Friday, September 26, 2014

Smelling the Roses

Thought for the day:  Time is but a stream I go a-fishin' in.  I drink at it, but while I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is.  Its thin current slips away, but eternity remains. [Henry David Thoreau]

I didn't just want to go fishing in it; I wanted to stand in it. I wanted to feel the waters of time swirl around my feet, to be made poignantly aware once again of its dual nature of fleeting and eternal. I wanted to hear the haunting call of the seagulls, and breathe in the distinctive briny scent of the ocean.

And thanks to Smarticus and a couple very dear friends, I did!

When I did my social butterflying a couple weekends ago, I was actually doing it at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my hubby and our pals from Tennessee.  And even though none of them care all that much (like not at all) about spending time at the beach, they graciously indulged me. They gave me the time to walk on the beach and stand in the water. And it was glorious.

As you read this, I'm off social butterflying again. No ocean involved this time, but I'm gonna be unplugged from the Internet, and plugged into my environment. Smelling the roses, while they're still in bloom. So to speak. Because I'm such an innately lazy generous person, I won't abandon y'all without a post. Nope, I'm gonna foist an old post share a post, originally written as Dashing Through Life in April of 2011. Most of you haven't seen it before, and it kinda goes along with the way I'm feeling lately. Life's simply too short to waste. We've gotta live it. Gotta go fishin' once in a while.

                                            (Hey! You go fishing your way, and I'll go mine!)

Okeydoke, here's that oldie but goodie rerun.


Thought for the day:  I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.  Maya Angelou

It'd be a lot easier if life were laid out like a marked highway, wouldn't it? All we'd have to do is keep our eye on that center line and follow the road straight to our final destination. No guesswork involved. No tough decisions. Why, there'd even be signs to warn us of the bumpy patches ahead, and of the "dips" we're likely to encounter.

And just think! If we doze off and start to wander off-track, by golly, there'd be signs to tell us:

Just think how many divorces could have been avoided!

But, in truth, life would be kinda boring if it were all laid out for us, wouldn't it? I mean, where's the spirit of adventure in that? Even though I'm directionally challenged, I love exploring those little dirt roads in life.

Years ago, Smarticus and I spent several unforgettable weekends at a mountain cabin with another couple. Wonderful people. Like me, Smarticus also likes to venture off the beaten path, and thankfully, he has an uncanny sense of direction to go with it, so as long as I stick with him, I'll always find my way home again. The other couple, on the other hand, preferred the safety of the paved road, and the well-worn path. The four of us were tromping on a trail through the woods one day, when I heard the distant sound of water. Natch, I got all excited and took off through the woods. And natch, so did my husband. Our friends stayed glued to the marked trail at first, but quickly decided it was scarier to stay behind than it'd be to follow us. We encountered a multitude of large trees, downed and tangled, so we climbed over them. Ran into brambles galore, but we kept going. But as we climbed through and over the obstacles, the sound of water got louder and louder, until we finally emerged into a sun-lit clearing. It was worth every single scratch and bug bite we'd endured, and every bead of sweat we'd perspired. For there we were, beside a small, secluded waterfall.

And we would've missed that beautiful moment if we hadn't been willing to take the scenic path. The detour. It's wonderful to have a clear destination in mind, but the trip is so much more enjoyable if we learn to enjoy the scenery along the way. Children insist on becoming adults, and you'll only have one shot at enjoying their childhoods. Our parents grow old and die, and then there's no time left to chat with them on the phone, or to stop in for a visit. Our friends pass away, or move away, or simply leave our lives. Shouldn't we enjoy them while we can? I originally planned on calling my blog Never2Late.  That definitely reflects my optimistic viewpoint of life, but the unpleasant truth is ... sometimes, it IS too late.

Sorry! I've gotta dash!
Hurry, hurry, hurry. No time to stop and chat. No time to listen to the response after you ask someone how they're doing. Gotta dash, gotta dash.

I want to leave you with another thought about our mad dash through life.

