December 29, 2008

First Annual Stir-crazy Writers' Contest winner!

© Charlie Brough, December, 2008

Announcing the winner in the First Annual Stir-crazy Writers' Contest!

Charlie has a new book out:

Mama, I'm Coming Home
Charlie E. Brough

The first book Thank God for Pigs 1926-1945, introduced the author's family. A host of other people, both real and fictitious. There is the great depression, World War II, and for Duncan McGrew, a new beginning. For Cathie, his wife, a new life, but not without troubles similar to Job in the bible, all while rearing four children on an unproductive dirt farm. Book two of three, Mama, I'm Coming Home Bremerton, WA, 1945 - 1953 takes the reader on a historical, humorous and sometimes sad journey for a country bumpkin family attempting to adjust to life in the city after 19 years on the near waterless dirt farm. Tom McGrew survives Rheumatic Fever, but can he live in the same house with his father? Arnie joins the National Guard at age 16. Leane and Nora suffer over mothering from being molested by her father as a child. Arnie meets Lisa, his true love at the high school sweetheart swirl, then loses her. Trouble brews for her and Arnie. Then already in trouble, Arnie tells his father that he's joined the army during the middle of the Korean War. Duncan says things he regrets. Will he ever get the chance to tell his son how he really feels? iUniverse, $33.95 USD

I don't have my copy yet. I could have used a new read during this snow.
I'm not including other entries, as I'm not sure of their original source, and I don't want a bunch of copyright lawyers on my doorstep. But they were very funny.
I'm hosting the local flu bug this week, so will close.
Before I got sick, I did post two new stories on my book website:

Old Joe and His Yellow Cadillac is very different from my normal work--it's very sad. Tango Moma is really just a filler about my mother.

December 24, 2008

STILL snowed in...

2008 winter storm- I was here, but I had to get up to take the picture...
I'm getting a lot of silly stuff from my very non-techie writer friends today who live in the area. I decided to join in. Oy! Will the snow never quit?!
Have you heard the rumor about the $30 billion buy-out plan for writers? As soon as I get my hands on the paperwork, I'll pass it on.
Quote du jour:
"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." Die Another Day

December 23, 2008

Mama Mia

Have you seen Mama Mia! yet?
What are you waiting for?
(I have no connection with this or any other film. Just in case you're wondering...
welll...I was in a Warren Beatty film an a parade...)

Call your loved ones!

2008 winter storm, December
My herbs are somewhere underneath the snow on those hanging pots. The birds are still ignoring my whole wheat bread crumbs--I suspect another neighbor is offering bagles...
We lost power for a bit last night. Our Puget Power was on the spot. I was still fussing about the tarnish on my silver candlesticks when the lights went back on. Thank you, Puget Power! You rock!
If this storm ever had any dazzle, it was lost when my furnace went off. We have a wood stove, but keeping a fire made in a woodstove when in a wheelchair is a fulltime job. Even so, the wood is stacked on the floor by the hearth--at the ready. If our power goes out again, I'll go to work fulltime gladly. Right now, it's 32 degrees, so it has warmed up a lot, but not enough.
On Friday, it is supposed to rain--and that always brings floods here. Oh, the fun never stops.
Seriously, my heart goes out to the young and the old who may be suffering from weather wherever in the world they may be.
Call your loved ones and check to make sure they're okay. If my granny were still with us, I'd call and caution her to be careful of burning candles, portable heaters, and loose sleeves around stoves. If you are new to our area, and are cold, KNOW THAT YOU CANNOT USE A GRILL INSIDE TO KEEP WARM. IT CAUSES CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING. Our housing is too air tight. I KNOW I HAVE A REPUTATION FOR HUMOR, BUT THIS IS NO JOKE. IF YOU HAVE NO HEAT, FIND SHELTER IN A CHURCH OR COMMUNITY HALL.

December 22, 2008

It's a good day to watch Mama Mia again

December, 2008--Not bad for a rain forest, eh?

Snow- We're due for more snow today, but it's warming up. It's only 30. Yesterday, we had 12-17, depending upon where you were. I was one of the lucky ones who was in the 17 degree zone. Get out the sunscreen, Mama! A lot of my fellow writers have lost their power. In our senior years, being cold is about as much fun picking cactus stickers out of your behind.

The shot is off our sundeck and looks toward our pasture. I used to be an organic gardener, and the back pasture was a wonderful garden. Now, organic food is everywhere, and we've eliminated all but the cherries, plums, apples, pears, and blackberries. The new varieites of raspberries have inspired us to replant some of the vines next year.

I'm off to watch Mama Mia! again. It's set in Greece, so it's warm there.

Hope your Holidays are merry and WARM.

December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice!

