Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Dogs and Glasses

It's been awhile since I rambled about my dogs. Dog observation and interaction is a little easier than observing and interacting with children. For starters, one of the dogs is staring at me waiting for food. The other is throwing around her beloved alligator. Simple life. 

Kids. Well, that's another story. Case in point. The 8-year-old "left" his glasses at my house. So we spent several hours looking for said glasses. Rob scoured the yard where the "fart in a skillet" had bounced about. I checked the upstairs toy area. Cleaned, sorted, swept and found nothing. I called to tell 8-year-old that and he asked if I had checked the area behind the toys where he is not supposed to go. So I checked there. Then he was certain they were in the downstairs toy bins, mixed in with the toy food and cooking utensils. So I checked there. Nada. His mom sighed and put a call in to get them replaced. Yesterday he called me. He found his glasses. In HIS BACKPACK!!!!!!!!!

See. Dogs are way less complicated. 

On Monday morning I had to coax them out of their toasty dog beds at 7:20 a.m. to eat and take care of business. As soon as they got all those details taken care of they tore back upstairs and launched themselves into their beds. 

Tuesday I woke up with the head cold so my pooches helped in the healing process and snuggled with me on the couch. The snatches of rest time were punctuated with cujo barking when a heavy truck went up the road a few times. Oh, and cuddling seems to require standing on my body. Wait. They are a little crazy, too. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ People that Make People Look Good

I'm going to be honest. As members of the human race in the First World we tend to get pretty stinking selfish and self-focused. I don't need to wax eloquent about that amiright? We all know what I'm saying. 

When I run into people who think a whole lot bigger than how a traffic jam, slow barista or "#Unicorn Frappuccinos being gone so soon" wrecks their morning, day or life it's pretty refreshing. 

While doing my Out of the Frying Pan tour I've met some amazingly generous people. One of the latest and most generous is Greg from Abundant Life Coffee. My author group gives me a chance to invite people to review Out of the Frying Pan and do occasional shout outs to ask for help in promotion. As a reward I try to offer a monthly prize for those who have signed up. A simple drawing nets someone a book or a treat of some sort. One of the options is giving away a bag of Abundant Life Coffee. I thought I'd give them a try this month. When providing the winner's mailing address I also asked how to get the payment to them. He offered this one on the house. 

Paying it forward. A random act of kindness. 

Oh, and the mission behind the availability of the coffee? "Ending poverty, one cup at a time." 

Abundant Life is about the farmers in Honduras. Helping the former migrant workers to develop their own small coffee farms and paying them the highest prices possible to give them far and above the wages they are used to scraping by on. 

A couple years ago I read "Water from My Heart" a story within a story with a thread based on true conditions and about the people working to save a small Central American coffee farm. Since that time I have become more aware that an extra buck or two a bag can make a big difference to the people picking and working hard for my luxury item. I began leaning toward fair trade or organic. Just something to feel a little less selfish. Our church partnered with a mission group by selling coffee for a ministry that was helping in El Salvador and providing great coffee, too. There have been issues within the ministry so this has not been available lately. But here is Abundant Life Coffee. Great coffee with a life changing mission. How do I know it's great? Here's a review that sings some serious praises. 

I just have to share it with all my readers.  If you have Mother's Day gifts to buy for a coffee lover, please buy from someone like Abundant Life. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Carving

My oldest daughter and I don't have conversations anymore. Not that we aren't talking to each other but more like with 4-5 or 6 little ones running amok there are just zero complete conversations. We speak in snippets. 

Which makes me grateful for texts. If I haven't heard from one of my kids for days, this happens with my man-child. Which reminds me...I need to drop him a howareya text. I can get a temperature reading with a text. "How is so and so?" (So many. My grandchild count for Easter was 8. How did that happen? Older daughter mentioned that she's sorry she's such a breeder. Hilarious since her five are adopted or foster, so not true. However, she did make me an instagrandma of three and I'm so grateful for those little stinkers!) 

Texting and snippets of life conversation are a season of life. I have reached a point where I feel like not everything has to be talked about or shared. That it's okay to pick up where you left off. Kind of like what's going on in the world, if it's important you are going to hear about it. 

But sometimes relationships and sanity and passions require creativity.

Both of my daughters blog. So oldest daughter has asked me to carve out time weekly to meet with her at a coffee shop and tandem work on our writing. Last night was our second adventure. 

