Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ringing in 2012

As 2011 fades in to the past, I am thankful for my family and friends. They are what makes it all worthwhile.

I have accomplished much this year. I've found a publisher, increased my reputation as reviewer, and added many to my writing family. There is life in retirement.

2012 holds many promises. Winter in a new place...hopefully warm. A book coming out in early 2012. One more short story to finish. I know I have at least two novels to review. Who knows what other excitement there is in store for me. I will take it as it comes.

I am hoping that all of you a safe and happy New Year. I also hope that 2012 brings you health, happiness, and prosperity.

TTFN

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Time for a Book Review

The Broken Sword by Liane Moonraven
Unforgettable Books Inc


Riveting story, gripping suspense, could not put it down. Liane crafts characters who are believable for their flaws, as well as their strength in adversity.

Lady Carlota is feminine without being simpering. She is strong of mind and body. She is quick to defend her Arthur and his knights. Her kindness wins her more affection than even she can imagine.

Arthur is not blind to the beauty of his wife. He is smart enough to teach her defense methods should an enemy attack her. He is a loyal man and respected by his men. He has a sixth sense for danger before it happens, yet needs time to figure out where. Once he does there is no other course of action for him.

Mathias, the villain, in a knight’s disguise is wonderfully written. When we first meet him we love him. As a young man he seems kind and gracious. When he disappears it makes us wonder if this was his plan all along. In his heart he knew she would go on with her life, but never expected that life to be lived out in front of him.

The events that threw Carlota, Arthur, and Mathias together set in motion what would make or break the sanctity of the round table. The book was very hard to put down. I enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to the next book.

Now you must know that this book has not yet been released. I promise to revisit this blog again when it is.

TTFN

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Good Life

When I was about ten, I had a teacher who left a permanent mark on my life. I'm not really sure why. She caught me talking to my best friend Patty. She caught me passing notes to Patty. She caught me not paying attention. Every time she caught me doing something I had to write my multiplication facts ten times from 0 through 12.

Mary Jane Porter was my fourth grade teacher. We have kept in touch since I was in college. She was very happy that I went into teaching. She had a great deal of respect for mother who was also a teacher. She was full of praise when she got my first book. She was widowed young. After she retired but still young. She live a full life. She had retired to Florida and I promised myself the next time I went I'd visit her.

Today I received a Christmas card from someone I didn't know. That person apologized for not getting a hold of me a year ago, when her mother, Mary Jane Porter, died. It seems Mary Jane had fallen and broken her wrist. While in the hospital awaiting surgery her heart gave out. She would have been 92 this year. Her daughter assured me that she'd had a long and good life.

I regret not making that trip to Florida. I should have done it years ago. Too late now. Although Mary Jane may now rest with the angels. She will always be a part of my heart. For all those years ago when she made me write my multiplication tables, she was teaching me math. While I chose to teach English, math was not a problem for me. (Geometry doesn't count). What was a punishment was also a lesson in memorization. I had students who liked to quiz me on multiplication facts because I knew them so fast. My grandchildren still like to stump me. So, even though she's gone she left a legacy in a number of children. Many of whom may or may not remember her. I'm just glad I knew her.

If there is someone in your life that you should see. Do it. You never know when they might be gone. RIP Mrs. Porter.

TTFN

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Delayed Post

I haven't blogged for a day or two. Think I have all the ranting out of my system for a while. Actually am feeling rather up...very strange for this time of year for me. Knock on wood, am hoping it lasts.

Have my 'to do' list made and some of the things checked off. It is less daunting this way. I know if I don't make the list I will be sure to lose something or forget something. For now I'd settle for all the Christmas gifts wrapped and waiting to be loaded in the trunk. I'd also like to see Megan's birthday gifts wrapped and in the trunk.

Beyond that life is good. Ran into a friend at the post office and got to wish her a Merry Christmas today. That was good, as I really thought we'd miss each other. Things are looking up.

My brother has arrived for the holidays. That is always a good sign. I look forward to seeing him after the holidays as I make my way south.

My mailbox runneth over with Christmas cards today. I still love snail mail. It's so much more personal. Besides, it's the once of year catch up with all my out of state friends and their families.

So, if I don't post again before Chritmas may yours be blessed and filled with love and memories.

TTFN

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Hate Change

I am the first to admit I dislike change...most of the time. I like moving from the cold in Michigan to some warm destination for winter. I love the change in the seasons.

But this Facebook craze with it's constant changes. Goes to show what happens when children are in charge. Everything has to change constantly. They live in the gratify me NOW world. I don't live there. I believe simple is best. I like simple, I understand simple. Anymore I only deal with complex when writing a scene in a book. I've made my life simple. I like it that way.

So, on Dec 22nd or there about when Facebook makes all its users got to the timeline thing. I will be done. I'll leave my book profile up and the one for the women's writing group. But the other is way too much information. I have deleted most of the information part of my profile. I did that for a reason. I don't want random photos of me popping up. I like my privacy, too. This is stepping over the line. I have other social networks I can use.

I am also in the process of setting up a new website. I'm hoping to have that up soon after the first of the year. It will contain my current blog, so you won't have to go looking for me. That is unless the only place you read me is on Facebook. Because I won't be there anymore. Might be a good time to subscribe to the blog before you lose me and have to go searching.

That's another whole item. I get a headache just looking at Facebook now. I cannot imagine the mess this timeline thing will create. Saving my eyes and sanity for the important things.

TTFN

Friday, December 9, 2011

Trying to Beat the Holiday Blues

I love Christmas. It is one of the most wonderful times of the year. Many years I have been blessed at Christmas. This year was one of them. In doing a good deed for a friend and her family, it came back to me tenfold. Something I had not expected.

I also hate the holiday season. It makes me blue. I used to blame it on moving to a new area when I started 7th grade. I figured out last year that this was not the case. It had to do with losing a loved one the day after Christmas when I was younger. I hoped that knowing the cause of my blues would help me to fight them. So far, it's not working.

I don't put a tree anymore. What's the point? No one comes here for Christmas. No one has for years. I go to my daughter's on Christmas Eve and we then all go to my sister's where the family gathers Christmas day. It's a wonderful time with family. But I am usually ready to turn in and be away from people by 5pm. No offense to my family. Christmas is the only time I see some of my nieces and nephews.

I thought about putting up a tree again. Then decided that was senseless. I am leaving right after Christmas for the winter. Why go to all that trouble to have to pack it up, while I am trying to pack for going away. Nope, just did not make sense to me.

I generally spend Christmas Eve by myself. My daughter and her family go spend Christmas Eve with friends. We used to do a Christmas Eve service but that has gone by the wayside. Some traditions last and some don't.

So before I become too maudlin, I'm going to sign off. Wishing everyone a very safe and Merry Christmas.

TTFN

Monday, December 5, 2011

GRRRR

Have spent the entire day reading the new pension tax law. I hate the Michigan legislature. Starting with the worthless human inhabiting the governors office. He ranks right up there with the worthless president and congress. Yes, I did use lower case letters.

I am going to make it on my retirement. I got my first 3% raise in Jan. That is the raise I will get every year from now on. Oh....wait....put on the breaks....I just lost it and then some. The raise was no big deal. It was one light bill payment a month. Which means that amount could be tacked onto another bill. I am good with that. However the legislature and the current idiot in the governors office believes that you take from those with the least amount of money and give to those with the most. So in Jan. he's going to tax my pension by 4.35%. He will kindly lower it to 4.25% in Jan. 2013. Wait....that means he's taking my 3% and then an additional 1.35%. How does this work. I just lost the light bill and the light bill again. That now has to come out of food money. Hmmm....guess I'll continue to lose weight won't I.

What it really means is that in order to pay my bills the extra $100 to pay down my mortgage is gone. It will be needed for bills. I still put money in savings but I refuse to lower that. I might need it at some point.

