The Oscars: Pass the Peanuts & Predictions Please…

“Films and life are like clay, waiting for us to mold it. And when you trust your own insides and that becomes achievement, it’s a kind of principle that seems to me is at work with everyone. God bless that principle… the potential that we all have for making anything possible if we think we deserve it.” Shirley MacLaine, 1983 Academy Awards The Oscars: Best Actress Awards by cliff1066™ via Flickr Like an annual group hug, Oscar night is another time people ...

Reflections: To Live Without Belief…

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” Joan of Arc Reflections: To Live Without Belief... constellation of stars When I read the Daily Post prompt on something we used to believe in, it made me think about the ways I’ve nurtured and discarded beliefs over the years. When I was young, I believed that ...

Peculiar Picture #15

Welcome to my Peculiar Picture Files, where I display one of my illustrations that has yet to find a buyer. This picture is the result of what happens when an artist is bored and doesn’t have a project to work on. I decided to paint a portrait of one of my paintbrushes. I had no idea the result would be so magical and romantic. If you look closely you’ll see that the paint appears to be cracked, as if this were ...

Weird Plants: The Toothache Plant

Toothache Plant, Paracress, inflorescence. Got a toothache? Get yourself the toothache plant! When chewed, the leaves and flower heads contain an analgesic called spilanthol, which is used to numb toothaches. The flowers tend to have a stronger numbing effect than the leaves. The toothache plant, known scientifically as acmella oleracea (formerly Spilanthes oleracea and Spilanthes acmella) is a small flowering herb native to the tropics of Brazil. The plant produces striking yellow and red pompom-like flowers. They will bloom from mid summer to early ...

The Hearts-A-Bursting Plant

Photo credit: Flickr.com Need a heart this Valentine’s Day? This plant is bursting with red hearts! The Euonymus americanus is nicknamed “hearts-a-bursting” or “Bursting Plant,” for its bright, red fruits that split or burst open in the fall. Also known as “Strawberry Bush,” the strawberry-like seed pods will first appear on the stems in mid-summer. Once the seeds have ripened in mid-fall, the red capsules will burst open, dispersing the small orange seeds several feet away. The Hearts-a-Bursting plant is a low-growing, evergreen shrub that ...

Reflections: Making Sure Nothing is Wasted…

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can’t build on it it’s only good for wallowing in.” Katherine Mansfield Reflections: Making Sure Nothing is Wasted... even garbage is golden to someone Thoughts On the Usefulness of What Others Might Consider Waste Sometime last summer, I met a friend for lunch. As we sat on the patio enjoying our meal, there was stream stream of people walking by ...

Weekly Photo Challenge: Old Treasures…

“The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.” Aldous Huxley Weekly Photo Challenge: Old Treasures… fertility dolls For this Daily Post photo challenge on the word old, I sought old treasures to share with you… We all know good things do come in old cases too; fine wine, art, collectibles. Come back later and I’ll share my story of each item featured. We know the ...

On Food: Delicacies For The Strong Stomach

“Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.” Marcus Tullius Cicero On Food: Delicacies For The Strong Stomach... How about snake for lunch? I’m a huge fan of the Travel Channel and the escapades of Andrew Zimmern, Anthony Bourdain and a host of other talented, adventurous gourmands on the show. So the WP prompt on food brought back memories of oddities I’ve tried in my lifetime…  It’s funny that I am now vegetarian but back in the day, ...

7 Questions With an Author: Frank Viola

Bestselling author, speaker and blogger – Frank Viola This post marks another installment of my “7 Questions With an Author…” series, where I ask published authors an unchanging set of questions and share their responses here. Today’s featured author is Frank Viola. Frank is a highly-sought speaker and an incredibly prolific writer with 16 published books so far. His web blog frankviola.org is one of the Top 10 Christian blogs on the Internet. His latest work is a collaboration with Internet rock stars Mike Morrell and Michelle Shaeffer, which ...

7 Questions With an Author: Lori Lowe

Lori Lowe, marriage researcher and author This post marks another installment of my “7 Questions With an Author…” series, where I ask published authors an unchanging set of questions and share their responses here. Today’s featured author is Lori Lowe. Lori has a master’s degree in journalism. She is a marriage researcher, writer, and marketing consultant. She shares advice from experts in the fields of psychology and relationships at her blog, www.MarriageGems.com, where you can find hundreds of research-based marriage tips to boost ...

Progress on First Novel, Part 2

This picture represents the stage I’m in with my first novel, which is entering its sixth draft. The flowers, perky and well-defined, are the plot points and characters; the pond, housing myriad underwater minerals and plants and animals, is the mind that imagined the story. The setting overall represents the combination of steady and fragile feelings as I take the plunge and start contacting agents. Here’s my current query letter, which I’m sending out this week to a selected list. Do ...