Winter, 2008, wood sculptures by Linda Studebaker

Snow- We're almost snowed in here. There is at least 10 inches of snow on my sundeck and just as much ice and slush on our hilly roads. In between snowstorms yesterday, we did manage to get some friends over for lunch. We were in such a hurry to get them back to Seattle safely, we forgot to serve dessert. Now, I'm stuck (!) with a pound or two of homemade caramel with almonds. Weep for me.
Lists- I'm still making lists and checking them twice. Sadly, the list gets shorter every year, as I've lost most of my senior relatives. How I miss my mother and her sisters. It would be hard to pick a favorite aunt. All of them were funny and loved to laugh. As I am just part Hispanic, for most of my life, I felt like just a partial member of their very special club. In later years, the aunts opened up more. In my last visits, I felt like a full fledge member of the Meraz Women's Club (Oklahoma-California-Missouri). How I wish they could have lived long enough to read the books I based on them.
My Aunt Norah and I pulled one of the last pranks together when I was visiting Lawton. A fellow member gave us the keys to her house so we could feed her cats while she was out of town. While we were in there, we put a life-size cutout of Billy
Ray Cyrus in her kitchen. We put an ex-rated note on his chest. He looked so real, he startled her. She found someone else to feed her cats on the next trip. Ha!
On my dvd- Mamma Mia! Psst! Pierce Brosnan can't sing, but he doesn't know, so don't tell him. No matter. I loved him and Meryl Streep and the rest of the over-forty cast in the movie. If you haven't seen it, get it. It's a wonderful way to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Plenty of blue water and sun. I loved every bit of it.
I'm famous in our family for giving a movie 12 minutes. If it doesn't grab me by then, I'm punching out of it. Carl Sandburg did much the same thing with books. I've read that, when he was traveling around college campuses giving talks, he'd stop by the college bookstore and pick out a book to read. When he got to the checkout counter, he's rip off the first third of the book. He'd tell the clerk to save the rest under the counter. If it was any good, he'd send for the rest. According to the story, he never did.
On my bed table- I'm still reading Lawrence and Zig Zag, with a short pause to read my friend Nancy Covert's new romance, Kaniksu Magic. Books are piling up, and I'm not good at dusting, so I'm going to have to take an afternoon and finish some of the books I've started. Sometimes, I set my alarm for an hour earlier, and read until it's 8:00 AM. As an empty-nester, I can get away with this. With kids, it doesn't work. The minute the alarm goes off, they're hungry, no matter what time it is!
I hope you're having a very Merry Christmas. For my friends who do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you much joy and happiness. Thank you for being a part of my life.

December 18, 2008

My Christmas List

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our friends!
My Christmas List
Janelle Meraz Hooper
from Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories
Here they come again. On my television screen. Men with no shirts on, hawking men’s cologne that my husband wouldn’t wear to chop wood. It’s just $69.99, the tagline says. Who are they trying to kid? That’s almost $70.00!
And here come the beautiful women looking like they’ve never cleaned out a sink basket. They’re trying their best to convince my husband that he doesn’t really love me if he doesn’t buy me that ring that has diamonds big enough to choke a hippopotamus.
The tip-off for these pricey gifts is the tagline at the bottom: available in fine department stores everywhere. I’m waiting for the ad that says: Pick one up anywhere—we made a zillion of them! Better yet would be an ad that said: Free with a tank of gas!
Luckily for our bank account, after over thirty-four years, my husband has my number. If he wants to make me happy, all he has to do is bring on the singing fish. The rest of the family is catching on. My aunt sent me a singing chicken. My grandson gave me a singing lobster last Christmas. This year, I’m hoping for singing turtles—three of them.
Add to my list:
I want the new re-mastered CDs of classic rock and roll songs recorded by guys like Hall & Oates, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Mick Jagger. They rock!
And one of those big packages of computer paper in assorted colors. I want the loud kind. Not that wimpy, pastel stuff. I have no idea what I’ll do with it, I just want it. It must be the little kid in me.
Then, I want a tree, some tangerines, and some popcorn. It’s not Christmas without popcorn. Everyone knows that except that skinny guy on my television with the shaved chest selling cologne.
Oh, and honey, I was just kidding about not wanting the diamond ring. I’m crazy, but I’m not dumb! Pick one up!

Bernard Madoff

Good grief! After they caught Bernard Madoff in a $50 Billion skam, all they did was give him an ankle bracelet and send him back to his $7 million dollar apartment?! Why? They say because he's never been a flight risk. Of course not. Why would he run when there was so much money still left on the table? Now, they say their biggest fear is that he'll commit suicide. I think not. Just last week, he took all of some widow's retirement money and she may never get it back. This happened when he knew he was going to be caught. The man has no conscience. Whatever makes them afraid he'll kill himself? My bet is he'll be on a safe beach somewhere before my coffeepot is dry. What makes us so stupid? Is someone taking a payoff? What?

I wish someone would ask the guy, "How much is enough? Who the heck needs $50 billion dollars?"

I keep thinking of that line in National Treasure: "Somebody's got to go to jail."

Well, at least the guy took my mind off of Winter Solstice. Two more days to go. Winter is sure going out with a bang. We're due for four inches of snow. Here in the foothills of Mt. Rainier, we usually get more.

Back to my novel, Bears in Hibiscus. It's warm there.

I've posted a couple of Christmas stories on my website:

Note: For those of you who are as frustrated as I am, I have set up
a skam-free zone at the above site.
It contains sample chapters of my novels:
A Three-Turtle Summer
As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries
Custer and His Naked Ladies
Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories (mixed genre)

December 15, 2008

5 days until Winter Solstice

Cabo, a million years ago
5 days until Winter Solstice

Augh! There's not enough eggnog in the world to get me through the next five days. Maybe I'll rewrite my Bears in Hibiscus romance again. Especially that chapter that takes place on a Hawaiian beach.
With the sun.
The blue water.
The white sand.
Quote du jour:
"There's no such thing as bad weather...only bad gear." Bob Bundy

December 12, 2008

I hope he's pretty.

