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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who Am I???


I spent half my childhood in California and half on a tropical island (sounds rough, doesn't it?). I wanted to be a mommy, writer, poet and artist, in that order, but an unfortunate lack of eye-hand coordination eliminated "artist" from my list.  I followed my heart and married my firefighter-cum-Coast Guardsman boyfriend, who is the inspiration for my heroes. I write scary, funny romantic suspense novels with paranormal elements. For unknown reasons, dogs have infiltrated every manuscript. I write because I can't help it, and it's more fun than most of the alternatives.

Please join me at Romancing the Genres, the new group blog I'm starting with Judith Ashley! 


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Friday, September 24, 2010

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


It had to happen sooner or later, I guess. Even an upbeat incurable optimist has the occasional bad day, although it takes a lot to get us down.
Yesterday, a lot happened.
First, bugs invaded the cereal - and as it turned out, everything else in the pantry that wasn't sealed in an airtight container. EWWW!!!
Then I received notice of editor rejections for not one, but TWO of my manuscripts.
Holding onto chipper optimism by the skin of my teeth, I emailed a partial submission that an agent had requested. She wanted fifty pages and a query letter sent in the body of the email. There are so many ways that can go wrong that I'm not even going to try list them. I blind-copied myself (because I believe in computer gremlins), opened the copy when it arrived in my inbox, and discovered that the whole thing was centered and looked ridiculous, not to mention so hard to read that no sane agent would even bother to try.
Then my beloved cat, Freckles, gave me a hint as to why dogs have worked their way into my heart. He threw up a load of pilfered dog food on my computer cord connections. Despite my diligent efforts to clean all the gunked-up nooks and crannies, my pc insists that an unknown device has taken over one of my usb ports and I can no longer access my printer.
*SIGH*
So I whined to my sister during our online chat and sent her a sad blue emoticon. And I whined to my writing buddies and I whined to my DH and I whined to my perfect dog, Penny. I listened to all their words of wisdom and encouragement and went for a walk in the park and basked in Penny's unconditional love.
Then I fiddled with the email and re-sent it with the words Reformatted Willamette Partial Request in the subject line. The second time, I eluded the gremlins.
I threw away the insect-infested food and cleaned the pantry and sprayed the shelves for bugs, then laid down fresh shelf liners and re-organized and enjoyed feeling virtuous.
I picked another editor to query.
And when I found ants on the kitchen counter, I searched out their nefariously-clever entry point (an outlet cover) and foiled them before they could do any real harm.
I decided the unknown device and printer problems weren't going anywhere, so I curled up with my own personal Hero and my naughty cat on the sofa and watched Warehouse 13.
And today, which was tomorrow last night, is a very good day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

For All You Twilight Fans

When we spotted this beached boat along the Oregon Coast, my DH couldn't resist snapping a few photos. Is this picture a great metaphor or what?
Plus, such an awesome name for a boat. What a great title for a book! :)
Do you have any picture metaphors to share?
(If we can't upload photos in a blog comment, upload it to your own blog/website/Facebook Page and postthe URL in your comment.)


Friday, August 27, 2010

Truckers, Don't Make Me Come Back to Haunt You!

(Courtesy of www.FreeFoto.com )
Yesterday, I nearly (and unexpectedly) joined the Real World Dead (as opposed to the FaceBook Dead, from which I recently arose to live a second life). Real World death is permanent. And we are always just one misstep away from Eternity.

What does this have to do with truckers?

Yesterday, my mortal body was almost life-suckingly mashed inside my Jeep, squashed with my vehicle between a big blue semi and a concrete freeway wall. The Coroner would have had the unpleasant task of prying the remains of my cold, dead hands out of whatever was left of my twisted steering wheel.

Instead of blogging, I would be sending messages of comfort and love from the Other Side to my DH - and haunting a certain dumb-!?#@&! truck driver for the rest of his earthly life. His keys would have a way of disappearing from his pockets. His tires would have a way of going flat in rest stop parking lots. His logbooks would have a way of drawing the attention of regulators.

I would get him off the road.

Luckily, I can't do that. Miraculously, I'M ALIVE!!!
So here's a message to all you road warriors out there:

Mirrors are not the mack truck equivalent of bling.
They have a purpose.
They prevent those missteps that boot mortals into the Hereafter.

