December 31, 2007

Looking back at Christmas, 2007

Christmas, 2007

Christmas- This was the year my husband finally got enough lights on the tree to suit me. Lush, Northwest trees are very dark in the middle. Just the normal amount of tree lights won't do the job. Normally, we wrap the trunk of the tree in white lights, but this was a busy year, so my husband wrapped the lights around and around the outside of the tree until their brilliance blinded us. You know you have enough lights on the tree when you have to squint to look at it. The neighbor's cat hasn't been by to visit since we plugged the lights in. The tree gets better every year because the number of ornaments increases with my age. This year's tree was a stunner--some of the ornaments are close to sixty years old. I'm going to be sorry to see it go tomorrow, but a live tree needs to go as soon as it starts to dry out, unless you want to remodel.

All during Christmas, I've marveled at how easily the decorations went up. This morning I realized why: there are two more boxes of holiday trinkets on the top shelf of my office closet that I forgot about. Maybe I'll put them out for Easter...

Eagles-The lights didn't phase the eagles in the area. My neighbors tell me that two of the big birds perched in a tree near our yard and casually picked out their Christmas dinner from their chicken yard. My neighbor's clapping and shooing scared them away just as they sank their talons into a fat hen--making me think they must have been very young. I'm sorry I missed that, but I'm pretty sure that eagles and I don't keep the same schedule. If I'm up before eight it's because the stag deer in the neighborhood is whistling right under my window. I love that. He must be the world's best alarm clock, even if he is unreliable. I should mention that I don't live in the country. It's just that the increased housing has left the wilder creatures with no place to go. That's wrong. Just plain wrong, but it's too big of a subject for today.

Custer and His Naked Ladies- Read sample chapters of my new novel (and others) on my main website:

December 29, 2007

Spring is on the way!

Belle & Bud, Christmas, © Joyce Stevens, 2007
Poor Belle! I couldn't get out to find her a Christmas sweater. My buddy since childhood, Joyce Stevens, made her for me when my husband was out of town one time. The doll has a growing wardrobe, including red cowgirl boots, but no red sweater. She's a size two, so everything I put on her of mine just hangs. Bud is easier to dress because he's bigger. In the summer, Bud sports a red Hawaiian shirt. Bud was the first to arrive. Joyce brought him over to keep me company once when my husband was away for a month. He is always a big help when I'm stuck on a chapter!
It was a wonderful Christmas here, and I hope yours was too. I think my daughter has outdone me, as she is still celebrating and opening presents with her friends--giving a whole new meaning to The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Winter Solstice has come and gone, and I have to admit that I forgot about it after our tree was up. I keep checking the sunrise and sunset times and we seem to be going backwards so far. The process must be more complicated than I understand. For now, I have to console myself with my calendar that clearly states that the solstice has come and gone. Spring is on the way!
Speaking of calendars, I have a free day, thanks to my husband's insistence that I buy my 2008 calendar early this year. About now is when I usually start racing from store to store looking in vain for the style I prefer--usually ending up with a calendar with an awkward shape, unworkable format, and covered all over with some dorky design. One time, I even came home with a calendar that was designed for teachers--the year started in September! Good grief.
Custer and His Naked Ladies is doing nicely, even though there have been some snafus in distribution. If you want a copy, please order directly from iUniverse at (this link will take you directly to my page), or until the problem is resolved. Don't miss it. It's a hoot! iUniverse, $15.95.
Oh! You can also read sample chapters and order my novels on my main website:

December 18, 2007

3 days until Winter Solstice!

copyright 2007, JMH
3 days until Winter Solstice!
The photo above is my book Christmas card without the Merry Christmas copy on it. Just this part took me all day--I needed to get on a ladder for some height and I just couldn't get my wheelchair up those rungs!
Custer and His Naked Ladies- There's still time to order some copies for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts. Ya'll jump on it! $15.95, iUniverse.

December 16, 2007

5 days until Winter Solstice!

2003 (?) copyright, JMH
We got our tree today, but it is still too wet to decorate. Tomorrow. The last few years, I've been threatening to cut down on the decorations, but if I don't put up everything, the rest of the family digs until there's nothing at the bottom of the Christmas trunk except old newspaper, and they spread it all over the house like peanut butter on crackers. Joy to the world. At least someone has some sense.
But this year, it's going to be tough. I'm so far behind I can see my own back pockets. Whose idea was it to put out a new novel at Christmas, anyway? How crazy was that? I'm sure everyone has dropped everything to sit on the pile of their own Christmas rubble and read Custer and His Naked Ladies--not!
There's only one way to gain back some control. The writing offices of JMH are closed until the refrigerator is restocked with eggnog, and every string of lights is glittering on the tree. Of course, if anyone wants a book signed...

December 14, 2007

Seven days until Winter Solstice!

copyright 2006, JMH

7 days until Winter Solstice!

It's all coming back to me now. I think I got my winter blues from my mother, who was born and raised in the Southwest. Once, in the dread of winter, she wandered into our Tacoma living room and moaned, "I haven't seen the moon for 28 days!" It wasn't just the sun she missed.

Anyway, it's all down hill from here. Christmas is finally kicking in, and we plan to put up our tree tomorrow. By the time the 21st gets here, I may have forgotten all about the doom and gloom of a rainy winter in the Great Northwest...until next year.

Custer and His Naked Ladies- Mom was killed in a car accident before she ever got to read any of my stories about her and her sisters. I'll always regret that...

There's still plenty of time to order your copy of Custer. It makes a good gift for the women on your list!

Wow! I just heard a cuckoo bird. No lie! We're not even supposed to have them here, but they think a winter storm blew some in years ago, and they survived. I can't remember where they came from...maybe Japan?

December 13, 2007

8 days until Winter Solstice!

copyright 2006, JMH

8 more days!

Augh! It's not just the dreary skies, it's the quiet. If it weren't for the next door neighbor's rooster, there would be no sound at all in the morning. Oh, I'm sure the birds are singing somewhere (like maybe Arizona)--just not here. I haven't even seen a crow for days. No lie.

I have new Christmas ornaments, though. We're having some work done on our eaves, and they have discovered wasp nests. I think I'll spray them gold and put them on our tree.

Custer and His Naked Ladies-my new book is being very well received. There's still lots of time to order your copy. It's a good read. iUniverse, $15.95. I've posted sample chapters on my main site.

Well, off to get some light into this house. Maybe I should knock out the wall near my fireplace and put in a nice window overlooking my deserted birdbath (whine, whine, whine).

