Monday, April 29, 2013

Let's Talk

  Eyes stare out the window while bodies sit uncomfortably on hard plastic. The only sounds heard are that of one person talking or pens and pencils scratching against paper. Once in a great while you can hear the second hand of the large clock sound off a tick tock. Long sighs define a certain boredom setting in. Suddenly the one person who’s allowed to talk starts spouting questions. Questions that one person wants you to answer. Heart rates increase, eyes feel like they’re the size of half dollars, a spattering of perspiration collects on the forehead. Gulp. That’s right; the teacher has called on you!

  If that question was directed at me one other thing happened. My face turned fifty shades of red. What’s that, you don’t think there are that many shades of red? Oh contraire my friends. Just ask any of my classmates, they may remember. Every time I was called on in class, whether I knew the answer or not, my face would turn beet red. My head would start to throb, my mouth would turn dry. But the worst was the blood rushing to my head. Why did that happen? Did the other parts of my body miss it when it left them? I don’t know because I was concentrating on answering the damn question posed to me, and trying to keep my head from exploding.

  Melodramatic much, Kel? Well, sometimes, to push my point across. ;)

  Certain friends and family say that happens because I have red hair. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that or not. I will say that as I have… aged… it’s not nearly as bad as when I was young. But still there are times when I’m talking to someone and I can feel the temperature rise in my cheeks.

  Why am I writing about this? Glad you asked.

  The life of a writer is sometimes a lonely one. We live inside our heads a lot with characters that we create, conversations that we make up, and places we would like the whole world to visit. We have family and friends, but we spend a lot of time on the computer. A computer doesn’t show if your face turns red if you’re asked a question (except if you Skype, of course.) A computer doesn’t allow people to know that you are super shy.

  When I first started visiting a few different blogs I was hesitant to answer questions posed. Heaven forbid someone try to “see” the real me. Or heaven forbid that I let the real me be seen. I started responding to a couple, ever so slowly. Now I visit two different blogging sites a day. I’d probably visit more, but I don’t have the time. I almost always respond to the questions asked.

  Do you see what is going to come next? :)

  I have some peeps that I know come here and read my rants. You don’t know how much I appreciate that. But I just wanted to let you guys know that you can make comments. You can respond to the dopey questions I ask. It’s okay. I don’t expect you to comment on every blog, once or twice a year is fine!

  To those of you who have commented I thank you! I know it is a lot to ask that you come here to read my blog, let alone talk to me too! I’m just sayin… It can be lonely here at times! I could take a picture of my goofy grin when I’m alerted to a comment here, but I want you to come back! That’s all.

  Does your face turn red with embarrassment when asked a question? Have you tried to make a comment but got frustrated with the hoops you have to jump through to do so? What other blogs do you visit? What book are you reading right now?

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

That's No Excuse

Kelly is!!!
  It was bound to happen sooner or later. I don't know how I let something like a blog post being due slip my mind. Leave it to my bird brain to forget such a huge thing. So YES, I'm sorry. I promise it won't happen again. 

  I hope. 

  So, how could I forget something as huge as a blog? Hmmm. Do you want the truth, or can I make up something cool and fascinating? Well, if you know me you know I will blame it on someone or something else, right? Because it really isn't my fault. ;)  

  *Takes deep breath and focuses*

  My blog is late because...

  My dog ate it. Too lame? Yea. Sorry. 

  Let's see if I can do better.

  It's late because I had to do one last revision on book 2 before I sent it to my... TA DA... editor! 

  It's late because I had to take time out to mourn a goldfinch who kamikaze-ed my dining room window yesterday and died. 

  It's late because I had to put moth balls out testing the theory that it will keep snakes away.  A robin has built a nest in the same spot she did last year where a snake came along and ate her poor babies. Instead of removing her nest so she would find someplace else we put out moth balls. I'm hoping this theory proves to be true.

  The blog is late because maybe I bartered a deal with my dog groomer. My girls got beautified while I agreed to beautify the groomers yard. Little did I know said groomer had bed upon bed upon bed that needs help. I've been designing like a madwoman and researching plants that are pet friendly. She has five dogs that roam freely in the back yard where most of the planting needs to be done, so we need to be sure that nothing we put in is toxic.

  I'm late publishing this because my parents visited for a week. Hence, I put everything else on hold. The stress built, and since they've left I've been frantically trying to get caught up. 

  And last but not least...

  I plain forgot. I lost track of the time.