The amazing thing is that in the car rides back and forth and standing in line to order and getting things fired up we do get to have conversations. And then we write. I began to plot the second novel, the follow up to Out of the Frying Pan. And I finished a couple of important blog posts. 

I came home to a house I probably wouldn't have done much with had I stayed home. And besides, I had cleaned for an hour between work and writing, looking for a young man's glasses he was certain he'd left at grandma's house "probably in the toys." The toys are sorted and organized and every corner is swept clean and the glasses were not in the toys at grandma's. 

So. There's that.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Calling All Bargain Shoppers

Through tomorrow, April 18th, you have access to the bargain of the century. Ok. Maybe not, but I am a fiction author, so I am required to make it exciting. 

Out of the Frying Pan. The novel spanning multiple states and years in the making, is free. 

Did you hear that? FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes. The e-book is nada. Zilch. Zippo. Z.E.R.O. at Amazon. 

Now maybe you've already purchased it. THANK YOU! But think of the people on your gift giving list. Who doesn't like to laugh? Who doesn't love a gift? This one travels well. See the places it has gone???? And it is enjoyed by many ages. 

Here's how to grab this. Go here. Click. And my co-author says this "And just in case you don't have one of them there fancy newfangled ebook reading gadgets, no worries. You can always download it to your computer and read it from there -- or if you're super lazy, install text reading software and have your computer read it back to you. Easy peasy."

"A laugh out loud mystery with quirky, lovable characters who find themselves in all sorts of trouble. The storyline is believable and comes with descriptions of mouth-watering food, which makes for a delicious plot! A cohesive and fast-moving novel." 4-Stars! RT Book Reviews

And here's a blurb:

Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ The Trouble With Shiny Things

While making online payments and checking emails in the early, quiet of the morning, before beagles hound (heh, heh, clearly pun intended) me for a toast crust and before I must head out for the daily grind, I peruse things that showed up in my inbox while I was sleeping.

I could be using this time to write. Or marketing Out of the Frying Pan, or even taking an online course on something to make me smarter or at least appear smarter. But instead I open interesting articles like the ones this morning. What to order at every MLB stadium. For starters, on this one, I clicked to see what a freakin MLB is. Major League Baseball. This I had to figure out on my own. It is so apparent to any sport fan that this is what MLB is that they didn't even define it. I had to figure it out via thinking and context! (Aren't there bunches of studies that show it's so good for your brain to do puzzles? Look, I was being productive after all!) Plus this is research for my recipe column. I can justify it doubly. I might just want to recreate a super churro or waffle concoctions. Probably not bacon on a stick, ever. However, carrot bacon is the newest meat free bacon option. (Also discovered in one of the many factoid newsletters I get in my inbox.) 

Then my little eyes spied a top 15 locations to visit in Italy. I've never been to Italy in my life. But dog gone it, I want to go. There is a huge part of me that wants to buy an Italian farmhouse and live off the delicious land. I don't speak Italian. I have no Italian roots that I'm aware of. I feel kind of the same about English, French, Irish, Spanish, Scottish, well you get it, any European countryside. Italy just feels like the food would be the best and for some reason they would be warm and friendly. The UK feels like it would be too gloomy and grey, (UK spelling, and if I lived in Italy, I could just hop a train and visit the UK and the corgis. I don't want to see the queen but I do want to peek at her corgis!). Also food.  In the UK
they eat things like blood sausage. In Italy there seems to be sunshine and bodacious red tomatoes everywhere. And grapes. If they only had mango trees I might just buy a one way ticket today. 

And look at the time! I've managed to use my morning well. Got a blog post done. Check. Did a little marketing. Look at the picture and the hot link to my book! Oh, and maybe I'll tweet a link with hashtags #shinythings #squirrel #whoamIkidding? 

Monday, April 03, 2017

Book Giveaway Chance. And Who's the Inspiration

Hum Chicago's You're the Inspiration while reading the last part of the post title.
Okay. Now go to Elaine Stock's blog to hear Michelle's take on how she fleshed out her characters. Including Wifi the Wonder Dog. 

You don't know Fifi? Well, then you might want to go to the link under the book cover, buy a copy and meet her. 

Finally. If you like easy throw together meals, especially Meatless Monday ones, go to Zu-Fer and give Zula's Minestrone a try.