Thursday, December 30, 2021

The sweetest chaos

 New year, new adventures.

Soon, this will be my main place. The best room in the house with all the light. Half of what's here now will be gone to make way for a bed. I have SO much extraneous stuff there have been zero pangs around shoving things into black plastic garbage bags. 

We are shifting our comfort zones to circle the wagons and welcome Jake, Missy & Charlie here while they hunt for a place of their own which, I'm glad they discovered, is not something to do under any kind of rush.

There's nothing like company coming to make me dig in and try to undo the years of sloth I've permitted.  We are still a few steps above Gray Gardens.  Long put-off renovations are underway. A 15-yard dumpster will be plopped in the driveway sometime next week. I think we should have gotten a bigger one. 

And to add to the circus, the little one was rescued by the big one from the airport runway. Too small to tell if it's male or female, it's just Kitteh for the time being. Don't tell the others!

It will be something to have him around full time, if only for a few months,


Friday, December 24, 2021

on the Eve

I love watching it cycle through the color phases. Made it very hard to choose a representative picture, but it's been a kind of blue Christmas. They all are, lo these many years.

But I'm mindful that it's a kids' holiday at its best.

Last year I consolidated all my ornaments down to one sturdy box about a foot square. I also trashed all the decrepit glass balls and half-failed strings of lights.

Colin found strings of led lights that run on just a few batteries that would last forever if I could locate the controls.

Charlie has an eye for spacing out the pretties for good coverage.

Young Jedi in training with what appears to be the ghost of his grandfather looking on. Really, a blurry shot of his uncle, Colin.

So much of Christmas is about nostalgia. We all have our own perspectives on the same moment. My sisters both look like they would have been better off sleeping in. I was already deep into chapter one of "King of the Wind" by Marguerite Henry. I still have it but it's in rough shape.

And my all-time favorite Christmas memory was finding a plastic turtle with a diamond ring tied around its neck with a little piece of ribbon in the bottom of my Christmas stocking. Not understanding the significance until he put it on my finger and asked me for forever. Much later that same morning we told my parents. Somehow we look like we had already seen deep into the future and found it to be as good as it gets.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Scribblers blues

 A weeklong struggle to come up with what  self-published marketers call a "reader magnet" ended in a stalemate. 

testing solar Christmas

An RM is a freebie designed to get readers to sign up on your email list which hopefully will lead to some of them actually buying your books. I am not playing the game well.

Oh, I strapped up and went after the words alright. Got down a 5K kernel that turned out to be the many roomed ground floor of the next volume of Prophets Tango. No way any of it is throwaway. I just can't work like that. 

What is going to happen is like the steel spine of one of the more formidable modern rollercoasters; beginning, the myriad middle twists and rolls, to the kind of end where the riders get off and toss back a cold one as they run to line up for another ride. 

How it will happen?  Story will run riot round that framework organically. I'm letting Life take my players through the paces of change as wild as Kudzu;  growth, bloom, wither, die and be reborn.

Our five dollar Charlie Brown balsam fir! Way to wait, House Lacativa

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

the mid-week stroll


I have never let the holidays make me scramble. If the spirit moves me, maybe. Not forcing stuff - stitching, writing, decorating - is The Way, for me.  If it mattered more, I'd set up the Festivus pole. 

I think part of this contrarian attitude comes from spending my whole adult working life in jobs where I almost always had to work on the holidays. All of them, because if I had to spend 40 hours a week away from my family, at least I would get double time for one or two of those days. 

At least this year I can say, I've gotten all the gift getting stuff out of the way. There will be no last-minute dashes to any big box emporium of bad behavior. 

Thank you Liz for reminding me that I have always been a writer. Everyone is poking around in the web's closets lately. It makes me wistful

Treated myself to fresh bedding over the weekend and these two pillows are fully utilitarian now. Feathers inside, they punch up beautifully and I can get lost in marvelling at my own handiwork. I can remember the acute discipline of my"every stitch matters" mantra. And backing out the crappy ones that happened when my mind wandered. There are no rough drafts when you stitch text.

For lack of anything else to hold on to, I thought about making another sampler, but no burning words of wisdom came to mind, so, there's no forcing this either.

I love watching "firsts". He's getting pretty adventurous, foodwise. We still crack jokes about okra being the gateway to food hell. 

When all else fails, be useful. I packed the entire contents of the scrap basket into ready-to-ship bundles.  Now I can't be snatching bits out and sneaking them into the River Basket. 

The next post office run is Friday.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021


 I would never say that to anyone else, but Keep it Simple, Stupid is what seems to give me the most trouble lately. 

From overwrought stitching to overthought writing, it's so easy for me to get caught up in the details and ignore the big picture.

I don't even know what I want from these two small pieces of cloth right now, so I'm tucking them away together until this warp and weft level of fretting goes away.

I'm supposed to be writing a Christmas story, so of course, I feel it necessary to go all O'henry on it.  

