Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Curious Mind

Apparently, author-hood means being the proud owner of an insatiable curiosity for the oddities of life. I find I am no exception.

A fellow writer posted this on their page:
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While these are not MY searches, I'm now curious enough about Canadian police procedures regarding werewolves to do a little side research. Who knows where that yellow brick road will lead.

However, if one happened to be curious about what my searches consist of, one only has to look at my Pinterest page. In the lovely world of suggestions based on previous searches and pins, Pinterest thinks I'm in desperate need of Wiccan spells, materials, and clothing. Just because I research a lot of mythology,astrology, cemeteries, history, art, weaponry, and medicinal herbs and oils (to name a few) does in NO way mean I want to cast a few spells (although the one for invisibility is intriguing, I've always wanted that to be my superpower).

A certain big name (who shall remain unnamed) bookstore puts suggestions for future purchases on their receipts. Today I left said big name bookstore with reference books about angels, ancient healing practices, and an illustrated history of pistols. My receipt suggested I might have missed out on the excitement of  tarot cards, a book about angel therapy, and oracle cards (I have no idea what oracle cards are, but I will be looking them up as soon as I'm finished here).

Now, if you will excuse me, I must resume my study of demonology.

T.

Friday, February 2, 2018

FUNerals

Hello, again. It's only been a month since I last posted, but it's been busy. Obviously I survived Grinchmas. (I heard that sigh of relief. Thanks!)

So other than New Year's (I think I went to bed around 10ish. Another year? Yawn!), I've tried to stick to my guns and write. Hah! The universe has other plans.

Unfortunately, right after the new year, mi espouso's uncle passed away and we had to trek to the great city of Orange, Texas, for his funeral. If you know mi espouso, you know he wields puns mercilessly on Facebook. This uncle was one of those to blame. Uncle James was a joy to be around and will be greatly missed.

Our seven hour, overnight excursion to Orange gave us a few free hours to explore before the funeral. As you can imagine, Orange doesn't have much to offer for Sunday morning visitors. So what did we do? Drove 15 minutes into Louisiana, then turned around and drove back. Woo hoo! (PawPaw sat in the backseat, thinking his eldest son and daughter-in-law had lost their minds.)

Now with two and a half hours left to kill, we decided to explore the nearby city of Bridge City. Does Bridge City have a bridge, one might ask? Why, yes. Ye, it does. Two big-ass bridges that go over the Neches River. The new(er) bridge,  Veteran's Memorial, stands 143 feet above the water while the old bridge, the Rainbow bridge stands a paltry 176 feet over any form of terra firma.

Have I ever mentioned heights and I don't mix? Or that I have a recurring dream of driving up a tall bridge, only to find that it has a huge hole on top and I drive OFF said bridge? Uh huh. (Go ahead and psychoanalyze.)

On the other hand, I believe I HAVE mentioned at some point in time that I enjoy driving and (above phobias aside) I enjoy driving over water (which means driving over a bridge). Go figure. I don't have to make sense to anyone but me. So there.

Since I was the one driving (as usual, because otherwise I go insane faster than you can blink), I point the car toward the bridges and hope there are no holes at the top. I might have screamed a little as I drove up the steep incline and over the crest. Just a little.

One bridge down. Turn around. Bridge two awaited.

Mi espouso and PawPaw are still shaking their heads. If only they had known how easy I was to please....just find me a bridge over water and follow it up with a brick oven pizza and a cemetery. (That was the best calzone I had ever eaten!)

Mi espouso offered to drive me over the bridges again so I could experience the fun as a passenger. (Un)Fortunately, it started to rain and I decided going over two tall bridges a second time in the rain might be pushing my luck. Besides, we had a funeral to go to.

Uncle James would have approved.

T.












Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Grinchmas and Shenanigans!

Yes, I know. I'm a lousy blogger. I've been busy.

Christmas is upon me, yet again, and thanks to a new job (full-time, yea!), I can do some of the things I've wanted to do for the past four years.

That doesn't mean I won't have a little fun, Grinch style.

Like most families, we have a tradition. We don't simply wrap gifts; we make the recipient work for it.

