Friday, July 21, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

It's Friday, which depending on how things are going, can be a celebration in and of itself. Thank you to our host, Lexa Cain, and her awesome cohosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

Here's the good things:

1. This was the next to last week of having a few quiet hours for writing. For the month of August, the kids will be home and I'm 

Image: Sheep purple


2. I didn't buy the farm on Monday. I did wreck my bike by hitting a small, but deep pothole, the jolt of which caused me to lose the handlebars. 


KEE-RASH! (With emphasis on the rash--road rash that is.) Most of the damage is to my left side: left leg resembles a cat scratching post, left elbow sore 'cause a huge something (me) landed on it, left palm scratched and scraped, and left side of chin swollen and purple. Note to self: Noses are not good brake pads. I'm celebrating the fact that while I did land in the road, there was no car there at the time to finish me off. Now that's luck! (And, unlike the giphy above, my bike is fine.)

3. New covers. Here's one from C. Lee Mckenzie--free Kindle Edition!

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Scarred. Scared. Alone. Can sixteen-year-old Shawna Stone overcome her inner suffering and transcend the past? 

Shawna has spent the first sixteen years of her life in Las Vegas and learned to handle anything from a Las Vegas hustle to skipping out on the rent. Damaged inside and out, she's survived with a tough, hardened attitude. When her mother abandons her, with only a bus ticket and the name and number of stranger to call, this troubled , desperate teen finds herself on a California horse ranch with Kay Stone, the steely, youngish grandmother she's never known. 

Kay overwhelms Shawna with rules and daily barn chores, and Shawna baffles Kay with her foul-mouthed anger and shrugging indifference to everything--except the maltreated horse on the ranch next door. But it's worse than even Kay suspects: Shawna's driven to cut herself by Monster, that strange voice inside her head. Kay struggles to keep the ranch going and fears that unless she helps this girl, she could lose her last living family member.

As this unlikely pair struggles to co-exist, will they overcome their suffering and transcend the past?



What's the last serious injury you've experienced? Ever update a book cover? 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

Friday, Friday, Friday! It's here again. Ready to celebrate? Welcome back to the weekly blog hop that calls attention to the positive things going on in your life, big or small. Many thanks to our host, Lexa Cain, and her awesome cohosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

Last week we did the sort of shopping that hasn't happened in our family since 2001. 

Volvo, in power blue and no, we did not get to keep that red bow.

Pretty snazzy, huh? Cars have changed a lot in the last 16 years and it's going to take some time for me to adjust, especially since I'm a techno dunce. My daughter would probably handle this car better than me even though she's 13 and not tall enough to reach the pedals. So while I'm thrilled to be driving a new car, the technology has me wigging out a bit. Here's why:

1. The radio controls were designed by sadists. 

There's a little rolling knob on the steering wheel that runs through the stations. You press it to let the radio know, "Hey dude, I want another station." Then you roll the knob up or down and the different station numbers scroll along on the dash screen. You press it again once you find a station you like.

I spend waaay too much time watching the screen while changing stations, like entire blocks, because if you roll that little knob down, the numbers on the radio station:

(a) go down

(b) go up

(c) dance the merengue

I know you guessed (c), right? But the answer seems to be (b). I did find a station search button among the fifty or so buttons on the dash, but that only runs through the 10 programmable favorites, I think. As if I'll ever figure out how to program those suckers.

Which one is the eject button again?

2. There's no ignition key, just a rectangular cube of plastic technology five times the size of an actual (old fashioned) car key.

When did this happen and how does this make driving better? If I add this chunk to my current keychain, there's no way all that mess will fit into my pants pocket. (I'm one of those rare females who decided purses were ridiculous and I refuse to carry one, because having wallets, keys, and feminine products spilling out of your pockets looks way cooler.)