The Dash is an inspirational poem that starts:

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

This poem was written in 1996 by Linda Ellis, and her words have inspired millions of people all over the world. She writes about that little line, that simple "dash" on a tombstone that represents the real story of a lifetime, that defines who we are beyond a simple beginning and end date, and touches, simply and succinctly, on what's truly important in life. Here's a beautiful rendition of  the entire poem   I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

How about you? Are you strictly goal-oriented, or do you enjoy life's surprising detours?

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. What can I say? Gotta dash!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kilgore Was Here

Thought for the day: Anything worth having is worth waiting for.

No, no, no, not Kilroy... Kilgore, as in Carol Kilgore, lovely author and all-around fun gal. Remember? A while back, I told y'all about her latest book, Secrets of Honor, even though it hadn't been released yet. (Such a tease!) Well, the wait is over, and the time is NOW. We can all finally get our hot little hands on Carol's latest mystery with a kiss. 

Hey! Wait! Where do you think you're going? Come back here... you can buy it after you read what Carol has to say to us. Sheesh.

               Okay, Carol? Stop sniffing those flowers now. You're up...

First, I want to thank Susan for hosting me. And for holding two dates open for a few weeks. SECRETS OF HONOR had a bumpy ride clearing the birth canal with a few problems beyond my control.

And if you didn’t know, my usual M.O. is to think I can control any situation only to find out I have absolutely no control over anything whatsoever. You’d think I’d know this by now. I guess I do, but I continue to believe and hope otherwise.

So I’ll just move on and tell you my top ten favorite things about the writing of SECRETS OF HONOR.

10. It’s finished!
See above. After one thing and another and another and so on, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever really be a book!

  9. The characters are still talking to me.
Which is surprising. Usually one or two may whimper or whisper something unintelligible every once in a while. Not these. They’re still popping up and telling me things. I need to take notes.

  8. But they want a vacation.
Yes, they do. And that’s a good thing because I’m working on a different project now with different characters.

  7. Visiting the Texas coast.
This book is set in Corpus Christi, about two and a half hours away from where I live. I needed to visit a lot to confirm things about the setting. It was so hard visiting the coast and going to the beach and the harbor and other places, but somebody had to do it. Who better than the author J

6. Getting to create gadgets.
Super fun, and something I don’t always get to do!

  5. Listening to the characters talk and watching them interact.
Always fun. My favorite thing about writing.

  4. Getting the story out of my head.
Even though the characters are still talking to me, this particular story is no longer rumbling around saying What If….

  3. Finishing the final edit.
No explanation necessary – LOL!

2. Seeing the cover.
Linda Kage at Kage Covers is genius! This is my favorite cover of this three-book collection of coastal stories. Linda is also doing the covers for my next project, which will be set in San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country.

1.Holding the book in my hands.
So far it’s only the proof. But it’s my proof – LOL! More books are ordered and shipped, but I think they’re coming via donkey cart. Now, if I could just figure out how to hold the Kindle version in my hands without the actual Kindle . . . but of course, I’d want the Kindle back for reading.


Monday through Friday this week, I’m visiting five different blogs to promote my just-released novel, SECRETS OF HONOR. You can visit my blog,, to see where I am each day. On each blog, I’ll give away a $5 Amazon Gift Card.  Everyone who comments on my posts will be entered into a drawing for a $5 Amazon Gift Card for that blog. So there will be five separate contests, and it will be possible to win all five, for a total of $25. Although what are the odds of that? Don’t ask me – math isn’t my BFF!

Winners will be announced next Monday on my blog, and I’ll make an effort to contact the winners over the weekend prior to the announcement.


By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of her dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.


Although Carol has deep Texas roots, she’s lived up and down the eastern seaboard and in other locations across the U.S. as a Coast Guard wife. She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially one with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol here:
Under the Tiki Hut blog:
Website with Monthly Contest:


Thanks, Carol. We appreciate you stepping away from your famous Tiki Hut long enough to visit with us here today. And we all wish you much success with your newest book.

Okay, y'all, you can go buy her book at Amazon now. Wait, wait, wait! AFTER you leave a comment. (Sheesh.)

