Seven Days In Florida #MFRWAuthors #50

I know, I know….I’m extremely tardy with this week’s post!  My daily ‘to do’ list is getting shorter, as far as errands go, but now Mom has me decorating the house, which means dragging out every (and I mean EVERY) tote out of the storage area!  I’ve re  discovered ornaments, candles, and Santas from the past 40-50 years!

But I digress…..

This week’s topic is Fantasy Vacation. Since my goal is to keep this post short and sweet, I’ll sum it up in three words:

Disney World


I’d love to spend a day in each of the parks, (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and MGM), plus a day in Universal, a day in St. Pete, and of course, I’ll need a day in Ft. Myers/Naples area to see family.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll take an entire week at Disney, a day or two at Universal, and another full week to travel around St. Pete, Sarasota, Ft. Meyers, and Naples, and then spend a day at Sea World, Busch Gardens, and even a return to Cypress Gardens.  Go see the manatees, and maybe even a trip to the Everglades.

What about you?  What’s your Fantasy Vacation?

To join the conversation, go here.

This past week has been insane, with temps in the 20s, and of course, those two days were the ones we had to do most of our errands….brrrrr!  My sister should have been here this week instead of me…..and next week’s supposed to be cold and snowy…..and of course, Mom has appointments on both Mon and Tues!  I look at the forecast and want to simply curl up and stay in bed.  Maybe the s-n-o-w will stay in Chicago???

How Do I Love Thee…. #MFRWAuthors #49

Age 12:  Will you be my girlfriend?

Age 15:  Will you go with me/wear my class ring?

Age 20:  I love you.

Age 30:  I love you/Honey, I did the dishes/did the laundry/I’ll take the kids to the movies while you get together with friends.

Age 40:  I picked up 10 lbs of meat and saved you a trip to the store.

Age 50:  I’ll fix dinner for you/Let’s go out to eat

Age 60:  I picked up your prescription/filled your pill tray/I’ll take the grandkids to the movies while you nap.

Age 70:  Honey, bought you a new wheelchair/walker/knee brace.  You’re health is my 1st priority.

What’s your take on keeping the romance alive, or even how a simple ‘I love you’ has evolved over the years?

Join the conversation here.

I’ve arrived back in Lafayette!  I’m not eligible for FMLA, since I’ve only been on the job for 9 months.  BUT….my boss can keep me off the schedule for 8 weeks, which might be good, since my sister can return for a week or two after the new year, which means I could go home and work for another week, then start the cycle again until my 1 year is up.  Anyway, going to be here for at least the next 2 months.


Tempting…Tempting….#MFRWAuthors #48

Let’s face it; temptation is all around us.  Eat this; buy that; sleep with this person; I dare you to do that.

When is it good to give in, and when is it not?

All depends on what your temptation is, and if it will cause any harm.

Diet:  The occasional break is okay, but do it too often and it can be depressing.

Shopping:  Depending on your budget, again the occasional impulse buy is okay, but overspend and it may lead to an argument or a bill you can’t pay.

What’s YOUR temptation?

Went back to work today; I’ll be working this weekend and returning to my mom’s later next week.  I’m also thinking seriously about calling in on Monday, so I can attend my granddaughter’s Christmas program.  My youngest son was in the program when he was in Kindergarten, so this will be a treat!

Giving Thanks #MFRWAuthors #47

This time of year, it’s customary to gather around a table full of food and tell what we’re thankful for.


For one, it shows we have a grateful, unselfish heart.

For another, why not take the time to thank your parents/grandparents/adoptive family for giving you opportunities?  For providing the food on your table, a roof over your head, and the clothing on your back?  Talk to any homeless this time of year; they are extremely grateful for shelter and the community dinners provided.

I’m very thankful I got to spend the first twenty years of marriage at home with the kids, for it allowed me to write whenever I wanted, and the flexibility to hone those skills.  I’m also very thankful to my readers who buy my books, and for an understanding boss (now that I’ve re-entered the workforce) who allowed me the time off for all my signings this summer and fall, and for the funds my paychecks and sales provided which allowed me to pay for all expenses.

I’m also thankful to God for everything this past year, from keeping me safe from a potentially bad accident in April to putting angels in my path when I got lost trying to find my way to Minneapolis without GPS.

What are YOU thankful for?

To join the conversation, go here:

I’m off to both the Jasper Craft Fair (Jasper Armory, Jasper, IN) on Saturday, from 9am-3.  I’m only going to be there until noon or 1, due to my cousin’s wedding later that evening up in Indpls.  I’ll be there on Sunday from 10-3, so come out and see us!