He sells or loses something so he can give her this or that which she no longer needs get the drift. 

I'm already bored. 

Sunday, December 05, 2021

bits & starts

I'm packing up some scrap bundles for a few recent orders. KL, these will be in one of the two bundles headed your way, mid-week.

There's quite a bit of linen in the basket. Less vintage damask. A lot of vintage cottons and a smattering of silk. That poor bride's bloomers and other lingerie mixed in. 

The scrap basket is three-quarters full so there's plenty and if I get stuff to the post office by the end of the upcoming week, they will hopefully arrive in time to entertain you during the holidays.

Sit by your fires or under your suns and stitch.

                                                                        Email me to order.

Whoops...this tiny bit of satin ribbon said, "NO! you must keep me with you. I want to be a bookmark."

okay, then. 

Friday, December 03, 2021

From How High?

 I'm done trying to force this one. 

Compose in haste, repent in long hours of frustration and regret, 'cause you don't just gesso over or hit delete when it comes to hand stitching.

Again, the problem of scale when it comes to cloth and thread. Out of a need to just make something, I got sucked into the square inch dilemma, seeing only what was locked into the hoop. 

Outcome? A big mess that is about to become a very serviceable pillow. 

I've been doing the same thing with the writing. The big picture is not resolving by sketching elaborate  scenarios for the players. There's no end to that shit! I've always had diarrhea of the imagination. I'm having trouble finding the very necessary middle ground between being a plotter and a pantser. 

It's day eight of the kind of cold that pretty much leaves you alone once you get up and have some coffee. Then, come late afternoon, it blooms in your head like a noxious fungus leaking out of your eyes and nose. 

Sorry about that.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Peaceable kingdom

 Another day of recuperation. The sun streams into the studio until noon. Thought I would listen to some music and see how stitching would feel. 

Mighty Madam Salem beat me to the stitching chair. She normally gets up and goes when I ask. Not today.

Things quickly got worse.

Until finally...with gratitude to C. for hoisting Sweetie into the catbird seat and capturing an unprecedented moment. Did I mention they merely tolerate one another? No stitching today.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Thanksgiving 1956

 I can't imagine who was attached to the hand in the left forefront. My baby sister Patty was tied to the kitchen step stool. That hand was probably assigned to keep her on the seat. Pat had been recently bumper from the Little Darling spot by my baby brother Rob, the baby in my dad's arms, my mother right across from them. 

My aunt Vera next to Mom (was that a smile? Not likely.) Across from her, the portly Clark Gable, my Uncle Bob. The man beside me, Grampa, and across from me, my sister Kitty. We couldn't quite kick each other under the table but I'll bet we tried.

I remember these meals as occasions where we would have to choose the least noxious vegetable to make our plate look like a balanced meal. As this was likely my grandparent's house, we were in for trouble. Turnips, pearl onions, lima beans, cooked carrots! {shudder}

Of course, it was my Grandma Nelly, nabbing history with her beloved Brownie box camera. Again.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

the slog

I really wanted to sit with cloth and thread today - any day this week - but there's been no time, and due to a very graceful, slo-mo fall I took last week, my right shoulder is complaining about lifting and holding anything, even a threaded needled,  for more than a few seconds at a time. Typing is doable. 

These days, a big chunk of a writer's time has to be given over to things that used to be handled by a publisher, if you were lucky enough to land one. On the front end, among many other things, editing ( I feel, yah, Dee). And on the back end, marketing. (I wonder just how many of those commas were in the right place?)

Before I forget, today is the last day you can get all three e-books of Prophets Tango for free

The 'Zon lets us run a sale like this once every 90 days and for those of you who don't know, writers still earn money based on the number of pages read. No king's ransom, but I'll take it. So we take this gamble if we think we've written a page-turner. I can't imagine reading a book that wasn't. 

Yes, I've rented my soul to the devil (Amazon) for a second ninety-day hitch. A commitment that keeps me from selling books elsewhere, but it's about the only way a self-published author can make any waves these days and there are a lot of friggin' fish in the sea. 

So this whole week, which I really only picked out of the blue, has been a study in timing. Between tending Charlie (who gifted me this lovely cold), prepping, and cooking for Thanksgiving, I've been haunting the

web, dropping links, sending emails, yadda yadda yadda. And lest we forget, the night job at the whine mine, no days off for the holiday. 

I am so ready to crawl into a hole on a beach and just wait for high tide. 

Christmas decorations? Shopping? Fuggedaboutit for now.

How do you like my solution for not being able to lift the bird in order to make gravy? 

Friday, November 26, 2021


The furnace murmurs on under the house. All three cats are on the bed, their ongoing war silenced. The house smells like Bell Seasoning and dark, greasy gravy with the promise of cold turkey sandwiches. 

My people near and far enjoying the blessings of comfort, 'enough', and safety.