December 12, 2007

9 days until Winter Solstice!

copyright 2006, JMH

9 days until Winter Solstice!
The photo above is from one of last year's snowstorms. This year, we've had floods, and I didn't feel like photographing people's homes floating down the river, or their basements filled with mud. In the sixties, we had a TV weatherman who took a better job in California, but he didn't stay long. The weather there was too boring. Now, he might feel differently. They've got as many problems as we do.
Dreary days are good for getting a lot of work done. I'm well on the way with my new novel...before most of my readers have even read Custer and His Naked Ladies. (available for order at all Internet and walk-in bookstores).
Maybe we'll get the tree up this weekend. That should perk things up around here. I was hoping to get our new TV cabinet upstairs first, but it has been so cold in my husband's workshop, and the project is behind. It's been 35 degrees here, and his workshop is unheated. It's zero fun to run a saw when you can't feel your fingers from the wood.
My Christmas shopping is about done. Family members shopping for me are having a rough time--there's nothing I want this year. I'd rather send a check to the food bank, or the Save the Manatee fund. I just feel like I have all the stuff I need.
Our president looks like he's been rode hard and put away wet (a Western saying I'm throwing in for my readers in Europe.). Well, you reap what you sow. Hmmm...I wonder if Santa has new presidents in that sack he carries?

Quote du Jour:
"Careful, or you'll be in my next novel." Catalog humor (on a sweatshirt)

December 11, 2007

10 days to Winter Solstice...

copyright 1999, Dick Hooper

Countdown: 10 days!

Ten days until Winter Solstice! It's a big date for me, as I hate the dark winters. The only time I haven't was when I was a docent at The Anchorage Museum...where winters were the darkest. Every morning, I'd spring out of bed and race down the hill so I'd be at the museum in time for the first school bus to roll in. Before I left our apartment, I'd always tell my husband that I'd be back early enough to get our dinner cooked, but everyday, it seemed, I'd fly through the apartment door just before he did. I could go on and on about Alaska, but this is not the place. Maybe another time.

Now, in Washington, I am without my beloved museum, and it is just dark. I don't even bother to look for my coffeepot until eight o'clock. The only light bounces off my laptop screen when it flashes Yahoo!

Woo-hoo! I answer back. Saved for another day. Did I tell you there are only ten more days until Winter Solstice? I think I did.

Oh! The photo of the two moose was taken by my husband. He has a ton of them.

Custer and His Naked Ladies was written in the Southwest, and it's a good cure for winter darkness. The days must grow shorter, even down there, but I don't remember. I do remember being cold. In Alaska, I learned that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear." In Oklahoma, all of my gear was bad because I chose my wardrobe for looks. I guess I was trying to keep up with my peers. So I looked good--even if my skin was blue. As I write this, I'm wearing my sheepskin house slippers, so I have learned something...

December 09, 2007

The Sum Of All Fears

copyright JMH, 2007
My grandmother used to really get into her television shows. She'd sit right in front of her little eighteen inch black and white screen and yell at the characters to "Run!" "Get out of there!" "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"
I've been watching The Sum of All Fears while doing our Christmas cards, and when it came to my favorite part--the part when they have to get the president out of the football stadium because there's a nuclear bomb--I found myself shouting, "Go! Go! Go!" Just like my grandmother used to. I want to feel that way about our president again. Oh, well, maybe next time...

December 05, 2007

Thank goodness for my wicked stepmother!

Think Hanukkah & Christmas!

I finally got my laptop back--woo-hoo! I'm really behind in everything, but I wanted to take a moment to plug my book Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories. It makes a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift. iUniverse, $12.95. More info on my www site.

Of course, Custer and His Naked Ladies would also make a great gift. Both of these books have to be ordered (from all the usual places), so start early! I've posted a sample chapter on my regular website. iUniverse, $15.95

Ya'll enjoy your Christmas shopping. when I was a kid I could never please my stepmother with my Christmas gift to her, and she always let me know the minute she saw me. As a result, I was beginning to hate Christmas when I confided my problem to a friend. "Ha!" she scoffed. "I give people what I want to give them and what I can afford. If they don't like it, it's just too bad." I wish I could remember her name--she saved Christmas for me.

Thank goodness for my wicked stepmother--she was worth three books!

Quote du Jour:
"You don't have to have a good start to have a great finish!" Joyce Meyer

November 29, 2007

Who's Custer?

I'm still without a computer, but I snagged my grandson's again for a little bit.
I'm being asked who Custer is in my new novel, Custer and His Naked Ladies...maybe this will help:

...The policemen were reaching for their third donut when their radio squawked and they had to go. "Don't be afraid to call us, Gracie," Marshall said as he quickly finished his coffee. "We don't like these guys anymore than you do, and I sure don't want them to get too comfortable here. They might never go home."

On his way out the door, he stopped to pet the old yellow dog that was now wearing an orange bandana.

"Mom, who does that dog belong to?" Glory asked after the two policemen left.

"Custer? He thinks he belongs to all of us. He walks us all to our cars when we leave, and patrols the apartments at night. But first, he was Nadine's. Then when she died, he moved to Rudolf's. When he died, he went to the Asian cook who lives on the corner."

"Oh, so he belongs to Junco?"

"No, she died so he moved to Mickey's. Most of the time no one moves him, he just gets up and moves himself. He seems to know when someone isn't coming back."

Glory gave the dog a leery eye. "I think that dog is bad luck; if he showed up on my porch, I'd shoot him."
Now, about those Naked Ladies...

Order your copy today from all the usual places. Distributed by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and others. $15.95, iUniverse.

November 25, 2007

Do not buy this writer technology!

My memory of ever having a computer is beginning to fade. I think I had one, but I'm not sure. Last night, around two, my phone rang. No one was there. Was it my laptop trying to contact me?

Seriously, this situation has become ridiculous. How long does it take to put in a new wireless switch? Meanwhile, I've got stacks of books that I pre-sold waiting to go out to readers and all the addresses are in my laptop...oh, wellll...

I guess I'll try to figure out some of this technology I've got around here. Some of it from three Christmases ago. I should have a tee-shirt printed that says : Do not buy this writer any more technology for Christmas! My brain can't handle anymore confusion.

Or I could do some Christmas shopping. Mostly, I buy people books. I'll even send out a few of my new novel (Custer and His Naked Ladies) to family members. Their addresses aren't in my laptop, so I can get to them. For the men, there is a lot to chose from this year. You can sure tell it's an election year!

November 24, 2007

Zenn there yet?

Since I am STILL without a computer, I plan to finish my new novel on yellow legal paper. I'll have it copied at Kinko's (about 5 copies should do it).
I'm sorry I couldn't post the green turkey dressing story. Maybe next year.

