Friday, November 30, 2012

Never Say Never

Five years ago, I sat in the office of one of my bosses and told a story about a serial killer that stalked children in the city where I grew up in Michigan. I started with the abduction of Mark Stebbins in February 1976 and ended with Tim King’s death in March 22, 1977.  Tim was the youngest brother of a friend of mine and he was one of my own brother-in-law’s best friends.  

The monster that became known as the Oakland County Child Killer scarred the lives of all the people who lived in Oakland County, Michigan from those at “ground zero” to those who watched these horrors unfold on tv.  The killer was never found.

As I told this story out loud from the abductions to the theories, possible suspects and my own personal involvement, my boss leaned back in his chair and said, “I see a great piece of fiction to be written.”  I scoffed.  I was MAD.  No way, I said, could I ever turn this disturbing time of so many lives into fiction.  

Well, a few days ago, I published my next book, “No Such Thing”, a fictional story about child abduction and murder.  While not about the real killer or murders, it employs many of the same events and theories, weaving a story of what could have happened.  The real story takes remarkable twists and turns.  The book streamlines many of those twists into one story.

I would never attempt to diminish the lives of Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich or Tim King; their lives were far more important.  Their deaths forever changed my life.  

With the blessing of Tim’s sister and brother, I wrote and published this novel and hope that when it finds its audience, it keeps these kids in the public eye until the real killer has been caught.

Currently available on Kindle and Nook and in paperback through my site  

More information available on the Resources page of my website.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Run Along!

About a week ago, my Boston BFF called me.  Thanks to caller ID, I answered the phone, dismissing the traditional ‘Hello” and simply asking, “What’s up?”  Without feeling the need to identify herself, she replied, “So, I hear you are running these days.”  I pondered the statement.  Running.  I guess that’s the term although, I really think “shuffling” or even “tripping” is a much better descriptor.  

The truth is, I have spent the last 9 weeks following the Couch to 5K program.  It is a completely do-able program in that it only asks for 3 days a week and ups the running time in teeny tiny increments.  

I began the program on a lonely, quiet road where very few people could see me, figuring if I failed only a few people would take notice.  Much to my own shock, I didn’t fail.  In fact, I haven’t missed a day.  So, in this second day of my 9th week, I just “ran” for 30 straight minutes.  Ideally this is supposed to be approximately 5K.  Yeaaahhhh.  For me it is almost exactly 2 miles.  That’s right, I shuffle a 15 minute mile.  Just call me Flash.  

Moreover, my running form, or lack thereof, is comical.  I know it and I expect people to laugh.  I laugh.  My shadow, which often passes me out of shear frustration, is fairly honest with the round belly in front and the butt waddling dutifully behind.  I am sure that young people who see me run are dumbfounded at the sight and purists have burned their retinas watching me run by.  

I’m ok with that.  After 3 surgeries on my right foot and knee, I never thought running would be an option.  But it is, and I am doing it.  I feel pretty good about that.  If you see a blue or gray mass stumbling by. . . it’s me.  I still can’t call myself a runner and keep a straight face, but that is my goal!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

And You Thought The GPS Was For Following

It’s an old joke, men and their refusal to ask directions, their insistence that they know a “shortcut’ and the inevitable time lost in the process of saving time.  Then, along came the GPS.  I really thought the macho bravado of driving would change with an electronic toy doing the hard work.  How dumb am I?

Our GPS does not have a pleasantly accented male or female voice to guide us.  Our GPS has Lois, a no nonsense kinda gal.  She gives the direction and expects you to follow. . .I think Lois was once a third grade teacher.  She does not hide her disdain when announcing that she is “recalculating” in response to something my man, Moondoggy, has done.

It wasn’t until this summer while driving to the east coast that I realized the love/hate relationship that exists between Moondoggy and Lois.  All packed up, we hopped in the car and pulled out of the driveway when Moondoogy announces, ‘I think I’m going to skip her direction to take I-90 and take I-88 instead.”  Not even out of the driveway, he thinks Lois is wrong and she is pissed off. . .you can hear it in her voice.  Luckily there aren’t many options for getting to our stop for the night so she recalculated and the tension eased.  Lois knows how to pick her battles.

The next morning, Moondoggy announces with pride, “I think I’m going to follow her directions today and see where she takes us.  According to Lois, our drive time is going to be 8 hours with an arrival time of 5:15 p.m.” Me?  No comment.  And, here’s why.   Not twenty minutes later, Moondoggy says, “She is taking us through Breezewood which will take us around DC.  The traffic will be hell.  I’m not doing that.”  And with the intrepidity of Magellan and a slight smug sneer, Moondoggy deviates from Lois’ prescribed route.  We followed some very hilly country road that meandered through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.  I admit, it was beautiful and there was very little traffic, but the 2 hours we spent listening to an increasingly irritated Lois as she tried to guide us back onto the interstate was beyond livable.  But, does he turn it off?  No.  Why?  Because now he is WINNING and he is going to challenge her to find a way to our destination from this new path.  He’s on a roll and the game is on.

