Writer of Soul-Searching Snark

Memorial Day Musings

Pamela Foster says it all in this poignant post:

Pamela Foster, Author and Speaker

Today, Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who have died in my country’s many, many wars, I am publishing the same post on both this blog and my wounded warrior wife blog.

I grew up with images of fire hoses turned on protestors. Helmeted men on horseback beating those willing to put their bodies on the line for change. Napalmed children screaming on dirt roads. Boys who, a couple years earlier, sat beside me in Mrs. Conner’s fourth period English or Mr. Cobine’s American Civics class, returned from Vietnam as long-haired wanderers. My sisters fiancée returned from Hamburger Hill in a box. A sealed box.

It was common, in those days, to see Cronkite or Huntley report on a flag-draped funeral. God, how I hated all that fluttering red, white, and blue, lined up in a row, the snap of the bigger flag in the distance…

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Kathy Wheeler—Jodi Pioneer–does it again!

Susana's Parlour

Lady Kendra has led a long fruitful life. But as a young woman, and in a major turning point of her life, her time with Charles Thomas was cut remarkably short. To ease her mind, she sends him a heart-filled letter.

Dear Mr. Thomas,

I realize it is most inappropriate for me to send you this letter, but rest assured I have my husband’s utmost approval. It has been many years since I last saw you, and the memory still haunts my dreams I fear. I thought if I could enlighten you to my situation we might each finally move forward, where ever that might be for you now.

Since that most fateful day aboard the Cécile, I married Joseph. True, he was a most successful magician, but I am pleased to say he has proved an even more devoted husband and father. We have four beautiful children. Our…

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Linda Joyce is having a virtual book launch party. Oh, this is going to be FUN–Louisiana style.

Linda Joyce Contemplates

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WriterMason Productions presents Bayou Born official Book Launch Party!

You’re invited! FRIDAY APRIL 12 at 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET ON FACEBOOKhttps://www.facebook.com/#!/events/513615902006941/

MEET LINDA JOYCE AUTHOR OF BAYOU BORN

BOOK 1 of the FLEUR DE LIS SERIES  ~  PUBLISHED BY THE WILD ROSE PRESS

perf5.000x8.000.inddIn case this is your first party event on Facebook, here are your instructions:
1. Dress up in your comfiest clothes (nobody can see you!)
2. Pour yourself a yummy drink – cocktail or mocktail, your choice
3. Make sure the dog’s been out and the cat’s food bowl is full
4. Children must be safely occupied : a loooong Disney dvd, video games, or Mom-free projects. Make sure popcorn for the microwave is ready to go! …
5. Settle in, click on the party link, and enjoy! You can post comments, make virtual drink requests, post mancandy pictures (no full nudity please)…

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Guts and Glory

Guts and Glory.

Tip Toe into Technology

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re thirteen years into the 21st Century.  I kind of miss rotary dial phones and party lines.  Goodness, what a great way to gather gossip on the neighbors. Now, you have to use those high-dollar, CIA microphones and sit in your car in the dark with night vision goggles to get dirt on them.

Only having four television stations was kind of cool too.  Because let’s be honest, even with three thousand channels to choose from there still isn’t anything worth watching on TV.  At least when there were fewer options you gave up quicker and moved on to more productive tasks. Now, carpal tunnel sets in as you keep the remote control buzzing from channel to channel. Okay, I do have to admit that I love remote controls. I was always relegated to the front of the living room to change channels and adjust the volume.

The good old days: bubble gum cost a penny (green apple was my fave!) radio stations played all genres and album covers were works of art. There was no such thing as a PG-13 movie and a G-rated movie actually meant you could watch it with your grandmother without dying of embarrassment.  Remember the days when dropping the f-bomb at school or work would result in immediate dismissal?

Times change. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worse. Personally, I think our children would be better off without all those dadgum video games and such. Then again, I don’t have kids. I can still distract my cats with a shiny ball of foil on the floor so what do I know?  One of the changes I do appreciate, and am admittedly addicted to, is the internet.

I remember submitting my first manuscript to an agent. I printed out four-hundred pages of pure brilliance, bond them with a rubber band and went to the post office. Trying to explain to the postal worker that I needed to include a SASE was AWFUL. The poor guy was so befuddled. He couldn’t for the love of God or country figure out why the heck I had a bunch of papers to send to some chick in New York and why in God’s name she would send them back to me.  That hassle lessened the thrill of submitting my novel, not to mention the fact that it cost me $45! Of course, finding the SASE in my mailbox a few months later really sucked.  I had to PAY for rejection?  Come on, really?