Writing tip- document everything, even if you think you'll never need it. If whatever you're writing is any good, someone will want to look at it. If whatever you're writing is bad, everyone will want to look at it.

Green writers- Do green writers drive green cars? If so, Rick Mercer (The Mercer Report) says Canada has one called Zenn (I love it already) that runs on batteries, is totally quiet, and has zero emissions. I hear it's about $12,000. At the rate our money is going, it'll probably cost us a little more. But think of it! No gas! No lines! No standing outside in the rain while we're getting robbed by a gas pump. If I were due for a new car, this one would be at the top of my list. Did I mention it was cute? I know I always say to buy American, but buying Canadian is the next best thing. Our neighbors to the North are like family anyway.

My '97 red Blazer (the small version) only has 45,000 miles on it, so I won't be trading in for a new car anytime soon. All of my friends are driving BMWs or Mercedes, so I'm beginning to look really eccentric. I don't care; especially at the first of the month. My little car has been paid for for years and I hope I never have to buy a new car because car payments have always made me cranky.

November 21, 2007

Where's John Wayne?

Thanksgiving- This is time of year I miss the girls the most. The women I wrote about in my Turtle Trilogy were based on real characters--my mother and her sisters, and their mother. The story in Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories about the Thanksgiving when my Aunt Pat stirred spinach into my mom's cornbread dressing is true. If I get my laptop back, I'll post the story for you.
With Custer and His Naked Ladies, I say goodbye to the women I so admired when I was growing up. And with them, I say goodbye to writing about the other members of the family. Some of them may have been sweating my writing career. When I was a kid, I used to sit on the floor in the corner and take in all the family secrets--no one paid any attention to me--I was just a kid. Well, the kid has a very good memory; I just never had any intention of writing a tell-all. So now, I'm done. Everybody can relax, ha.
My latest novel, a romance, is set in the Northwest, and has all new characters. It's only a quarter of the way finished, so the outline is nearly as big as the book. So far, I'm calling it Ralph, but that will have to change. I don't want to open the door to a lawsuit!
My husband is cooking the turkey tomorrow, so I guess I should at least pick up the recording stuff so he can get to the table. We're alone for the first time this year as our little family is spending Turkey Day with the other side of the family, so we are cooking a teeny-tiny turkey that will cook really fast. We plan on spending the time we save playing with our grown-up toys. Dick, a hobby woodworker, is making a new cabinet for our TV, and I'm going to play with my camcorder. It's hard to find time to do the fun stuff nowadays.
I wish you all a very happy holiday. Let's all say a prayer for our troops tomorrow, dear Fellow Americans.
I know the rest of the world is disgusted with our president (and probably with us, too), but they should see the situation from our side. The pain is almost unbearable. Everyday, we get another dose of news about how corrupt our president is. There seems to be no end in sight. We may never know the details of how a man with no integrity and fried brains managed to steal the presidency TWICE, but it makes me very afraid for our future. Does gullibility necessarily have to come with goodness? I hope not, because we are a good people. I know that. At the same time, what if it happens again; how will we ever survive? Some of us don't know how we'll survive the rest of the year, much less beyond that.
Well, where's John Wayne when we really need him?

November 20, 2007

Living On a Rocky Beach, Surviving Arthritis

STILL no computer. I plan to swing by the store later today and lay a wreath on the counter where it was last seen. I'm out of mailing labels, bookmarks, business cards, etc. Yikes!

Meanwhile, I've introduced a new booklet titled Living On a Rocky Beach, Surviving Arthritis. It's available on my regular website (that www thing that I'm not supposed to mention). Ya'll don't buy one yet--I haven't got a way to produce it until I get my computer back. My putting it on my site was an act of optimism. I am so to two weeks, they said!

The writers strike is still on--and I've decided that's a good thing. So far this week, I've heard promos for three shows that sound really sleazy.

Catalog humor:
On a sweatshirt: Librarian--the thin line between you and the CIA

November 16, 2007

Audios, Amigo!

Audio- I'm still without my Warrior. How many years has it been? While I've been waiting, I've been recording some sample pages of Custer and His Naked Ladies for you to listen to. I'll post them on my regular website when I get my laptop back. I'll post them here, too, if I can figure out how!

I love doing the graphic part of marketing, but the techie stuff is difficult for me. Right now, I'm trying to edit the pages I've put onto my Boss Br-600, and I have to take each step one at a time, each time, as my brain was calibrated to write novels, and it doesn't retain anything with numbers readily. Each time , I have to get out the instruction book and start from scratch. I keep a candle on my desk to light before I attempt any Boss function. Have mercy! Later!

November 11, 2007

Smoke those salmon!

11-11-07- I've lost count of how many days it has been since I saw my computer. I suppose it's in California somewhere...that's where head offices are on the west coast. Except for Microsoft. Those guys are too geeky to know there's no sun here...something like novelists. If it weren't for this loaner, I would truly be in a straight jacket by now. I'm thankful for it, but it doesn't have the graphic programs I need to design bookmarks and other book materials.

Anyway, I hope my Warrior is getting some sun, because there sure isn't any here. I kept busy the last few days by watching the pork belly futures, but there are no stock reports on Sunday.

At least, there is no footage of OJ's trial, either. I'm so sick of that guy. There aren't enough gingersnaps in the world to make me watch CNN while he's still on.

Custer and His Naked Ladies- I'm working on the audio of the first pages of my new novel on my Boss BR-600. I'll put it on my website when I get it done...hopefully sometime before the Arctic ice cap melts. It has really been tough, especially since I've never been good at multi-tasking, and Boss has more buttons than a French officer's uniform (and, yes, I have seen a French officer, we even danced).

Writing tip- Please know your crafts if you are writing about them. Whoever told those Madison Avenue types that they were so special they didn't have to know a crochet hook from a knitting needle (in the Charmin ad) or that you should never run from a bear (in that cereal ad)?

Gotta go-Smok 'em if ya got 'em-- salmon, that is...this is the Northwest, ya know!

November 09, 2007

Pork bellies and ginger snaps

11-09-07- Dear friends,
It seems that I go through a computer everytime I write a book, and this time was no exception. This last book has thrown my computer into such spasms that it has had to be sent back to the company from which it came--I'm told it may be gone 2 weeks or more. This message is being sent courtesy of a family member who has graciously consented to loan me his laptop so that I may check my messages.