She wants us to be on I-95.  We are taking 17.  She wants us to get on I-64 in Richmond.  We stayed on 17.  She wants us to get off on Indian River Blvd.  We got off on Independence Rd.  The whole way Lois is recalculating and Moondoggy is snickering. . .he is winning.  

Finally, we took the now familiar route to the beach house. . . arriving in the driveway at exactly, you guessed it. . ..
5:15 p.m.   

So, who won?

On another note. . .

My next book has just gone to the editor.  I am aiming for a December release. The cover art is ready though.

Monday, August 20, 2012

When a Trip Down Memory Lane Ends at a Cul de Sac

Part II

And so, our 16 year old selves grabbed us by the hand and begged us to embark on our annual trip down Memory Lane.  Usually under the safety of a car, this year we used the provided golf cart as our vehicle of choice.  I drove.

The ritual involves pointing out certain houses we have stayed in over the years, recalling funny stories, memories that have become characters of their own that punctuate the vacation each year.

Eight Bells, our first house. . .we pretended we were horses romping over the dunes.  Yeah, we did that.

Euphoria, the house where we proudly proclaimed meeting 26 boys (count em, 26).  It must have been like flies to honey back then and I didn’t even realize it.  It was the year we met The Boys, and therefore, an important stop.  Gosh, we were cute, our 16 year old selves comment from the back seat.

The Elvis House, name for the year Elvis died.  We were there that very week.  It was a stone's throw from The Boy’s house and we had big plans until Stephanie’s Pittsburgh boyfriend hitchhiked down and threw a monkey wrench into our week.  

Passing the houses, I teasingly  told Steph we were going to stop by The Boy’s house and she laughed.  “You’re kidding, right?”  Hells yeah, I was kidding.  We were wearing lounge wear, the equivalent of pajamas, but I was going to go down another street to see his other beach houses.  So, I bypassed his street and headed down the next, stopping in front of one of the homes that had a sign bearing the name of The Boy’s company.  A moment of pride and then, onward to the next house.  

The golf cart lurched forward when I realized there was a new white pick-up truck sitting in front of the next house and I had to swerve to avoid it.  Stephanie grabbed my arm, gasping, “Oh My God! Holy Crap!  That’s Him!” she turned her head toward me as we passed the man in the truck.  I glanced at the license plate, a vanity plate, and knew she was right.  I kept driving.

“What do you want me to do?” I asked.  

My 16 year self was saying, “Well Duh, turn around and go say hi,” but she was also battling with 53 year old Stephanie who took one look at herself in the suddenly very large sideview mirror of the golf cart and caught a glimpse of herself in her jammies, hair pulled back after a day at the beach and no make-up and she hollered, “Just drive!”  And I did.  I drove the full length of the road at full golf cart speed until it ended at a cul de sac.  

I stopped and looked at Steph who was hyperventilating, “Now what?” I inquired.  

Without hesitation she says, “We run!”  but stopped short of escaping through the sand.  She rethought,resigned, “I guess we head back the way we came.”  

Never one to go willy nilly without a plan, I said, “We should stop and say hi.”

“Have you looked at us lately?” She pointed to the telltale mirrors and I saw my reflection.  She as right.  We weren’t 16, we no longer have long flowing hair or cute little belly buttons.  In fact, we were so well disguised in our 50+ fat suits there was no way I was going to stop and say hi.  Not like this.

“Alright.  But what if he has recognized us and he stops us?  I have to stop, Steph.”  

She bit her lip.  “He isn’t expecting to see us so he probably won’t, but IF he does, we stop. . .I guess.  Just drive as fast as you can.”

I hit the accelerator as we headed back down the road reaching a sluggish top speed of 16 miles an hour.  Tearing down the road at 16 mph, we steeled ourselves for the possibility that at that speed, we may indeed be forced to make eye contact.  Heck, at that speed, we could make eye contact and conduct a full conversation with the guy in the time it took to drive by.  Our stomachs were knotting, we were nervous, but thankfully, the white truck pulled away in front of us and drove off.  We both sighed an audible breathe saved from an awkward moment and I punched it to get back to our place.

Giddy, it was hard to delineate between our 16 year old selves giggles and our 50+ selves giggles.  That Boy still made us smile somehow.

Pulling back into our driveway, Steph looks at me and huffs, “I’m a little offended he didn’t recognize us, I mean we were right in front of him!”