See this new tax does not effect people born before 1946. It directly impacts the baby boomers. If you were lucky enough to be born between 1946 and 1952, you get a $20,000 exemption if you are single and a $40,000 if you are married. If you were born after 1952, you are screwed. There is no exemption until you are 67 and if you exempt your pension then he's going to tax your social security. Don't kid yourself. He's taxing social security from the minute you draw it. And if you have a 401K he's taxing that too. So much for having put away money to support yourself. He's hitting baby boomners the hardest.

Well this baby boomer will give him one year. She's got her house up for sale and is moving to a state that does not tax pensions....maybe one that has no income tax at all. Yes, I'm doing my research. It's been nice knowing you all. I might be back some day for a visit. But once I move, I will never live here again.

TTFN

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sliding Into the Week-end

It's been a busy week. Some of Christmas is coming together. I am still on the look out for a new laptop. Time is running out for both.

Started a site on Facebook for people to do advance reviews on my next book. I am excited that we can do reviews from the galley proof. It will be exciting to have reviews on the cover. It feels like things are finally coming together with my writing. That is an accomplishment.

I have located the mouse door. Hopefully Dad will get up here this weekend and we can close it permanently. I sooooo hate rodents. Mice being at the top of the rodent list. Traps are out and doing their job until this is taken care of.

I need to unearth a box of crochet cotton to finish a project. I believe it is in my upstairs closet. I will do that later tonight. The project is in it's final stages of completion. I won't be sorry to see it done.

I took a step out of my comfort zone this week. Baby steps will be needed to see if this is what is needed in my life. So far it has been positive.

I am ready to start packing, but it is too soon. I will wait at least until next weekend to begin that. Deciding what to take and how much will keep me occupied along with gift wrapping. As long as the snow holds off I'll be fine.

TTFN

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mouse Trap Monday and Other Mundane Things

I was not pleased to come home from a wonderful week-end with family to find that the mice have returned. You'd think they'd get the message....no rent, money for utilities, no home. Yet here they are again. So, today I was out buying mouse traps. Why don't they ever go on sale?

I also did a little bit of Christmas shopping. One gift out of the way and materials to finish a gift. So, that part wasn't too bad. Just a couple more things on my list and I can start wrapping. Oh, yes and don't forget the Christmas cards. I'll be starting those as soon as I finish this blog.

Speaking of finishing things. My publisher has edited my entire novel. I think that means we are to the final edits and possibly a cover? Woo Hoo. She is also working on chopping some excess out of my latest short story.

Thus I must start the next one. Which will take us out of the US for the setting. I'm excited about that. I'm starting to like the short stories as much as the novels. The two I've written so far are set so that they can have sequels. Maybe books of short stories are coming. Hmmmm.

Splurged at Bath & Body Works on-line today. They have discontinued my favorite scent so I had to stock up. Besides I could buy 3 and get 2 free plus get 25% off my order and a discount on shipping. Will be banned from buying there soon. They see me coming and say 'How much can we get out of her today?'

I have trouble buying for myself. I love buying for others. I think because I spent so many years not buying for myself, I've forgotten that it's okay. So when I do buy I tend to go to the extreme. Me, extreme who would have thought.

Well, laundry is done, time to think about dinner, do the dishes, and start the Christmas cards. Yep that would be the mundane.

TTFN

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fascinated

I am dumbfounded by the blogs that get re-Tweeted. When I do a book review or write on writing I hope those will get tweeted. Doesn't usually happen though. Guess I'm not getting to the right audience.

However when I write something silly, about my family, or the farmhouse I live in, people seem to love them. How does that work? Is it because they are off the cuff and heartfelt? Is it because people can relate?

Makes me wonder just what people see in what I write. Yesterday's post on the aftermath of Thanksgiving was re-Tweeted twice. I had to go back and reread it. Must have been the flying dinner rolls that had everybody laughing. Who knows.

I just know my son-in-law puts in hours on Thanksgiving dinner and then he prays that nothing will be amiss. He has excellent cooking skills. He just needs to put it on the table and not worry about whether we like it or not. Last time I heard it was 'beggars cannot be choosers.' Then we have my father the instigator. He loves to get the great grandkids going. He's just a big kid himself. My grandkids think spending time with their Granny and great grandparents is a treat. They usually get one or the other. The two exceptions to that are Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, they get a little crazy.

Then there is my daughter, who claims she hates people and would like to live in a little cocoon forever. She really loves people. Especially the people who reside closest to her heart. This year was extra special for her. Her sister gave birth to a little girl on Saturday. Although Madison Leigh Turner came into this world three weeks early, she was the hit of the week-end.

When you wake up one morning to discover that although you are an only child, you have nine half-siblings and a slew of nieces and nephews. Life has a major curve thrown in and you just have to run with it. My daughter runs with it, then takes a break from it. She loves her half-siblings and they make life interesting. But I am sure there are days when it is overwhelming.

So, somebody let me know why it is that some blogs are worth re-Tweeting and some go totally unnoticed? I'd really like to know when I'm doing something right.

TTFN

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Aftermath

Thanksgiving is behind us for another year. There was plenty to eat. Family time is always interesting. This year it was flying dinner rolls...don't ask. Time spent with three generations is always good. Hoping that Mom will be able to get some rest and get well soon.

Black Friday has come and gone. It was a trip to Great Lakes Crossing. A screwed up breakfast order...go figure. My granddaughter doing antics in the back seat. Riding the merry-go-round...all three of us. Shopping....in stores not over crowded. Would not wait in line to get into stores. Seriously??? Some good finds, some okay finds. Some shopping done. Lunch at Toby Keith's Bar and Grill...I love that place. Good food, good times, good fun. More shopping.

Heading home with a stop for dessert. More fun and silliness. Love my girls. Packing my car and heading to Mom and Dad's. Spending time with my sister...love on-line shopping too.

Shopping with Dad for a big ticket item. Time well spent. Found it in the first store but went to do comparison shopping at a second. Back to the first. YEAH!!!! Heading home. It's always good to be home.

Miss those that were far away and unable to come home. Maybe next year. Time to relax and pack for my winter trip.

Much to be thankful for.

TTFN

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Writing What It's All About

Feeling pretty accomplished today. I've finished my second short story. Dixie's Dilemma now needs to be printed so I can edit. Make wording changes, cut about 300 words, and just make it a better story.

When writing this as with my first short story, I left the door open for other stories with these characters. I think that's how a short story should work. Mini series. They make for good serializing on my blog when I actually do run out of things to say.

The next short story I'm going to work on takes an entirely different turn. It will still be a mystery, but I will not use a location in the US when I write it. I'll let you wonder about that for a while.

Should be putting things together for my week-end away. As usual, I will put it off until morning and be running late for dinner. Good thing my family loves me. Also a good thing that I'm not in charge of bringing anything.

So, with my sense of accomplishment running high. I bid you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

TTFN

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Big Things are in the Works

In addition to my next book being edited, I have many irons in the fire. I am looking at submitting Out of the Flames to a book contest. I am writing three short stories for a contest. One is done. One is almost done and I have an idea for the last one. I'm also working on the second book in the series. And you all wonder why my mind is in constant motion.

I have reserved my rooms in Cleveland for Bouchercon, the big mystery writers conference that is coming up in October, 2012. Yes, you have to book that far in advance. I am just about to send out my registration. I am really excited about this.

I am also looking into doing Seminars@Sea. That would be hosting a writing workshop on board a cruise ship. There is a lot to go into it and it takes a year of planning. I am starting now in the hopes of having at least one lined up for next year. You know I hate the cold. So, think exotic vacation, speak about something I love, possibly inspire someone to begin writing, and get paid for it. I'm so there. If you are interested in something like this please leave me a comment and a way to contact you so that I can keep you up-to-date on the progress. Also share this with your friends in case they might be interested.