3. My car suffers from narcolepsy.

To save gas, the engine shuts off at stoplights or in standstill traffic. As soon as you hit the accelerator, the engine starts right back up. This is great and all, but what happens when the mice in my garage rewire everything? With my luck, the restart feature will probably be the first thing to go on the fritz, on a railroad track. 

It's a beautiful car though, and I'm sure I'll get the hang of things eventually. But don't expect me to deal with opening and closing the moonroof. Nope. I may have a college degree, but there's no way I'm messing with a lever that bends six different ways for six different settings. Recipe for disaster. I'd get it stuck wide open in a hurricane-zombie-apocalypse for sure.

How well do you adjust to new technology? 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG and Celebrate the Small Things

Happy Fifth of July, Everyone! How was your Fourth? Third? Have you been partying all month? It's time to celebrate our insecurities and lend a virtual ear to our fellow writers. All hail the the chief of our happy tribe, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his merry band of cohosts:

Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan!

This month's fantabulous question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

You had to put "valuable" in there didn't you? Nuts. Well, here goes: I'm a happier camper when writing or editing the first few drafts and an absolute ogre if I'm tying to query or market. It's been a long time since I went "camping". GrrrrrROAR! (See, I did the roar.)

I have plans to participate in the IWSG Twitter Pitch Party later this month, but I'm still working on ideas for my tweets. Here's the top five in the rejection pile:

5. This book will appeal to every-dang-body--seriously! #IWGpit#AD#F#H#HI#LF#MCT#ME#PB#R#SF

4. There's this girl who likes this guy, but then she meets this other guy and, whoa, it's like a love triangle--SQUEE!!#IWGpit#R

3. This book made my mom cry.#IWGpit

2. Once upon a time a good character met a bad character and stuff happened.#IWGpit

1. A heart-breaking work of staggering genius, a mere 175K in length.#IWGpit

And, back to the drawing board I go.

Congrats to the IWSG for getting into the Writer’s Digest 19th Annual 101 Best Websites for Writers!


Since I'm cohosting IWSG this month, I'm going to post this week's CTST a bit early. This wonderful and versatile hop is hosted by Lexa Cain, and her wonderful cohosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker!

Today is a big celebration for my husband and I: our 14th wedding anniversary! Fourteen years ago, we were married in Geneva, NY. Now we live in a suburb of Greece, NY. If you don't mention the state, we sound like a pretty ritzy couple, no?

Last week I went to Rochester's Lamberton Conservatory with my girls and had a ball taking pictures of the flowers, turtles, tiny quail, and even a Lucky duck. Enjoy!

The cactus garden. Sit at your own risk.

Hi! biscus

Koi swimming in clouds

Turtle jenga

Lucky (the) Duck

Quail party

Hanging out with moss, Mick Jagger nowhere to be seen


Are you participating in the IWSG Twitter Pitch? Seen any cool wildlife lately? 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

Are you ready to celebrate? It's Friday! Big shout out to our hostess with the mostess, Lexa Cain, and her wonderful cohosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker!

This was our first week of summer vacation, so you might imagine the biggest problem: MO-OM, I'm bored! Already!? I thought we could avoid hearing that until mid-July, at least. So one of the things we did this week was visit a place in Rochester called Warner Castle and Sunken Gardens.

Warner Castle was designed by Horatio Gates Warner and built as his private residence in 1854. In 1912, Frank and Merry Ackerman Dennis, owners of the Dennis Candy Factory and candy stores purchased it. They commissioned DeForest to design gardens for the site beginning around 1920. His plan for the grounds included the Sunken Garden completed in 1930, a courtyard, rose and woodland gardens. (Source

The house is currently owned by the Rochester Civic Garden Center. They have a library of gardening books upstairs and hold flower arranging and other classes in the basement. The main floors have larger meeting rooms for wedding receptions. 

Fireplace on main floor. The girls wanted a picture because we also own this very same bird clock. 

