Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter, Happy Spring

I'm sorry I'm just getting online to blog tonight. My wireless network apparently had a meltdown while I was gone this morning and I finally convinced it to cooperate. I just wanted to take a few minutes to wish everyone a very happy Easter weekend. Family, friends and community are so important at this time of renewal, and I hope that you have every opportunity to enjoy those you hold dear.

My thoughts are also with those affected by the flooding and the continued bad weather in the north. In Texas, we got a lot of rain, but nothing like the midsection of the country is experiencing. In 1992, my daughter and I went to the RWA conference in St. Louis and watched the phenomenal flood from our hotel room window and the foot of the Arch. I'll never forget the sight, and I hope it doesn't get that bad again.

My best wishes for a happy Easter weekend, a pleasant first weekend of spring, wherever you are and whatever the weather.

Dave and Church and Cell Phone Services

So, there we were, standing in our pew last night for Maundy Thursday services, listening to the pastor, when well, my son’s cell phone started singing. Yep, instead of having an annoying ringtone like mine, Dave Matthews sings a few bars every time Arthur gets a text.

I should probably back up a little bit and give y’all some background information. First, to my family’s dismay, I’m a front-of-the-church gal. If we sit in one of the back pews, I find myself looking around becoming distracted, so we almost always sit front and center in the third row. Also, I have never been especially nice to people who don’t turn off their cell phones in church, movies, theaters, you name it.

My kids know this. My son was ‘sure’ he’d turned off his phone. I can’t remember a time he hasn’t turned off his phone. Well, except for last night. But there it went-Right when the whole congregation was standing, respectful and silent. Right in the middle of communion.


In a flash I went from concentrating on the service to worrying about what to do. Yep, within seconds I went straight into Mom Mode. The church was quiet. Our pastor began to speak. Dave Mathews had just made an appearance. I was not happy.

As soon as the choir began to sing, I whispered, “Turn. That. Phone. Off.” I wasn’t sweet about it, either. Has anyone else perfected that perfect Mom Order…used only in dire emergencies…the kind that your kids know NEVER to disobey? That was me last night.

My son swallowed. As the organ played, he whispered right back. “I can’t, Mom. If I turn it off the music will go off again.”


Right as the choir sings the last chorus, off goes ‘Crash’ again. With one hand in his pocket, Art opens and shuts his phone. Dave Matthews stops. My daughter starts giggling. My son, who hasn’t blushed since he was well, 8, is beet red.

People are giving me that look. That same look that I usually give to people who can’t settle down. I’m now red, too. Talk about bad timing! This is terrible!

As the whole room drifted back to silent as our Pastor spoke again. I realize Yikes! We’re stuck! I can’t tell my son to leave. Nobody can leave! Now all I’m thinking about is ‘please no one text my kid during the next two minutes.’

Right as another prayer starts, Art somehow manages to pop out the battery with one hand. Hooray! The phone situation is finally taken care off. But, by now we’re all sweaty. Yes, my 16 year old’s problem has now become my problem. The stress of doing exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time has gotten to me.

Finally we get to sit down and the service continues. But the whole situation has taken a life of its own. Every so often, my kids and I whisper. The one thing we all agree on was that it was good my husband was out of town. “Dad would have been so mad,” my son says. “Dad would have taken that phone,” my daughter proclaimed. I know they’re both right. So I made an executive decision. “We just won’t tell him about it.”

The church service ends. Everyone around us is teasing us, teasing my son. Now that the panic is over, I’m thinking the ‘cell phone service’ was a good thing to happen. So often, I forget that accidents happen, and sometimes things just don’t go as planned. Either I can be upset and worry, or settle down and just go with the flow. This was one of those times.

After the service, the three of us walk out to the parking lot. We’re relieved. We still can’t believe Dave managed to sing right at the absolute worst time. Talk about an intense church service!

Then, my son starts laughing. “I just found out who texted me. It was Dad. He was wondering what I was doing. When I didn’t answer, he kept trying. You know how you and Dad get when we don’t answer our phones.”

I know. I also know how mad I get when they don’t turn off phones at church. Now I also remember that sometimes accidents happen, but it’s okay. I still got my teenagers to go with me to church on a Thursday night. We still managed to laugh about an embarrassing situation.

And, well, now we have a good story. Something fun to share in I’ll take that!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Congrats to Megan Kelly whose Marrying the Boss (Harlequin American) received a 4 star review from RT! Megan's very first book debuts next month!

A Quick Note

I spent today (March 20) driving from Winston-Salem to Charlotte (NC) and then catching a 5:20 PM flight home to St. Louis. I'm high and dry, but the flooding is very close to where I live, about 15 minutes away.