These days it is very unusual for anyone in the publishing world to request hard copies of manuscripts, which is one of the reasons OWFI in transitioning to electronic contest submissions.  Heather Davis, TMI Mom and teacher of middle school Language Arts, is presenting a workshop on how to Tip Toe into Technology. She chatted with me a bit and here’s what she has to say about the workshop.

 

Q: “Tip Toe Into Technology” –are special shoes required?

 

A: No special shoes needed, just an open mind ready to learn about electronic submissions, organizing your electronic life and other extra technology tips and tricks for the beginner.

 

 

Q: What skills do attendees need to get the most out of this course?

 

A: I’m going basic, baby! I won’t tell you how to turn on the computer; I’ll give you that much credit, but I will walk even the most reluctant user through the best ways to get the most of his or her computer and other technology as a writer.

 

I’ll share technology vocabulary and give step-by-step instructions on how to submit your writing electronically, how to organize your writing electronically, and how to feel more comfortable with your computer.

 

 

 

Q: You think you’ve got what it takes to teach this workshop?

 

A: Yep, yep, yep! By day, I teach middle school English/Language Arts. I also have two daughters, one husband, two dogs and two cats. That right there demonstrates my patience. I use technology almost every minute of every day and have been known to even tweet in my sleep. Plus, when I was a lifeguard the summer of my senior year in high school, I attempted to teach my own momma how to swim. She did not drown and we didn’t kill each other. That’s the sign of a good teacher.

 

Q: Tweet in your sleep? In what other ways do you use technology?

 

A: I am a blogging queen supreme. I blog at www.Minivan-Momma.com and www.Chick-Wit.com.  I am also an administrator and editor with www.OklahomaWomenBloggers.com. I cruise Facebook like a teenager on Main Street on Friday night (Heather Smith Davis—friend me!), and I tweet in my sleep (@MinivanMomma2).  My husband and I have our calendars synched up on our smart phones (we’re still late to most events). I voice record my story ideas with my iPhone, and I have a total of five email addresses. Five.

 

Q: So, you’ve got quite the presence online—what do you do when you’re not in front of a screen?

 

A: My daughters are active in basketball, golf, softball and horseback riding. I also write a bi-weekly humor column for my local newspaper, Bartlesville Examiner Enterprise. My first book TMI Mom: Oversharing My Life was released in April 2013. My second book, Fooling Around, will be released in fall of 2013. I’m busy writing book number three. I’ve taught a couple of social media classes and blogging classes in my spare time as well. PLUS, I’m associate producer / director of the Listen To Your Mother-OKC show. Of course, I also like read and write.

 

Q: When people leave your session at OWFI 45, what do you want them to say?

 

A: I want them to be excited to get in front of their computers and to feel like they are ready to take their writing to the new levels that technology is affording a 21st century writer.

 

 

 

The “Next Big Thing’ is a blog hop for writers working on their next book. I was tagged by the lovely Velda Brotherton earlier this year and I discussed Ex-Ray, the novel I’m currently editing.  When Wayne Harris-Wyrick tagged me for this series, I decided to discuss my latest work in progress, Loch Lonnie.  You can see Wayne’s post on his book The Heart Happy Bubble on his blog: http://wizardwayne.blogspot.com/2013/02/my-next-big-thing-heart-happy-bubble.html You really should check it out. It’s a lovely book! I’m going to create a heart-happy bubble to live in after reading the blog post. I can’t wait to read the book!!
1: What is the working title of your book?
Loch Lonnie

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
My friends are weirdos.  That’s how the idea for Loch Lonnie came about.  My friend, Ruth Weeks, reads Tarot cards. She saw in my future a book that has nothing to do with my usual soul-searching snark.  Later that same weekend, yet another stray showed up on my Mama’s farm. She lives 3 miles from the state highway and ½ a mile from the county road and yet critters pop up all the time, including dogs, cats, a calf and a herd of horses. Yep. An entire herd of horses.

What does that have to do with weird friends, you may ask?  You see. We were sitting around the table discussing where the animals must be coming from and we decided they were coming through the pond on the farm called, Loch Lonnie.  Then, we decided it would be cool if a hot man showed up.  Yes, there was a very tasty merlot involved in this conversation.