Maybe next year, Jimmy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Drive Down Memory Lane

An entire genre of music has been created in it's honor.  Movies have been made about it.  Books have been penned in its name.  A boy, a girl and a vacation location (mine is the beach. . .see my book).  In one week’s time, during the freedom of the summer, a teen aged girl could live out an entire lifetime of love from Saturday to Saturday.   It is the summer love and the beauty of it was, it only really lasted a week until the next year.  In our case, there were two very special boys, that Steph and I spent time with every year from the time I was 13 until 17.  The years when we were particularly cute, thin and young.  

Last year, I had the good fortune to get in contact with one of the boys (Steph’s “love”) and was pleased to find out he was married with children and still lived at the beach.  Well, ok.  I already knew he still lived at the beach. You see, Stephie and I have stalked him year after year, driving by his house, looking to make sure the name was still on the mailbox, daring one another to go to the door and say hello.  We never follow through. And so it was, this year that we hopped in an electric golf cart and traveled back down Memory Lane once again.

It was my intention to show Stephie how successful her Boy had become.  He now owns several houses at the beach, many of them back up to a freshwater lake once called The Pits.  

We met The Boys in 1972, at the Pits actually, when one of them road his bike down the dirt path and into the lake - stark naked.  Had we been any younger we might have needed therapy to get beyond the incident, but hormones had already kicked in and it didn’t take long for us to get to know The Boys.  We were young, bikini'd, and barefoot . We squeezed lemon juice into our hair to give it highlights and bathed in baby oil to enhance our tans.  And for a whole week, we didn’t wear shoes.  The Boys were long haired, deeply tanned and they surfed.  We thought they were gorgeous. The parents nicknamed them The Munchkins - which was better than Snort and Grunt (the back-up beach boyfriends).

Our first official date a was homemade dinner.  My boy enlisted his Italian father to cook us an authentic Italian lasagna and set us up with a little candle lit table.  Stephie was so nervous that she could not eat.  I never had that problem.  After the dinner, they drove us down to the public beach at the very south end and we caught ghost crabs, walked on the beach and kissed.  We kissed a lot.

My father always believed that The Boys had a different set of girlfriends every week.  We always believed WE were the only girls they saw and that their summer wasn’t complete until we arrived. Perhaps we were delusional, but we have elevated those hormonal memories to historic proportions, creating epic stories from what amounted to no more than six weeks from our collective lives.  Those Boys are icons in our lexicon, archetypes in our stories and legends in our own minds.  

So what happens when a drive down Memory Lane brings traffic you weren’t expecting?

To Be Continued. . . 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Even This is a Partisan Issue. . .I think

Pretty much everything has been divided lately into a Republican or Democrat  issue.  As an independent, I believe I am open to the best solutions on either side (and this just irritates the snot out of  the dyed in wool partisans.)  I have found an issue, though, that I simply cannot remain staunchly in the middle.  I have just come back from a favorite vacation spot of mine and although I had a great week, I find that I must comment on a sad, sad state of affairs -- the compliance of Beach Etiquette.

For the last 45+ years, I have vacationed at Sandbridge Beach, VA.  A private community, most of the homes are summer rentals and although we have been "owners" in the past, we currently rent a house for our annual gathering.  Whether one owns or rents, there are certain rules of beaching that should be respected and, sadly, they seem to be going by the wayside.  This past week I witnessed all of the following faux pas and while I did not openly sneer (it isn't polite), my level of pissed offedness has been churning ever since.  So, listen up!

1) If you smoke on the beach, pick up your butts.  No one wants to dig in the sand only to find a cache of nasty filters filling up their sand pail.

2) If you eat on the beach, it is NOT funny to feed the sea gulls.  They are rats. . .with wings.  While they will grab the food from your hand, they will also continue to dive bomb anyone in the vicinity believing everyone is as stupid as you are to offer food.

3) Bringing your baby to the beach may seem like a great idea, for about 3 minutes.  Sand irritates the baby's bum. Salt water makes it burn and the crying annoys everyone else.

4) And 15 minutes after you should have left, do not suddenly shake out your beach blanket allowing sand to fly into the eyes of those around you because you realize you need to get the baby back to the house NOW.

5) If you see some child toiling away on a sandcastle, it does not mean he wants help from YOUR child.  Don't suggest it because I am not babysitting your kid, too.

6) Finally, and this is the biggy, the one that sends me over the edge every single time. . .

When you bring your family, friends, toys, coolers, surf boards, etc. to the beach DO NOT PARK YOUR STUFF RIGHT NEXT TO SOMEONE ELSE.  Seriously.  Spread the heck out.  There is plenty of room.  You do not have to set your chair right next to mine with the arms touching.  This isn't New Jersey.

And to the lady who thought trying to fly a kite in the 4 foot spot between my chair and your camp was a good idea.  It didn't end well did it.

I love my beach.  I covet my space.  I do not feel obligated to share it with anyone else.  Guess that makes me a republican.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I Must Be Easy. . .or am I Just a Cheap Date?