I have now been without my Warrior for 8 days. My eyes no longer focus from watching the numbers on pork bellies go around and around the bottom of my screen on the financial channels. I have no pork bellies of my own--I can barely stand pork chops on my plate. But it's either pork bellies or OJ (whoever told the networks we care about that guy?).

More than one more week to go. When I do get my laptop back, I have a lot of work ahead of me, as I did not save the latest edits on my new novel to a disk because I thought the problem was fixed. How dumb was that?

Which leads me to my writers tip for today:
There are two mantras for writers that must never be ignored:
1. Back up! Back up! Back up! and...
2. Reboot! Reboot, Reboot!

Writing green- Have you changed the bulbs in your office yet to those energy saving ones? You know, the ones that look like curly fries...I hear they save a ton of energy. We're in the midst of remodeling here, so I don't have them yet, but I will soon.

Custer and His Naked Ladies- Those of you who pre-ordered your copy will be getting them sometime next week, as my shipment is due in Monday.

November 01, 2007

Decorate those dust bunnies!

©Joyce Stevens, 2006
You saw this coming, right?

Order now!
Custer and His Naked Ladies
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

When her husband unexpectedly dumps her, Glory boards an Oklahoma-bound plane at Sea-Tac Airport. On her way to the ticket counter, she takes the framed photo of her husband out of her gym bag and dumps it--frame and all--into the nearest garbage bin. She has wasted too many years on a man who doesn't want her, and her biological clock is beginning to pound like a powwow drum. iUniverse, $15.95

Email your name and address to me and I'll send you an autographed bookmark!

11-01-07- Okay, let’s get on with it. Organize those shopping lists. Decorate those dust bunnies under the bed. Dye those roots on your hair. Christmas is coming! But we still have some time for a blogger chat...

Writing tips-
Take a break- If you’re between books, and feeling burnt out, take a break. I learned this from Elizabeth Lyon (A Writer’s Guide to Fiction). I always tended to think I was being lazy if I wasn't writing. Now, after my fourth book, I’m realizing that it is a good idea to take some time off to recharge my batteries.

Writing green- scan your research from books and put it in a folder. Then, copy it to a disk. Piles of paper printouts are wasteful and can get lost—causing us to reprint the information—that we then lose again before the writing project is finished.

Quote du jour:

“The first time I met Karen Nichols, she struck me as the kind of woman who ironed her socks.” Dennis Lehane. Prayers for Rain, courtesy of Elizabeth Lyon, author

October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

©Joyce Stevens, 2006
Happy Halloween!
From: Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories:

Wanda, the Wicked Writer of the Northwest
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

Wanda never went to the mailbox without her baseball bat. For every rejection she found, 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.
Back inside her house, Wanda meticulously filed away each rejection. The rejected stories about gardening she kept neatly stacked under a leaky flowerpot. The children’s stories she filed in the bottom of her bird’s cage, and the novel rejections she filled at the bottom of her cat’s litter box.
Wanda was especially chagrined at the rejection of her latest 500,000-word novel. What were they thinking? It had a plot and everything! Actually, it had several plots—it was about a gravedigger who was afraid of dirt.
Other stories were rejected because they didn’t follow required format. Format, smormat! So what if the stories weren’t double-spaced? So what if she used the Rave font instead of Times Roman? So what if she didn’t include a SASE? One story was returned because she didn’t put any postage on it. The nerve.
They had to be punished. The whole lot. Publishers. Agents. Newspaper editors. All of them.
The ticked witch went to her kitchen and whipped up a batch of special candy for the rejectors. She’d show them to have a little respect. She filled her black kettle with a recipe of special hard candies that turned into wiggling slugs when they were sucked on.
After the candies were wrapped in Halloween paper, she put them into a tote bag and took off for New York. Thanks to her new 300 high-speed broom, she was able to zip in and out of each office without being seen.
Back home, Wanda poured a glass of wine and lit the candle in her Halloween pumpkin. Then she turned on CNN and waited patiently for the story to break. Soon, all over the city there were reports of people in the writing businesses choking on slugs. Oh, they just choked a little—they didn’t die. And how those slugs loved to sing! When they were spat out, they stood up and sang in a perfect imitation of Aretha Franklin: R-E-S-P-E-C-T! (Find out what it means to me…take care of TCB!)
Wanda put out the cat and turned out the lights. Tomorrow, she’d start a new novel. This one would be really big.

Custer and His Naked Ladies- Order now from your favorite bookstore! Distributed by Ingram, Baker & Taylor and others…

Quote du jour:
“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, courtesy of Halloween

October 28, 2007

Who was King Ubu?

©Joyce Stevens, 2006
Two days left until Halloween!
10-28-07- Custer and His Naked Ladies is in! Order your copy today at your favorite Internet or walk-in bookstore!
Email* me your name and address and I'll send you an autographed bookmark! *
Writing tips-
Files- when I was in high school and college, I used to keep cards on each book that I read with the idea that I could refer back to them years later and use the notes for research. I found that stack of cards tonight at the bottom of a desk drawer. The list of books that I read was impressive for an Oklahoma hick, but, alas, my notes turned out to be childish and useless. But you try it. You’ll be better at it than I was, for sure. But me, I’m still strying to figure out why I wrote six cards on a book called King Ubu. And how could I have read so many books and still not had a clue about what was bothering the main character in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises?
Green writing- Save yourself! Get the artificial air fresheners out of your office. they are unhealthy, and goodness knows, writers seem to be sick enough without any extra help.
Who knew?- I learned a lot from BBC this weekend. I’ve been a fan of the Internet and computers for years. I do a lot of my research on the Internet. I play. I communicate. But this weekend, I learned how magical the Internet is. My Space? Utube? Phish…they’re small potatoes.
The BBC says that the Internet has given tortured people all over the world a way to instantly notify the world of their unjust treatment.
No one can stop the Internet. No permission is needed to use it. It’s free. Now, stonings in Iran are no longer a secret. The government can deny them all they want, but the film is there for all of us to see. Atrocities in Darfur are posted around the globe in real time. Anything that happens in Afghanistan is front screen news.
Where are the people in these mostly poor nations getting computers? They don’t need laptops—they are using their cell phones. Think of it: sending world-changing evidence in text and film with a tiny cell phone. In our prayers for peace and justice, did we ever dream that the answer to our prayers would be delivered by a cell phone just like the one we forget to charge half the time?
I still don’t know how some of these people are charging their batteries, but maybe the BBC will tell us that next week.
Quote du jour:
"Do not wait for leaders. Do it alone. Person to person." Mother Teresa

October 26, 2007

Writers, trained seals, and clowns

©Joyce Stevens, 2006
Four days until Halloween!
10-26-07- Custer and His Naked Ladies is available now on my book website from the publisher. I have no books of my own yet—it could be weeks. Those of you who have pre-ordered will get an autographed copy that should bring you more money when you resell it on Ebay! Someone told me once that bids were up to $60.00 on Ebay for my first novel, A Three-Turtle Summer ( I never saw it myself). How strange is that? To whoever bought that book I have one thing to say: ! Geez!
Writing tip- Talk less, listen more.