Yes, I have big plans and I am working harder now than I did in all my years of teaching. I knew nothing about book marketing when I started writing. I believed that writers just wrote and publishers made all the magic happen. It's not like that at all. I have to work just as hard at marketing as I do writing. It's been a learning experience and I made mistakes starting out. I am getting to the point where I need roller skates to keep up with myself. NO don't buy me any. I like to keep myself a bit more grounded than that. My tennis shoes work just fine.

So, while you are curled up with a good book, I'm busy writing and marketing mine.

TTFN

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Some Friends are More Like Family

I spent yesterday morning with my friend, Amy. She was busy baking. When I say baking she had at least three or four things she was working on. Then she got an e-mail from her son saying he had to see her and tell her about his job offer face-to-face. I told her to let him know we were on the way. He's only a couple of miles from home. Her husband and youngest daughter were off down the street with the mower and weed whacker. Nothing was due to come out of the oven and Abby was there and would have taken it out if need be. We were off. Zac has the possibility of a computer repair job. That's right up his alley. I am hoping it works out for him.

We got back to the house. Nothing was due out of the oven yet. So we had time to talk some more. I love talking to her. It's been like that since we first met in 2002. Wow just 10 years ago....seems like much longer. We talked about how I love baking, but don't because it's just me. I love to cook period. I just need to learn how to scale down. But the point is, it was a great morning and I know if something comes up I can count on her and she knows she can call me.

From there I went to the school...that'd be the place I'm retired from. It is always good to see my former colleagues. I was too late for lunch when I arrived. I got to hang with Lois in the office. Then I went down to take some Holocaust books to Sally. She'll be teaching that in February. No sense the books sitting at my house collecting dust. So I gave them to her. Some are duplicates of what she has, some were new to her. I don't care if she gives them away if they get used. She was on her way to a meeting so I walked with her.

That meant being hugged and greeted by former students. I only know the 7th and 8th graders any more. That is odd for me. I joined Lois once again in the office where she was signing in a new student. They needed the counselor who was teaching a class. I went to get her and took over her class. I believe they were 5th grade students and were in a class on bullying. They were pretty pleased to learn I'd had some of their older brothers and sisters when I was teaching. I read them a book called 'Just Kidding' and we had just started working on a worksheet that went with it when the counselor returned. It's fun to be in the classroom and know that it's only for a minute or two. It's not an every day thing.

I promised Sally to come back in next week for lunch with the staff. That will be fun. They were my family for a long time. The middle school group for about 7 years. The elementary group even longer. Sometimes you can go home.

TTFN

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Review

It's been a while since I've done a book review. This book needs to be out there.


The Interpreter
By Shah Wali Fazli
Published by Night Publishing
ISBN #978-1466293-120
Reviewed by Rebecka Vigus
November 12, 2011

Shah Wali Fazli takes you to Afghanistan. Where his main character is an Afghani Interpreter for the NATO forces stationed there. This book gives you much insight into the turmoil in Afghanistan and the reasons for being there in the first place. It is a fictionalized account of Shah Wali Fazli's own experiences as an interpreter for our forces there.

Shabir Khan, the interpreter, is torn between missing his family and a desire to help his people to prosper. His family has escaped from Afghanistan while he is there helping the soldiers and the villagers communicate. As an interpreter, Shabir is considered by the Taliban as the worst kind of traitor.

The Mullah Aslam or Mullah Dozakhi meaning from Hell, is the main Taliban chieftan in the Helmand area where Shabir works. He has been known to behead the interpreters that he captures after torturing them. He taunts Shabir that his turn is coming.

Shabir lives in fear for his life on every patrol he goes out on. He dwells on Mullah Dozakhi to the point of becoming depressed. He believes that this is the same mullah who imprisoned him in Kabal and tortured him for months. Finally his fellow interpreters and the American named Ralph who is a commander break him from this train of thought.

The book goes quickly and there is no lag in the story line. The reader becomes enmeshed in the life of Shabir and the other interpreters. The book not only tells the life of the interpreters, but also the lives of the local Afghanistan citizens. Those farmers and villagers who are threatened in the night by Mullah Dozakhi and his band of thugs that if they don’t provide food, money, and their sons they will be killed.

Mullah Dozakhi and his gang of thieves do not believe in education or anything that speaks of a modern world. They are truly the left over nineteenth century warlords. Their power is in striking fear in the farmers and villagers. They plunder and take what they want. They care not who they kill and use propaganda to blame the Americans.

For me the book was more than just a story. It was an education into why we have men and women risking their lives in Afghanistan. I had believed Afghanistan was a mountainous region. I missed that it is also desert and that farmers have irrigated the valleys to make them lush with crops. While they are not wealthy farmers they work to provide for their families. They wish their children to attend school and get medical care. All of these are things the Taliban would deny them.

If you are looking for a powerful book, this is one I would highly recommend you read. It has many messages. It also helps create understanding.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Keep on Learning

Today I learned that I could pick up more followers on my blog if I syndicated it. It was an easy process. I still need three people to confirm I am who I am, but I'm getting followers I didn't have before. Anything that gets me name recognition is a good thing.

I'm learning that sometimes I write too much. I have also learned how to pick and choose what to leave out. In some cases, what to leave in and add to. I'm getting better at showing and not telling. All of these seem like basic things, but when you are meeting word limits or need to make minimums they seem like challenges.

I'm learning that I need taglines for some things and not for others. Every day brings me something new.

I am awaiting some CD's that will help me to prepare for the possibility of giving seminars on cruise ships. What could be better than that? Having a wonderful cruise and talking about writing? The best part is being paid for it. Who would have guessed?

I am learning what others look for when they are critiquing a new book. I've had some eye opening conversations with writers in an on-line group I belong to. There is an author who is unable to understand why his book is not selling. He thought it might be because he wrote it in English, not his native tongue. I am reading the book and will post a review when I am done. English is not the problem. Being an unknown author is.

I am working on edits with my publisher. She is changing some things that were taken out in my critique group. Funny it is now back to the way I originally wrote it. At least part of it is anyway. Any corrections or suggestions she has made have only enhanced it. She has not by any means undone what was done in my critique group. Now six sets of eyes have looked at it and made suggestions. That does not include me. I am still a work in progress, just like my writing.

So, if you are doing what you love, don't stop. Get assistance from others who know what you are trying to accomplish. Don't take the criticism personally, it is meant to make you better at what you do. And NEVER stop learning.

TTFN

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Every Day Is an Adventure

Some days like today it didn't even require that I leave the house. I did go out. I picked up my mail, where my copy of The Interpreter by Shah Wali Fazli had arrived. I ventured into the grocery store to pick up a few odd items. No excitement there, just a few rain drops.

The adventure came when one of my groups on LinkedIn had a post asking if anyone wanted to do a speaking seminar on a cruise ship. Okay, you have my interest. I have ordered the materials to learn what it is all about. I'm game. There is nothing tying me to the house.

I read some Facebook posts that let me know just how lucky I am. Life has not been all I had hoped it would be when I was younger, however, I am very happy with the way it has turned out. I have wonderful family support. Not just my immediate family but cousins, too on both sides. I have terrific friends, some old, some not so old, some I learn from all the time. I am comfortable with who I am. I am a harsher critique than anyone else could be. I know what my standards are and I hold myself to them.

So, life is an adventure. You just have to look for it. I'm going to curl up with some crochet work, watch some TV, then read before turning in. Have a lovely evening all.

TTFN

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Living Proof

Today's blog is by a former student of mine with a big message. Please read through what Jen Evans has to say.

I have learned so much these last few months. Some of it I wish it never happened but some things you cant change. But I’ve come to realize that its ok to trust people. Yes, some of them will steer you in the wrong path.. But so many are there to help you.. Even if its a kick in the butt. Some one told me a blog would help me so I decided I would give it a try to get some of what’s been going through my head so I could unscramble some of it.. So here it goes..