After they left, I decided to give it a go. Loch Lonnie is a vortex between Angus, Scotland and the Ozarks. All sorts of critters come through, including a hot Scotsman in his full highland glory, a dragon and a unicorn (hey, why not?)  Only problem is that vortex is a one-way trip to the boondocks. Nothing gets through to Scotland.

Now, how is the main character going to get that highlander home? Kilt, ghillie brogues and an accent like no other…maybe she doesn’t want to send him back.

3: What genre does your book come under?
Contemporary/fantasy romance

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I honestly don’t picture actors playing the roles of my characters. So, I find this question difficult to answer especially since Loch Lonnie is in its early stages, but I’ll give it a go.

Eliza Lindsay: Isla Fischer or Alicia Silverstone

Robert Cobb: Gerard Butler or John Barrowman—oh, so dreamy

Clyde, the dragon should be voiced by Sean Connery. I mean really, who else could it be?

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When her father dies, Eliza Lindsay is left alone on her huge farm with nothing but her memories until one day a calf walks onto her deck. Then, a couple of sheep show up, a herd of horses, and a gaggle of geese followed by a hunky highlander complete with kilt and sporran. As if that’s not enough a dragon pops through and makes its home on an upper field of her farm. Her father is determined to bring her a good man and upon his death a vortex has opened in Loch Lonnie between the Ozarks and Angus, Scotland. A one-way ticket to the boondocks.
Eliza must find a way to get the animals to their rightful owners and find a way to get the hot Scot back to Angus. By the time she figures it all out, she doesn’t want them to leave.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Shopping for an agent. I’ve published 2 contemporary romances through The Wild Rose Press.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Still working on it, but I’d say six to eight months to finish the first draft and then several months editing.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon—without the time travel
9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
All the strays that show up on the family farm, plus kilts are sexy as hell.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Loch Lonnie is an interesting mix of contemporary romance and fantasy. It’s unique in the fact that the vortex isn’t a gateway for time traveler. It’s a modern-day phenomena, but ancient ways solve the dilemma of getting Robert back to Scotland. And of course, as with all Claire Croxton originals, there’s an abundance of cats, snark and sex.

Romantic Gestures

SantoriniSunset_w6096_300Valentine’s Day. The day every single woman on the planet despises. The day every man dreads. The day every woman in a relationship prays her significant other gets right. A day when the girls with the perfect boyfriends/husbands gloat.

Yeah, not my favorite holiday.  Why? Because I think there is too much pressure. Romance isn’t once-a-year thing. It’s an always and forever thing.

I’m reposting a blog I wrote back in May about romantic gestures. I think it sums up my thoughts on romance and love.

Since I write romances, people often ask me to define what makes something romantic. That’s a really good question. Let’s review a couple of scenarios, then discuss.

Your lover knows you enjoy reading. Valentine’s Day rolls around and he decides to show he understands you, cares about you and wants to make you happy. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. When you come home, you walk into a cozy den. A fire crackles in the fireplace. A fluffy blanket drapes over the arm of your favorite chair. On the table, a pot of Darjeeling swirls steam into the soft glow of the reading light, the fragrance of dozens of roses mingles in the steam. A pile of crisp, never creased books by your favorite authors and the recommended reads from Amazon sit at the foot of the chair waiting to take you on adventures.
  2. Your lover e-mails you a $50 off coupon for a new Nook.
  3. Your man takes you to Barnes and Noble, buys you a triple mocha frappe and waits patiently while you shop to your heart’s content.

You’ve had a really stressful week full of meetings, demanding phone calls, schedule changes and budget overages. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. At 5 o’clock Friday afternoon, your lover meets you in the lobby of your office building with an armful of roses. He whisks you off to the honeymoon suite at the nicest hotel on your area, champagne, chocolate, roses and bedding spun by angels are the last thing you notice before he pulls you close and you get lost in his kisses.
  2. When you get home on Friday night, he tells you to go ahead and order takeout. He had burgers and beers at the bar.
  3.  When you arrive home, your man has run a bath for you and sent the kids to his mother’s for the night.

You have the flu and can’t go to work. Shoot, you can barely get out of bed and wish the bathroom wasn’t fifteen miles from your bedroom. Which is the romantic gesture?

  1. Your boyfriend calls his grandmother to get her homemade chicken soup recipe. After shopping the farmers’ markets for organic carrots and fennel, he spends all afternoon simmering the healing broth.  He delivers the meal to you on an antique silver tray complete with roses and a lace doily.
  2. He sleeps on the couch to avoid germs while you convalesce.
  3. He goes to the store, buys chicken soup and several different cold/flu remedies, hoping one will relieve your symptoms. He rents your favorite movies and watches chick flicks with you while you recover.