This is my final craft fair of the season.  The only thing left is the Dec 6th First Friday Art Walk….which, I don’t think I have off.  I’ll have to check.  At any rate, I think I’m only 12-13 books away from my goal of 150 books sold this year!  If I can’t do the Art Walk, I’ll have to do some creative marketing to reach that goal, or even find out if the Washington Christian Center is holding their craft show, and see if there’s room for me.


My father passed away unexpectedly Wednesday morning of a massive heart attack, and I forgot to post this on Thursday.  This cancels my weekend plans, as the service is being planned for Tuesday, and we’ve had an outpouring of love and support from friends and family.  Please keep my mom in your prayers during this holiday season?

It’s The Thought That Counts #MFRWAuthors #46

This week’s topic is a tough one for me, since at times I’m the WORST gift-giver.  I think I inherited this from my paternal grandmother, who was notorious for giving gifts that were the complete opposite of what we wanted.

Remember the Wish Book?  I’d pour over that catalogue and circle everything I wanted, with an ‘M’ beside it, so Mom knew what I circled, and which ones belonged to my sister.  She would then try to relate this to other family members, and 9/10 times my sister would get the item I dearly coveted, while I received hers.  We wouldn’t be allowed to ‘switch’ until the visit was over…..which yes, drove me crazy at times!

But as Granny got older, she suddenly ‘got’ me.  Or maybe my tastes changed?  Who knows?

The point is, know your giftee.  Ask them what they want, and take a picture if possible.  Or, gift cards are always nice.  I’ve been asking for Amazon Gift Cards for years…..and never got them.  My parents hand out checks. and ask me about what the kids and spouse might like.  My mom also catalogue shops, and finds cute things for the granddaughter, and will also buy movies and electronics (within reason!) for the kids.

In my family, you can never go wrong with movies, books, or candy.  We also have turned the stocking gifts into ‘joke’ gifts….one year we all got kazoos, and had an interesting ‘concert’.  Last year, it was those popper things, like squirt guns, only they shot Christmas-themed ping-pong balls.

One year, my dad gave me an entire box of printer paper, which was the BEST gift that year!  It lasted me ten years, I kid you not!  Now if he’d just get me a ten-year supply of ink….

But always remember…’s the thought behind the gift which counts.  It says, “I was thinking of you….”

What’s your take on gift-giving?

2019 is drawing to a close….I only have three more signings this year.  I had the BEST sales ever at the Christmas Show last week, selling a whopping 29 books, which beat last year’s total of 16.  I feel blessed that so many readers bought, and hope they enjoy them.

Saturday, I’m at our local craft show, where I sold 17 last year.  It would be AWESOME to match it, but I’m not getting my hopes up.  Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here next week!

Holiday Yummies #MFRWAuthors #45

Last year, I shared the first delicious Pampered Chef recipe that I ever tried; this year, it’s the second one.  Again, I’ve modified this over the years, to accommodate my son’s Keto diet.

Chicken Broccoli Braid

  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped broccoli florets (I use the frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) chopped cooked chicken breasts (I use canned chicken)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) diced red bell pepper (I leave these out)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I use Co-Jack)
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip)
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) All-Purpose Dill Mix
  • 1   garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 2 pkg (8 oz or 235 g each) refrigerated crescent dough
  • 1   egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) slivered almonds (optional-I skip these)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F(190°C). Chop the chicken and broccoli using a Food Chopper, and place the mixture in a Classic Batter Bowl. Chop the bell pepper using a Utility Knife, and add to the Batter Bowl. Press garlic over the vegetable mixture using a Garlic Press.
  2. Shred the cheese using a Rotary Grater, and add it to the vegetable mixture; mix gently. Add mayonnaise, Dill Mix, and salt and then mix well using a Mix ‘N Scraper®.
  3. Unroll 1 package of crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange the longest sides of the dough across the width of a Rectangle Stone. Repeat with the remaining package of dough. Using a Baker’s Roller®, roll the dough to seal the perforations. On the longest sides of the Baking Stone, cut dough into strips 1½” wide and 3″ deep using a Paring Knife. (There will be 6 inches in the center for the filling.)
  4. Spread the filling evenly over the middle of the dough. To braid, lift two opposite strips of dough up, twist once, then lay over filling so that the ends meet at the center. Lightly pinch the ends together. Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Tuck ends up to seal at end of braid.
  5. Brush the egg white over the dough using a Chef’s Silicone Basting Brush. Sprinkle the braid with almonds. Bake 25-28 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut and serve using a Slice ‘N Serve  As was the case with the Bacon Tomato Cups, I spread the filling into a large baking dish, then we could spread it on crackers or Hawaiian Rolls.