The tradition began in the early '80s when my baby brudder announced to all that he no longer believed in Santa. Taking him at his word, Mimi wrapped all gifts without anything from the white-haired one and packed us off to Big Grandmother's house (I had a boatload of grandparents, all named Grandmother and Grandaddy. I was a confused child.)

Picture the scene: children's bedtime, Christmas Eve. All is good until my baby brudder announces to the adults that he's going to sleep by the damn tree so Santa will step on him and wake him up. You can imagine the words out of my mother's mouth, and in front of her grandmother to boot.

Yeah, it wasn't a pretty picture.

Long story short: Santa arrived as scheduled and the baby brudder will never live it down. Since then, many gift-giving occasions have been opportunities for mayhem.

There was my 16th birthday when I returned from my grandparents house to be handed cleaning supplies, necessary to remove all the toilet paper from the huge bois d'arc tree and the painting mess left behind.  Apparently many insults were painted onto my walls as they redid my room, complete with redwood furniture.

There was a dismantled oboe for Mimi, used to make a Christmas tree. Poor oboe. They don't reassemble well. Fortunately the real oboe was in another room.

There was a humongous box on my baby brudder's 16th, filled with car keys to the Thunderbird, a pilot's log, pilot lesson books, and covered in mountains of trash which he had to sort through to find every last stinking gift.

Another large box, filled with weights, hid Mimi's 1st VCR.

Oh, the memories! What fun!

This year, I haven't done that much evil. Just one gift wrapped in plastic wrap for the Mimi and another wrapped in zip ties for mi espouso. 

Been nice knowing y'all!

T.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Long Time, No Hear From

I have an excuse for not posting. Really I do. I've been moving.

Yes, I have. It's been a painful process, mostly in the physical sense. My back is still not speaking to me and the bruises are a lovely combination of blue, purple, green, and puke yellow. I counted twenty on my arms alone. I didn't count the ones on my legs, probably a thousand or so (I bruise if you look at me funny). Myrtle the Younger won the mosquito award with 55 on her legs. She believes she will get the Zika virus or West Nile.

I'll keep you posted.

By the grace of God and the much appreciated help from friends, we managed to empty 90% of our house into two storage units. Why storage? Because we have too much crap and are moving in with my father-in-law (aka PawPaw). This means we will have storage units until two households are consolidated into one, assuming that is possible.

Moving presents an excellent opportunity to clear out some of said crap. PawPaw is a saint. He keeps saying "nothing is sacred" meaning we (meaning I) can keep or get rid of anything I want. Easier said than done.

Some things are ridiculously easy to unload: 10 rolls of aluminum foil and 11 rolls of plastic wrap are prime examples. I now must choose what I want to keep from the multitudes of baking sheets and casserole dishes. However, I have discovered a few personal challenges to the end goal:

1) If it's old, it must be an antique and therefore worth something. I know, I know; it's not worth a plug nickel. (But it might be worth more than a nickel.) (I probably watch too much Antiques Roadshow.) But I have determined that no matter how much they might be worth, the collectible Dallas Cowboys glasses from the 70's and 80's are going away post haste. And, if I find any more tucked into some box somewhere, I will smash them to bits. That ought to further increase the value of any remaining glasses.

2) It's family. Either great-aunt Melba got that coffee mug as a wedding gift and used it for her snuff habit for sixty years or Granny's boyfriend gave her that ceramic vaquero at her first county fair and had it on her dresser for as long as anyone can remember. (I made up the coffee mug, The vaquero is real. It had a note sitting underneath with its history written by my mother-in-law. Anything with a note should be kept, right?)

3) It's handmade. Considering I make a lot of stuff, I have a place in my heart for items made by hand, whether it be a crocheted doily or a bookcase which PawPaw built. There's a piece of someone's soul in their work. That's hard for me to let go of.

So, pray for me while I sort through this stuff. I've told everyone in the house that we will NEVER need to purchase plastic baggies, foil, plastic wrap, office supplies, and band-aids. EVER.

T.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Getting Even

Sometimes you have to be proud of your kids. Especially when they pay your parents back for some evil act of yesteryear.

Case in point: driving with the Mimi.