By the way, sincere thanks to all of you who've already bought a copy of Old Broads Waxing Poetic. We're most appreciative. (So is CARE International, since all proceeds are going to them.) From September 22 until October 6, Goodreads will be hosting a giveaway for Old Broads, as well as for my equally fun novel Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. Why not enter? Somebody's gotta win... why not YOU? (But to be safe... you might as well buy 'em. HA!)

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, September 12, 2014

When Butterflies Flutter By

Thought for the day:  Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes when he had the chance?

[courtesy of Perfectly Timed Photos]

I can't be too bad; mosquitoes certainly still find me attractive. Matter of fact, all bugs, both the creepy-crawlies and the airborne, have always had an impressive talent for picking me out of a crowd.


Without a doubt, though, mosquitoes have gotta be my biggest fans. If I'm outside with ten other people, only one of us will be attacked by a swarm of those blood-thirsty little... darlings. Me. Doesn't matter worth a flip if I'm wearing repellent, either, because the skeeters around here consider DEET to be nothing more than a finishing sauce.

I'm telling ya, when I go outside in the morning to get the paper, they're hunkered down waiting for me like a squadron of fighter jets with their engines running, and they immediately swoop after me like a bunch of hungry teenagers at the dinner table. I have found one way to get the upper hand... actually, upper foot... with them, though. When I pick tomatoes in the afternoon, the greedy little suckers gorge on my blood until they get so bloated, they can't even fly anymore. They just hover about six inches off the ground,  groaning and holding their bellies. So I... step on 'em. (While singing, Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more...)

[credit: Muhammed Mahdi Karim]
Bees like to have their way with me, too. I've gotten lots of bee stings over the years, but the worst were the ones on my upper lip and between my eyes. The resultant swelling made me look like the cover picture for a monster magazine, which my big brother was only too happy to point out. (In his defense, we were young. If it happened now, I'm sure he'd try to stifle his guffaws.)

But at least bees serve a purpose, unlike those pesky mosquitoes. (Unless you call spreading disease a divine calling.) Isn't that picture of the bee absolutely phenomenal? Would you believe that little guy is carrying pollen?! What a shot!


Oh, look... that butterfly and bee are sharing the same bloom. Hmmm, could they be discussing.... me?

Perhaps the bee is agreeing not to sting me this time...?

Oh my goodness, just look at all the butterflies!

My thoughts are like butterflies. They are beautiful, but they fly away. [anonymous]

Oh, and lookie there. I think that one's a swallowtail.

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to rest upon, to bring you luck, happiness and riches, today, tomorrow, and beyond. [Irish blessing]

A new friend!

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. [Nathaniel Hawthorne]

This monarch is a real beauty, isn't it? And it posed so nicely for me...

Before it (gasp!) came closer...

Know what? That made up for every mosquito, bee, fire ant and spider who's ever been attracted to me.

What can I say? If you think about it, it's a lot like life. We have to put up with some painful bites and stings over the years, but beautiful blessings also have a delightful way of fluttering by and oh-so-gently... pooping on your head.

Wanta hear whose favorite old broad comment won a copy of Old Broads Waxing Poetic? Okay. (Insert drum roll here.) It's a pleasure to announce that (ta-DA!)  Stephen T. McCarthy takes the prize this time around with his expression of unabashed love and admiration for his mother. (sniff) Ya gotta love a guy who loves his ma. (If you'd like to read his comment, it's in the previous post.)

This old broad is gonna be flitting around here and there being a social butterfly for the next four days or so, but if all goes well, I'll be back to responding to your comments on Tuesday.

                                       Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, September 5, 2014

In Praise of Old Broads

Thought for the day: If you want a thing done well, get a couple old broads to do it.  [Bette Davis]

[Image courtesy of Wikipedia]
Some people might think it's an insult to call a woman a broad. Not me. Once upon a time, it was a derogatory term, but not any more. In fact, quite a few years ago, Ol' Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra insisted it was a term of affection. (But then again, he called most women broads, didn't he?)

Know when I accepted it as a term of affection? When I watched the 1984 movie Tank, in which James Garner tells his wife Shirley Jones, "You're a tough old broad." And believe you me, his words were dripping with love and admiration. (Terrific movie!)