Psttt! (see below)

Is there no end to the greed? Another Wall Street scandal. I didn't even bother to look and see who this new guy is. Throw the book at him. And let's not send him to some cushy white collar prison. Let's send him to a real prison. I hope he's pretty.

On my TV: I took the night off and watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.Like all of the Indiana Jones movies, it was predictable--lots of bugs. It was ants this time. Always entertaining, this Indiana Jones movie was a closer. I'm glad they let us know what happened to the characters in the first movies.

That was one of the reasons I wrote Custer and His Naked Ladies. My readers wanted to know what happened to Glory. That surprised me. I expected them to wonder what happened to Grace. Glory was patterned after me, and I guess I never thought the character was as interesting as the others.

Quotes du jour:
I did get a couple of good quotes from Indie:

"How much of life is lost in waiting?" and

"We seem to have reached a point where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away."

Don't ask me who said what. I was busy eating popcorn, and didn't notice the names of the characters. After all, it was my night off...

Psst!!! Have you sent that check to the food bank yet? It's up to us now to take care of each other. Momma don't want no more hungry kids, Ya'hear?

December 09, 2008

Citigroup Rant

And while I'm on a rant, what's this crap about Citigroup paying $400 million to have the replacement for Shea Stadium named after it?! That's OUR money. We want it back! Note to Wall Street: The party's over. Pull the plug on your ice chest and get the hell out!

How arrogant can they get???

Wall Street- I don't believe that John Thain actually had the nerve to ask for a $10 million dollar bonus. Other financial executives are carrying on with business as usual, taking expensive trips and arrogant can they get?!

We are saps if we let them get away with it. Even though Thain has withdrawn his request, look for him to get it under the table somehow. What a bunch of crooks.

Here's a message for the clueless: We are broke. Our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and beyond will be paying this debt that may even cost us our freedom.

Wall Street needs to suck it in and do without, as the rest of us are. And, while they're at it, they can clean up this mess. They made it. They should clean it up!

Allowing these crooks to continue business as usual is criminal. CRIMINAL. A lot of these suckers need to go to jail. Let's start with the big, arrogant banks who are gouging us. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $10 million dollars. Go straight to jail.

How timely that the new decorating trend is "shabby chic".

December 08, 2008

Winter Solstice is next!

Merry Chrismas from the cranberry bogs in Washington State.

Dear friends- I have changed my Google settings which should make it easier for you to leave me messages. I love to hear from you!

I was clueless about how Google works but, thanks to J. A Konrath (, I've discovered a lot of message that have been left that I never saw because they were left days after I posted and I never looked back. I always try to answer messages, and apologize to readers who didn't get an answer to a message--I never saw it!

I guess it's time to get some work in. My husband threw away the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers--the cranberries. Wasn't it cranberries that Louie Anderson used to talk about in his hilarious comedic routine about the holidays? He said his mother would say, "There are some on the table, some in the oven...some in the neighbor's garage next door..." My daughter and I used to laugh until we cried. He is the funniest man in America.

Now, you might say, it's on to Christmas. WRONG. Winter Solstice is next on my list. I may start a countdown tomorrow. In case you're one of those people who doesn't notice when you have to hang a flashlight around your cat's neck so you can find it, solstice is December 21st. I have a special lamp for my office this time of year. It looks like an octopus, and has five 60-watt bulbs. It burns whenever I'm working early. My cd player blares Hall and Oates, and I wear all my rhinestone jewelry on my sweatshirt, wrists, and fingers. Augh! I hate the dark!

This was in my email, and I think it's interesting:
Bar Codes Identify Country of Origin - Be Sure to Check Them
The whole world is scared of China-made 'black hearted goods'. Can you differentiate which one is made in the USA ,
Philippines , Taiwan or China ?
For example, the first 3 digits of the bar code reflect the country code where the product was made.

All bar codes that start with 690, 691, 692, thru 695 are MADE IN CHINA.
Bar code items starting with 471 are Made in Taiwan like this one:
Chinese businessmen know that American consumers don't prefer products 'Made in China ', so they don't show from which country it originates any longer. However, you may now refer to the barcode. Remember if the first 3 digits are in the range 690-695, then it is Made in China . 00 ~ 13 USA & CANADA
30 ~ 37 FRANCE
40 ~ 44 GERMANY
49 ~ JAPAN
50 ~ UK
57 ~ Denmark
64 ~ Finland
76 ~ Switzerland & Liechtenstein
471 ~ Taiwan
480 ~ Philippines
628 ~ Saudi Arabia
629 ~ UAE (United Arab Emirates)
740-745 ~ Central America
Please inform your family and friends.

It is our human right to know, but its not the government's job to educate the public, just to rake in the taxes.