Summer Splash Blog Hop, Day. . . .Something.  I am giving away signed copies of my book along with a necklace and the last copy of Beach Feasts; a recipe collection.  You can enter every day.  Just follow the Rafflecopter directions at right.  See other authors doing giveaways.  I will post their links below.

I Must Be Easy. . .Or Am I Just a Cheap Date?

I slept in as late as I could on the day of my colonoscopy.  What was the point of getting up if I couldn't enjoy my coffee with half 'n half or my toast and fruit?  They tell you not to arrive more than 15 minutes ahead of your appointment saying there is no point because you will just wait.  I think it's because they only have one restroom in the waiting area.  Let's face it, everyone who arrives there is either forcing out the last of the laxative or worried they will.  One restroom for all of those people is a cruel joke.  Lucky for me, I was clean as a whistle before I got there.

They happily guided me back to my gurney and asked if I was currently pregnant.  Uh, no.  Have I completed menopause?  Uh, no.  "Then," she says, "I need to do a pregnancy test on you.  Can you give me a urine sample?" Let me just remind you that I have spent the better part of the last 24 hours eliminating any excess matter, solid and liquid, that lurked in my body and she tells me we can't proceed until she runs a pregnancy test.  Sheesh.

Here's where the good part comes in.  They give you some drugs, really nice drugs.  Drugs like you have a great buzz and just love everybody drugs.  The last thing I remember is the nurse coming in to tell me I wasn't pregnant.  Oh Glory be. . .now we can do the colonoscopy.  So they wheel me down the hall to a dimly lit room and the Dr. comes in to introduce himself - appropriate given how intimate we are about to become.  He asks if I have any questions and the only thing I can think to say is, "I feel like you should, at least, buy me dinner first."  I'll bet her never hears that.

That must be when they cranked up the IV because I do not remember anything after that until Moondoggy came in and asked if I was ever tempted to go toward the light.  So, I'm good for another 10 years and can now give the knowing nod and wink when other newly 50 people realize it's time for their colonoscopy.

Hop over to these authors' blogs.

Diana Layne
Mike Faricy
Victoria Adams
Jason G. Anderson
S.L. Wallace
Charles Sheehan-Miles
M.J. Holmes
Lynn Hubbard
Jordan T. Maxwell
Jillian Dodd
Chrystalla Thoma
Elle Chardou
Dana Sitar
Troy McCombs

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Splash Blog Hop - Quick and Easy

Ever have a day when you don't have much to say?  I'm having one of those days.  However, being that it is the official Summer Splash Blog Hop season, I urge you to visit the following authors.  They are giving away great prize opportunities just for visiting.  Not to mention, if you click on the blog hop logo at right, you can enter to win Kindle Fires, Amazon gift cards and other great swag.  AND, as always, enter my own contest at right.  It only takes a second.

Melissa A. Smith
Steven Montano
Ty Hutchinson
M.A. Demers
Beverly Preston
Marie J.S. Phillips
Marie J.S. Phillips
Alicia and Roy Street
Laura Eno

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

File It Under "Things Mother Never Told You"

Blog Hop Day 3.  Sign up to win signed copies of my books.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter at right.  

Several years ago ( ok, over a decade ago but who is counting?), I put together a recipe collection of meals my family has enjoyed while vacationing at Sandbridge Beach.  I had everyone contribute their favorite recipes and, along with my anecdotes, and pictures, compiled them into a book.  There is only one copy remaining-- the prototype, and I am offering this personal book as a prize on my blog.  So. . . enter in the rafflecopter box at right.  YOU might win this coveted (and sometimes embarrassing) keepsake!

File It Under "Things Mother Never Told You" - UGH

It's a secret right of passage not discussed in circles of those under 49.  It is the inside joke that comes with a nod and a wink as one approaches 50.  It is the colonoscopy and it is my turn.  Hunger Games be damned, we ALL are encouraged to participate when we turn 50.  Which I did. . .last year.  I have been putting this off for as long as I can but, I am coming in under the wire.

It isn't just a matter of scheduling and showing up either.  No, there is a required CLASS first. Yes, a class that they like to have you take about a week in advance. I arrived at the appointed time and along with 10 other equally jittery people, was lead to through the bowels of the building to the classroom.  I have to think the irony is totally intestinal. . . I mean intentional.

We are seated at tables in front of a large tv and greeted by a nurse who hands us each several pages of questions and releases.  The class will last, she tells us,  about an hour where we will fill out our paperwork, discuss the prep and see a movie.  When it is over, we will have the opportunity to purchase a prep kit there for $7.  I'm thinking, "Nice Scam."