Writing green- Think green whenever you purchase carpets and furniture for yur office. There’s a carpet company now that will take back its carpet tiles and recycle them when you get tired of them. How cool is that? New hardwood floors? Think bamboo…it’s very eco-friendly and economical.
Quote du jour:
“Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.” John Steinbeck

October 22, 2007

"Shall we dance?"

© Joyce Stevens, 2006
8 Days until Halloween!

10-19-07- We don’t celebrate Halloween like we used to. Kids don’t stop by anymore because the schools and malls have organized events with enough candy to make Willie Wonka envious. It’s just as well. It’s a lot safer. But I do miss the little tykes.

Custer and His Naked Ladies- I noticed over the weekend that my new novel is listed at the iUniverse bookstore. All of the information isn’t up yet, but the book can be ordered, I think. It’ll take a month or so before it gets listed on the other sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.).

Writing tips- Don’t worry so much about getting published—first, concentrate on writing the very best book you can. Write it…then rewrite it. Then, sit on it awhile and rewrite it again.

Writing green- I heard over the weekend that Duracell has a rechargable battery system now. I’ve been leery about trusting some of my equipment to the other brands. I’ll look into Duracell’s product. Everything I have (cameras, camcorders, audio equipment, computer mouse) uses batteries.

Quote du jour:
“Shall we dance?” Anna, from the movie The King and I
Deborah Kerr 1921-2007 Thanks, Deborah.

October 18, 2007

"I like your mask!"

©Joyce Stevens, 2006
12 days until Halloween!

10-18-07- I’m expecting high winds to shut me down today, so I’m writing fast!

Writers’ Tips-

1. The standard page setup for story submissions to magazines is 12 pt. Times or Times Roman, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. Unless you are asked to do otherwise, use these guidelines. Resist using a cool font. Your submission will end up in the round file (garbage!).

2. Check each story for "which" and "that." A lot of sentences that use "which" should be changed to "that."

3. If you’re using historical information from the library for your research, scan the important parts before you turn the materials back in. I learned this the hard way. When I went to my library to check out an old book that I'd decided I wasn’t done with, It was gone. It had been stolen!

Writing green-

Make a habit of turning your equipment off at the end of your day.

Recycle paper as much as possible.

I know, this is boring stuff, but it will help!

Quote du jour:
“I like your mask!” A little kid said to my mother---she wasn’t wearing one!

October 17, 2007

Halloween countdown: 13 days away

© Joyce Stevens
13 days until Halloween!
10-17-07- My friend, Joyce, made the Wheelchair Witch for me. She is really an artist. The faces on her sculptures are priceless!
Custer and His Naked Ladies- It's about two weeks away, from what I hear.
Writing tips-
Christmas projects- If you’re planning on doing a writing project for Christmas gifts, the time to start was three weeks ago—get on it!
Are you writing in email?- Email shortcuts can creep into your formal writing if you’re not careful. What may be acceptible in an email could be totally inappropriate in a formal letter.
Green writer- I like to edit on paper, as my eyesight is poor. That can mean a lot of printouts over the course of a book. Lately, I’ve been printing in draft. There’s not that much difference in appearance, and think of the ink I’m saving! Oh! Don’t forget to change the settings back to normal before you do the final print-out! Hey! With the news about printing inks being unhealthy to breathe, the draft setting may even be better for you. I just had a thought: How many of us run our printer while a child is in the room? Maybe it’s time to rethink that practice. And open a window!
Quote du jour:

“Men get pearls from oysters; women get diamonds from nuts.” The Cowboy and the Girl , song from old movie, unknown (I'm researching it).

October 16, 2007

More writing tips...

Another one of my ponchos, JMH
10-16-07- I can't remember now which ponchos I've posted, and which ones I haven't. I'll go back and look.

Writer tips- Do you want to write? Really? Having the desire to write involves setting aside time to do it, and not being sidetracked by what's on TV, your friends, or the mall. Notice, I didn't add children to this list--that's because I firmly believe that our children are our most important product, and the little angels require a lot of time. It helps if they understand what you're doing and support your endeavors. Get them, and your husband, on board when you make out your writing schedule.

Green writer- It is not necessary to print out every message you're sent--make a folder and back it up on CD. Now they're saying that breathing the air around some printers while it is printing isn't even healthy, and can be as bad as secondhand smoke.

Quote du jour:
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling, courtesy of The Quote Geek

October 15, 2007

Be a green writer

Alaskan native cemetary, JMH

10-15-07-I've never been the type of Halloween enthusiast who relished the gore of the celebration. This photo is much more my style. Of course, you know that the ground is frozen in the winter, so burial is above ground sometimes. Some natives used to stuff the deceased relatives with straw, dress them, and prop them up in the corner of their home until they could be buried. I think it has been years since this practice was prevalent. I used a similar idea in my newest book, Custer and His Naked Ladies, except I didn't use real bodies.

Tips on writing- I'm often asked how to be a novelist and make a million bucks. Well, they don't really say the million bucks part, but that's what most of them are thinking. And who can blame them? A few really talented writers--I call them members of The Cussler Club--really do make millions. But let's assume most of us will be very good, but not richly rewarded writers. What about us?

1. Don't quit your day job. Having a regular paycheck coming in every payday is a great stress reliever. Nothing kills the creative urge more than hearing a stomach growl. Especially if it isn't yours.

2. Read everything that applies to your favorite subjects.

3. Learn to love rewriting. Few of us get it right the first time.

4. Stay in shape. Do what you can do (ask your doctor about this). It takes a lot of energy to write, a fact that is not largely known.

More to come...

Green writer-You may think there is not much a writer can do to be green. Interestingly enough, you may already be doing some of it--for instance, if your morning commute is to your office that is really one of the bedrooms of your home, you're already green!

The biggie: Please, please, recycle your computer in an environmentally safe manner. Each area has its approved system. Check it out.

More to come...

Quote du jour:

"Garbage in, garbage out." Computer saying,anonymous.