The best parts of the house besides the fireplaces were the oak staircase up to the second floor, the mural wallpaper, and the cat, Dudley! We found him snoozing on a desk chair in a back office of the main floor. After a snack in the kitchen, he followed us up into the library for more attention. Regretfully, we were having so much fun loving on him we didn't get a good picture, but here is his tail:

Dudley is a beautiful cat, believe me.

Out in the back are some gorgeous gardens, including a sunken garden that is still in the process of being restored. All the work here is done by volunteers. Enjoy!

Back of house

Garden leading to the sunken part

Overview of sunken garden


That's Sedona at the top, to give you an idea of the scale

This shot is the interior of the gated room from two images up. I wonder what these areas were used for: storage? prison? 

Have you gone to visit someplace new recently? Have a favorite garden?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

Is time speeding up? It seems like I was writing a post for this blog hop just yesterday. Big thanks to our host, Lexa Cain, and her co-hosts, L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker!

Last week, I dedicated my post to my older daughter, who won several end-of-the-school-year awards. Last Friday, I went to see my younger daughter (at the exact same auditorium) graduate from 5th grade. She won the award for orchestra and two others for high academic achievement. Awesome-sauce!

Gosh, all I need to do is get my darlings to cook their Mac and Cheese, pick up all their stoof, and stop screaming at each other like hyenas and life will be perfect.

As if.

Anyway, I got all choked up again watching my kid walk across the stage. What is with all this emotional boo-ha-ha? It used to kill me to show any kind of extreme emotion at all, but these days, I get teary at all sorts of things. When my younger daughter wrote me a heartfelt letter for Mother's Day about appreciating all the things I do for her, I turned into a puddle. I'm blaming the hormones, or um, the absence thereof. 



Speaking of tears, today's the big day. The last (half) day of school. Goodbye hours of quiet writing time--sniff, sniff.

My kids:


Oh well. At least I get to sleep in until summer camp starts!

What makes you cry? What excites you (or bums you out) about summer? Love or hate gifs?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

Good Friday (Sunday--stupid Blogger why didn't you post?!) morning, lads and lassies! How are things going in your corner of the world? Got something to celebrate? Then you've come to the right blog hop. Each week we celebrate everything and anything with our wonderful host, by Lexa Cain and her cohosts, L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker

And the wiener is ...


We're about five schools days from summer break here and the excitement is growing. Last week, the family attended the annual Award Night at our older daughter's middle school. Last year as a sixth grader, she got to walk across the stage for having a high GPA along with some subject certificates for Social Studies and Band. These awards can be comprised of groups of students ranging in size from 5 to 45. It was cool to see her called up more than once, but she wasn't quite satisfied. 

At the end of the program is a short series of named awards that go to one and only one recipient. My daughter looked over the ones for 7th graders, noticing one for extraordinary achievement in ELA (English Language Arts to you oldies out there who knew this as plain old English--me included). "Maybe I can win this one next year," she whispered to me. "Sounds like a plan," I said.

The Narayan Family Motto

Last week, I got to see her walk across the stage for the high GPA awards again, and we snickered at how the principle mangled the pronunciation of her name: Sedona (like the city in Arizona) Narayan (Nuh-RY-un) came out Sedonia Nariarian or something. When they started the subject certificates, I thought she might nab one in ELA or Spanish or Band, but no soap. Her name wasn't called. I felt a little bad, since she was hoping to top last year's haul, but oh well. Them's the breaks.

Then it was time for the special award she picked a year ago, and my heart started pounding madly as the principal read the description and said the words: "And the Rosalie Angie Award goes to....

Sedonia Naraiarian!"


OH MY! We looked at each other and I nudged her, mouthing, "You did it!" Seeing her walk the stage alone and hearing the applause almost made me cry. What a cool moment for her! She worked like a maniac this year not only in academics, but band and the school play. GO KID! 

So, Sedona, this celebratory post is for you. 

Have you or anyone in your family won anything or accomplished a long term goal recently?