When I was a lowly teenager, learning to drive at the ripe age of 15 (Texas allowed for younger drivers to get a permit at 15 if a hardship could be proven), my mother was responsible for much of my driving practice.

Before I say more, allow me to paint a picture for you. I always win the ugly car contest. Always. The entire world is under the mistaken impression that their first set of wheels was the worst ever in the history of automotive...you get the point. Y'all ain't seen nothing!

Picture this (because I sure as hell didn't keep a picture of it): an 1973 ice blue, government surplus, no A/C (this is Texas, remember?), AM radio, AMC Ambassador station wagon. Damn thing was a tank. It is impossible to drive down the road, incognito or otherwise, in that THING.

And it was indestructible, too. I got mad one day and backed into another car. Luckily the other car was a land yacht because it only took a dent to the fender while Old Blue had a shattered tail lamp cover (which mi espouso-then boyfriend repaired with red tape and all was good).

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Mimi decided one day that I would drive her home from the grocery store in Old Blue. I think it was my first or second time behind this particular set of wheels. Did I mention this thing was a TANK? Did I mention my depth perception is pretty crappy? Anyway, I am trying to turn from the parking lot onto a busy street and I hit the curb. We've all done that, right? No biggie.

Not with Mimi in the car. She's screaming. I over-correct and run the tank up onto the curb. I stop before anything gets damaged, but Mimi is still screaming. I don't recall what happened next, but I'm pretty sure harsh words were exchanged and possibly a few tears were shed.

Fast forward to today's text, and I quote: "Child drove down her first mountain with Mimi screaming all the way."

The parties involved include Mimi (of course) and Myrtle the Younger. They are currently touring the southeast part of the US (watch out, y'all have been warned.), with current destination of Monticello. Now I must point out that both Myrtles are excellent drivers and MTY is equally gifted with navigation. I must also note that Mimi has OCD, but let's just say her navigation skills leave a little to be desired. (Ask me about Alabama and live explosives sometime.)

All I can hope for is 1) they were on the right mountain, 2) MTY still has her hearing and will to live, and 3) they are having fun.

Y'all pray for them!

T.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Part of the Beginning

Do you remember having a dream? Something you wanted to accomplish, but only had a vague idea of how to make the fantasy become reality? Or maybe you knew how to get there, but weren't sure if the end result would be what you expected?

I think we all can relate to those desires. At some point we wanted to become a rock star or a famous actor or an astronaut. Some dreams happen magically, others require a ton of work and a little bit of luck, while other fantasies drift off into a mist of "what the hell was I thinking?"

Writing, for me, has been a warped bit of that journey. Did I dream of being an author? Not really. I toyed with the idea once or twice, but there was no burning desire to sit down and write words. In fact, most of the time, I would sit down to write an assigned essay or story and my mind would go totally blank. The same thing happens when I tried to be an artist or a songwriter. Nope. Nada.

Until the day, the story/dream planted its carcass in my pea brain and wouldn't leave until I wrote it down. Then more ideas filled the hole and refused to budge until I shoved and molded that sucker into a book. (Let's not talk about the other five ideas waiting impatiently to take their turn in that hole.) Then my OCD took over and made me organize, edit, and proof until I couldn't see straight.

That's when I decided I needed a cover. I knew what I didn't want (unrealistically depicted 8-packs glistening in the sun with a bulging...well, never mind) but I also didn't know what I wanted. Cue in Myrtle the Younger.

As previously mentioned somewhere in the bowels of this blog, I think I have mentioned maybe once or twice that I have two extremely talented girls, the younger of which desires/fantasizes/dreams and is well on her way to becoming an outstanding artist and animator. As any good and responsible parent, I want to help my child build her self-confidence, soooo...I asked the child to create a book cover.

I can tell you that there is no greater feeling than placing your child's work into their hands as a finished product. The look on MTY's face when I handed her the proof of If You Touch My Mind was overwhelming to say the least. This was more than posting a drawing on the refrigerator door. This was part of her portfolio and resume; a stepping stone to her future.

The same thing happened ten months later when I published Keep Your Eyes On Me. No one can take that experience away from her. Nothing can take those memories from me.

