Monthly Archives: August 2015

Welcome to September

This month of September is going to be fun! There is so much going on, I’m numbering the events. Don’t lose track!

1. First and foremost, Book 11 (still need a title and cover) will be published on September 25. At this point, that phrase needs a followup – “come hell or high water” for many reasons. But it will be published on time. I’m in love with the new characters that have been introduced and can’t wait for you to meet them.

Bellingwood Wine & Trivia Night (1)2. Secondly, September 18 (one week prior to publication), we are having another Wine & Trivia Night on the Facebook Bellingwood page. Lots of prizes, a little wine in Diane (and anyone else who wants to join me), and some insane conversation. It’s hard to keep up with y’all, but I give it my best shot. Join us from 6 – 11 pm CDT.

I encourage you to join us on the Facebook Bellingwood page. That’s where all of the fun happens. I can hardly express how much I love you all. From contests, to ridiculous statements and rotten / mean teasers while I’m writing, it’s about me finding ways to get to know you better. And while we’re at it, if you get to know each other – you have no idea how wonderful that is for me. If I could connect all of my friends that are in the world to each other, I’d be a happy, happy girl.

Anyway … moving on.

3. Labor Day Weekend. I will give away four (4!!!) bean bag frogs. You have to be on the FB page to join in (and live in the US – shipping costs out of the country are ridiculous. I hate that reality and wish it were different).

Books in the WildHere’s the contest:
Take pictures of any Bellingwood book cover – either on your Kindle or using a paperback.

Take four different pictures and make sure the cover is in each of them: 1) when you’re eating out or cooking / grilling / whatever you come up with that has to do with food; 2) with your transportation (car, bike, trike, motorcycle, running shoes, skates, horse … whatever; 3) with your best friend – whether it be human or animal; and 4) some place fun – at the beach, your back yard, your pillow, top of a mountain – any place.

Just remember, a Bellingwood book cover needs to be in the picture.

For each of the four pictures you post, you’ll get an entry into the contest. How cool is that? (Just so we’re clear here, you will only get one entry for a food picture, one entry for a transpo pic, etc., Four different pictures of the cover with food won’t count. Make sense?)

20150329_185613Don’t start posting the pictures yet. I will announce the fun on Friday evening, September 4th on Facebook. You post your pictures as comments in that announcement before Monday evening, September 7th. I will choose winners on Tuesday, September 8th.

4. Happy Birthday to Diane! My birthday is September 8th and I’m going to do another froggie giveaway. Early Tuesday morning, I will put a post up on the Facebook Bellingwood page and all you have to do is have fun. If you comment on that post with a fun birthday meme or picture or something silly, I will choose two MORE winners for birthday frogs.

Is it Real or is it Memorex?

You never know with me. I tell fictional stories as easily as I relate my own. It comes from years of making something funny out of the crazy things that happen in my life. No sense getting all morose about stuff after it’s all over. That’s when it becomes a tale to be told.

Because you needed a picture of the boy with his cute pink tongue.

Because you needed a picture of the boy with his cute pink tongue.

Yesterday morning at 5:30, I woke up … violently. I’d only been asleep for a couple of hours. My best writing time happens after eleven o’clock at night. Anyway, I was startled awake not only by the cat bolting off my stomach (how in the world did he sneak up there when I wasn’t looking?), but by a horrible noise coming from my air conditioning unit. It scared TB pretty badly … a cross between a freight train and a low flying airplane.

I went to the bathroom, hoped it would settle down, but knew I’d be calling my A/C guy when *real* morning arrived. I tried to go back to sleep. TB settled in beside me and the A/C kicked on again, making the same terrible noise. Enough of this. I turned it off, made sure my dehumidifier was empty and working, turned fans on and went to bed. Later that morning, I called and left a message, telling my A/C guy about the problem and I asked him to call and schedule a time.

Before leaving for Boone to do laundry, I flipped the light on in the room with the A/C unit, smacked the thing a couple of times to tell it that I was annoyed and made sure it was turned off at the thermostat. I was gone for about an hour and a half, came back to a UPS delivery and the cat under the covers. Nothing had been disturbed and I hadn’t heard from my tech. No worries. I’d be fine.

It warmed up last night, but I emptied the dehumidifier a couple more times, rearranged fans and made myself as comfortable as possible. I was too hot to think, so I didn’t do any writing, but stayed up late anyway (it’s what I do), sewing a couple of projects for Carol. Fell asleep again about 3, woke up over and over through the night, finally got up at 9.

I worried about the techs showing up on me this morning, so I hurried into the shower and ran out to run some errands. I came back and knew that it was going to get warmer and warmer. When I hadn’t heard from them by 3:00, I was done. I called and left another message. I was very nice and told him I just needed an idea of when they might be here. If it wasn’t going to be until Monday – that was fine (I’m really good at martyr behavior).

A half hour later, TB was outside and I figured that I might just turn the loud and noisy A/C on for a while to get some relief. He wasn’t around to freak out over the sound.

And it was quiet. Perfectly, wonderfully, quiet. Say what?

I called my tech and this time he answered.

I said, “So either you were here yesterday and fixed my air conditioning or letting it sit for 36 hours fixed the problem.”

“We were there yesterday.”

“You were!?”

“Yeah, sorry we missed you.”

(Inside I’m whimpering because I was pretty miserable last night and it had been unnecessary. I also could have slept much later this morning … sigh.)

“Can you tell me what the problem was?” I asked.

“You had a mouse in the blower system.”

“Dead mouse?”

“Oh yeah. Really dead mouse. That was what made it vibrate.”

“Okay, well, then. Thank you. Send me the bill.”