In A Dictionary of Words About Women, written by Jane Mills, broad is defined as a woman who is liberal, tolerant, unconfined, and not limited or narrow in scope. Sounds good to me... and I should know. Because I am an old broad... and proud of it.

And I'm not alone. I've been working in cahoots with a group of really terrific old broads for quite a while now, and today, we are all happy to announce (ta-DA!) the publication of our book:

To celebrate its release, each old broad featured in this book is blogging about her favorite old broad today, and we invite each of you to tell us a little something about your favorite old broad in the comments. Oh, and if you're still offended by the term broad, I apologize. If you'd prefer, you can tell us about your favorite older lady... how's that? Oh yeah, and one of you who comments about your fave broad will be winning a free copy of our book. Cool, huh? (It really IS a cool book... not only is it filled with some fun poetry, but all proceeds from its sale are going to CARE International.)

Now then, let me introduce you to the other broads, so you can visit their blogs, too. (Like I said, they're ALL terrific.)

NOTE: Technically, Michael isn't a broad. He's a guy. A very nice guy who used that lovely image from Francesco Romoli to create our cover for us, so you could say, as an important member of our team, he's an honorary broad. With hairy legs.

Now then. My favorite old broad. Without a doubt, that would have to be my maternal grandmother.

Her given name was Catherine, but her kids all called her Mommy, and all of us grandchildren called her Nana. What can I say? She was an amazing woman. I'm not sure anyone would have had the chutzpah to call her a broad back then, but undoubtedly, she was tough. Had to be. She married young... reeeeeally young... had a passel of kids, and then her husband died, leaving the red-headed spitfire to raise all those kids by herself.

Ever know anyone who made you feel unconditionally loved? That's the way she was. She was no warm and fuzzy kind of grandmother or mother, though. Quite the contrary. She drank incredible quantities of coffee... with chicory... prepared in a nasty top-of-the-stove aluminum pot that no one had better ever wash... and chain-smoked Raleigh cigarettes. Because she was deaf, she spoke in a loud voice... a loud gravelly voice. (Courtesy of the cigarettes.) She had strong opinions and a quick temper, but even when she was yelling, we always knew... she loved us.

She hated to have her picture taken, which means I have very few. The one to the right is the only one I have in which she's laughing, which makes it even more precious.

Remember that cousins' reunion I went to in Baltimore a few weeks ago? One of our conversations there does a pretty terrific job of nailing my hard-as-nails grandmother. (I'm telling you, when she played Pinochle, woe to anyone who made a play she didn't like...) Anyhow, at the reunion, my older cousin Patty said she was the only grandchild who ever got to spend the night at Nana's. I said I'd spent the night with her... my cousins Diane and Phyllis said THEY'D spent the night with her... and I suspect if more cousins had been there, even more would have said the same. Know why? Even though she had a bazillion grandchildren, that tough old broad knew how to make each of us feel special. From the big mugs of sweetened milk-laden tea and rye bread slathered with grape jelly she fixed for us, to the neat things she let us make from her big ol' can of clothespins, she somehow managed to show each of us that she loved us unconditionally. She was our biggest advocate, and like I said, a truly amazing woman. It's almost inconceivable that she's been gone for more than fifty years, but trust me, that special lady will live on forever in our hearts.


Now, your turn. Tell me about your favorite old broad or older lady, if you prefer... could be a relative, friend, celebrity, whatever. Doesn't have to be long, but it can be if you wanta. Heck, you can even write a poem about that special lady if you'd like. This isn't exactly a blogfest, because we're busy technically deficient lazy keeping things low-key, but we can call it a broadfest. Let's have some fun with it, shall we? Don't forget... one of you who tells us about your favorite broad on any of our blogs is gonna win a free book. The rest of you can buy it... after all, it IS for a very good cause. Besides, you might actually LIKE our poems! (Link to Amazon in the image in the sidebar. Easy-peasy...) And if ya would? Please help us spread the word about our spiffy book.

                                                 Now, in praise of older ladies...

                                       Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.