What’s YOUR favorite Holiday recipe?

To find out more, go here.

I’m up in Indianapolis at the Christmas Gift and Hobby Show, every afternoon from 3-close.  Stay warm; our temps have varied from 50s on Wed to 19 degrees tonight (Thurs).  Have a great weekend!

Holidays: Headaches or Joy? #MFRWAuthors #44

It’s hard to believe we’re only a month from Thanksgiving, and the upcoming holiday season! I jokingly say the entire month of December is simply one long party, since my son’s birthday is the 8th, mine’s the 19th, and my SIL’s is New Year’s Day.  So add in Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and all the shopping/baking/family parties and it makes sense that I don’t get a lot of writing accomplished!

The Joys:

Who doesn’t love a party?  I do enjoy seeing family members, since we’re all older now and I don’t get to see my cousins as often any more.  One is getting married the week before T-day, so I’ll get to officially meet him, since I’ve only seen his picture on FB, and I wasn’t able to attend her bridal shower.

I also enjoy baking cookies the entire month; it makes the house smell yummy, and I think my kids’ teachers appreciate the goody bags I send to school on the last day before Break.  I also have friends who appreciate a holiday bag stuffed with a loaf of banana bread and 4-5 different types of cookies:)  Depending on how fast my family eats them, and how large the sacks are, sometimes there are a dozen of each type, or only six.  It also depends on which friend has the largest family, ha ha!

The Headaches:

Back when I was a young mom, and our income was much smaller, my extended family was larger, and my hubby objected to the amount of $$ I spent every Christmas, not for us, but for my parents, my sister, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, and all three sets of grandparents.  To put this in perspective, his family isn’t as close as ours, and therefore family gift exchanges were non-existent.  This used to stress me out, since my gifts were smaller and fewer than the other members handed out.  Thankfully, we soon began drawing names….and even though I only had to buy gifts for that one person, my hubby still objected.  Finally, we stopped buying gifts for the adults and focused on the young children, which to my hubby, made more sense anyway!

Another issue was our income always dropped somewhere around October.  I’d buy the majority of the gifts in September, but the stocking stuffers and holiday ‘must haves’, and the cute holiday toys had to wait until after Thanksgiving.  He still laughs about the year I stashed the presents all over our apartment…..and couldn’t find them when it was time to wrap them!  When we moved into the house, I unearthed an entire container of Walmart bags with the kids’ stocking stuffers from the previous year.  I’d hid them so well, I’d forgotten about it!

Traveling can also be a hassle when funds are limited and your families are two hours away in each direction.  Add in snow and ice, and I know of at least two years where we celebrated Christmas closer to New Year’s Day.

I joined our church choir several years ago, and as a result, we would sing at Midnight on Christmas Eve, which meant I would arrive home at 1am, stuff the stockings, help Santa put the presents under the tree, and go to bed, only to be awakened five hours later!  Depending on if we had to then travel that day, at least that two hour trip meant I could grab a nap in the car!

When it comes to celebrating all our birthdays, we combine mine and my son’s, when it comes to celebrating with my parents.  We usually meet at a nice restaurant, then Grandma passes out gifts to both of us, or just a card with a check.  When my grandparents were alive, I admit to using my birthday ‘income’ (usually around $175) to help pay for the kids’ Christmas.  I lost two grandparents in 1995, one in 1998, and the last one in 2011.  When my mother had health issues last year, the birthday checks arrived in the mail, courtesy of my dad.

So what about you?  What’s your situation and do you find the joys outweigh the headaches?  I went through a phase where I just wanted to skip the holidays altogether, but since my daughter has taken over decorating the house and putting up the tree, my ‘job’ has been to supervise the placement of the ornaments and explain the meaning behind our eclectic assortment.  As my granddaughter and Teen grow older, I hope to impress upon them the history behind some of the more precious ornaments, and not simply dismiss them because they’re ‘old’.  More on this probably as we get closer to Christmas, ha ha!

To join the conversation, click here.

Tonight, I’m setting up at our First Friday Art Walk, then I have to work tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday.  Wed-Sun, I’ll be at the Indpls Christmas Gift and Hobby Show, which is my best four-day event of the year.  My NaNoWriMo project this year is to finish my time-travel story, plus the ‘defending your life/angel’ story I’ve been working on for a few months now.  Plus, I decided to go ahead and publish the 14th book in my Arbor U series, since #8-12 have stalled.  I can always rebrand them as ‘Arbor U: The Next Generation’ or ‘Arbor U 2.0’

Have a great weekend!