Okay, so what do you think? I’m sure Option #1 led to swooning. Option #2 resulted in groans and possible recognition. Option #3 caused some “aahs.”

There are three elements to romantic gestures: 1) Caring and understanding 2) Thinking of another more than yourself and 3) The slightest bit of effort.

Sure, Option #1 sounds absolutely divine. Who wouldn’t want someone putting that much thought into a gesture, but honestly, wouldn’t everyone be just as happy with option #3?

But do you want to know the secret to romance? Do you really want to know?  Here’s the secret. It’s really very simple.  When a man cares about and understands you, thinks of you more than himself and goes to the slightest bit of effort to please you, say “thank you.” Guess what? If you say “thank you,” he’ll probably do it again.

Santorini Sunset by Claire Croxton—now available in print at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. E-book available May 18, 2012.

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=4870

http://www.amazon.com/Santorini-Sunset-Claire-Croxton/dp/1612171508/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1336425266&sr=8-3

Blurb:  Caroline Clayton’s sister, Gabriella, is getting married . . . to Caroline’s former fiancé, Albert. Instead of drowning her sorrows in a vat of ice cream, Caroline recruits her sultry co-worker, Raul Sobrevilla, to be her wedding date. Showing up with Mr. Hotter Better Sexier has the desired effect. Both Gabriella and Albert are jealous and Caroline’s mother is speechless for the first time in history. Even Caroline’s dad is happy with that result.

Raul Sobrevilla hired on at Synergy so he could work with the best, Caroline. When she asks him to attend the wedding in Santorini, Greece, he sees it as an opportunity to prove to her that he’s her perfect partner both at the office and in the bedroom.

Excerpt: This is the day after the Gabriella’s wedding. Caroline has spent all her time in Santorini working for the caterer and organizing the reception and seating charts. Raul does this romantic gesture for her. Do you think Caroline appreciated it?

Raul took my hand and I followed him. Mother and Daddy smiled as we walked past them. They were moving very slowly. People milled around the yard, taking down tents and cleaning up the evidence of a party well appreciated. Raul helped me in the Jeep, even though I was no longer hindered by the confining dress. At the harbor, he pulled a picnic basket out the back the Jeep and we walked to Daddy’s sailboat.

Oh cool, a picnic on the boat. How nice. I was floored when he maneuvered out of the slip. Daddy never let anyone touch his boat. We sailed around the western point of the island and when we turned back eastward, I smiled.

“You said Red Beach was one of your favorite places. I asked your dad about it and he said that driving to it, like we did, was good, but sailing to it was much better. He agreed that you didn’t have any fun this trip, so we arranged this little outing for you.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you. Thank you so much.” I wasn’t sure what to say. We were going to miss our ferry back to Athens, but I didn’t care. A few more hours of pretend sounded good to me. We moored in the cove and took a dinghy to shore where we feasted on wedding food, wine and, honestly the best wedding cake ever made, if I did say so myself. The red volcanic cliffs soared behind us. The mixture of red and black sand was warmed by the sun and counteracted the cool breeze. The contrast of the deep blue sea against the dark sand and red cliffs could only be experienced in person. Even the most skilled photographers were unable to capture the magnificence of the beach.

My mind raced with questions for Raul, but I didn’t even know where to start. Hung over and dreading the long trip back to the States, plus the fear of what the answers would be kept me silent. I breathed the salt air, watched the seagulls ride the breeze and threw my head back so I could catch all the rays of the warm sun that I could. For the first time in a week, I relaxed.

My first impulse was to cry. There were so many pent up emotions in me that needed releasing and only a sobfest would purge me, but I didn’t want to subject Raul to any more of my emotional outbursts. Instead, I sat silently and felt the splendor of the magical place repair my soul. All the negative events were washed away and I was left with a future of happiness and levity. Raul didn’t say a thing. He let me revitalize. Something else to admire about him, he knew when to be quiet. When it was time to go, Raul took my hand and helped me from the coarse, rocky beach.

We sailed back to the harbor in companionable silence. At the house, we threw things in our suitcases and met

Daddy, who drove us to the airport. He and Raul had rearranged our itineraries to allow for the sailing trip.

Book trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpqlJumrDA4

Contest: free copy of Santorini Sunset

Website: www.clairecroxton.com