Living with a disability is hard. I know I tried my hardest not to let it define me but I know it has.. I continue to struggle with accepting it. I’ve been compare to my brothers even if its myself doing it. But watching my brothers when I was a little girl and right now is hard. They are the athletic type and got the good grades in school.. All I really wanted was to hear my parents say "I’m proud of you" for something that was important to me. I did girl scouts and other things but I honestly didn’t feel like I fit in. I even felt like I didnt belong in my own family.. They always look at me like I was a disease freak.. It never felt right to be.. I always was the spectator. Id go to Wrestling meets, football games, and other things. I would just sit there and watch. I grew accustom to that.

School to me was hard. I would look around Kids would run and jump.. People always stare. I honestly want to shout out.. Yes I walk funny and I hate it.. But I don’t.. I’ve always ask why? Why me? So many teachers/friends tried to help me through school but I just thought they have no clue what I needed or what to do. There are so many that honestly I love to pieces and I understand now that they were only trying to help. I can remember one year (3rd grade) having a puppet show that was about disabilities. I remember bringing in my doll a doctor made for me and sharing it.. That was the first time I felt like I mattered. But that feeling faded I guess.. My mom was there but I pushed her away most times. I didn’t know how to deal with me and I believed she didn’t either.. I would sit alone in my room.. I didn’t have to wear my braces, I could be "normal".. Same goes with sleeping.. I could sleep and dream of me not having a care in the world. I turned to country music to be a comfort.. I would listen to the saddest songs and cry my eyes out. I escaped the madness of the world with some songs. No one realized that is why I love listening to music. Reba is my hero because a lot of those lonely nights when I thought I didn’t have a road to turn her music was there. She gives me hope in the darkest hours. When my mom with help from a friend got me the backstage passes to meet her, I wanted to tell Reba how much she has helped me but I froze. I promise myself one day i will tell her all about it.

I did tell some of my secrets but it seemed like that when I did that person passed away or left. I have so many family and friends that are gone. Living with the guilt because when i was a little girl, I thought if i told my secrets to someone that person would leave so I began to keep them inside. I think my point where I started shutting down completely was 2000. My grandma struggled with cancer. I was unaware of exactly was happening. I can remember stopping by her house and not being able to go in because she didn’t look like my grandma and being nine years old I guess I didn’t know better. The cancer took so much out of her. I regret so many things but not going in that day basically kills me. When she died my world ended. From that point forward I hid my emotions. I went day to day making it seem like nothing was wrong. I would tell everyone that I was fine but on the inside I was dieing.. The pain slowly eats away at you till you have nothing left.. I would curl up in bed and never want to come out.. There were so many days that I just wanted to end it.. To be true I thought if I ended it who would care.. My parents got more and more frustrated with me. But I know they were trying I just didn’t realize how much.. I buried myself in a hole (I’m still in but working on it). Then my Physical Therapist from Pat died too. She helped me so much. She made me feel special. My grandpa dieing in 2006 was another place in my life that made me realize a lot. I sank farther in my hole.. Everything around me seemed like it was disappearing. I shut down.. My parents tried to help but again I pushed away. I have a long way to go.. These things don’t just correct themselves in a day or so.. I have to learn how to deal with things..

Friends are special to me. For one reason if you can accept people being different then you have a marvelous quality. I never understood what a true friend was. When I was little I wouldn’t go to friends houses because I didn’t want them to know my bathroom problems.. Honestly it still bugs me but I’m learning how to deal.. I thought if someone said hi to you. They were your friend. I realize that I don’t need a lot of people to like me. I just need the ones that support me even if i screw up in so many ways. Many people come in and out of your life. I’m a person that really doesn’t want them to leave.. I believe that friendship stays there even if you don’t talk much..


Well that’s all I can say for now. I need to get some sleep. For now I am hanging in there. I’m going to work on so many things. May take a while but I believe I need to work on me. I appreciate every person that has help me in some form. Even if its just a comment or a hug! Thank you for reading this. God Bless!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How Do You Explain Perfect?

My speaking engagement this morning was a smashing success. I know this because of the number of people who came up to me afterward and told me how much they enjoyed listening to me. It was probably the hardest speaking engagement I've had. I not only wanted to be successful, I didn't want to embarrass the wonderful people who thought enough of my writing and me to ask me to come.

In some cases I will always be the student. This is one of those. When someone who knew me as a flighty teen can say they are very proud of me and proud to know that I can write so well, I am honored. That happened today. Especially since I most likely gave the man grey hair, or at least contributed to it.

The other way I know it was a success is the number of books that were sold after I spoke. I am used to selling one or two books after a speaking engagement. I emptied half the box I came with. That is success.

Lunch with a former teacher added to my day. I enjoyed him as a kid. I appreciated him when I first went into teaching. I hold him dear to my heart now. There are teachers who come along in your life time that touch you because they see beneath the veneer to the person you are or will someday be. This is one of those people. I will be forever grateful as he made my two awful years in junior high tolerable.

So today has been perfect, the sun was shining and I had a wonderful time. Thank you Bill and Chris Schipper.

TTFN

Friday, November 4, 2011

Settling In and Picking Up the Pace

The title is misleading. I've been settled in my house for years. It's settling back into the writing routine after being away. I've got that on track somewhat. Since I've never been a you must write at this time every day kind of writer.

The short story I'm working on is coming together. It needs to be typed. Yeah, I occasionally hand write my stuff. Depends on what is available when I am working. I'm working with my publisher on edits to my current novel. I need to get busy on the second one. It got held up in Chapter 13.

As to picking up the pace, well that has to do with speaking engagements. I am speaking tomorrow morning at some point on writing to the Michigan Lionesses at their annual conference. I'm waiting to hear what time I need to be there. I also have a writing engagement coming up in honor of National Writing Month. Details on that have not been worked out yet. I will be at my former school working with a former colleague. I love that idea.

If you know someone who needs a writer workshop or a speaker for their group, let me know. I'm available for a few days the rest of this year. I've not booked for 2012 yet.

TTFN

Monday, October 31, 2011

Family and Wild Weather

I left Clio, MI with my parents about 10:20 am on October 27th heading for Annapolis, MD. We left in the rain. We had tons of traffic. Dad drove until we got off the Ohio Turnpike and I took over for a couple of hours. We stopped in Morgantown, WV. Most of the ride was uneventful...getting to a hotel was another story altogether. Dad even refused to go get something to eat. Mom and I ventured out with me at the helm...would you believe the only fast food restaurant they had was McDonald's???? This is the home of West Virginia University...we are talking college town. It is also where my great Uncle Pete Mitter grew up. Something I hadn't known and just for kicks I checked the phone book and there are several Mitters still in the area.

I am not a fan of Best Western. It seems like every bad stay I have is at a Best Western. The one in Morgantown was not the exception. The guys on one side of my room partied until after 3 am. I could not call the desk as the phone didn't work. I had already had to move the night stand and plug in the lights so they would work. Someone who stayed there in September, 2011 had left their survey in the room and they didn't have lights between the beds either. I'm guessing no one had read the survey. Also I could not regulate the heat. It was either too cold or sufficatingly hot. So when Dad knocked on my door at 6:45 I wasn't too pleased. Breakfast there is a diabetics nightmare. But I managed.

We arrived in Annapolis by noon. They let us check in early at the hotel. Did I mention we were staying at another Best Western? This staff was so much nicer and the entire stay was much more pleasant. Heat could be regulated and it's a good thing. But more on that later.

We got out the GPS to navigate us to a Denny's for lunch. Between the traffic and the one way streets it was a nightmare. Dad gave up driving. I took over for the rest of the time we were in Annapolis. We eventually found the restaurant had a nice lunch, by the time we got back we had to change to go to the wedding rehearsal.

We were able to get to North Beach, MD and find the church. We were also an hour early so drove back to Chesapeake Beach....two miles to Karen and Anthony's home where we were all going to gather for dinner afterward. We spent 45 min. with them and got to see the house before going back to the church. It was still raining and cold. Rehearsal was fun, we got lots of photos. We went back to the house there were probably 30 of us there for dinner. It was a good time. We got back to the hotel around 10 pm.