Reality Check #MFRWAuthors #43

Ten or so years ago, I was dragged, albeit kicking and screaming, onto Facebook, thanks to the coordinator of our HS class reunion.  I resisted, because as a new author, MySpace was the rage, and there were rumors of FB being full of nasty viruses.  But join I did, and spent around fifteen minutes per day on the site, reading the few friends’ posts, throwing virtual pillows back and forth to a few friends, and posting my writing progress and links.  Everyone was friendly, with some political exceptions that I managed to ignore.

But then somewhere along the line, things changed.  As I gained more ‘friends’ (I use the term loosely, since I’ve not met everyone in person), ‘hot button’ issues began appearing on my feed, and to balance them out, I dared voice my opinion, which resulted in angry responses, being unfriended, and in one case, a private message blasting me for my *gasp* OPINION.

Later, during a marketing workshop, I learned authors were advised to NOT voice our opinions on ‘hut button topics’, lest we lose readers.

So I took to my blog….and lost my traffic.  But you know what?  I don’t care.  I had to disable the comments several years ago, because I was getting hit with so much SPAM.  To my knowledge, no one’s complained to Blogger about it, because my site is still up and running.

The past three years, FB has become so volatile, due to the fact I have more friends whose political views differ than mine that I’m not spending a lot of time over there anymore.  I don’t know if it’s just the fact that being able to hide behind a computer and let our fingers post whatever vile hate we want, and not consider the readers on the other end, or if FB has reduced everyone back to their middle grade-elementary school habits, where those in the ‘Clique’ decide who’s cool and who’s not.  It used to be the ‘cool’ kids…..but now it’s the ‘nerds’ running everything, and you know what?  They’re doing the EXACT SAME THING!

When will this bullying stop?  People have forgotten they have the right to IGNORE those whose views differ from their own, instead of trying to shove their views down the other person’s throat.

The only thing I do on FB anymore is post my Morning Song, my goals for the day, and the occasional meme/link or update on my current WIP.  I also post my pictures there.  Which alarms me greatly….if FB is shut down, all my pictures will be lost, since I’m now on my 3rd computer, and my hubby hates it when I have them printed.  Remember that?  When we’d drop off our film or use our memory card at CVS to print all the pics?  Yeah, it was expensive because he wouldn’t let me do it every week/month!  In 100 years, archaeologists are going to find photo albums and wonder if civilization ended around 2008…..unless the images are somehow saved somewhere…but I digress!

I joined Twitter on the advice of that same marketing workshop, because it’s another place to put my book links.  In recent years, however, it’s become how I keep track of how well I’ve done at karaoke, since I pissed off a few of my FB ‘friends’ by posting every half hour of how well I sang XYZ song.  I also scroll through it sometimes when I’m bored at ‘roke, and was appalled at how vile it had become on my feed over there, so I went through and unfollowed a few folks.  Yesterday, it was much peaceful.

Pinterest, I joined a few years ago when I was researching hair color…..but really have no clue what I’m doing over there.  I don’t even think I’ve ‘pinned’ anything.

So in short, social media can be fun, if you agree with all your ‘friends’, or it can be hateful, if your ‘friends’ turn on you for daring to voice your OPINION.

It all depends on your maturity level, your own willingness to ignore posts, and keep your opinions to yourself.

Which is strange….wasn’t the freedom of expression one of the things our Founding Fathers put in the Bill of Rights?

To join the Social Media Conversation, click here. 

I’m off to the Collector’s Carnival in Princeton on Saturday!  I did this particular craft fair for the 1st time last year, with good results.  Temps are supposed to be in the low 60s, so I’m hoping to stay warm, and have similar results.  I did this event for the 1st time in August, but was sleepy.  I’m hoping to be wide awake this time:)


Dr. Jekyll and Ms Hyde #MFRWAuthors #42

November is a short two weeks away, and that means not just Thanksgiving Prep, but National Novel Writing Month.  I first found out about this in 2006, but since we were in the middle of moving into my former MIL’s house, I decided to put it off for a year.  And thank god I did.

I never realized I was capable of putting so much pressure on myself.  Okay, that’s a lie; I did it when my husband was in the hospital and thought I could do everything myself….which resulted in me having a meltdown in the hospital parking lot when the alternator in my car went out.  Thankfully, my parents were still around, and helped me out.

But fast-forward to 2007.  The first week of NaNo, I settled in every day after getting the kids off to school, and wrote from 9:30-noon; picked up my toddler from Head Start; fed myself lunch and settled the toddler with his toys and Nickelodean channel while I went back to work.  My older kids trooped in around 3:30, and after checking to make sure homework was accomplished, I’d return to my WIP until around 5.  After dinner and clean up, I’d be back at it until 9pm, the toddler’s bedtime, and then work again until midnight, unless I hit my 1550 word count goal for the day.

