Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ Fern and Zula Snuck Out Again

Sweet Carrie invited me to hang out at her blog after reviewing Out of the Frying Pan

Fern and Zula sat in the hot seats and answered her fun questions. And Carrie upped the laughs by commenting on the ladies' answers.  

Get in on the fun HERE

And Carrie includes the link to the contest...remember the contest???? 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tiny or Not So Tiny, Ane Mulligan Talks About Tiny Houses!

I love tiny houses. But I'll be honest. I've never actually been in one. Maybe I just love the idea of a tiny house. However, my in-laws have a single wide trailer on a lake in Minnesota that feels very much like I could live there comfortably with my husband and beagles (and hedgehogs, can't forget the pigs!) So I think I could do it. 

My purging obsession of the past few years is kind of in response to this feeling. I don't want to be surrounded by stuff that I don't use/need any more! Ideally, I think we'd do great in an under 600 sq ft home with two bedrooms. (Gotta have room for drop in guests.) 

I know Zula could not do a tiny house. But Fern would adore a micro tiny 184 sq ft one!

Ane Mulligan is on the hot seat today. She has written about a tiny house and I want to pick her brain. So come along for the ride. 

Q: Though I've not read your story yet, Ane. I'm intrigued. How did you come to write about tiny house living? 

A: I've long been fascinated with tiny houses. I watch HGTV a lot, don't ask me why. I think I could easily live in one. After all, I'm a writer. I work in a small space. It's in my mind where I really live. That's where most of my friends live, and the others are all in cyberspace. Okay, I do have some very real flesh-and-blood friends, lest y'all get worried. But my fictional friends and I could live well in a tiny house.

The mayor of my town (Sugar Hill, GA) has been after me to set a story in Sugar Hill. I decided to combine those, then when some writing pals wanted to do a collection of novellas, I tossed them the idea of a tiny house being the unifier of the stories. Asfter some HGTV viewing, they became fascinated, too.

Q: In doing your research you have to have discovered some interesting details, please share!

A: I'd watched a couple of episodes where the buyer was a traveling nurse. I decided that's what my character should be. I should have researched the job more than the house, because in the end, it didn't work. However, they appear in my story.

As far as the tiny houses, I've got pictures of so many that I love, I'm trying to talk the hubs into one. But I don't think it's going to work. So I guess my tiny house living will be in my mind. See answer number 1.

Q: Do any of the other authors have tiny house history or plans? 

A: Yes! Kimberli S. McKay and her husband have decided they are going to build one in the mountains as their getaway. I feel so motherly.

Q: Anything different about writing a tiny house scene verses a traditional home like Claire's? 

A: Definitely. But, most of my scenes take place in the hospital instead of her tiny house. When the hero comes for a tour, it's over pretty fast. I mean, in 300 square feet, it doesn't take long to describe it.

Q: You have written a series, have a new release that is more political in nature, have written a novella and a cookbook, what has been the most challenging of these and why? 

A: For a long time, people in the industry kept talking about staying in one genre, but after querying my street team, I find they read in all genres. And they seem to like what I've done.

But I will say, the most challenging is writing romance. Love is Sweeter in Sugar Hill is a romance. And from my crit partner, Genghis Griep, I found out I needed some real lessons on writing romance. Some of her comments in critiques were hilarious! Okay, so I learned … and turned out a story that has drawn a few sighs. Whew!

Tiny houses are all the rage these days, but what can you do with something so small? Here are seven stories about people chasing their dreams, making fresh starts, finding love, stumbling upon forgiveness, and embarking upon new adventures in tiny houses. Travel with them around the country in this big novella collection.

Love is Sweeter in Sugar Hill: She has a tiny house. He lives in a mansion. She vows to charge a doctor with malpractice. His job depends on that doctor's finances. Will love find a way?

Kayla's Challenge: She was one "I do" short of marrying the man her pushy parents chose for her. Now, half a country away, she needs a tiny house to finally be free.

If These Walls Could Talk: Both claim to have inherited the same Queen Anne until an unexpected blessing changes everything.

First Love: Betrayed by her husband and desperate for healing, she can only move forward by going back home.

Dash of Pepper: His responsibilities tie him to the small town he loves, but her career plans will lead her to the big city. Will he cut his roots for her or will she clip her wings for him?

Big Love: Homelessness expanded her world and constricted his. Now she needs his help, but he only remembers the pain. Can they find big love in a tiny house?

The Light Holding Her: Friends since childhood. She's being stalked. He's in danger. Is their faith big enough to carry them through the trials into a deeper relationship?

