Saturday, September 17, 2011

Back-to-School Celebration!

All around the country, our kids are back in school again. By this time—hopefully!—the students are settled into the routines of their new grade levels and the teachers have survived the new-school-year chaos. And it is chaos. I know too many teachers not to realize that!

Even a couple of my heroines are teachers. Kerry Anne MacBride, from FAMILY MATTERS, teaches high-school art classes. Kayla Ward, from A RANCHER’S PRIDE, teaches American Sign Language.

Of course, for the most part, it’s not the teachers or kids who are celebrating the start of the school year, but the parents. LOL

I’ve always been a student and probably always will be. There’s so much to learn in this great, big world—something as kids we don’t always appreciate.

But even as an elementary-school student, I looked forward to going back to school in the fall.

Did you?

There’s so much going on at the start of a new year. New teacher, classroom, textbooks. New classmates. New clothes! :-)

To this day, I get most excited over brand-new, never-been-cracked-open notebooks and an array of brightly colored pencils and pens. (I guess I was always meant to be a writer.)

How about you? What are your favorite items—or memories—from your first days back in school?

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thelma and Louise and Naked Men on Bicycles

I've always been a believer that some people come into your life for a specific purpose and as wonderful as those friendships are, may or may not remain a part of your life. Not to discount the importance of those, but the friendships I want to talk about are the ones that stick. You know the ones. Those friendships we make that last a lifetime. Such is my good friend Jean.

This past week I was reminded of just how important those lasting friendships are. We've been friends twenty years and even after she moved half way across the country, we continue to stay in touch. About once a year we ditch our husbands and become Thelma and Louise for a couple days. Okay, we don't drive a classic T-bird convertible, but she did own a couple T-birds and I've had a couple convertibles. To be more precise, our goal is to avoid guys all together for a couple days and just relax and go someplace fun. This year she returned to Texas and we drove to Galveston. I was concerned as to whether she'd be impressed given that she lives two hours from the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway, but let me say, our trip started out with a bang. Or a thud. You be the judge.

Thelma and Louise got Brad Pitt! We got, well you be the judge of what we saw riding along the Galveston seawall. Hey, it started our trip off with a good laugh.

Can anybody top that?

Dream a Little Dream--or a BIG One!!

 Me and Tulsa City Councilwoman Karen Gilbert!

Last night was a first for me--attending a candidate watch party after an election.  The candidate--Karen Gilbert--has been a friend since our kids were in third grade.  They're sophomores in college now, so you do the math!!  Over the years, we've spent hours together at PTA meetings and school open house nights.  I write about doing things, but Karen is one of those people who actually does things.  Everything!!!  She's a fireball I greatly admire.  Any goal she sets, she doesn't just meet, but exceeds, with grace and integrity and great wardrobe flair.  (Always a plus!)

Throughout the years, for as much as Karen has done for Tulsa Public Schools, I've urged her to go bigger.  She's the kind of woman who inspires and isn't afraid of a challenge.  She tirelessly fights for what she believes is right and is a champion of the underdog.  She launched an anti-bullying campaign for which she was recently awarded by our governor.  Karen worked SO HARD on her campaign for a seat on city council and as is usually the case when she sets her mind on accomplishing something, she got the job done.  My dear friend is now to be addressed as Madame Councilwoman and the whole thing has me more than a little teary.

Why?  Simple answer--I'm drawn to dreamers.  There's nothing more thrilling to me than folks who have big dreams and aren't afraid to go for them.  Karen put herself and family on the line in taking on this campaign.  Sure, had she lost, no one would've died or anything, but it still would've been hard.  Even knowing that, she trusted enough in her resolve to take on the challenge. 

Tying all of this in to writers, or athletes, or anyone working for a job promotion, last night was a reminder that dreams seriously do come true.  My sweet and funny friend is suddenly putting her talents to work on a pretty big stage and I couldn't be more pleased.

About a month before Karen announced her candidacy, I complained of a stomachache.  Months later, after surprise gallbladder surgery and more unpleasant tests than I care to count, I still have a raging stomachache.  Having been sick for months, I'm noticing a trend in myself that's distressing.  I'm forgetting how to dream.  I spend my days on the couch, nurturing this pain the way I used to nurture my family and friends and career.  I despise this new side of myself and want to fix it.  My next specialist appointment isn't until October, but if there's anything last night taught me, it's that I can't just shut down until doctors figure out what's wrong.

Karen's happiness and drive are contagious and fed me a huge dose of resolve to not let this temporary setback in my health beat me.  My goals for today are writing five pages, unloading the dishwasher and cooking Hubby and myself a healthy dinner.  Not much, but it's a start toward regaining normalcy.  Another thing I'm going to do is make a fresh list of dreams.  Some giant, some small, some a little nutty, but all mine and all achievable as long as I give them that initial seed.

What are your dreams?  What are you doing to make them come true?



Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing By The Numbers


Even if we aren’t very good at math, numbers play an important role in most of our lives. From the moment we’re born, nurses measure and weigh us, providing that first critical set of numbers for moms, dads and grandparents to bemoan or boast.

As kids, our growth is proudly recorded on the kitchen door frame or inside a closet, a yard stick or tape measure used to chart how tall we’ve grown. In school, we learn our 1-2-3’s along with our A-B-C’s while teachers carefully log our progress. Scores on standardized tests tell us whether we can progress to the next grade, graduate, get into college, go to graduate, law or medical school.

We have social security numbers, drivers’ license numbers, account numbers and phone numbers. We watch our weight, our cholesterol, our BMI. We exercise in reps, log miles on treadmills, count calories. We shop according to unit pricing, and in these days of high fuel costs, we compare price-per-gallon to miles-to-gallon before considering a new car.

All numbers. All important to our lives.

This summer, I added a new number to my daily record keeping when Harlequin American Romance bought my latest two book proposals. Because, in order to turn these books in on time, I had to write a certain number of words-per-day.

Now, I’m not big on math. Numbers aren’t my favorite thing. But I counted these because I wanted to share Mitch and Amanda’s reunion story with you.

He’s a driven prosecuting attorney, a single dad with a mercurial four-year-old. She’s a former barrel racing champion who never got over her teen-age crush on the boy she met at rodeo camp. But Mitch’s carefully structured world crumples when, following a playground mishap, a family court judge permits this doting father only supervised visitation…under the distrustful gaze of his former girlfriend, the woman he ditched at last year’s Saddle Up Stampede.

Mitch and Amanda's story should be available some time next year. I hope you'll watch for it.