Awesome Wedding Proposal

Here is one of the most memorable and unexpected marriage proposals I've ever seen. It's only a minute long and worth every second. To tee it up, the guy is named Josh and he has invited a bunch of friends for a seemingly delightful gathering atop a four-story building. The rest is "cruel" magic.... Question: How did you propose or how were you proposed to?

My Pinterest Boards

This photo is one of my “No Comment” pins What I love about Pinterest is its hit-or-miss attitude. There’s no pressure to pin on any schedule or with any intention of finding closure. It’s an option that accommodates spur-of-the-moment captures as well as planned collections. The latter are sometimes secret boards; for instance I’ve got a hidden board going called Great Wharf that puts me in mind of the setting of my novel When Mrs. Cook Got Out More. If you haven’t ...

Another 10 Troubling Texting Phrases Parents Must Know…

Most kids are back to school this week. That means they’re getting a healthy dose of reading, writing and arithmetic. It also means that they’re probably getting exposed to an unhealthy amount of texting and/or sex texting (a.k.a. sexting). As I’ve written before, one of the biggest gaps in my knowledge as a parent happens to be texting phrases and instant messaging (IM) shortcuts that teens and preteens are using these days. While neither of our school-age daughters (10 and eight respectively) currently ...

On the Psychiatric Couch: Winnie the Pooh

Pooh Bear, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore I'm not a licensed psychiatrist, a practicing psychologist or a certified counselor. However, I've seen a few psychological thrillers including The Prestige, Memento and Silence of the Lambs, and I've also read an article or two in an old issue of Psychology Today at my dentist's office. Given those credentials, I believe that I'm more than qualified to dispense clinical diagnoses for fictional characters. That's why I decided to start this new series titled On the Psychiatric Couch.... The ...

Super Bowl vs. Valentine’s Day: Wedded Blisster – #14

Here’s the latest episode in my “Wedded Blisster Series” of animated movie shorts. Marriage is bliss, but these mini-movies I make have a humorous take on some of the blisters that couples face along their blissful way. Episode #14 looks at the tension between the “guy holiday” of Super Bowl Sunday versus the “gal holiday” of Valentine’s Day.   Links to my other recent Wedded Blisster episodes follow the video below. Tim Tebow Football Fever – episode #13 Honey Do List – episode #12 Black ...

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Grace and Poise on a Book Tour

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Lily King taught a week-long class I took in 2011 at the Stonecoast Writers Conference offered by the University of Southern Maine. (I blogged about it here and here.) Her students loved her. She shared personal pieces of herself alongside the professional, such that we could understand this important concept: Neither writing nor a life of writing is easy for anyone, but if it’s what you want to do, it’s yours to …

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We’ll Meet Again

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I have been AWOL for a few weeks, I hope some of you have missed me… I have been busy working on a tender document which has proved much more difficult than I ever imagined when agreeing to do it. I mean, three weeks of my life is too much to spend on writing something that I didn’t enjoy. It has been submitted now, at 11.45 am to be precise so I’m free now to write something I do enjoy enormously… …

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New Trailer Now Out for “Gone Girl”

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Usually I’m a stickler for a movie representing the book, especially when it carries the same title. I was not pleased when the film The Shining changed what happened somewhere in the middle; it put me on the edge of my seat the rest of the time, since it didn’t follow what author Stephen King had written on some key point. I guess that’s why they changed it, so I’d still be scared. And it …

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The ‘why’ is the easy bit, the ‘what’ a little harder to understand

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I started my blog exactly five years ago this weekend. I had been thinking about retirement as my husband had taken early retirement and wanted me to do the same. I had read reports in the press of the increasing numbers of people approaching retirement age, who wanted to carry on working, in some cases they just had to. I wasn’t ready to retire then and I’m not now, but I thought that I …

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A change of style and a twist

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I’m waiting at the station. Penny is late. We agreed to meet at 10.00 the train leaves at 10.15 and it’s now ten past. I fiddle with the strap of my overnight bag, I do not feel comfortable waiting here on my own, but it is something I have had to get used to. Being on my own. I thought Penny was different from the rest, she is such a good listener and always says the right thing. She bolsters my …

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Where are the words?

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What am I scared of? There is an endless pool of words waiting to be written, but they refuse to take to the page. The only emotion that surfaces during the process is terror – why? It has been about four weeks since I worked on either of my books, and to say my posting on this blog has basically been non-existent is possibly an understatement. Initially I could blame being …

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Junk Mail Junkies

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The corner of Roy’s mouth tipped up in a crooked grin as he looked around at Harry’s latest pigsty. It was a Goldenwest singlewide. The natural wood grain was photographed veneer but glued nicely from floor to ceiling. Panel so thin it cracked from the sound of a loud fart. Harry’s chihuahua, Halapeeno, had done a keen job on the carpet. He liked to dig and since Harry didn’t …

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