Therefore, we have to protect ourselves & make everyone aware.
On my bed table- Two books:
1. Agent Zig Zag by Ben Macintyre-about a spy who worked as a double agent for Nazi Germany and Great Britain, and
2. T. E. Lawrence by His Friends, edited by A. W. Lawrence. If you're very young, T. E. Lawrence was Lawrence of Arabia. What an amazing person! He is definitely the second person I'd most like to meet in heaven.
The first is my grandmother, so I could ask her whatever possessed her and my grandfather to get off the wagon train in Oklahoma. Oklahoma! There were no jobs there. No water. It was 60 miles from the Texas border where prejudice against Mexicans was off the hate-meter. Why, Gramma, why?
On my TV- not much. I don't know how many times I've watched You've Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, but it is perfect for this time of year. Lots of sunlight and flowers. Loved it (again!)
My website- Over the weekend, I moved my older stories on Halloween and Thanksgiving to an archives page. If you missed one, you can find it there ( )
Custer and His Naked Ladies- a review that was reprinted from an Oklahoma City paper was in USA Today. I hope you saw it! I missed it until someone emailed me about it.
Kindle/Sony- By the end of the week, all of my books should be on Kindle and Sony. A Three-Turtle Summer and Custer and His Naked Ladies are on them now. Unfortunately, Custer is showing the wrong cover. That happens in this computer age. They'll fix it!

Quote du jour--Catalog humor:
On a plaque: Follow your dreams. Except that one where you fly. That never ends well.
On sweatshirts:
Paddle faster! I hear banjo music!
I was told there would be no math involved
Most of these were in the Wireless Catalog. I've misplaced the source for the math quote... --Don't we all have enough stuff? How about sending small livestock to a needy family somewhere in the world? It's easy. Heifer does all the work.

November 26, 2008

Soldiers Give Writer Reasons to be Thankful

I have newer Thanksgiving stories, but this is still my favorite. I posted it a couple of years ago, and have had a request to re-post it. It was originally published in the Ft. Lewis Guardian--hoo-ah!

Soldiers Give Writer Reasons to be Thankful
Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories
Janelle Meraz Hooper

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 uncle, the Head Baptist, had such a reputation for praying so long every year that my grandmother always brought a rosary to the table so she’d have something to do while he blessed everyone but the pope.
But, to be fair, he always had a lot to pray about. That year, I had three relatives overseas. One was in Korea, one in Japan, and one in Alaska. Well, I know Alaska isn’t technically a foreign country, but we worried about him just as much as the other two. So my uncle would pray and pray, then, when even his stomach started to growl, he’s say, “Amen!”
While he filled his plate, he’d start around the table, asking each person to share what they were thankful for that year. I usually said something dopey like, “I was thankful for my mother and my new poodle socks.” And I was. Truly. It was short and sweet, and he’d move on to my cousin, who always said something that his mom had helped him rehearse, like he was thankful for the farmers who worked so hard to provide the feast we were going to enjoy. I always kicked him under the table after he said something like that.
Well, I’ve grown, and at sixty, I have a whole list of things I’m thankful for. If he asked me now, we’d be there until a green scum floated on the cranberry sauce: I’m thankful for a loving, healthy family. I’m thankful for this beautiful planet. I’m thankful for this country. I’m thankful for those old geezers who wrote all that “We the People” stuff. And I’m thankful for the men and women who protect it everyday.
As I write this, it’s weeks until Thanksgiving, and well, with the world situation the way it is, some of you may not be sitting at your family’s table this year. Although I wish deployments weren’t necessary, I’m thankful for a strong fighting force that is able to keep the peace wherever it’s needed.
Most of all, I thank God for letting me be born in this great country, enabling me to see my child and grandchildren grow up safe and healthy. Oh, sure, I crab about the politicians and what’s going on with our government, doesn’t everybody? But usually about then, they have a story about Afghanistan or Iraq on TV. Then (too often it seems), I see an American soldier pushing through the sand, probably praying he or she doesn’t step on a landmine. I always think that if I’m watching, maybe their parents are too, and how stressful that must be for them.
So, to the men and women who are out on a limb sometimes and think nobody cares, I do. Lots of us do. And we’re thankful not only for you, but to your families who make such great sacrifices so that our children and grandchildren can play in our backyards without fear. Happy Holidays, dear brave men and women, from my heart to yours. Come home safely.
Quote du jour:
This story reminds me of one of my favorite movie quotes that I regret I have to paraphrase because of a misplaced dvd. Tom Cruise asks Demi Moore why she is so adament about representing two marines that have gotten themselves into trouble in A Few Good Men. She replies, "Because they stand the wall...when sometimes no one else will."
More Thanksgiving stories on my book website:

November 16, 2008

I'm on Kindle!

Now on Kindle!

Two of my novels, A Three-Turtle Summer and Custer and His Naked Ladies, are now in the Kindle catalog. If you have a Kindle, look me up!

On my bed table- If anyone wants to know the difference between men and women, they'll find it in Clive Cussler's book, Treasure of Khan. I snatched it off my husband's bed table because my books didn't come in. Before I gave up and ran screaming for my M&Ms, I'd read through 14 pages of a storm at sea during a Mongol invasion of Japan in 1281 with people dying and boats breaking up. And I still don't know what the treasure is. This is why women should rule the world. If there was a treasure, we'd tell you about it on page one.

On my TV- I was watching the old version of The Thomas Crown Affair on Friday, with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, and was fascinated by how much better the new version with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo is. One of the big changes in the script was that the old version's focus was on the theft of money, and the new version's focus is on the theft of art. Beautiful art. The change makes the newer film a lush, visual treat. Money, is nice, but it's boring to look at unless it's yours. The ending in the Pierce Brosnan film was also so much better. The ending in the first film was vague. There was more, but I've probably bored you too much already.

Politics- I like those Obamas. They have the same core values as I do. With me, it's all about the kids. I hear that the girls' grandmother may move into the White House to look after them. Those girls are in for a rough 8 years, and anything that can help them is a good idea.

