4-04-06-Mother’s Day is coming up! If you’re anything like me, May 14 will be here before you find the perfect card. Now's a good time to order your mom a copy of Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories. Just about any bookstore can order a copy for you. That way, if you have to buy the last card on the shelf, you'll still have something that shows you care!
A message from the author: Ya know, this will come back to bite me--most likely sooner than later--but I'm sick to death of the ritzy, tasteless image of us that some Hollywood movies and New York publishers send out into the world. No wonder we're hated everywhere! If I could, I'd send copies of this little book to libraries all over the world so they'd know that not all of us live in Trump Towers--most of us are just nice people, looking for a good piece of yellow watermelon!
Contents of Pie:
Moment To Moment
Aggie and Her Surprise Visitor- (mainstream)Why did a confused Aggie call for her niece to make an emergency trip to come and visit her? Was it because her air conditioner was broken? Or because the Fat Pig was out of yellow watermelon? Or was it something more sinister?
How To Fight Big Hair- (humor) How does a mother reach a teenaged daughter who has discovered blue eye shadow and boys?
Gets Tickled and the Fish Trap- (fantasy) Why wasn’t anyone eating in the 1950’s style diner? And why were all the other patrons Indian? Above all, the Army veteran wondered, why were salmon falling from a giant fish trap in the ceiling?
Harpy and Julianne’s War of the Roses- (mainstream ) Harpy hated cats, and his neighbor, Julianne, had plenty of them. Sometimes, Harpy wondered if Julianne wasn’t starting to look like her cats…
A Perfect Slice of Wenatchee- (mainstream) The sky overhead was ultramarine blue and held in place by a sparkling brooch of blazing sun.
Samie’s Secret- (mainstream) In the night sky, stars as big as snowballs danced around the moon as it came up over the pond behind Samie’s aunt and uncle’s motel.
P-60 and Beyond- (humor) I approached my sixtieth birthday with the same enthusiasm that I would a clogged bathroom drain.
Two Windows on Ground Zero- (commentary) September 11th found me stuck at home with only a 38-inch screen TV and a large living room window. I could have done without the big screen TV. This was one time a one-inch screen would have been too big—too painful to watch.
We’re Recovering From September 11th-(commentary) “We done good.” My Hispanic grandmother used to say that after our family had survived its latest crisis. We were a houseful of women, and leaky roofs, plumbing problems, and skunks in the backyard often tested our resolve.
The Red Plaid Lunch Box- (Mother’s Day/mainstream) The last time I browsed the antique shops I came across a red plaid metal lunch box with a matching red plaid Thermos from the 50s. It brought back a flood of memories…
Moving to Alaska-(humor) There’s little doubt that Alaska has a bad reputation for most of us. Part of the problem may be the way Hollywood portrays life in Alaska as a kind of a frozen Dogpatch. Truth is, the big cities in Alaska are just like any other big cities in the United States, only with a little snow—okay, a lot of snow.
How to Speak Alaskan in 26 Easy Lessons- (humor) Communicating with your new friends in Alaska may have its confusing moments—it’s not that Alaskans have their own language, but their surroundings do inspire their own vocabulary…
Our Mountains Don’t Have Snow Crabs- (humor) One of the first things I did when I got to Washington from Oklahoma was catch a bus to go ski. Yes, ski. I’d never even heard the words ski lift, but I was young. And fearless. And full of adventure. I skied all day and didn’t even break a fingernail. My astonishing luck reinforced my opinion of snow. It was wonderful. It was beautiful. Besides, I was thin, and having a good hair day.
This Far From Homeless- (mainstream) The first time one of the “grannies” handed a shivering Macky a sandwich and a hot cup of coffee, he asked her, “Why are you doing this?” The woman answered, “Because I know that all of us are just this far from homeless.” As she talked, she held up her thumb and index finger—almost touching. (Note to teachers: there are clues in the story that may explain how each homeless person got to where he is—can your students find them?)
The Big Navy Blue Crab-(mainstream) I had plowed through an endless sea of dirty Toyotas when I saw her. She crouched in the corner of a used car lot like a big navy blue crab on the bottom of a dusty ocean. She had a style the new Mercedes didn’t have. To me, the new ones just screamed money; this one purred class.
Bear Bait- (humor) My friends didn’t fool me…physically, I was the weakest member of our social group. I knew it. They knew it. That’s why I was always included in camping and hiking trips to Alaska. Overweight and out of shape, I was obviously the designated sacrifice to any angry bears we might encounter on the trails.
Summer Jobs- (teen humor) Alll-right! Summer’s comin’! Gonna PARTY! Gonna KICKBACK! Gonna slap some tanning lotion! Gonna sleep until the soaps come on, then drag into the kitchen, grab a can of pop, wrestle the remote control away from your little brother, and just VEGGGG…
“Ouchy, ouchy!”- (humorous commentary) Now that I’m four and a half, I can’t get Mom to notice that I’m starting to outgrow my car seat. It may even be unsafe. It, for sure, is uncomfortable. If it weren’t for my diaper, I’d have saddle sores, I bet.
“Anybody Want to Play?- (humor) Every spring the hamburger joints are filled with ball players all dressed up in their new baseball outfits, their pristine new balls, mitts, and hats scattered on the tables among the milkshakes and fries.
Are the Snacks Here Yet?- (humor) T-ball season is over, and a good time was had by all. Of course, the spring weather was awful—isn’t it always? The grownups sat huddled in their folding chairs hugging their thermal coffee cups and urged their young players to run out on the field and roll around in the wet grass and the muck and have fun.
The Spectators- (mainstream) Judy’s outside kitchen door swung open and she turned to see her next door friend clad in novelty pajamas and matching robe at seven in the evening.