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, award-winning author Ane Mulligan has worn many: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), CEO of a Community Theatre group, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband. You can find her on her website, Amazon Author page, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Gigi Story

I never know what configuration of children I'm going to be encountering in a day. I drive by one homestead full of them on my way to and from work. Sometimes I see them playing on the porch swing, sometimes I stop to drop something off. When I get home I may have an encounter with a crazy boy in a diaper and he may or may not be wearing anything else. Before I go in for work I often don't have plans, by the time I'm headed home I have picked up a babysitting shift, or baby holding shift. Sometimes the first sight I see upon exiting my car is a blonde smiley kiddo standing at the door with my four-legged beagles waiting expectantly for me to enter the promised chaos. 

And I love being a grandma. A Gigi or Gaga or the ever popular gramma or G-Ma. 

Last night we pulled out markers and crayons and some plastic stencils. This was my gift drawing. 

All the pets are drawn and labeled as you can see. The hedgehogs, Daisy and Daffodil and the beagles, Gladys and Gertrude. The picture in the bottom corner was a snapshot of the evening. I put the baby on my head and chanted, "Baby hat! Baby hat!" multiple times because. were laughing, including the hat. However, toward the end of this ridiculousness the baby grabbed two handfuls of my hair. So I had to play that up, too. I mean it just doesn't happen every day. In hindsight I am grateful that he didn't throw up in my hair. Because that is a strong possibility.... My mom asked me why I insist on doing things like "Baby Hat!" I told her it might be because I sang the alphabet song 125 times in a on hour period to entertain the 2-year-old and then at the begging of the 10-year-old duet partner switched to Bingo. I think I'm delirious a good chunk of time. 

Sigh. I sleep like a baby after spending a few hours in the sea of children. But I am so blessed and so grateful to be their Gigi! 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ I'm Sure You are All Wondering

You can be honest. All of you who know Zula, one of our characters from Out of the Frying Pan, know Zula has a bit of flare. 

She shares some of her top Diva tips with Ane Mulligan's readers.  I'm sure you will find something of value in Zula's quick fix fashion, food and fluff suggestions. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ Celebrating FLOWERS. Giveaway

Fern and Zula, our characters from our Out of the Frying Pan are sponsoring a contest. 

Now...this is the easiest contest you might ever enter. Simply a photo of a or some floral arrangements with a wee bit of tagging and sending said picture and you are entered into three possible categories. Fern pick, Zula pick and Wild Card. 

The prizes? 

Hobby Lobby gift card
Trader Joe's gift card
Amazon gift card and a signed copy of our book. 

Official details here. 

Two entries so far. You should add to it!  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ Feedback Part 2

Get a copy here
A follow-up to yesterday. Read it here.  

An author should never enter a debate regarding a review. It's just a bad idea. However. A comment made by a reviewer made me pause a bit. Her review was great and I appreciate it. But her experience is very different than mine. So I am using this next couple paragraphs to give more information about some reasons why our characters are written the way they are. 

A 78 year-old-reviewer said she didn't know anyone who acted like the ladies of Paradise. I am glad for her that she doesn't know the following story. But I have observed a whole different group of folks. Note: Some of the elderly or older church ladies I've known would not fit in with Fern and Zula. However, as with every age, there are extremes on both sides. And a wide road of gray in the middle (pun intended though I prefer to call my gray silver!) The town I live in has a very high population of over 65. We are ranked as one of the best cities for a healthy retirement. So. I have a little bit of knowledge with the over 65 crowd. 

Beaches and a cruise ship are great places to people watch. What I have observed in those locations is that those who are shy and inhibited are that way at any age. I've seen older women buttoned up in seven layers and I've seen others in the exact age group out and about in yoga pants and crop tops. Or doing the back stroke, in a tiny swimsuit in one of the cruise ship swimming pools. I know a 90+ year-old diva-doll who dresses to the nines and possibly gets most of her wardrobe from the junior department...and talk about spicy tongue and attitude.

So. When you are on a beach look around. I promise you will see at least one 65+ man in a speedo and one leather-skinned-sun-goddess in her bikini. Silver hair glistening in the sun. Neither one seems a bit concerned about showing skin. Right next to the 20-somethings in their thong bikinis.

True story.

One elderly lady shared her concern about her Peyton Place retirement village with me. Once, while delivering greeting cards to her neighbors she encountered a naked man. He left the room of a 70-something gal and trucked across the hall in all his glory. Right past her. Not a word. He may have winked but I'm pretty sure she had buried her head in the sand at that point. That religious holiday was ruined for the poor innocent gal.

In my experience here's the bottom line. If grandma was a tiger as a kitten, chances are she still has a purr.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ Feedback

You know what feedback is...right? That horrific screechy sound that feels like nails on chalkboard. Feels like. Because it is so deeply painful. A sign that you are doing something that has attracted everyone's attention. 

Writing a book invites feedback. In this case feedback grabs attention and gives us details about what the tiny piece of the world we've touched thinks of our book. In the past couple of days I've gotten the following feedback. And what an interesting picture it is. 