Today a headache and sore throat keep me in bed with the cats. A fever reminds me that my body knows what to do.  What I used to tell the babies. "Close eyes. Sleep now." 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

moving on


Still my favorite mood lifter-driving. I don't need to speed to get the mind groove correction., but this little stretch of parkway maybe a mile from home begs for it. Late at night, I can hear the rice racers winding up and letting it out with the occasional wail of sirens for flavor.

I'm starting to think about the ocean again. The Gulf of Mexico is only six hours away. 
Plans are good. 

Words are starting to flow again. It's all good. 

If the weather kept you from seeing the recent eclipse, here's Colin's capture from the airport. I wish I'd forced myself out in the cold to see it live. taken my Tarot cards out for a moon bath, but it was near freezing by the time he got this shot.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

more than memory


I love the expression, "May his memory be a blessing".    I try to keep it that way, but Fb will reliably dish up the rough stuff. 

His face here, the day of Jake & Missy's wedding, two weeks before he died. I wouldn't see it before. Refused to see he was saying goodbye. 

Lately, everything has been a struggle so I'm just going to let grief have its minute. 

Then regroup.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Black & white


Words on a page. Catching ideas flying around like biker butterflies.

Beautiful, but averse to order. I have what you want. Settle and let me show you how it will be.

Friday, November 12, 2021

A week zips by


The face you make when you favorite readers turn up unscathed after being lost all summer.

We had a sleepover with a digital learning day attached. I do not know how one person herds 30 little through these hoops every day. By noon, recess and lunch were my favorite subjects. We took it to the park.

Marketing in the dark

      Once upon a time (after a one-night stand) Paranormal Romance had a baby with Thriller. Being a dog, Thriller ghosted her. Knowing she was unfit for parenthood, PNR gave the child to Magical Realism and her mack daddy, Literary Fiction. In no time, they threw up their hands and gave up trying to contain the wild child genre and still haven't named her. Suggestions welcome. 

~~~signed, an author in a very dark marketing place.

"Take the green pill. Run with your eyes closed. Flap until you fly." DL


      Wrote this before coffee and after pondering a marketing webinar presented in so much jargon that I have to re-enroll in the dummies level class to make sense of this one. I just want to sit on a bench and read it aloud to small groups. That being said, I've tentatively arranged a signing/reading at a local bookstore, Phoenix & Dragon. No time for the willies and it's a wonderful place just wallowing in good vibes. As to what I might be reading, that's going to take some study. 

Monday, November 08, 2021

the remains


That's the lot of them. Unless I start looking at them again.

Lots of cloth still.

Post offices runs are on Fridays.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Intention and line


Playing at creating lives and worlds in a story is heady business. Real life, the wins and losses, keeps my feet on the ground.
The line, or veil, between we in the now, and those who have gone before is a theme that I'm exploring in the next book. 

Structuring it is not a big problem as it's a continuation of the first (three). We think we know the players and their goals, but they will surprise us. 

Keeping the Story on the rails is a course in self discipline for me. I tend to wander. Characters and plot take over and want to have their say. 

This time, I'll acknowledge that growth and likely wind up writing two or three books at once. One of them (mostly completed) reaches back in time before the first. Who doesn't like some juicy back story?  

Intentional lines get us from one point to another.  The trick is to make the trip as entertaining as the destination. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

the switch

 was flipped sometime in the night.

 Yesterday was a rare one. Chill enough for boots and long sleeves in the morning. Warm in the bright sun, a cool breeze tickled in the shade. My gardenias, marigolds and purslane still gallantly flowering. 

I drove with all ports wide and made a hot, catch-me-if-you-can loop down the parkway and back ending at the turtle park. 

It's been over a year since I walked there. One foot in front of the other, I made the very short walk around the pond with only one catch my breath stop, the movement more shaking off the cobwebs in my brain than pushing my body. 

I'd been smug about having book four in the can, or rather, jotted down on a clutch of index cards. A thing I never did before. Not quiet plotting. 

Still, it was big progress. But the walking mode showed me the finale and it was not a happy ending which means it's not the end at all and I have to dive back in. 

The temps dropped overnight and today is a pj's and soup day - cold with rain the whole day. Perfect all on its own. Cats all spread out snoring. For this moment, some stitch and some jazz.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

those guys

 I don't know about the rest of you, but I have been thoroughly enjoying the Boys of Summer! Last night I got together with a friend. had good food and fun and watched the Atlanta Braves get us to the World Series for the first time since 1999! It was a nail-biter! 

In a totally different sphere of sport, I have been internet stalking this guy, (Oh, you wouldn't? Liar!)      I somehow stumbled across a picture of him while prospecting for an actor to play the main character in my novel.

A couple of my beta readers agreed, Joel Poland, 2021 Overall World Champion waterskier (of all damned things) is THE GUY. 

Tough luck chica. He's not an actor, but an athlete performing at the peak of his sport. Oh damn well, he's fun to watch, and I love that I was able to watch the finals live while I was away, if only on my phone. Send it, JP! 

Update. Somebody wants to be a movie star.