October 11, 2007

A writer in the house, part 4

photo by JMH

Spiders-I have issues with spiders. The photo above was taken in the mountains with an Instamatic years ago. I have no issues with him--he was cool. He's blurry because I kept my distance! I do love his black and white legs.
The spiders I have issues with are the ones in my house. Like the one who crawled into my laptop recently to keep warm and left a pile of questionable material on my keyboard. I preferred to think they were eggs, but I wasn't sure. Then there was the spider that bit me in the middle of the night. I think he was a Shakespeare lover because he definitely took a pound of flesh. No kidding, the bite swelled to the size of a slice of bacon. This event happened on June 11th, and I still have a lump the size of a marble under my skin.
Even though I never saw him, I got on the net to see just what kind of spiders we have here in Washington State. Answer: too many! Now, I was supposed to be writing but I indulged myself because I thought it could be a matter of life and death, and I'd always planned to have a classier exit from this maybe being run over by a truck carrying my new best-selling novel to our local Borders. (now that's a run-on sentence to take to show and tell).
As it turns out, all of the experts (they have a fancy name, but we won't go there) who write sites about spiders are nuts. One actually said that capturing the spider and releasing it outdoors may not be the best thing for the spider. Oh. He might prefer a flushing toilet? The bottom of my shoe? Just what was I supposed to do with this spider if I ever caught him, offer him a nice warm pocket in one of my winter coats? What?
What's next?- Speaking of novels, readers are wondering what's next? Well, Custer was my last novel set in the Southwest. I'm now working on a story set in the Northwest, where I live now. It's funny. It's sexy. And I have no idea how I'm going to break it to my husband that I've gone over to the smooch side. I predict he'll be appalled. I'll try to explain to him that my characters stopped following my outline and went on their own Yellow Brick Road to a place called, Get Real, Lady. It's time for me to grow up. My readers have.
I'm out of time. No time to edit. Feel free to make up your own quote and email it to me! (

October 08, 2007

Stag 1-writer 0

©Janelle Meraz Hooper
10-08-07- I am a writer, part three. As a small niche writer (no agent, no advance, no mainstream publisher*) I do it all myself. I do my own research, develop my own plots, write my books (no co-authors here—don’t you hate it when you buy a book and find out it was co-authored? I do.), and market them. The marketing is labor intensive because I do my own letterhead, labels, business cards, bookmarks, etc. Everything, except the cover. This time I got smart and let Reflection Studios in Puyallup do the cover. It was a good choice. The cover is gorgeous! I’ve been asked why there are flowers on the cover and what does that have to do with naked ladies? Well…there’s more than one kind of naked lady. * What I do have is several very nice fiction awards.
My deer trap- My stag deer was never tempted by my red apple. I guess he is busy with his ladies down the street. This photo is from last year. I’m sure the rack has grown by now.
Quote du jour-
"Yes, it's hard to write, but it's harder not to." Carl Van Doren

October 05, 2007

I am a writer, part two

My deer trap
10-05-07-So, as I was saying yesterday, I'm a writer. More to the point, I'm a small niche writer. To those of you who don't know what a small niche writer is, it means I write for the love of telling stories, not for the huge advance. Not that I'd turn money down (I'm not dumb!), but when I looked in my mailbox and saw that it was empty over ten years ago, I decided to write anyway. I've never stopped.
I seldom go out because for me to leave the house and find a parking spot anywhere, I have to give up three hours of my day. That's another thing I'm not: I'm not one of those writers who can stay up all night and write. All I've turned out late at night is a bunch of stuff a bird wouldn't read if it were on the bottom of its cage. Nope, right around nine, I'm in bed. I write from about 8-12 PM, then I eat lunch, do other writing chores, and visit with friends.
So you're wondering, so what is the photo of the apple tree about? I'm ready to tell you: because I work at home I have a lot of time to play, and I have a very whimsical personality.
The apple tree is one of my tricks to get a good picture of the big stag that lives near my pasture. Every year, he eats the apples off my tree and every year I try to catch him at it so I can get his picture. The one red apple was left in just the right spot to get a good photo of the rack on this guy...I hope.
Another thing I do for fun is to set up book titles around the house and wait for someone in the family to spot them. They never do. What are they thinking? Once, I had a ceramic tortoise and a wooden hare on the mantel of my woodstove for weeks and no one ever noticed.
Speaking of being whimsical, the part in my new book, Custer and His Naked Ladies where someone puts a lifsize Elvis cutout in my room is based on a real incident. Once, my Aunt Norah and I had the keys to Donna's (a family member) house when she was away so we could feed her cats. When shopping that day, we found a lifesize cardboard cutout of Billy Ray Cyrus and we took it to Donna's and put it right inside her door with a big welcome home sign on it. My Aunt Norah and I used to have so much fun. the story about her in Custer about the Chinese restaurant is true.
Well, I'd better get back to work. This afternoon, I have to figure out why my fonts on my Tripod website jump around in size. I'm sure it is what my husband calls "Pilot error" (he was a pilot in the Army). That's another thing I'm not: I am not a techie! When something goes wrong with my Warrior, I call my Computer Guru.
Quote du jour:
"In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra." Fran Lebowitz

October 04, 2007

The 12-step program for CZs

Another one of my ponchos

10-04-07- I’m a writer- No, not one of those writers seen on TV shows who are either drunk or neurotic—or both—half the time or more. I’m a normal person to everyone except my UPS delivery man, who has often seen me come to the door in peach-colored sweats and jewelry heavily encrusted with CZs. I always wear jewelry when I write my novels. It’s a celebration and I want to look the part. The sweats are because it’s cold here in the Northwest. So if I ever die unexpectedly, I hope one of you will explain my strange attire to the 911 men. Maybe you’re thinking that wearing sparkly jewelry with sweats is neurotic, but I look at it this way: I’m not hurting anyone or anything. As far as I know, there is no 12-step program for wearing fake diamonds before noon.
On my bed table- Not much. My husband’s got the good stuff. Can’t wait for him to go out of town…
Quote du jour:
“This is the sixth book I’ve written, which isn’t bad for a guy who’s only read two.” George Burns

October 01, 2007

A novelist must make choices...

©Janelle Meraz Hooper

10-01-07-I have a collection of ceramics that I call ponchos. Two of them are above. I've never known what to call them, but some people call them sleeping Mexicans. I just call them ponchos because that's what my mother called the one on her mantle.