“I have so many questions. But first, red or white?” Judy asked, holding up two bottles of wine.
Sanyo and Hatchet- (mainstream Halloween) Sanyo, six-years-old, was warned not to make eye contact with the big black jungle crows that roamed the streets of downtown Tokyo. She didn’t believe the warnings. She didn’t think the birds were dangerous, just bad mannered.
Wanda, the Witless Witch of Boo! Cul-de-sac- (mainstream/humor Halloween) Wanda, the Witless Witch of Boo! Cul-de-sac, circled twice around her split-level home before she landed her broom on the roof. As always, she slid into her home through the air duct to the kitchen fan. Her black hat was sliced to ribbons because she always forgot to turn the fan off when she left. Okay, she was a little addled—but beautiful. Blond and petite, she bought all of her clothes at Hoardstrom’s and flew to LA every week to have her hair done at Chez Cher-Fawcett’s.
Wanda, the Wicked Writer of the Northwest- (mainstream/humor Halloween) Wanda never went to the mailbox without her baseball bat. For every rejection from literary agents and editors she received, she gave the box one whack. Of course, this scared the bats that lived in the box’s belfry silly, but Wanda was always so angry that she didn’t notice.
The New Anything-But-Turkey Diet- (humor) Not again! Every year we go through this, you guys start walking briskly up and down Ruston Way with your dogs, building up an appetite. I see you out there, and from where I sit some of you could stand to miss a few meals.
A New-Fangled Thanksgiving Tradition- (humor) Thanksgiving dinner was always the same at Mom’s, and that was how we liked it. In a changing world that created new stress by the minute, we could always depend on Mom’s turkey to be perfectly browned, and her cornbread dressing nicely laced with celery, wild pecans, and raisins. But one year, when my mom and her sister were in their eighties, my aunt arrived from California and brought her new-fangled ideas about tradition with her.
The Matriarch- (humor) When we lost my grandmother at eighty-two, my mother suddenly found herself the designated matriarch. A gentle person, Mom was never a leader. She liked to say, “You watch your little red wagon, and I’ll watch mine.”
Soldiers Give Writer Reasons to be Thankful- (Thanksgiving humor) When I was a kid, I was raised in a large military family in a small town next to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Half of my family was Catholic and the other half Baptists (don’t ask!), but once a year we got together at a large table to make a turkey suffer.
My Christmas List- (humor) Here they come again. Men with no shirts on, hawking men’s cologne that my husband wouldn’t wear to chop wood…and here come the women, looking like they’ve never cleaned out a sink basket.
Christmas in the Antique District- (mainstream) Sandie opened the door to the basement closet of the antique store to get the artificial tree her boss sent her after—and quickly shut it again…she could hear movement at the back of the closet, and she was pretty sure it wasn’t reindeer.
Thoughts on the Millennium- (humor/commentary) I’m so sick of all the talk about the millennium, aren’t you? The way I see it, we won’t even be here for most of it. What we really need help with is the next two weeks.
It All Started With That Darn Shoebox!- (humor/commentary) The more I think about it, the more I think all of my Valentine’s Day problems started way back in the third grade.
Free Pecan Pie- (mainstream) Back from her tennis game, Maggie-Lynn didn’t bother to put on makeup after she showered. Why bother? Her Husband was out of town. It pained her to admit—even to herself—that it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway. It was getting harder and harder to dazzle that man.
The Bridge to Divorce- (mainstream) It was a silly way to end a thirty year marriage. And totally unintentional…especially on Margie’s part. All she’d really set out to do was get a good pair of shoes on sale...
Half of Everything- (mainstream) Half of everything was gone. Half of the artwork, sculptures, books, and CDs. Half of the furniture. The chairs, beds, and tables. Half of them. Gone. Adriana moved her half of the tsotchkes around on the glass shelf to fill in the empty spaces.
The Getaway- (mainstream) Three old friends sat in a new, upscale Chinese restaurant and patiently sipped red plum wine while they checked their watches. During their long friendship, they’d given each other names that fit them much better than the names they’d started out with in life: Pattie became Angel—because she sang like one. Judith became Anti Roe—because of her feelings about abortions. Catherine became Vroom!—because her glove box was filled with parking tickets, and Maria was called Tic-Toc, because she was always late.
Screens and Screams
Elvis Has Left the Building—And Is Living In My Computer- (humor) Elvis is still alive. I know it. I have proof. And I don’t mean the kind of proof where some guy who’s had too much beer stops at a local filling station and sees Elvis filling up his Eldorado with regular gas. What a joke. Everyone knows that Elvis uses super.
Get Thee To A Writers Group!- (humor) A lot of people ask me for advice about how to be a writer. One of the best things that can happen to a serious writer is to find an active, supportive writing group whose members have goals similar to yours. Chances are, it’ll be much more satisfying than asking the plumber who thought he was just there to fix the leaky faucet.
Sometimes, It Just Takes One Ring- (humor) The day my cell phone rang, I almost got flattened by a fire truck on its way to an emergency call. I was preparing for an out of town trip. The first thing I had to do before I could leave town was refill some prescriptions at my new HMO. That’s when I almost left town for good.
Trendy Writers Must Have a Web Site! - (humor) I’ve always been a trendy kind of gal. When I started my first book, I bought a used laptop. Laptops were very trendy for writers in the nineties. Now, I’m on my third book and fourth computer. The more they’ve improved them, the more lost I’ve become.
Everyone Has A Story…
“¿Dònde Estàn Tus Cuentos?” (Where Are Your Stories?) – I listened to stories from an old man, stories of the West, and Indians—stories of cowboys, and skies of blue…
Quote du jour:
“Writing without publishing is like eating without swallowing.” James Jones, courtesy of Ginger Foglesong Guy