So sorry for no fancy post, and a late one at that, but I've been visiting my mom and watching the news and trying to catch up.

I do want to wish everyone a wonderful Easter weekend!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What my GPS has taught me

Recently, my husband bought me a GPS. As a directionally challenged person, I appreciate this amazing tool. My GPS is female and talks in such a sweet voice. Very polite and genteel... Unless I fail to follow her directions.

“Recalculating,” she states in a slightly less pleasant tone. If I still ignore her, she becomes terse. By the third or fourth time she sounds both angry and... slightly drunk. It’s funny to me, but not to her. ☺ I have angered her several times..

The secret is to learn to trust her. It’s taken months, but I finally listen to her. She’s taken me to places using routes I’d never have thought of, avoiding traffic and getting me there much faster than normal. I’ve grown to like her very much.

But if I know where I’m going and want to do things my way, I turn her off. That makes us both very happy. ☺

What does all this talk about a GPS have to do with writing? you may ask. There are writers out there who know more than I do, or who know a different route to reaching a goal. Listening to them could get me there faster or help me become a better writer—something every writer wants.

On the other hand, trusting your gut instinct, that voice within that says, “Yes, that’s a good suggestion, something I’ll use,” or “No, I’m not going to do that” is equally important. Learning how to combine the two—that’s the trick.

Until later,
The Pilot's Woman, March 2008, a Romantic Times top pick!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Changing of the Seasons

After reading through the most recent posts here, I see a trend. Yes, the seasons are changing, once again. What a relief to hear rain hitting the roof and windows and not having to worry about driving on ice or snow the next day! Not that we won't be blessed here in Kansas with either of those one more time before Spring really does, well, spring. It happens, but it seems more like a reminder from Mother Nature that she has the upper-hand, not us mere mortals.

Spring cleaning was on my list, along with a dozen other chores that have waited since before Winter began, but those will be put on the back burner for several months. Writing will take the place of the mundane. With two books to write before October and the rest of what life throws my way, I may even miss all the new episodes of my favorite TV shows, now that the writers' strike has finally ended. I won't complain though. What could be better than listening to characters tell me their story? But discplining myself to BIC-HOK, after several months of taking it easy on the writing front, means taking stock of all there is to do with family and friends, and then making sure the time that's needed is set aside for all. What's BIC-HOK? It's an old CataRomance phrase that means "Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard". That's where I'll be for the next six months, living the ups and downs of characters born in my mind and growing into stories I hope readers will love as much as I love writing them. And it gets me out of Spring Cleaning! :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone, and may Spring bring new blessings to you and yours!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring Cleaning Treasures

The other day we had mild temps (low 50's), lots of sunshine and I caught the spring-cleaning itch. I promised myself I would re-organize family photo albums, scrapbooks and cookbooks that had been tossed every which way inside the basement storage cabinets. I came across a tiny little book that had belonged to my great-grandmother called West Bend Cook Book, copyright 1915.

The opening paragraph: If I were asked the greatest need of the American housewife of to-day, I should answer without hesitation, "A wiser and more complete training for services in the home."

The back of the book contains a section of "Helps To Young Housekeepers". After reading through the book I wondered how many of the recipes my great-grandmother had used. The book is worn and there are old food stains on some of the pages. Following are a few tips I found interesting--not that I've ever used them.

1) A piece of charcoal, tied in a muslin cloth, and put in the water in which cabbage, cauliflower, onions or ham is boiling will remove the unpleasant odor.

2) To remove skins from tomatoes, peaches or plums, dip them in boiling water a minute or two.

3) Boil a few onions, sliced, in a pint of new milk, with a sprinkle of oatmeal and a very little salt, until quite tender; then sip rapidly and go to bed. Excellent for colds.

4) Cure for Hiccoughs: swallow one teaspoon pulverized sugar without water

5) Diet for the sick: In serving a meal to an invalid, one cannot be too fastidious: too large a portion, a suspicion of grease on the broth, will often spoil the appetite. The linen, glass, dishes etc., should be the best in the house; a tiny flower laid on the folded napkin will do much to render the meal pleasant.

6) Coffee: one and one-half quarts boiling water, one-quarter pound best coffee, one egg. Break the egg into the coffee and stir until it is entirely absorbed, then put into the boiling water and let boil three minutes. Strain through flannel and serve.

What treasures have you come across during spring cleaning?

In a Soldier's Arms Feb 08

A Coal Miner's Wife Aug 08
The Cowboy and the Angel Nov 08