Custer and His Naked Ladies- I’m still waiting for notice that it is finished and ready for purchase. Any day now…I’m starting to feel like that woman on the Mervyn commercials a few years ago who, in the middle of the night, kept looking in the window, saying, “Open…open…open!
Choices- When working on a novel, every writer has to make choices. For me, the choice is: am I writing fiction or non-fiction? Does it help my story to load it down with all of the research I’ve gathered—fascinating as it is—or am I just indulging my love of natural history? With Custer and His Naked Ladies, I added just enough research to propel the story. I'm sure that any of you who have an interest in The Permian Sea won’t look in a novel for enlightenment anyway. Still…it is a fascinating topic.
Presidential candidates- When the presidential candidates jumped the gun and started campaigning early, I called them all small potatoes and asserted that what we needed now were Idaho baking potatoes. Later on, I became impatient and labeled them all Tater Tots. I take most of it back. It turns out there are a few bakers in the bunch. I haven’t picked one yet. I’ll wait and see if The Big Daddy of All Bakers joins the campaign. Then, we’ll have a race!
Quote du jour:
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein, Einstein, His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

September 23, 2007

A bale of turtles

photo courtesy of Dick Hooper, all rights reserved

9-23-07- Waiting for a new book to come out is like waiting for Christmas. Any day now, I should get the word that it is available for purchase. Well-published writers laugh at me (like David Southwell--Hi, David!), but I don't think I'll ever be nonchalant about it.


On my TV (or will be, tonight)-World War II by Ken Burns, PBS


Turtle trivia-A group of turtles is called a bale. (courtesy of Backyard Habitat, Animal Planet)


Quote du jour:
"I'm fascinated by everything that is exact." Alan Greenspan, author of The Age of Turbulence

September 21, 2007

Cover for Custer and His Naked Ladies

9-21-07-The book isn't available yet, but here's the cover! I imagine the book will be available for order in the next two weeks or so. Don't miss this one. It's a hoot! For those of you who don't know your flowers, those are naked ladies on the cover. Now, you didn't think I'd write a racey book, did you? I know some of you will be disappointed!

On my bed table-The Comanches, Lords of the South Plains by Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel. As a child, my mother told me about an Indian treat that some Indians carried to town in a paper bag. For years, I've wondered what was in the bag. Now I know. It was pemmican! A mixture of dried meat, nuts, fruit and fat. The settlers loved it too, and used to slice it like bread and dip it in honey!

On my TV-The Travel Channel -They had a show the other night on undersea UFOs that I slept through. Luckily, I had the tape machine going (it had been a rough day).

Quote du jour:

"If we don't save our mother's stories, who will?" Jim Bodeen, With My Hands Full (Con Mis Mano Lenas) This has always been a favorite quote of mine. I got permission to put in on the front page of my first novel, A Three-Turtle Summer. That book is full of my mother's stories!

September 06, 2007

Our food supply

Our food supply-I’ve never been a fan of processed food, but it was easy for me to avoid, so I didn’t give it much thought. Lately, after an illness during which I was tempted to retry some of the shunned food, I was reminded of the poor quality of our everyday food chain. Are we feeding this stuff to our kids? Really?! Shame on us!

Custer and His Naked Ladies-Still in production.

Politics-When I started this blog, I planned to use it to insert a political barb from time to time. I abandoned that idea when politics ceased to be funny. Folks, the next time around, we’ve got to get it right. The next 500 days may be the most dangerous in our nation’s history.

Quote du jour:
“If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.”
The Tacoma News Tribune. I lost the article that I was saving so I could credit the author because recycling day snuck up on me, sorry!

August 25, 2007

QVC= world peace minus politics

QVC = world peace minus politics

The first time I wrote about QVC and their impact on the world’s more isolated people was on 9-13-06. Read that one. It’s much better than this post is going to be. I've moved it just below this one so you won't have to hunt for it.
Even so, it is impossible for me to ignore what I see as the unappreciated, positive impact QVC, other shopping networks, and the Internet have on our planet.
For years, I heard brainier friends discuss market and supply. Getting goods from one tiny spot on the Earth to a larger spot thousands of miles away was an accepted—if regretable—condition. No more! On QVC’s Gemfest this week I saw jewelry from all over the third world. Gems from faraway places such as Bali, Africa, and Mexico flew out the QVC door—winging their way to places like Kansas, Utah, Oklahoma, and more. Woo-hoo! How many kids did QVC feed around the world this week? I don’t know, but I'm willing to bet it was a hell of a lot more than our government did.
Did QVC make money? Of course they did! How dumb do you think I am?! But ask yourself, how many other American businesses made money this week without helping anyone but themselves?
And if you're wondering where the world peace part of the equation comes in--people with empty stomachs can be easily led into war.
Psst! And remember, our being born in this Land of Plenty was just a lucky event--like winning the lottery. It could be our kids going without.
As usual, send all your complaints about punctuation and grammar to this address:

Quote du jour:
"Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you're not willing to move your feet."
I know I’ve posted this quote before, but I just love it. I’ll look for a new one someday."

Bagels in Bulgaria, who knew?!
9-13-06-Bulgaria-So I was sitting on my couch the other day finishing off a bag of garlic-flavored bagel chips and watching Keith Olbermann sock it to the White House when my mind went on overload and I began studying the bag the chips came in. It really was a thing of beauty--New York Style bagel chips, it said across the top. Lots of nifty artwork on the shiny bag touting the garlic-flavored, thin chips--a real thing of beauty (You do know, of course, that I got kicked out of art school when I was in my 40s? So I know about graphic artwork...). Then, on the side, in real tiny letters, it said: a product of Bulgaria. Bulgaria! What does Bulgaria have to do with bagels? Or even Jews, for that matter? I still don't know, and will have to find out if I ever quit editing Custer and His Naked Ladies. But it started me thinking about one of my favorite topics: economics. Now, I'm just small potatoes, and no one ever asks me for my opinion on anything, much less economics, but I think I have a clearer picture of what makes the world go around than a lot of professionals. Take those bagel chips. Because, halfway across the world, I bought a product made in Bulgaria, some child is eating. This is more, I'm sure than Bush has done for the same child.Wonders never cease. Because of the Internet, and shopping networks on television, third world countries can play with the big boys--and win. For instance, I have purchased jewelry from all over the world on my favorite shopping channel, QVC. There used to be a little black man who came from the Savannahs in Africa. His little country had a ruby mine. I was fascinated to hear him tell us about the cave that his people mined for rubies in the day--and how the lions and other animals moved into the same cave at night to sleep. When the workers came back in the morning, the animals got up and walked away. No one got eaten. I haven't seen the man lately. The last I heard, the mine was just about played out. It's a shame. I'm hoping they find another vein because I never did get a Savannah ruby--they aren't cheap!--I'm saving up! There's an Indonesian woman who brings silver jewelry set with semi-precious and precious stones from the Island of Bali, and a man who travels all over the world, visiting villages, and buying jewelry fashioned from all sorts of materials--metal, wood, seashells--They bring in other vendors from all over the world, and I've learned to love these people who are coming to America, via technology. Irish, Italian, and Polish wares are frequently shown, presented by the vendor. Most times, they sell out. When they do, I'm as excited as they are!Some might say this is exploitation. I don't think so. These people are selling direct to the buyer, and not being sucked into the great Madison Avenue machine that spits back tiny payoffs to the crafters, then slaps a big, fancy label on the item and resells it, for big bucks.I often complain about all of the world leaders and all of their failures, which are too many to name in our lifetime. I see this economics thing as a way the people (us!) can do something good on our own. It's a small way of taking control of a bad situation.It is said that the business of America is business. It's what we do best, and maybe it's our true gift to the world. Hopefully, it will be remembered more than our politics and foreign pollicy, which sucks.There's no time to edit this. Send your complaints about poor punctuation and fractured sentences to: janellemhooper