  And apparently the day... :(

  I'm sorry. Yes all of the above are actually true with the exception of the dog eating it. Can you find it in your hearts to forgive me? 

  Have you ever forgot an important commitment? Have you ever had one of those hectic, hectic weeks? Do you have any ideas to keep snakes away? 

W.P.I.- If you have plants that are late to bloom give em a whack! Seriously, take a broom, or just use your hand, and give them a gentle whack. You may think I'm crazy, which I am to a certain degree, but I heard this once and tested the theory. I had some Red Hot Poker that wasn't blooming, so I roughed em up a little so-to-speak. Within a week they were blooming bright and beautiful!


Monday, April 22, 2013

How Are You Still In Business?

  If this is your first visit with me let me start off by saying thank you for stopping in! If it isn’t your first visit with me let me say thank you for coming back! And whoever keeps coming and reading my rants on their publication day before I even get out of bed, thank you. You bring a smile to my face!

  Just to catch you first timers up, I’m a writer trying to establish new friends and followers in hopes that one day you may buy one of my books. Blah. Blah. Blah. I blog (rant) on Mondays and Thursdays, so feel free to make this writers day and come back! Oh one more thing about me… I’m a redhead. Occasionally my temper sleeps in, or decides to take a vacation. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can’t find it. Those occasions are brought on by the following instances. Instances that make me ask…

  How are you still in business?

  Various grocery/box stores. The selections many stores carry are becoming fewer and fewer. How do you function with no, or few, vegetables? How can you only carry one brand of milk? Where did our freedom of choice go? Your customer service is horrendous too. Why don’t your employees know where everything is? Could you please take a page from Lowe’s Home Improvement stores? Their employees know where every item is found, lane number and whereabouts in that lane. If they don’t they will walk with you until they figure it out. THAT is customer service.

  United States Postal Service. Do I even have to explain? Yes? Okay. And before I start I have to apologize to various family and friends that work there. *deep breath, exhale* I was going to be out of town on my niece’s birthday so I couldn’t hand deliver her present. Since she is young I paid for 2-3 day service so she would definitely get her present in time. She lives 40 minutes away from me. Can you see where this is going? Yea. Five days later she still didn’t have her present. Her birthday had come and gone. I went to my local post office a couple weeks ago. They didn’t have stamps. Should I repeat that? My local post office says they don’t have parcel post service anymore… They claim that they have stopped offering that service. :/ Not two weeks later I received a package from my mother in NY that was sent… wait for it… parcel post. I believe the only reason the post office is still in business is because it is a government entity.

  Any realtor/business person that does this. We recently had our house for sale, and unfortunately had to take it back off the market. Since then the mailbox has been flooded with other realtors soliciting themselves. I cannot tell you how many of their business cards looked like they were made right on their own computer. They are paper thin. The best part is they have at least one item (phone or address) that has been blackened out with a Sharpie marker. One even has a magnet haphazardly glued to the back. Let me just say NOTHING screams professionalism like blackened out anything on business cards. Any realtor worth their salt should be able to afford new business cards if any of their information has changed. Don’t ya think?

  So there you have it. Obviously I may have been pushed to the brink, or my temper may have been nowhere to be found with some of these occurrences. I hope I didn’t offend anyone, remember it is only a rant!

  Do you have a short temper? What business do you think should be out of business? Have you found a place that has great customer service?

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pollen Assault

The view outside my windows.

  I just finished my every other day all out assault on pollen. I happen to live in one of the worst areas in the US for the nasty yellow stuff. A couple years ago I started to suffer from allergies, and I think I pay the price for the years without them. Every year I seem to get worse and worse. It’s not just me though. Many of us suffer, even my poor dog. So this year I’m going about things differently.

  I have a mission to become known as the Crazy Plant Lady. I want plants everywhere. I want my man neighbors to scratch their head and say, “What is that nutcase up to now?” And I want the women neighbors to say, “Honey, what is she doing? I want that!” ;) Then I will plant my hedge and block them all out! Heh. *laughs a devilish laugh*

  Here’s the problem… How can I become Crazy Plant Lady if I’m confined in the house during the Spring planting season? I've decided to play things differently this year. As soon as I saw the disgusting lime-green/yellow descent start I formulated a plan. This year I mow the lawn with a mask on. If I’m outside for a long period of time I shower when I come in. Clothes get changed and washed immediately. Windows stay shut no matter how beautiful it is out. And I spray down my deck and front porch every other day. I don’t sit outside a lot when pollen fills the air. The deck wash is mostly for my dog. Every fifteen minutes she feels a need to go lie on the porch and soak up the sun. After a couple minutes she comes back in. Minutes later the routine starts all over. She gets allergies real bad, but this year since starting the deck washing and wiping her paws and fur down she seems better. So far anyway. I have my fingers crossed it stays that way. Trust me, my heart breaks when she looks up to me with those big brown eyes that say, “Itchies all over. Fix please.”