She gives us a few moments to  answer the questionnaire.  First question; Name your next of kin.  Really?  Then, with an unbridled enthusiasm, she describes, step-by-step, the "Prep".  This is a 3 day process that begins with no fruits and vegetables - not a great start for a former vegetarian.  Day 2 is the tougher day.  No food.  Nothing with red dye (it tends to present as blood.)  Only clear liquids, jellos (again, no red dye which includes the only jello I eat) and Popsicles (again, guess which ones I like).  If that isn't bad enough, you must take a heavy duty laxative pill the afternoon before the test, down a delicious bottle of lemon flavored magnesium citrate and force Gatorade all night long. Kind of wished I 'd've scheduled an early morning appointment.  I'm out of eating options until the afternoon. Sigh.   Perhaps they need the next of kin information so they know who to call when I decide not to show up.

Oh stop it!  I'm going to show up. I bought the $7 prep kit on my way out the door.

Win other great prizes from these authors.  Just click on the name and go!
Lizzy Ford
Marsha A. Moore
Dana Taylor
Mary Pat Hyland
Katrina Parker Williams
Karin Cox
Walt Lamberg

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Other People's Swag

Day Two of the Summer Splash Blog Hop! 

Several years ago ( ok, over a decade ago but who is counting?), I put together a recipe collection of meals my family has enjoyed while vacationing at Sandbridge Beach.  I had everyone contribute their favorite recipes and, along with my anecdotes, and pictures, compiled them into a book.  There is only one copy remaining-- the prototype, and I am offering this personal book as a prize on my blog.  So. . . enter in the rafflecopter box at right.  YOU might win this coveted (and sometimes embarrassing) keepsake!

 A swag bag of stuff, a book mark and a whole series of books is available from Olivia Hardin.
THE eBook of YOUR CHOICE is available through R.G. Porter.
Marsha A. Moore if offering her whole series from the Enchanted Bookstore Legends!  A whole series!
A $25 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of his latest biomed thriller?  Just leave a comment on Alan Nayes blog.  
Cheryl Bradshaw is giving away five boxed sets of her Sloane Monroe series.  PLUS - gourmet cookies and chocolate.
Julia Crane has a Young Adult series and is giving away copies on her blog.  AND, you may even win a Moonstone necklace.
If you enjoy fantasy, check out M. Edward McNally.  He is giving ebook editions of his series.  Simply go to his blog and leave a comment!
It gets better (I KNOW, hard to believe, right?)  G.R. Yeates is not only giving away his series, he is offering the opportunity to choose a title or have a character named after you.
Her blog is called "License to Thrill" and she has written some great books. Diana Capri is offering up a ton of books!  Several sets as well as 3 opportunities to name characters.  
Guardians of the Word, an epic fantasy series is available from Jolea M. Harrison but, even cooler. . .she is giving away a few Dragon Orb necklaces and a dragon statue.  
Don't forget to take all of the opportunities to win my prized as well.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form on the right.  EASY!
Stop back often to see what other fabulous authors are hoping you will hop into the waves and splash a little!  

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Summer Splash Blog Hop Asks. . . Who is Christian Grey Anyway?


This is your chance to win LOTS of prizes.  Enter my own giveaway at right through Rafflecopter.  Click on the Summer Splash Blog Hop tour at the right and it will take you to 80 other authors doing their own giveaways AND the home page where you can win Grand Prizes!  Seriously, check it out!!

Now on to the the question. . . who is Christian Grey?

There is a very good possibility that I am the only woman left in the country who has not read The Fifty Shades of Grey.  That is not to say that I haven't heard all about it, couldn't identify the cover at 200 paces or that I am unaware of the draw of Christian Grey.  I have been led to believe that the book is a woman's best friend.  I figure the draw is the tantalizing sex, right?  And E.L James' books are flying off the shelves.  Far be if for me to criticize that!

It got me to thinking though, why THAT book does so well and MY book (In The Name of The Father) which also has some sex (albiet not a driving theme and not gratuitous. . .I don't think) had garnered some 1 star reviews because of the sex.  Seriously.  I even have a warning in the description that there is some adult content involving drug use and sex and yet I still get comments like this:

"read reviews and thought I would enjoy it. I was not prepared for the second chapter filled with drugs, graphic sex and "f" words. I do not plan to finish it. There are too many other books that I want to read that won't involve having to skim over words or descriptions I don't want to read."

I checked the reviews for "Fifty Shades"and it has its fair share of stars across the board.  I figure it would be listed under erotica, but was surprised to find it was categorized as Contemporary Women. Hmmm.  I was pretty sure mine was listed in Mystery/Thriller. . . until I checked.  Religious Fiction?  Uh, oh.  Maybe that's the issue.  Yes, the main characters are a pastor and his son.  Yes, the pivotal point takes place in a church, but religious fiction?  No.  Think I'm going to put it under Contemporary Women, that seems to be working for E.L James!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Splash Blog Hop - I Just May Throw My Back Out

Next week, this old girl is going to participate in her  first blog hop! There will be over 80 authors participating offering unique prizes to all who visit their blogs next week.