Green writing-Even if you're not a writer, there's a lot to be said for freezing meals for later use. My husband cooks big batches of things like spaghetti, lasagna, chili con carne, soups, chowders, burritos, etc. and freezes them in individual serving sizes. All from scratch. Many are either partially or all organic. He usually does this on a rainy Sunday, but he's been know to whip up a huge pot of beef stew on a weekday evening. Think about it. Not only is it green, but it's a great time-saver. And no pots to clean up every night.

Quote du jour:

"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." Gloria Steinem, courtesy of
Read sample chapters of my books on:
Thanksgiving fillers on homepage!

November 13, 2008

Sha-na-na-na, Goodbye!

Politics- Oh, no! Bush is still working (read: messing things up). Please, Mr. President, step away from your desk. Sit. Don't move or talk until the moving men arrive to carry your chair (and you) out the door.
Luckily, I heard on the news last night that they have a "fix" for all of the last minute mischief Bush may create.

I heard that when Obama won, an impromptu crowd of about a 1,000 gathered outside the fence around the White House and sang the hockey song (I don't know the name) that goes: "Sha-na-na-na, sha-na-na-na, hey, heeey! Goodbye!" How rude! But I'll bet it felt good!

Green writer- As an anthropology enthusiast, I've worked as a docent at two major history museums. I miss them, but I'm just beginning to learn about the museums that are beginning to put their treasures online. How great is that?! There are so many benefits to this online archiving that I don't know where to start.
Just one: of course, you know, that museums rotate their exhibits, so we never see everything they have in one visit. But now, theoretically, I could click on a museum and see everything they have in, say, quilts or baskets. All without leaving my house. I'm going to call it pajama research!

eBooks- I'm slower than most to warm up to the new rush to eBooks, but, recently, I needed some information that wasn't carried in the local bookstores. I ordered the eBooks and got them so fast I didn't have time to walk to the kitchen to get coffee. Amazing. If you haven't tried an eBook yet, you should know the price is a lot less too. Who knows? Maybe I'll break down and order one of those Amazon Kindles. I'm holding back because Bezos is so proud of them (they retail for around $359.00). However, since my books will be on Kindle and Sony soon, I guess I should get with the new technology. Maybe I could give up chocolate for a month...

Quote du jour:
I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. - Jorge Luis Borges (courtesy of Abe Books)
Visit my book site and read sample chapters of my books:
For Thanksgiving, I've posted some fillers on the homepage

November 09, 2008

I'm recycling my old nuclear warheads.

Clip art courtesy of Microsoft

As far I'm concerned, that marshmallow is just right. But the kid doesn't seem to agree. We're heading into tough times. Please help the food banks if you can.

I'm trying to get back to my regular blog format, but it would be impossible to go all the way back. Our world has changed since Wall Street took a dive, so I'm going to add a new topic on politics that is yet to be named. Here's an idea: why don't I just call it politics?

Politics-I'm passing around a sign-up sheet so we can keep track of red and blue politicians. I'm watching Nancy Pelosi every Monday from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. Who's got her after that? I'm not picking on Nancy--I want us to watch all of them!

Last year, I wrote a few lines at different times about how a writer could be green. Whatever I do will be small. I won't be buying a new car as mine is paid for, and I rarely drive it anyway. It's a 1999 model, and it just turned over 50,000 miles. But everyone can do something, and maybe a small idea will trigger a bigger idea by someone who leaves a bigger footprint than I do.

Green writer- Water bottles have been on everyone's mind. I've never used many, but will try to use none at all going forward. By using reusable storage containers, I'm really slowing down my consumption of plastic bags. We're carrying reusable grocery bags. I know. Ho-hum. I'll recycle my old nuclear warheads too. How's that?

On my bed table- Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell. I love this book. It's set in Egypt after World War I. A light romance, the story is built around the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference. Characters include Winston Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia.

On my TV-The Food Network. I think these shows are mainly entertainment for me because I watch them like some people read cookbooks. I'm also watchng a lot of The History Channel. History is a lot more interesting now, with my perspective, than it was in the eighth grade. Who knew?

On Warrior (my laptop)- I've been rewriting Bears in Hibiscus and have spent over 18 hours writing a short story that no one will ever be interested in, I fear. But I love it. It's called Old Joe and His Yellow Cadillac. My readers have come to expect humor from me, and this tale is sad. I got the idea from when I saw an old man working on one of those old, Eldorado Cadillacs like Elvis used to drive. The rest of the story I made up.

quote du jour:

"Americans drink deeply from wells we did not dig." Cory Booker, mayor of Newark New Jersey (Bill Maher show), speaking about all the great patriots who have gone before us.

I've posted Thanksgiving shorts on my website:

You'll also find sample chapters of my books there!

No time to edit! get out your red pen!

November 06, 2008

My work here is done.

*And Beyond! courtesy of Walt Disney

I think my work here is done. Frankly, it didn't go as well as I'd hoped. My goal was to open logical, thoughtful conversation between our left and right. What I got from the right was far from what I'd hoped for. And the emails I got, most of them, were sent to my personal email box. I guess few were willing to express their thoughts worldwide. But it's time to move on and get back to my normal literary blog. I've missed it!

One last thought: Barack Obama has given us a great gift before he has served a day in office. No, I don't mean the history he's made by being our first black president. That too. But what I'm referring to is how he and his staff has shown us how to use the Internet for good. Our good. Do you feel empowered? I do. Do you feel stronger? We are!

