl history extends beyond Sonny the parrot.

It involves strange roosters in obscure junk yards.

Pat needed a car part. Our town boasted a large junk yard, so the family piled into the good automobile to run for the part for the temperamental car.

Not sure why this was a family outing. Maybe because we were headed out toward “the country” and dad wanted us to see some wildlife. Or maybe he wanted company. Or just someone take out mechanically induced frustration on and he figured the children's legs would be the equivalent of a stress ball. There was a guaranteed opportunity for leg grabbing since the backseat would boast of at least one fight because we’d be in the car for over five minutes.

Regardless of the reason we were along – we became witnesses to an event we wouldn’t have believed if we didn’t see it unfold.

Pat left us all in the car while he disappeared behind the dilapidated fence. A quaint farm house sat to the left of the junk yard. We watched a woman as she weeded until she went back inside. None of us heard a barking junk yard dog, so we assumed Pat was safe. Eventually the tension around my mother's eyes faded and we relaxed into the assumption that this was indeed just a simple errand on a beautiful day.

As soon as I had that thought I spied Pat rounding the corner headed back to the car. As he drew closer to the car he started dancing a little jig. Wow, he must’ve gotten a great deal on that part.

Mom leaned forward and squinted. “What is he doing?”

So maybe it wasn’t the “I got a bargain dance.” Pat started laughing, but his hoots and hollers were interrupted with strange muttering and threats.

That’s when we noticed the rooster. A large white junk yard rooster attacked Pat’s legs with beak, spurs and enthusiasm. Pat spent his trip back to the car avoiding, dancing, kicking and laughing. Finally, he reached the car, opened the door and slid in, kicking all the while.

The woman from the farmhouse opened her door. “Henry!” The rooster took off, headed back to his house clucking in victory.