What is a blog hop, you ask?

Good question!  The idea is to introduce readers to new writers AND to offer an avenue where writers can tell you a bit about their books.  The hook?  PRIZES!!  Each blogger is offering their own choice of prizes, some related to their books, some services, some just fun.  Not only that, we all pooled in some cash to offer some BIG GRAND PRIZES, too.  

Prizes, you ask?

Many authors are offering up copies of their books in both ebook as well as paperback.  The themes of this Summer Splash Blog Hop is fiction.  That means there will be tons of opportunities to win some summer reading. 
I’ll be running a raffle to give away:
  • 1 handmade necklace with pendant of ocean blue stones.
  • 1 signed copy of In The Name of The Father
  • 1 signed copy of Is It Just Me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts!
  • 1 copy (the only remaining) of  Beach Feasts, a personal recipe collection based on my summers at the beach.  This is the same beach that is the setting for In The Name of The Father

Hello?  Didn't You Say GRAND PRIZES?

Oh yeah.   I'll link back to the Summer Splash Blog Hop page where you’ll be able to enter to WIN
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Amazon gift cards,
  • Kindle Covers
  • and more!

This starts next week.  Just look for the logo at the right and it will get you hoppin'
A shout out to Cheryl Bradshaw for organizing the hop! It has got to be a load of  work, and without her this would never happen!  Thank you, Cheryl!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is It A Game Of Leap Frog?

I'm pretty good with a computer.  I know how to do in-depth research, bury an identity, create graphics and hey, create and post on a blog.  I am, however, a right-brained thinker, therefore, I do not speak the techno language that goes with the computer world. I don't understand HTML code or Javascript nor do I know how to imbed.  I am a Mac girl.  I have always been a Mac girl (with the unfortunate exception of the 90's when I had to use Windows - archaic and unsatisfying) and I always will be a Mac girl.

My first computer greeted me with a stick image of itself and a smiley face on it's stick image screen to let me know it was on and ready to play.  I didn't have to know know about directories or C prompts.  I could just do what I wanted to do without elaborate commands.  Ahhh the good ol days.

In about two weeks I am participating in something called a "Blog Hop".  I'm not really sure exactly HOW it all works but, I know that I make a post, host a giveaway on my blog and "link it back to all the other bloggers" participating in the "hop".  There will be some really cool grand prizes as well.  I'm not sure, but I THINK if my readers click on the Summer Splash Blog Hop logo at the right, it SHOULD "link back" to the others, thereby giving people the opportunity to win lots of prizes.

All of this is new to me. It requires vocabulary I never use but, I'm giving it a whirl and hope, when the time comes, this all works as it should.  Otherwise, I guess a Blog Hop is where a bunch of writer's get together and play a long distance game of Leap Frog from one computer to the next.

Oh and I am not sure what I am offering yet. . . but I'll let you know. ; )


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's like Standing Naked in Public

I have decided to peel off my skin.  What follows is a small excerpt from my current project, still in draft mode. . . but I'm throwing it out there while I finish my next blog.  Here goes:

“Why the hell would you do that?” Jack’s voice cracked as it went up an octave in shock.  Syd smiled, she figured her brother would react this way to her news that she was moving back to Michigan and living their old home.  Jack was five years younger than Syd and in their youth had been an entire generation behind.  When Syd was into her teen years, experimenting with alcohol, spending weekends uptown shopping with girls and sneaking boys in the basement, Jack was still a little boy.  His attention was on cartoons, super heroes and sports.  His big sister was an irritation he had to endure.  And, he reacted by withdrawing, hiding, and creating a cadre of imaginary frineds for which he was often found speaking to when alone in his room, or sitting in the fourth floor dormer.  It wasn’t a behavior Sydney took particular notice of, chalking it all up to his being a creepy little brother.   But when she left for college, the teutonic plates of her family shifted.  Her mother always said the energy was realigning, but what was really happening was, she was now slowly going crazy.  
It began with her paintings.  Her subject matter moved from botanicals to free forms that look like moving amebas  on the canvas.  Sometimes her work involved specific images embedded into the free forms and sometimes it seemed, to Jack, to look like big blobs of paint.  She increasingly withdrew, spending large amounts of time, closed up in the studio their father had made for her in the basement.  Even that had been tolerable, but then she started talking to herself, asking Jack if he, too, saw the people around her.  He said didn’t and had to force his father to see what was happening, beg him to do something to help his mom.  His father, ever the pragmatist, had her committed.  A normal person would have been mortified to be placed in a mental hospital, but their mother seemed to relish the place.  She made friends with the patients, taking them under her wing, giving art lessons and thriving.  When their father retired, he wanted to move the family to Florida, but their mother refused to leave Michigan, refused to leave the hospital even, so he quietly paid the bills each month and she quietly lived out her days in the omni room of the Oakland County mental health facility named for the street it was located; a private hospital tucked away on Lone Pine Road near the Cranbrook Institute and Kirk-in-the-Hills.  Syd visited her mom at Lone Pine every few months, usually staying in a nearby hotel, and was always relieved that her mother’s state remained constant.  She was happy.  She was living in an elevated reality of happiness, art and love, in a place that allowed her to do so.  It wasn’t often that she bothered to ask about her husband, how he was or even where, although Syd had told her many times that dad was living on Longboat Key in Florida.  Her mother did inquire about Jack and often lamented his lack of communication.  She seemed to believe he was still 12, still a little boy and asked if Syd might bring him on her next visit.  No matter how gently Syd reminded her mother that Jack was in Florida, he was 23 and unable to make a visit, her mother seemed to tune it out, recalling instead Jack at 12, playing basketball in the driveway, little league ball and skateboarding.  He was perpetually 12, the age he had been when she started to see people, hear voices, and paint violence.  Syd had thought the paintings were grotesque.  Flowers had been her mother’s subject for years, but gradually her flowers began to take on human form, faces in the petals, fingers in the leaves.  The flowers were twisted on their stems as if slowly, painfully turned until just before snapping.  Blood dripped from the twisted, pained, stems and spurted from the petals, resembling tears.  Disturbing.  They were disturbing paintings her mother had, according to her father and brother, become obsessed with painting--variations of the same theme, the human qualities becoming more pronounced with each new piece of work.  Syd had only seen the work sporadically, when she came home from college on breaks and even then, while she recognized that her mother was slipping into a deranged alter world, she chose to ignore it, chalking it up to creative whim.    Her father had driven to East Lansing to deliver his plan in person.  He was retiring, he was moving to Florida, Jack would finish school there and their mother was being admitted to Lone Pine.  He was matter-of-fact, but calming and careful in his delivery so, somehow, this seemed like the best thing for everyone.  Syd knew her mom was in bad shape, but it was going to be alright, her father said so. 

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Friday, June 1, 2012

When Life Requires a Redirect

I spend a lot of time writing about aging and the unwanted side effects thereof.  And although I am generally ok with the onset of wrinkles, stretch marks, and gravity, I do my best to fight them off.  You see, I really don't feel old.  I still crank the stereo in the car, especially for David Bowie, the Stones, and The Boss.  I avoid the high waisted polyester, elastic banded pants and matching flowered t-shirts.  And I try to be presentable in public whenever possible (except when it's early in the morning and I have to run to the store in jammie pants). Now having said all of that, I have become quite aware of the realities of aging in recent weeks.

My collective group of parents, my own, my in-laws, and my second set (the parents of my BFF) have all had major heart incidents in the past few weeks.  Beginning with my father, who was unable to attend his grandson's wedding due to emergency stint surgery to repair the bypasses he had 12 years ago is doing fine now and doesn't require any extra help.  My BFF's father had to have his defibrillator rewired because it wasn't working correctly, a scary prospect at his age.  While talking to BFF one day about the pains of our aging parents, she announced that when she gets old, she is going to be the crabby old lady who sits on the porch and bitches.  Cars driving too fast? Air horn them.  She will be yelling at neighborhood kids to get off her lawn. And although she is allergic, she might even allow cats to live outside.  Lots of them. Now BFF, is one of the most joyous people I know and she spreads that joy to anyone she talks to, so I was surprised that she felt that way.

My father-in-law had a 5 way bypass last week (what is that, a quintapass? A pentepass?)  He was sent home after 5 days and I went down to Florida for a few days to get the two of them settled,  establish a routine, get the meds sorted and easy to navigate, and provide moral support.  I returned exhausted and made a mental note to stay cheery even though my arthritis is acting up. I also returned because I have my first colonoscopy scheduled in a few days because the docs say I am at "That age".   That age.  I don't feel it - until I start noticing the aches and pains.  I do my best to stave them off.  I did notice, though,  the other day that my phone's ring tone is the theme music to the Cialis commercial.  I don't know when THAT happened but, I am too tired to change it.  Maybe I am "That age".  If so, BFF has a good thing going and I am going to join her on that front porch and help direct traffic surrounded by my dogs.  But first, I need a nap.