I did community work for years because I felt I had some control in my neighborhood. National and world matters, I thought, were out of my control. Not anymore! Change has truly come!

With my little mouse, I can reach all the way over to D. C. and smack them if I want to.
And so can you. Never forget it. Thank you, Obama.

God bless and keep our new president and his family. God bless and keep The United States of America.

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November 04, 2008

Barack Obama

"Change has come to America." President-elect Barack Obama

Obama wins!

I am speechless.

The whos are back!

I voted by mail this year, but I went to the polls with my husband, and he only had a five minute wait. I feel for all of the people who are in long lines, but to be a part of history--whichever way the vote goes--makes the wait worth it. They must think so too, or they wouldn't be there.
I heard on MSNBC that Danny DeVito was running up and down the lines at a polling place in Florida, keeping the voters entertained so they wouldn't give up and go home. I'd like to see that!
There were a lot of reasons NOT to vote for McCain, but most Americans were too polite to vocalize the biggest: McCain's window of opportunity came and went years ago. He's too old, too sick, too addled to lead our nation, especially in this time of crisis.
When I say this, I'm standing behind one of his big Country First signs. We need young, intellectual, steady leadership, and we needed it yesterday. Don't send me any emails on this; if you disagree, start your own blog!
This election isn't in the bag; a lot can happen in the next few hours. Call your friends. Make sure they've voted. I sent out a slew of emails yesterday reminding people to vote, and got a zillion reminders myself in return.
We've been Whos too long. We are here! We are here! We are here! (Dr. Seuss)
Vote, America! Vote!

Quote du jour:

"Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC

November 03, 2008

McCain and his weird attachments

What is this fixation McCain has with losers? All day yesterday, all he talked about was Joe the Plumber and, today, he's been running negative ads on Reverend Wright over and over. Then, of course, there's the Alaskan Snow Dummy he picked up on that dating service on TV. Add Joe Lieberman, The First Dude, and The Ice Woman who stands behind him all he time. He's looking very strange.

And all day he's been saying, "The Mack is back!" What does that mean? has he taken a job at McDonald's?

And why do I get the feeling that things are going to get very nasty if Palin doesn't get her way?


11-03-08- Thank you, Toot. Good job!
Barack Obama's grandmother, whose nickname was Toot, passed away today at 86.

I used to toy with the idea of setting up a website titled, Go, Mom! where I'd recognize exemplary acts by moms to protect and support their children. But the idea outgrew its name when I began to add fathers, grandparents, and other heros and heroines to the list. I moved on to other ideas. But if I had such a website today, Barack's grandmother would be at the top of my list.

The extreme right has taken over the Republican Party

Vote, America, vote!
1 more day!

From a conversation over the weekend:
", I won't be voting Republican this time--for the first time ever, I'll be voting Democrat. The Republican party isn't the party I grew up with. Their focus is no longer business. Now, the extreme right has taken over. It is no longer the same party. It may never change back in my lifetime." DH (DH is in his middle sixties)



36 hours

Vote, ya'll!

McCain has been on TV this morning, repeating the same old stuff. He's a Maverick, Sarah Palin is a true reformer, yada-yada-yada. Nothing about unifying our country, just more division. I lost all tolerance for him when he came up with those Country First signs, and then preceded to lie his way from one side of our nation to another. He is NOT what this country needs, and he knows it, so who is he putting first? John McCain. It's all about John.

I've been so focused on Obama getting elected that I forgot all about Bush's Goodbye party. I hope someone is busy working on it. For locations, I suggest Iraq, The World Trade Building site in New York City, Guantamino Bay, Abu Graib, or New Orleans, Halliburton Corporate headquarters, Blackwater's home office...I hope he gets a trophy for the Worst President in American History. He's earned it; I'd gladly chip in.

Please forward this blog to your friends, and remind them to vote!

Janelle Meraz Hooper is an author. Read samples of her books on:

November 02, 2008

All of John McCain's horses are dead!

3 more days!

I've been looking over all of McCain's propaganda, and I've noticed that he's beating a lot of dead horses:
1. Abortion rights: Like it or not, this is an issue that will be decided in state and federal courts.
Abortion issues don't really have a place in this campaign. Even if the Republicans managed to install Supreme Court Justices who lean toward the Conservative Right, I've read that history shows they don't always vote the way they're expected to. Abortion is a problem we're going to have to work out step by step. there's no use spinning our wheels over a problem that won't be decided on November 4th.

2. The war in Iraq: John McCain has a lot of bravado about winning in Iraq. He'd better be quick. From what I've read, the Iraqis want us out of their country by January first.

3. Terrorists: The terrorists the McCain people keep yapping about have also been funded by John McCain on different projects to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In this case, there isn't even a dead horse. It's just Republican hysteria being broadcasted because they don't want to address the real issues.

If you're still undecided, I hope you'll ask yourself:
1. Which candidate has shown the best judgement? Even Republicans have questioned McCain's judgement for picking Palin (and more).
2. Which candidate has shown the best leadership? With McCain's total lack of leadership, this may be the dirtiest, most untruthful election in Republican history. This is not the man to bring us together.
3. Which candidate has shown the most intellect? McCain has been all over the place, like a chicken being chased by a space ship.
4. Which candidate has surrounded himself with the best, most qualified people?
McCain, like Bush, has consistently picked old croonies to advise him. The same good-ole-boys who got us into our mess in the first place!