I got up the next morning and went to have my hair done. You get what you pay for. It wasn't right but it would do. Then I made my way back to the hotel spent some time with Mom and Dad. We called my sister to wish her a happy birthday. Then it was time to change for the wedding. Photos were starting at 1:30pm and we had to be there. Did I mention it was raining? Dad actually drove out to the church. We waited in the car until time then we went in. Photos with Karen took until about 2:05pm. Anthony arrived at 2:15pm for his photo shoot. This is the point where my camera stopped functioning. The wedding started promptly at 3pm with my dad walking my mom down the aisle. Grandparents are seated right before the mothers. This is where Dad's camera finally quit working...battery dead. I was taking photos with my cell phone. My nephew walked his other grandmother down the aisle. The wedding was wonderful. The priest said he'd never had a wedding that was so much fun. We had more photos, then we drove back to the hotel.

There we had the front desk call for a cab. Parking in downtown Annapolis is scarce at best and getting there is a nightmare. So, we took a cab to the Federal House where dinner was going to be. Being an old historic building the Federal House does not have an elevator. With Dad's help Mom was able to make the stairs to the second floor. Hors d'oeuvres were at 6pm beer and wine were part of the meal. Mixed drinks were cash. I started the evening with a white zinfandel....I could not drink it. I don't know when I've had a worse wine. Broke out my wallet and got myself a rum and Coke. Things were looking up. The bride and groom arrived about 7pm. They had planned to greet everyone at each table, but the wait staff was already delivering the salads. During salads the Maid of Honor and Best Man (or woman in this case) made their speeches. The main course was served. It was wonderful. However, if you are going to steam vegetables they need to be hot all the way through. Other than that, it was good. Anthony offered up prayer before we ate the main meal. The bride and groom were able to mingle after dinner. The crowd began thinning by 9 pm as many had come from out of town and had to return.

The worst storm in 35 years hit on Saturday. The rain turned to snow on our way from the church to the hotel after the wedding. Another reason for calling a cab. Harrisburg, PA got about 6 inches of snow. Farther north it was worse. There were 2.5 million people without power in the northeast by Sunday morning. We were packed, had breakfast and in the car by 8:20am. Dad had started the car to clear the ice off the windows. The roads were clear. We did stop in Maryland in the mountains and there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground. It had been a heavy wet snow and we could see where it had downed some trees. They had beautiful color on the way out.

Dad drove from 8:20 am to 2pm, we were near Cambridge, OH by then. We stopped for lunch and to gas the car. I took over driving at 3:05pm and drove until we hit the rest area in Linden, MI on US 23 just south of Flint. It was about 7:45 pm. I got out of the car and commented to Dad that we'd hit a heat wave. It was so much warmer than it had been all week-end. I came out and low and behold it was raining. Dad took over driving. We stopped for dinner at Bob Evan's on Pierson Rd. then headed the last leg home. It was good to be home.

I drove back to West Branch this morning. Most of my day has been spent uploading over 100 wedding photos. I tried doing them in order from the rehearsal through the wedding and after, but when they uploaded from my phone they got all mixed up. I just know I am done with them for now.

Love you both, Karen and Anthony Attardo. May God bless you with many years of happiness.

TTFN

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Already?

I was able to finish my afghan project for the wedding yesterday. It is one of my better pieces, but am not sure I will attempt it again as it took the better part of a month.

I love family gatherings. Weddings seem to be the place for those. We celebrated the marriage of my cousin and the 60th anniversary of her grandparents. Veggies, crackers, cheese, fruit and cake in the church after the reception. Then family went out to dinner. Since some of the family was in from parts in the far west....Arizona and New Mexico, it was great to have extra time with them. Those of us who live in Michigan don't see each other often enough to say so....mores the shame. It was a good time for everyone.

I've had time to look over edits by my publisher on the first of my three short stories and the first three chapters of my novel. We seem to be on the same page about a lot of things. :) That is a good thing. I have two more short stories to get started on. I have a couple of ideas and we'll see where they lead. The first one did not work out. But that happens.

I'll be busy this coming week as I leave on Wed. for the east coast to attend the wedding of my niece. I am looking forward to that. I have told Dad I will do some of the driving so that he does not have to do it all. We are both capable drivers. That will be a packed weekend.

Not much else until the first weekend in November when I have a speaking engagement. I am looking forward to that. It will be at least a half-day affair with lunch. Possibly some book sales. That's always a good thing.

Other than that, it's life as normal. Getting ready for Thanksgiving, my daughter's birthday, Christmas then shutting down the house and escaping for the winter. Hoping you all a restful evening and wonderful week.

TTFN

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wild Wednesday

As October goes it's been a super month. Today however, we are getting a taste of weather to come. The wind picked up during the night and it drizzled all morning.

Ran to the post office and took care of my other errands. Stopped to see a neighbor and drop off some things for her. Has rained pretty much all afternoon and evening. Now we have a high wind warning. They are expecting power outages. I've heard of some in the area already. I am worried that the breaker out front will pop at any time. Things are so bad they are asking people to bring in anything that might blow away and cause damage. There goes my for sale sign again. I'm going to need a new one.

The afghan project I'm working on should be done on Friday. Sad part is I put a couple pieces together today and then had to take them apart. Taking them apart took longer than putting it together. Ugh. Tomorrow will find me sitting on the bed finishing up putting it together. It is so big right now that I have to have it spread out to see what pieces I need. Once it is put together I can do the trim row from anywhere. Going to have to think long and hard about whether I would ever do this again.

I am picking up a Twitter following. The author spotlight is getting some attention. I'm looking for some material for two more short stories. I have several possibilities. It's a matter of which ones I can work into 5,000 words and have them be complete. I have a novel to finish. I'll get to that soon.

I thought retirement was supposed to give me time to relax. I'm busier now than I ever thought I could be. Between the writing, speaking, crochet projects, and family commitments I hardly have time to breathe. I do find time for myself. I am enjoying every day more than I had ever dreamed I would.

There is a new adventure around every corner. I will take them as they come. I'll remember many and forget a few, but they will have been a part of who I am.

TTFN

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Madness

First, this is my week to be featured at http://HighlightedAuthor.com so stop in and check it out. Charlene Wilson did an awesome job!!!

My beautiful, multi-talented granddaughter ran her championship cross-country meet tonight. She came in 2nd with a time of 12:18 and set a new school record for girls junior high cross-country. She also ran her personal best time. Junior high runners run two miles. She has her last soccer game this coming Saturday.

My handsome athletic grandson ran 60 yards for a touchdown for his team last weekend. He is doing so well. He has basketball season coming up soon.

I am putting together an afghan project that I took on and it's driving me absolutely nuts. I hate pieced afghans. I prefer one I can just crochet and be done with. Getting the pieces made was the first hurdle there are 125 pieces in this one. While I love the Double Wedding Ring pattern, I am learning to hate this afghan. Not sure I will ever make another one. Did I mention this one has to be done by Friday????

Other than winter is trying to move in, it's been a typical Monday. Hope things are going well for you.
TTFN

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Okay Wow!!

It's only Thursday and this has been a whirlwind week. First I learn that my new book when released will be available from amazon.com on Kindle in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and now in France. I think this will make me an International writer. Big Time!!!!

My publisher has come up with a teaser for the book which may result in a title change. I'm good with that. It could also be the back cover blurb. She is amazing. I don't know how she fits everything in.

I have an author spotlight starting on Monday at www.HighlighedAuthor.com. It will feature my book Target of Vengeance and talk about me and my writing. Hopefully it will garner a few sales. I have sent information to another blogger about being on her website and have sent my information to someone doing an on-line magazine to feature authors. I will be speaking at the Michigan Lionesses Conference in Houghton Lake, MI on November 5th. So, I am keeping busy.