Week #2:  Same schedule, only this time, my daughter began balking at getting out of bed.  Sometimes I’d be so stressed after dealing with her, I’d read or go have coffee with a friend before going home to work.  As a result, by the end of the week, I realized my word count was falling behind.

Week #3:  I began to panic when the words weren’t coming, plus my hubby arrived home and complained about me sitting at the computer Wednesday night, and demanded I help him with the next day’s food prep.  By Saturday, I was having a full-blown panic attack, since we were only six days away from the end of the month, and I was easily 10-15K words behind.

Week #4:  Had a shouting match with my daughter about being late to school, plus made a rolling stop through a 4-way stop and got caught, which resulted in not only a ticket, but I had a meltdown in the assistant principal’s office.  Ironically enough, just the fact the man listened to me cry, acknowledged I was probably trying to do too much, and encouraged me to ‘slow down’ made me feel better, and lo and behold, the words flowed, and by midnight on the 30th, I managed to squeak over the 50K mark at 50,035.

I found out later the kids had gone to their dad over Thanksgiving and complained that ‘Mom had lost her mind’.

For the record, I NEVER want to turn into that person again….

In subsequent years, I’ve not sweated my word count.  I proved to myself I can do it, and in 2014, I worked on two projects at the same time, and finished the first one in two weeks, then spent the rest of the month working on another, with the final word count coming in at a little over 51K.

So the lesson here is, KNOW YOUR LIMITS.  If it’s too stressful, by all means, back off.  I’d forgotten the most important thing:  I’m only competing against MYSELF, and it’s not worth alienating the family to pursue a goal that’s all in your head.  Yes, it can be extremely productive, and fun with write-ins with other writer friends and the kick-off parties (we received some great goodies with our area leader!), but ultimately, the goal is to get more words written.  Even if you miss the goal, pat yourself on the back for the words you DO have down!

Just recognize when ‘Hyde’ shows up, it’s time to back off and remember to breathe.

What’s YOUR NaNo story?

EEEK!  Do you realize there’s only 10 weeks left in this year???  Where did this year go??

I’m home this weekend, but am setting up at our Farmer’s Market, at the request of the organizer who follows me on FB, and wants me to show off the two new anthologies.  Saturday night, we’re kicking off the release of Bad Decisions with an Open Mic Night.

Had a GREAT time at Imaginarium, and even got to meet Holly Bargo in person:)  Was on three panels, reconnected with friends I only see twice a year, and managed to sell four books:)  Looking forward to next year!

Ritual Or Routine? #MFRWAuthors #41

My writing ritual used to be easy.  After taking the kids to school, I’d come home, grab another cup of coffee, start up the computer (remember those days??), and watch the rest of the morning news, then turn off the TV and the radio on and head into my office to work on whatever story was demanding my attention.

Nowadays, it’s more of boot up the laptop, check social media, turn on my favorite YouTube playlist, and either work in Google Docs or wait for Word to load.  I keep a glass of iced tea in the kitchen, and I set the timer for 45 minutes.  That gives me a good stretch of writing time AND reminds me to get up and stretch.

So the question today is ‘what’s the truth behind the ritual?’

I don’t think of mine so much as a ritual, but more of a routine.

Now if you want to talk ritual, I have a classic example when I’m watching sports:  If my team is winning, or at least doing well, if I happen to be eating pistachio nuts, then I keep a supply in the house for Game Day.  Or, if I happen to be watching the game at Buffalo Wild Wings and my team wins, but I’m at home the next week and they lose, then yup….I’ll be back at BW3 the following week.  But is it ritual or superstition?  Yes, it’s a little of both.

I think this idea of ‘oh wow….the words were really flowing yesterday; I’ll do the same thing again today…’ can be both a ritual and a little superstition….but at the end of the day, what really matters is, you’ve put pen to paper, fingers on the keyboard, and you have more words than you wrote had you not done this.

And if my team makes the playoffs, or even wins the championship, then I’ve done my duty as a fan, right?

To join the conversation, go here.

I’m off to Louisville, KY this weekend, for the Imaginarium Convention!  Looking forward to seeing my Kentucky tribe, as well as friend and author Beverly Ovaille, who is making her first trip to this Con.  Bad Decisions is a finalist in the the Best Anthology category in the Imaginn Awards Saturday night, so fingers crossed we win:)

Speaking of which…..Bad Decisions is LIVE on Amazon!