These next 4 years are going to be critical for the survival of our country. We've got a lot of work to do. Let's start out with the best, strongest, most intelligent, and healthy team we can.

Obama/Biden in 2008!

Please forward this blog to your friends...

(Janelle Meraz Hooper is an author. Information about her books can be found on:

Sent by email: Alec Baldwin was talking about the Spice Girls (a musical group), and commented that Sarah Palin was Bible Spice. So, does that make McCain Old Spice, I asked?

October 31, 2008

"Fasten your seatbelts..."

4 more days!
I had a request to post the link for that hateful video, but I won't do it for two reasons:
1. It would just spread more hate.
2. I think it may even be illegal. We have laws against spreading racial hatred...and doesn't sending something over the Internet count as crossing state lines?

I don't know why I'm worried--I've already voted. Let them send me to The Big House.

David I could use your insight on Tuesday night. I wish you were here, although I don't see much of a party in my future. I'm frazzled, and focused on seeing Obama doing something to get us back on track. I'm going to buy your book, but I can't handle it right now. Too much stress!

Also, I'm not dumb. I can see the future. It's going to be rough. Not only are we going to have to cinch in our belts and learn to live on less, but The Republicans are already plotting to destroy Obama politically.

On top of all that, I go back to my comments over a year ago: we can no longer trust our government to take care of business. We're going to have to ride them everyday. I'm thinking maybe we can make a schedule and take turns.

We have to learn to live with the shame of Bush, restore this country's integrity, get green, and do more than our share to help the needy in the world. I figure we have a big, big debt to pay. Oh, and somewhere in there, we have to work so we can take care of our families.

We are so broke I don't see how we're going to fix our infrastructure, provide health care, and put everyone back to work. Everything sounds so easy during campaign time, and too many people are still heavily into denial about our position. This is no time to be worrying about lipstick on pigs!

In short, whoever wins is going to need a lot of help. Hopefully, we'll start off with a strong leader (Obama)--that will help. But he and Congress can't do it all.

Quote du jour: "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride." (All About Eve)Joseph Leo Mankiewicz (spoken by Bette Davis)

Please forward this blog to your friends.

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October 30, 2008

I'm done with Republicans.

5 more days!

I'm done with Republicans. I know I said that for the first time months ago, but I mean it this time. The world will have to run out of chocolate before I ever vote for another Republican.

Why? Because too many of them are mean, nasty people who send me the most outrageous hate emails. That's bad enough but, yesterday, someone sent me a video that was so racist I couldn't force myself to watch the whole thing. Zipping off a hateful email takes a lot of hate, prejudice, and stupidity. But what if the people take the time to write a script, cast, film, edit, produce and distribute hate? How deep is that hate? How racist? How sick? How unpatriotic? How careless? How just plain stupid is that?!

Last week I complained about the lack of intellect in the Conservatives' materials. Then, I was puzzled by all of the editorials and emails in the "pigs with lipstick" category.

There's nothing puzzling about the meaning of this latest wave of propaganda from the far right. Their intent is impossible to misunderstand. They don't deserve to live in this country.

Folks, this stuff is just plain dangerous. And it should be criminal.

Please forward this little blog to your friends. Time is short!

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October 28, 2008

Barbara West

7 more days!

Barbara West, the newscaster from a television station in Orlando, Florida, is non-repentant and smug about her interview questions to Joe Biden yesterday. I guess it's easy to feel comfortable without your integrity when you're already wading in a GOP cesspool, and everyone in it stinks as much as you do. I tried to watch the whole interview on the Internet, but I started to gag and had to bail out. I assume the whole interview was there--I'll never know!

Wiser intellects than she have already said that what Obama wants to do is not Marxist, yet I keep getting emails about Marxism and communism. I guess it's all they've got. That and that email about Obama not having a birth certificate. Mercy!

As long as she stays at the tv station she's at now, I guess she'll be okay, but I don't think any reputable broadcast station would hire her.

If you've been reading this blog and enjoy it, please forward it to a few friends. It's my little gift to Obama and our country. It ain't much, but it's all I've got!

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October 27, 2008

8 Days! Vote!

8 Days?!

Can that be right? Hopefully, you're registered to vote. If not, please check and see if it's not too late.

My emails were close to 2,000 so, over the weekend, I had to delete most of them. I had kept all of the hate emails, lie-emails, and impending doom emails in case I needed them for this blog. As I looked at them, I was struck by one common denominator: the lack of intellect. People sent me the weirdest stuff! And they must have believed it because they copied everyone between me and Abe Lincoln. I would send people pieces written by constitutional experts, newspaper editors from our largest newspapers, excerpts from learned professors, etc. And what did I get back? Long emails about pigs with pink lips! Gimmee a break!

I actually went in search of the opposite view on my own, and found the same junk. And I'm still waiting for that October surprise the Republicans threatened to reveal. The GOP is famous for last minute dirty tricks--watch for them.

Note to robo-callers: You can take my name off your list--I've already voted.

If you've been enjoying my blog for Obama, please forward it to your friends.

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October 24, 2008

Obama and his plane

11 more days

Is it just me? Am I the only one who doesn't want a politician--any politician--on my plane? Flying is hard enough nowadays. The last thing I want is some secret service agent frisking me every time I get up to go to the restroom. And I'm old. I get up a lot.