Jennifer Slattery
May 9 at 11:08am
Working on some interview questions this morning, and in it, the interviewer asked what literary character I'd most love to have dinner with. Kelly, you knew who I said, right? The Ethel and Lucy of the 21st century! (I'd bring plastic flowers, of course! ;) ) #outofthefryingpan

Here's the link to her interview. Question 5 is our spotlight.

This on Facebook.

That moment when you're in the checkout lane and the older woman in front of you is purchasing silk flowers in red, white and blue and it's all you can do to not start laughing out loud because all you can think about is Zula, from Out of the Frying Pan. Thank you very much, Jayshua Porterand Kelly Klepfer!!  
I think it was national love on Out of the Frying Pan day. What did you do to celebrate? HaHaHa!

Then this in the comments on Zu-fer (Fern and Zula's blog)

I just love Fern!

And a 3 Star review on Amazon.

on May 6, 2017
I enjoyed the mystery, but it took me over a week to finish it, could have done without the senior citizens acting like hormonal teenagers. I am 78 and no one I know acts like that. ;) 

Our "negative" reviews are even pretty positive. We got one 2 star and the reviewer called it fluffy and cute. Well. Sometimes fluffy and cute is just what the doctor ordered. But I'm going to suggest you come back tomorrow for a fictionalized story that is based on a true event. A flip side to what sees as a 78 year-old who has chosen those around her very, very well. Just sayin.....

Ahhhh Now We're Talking

Friends from the great northern state of Minnesota came up for the weekend to help my daughter do some landscaping at her new house. One of the duo just got her bachelors in nursing. Shout out to Callie! Way to go.

6 year old doing a selfie. Oh, the pics I find on my phone!
We were laughing because I keep getting gunk from the kiddos. Between my nine grandkids I'm exposed to the germs of nine different day care/school settings. And I choose not to avoid their little hugs and kisses so it's inevitable that when someone's nose starts running I'm going to be right behind them. 

She said. "Oh you have Daycare Cold." 

I said. "That's a thing, like Kennel Cough?" 

"Kinda, where you can get a hybrid due to multiple things going on in the daycare, yes." 

Well, you know me. I can't not own this. I have Kennel Cough. Again.  

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Playin Grownup

Do you ever feel like you are a child wearing grown up shoes? 

Maybe it's all the changes and constant ebb and flow of ocean waves in my life but I'm often feeling like I'm faking this adult thing. 

Case in point. I've done Dexascans at my employers for a decade. I'm in a newish location with a brand new to me machine and multiple people teaching/giving me expectations for what the outcome should look like. I was the lone ranger before, doing things for my 4 providers who just wanted the bottom line data. This new adventure is for 20+ providers and radiologists and I'm no lone wolf. One trainer says to include more femur, the other says, analyze and print right away, one says wait till you are done with the whole exam. Oh, and the anatomy lessons I memorized 20+ years ago have gotten a little rusty. 

I've been given the opportunity to do these alone, twice. Both times I've forgotten a detail. 

Yesterday's oops was so obvious. Such an oops that I feel like a total idiot. My trainer came into the room and said "You didn't use the postioner." This is no small thing. The positioner is a massive foam block you put under the legs to put the spine in the perfect position. I have never. In the hundreds of Dexascans I've done. Forgotten that piece of the puzzle. But I think in trying to go through my mental checklist of the differences between my old machine, this new one, the expectations of the trainers and wanting to get off the remedial list I overlooked the elephant in the room then tripped and fell face down into a pile of elephant poo. 

The even scarier part of this. (BTW, no patients were harmed in this process. Ha. Ha.) My new bosses want me to fully utilize the degree I have. Which means I will be on a learning curve for basically forever while I begin training on the digital x-ray unit. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Silence

When kids are over and put away the toys but accidentally put away the dog toys, too. And your sister finds the only toy you want and takes it. First World Dog Problem. 
As I write this my house is literally silent. Well. There is ambient noise. It's an old house with 4 creatures in the same room, after all. 

This was not the case a mere hour ago. Instead it was filled with all the noise that a heaping 11 people, two dogs and two hedgehogs can make. (Hedgehogs are the least on the noise pollution scale, BTW.) 

A baby cooing, three little ones under three and three ten and under. Oh, and five adults coming and going for all various sorts of reasons. 

I can honestly say I might like the chaos a wee bit better. However, my body says the silence is lovely. 

Soaking up the silence. Ahhhhh....

Never mind. My daughter and husband are now debating the difference between butterscotch and caramel and it's intruding into my quiet bubble. Nice while it lasted. Ha Ha. 

If you are looking for more Fern and Zula check out the blog. There is a serial short story being put together one day at a time.  Twitter bite-sized pieces per day, so it's going to take a bit.