With my third book waiting a cover, I again turned to MTY but with her busy college schedule, she ran into difficulties. What to do? I turned to a the son of a friend. He is about the same age as MTY and is studying graphic design. Over the past few months, he and I have worked back and forth until he delivered cover art which mi esposo could work into the finished cover.

Last night, I placed the proof into this kid's hands. Guess what? I got the same response from him as I got from my own daughter. Overwhelmed. Thrilled. Maybe just a little scared, but that's okay. Yes, there were things he wanted to change. Yes, there were things he and mi esposo need to experiment with, but this young college student has something in his hands which moves him forward in his dream.

Today, his mother shared his Facebook post. He had posted a picture of the proof and summed up his feelings eloquently: "wow".

I may not have birthed this kid, but I am just as proud of him as I am of my own girls. I am thrilled to be part of his beginning.

T.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Would You Rather...?

I admit to a secret indulgence: personality tests. (I know it's weird. You have your own little quirks. I won't judge if you won't.)

Now, I can hear you now: "T, I don't care what color your personality is." (All of them, depending on my mood when taking the test.) That's okay, because that's not what this post is about. (Thank the Lord!)

I come up with my own (non)scientific explanations for how the universe and it's humanoids operate, and I always begin with the one I  know the most about: me. (You thought I was going to say mi esposo, didn't you?) (He's the 2nd person I wonder about, but I still think he might be an alien.) Years ago, I developed some pseudo scientific, well-thought-out and developed explanations for how to choose which medical career (aka: Why I'm an occupational therapist and not a physical therapist or a nurse) and a theory of male mental age development (or lack thereof). If you have any interest in the above, let me know.

More recently, I have been considering authors/writers and their target/victim, the reader. I have done my research: reading, attending lectures, reading, writing, and, of course, reading. Now, I have formed my expert conclusions to share. (I can hear your bated breath. Exhale now.)

From what I've been able to figure, there are two types of authors:

1. Writers who read. These are people trained, or at least subscribe to, the Science of the Written Word. Every detail of character, plot, subplot, descrptions, grammar, verbiage, etc is carefully executed to perfection. When they write, the emphasis is on what the Reader wants to see. When they read,  the emphasis is on the quality of the writing.

2. Readers who write. These subscribe to the Art of the Written Word. The written emphasis is on what the Writer wants to read. Characters, plots and subplots get most of the attention; while grammar, POV and other details are of lesser importance. The same goes when reading.

Which one would you rather read?

As a lifelong, avid reader of both styles, I will tell you my preference is #2. Why? Because, if the story is engaging, I can forgive most grammar issues (although my OCD will still go haywire), and other "unforgivable" problems with writing like point of view (POV). I get lost in flowery language and detailed descriptions. As long as I can enjoy the story, then I'm happy. (I also read the last chapter after the reading the 1st 2-3 chapters. Gotta make sure things are going to be okay in the end. Same goes for movies. Give me a spoiler any day.) (Don't judge.)

Personally, I hate reading a romance novel with single person POV. It's boring. A romance novel is about developing a relationship between 2 people. I want to understand where both people are coming from without impacting the pace of the story. Some authors will give each character their own chapter but rehash the same event. No Bueno! (And please don't insult my intelligence by telling me this chapter is Ben's POV, then this is Beth's POV. I can kinda figure it out on my own, thanks.) It's fine to be in one person's head for a mystery novel. They're trying to figure out who done it.

Sorry. That was a tangent and a rant. Anyway...

What brought this on? I attended a writer's meeting this week and one writer mentioned that she was having difficulty getting her book published, and questioned what she needed to do to be seen. The response was to give her character quirks (make them more interesting). This is not the first time I had heard this discussion, nor is it the only answer I have heard for why X, Y or Z hasn't happened. Any suggestion is fine and dandy in my opinion, but I think an important point is often overlooked: publishers tend to look for Writers who read, not Readers who write. This is one of the reasons why writers are told to keep submitting their work and to expect 50 or more rejections before they get a break.

This is one reason why I self-published in the first place. I don't have that kind of patience.

T.

P.S. I'm trying to write a horror story. Kinda creeping myself out. Stay tuned!