Use them wisely, or else.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Balloons from the Other Side

First, let’s get one thing straight.

Messages from the Next Life don’t usually come in the form of email, snail mail, or phone calls (but I’ve learned to never say never). The Afterlife probably has immutable Rules that govern one’s actions, just as in this life gravity happens and fire burns. That doesn’t mean the people who have moved on don’t try to offer comfort, assistance, and the occasional laugh to their loved ones.

It means they have to get creative.

In my last post I told you about a message of comfort my father sent when my mother was hospitalized for a life-threatening infection. The statistically-improbable (as in billions-to-one odds) pattern of meaningful family names he created by manipulating nurses’ work schedules (and probably a whole lot of other minor events and inclinations) was a sign that comforted me.

Signs from the Afterlife come in an infinite variety. The trick is to recognize them while maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism. Sometimes, once a sign has been used, it will be repeated as a shared reference in future communication.

My father was a career pilot. He loved to fly almost as much as he loved his family. When he was dying of cancer, he hoped to regain enough strength to soar above Oregon’s high desert one more time—in a hot air balloon. Unfortunately, he waited too long to be able to accomplish his goal.

Fast forward six months and two thousand miles to my youngest son’s house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The kids had climbed in bed with their parents because it was a Sunday morning. No one had to get up early.

Then the danged Siamese cat jumped onto the bed. Instead of pouncing on someone to wake them up, he ignored them all and he walked across them to the window. Then he stood on his hind legs and checked out the back yard.

Whipping his tail back and forth, he yowled like a banshee. After a minute or two, three-year-old Lily checked to see what had scared him. “Mommy, Daddy, look! Look!” Her mother sat up with a yawn and turned around.

A rainbow-striped hot air balloon was landing in their back yard. How often does that happen?

Fast forward five years to my mother’s hospital room. Dr. Boddie (pronounced body; you gotta love the irony) explains that my mom’s condition is deteriorating. Her severe sinus infection may have spread into her spinal fluid, causing meningitis. He needs to do a spinal tap to be sure so he will know how to proceed with her treatment.

I held Mom’s hand as they rolled her to a procedure room where they would draw fluid from her spinal canal. My throat ached with fear. I closed my eyes and mentally reached out into the ether. Tell me she’s going to be alright, Dad. We stopped. I opened my eyes and looked inside the procedure room.

A poster of five hot air balloons soaring high above the ground greeted me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Message from the Other Side


Here it is, the blog you've been waiting for, Terri!

Here's my account of the amazing, magical, loving, and slightly freaky way my father comforted me from the Other Side (of death, for those of you without access to tv, radio, print media, or the internet) while my mother hovered on the brink of death herself.

Sorry my post is a day late; this is my second crack at posting this blog. Yesterday my internet connection went belly up just as I finished typing. I couldn't even save, let alone post this.

* Keep in mind what some tv character on some show I watched last week said: "One connection to an event is a coincidence, two is a pattern, three is a plan."

My father died six years ago, but he's still around, keeping an eye on his loved ones. Sometimes I recognize signs of his presence. He definitely offered me some comfort the week Mom fought an uncertain battle against a life-threatening infection .

When my husband and I arrived the day after Mom was admitted to the hospital, her nurse's name was Diana. Not Diane, Diana. That's my only sister's name.

I smiled at the coincidence.

Later, Mom's condition worsened. She was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. Her new nurse was named Sally. That's my childhood nickname; my Dad always called me Sally.

I remember thinking, O-kay, Dad; is this your doing?

The next day I received a resounding "Yes."

Mom's new nurse's name was Catherine. Guess what Mom's name is? Yup! She never goes by Cathy; always Catherine. With a 'C'. Just like her nurse.

I found it comforting that Dad was watching over Mom and would be there if she lost the battle with the killer bacteria - which, I'm happy to report, she eventually won.

Another nurse was named Lisa, like Dad's eldest granddaughter. One was Amy, which was an inside joke that I'm not going to explain. Yes, people keep a sense of humor in the Afterlife.

I admit some nurses had names I felt no connection with, like hunky Nurse Dave from the previous post.

Wait a minute...I take that back. Dad was a professional pilot. My daughter's first husband, also a pilot, is a Dave. I hadn't made the connection until now.

When I saw the balloons, I knew Dad was telling me Mom would be okay. I'll tell you about them next week.