  So far so good for me too! But I just went and bought more plants today. I have started  three hundred different annuals, perennials, and herbs. Then I have bought annuals and vegetables. I went shopping today and purchased a couple shrubs, more annuals, and a vine. Yes. I’ve done some work, but most is yet to come. Bring out the mask; I've some planting to do! I’m on a mission, and I will not be stopped!

  Do you suffer from allergies? Do you have a pet that feels the effects of them? Are you a crazy plant lady, or do you know one?

Weekly Planting Information (W.P.I.) - If you have to be outside, minimize your exposure to pollen.
·         Check pollen counts before planning outdoor activities.
·         Avoid being outdoors in the early morning, when pollen is most widespread.
·         Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
·         Have someone else mow your grass. If you must do yard work, wear a mask. (I got over the looking like a goof thing real quick!)
·         Going on vacation? Look for a place where pollen is low, such as the beach, or take your medications with you.
·         Change your clothing when you come indoors. Shower and wash your hair first.

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Monday, April 15, 2013


  This past week I started reading the book, Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah. The story is about two girls who become best friends. It tells how their friendship grows throughout many years, and shows their ups and downs. It is told in such a heartfelt way it left no choice but for my mind to reflect upon some of my besties throughout the years.

  I have one friend that says I told her a dirty joke in kindergarten and got her in trouble. I don’t recall such a thing. J Somehow, even to this day, we are still friends, even after the joke incident. And I ask you… How dirty could the joke have been? It was kindergarten, peeps! I have a smile on my face just thinking about some great times we had together. This friend and I saw, cried through, and fell in love with the movie ‘Beaches.’

  I had other friends in school too that I had close bonds with. I had friends who were athletic, artistic, and brainy. Each friendship was unique in their own way, and I wouldn’t trade any of them. When I look back at them now I wonder how some of us did get along as well as we did. There was one friend in particular I was so opposite of we used to be called Yin and Yang. Okay, maybe we called ourselves that, we could’ve been called oil and water too. We made it work though. I miss her, and she is one that I haven’t heard from in years. A couple of my friends lived far enough away (20 minutes) that to call them would be a long distance phone call. Remember those days? Luckily a few of us keep in touch still.

  A teacher and coach of mine in high school had a big impact on my life. I don’t think I realized how much at the time, but now I do. She became a very good friend that I keep in touch with to this day. As a matter of fact I interviewed her for my last book! She is one of those people that you always looked forward to spending time with.

  After high school I met someone who fast became my best friend, and continues to be so to this day. We’ve been through a lot together, and apart, yet we remain close.

  Since I moved I’m pretty quiet. I have a couple close friends that always bring a smile to my face. And for that I’m thankful.  

  And then there’s the one you choose for your life partner. That one person who steals your heart, soul, and mind. The one who brings a whole new definition to the words best friend.  

  Even though miles and years keep me apart from most of the people I talked about above I still think about them every now and then. I remember our smiles, talks, and laughs. I remember the highs and lows. Certain songs or movies bring memories. Don’t think that I have forgotten our friendship, even though we hardly talk. You all have made a lasting impression in my pea brain.

  I think friendships have a way of taking a piece of one friend’s heart and adding it to the other. Those pieces add dimensions to who we are today.

  I know this book takes a dramatic, sad turn. I accidentally saw a blog by the author and she told about one huge part of this book I’m reading. It instantly brought tears to my eyes, and has kept me from fully diving into the rest of the book. I don’t know why it bothers me, considering my one friend and I loved, loved, loved, the depressing movie ‘Beaches!’
For you, Trista!

  I’m not sad though that this book has made me think of friends I maybe haven’t thought about enough lately. Friends I miss!

  Do you keep in touch with friends from your school days? Do you like books or movies that make you cry? How often do you talk to your bestie? (Other than your spouse) What is one of the best times you can remember having with your best friend? 