July 08, 2007

Custer and His Naked Ladies

Custer and His Naked Ladies

by Janelle Meraz Hooper
(Back cover)

When her husband unexpectedly dumps her, Glory boards an Oklahoma-bound plane at the Sea-Tac Airport. On her way to the ticket counter, she takes the framed photo of her husband out of her gym bag and dumps it into the nearest trash bin—frame and all. She has wasted too many years on a man who doesn’t want her, and her biological clock is beginning to pound like a powwow drum.

Part Hispanic, part Anglo, and raised on the reservation, Glory hopes that by going back to her roots she’ll discover who she is, but her home is in turmoil. Her greedy stepmother has returned, a group of dysfunctional mobsters wants her mother’s land on the Indian reservation to build a casino, her pastor cousin is kidnapped in Mexico while on a mission, and Glory’s beloved turtles are in an environmental crisis. When the mob tries to kill her, Glory counts herself as being an endangered species!

Her biggest problem of all may be Soap, a sexy Comanche lawyer who wants to do something about that powwow drum pounding in her head…

Sprinkled with Spanish phrases and Comanche words, Custer and His Naked Ladies is full of Southwest flavor.
A fun read! The last book in my Turtle Trilogy.
Although this book stands alone, it is the third book in a Turtle Trilogy, and the characters in the first two books reappear for one last time in Custer and His Naked Ladies. I’m going to miss them.

June 09, 2007

Safe sex

Now at the Publisher!

A few words from Pauline in Custer and His Naked Ladies, my soon to be published fourth book:
That evening, the women paraded into Grace's kitchen, each carefully stepping over two green cicadas that were mating on the hemp rug in front of the door. Last in line, Pauline purposely squashed the two bugs when she stepped on the mat. Then, she looked back at the insects over her shoulder and asked, "You didn't practice safe sex, did you?" When the women scowled at her, she pouted, "Well, they were done anyway."

Quote du jour:
"If I knew I were to die tomorrow, I'd write faster." Isaac Asimov

May 28, 2007

Summer Is comin'!

A summer story from my Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories book...
Summer Spending

A few words to my high school readers…
Allll-right! Summer's comin'! Gonna PARTY! Gonna KICKBACK! Gonna slap some Coppertone!
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...
Sure sounds like a plan right now. After all, you're tired. Not only that, but you're so burned out from studying all winter that you can't even read the side of a box of cereal without getting a knot in your stomach.
Next, you're going to tell me that you haven't even THOUGHT about getting a JOB this summer. I can hear you telling me that, "Summer is too short anyway, and you want to savor every ray of sun that manages to survive it's voyage through the ozone layer..."
Sounds good to me! But the only trouble with short, hot summers is that, all too soon, they turn into long cold, dark winters. The only way that they can be colder or darker is if you're broke, and have to pass on some of life's little pleasures: like a really neat concert (you'll KNOW it was really neat because your friends who'll go will talk about it until you threaten to squirt mustard all over their souvenir tee-shirts). Or, maybe you'll crave a new CD, or a really hot sweatshirt that's so bright it'll make your chemistry teacher put on sunglasses. And don't forget, when it gets dark and cold, you're going to need some REAL food. You know, the snack kind your mom won't buy...there's probably some hidden right now under your bed!
Okay, so what it comes down to is two choices:
1. Work some this summer (I said SOME, let's not get crazy about this!) or
2. Work during the school year, when you're already stressed over studying for tests. You could even be forced by a lack of funds to work on prom night, homecoming, or (EEEK!) graduation!
Of course, you can decide not to work at all. In which case, you'll probably have to watch old Tex Ritter movies on the square box while everyone else in your group is at the latest Bruce Willis thriller.
Or, needless to say, if you've been born with a silver remote control in your hand, you can skip all this, PASS GO, pick up $200, and go straight to Ticketmaster! Not rich? You're going to need some MONEY!
If you're having trouble developing enthusiasm for working during your summer break, it might help to remember that you're young. You'll bounce back after a few day's rest when school is out. You don't NEED a WHOLE summer to "do nothing". The trouble is, by the time you get rested up, all the good jobs will be taken. The time to start looking is now!
Moreover, waaay before summer is over, you're going to long for the feel of a wooden desk cutting across your back. You're even going to start to miss that kid who always has a plastic pencil holder in his shirt pocket (HE'S the guy I always tried to sit behind in math classes!). You MIGHT even start to miss the school lunches (welll...probably not!).
Just think how much more bearable winter will be with a little money in your pocket. And think of the extra time you'll have to finish that killer term paper! When it's over, you'll have some funds to kickback and take in a movie and a pizza! Wow! Extra money, better grades, and more school activities...all it'll take is one itty-bitty summer job!

Quote du jour:
Ride the horse the direction it's going." Pat Finley

May 15, 2007

Green is back!

5-15-07-An email sent to me by a friend—he took this photo of a woman he spotted reading my book at a Fourth of July picnic. What a kick it was to get this! I guess it doesn't take much to thrill a writer.

Green- Remember when green was a color in a Crayola box? After that, people could be described as green with envy. Remember Mean Joe Green? Now, the new color is green. Green as in trees. Green as in clean air. Green as in environmental green. ‘Bout time. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

Custer and His Naked Ladies- Still waiting on an agent or publisher.

Living on a Rocky Beach…Surviving Arthritis-A CD text project that may be too scary to publish. Remember. Folks, this is not the normal arthritis scenario. Some of us just excel in areas that should be left alone. Not only that, but this very small book would make a terrible movie!

"I'm a comedian...but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling, courtesy of Bill Mahrer's Real Time