I've been putting together some photos of my house so that I can actually advertise it for sale. That has been a project as some rooms need some revamping before I can photograph them. Ugh.

I have a crochet project that I am working on for a wedding on Oct. 22nd. Yes, I will get it done. It is not one I will do again anytime soon. I'd need more than a month to work on it. I have to be ready to leave on Oct. 27th for Maryland for my niece's wedding. I'm looking forward to a trip with my parents.

So, if you can't find me, you'll know why. I'm keeping myself busy.

TTFN

Monday, October 10, 2011

Writing Outline????

No I don't outline before I write a novel. Why? I get an idea. I mull over the angles to approach it. I create characters. I toss out those characters that don't work, I add others. I start typing.

Sometimes the novel doesn't go where I think it should so I walk away. Sometimes it takes a life of it's own and goes it's own route. If I had outlined it, I'd be fighting my characters the whole time.

Do I know how it will end when I start writing? Sometimes I have an idea of how I want it to end. Sometimes I don't.

When I started writing Secrets, I'd had two starts that didn't work. I wanted Miss Emily Meeks to be someone everyone loved. So, she couldn't hold the town's secrets now could she? She had to have secrets of her own. Did I know her secrets were going to involve someone who went on to be a US Senator or had ties to organized crime...not a clue. Does that make it bad writing? Nope.

In the book I'm currently working on one of the characters is in a coma. Will she recover? How much of a recovery will she have? It's not been decided yet. What has been decided is there will be lots of twists and turns before everything is resolved.

I am what is known as a seat of your pants writer....in my case, I prefer to think of it as off the top of my head. When I sit at the computer the ideas come. I put them down and work with them. They get tweaked, edited, revised, and tweaked some more before it ever gets to the print stage. I even edit as I go...a definite no-no to writers.

Is an outline necessary? For some writers, yes. Some who are much more organized than I am need that structure to work from. I like the freedom of being able to just sit and write and work out the problems later.

Outlining a novel is a personal choice. It depends on the writer. 'Nough said.
TTFN

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Writing Schedule

I've been asked a couple times in the past week what my writing schedule is. Ummmm...not a clue. I write when I find the time or when the muse says get this down now. I write more often in the evening than during the day. I think that comes from having started writing at night because I worked during the day.

I have been known to wake up at at 2 am and start writing because my brain says get this written. It's not always my best work, but the idea gets down so I don't lose it in sleep. I have been known to write in my head. It keeps me up all night until I finally succumb to getting up an putting it on paper or the computer.

The only time I set any kind of writing schedule is if I foolishly do NaNoWriMo...National Novel Writing Month. I have proven to myself twice that I can write a novel in 30 days or less. I don't feel the need to do that. When I work on a novel now, I sometimes go at it for days and weeks, then walk away. Sometimes I walk away for months.

Yes, I am afraid I treat my writing like an errant lover. It's always there waiting when I come back to it. It never fails to sooth me or inspire me. To put it on a schedule....I don't think so.

Nor do I outline, but that's a story for another blog. So, do you think I need a writing schedule? Not so sure I do.

TTFN

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall is in the air

As much as I dislike cold weather, I must admit that I love the changing colors of the trees in the fall. Due to my recent tumble I won't be hiking anytime soon which makes me sad. Today was one of those beautiful days. Sixty-eight degrees with just a bit of a breeze. I did get out a bit but mostly because I was running errands.

The stores are full of Halloween goodies. I must admit that's another thing I dislike, but it is deep rooted in a childhood incident. I love homemade cocoa, not the drop in add water stuff. I could wish for a fireplace now would be a good time to light a fire and curl up with a good book.

Things with the new book are progressing. I will keep you posted on those events. I have an 'Author Highlight' coming up in a couple of weeks and I have three others that I am looking into. I have a speaking engagement in early November. Somewhere in there I have to find the time to work on book edits and the second book in the series.

I have one more gift to get for Sweetest Day...yes, I do celebrate that holiday. And no if you look it up is was not started by the card companies. It was started by a philanthropist in Detroit during the depression. He was trying to do something nice for poor children and gave them all candy. Hence the name. I don't usually give candy and my gifts are confined to my immediate family.

I am looking forward to some hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick. Always another good fall treat. Dad gave me some apples off his tree when he stopped by yesterday. Love fresh apples. Candy apples are my favorite...no not the caramel ones. They used to be a fair treat.

Now that I have waxed poetic for the day I'm off to work on a project.

TTFN

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Faith and Friends

I know that whatever God sets before me He will lead me through it. I also know that sometimes I give him a good run for his money when I come close to the butterfly that is hiding the Devil. I never give up on God and He hasn't given up on me.

A friend brought her son by to pick up my dead laptop. He was going to see if he could get it running. I am done playing with it, it's way past time for a new one. As he was getting ready to leave he said to me, "Do you want me to come by and mow the lawn for you since you can't ride the mower right now?" What a generous offer. He has mowed for me several times this summer and has helped with things around the house. Not because he's looking for money, but because that is the kind of person his parents taught him to be.

My friends are amazing. They seem to know when I need to hear from them almost instinctively. They have never failed to rescue from whatever mishap I've gotten myself into this time. They make me a better person for having known them.

I have young friends who've grown from the children I had as students into amazing young men and women. They make me proud to have been a part of their lives at one time or another. Some of them don't see themselves as anything special, yet I'm not sure I would be strong enough to walk one day in their shoes. They've taught me much about life and living. I thank God each day that they have crossed my path and still keep in touch.

I have learned that my life will never be about the money I made, the house I lived in or how much I leave to my family. It will about the lives I've touched and those that touched me. I love you all.

TTFN

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Suicide

Not a topic I'd planned for my blog, but something happened that made me take it much more seriously.

Here are some facts about suicide. It is the third leading cause of death in 15-24 year olds according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is surpassed only by accidents and homicide. Nearly 60% of all suicides are with a gun. If you have a gun in your home, make sure it is unloaded and locked up. Ammunition should be stored somewhere separate from the gun.

Suicides differ between boys and girls. Girls think about and attempt suicide twice as often as boys. They usually do it by cutting or overdose. However boys die by suicide four times as often as girls. Usually because they use more lethal methods; guns, hanging or jumping from high places. (http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/suicide.html) for reference.

All that being said the number one cause of suicide is untreated depression. Yes, depression is a disease and it IS real. Both depression and suicide have symptoms, things you can watch for or be aware of. One of the number one triggers of depression is the death of a loved one, family or friend.

I live in a community that lost two young people in the space of four months. Being a small community, when a child dies everyone is impacted. Both of them died in senseless accidents. Both students a boy and a girl were popular, athletic, and good students. They were good kids. While we think our children are dealing with this loss, maybe they aren't. We need to be vigilant. Sometimes the younger children are more affected than we realize.

Look for these signs of potential suicide:
Talking about suicide, or killing oneself, even in a joking manner -
Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness
Preoccupation with death
Suddenly happier, calmer
Loss of interest in things one used to care about
Visiting or calling people one cares about
Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order
Giving things away
(http://www.jaredstory.com/teen_epidemic.html) for reference.

I'm putting this out there because someone I know is in trouble. Look at your friends, family, children, others you see at school. Do they exhibit these signs? Be aware of the people around you. Your actions might save a life.

TTFN

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Buzz Begins

My publisher, Unforgettable Books, Inc, has been busy getting word out about my up-coming series. First, you can read that they have signed me as an author www.unforgettablebookins.com/ourtwocents carries that announcement.
Then they published a short bio: http://www.unforgettablebooksinc.com/rebeckavigus.php
Let me know what you think. We will start the buzz by reminding you of what I have already written and is still available and what is to come.