They’ve been in and out of this place whether I’m here or not for the last six years. I never worry about that and always tell them to just come on in if I’m gone. They are such good guys. Just straightforward, nice, responsible, hardworking guys. I really like them. And they take great care of me.

So rather than complain and whine about anything, I chalk this up to another awesome story of life in the rural Midwest.

You know what? When I got home yesterday from the trip to Boone, the light that I’d switched on was turned off. I assumed that I had automatically flipped it off … like I always do (Dad trained me well in the energy crisis of the late 1970’s). But no, that was the only real hint that they’d been here. Nothing was disturbed, they’d cleaned up after themselves (and the dead mouse – ack!).

The air conditioning is on, the fans are now blowing cold air on me (this is going to have to end pretty soon, my toes are starting to feel like it’s the middle of January), and I can’t stop laughing about this. If it weren’t for real life, there wouldn’t be any fun stories.

I’m A Creative … You Are Too.

I don’t mind the warm summer days, but I do despise warm and humid summer nights. I always know that once the temps rise for good, I’m in a holding pattern until fall before I sleep well through the night again. Even with air conditioning.

When I was in junior high and high school (okay, it was this way all through my school years), we didn’t have central air conditioning. Mom and Dad had a window unit in their bedroom and we had one on the main floor of the parsonage, but for the most part, I was … hot at night. We put a big box fan in my window and every summer I moved my bed so I could plaster myself up against it. Now, here’s the funny thing. I wouldn’t have that great memory if we’d had air conditioning, so how can I complain?

I try not to complain too much about weather anyway. It won’t change things. I’d rather live in the Midwest than anywhere else and if I’m patient, it will change.

This summer has been a good one. My oldest nephew had a brand new baby – Alistair. His sister got married to a wonderful young man and his brother will be getting married in two weeks. I’ve published a book, made new friends from the Bellingwood community, edited for my brother’s next book (and short story – check him out at Fickle Dragon), been able to continue writing. What more could a girl ask for? Not much. My cat is aging and as he does, he gets more and more affectionate and less and less bratty. It makes the days a lot of fun.

TB Cleaning pawFor that matter, the nights are entertaining with TB, too. If he hears any noise, he bolts off the bed to chase it down. He wakes up at dawn – no matter that I went to sleep an hour earlier because I’d been writing all night. When he wakes up that early, he insists that I be alert enough to play with him. It’s not about being fed – he has food in his dish (I’m not that dumb). No, it’s about me paying attention to him. If I don’t, he’ll run from the depths of the house to the bed and land on it with all his weight. Who knew that cats could choose how much weight per square inch they use. He CAN jump on the bed without disturbing me, but not at 5:30 in the morning. If I still try to sleep, he’ll jump on his cat tree in front of the window and scratch at the glass until I tell him to stop. And if he really needs attention, he’ll jump on top of me and bug me until I sit up. That’s all it takes. I need to acknowledge that he’s around and tell him that I love him. Silly feline.

25 treat bags for my sister's classroom - first day of school stuff!

25 treat bags for my sister’s classroom – first day of school stuff!

Last February, Amazon announced a Daily Deal – a Singer sewing machine for an amazing price. I knew it needed to happen. Oh, I had my mother’s 1950’s cast-iron Singer. But it needs work and is in Omaha … and well, it just wasn’t going to happen. So I bought it. That has been the best thing I’ve done in years. I’ve always been a sewer (seamstress would imply a level of skill I won’t claim yet). I remember learning on an old treadle machine. Mom figured that was safe enough for me so I wouldn’t hurt myself. She sewed everything for us kids from toys to clothing. She covered and recovered our furniture, made curtains and drapes. There was nothing she wouldn’t attempt.

Tray for classroom pencils ... for my sister.

Tray for classroom pencils … for my sister.

Before I was married, Carol and I lived together and at some point I refurbished Mom’s machine and re-found my love of sewing. There were years and years of fun things being created between the two of us. Then, I got married, got busy with the business and church activities and there was no time. The sewing machine kept getting put further and further back in the craft room, and then I even ran out of time to do any type of crafts.

Wine bottle gift bag & matching ... uhhh ... gift bag. I'm an addict!

Wine bottle gift bag & matching … uhhh … gift bag. I’m an addict!

What was I thinking? I had put away nearly all of my creative outlets. Since I purchased this machine in February, there have been very few days when I haven’t used it. When I was in the middle of editing and publishing Book 10 – The River Rolls On, I didn’t have time. Every day I would look at my machine and realize that I was missing the tactile sensation of creating something with my hands.

I think we all need that. The other night I was thinking about creation and the fact that God is all about creation. He didn’t stop … he rested. And he created us with minds that search and hearts that explore. We were made to be creative and innovative and imaginative. We were given talents … not just one … but many. There is no limit to the things we can imagine and create.

I find myself desperately desiring more time in the day so I don’t have to stop working on a project, or writing a chapter. I stay up until all hours of the night because I’m not ready to be finished with this day’s work. My mind and body wear out long before my desire to create does.

What types of things do you do that fulfills your drive to be creative? What do you wish you could be doing (why aren’t you?)? It’s amazing that so many of us don’t believe we are creative because it seems as if the things we do are so mundane. We’ve done them our entire lives. But I’ve learned that there is also no limit to the different talents people have. What one person believes is mundane, another sees as magic.

Now, I probably need to hunker down and get some other things done, but this ding-donged sewing machine keeps calling me back … like a siren singing its beautiful song to the sailors on the ocean. I’m lost to its music. Maybe one of these days I’ll finally confess my latest addition to the sewing addiction. Yikes.