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Thank you!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shopping List

  The only reason I ever leave the house is because I have to somewhat function in this world. Trust me; I would pay two to three times the normal amount if my chiropractor would make house calls. Sadly, he won’t make the trek up here to Podunk. I guess one way to look at it would be that I am saving myself money by having to get out of the house. Crazy? Yea, that’s me on a daily basis. Welcome to my world.

  You see, I have to think of things like that because lately when I step out of this house I lose hundreds of dollars at a time. GULP. Yea. Had I have known I would've bought stock in Lowe’s Home Improvement stores years ago. I hate to think about the amount of money I have spent in that store. I’m not just talking a can of paint here, a bird feeder there. NOOO. I’m talking about bigger things, like kitchen flooring, and most recently a washer and dryer. Not only that but the little things add up fast too. The Charmed One just asked the other day, “What did we buy at Lowe’s for over $200.00?”

  Yes, sadly, that’s us. I swear that every time we leave this house all the local merchants ears perk up. “I hear them! It’s them, I can tell by the sound of the car. Are they coming here? Oh goody, goody, they’re pulling in here. Folks here’s another hundred dollar sale. Now try to be nice to these patrons even though the red head can be…grumpy, sometimes. At times I think these two single handedly keep this store in business. Oh thank the heavens they picked us this time. Do-be-doo-be-do. These two may make my bonus possible this year.”

  Well, maybe it’s not that crazy, but it sure feels like it. I don’t know how people do it. It is just the two of us and every time we go to a grocery store the bill is in the hundreds of dollars. I can’t even imagine how it would be if we had kids. Listen, we use coupons… sometimes. We don’t buy extravagant things. We don’t always use name brand items. It just adds up. And quickly. I honestly don’t know how a family with a couple munchkins does it.

  So now you know one more reason why I try to be as hermit-ish as possible. I’m trying to figure out a way that I never have to leave the house, but things just keep popping up!

  Do you like being out and about, or cooped up inside? Can you go to a store and spend under $100.00? Do you have any hints to keep from spending an arm and leg at a store?

Weekly Planting Information (W.P.I.) - I went to plant some plants for a hedge today. That stopped when I found out the ground was nothing but rock. Now I have more work to do to prep for those plants. Whether for a border, screen, or fence, the right selection of plants is important. Several factors must be considered, such as size, shape, and foliage habits of mature plants and their requirements for the best growth. Of course, with any plants, the proper soil is the key ingredient!

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Review Ridicule

  Last week I purchased a book from one of my favorite authors. I absolutely love her writing and couldn’t wait for the release of this new book, the first of a new series. Sadly, that is where my excitement ends.

  If you all know me I like, and try to write women’s fiction, and contemporary romance. I read many different genres, but I try to read more romance novels because I study them somewhat while I read them. I, by far, am not a professional. I want you to remember that as I ramble on here. You see, I sometimes feel like I shouldn't be able to have a voice, like in a review. I mean, here I am, an amateur novelist. Do I know every rule of style or grammar? Hell to the no. Therefore should I be allowed to write a not so good review of this book?

  That brings up another question. We’ve all heard the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Should I write a review or two of this book if it isn’t going to be the nicest review? I mean I am not going to say it was a horrible book and I would never buy another from this author. I would never do that. Ever. But is it nice to give a book two stars out of five? Is it nice to write that I was not happy that the hero and heroine didn’t even meet until page 112, or that I think more time was spent on other people that should’ve been spent on the main characters?

  I do understand that this is a new series, and I can see that more time may be spent on introducing a new town and its residents. But I don’t understand how a romance novel can almost spend as much time on secondary characters as the main ones. I feel jipped of the whole “getting to know you and character intimacies” aspect of the book.

  While I am writing all this I know people put up bad reviews of books. I have read some. I know potential buyers of books sometimes look at reviews, do the authors? That brings me to another ponder. I feel strange leaving a bad review to a well-known, accomplished writer when I am just a fledgling author myself. I know we all have to have thick skin, but do I have a right to be critical when I haven’t been published yet? I think I would feel differently if I were just a straight reader and not a writer also. Make sense?

  Trust me; I have left not so great reviews of a few recent books I have read. They were self published books where apparently the writer didn’t think editing was appropriate. I can’t stand that. If one is to not to take the time for something as important as editing it should be depicted in the synopsis. I believe I shouldn't have to pay money for something half finished. Unfortunately that is one of those things not easily picked up by reading a small sample. That’s just my honest opinion.