I will keep you posted on up-coming announcements, blog tours, and speaking engagements. I'm going to be a busy lady for a while.
TTFN

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Things are Progressing

Author press kit is written. Synopsis of the first book is done. Links to all my books, twitter, LinkedIn, and facebook have all been sent to my publisher. Things are progressing.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am. We haven't even begun the next phase of editing yet. There is still much to do.

I will be shopping for a new laptop in the next couple of weeks so that I can get my website up and running and get back to work on the second novel. I have much to do. I also have an idea for the third one, I'm just not sure all the legal side that it will entail. I may need a computer specialist to consult with. Right now it's all just thoughts.

First things first, get this book published and book two in the series finished.

I am slowly mending from my fall. I suspect it will be a good six weeks before I can say that I am totally healed. Tail bones weren't meant to take all your weight at once. The donut I was loaned did not hold up. I need to repair it so I can continue to use it.

I am enjoying the tasks set for me by the publisher. It makes me feel a part of the process. I will let you know when promotion begins. As I have a week-long promotion coming up in October. A speaking engagement the first part of November and who knows what all after that. I will be busy until I head to warmer climates in January.

Hope you have your projects lined up.
TTFN

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Think the Celebration will be small

Would be jumping up and down and shouting from the rooftops if my body would allow it. Alas, I am still recovering from the fall on Sunday and think it will be quite some time before I am doing any jumping.

I have been in contact with a small publishing company and been offered a contract. At this time, I am reading through said contract very carefully. Looking for all the fine print. I really feel this is where I need to start.

I am tired of self-publishing. I cannot open enough doors for myself that way. I want to be taken seriously as a writer. This is the first book of a three book series so I want this to be a working relationship that is beneficial for both the publisher and myself.

I have no problem working the marketing angle. Have car, GPS, will travel. I even fly if necessary. I am getting wider recognition and more is good.

So hopefully I'll be seeing you on the book shelves or as a ebook.

TTFN

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nope, Still Don't Bounce

About four years ago, I went flying across my entry in the middle of the night. I didn't bounce and was very bruised.

I decided to test the theory again today...although not intentionally. I went to sit in my computer chair and it decided to roll. I landed on my tail bone. I still don't bounce. I can walk and all my limbs work, but I hurt all over. Guess I am not as young as I want to think.

Falling is always an eye opener. I was in my home both of the last two times I have fallen. Thus no embarassment or bruised ego to deal with. This time it appears there are few bruises. Or none that I can see at least. This was probably the hardest I have fallen. Getting up was not as bad as usual either.

Not sure there is a lesson in this. Not sure there is a moral in this. Just know I have to be much more careful in the future.

TTFN

Give me a day or two and I will be able to laugh about this.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Just Thoughts

Stopped in at the school today. I needed to drop off some things that can be used for Positive Behavior rewards. I find something totally wrong with that. Good behavior was expected when I was in school. I also wanted to talk to a couple of people. It was good to see friends, but I'm so glad I have retired. I also wanted to touch base with the new superintendent as I had subbed under him when I first started working.

After leaving school I went to see a parent and former student whose son is struggling to offer what help I could. His son is the age he was when I had him my first year up here. Look how time flies. I don't know if they felt any better, but I did my best. I had checked with the student's teachers before talking to the parents.

From there I went to see a former student, and beautiful young lady. I know she feels lost and helpless sometimes. It's that age where friends are in college or getting married and she is at loose ends. I love spending time with her. I don't know if I help her or she helps me, I just know we have good times together.

Lastly I went to visit a colleague. I knew she would be home from work and wanted to catch her before she headed to the football game. I miss talking to her on a daily basis. I miss seeing her kids. One is in college and one is now in high school. It seems so long ago that I taught them in class. It is fun watching them grow. We have forged a lifelong friendship in the time we worked together. I cherish that.

Still no word from the publisher on my book so I will be exploring an new avenue for that. I have people clammoring for the next book. They are excited that it will be a trilogy. I am frustrated by my PC and lack of a laptop. It's making me more crazy than usual.

Fall is in the air. I am not ready for fall and cooler temps. I am so a warm weather person. I am much happier when it is warmer. I missed being able to swim this summer as it is one of my favorite things to do. I didn't have that opportunity as much as I would have hoped. I am looking forward to winter in warmer weather where I will be able to swim.

All in all it has been a marvelous day. I am looking forward to the rest of the week-end and what the weeks ahead will bring. Going to curl up with a good book. Hope you do too.

TTFN

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Monday!!!!

Hope your week is off to a great start. Mine most certainly is. It's Monday and I awoke with a feeling of good things to come. So, I've adjusted my attitude accordingly.

I am looking for an agent and a publisher. That means dragging out my copy of Jeff Herrmann's Guide to Literary Agents. Time I get down to business. No one will take me seriously if I don't. Looking for an agent who represents mystery writers.

I personnally think this series I'm working on is my best work yet. I stepped out of my comfort zone to write in first person. Definitely a new approach for me. I am also out of my comfort zone carrying my characters into a new book (experiences). They are proving to be up to the task. Was surprised where this one is taking me and what I am learning along the way. Yes, I believe you can learn from your characters.

I have come to believe my house will sell. That there is something different out there for me...new adventures. Life is waitng for me to get up and get moving.

I had the opportunity to attend the wedding of two of my former students over the week-end. I had them both when they were in elementary school. They are now 26. I was flattered to get the invitation. I have seen them over the years and they have grown into the wonderful young people I would have expected. I was doubly flattered to be included in some of their wedding photos. That meant a lot to me. The day was lovely, the bride was beautiful and the groom was handsome. Their happiness was contagious. I wish you well Brett Lee and Geri Lyn Fowler.

I am still looking for a way to give back. I know if I just let it happen it will come to me. I'm not going to dwell on it. Life is what you make it and I plan on making mine stretch to the fullest.

TTFN

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Feeling Adrift

I am not depressed or lonely. But I am feeling a bit disconnected. Partly because I have a stuffed nose.
Here's the situation: My book is still with the publisher and I am awaiting word as to whether or not they will publish it. It will not be eight weeks until Sept. 20th. I am part way through the second book in the series. I really do not want to have to self-publish again. It's frustrating to just wait.
My house is up for sale and with the economy what it is, I've only had one couple come to take a look at it. I am ready for it to be gone and move on.
I need something to do. Something that might bring me a little bit of money. I'm not hurting for money. My retirement takes care of the bills and allows me to put a little aside. I just need something to do.
I can go back to donating preemie layettes to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, MI, but I cannot make enough to keep up with the need. I've made over a dozen layettes this year for family, friends, and former students. The hospital needs somewhere around 600/year.
My problem is I have two wonderful ideas for non-profits but don't that the money to get them started. I have taught for so long that I need to be away from that. No one in this area could hire a tutor if I offered the service. What I want to do now is give back.
I have been doing reviews for authors I've met through on-line writing groups. I cannot keep up with the demand. Most of the stuff is sent to me on-line and my eyes can only take so much before I have to walk away. I feel as though I am letting people down. I don't want to be over extended.
With fall coming I am already to leave for warm climates. The next three and a half months will be the longest of my life. No one knows what the future will be, least of all me. I am just going to drift for a couple of days and then try to figure it out.

TTFN

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ponderings

I attended a funeral today. It made me do some serious thinking. This is the second funeral for a veteran since July.

The first veteran was my neighbor and he was a wonderful man. He often mowed my lawn when I was working. He served during the Korean War. I cannot say I know any other Korean War Vets. He did not talk about it and I did not ask him. He shared so many other things and I will miss him.

Today was another neighbor. She had served as a WAVE in WWII. I knew she'd been in the service. I knew she was a country school teacher. I also knew that her husband grew up in the house I now live in. I did not know that she found comfort in my security light coming on each night. I wonder how much I missed not knowing her better.