BOOKS NEWS:  My current work in progress has suffered from these health setbacks as well.  I am aiming for a Christmas release.  In the meantime you can find my other books here:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day is Not Just a Sunday in May

When my oldest child got engaged fourteen months ago, one of my personal missions was to make sure that the last person I Iooked like was the typical “Mother of the Groom”.   I just don’t feel that old. I didn’t want to look Lie I was trying too hard, I didn’t want to be a MILF, I just didn’t want to look like the dowdy mother of the groom.  I spent the entire year before the wedding contemplating what I would wear - what would be appropriate, not “mothery” (think of the late Queen Mum.)
With great care I shopped the mid-west, I tried on hundreds of dresses that would say, “Yes, I gave birth to the groom” without saying “and I never got my body back” or “I’ve been too busy mothering to care how I look.”  And, I found that dress, a tasteful bronze and champagne gown that allowed my “girls” to defy gravity, and artfully arranged material that covered my middle section.  No dowdy jacket for me (and seriously, at my age, the menopausal heater has kicked on.  A jacket is a torture device), instead, well draped satin and a silk wrap.  
I faithfully appeared in the chair of my personal miracle worker (read, trusted hairdresser) every 5 weeks for color and cutting, ensuring that my long flowing locks remained so in a stylish and age appropriate manner.  We discussed hair options, she even agreeing to drive the 90 miles to Chicago the morning of the wedding to do her magic. 
I searched every shoe store in Chicago, scanned every footwear web site on the nets, stalked the specialty stores for the perfect pair of unmotherly looking shoes to complete the ensemble.  And, I found them!  Ann Klein, a not to high pump with jeweled strap that matched my dress exactly.  These shoes screamed, “BUY ME” and I did.  I even bought them in two sizes, my size and a half size up. . .just in case.  Good thing because the bigger shoes felt better, for about 20 minutes before it became apparent that if I wore the perfect shoes, there would be no Mother of the Groom walking down the aisle - someone would have to carry me.  Plan B, a concession I was sad about, but smart enough to know the importance, blinged out Steve Madden flats.
On The day of the wedding, I stepped into my dress and silk wrap, put my hair in an updo done by my Personal Miracle Worker, had my make-up professionally applied and donned my sparkly flats. I felt like a million bucks.  

Now, a few weeks after the wedding, pictures are coming in and I eagerly and happily add them to my wedding file.  My son and daughter-in-law look genuinely happy.  My younger son, the Best Man looks proud, my husband handsome.  But, in each and every one of those pictures I find myself looking, for all of my stop gap measures, like the Mother of the Groom.  But, you know, I’m not bothered by it.  I WAS the Mother of the Groom. I have never been so happy or proud of my son as I was that day.  I wouldn’t want to look like anyone other than his mother, even if I don’t feel old enough to be that person.
Being a mom is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done and I'll take it thick neck, fat arms and all.
In honor of Mother’s Day, all of my books have been reduce to only .99 each if purchased through Kindle on Amazon.  This special Mother’s Day price will last all week!  Just type Judi Coltman in the Amazon search on the upper left side of this page, it'll take you where you need to go  or go here

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Samantha Brick Thinks SHE Has Problems

Women hate me because I am beautiful.  That's what she said, that's what she wrote and that's what she spent the last week defending on American television as well as in England.  Women hate her because her beauty threatens them in some way.  In fact, her beauty is such a burden that she is often stopped on the street by strangers wanting to give her gifts http:/ has taken a lot of flack about this article, been called narcissistic - a new and useful buzz word, and generally snickered at by millions of women worldwide who have looked at her and thought, "She's attractive, but beauty beyond words?  No."

I sympathize with her.  I really do.  You see, I suffer from a similar affliction.  I have been graced with, well, fabulous fingernails.  I have long nail beds, which means that even at the difficult times when my nails are short, they look long, luxurious even.  I can't tell you the number of times I am stopped in the checkout line of Target by the clerk who comments on their beauty.  I am always gracious but does she not know the torment this causes the others waiting in line?  Not only do they not possess the blessing of the nails, they are now forced to wait while she stops the line to fawn over my hand.  I can feel daggers shooting from their eyes and I want them to know I feel their pain.  They'll never believe me.  I'm sure they think I have it easy when the truth is, my fingernails are a burden.  I can't quickly and easy pick up the odd coin that is laying on the sidewalk.  I struggle with buttons which puts an insurmountable barrier on my wardrobe choices,  a dilemma I find discriminatory.  And my greatest burden is the moral obligation I feel to those less fortunate when they present their backs to me, suffering, begging.  I must heed the call and so, I scratch.

All of those jealous people who scorn my nails and sneer at my perfect manicures with the mistaken belief that I can't possibly expose them to any harsh work conditions - try this one for size.  My chosen work puts my nails at risk every single day posing great challenges to my work product.  I write.  The words in my head flow forth to my fingers that fly over my keyboard but sometimes those nails slide off the keys, the message gets muddled and it looks like this:

Dobn;t hate me because my fibfer nas are beautifyl.

All of that creates EXTRA work for me and less time to scratch the backs of others.  And the girl with the stunningly beautiful face thinks she has problems.

Coltman is the author of two books. Is It Just Me? or Is Everyone a Little Nuts! is a humor book based on her blog. Her most recent book, In The Name Of The Father, is a suspense/thriller that reviewers have called a true page-turner. Both books are available through amazon and Coltman's own website.