  Speaking of editing… If anyone knows an editor/writing coach I am looking! I have found that they are not easy to come by! If you know someone give me a holla! J

  Do you review books you read? Has one of your favorite authors ever let you down? Am I being too critical? Too crazy?   

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

All Because Of Tardy

  So yes, I am running late in writing this. I can explain! But instead of explanations I have chosen pictures. Not pictures to explain why I'm writing this blog at ten o'clock  at night, but pictures that I hope will bring a smile to your face. 

  Picture number one I put on my personal Facebook page Wednesday. I wrote something along the lines of I hope your day is happy and warm. A lot of my friends are from the Northern US where it is freezing and snow still fills the air. They let me know they weren't happy! ;)

  If any of them come to read this I thought this next picture would cheer them up.

  This next one really just made me laugh. Honestly my hair feels like this every day...

  This one... Well... It doesn't pertain to this blog!

  And the last one was just way too cute not to put it up here.

  Actually, for me, the above should say leave the ice cream instead of cookies!

  Are you one that sometimes runs late? What was the last event you were late for? Which picture is your favorite? 

Weekly Planting Information (W.P.I.)- I have decided to try some vegetables in containers this year. Here are some useful tips to remember when experimenting with containers. Clay pots are usually more attractive than plastic ones, but plastic pots retain moisture better. Avoid small containers. They often can't store enough water to get through hot days. Add about 1 inch of course gravel in the bottom of the container to improve drainage. Vegetables that can be easily transplanted are best suited for containers. Transplants can be purchased from local nurseries or started at home. Feed container plants at least twice a month with liquid fertilizer.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Don't Stop Believing

  The Charmed One stumbled upon a local writing competition here in Podunk. Unfortunately we found it late. Like three days until deadline late. And it so happened to be the weekend my niece came over. Naturally I wanted to spend every minute doing things with her and not writing. Even after we dropped her back off I found it hard to concentrate on a writing competition because I was tired, and I had a blog to write!

  Fortunately it was another short story competition. The story was to be around 750 words. (Yes it had the squiggly sign in front of the 750.) That was less than the last one, which was 900 words, so the Charmed One thought I could take that story and shorten it. Silly, silly Charmed. Is one really able to tell a story in that few words? I had a hard enough time cutting twenty words out of the 900 word short, there was no way I could cut more than that and have it make much sense. So Monday morning I got up and started plugging away at the short story. It had to be postmarked that day so I didn’t have much time. I did my best putting a story together in my head, then onto the computer. When I was finished I only had to narrow it down by about 15 words. Afterwards, because the deadline loomed, I sent it to the Charmed One to read over. Normally I send my stuff to a couple of friends, but this time I didn’t have time.

  Although I felt okay about what I wrote, I still wasn’t the happiest about it. That is until I walked into the Charmed One’s office. I noticed the story I wrote there on the computer. My nerves tingled a little in anticipation. Those nerves disappeared when I saw tears in the Charmed One’s eyes. I didn’t think it was a sad story. It had sad undertones, but the outcome was a happy one.

  The Charmed One asked, “Why do you write sad stories?”

  I stood dumbfounded. I didn’t expect that story to bring on that type of reaction, but when it did I felt different myself. I started thinking maybe it was a good story. I felt some small form of redemption as a writer knowing that it created an emotion like that in a not-so-emotional person.

  I am reminded of when I was in college. In a mandatory English class everyone had to take a state test. If you failed the test you failed the class. The test was nothing more than writing three paragraphs. My English teacher took two weeks worth of class to prepare us for it. Other people in class would critique our writings and I never got really great critiques. Then it came time for the test. I walked in, received instructions, and picked a seat. I chose one facing windows, a Zen thing. I knew I did well, but I was not prepared for the actual results. A couple of weeks after the test I received an email from my English teacher. In it she explained that I had achieved a perfect score on the test. The next time the class met she told the class of my accomplishment. Inside I felt that my smile ran from ear to ear.

  After seeing the expression on the Charmed One’s face, and thinking about that test in college, I know that even though at times I doubt myself there is something there. I feel better in myself even if I did make someone cry! Even if I don't win that competition I won something more. Belief in myself.

  *For the record not all of my writing is sad. The Charmed One and I even laughed because I am generally a joking type of person.

Do you live in a big or small city/town? What have you accomplished that brings a smile to your face? Do you ever doubt your talents? 

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