I know there are other, more logical reasons for Obama to fly his own plane. I'm just saying...

Let's focus instead on his grandmother. I hope that poor woman lives long enough to see her grandson become president. She deserves that much and more. Glass ceilings aside, good mothering and grandmothering is the most important thing we do for our country. On Inauguration Night, I plan to raise a toast to Obama's grandmother and say, "Look what you did! Good job!"

If you've been enjoying this blog for Obama, please forward the link to your friends. Time is short--eleven days to go--please help me do my part for a great leader. Our country sorely needs one!

I write books too! Read sample chapters on:

In October: Wanda the Witch stories

October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin's wardrobe

What?! Have we solved all of our economic and foreign policy problems and, now, we’re ready to move onto Sarah Palin’s wardrobe?

This is the one area where I have some sympathy for The Alaskan Snow Dummy. Who of us would have a wardrobe to fulfill her appearance requirements with The Old Gray Goose at the last minute?

And as for the huge amount of money she spent, I think we have to factor in the reality that mid-market department stores don’t do alterations, much less last-minute alterations. Besides, bargain-shopping is very time-consuming. And time is something Sarah Palin doesn’t have because she’s so busy prepping for all of those television interviews she does (tee-hee).

So, let’s give Sarah a pass on her wardrobe. Dressing to go out in public isn’t easy. Even when I have to dress for a book-signing at the local library, I end up with a pile of clothes three feet high on my bed. (Does this sweatshirt make my butt look big?)

Read my books! they're much better!
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October 22, 2008

Are we being blackmailed by McCain?

Why does McCain keep saying he knows were Bin Laden is, and he knows how to catch him? If he really knows, why doesn't he just tell us? If he isn't elected, will he keep it a secret?
Or, maybe Palin saw him when she was looking at Russia out her back door...

Of course, one of my earlier theories was that we don't want to catch him, for fear he'll spill too many beans about what we've been up to...that man knows a lot about how we operated in Afghanistan.

Myself, I'd like to hear what the man has to say. I'd believe him before I believed Bush.

October 20, 2008

"Ain't ya got no shame?"

Well, if John McCain's lips are moving, he's lying. I don't know how much more I can stand. When I was a kid in Oklahoma, my grandmother used to shake a finger at us and ask, "Ain't ya got no shame?" She would have her hands full with McCain. The Gray Goose and his Alaskan Snow Dummy have made history.

Quote du jour:
On Sarah Palin: "There's less of her than meets the eye." Martin Sheen

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I've also posted two humorous Halloween fillers on my homepage

October 17, 2008

fifteen little old ladies

It said on the news yesterday that about 15 little old ladies beat up some young men in their 20s yesterday at a Palin rally. They were chanting and holding up Obama signs and were rewarded with a black eye and other injuries. Now, that's just wrong. Violence is never the answer, and we cannot condone it.

But, if the young men were mine, I'd have to ask, "What were you thinking?" and I'd advise, "Next time, stand across the street!"

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October 16, 2008

Get the jam out, Momma!

Oh, dear! Well, McCain is getting closer. During the debate last night he said he wanted to give us a $5800 tax credit so we can go out and buy our own healthcare. That's $800 more than he offered us last time. Still, though, it's a long way from the $1200 or more most of us pay.
And did I hear him belittle "health reasons" for granting women's abortions? He said something like, "That can mean anything." But get the transcript and read it yourself. I'm afraid I'll barf on my keyboard.
I think it was a slip when he said he was sure any Supreme Court justice candidate who was qualified would not be in favor of Roe Vs. Wade. Again, check it out yourself. I am not a journalist. I just hear things.

I'm betting he's sorry he ever asked about Ayers. Never ask a question you don't already know the answer to...

Get out the jam, Momma. The man is toast!

This was the last debate, but if you haven't had enough, the complete transcripts can be found on

If you are ready for a political break, read chapters from my books on:

In October, I've also posted two humorous Halloween fillers on the homepage.

October 15, 2008

Alaska has more people than Delaware? NOT!

©2007 Joyce Stevens, Pumpkin art

Chris Matthews (MSNBC Hardball)- I had the hairdryer on yesterday, so I didn't catch the name of the Lying-Republican-of-the-Day, but when Chris asked him if he thought Palin was ready to be vice-president, he said, "Yes! She's been a governor of Alaska for two years (I'm paraphrasing here) and Alaska isn't Delaware, you know, it's a big state!"
Well, according to my Google, Delaware has a population of 783,600 and Alaska has a population of 626, 932. It's not a big lie, but it rankles me that they think they can say anything and we'll swallow it. Or maybe, they're playing with us. Alaska does have more square miles--do they want us to think Mountains vote?

But what really matters is that the Republican Party is not the party I grew up with. It is now mean, nasty, greedy, war-loving, and eaten up by the fungus of the extreme religious right. Under Bush, they have trampled our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and they are expanding presidential powers at an alarming speed. I repeat what I've said before (quoting Reagan), "Freedom is just one generation away from extinction."
That's the real danger in this election. McCain doesn't want to talk about it, though. because telling the truth didn't serve him well, and he has learned his lesson.

I'm glad this is the last debate. I don't think I can take much more of the Loose Goose.

Quote dujour:
"The Democrats just want my money, but the Republicans want my money and soul."
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