We lose soldiers every day and mourn the loss of young life. I wonder do we understand what lose every time a Veteran dies? The history, the service, the rich life lived. Many of what Tom Brokaw called 'The Greatest Generation' are gone. They lived through The Great Depression, they lived off the land, they took many traditions and skills with them when they died. My family lost the last of our 'Greatest Generation' in 2001. My parents are among the oldest in our family. They are depression babies. They were not wealthy. They worked hard for what they have. My dad still farms. He is what I call a gentleman farmer. He raises chickens and plant about a quarter of an acre. Mom freezes beans and makes her own spaghetti sauce. When I was a kid we didn't go back to school shopping. Mom made us a new outfit. It is from her I learned to sew. It is from my dad that I learned to embroider and crochet.

These are the things we take for granted until they are gone. Learn what you can from those around you. Age has great wisdom. RIP Bill Clemens and Hazel Butler.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mice Saga Day 2

Mouse habitat has been located. I am not thrilled to say it is my front closet. Oh gee, that would be the one all my dresses hang in. Now to find the little pests.

Clothing was removed from hangers slowly and each item was placed in the appropriate pile for laundering. When that was done, the nest was not where I had expected it to be. My fear was that it was on the shelf above my head.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that the sight of a mouse is enough to make me turn green. This is giving me a headache and I'm feeling nausea coming on. So, I did what any brave soul would do and called for reinforcements.

I have a former student that has helped me over the summer with odd jobs. So I sent a text to see if he was available. Believe it or not he was. I went and picked him up and he tackled the closet as I kept the washer and dryer running. My second guess for where the nest was also wrong. But it was on the shelf above my head. The closet has been completely emptied and vacuumed. The mouse hole has been located and filled with spray foam. It has also been sprayed with Febreeze.

I must admit the Febreeze has not covered the smell. I am not surprised. It was horrible. Hopefully I am done with mice for this year, until they find another way in.

On that happy note, I am off to find some dinner. I suspect Big Boy is in order.

TTFN

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Saga of the Mouse or is it Mice?

I returned home from two nights away. There was a disgusting odor when I opened the back door. Foolish me thought it was the Clorox tab in the toilet. If only I could have been that lucky.

Two boxes of DeCon had been completely emptied. Seems my critter friends were stockpiling for the long winter. We all know what that does when eaten. Well it worked. Do you think I can find the little devil? The smell is worse in the living room/kitchen. I have looked everywhere, under sofa cushions, under sofas, behind the entertainment center and I've emptied every waste basket in the house. I've got windows open and fans on hoping to drive the smell out.

I have I mentioned that I hate mice? I have yet to find a purpose for them and a friend reminded me yesterday that hawks dine on them. Okay so then they should stay in the fields. I don't own a hawk.

This is me....animal lover...no. Don't wish them harm just not fond of them. Don't want any pets. The last thing I want is a mouse.

The search will continue and tomorrow I will be tearing my house completely apart. This when I have finally got it clean and clutter free for the most part.

TTFN

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stepping Out

I will be away from my computer for a few days. Which is not totally true. I will be away from an Internet connection. I will be working on my novel and reading a book for editing and review. Try not to miss me.

I am running away to my parents "country" home for a couple days. One of those I will spend with a friend who is camping about an hour from there. I am looking forward to that. Not seen her since before Christmas...way too long.

I like being at the "country" home. No cell service, no Internet. I get lots of writing done when I am there. It won't be as much as usual because I will be gone for a day, but it should be a big chunk. That is always good. Yes, I have a land line phone there in case of emergency and those who know me well, have the number and can reach me. I like the peacefulness there. The wildlife the lack of people, yep that's where I want to be. This is the first summer in a long time that I have not gone there for a week or at least part of a couple week-ends. Just too much to do this summer, getting the house ready for sale.

So while I am gone to unwind and relax you all stay out of trouble and I will try to have something witty to impart when I return.

TTFN

Sunday, August 28, 2011

YEAH!!!!

It took about 45 min. yesterday to get my laptop up and running. We put in a 2 gb memory card to boost the memory and speed up the machine. We talked about what I should be looking for in a new computer. To my chagrin, Dell is second only to Mac in the laptop division. I know that I need a pro or ultima when I buy so that too helps. Kudos to Diane for being an awesome computer person and down right nice lady. She fixed my computer on her day off. Looking for computer help in the West Branch, MI area be sure to check out the Computer Genie. She is that.

I am in the middle of reading the most delightful book I've ever come across. It was written by a man in the UK and the humor is just wonderful. I will give a full review when I have finished.

I am also working on my own novel. I am hoping to get a couple more chapters in this week. I am ready to get this moving. It needs a good thirty thousand words before it will be finished. Time to get busy.

It is so nice to be connected again. I am shopping for a new laptop, but am no longer in a hurry. I can wait for the sales.

TTFN

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sad Day

This morning the WiFi in my laptop stopped working. The tragedy here is that I did not realize how much I'd come to depend on my Internet access. I do my bill paying on-line for a lot of my bills, my blog, my sales at half.com, not to mention the games I play with friends and the fact that it helps me keep in touch with family and friends who are not local.

Of course I was waiting to hear on a writing contest I had entered and from a publisher who is considering my book. Total panic set in.

I fired up the PC, that has not been used for much of anything since 2008 and started deleting programs so that I could regain some speed. It has been made WiFi so that is no issue, but it is so slow I have stopped using it.

I have a call into a friend who does computer repair. I am not sure the laptop can be salvaged and that will break my heart as my new website that I had hoped to launch today is saved on the laptop. I do not know if it can be saved to a flash drive, but I will be finding that out later. The laptop has been acting up for a couple of weeks, freezing several times a day requiring a reboot of the system. I am afraid to run a systems check as I know it is going to tell me that the motherboard is going for the third time. I really hate the idea of putting a third motherboard into it. I need a new one, but not at this time. I need this one to hold out just a while longer.

Alas, I maybe hitting up the Geek Squad by the end of the week, or worse yet investing in a new one. Just glad I had a backup today.

TTFN

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Anticipation

Today I learned that Michael Palmer is hosting an opportunity to write with him. You get your shot by submitting 220 words that would come next in his short story. There is a daily chance to enter this week. I have submitted my first 220 words. I would be flattered to make it to the top five. I'd be honored to be the one chosen for the day to be included as part of his short story.

It is a chance to hone my writing skills. Two hundred twenty words is not much to work with. Keeping the tone of someone else's writing is also a trick. Every writer has their own style and the idea is that you match the style as best you can. I like a challenge.

In 220 words, you set the scene, tension, and tone for the whole thing. It's a short scene like an act in a play. It's also called flash fiction. Some people can write the whole story in that many words. As a novelist, it is a challenge to do all that.

It will be exciting to see who wins and who gets left behind. I was just thrilled for the chance to do it.

TTFN

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How Did I End Up Here? Day 7


“I will keep a patrol going by your place or you can continue staying with me. We have the District Attorney on board with all the information you and Anna dug up he has a lot to answer for. Anna’s name on it so that it won’t be considered tainted. You are just the victim. He will not be offered bail, because he has no ties to the community and is a flight risk,” he answered with confidence.
“I hope you are right.”
Our order came and we ate. Then we drove to the court house. The courtroom was filled with old wood that made you feel almost reverent when you entered. We sat in the courtroom and listened to the District Attorney give all the reasons that Bannister should be remanded to custody. His court appointed lawyer did not object. Bannister was fuming at the remand. He knew he’d have to wait awhile for his sister to arrive.
Dad and I left the courthouse in silence. He dropped me off at my house and we made plans to visit Mom tomorrow.
The trial went on for five days. Bannister’s slick sister, the lawyer, was defending him. The surprise was that Allen Bannister Sr. was there every day. The white haired man sat erectly as he heard every word that described his worthless son. On the day the case went to the jury he approached me.
“Miss Worth?”
“Yes.”
“I am Allan Bannister Senior. I’d like a moment of your time if I may,” he said softly.
Stunned I responded, “I’m not sure we have anything to talk about.”
“You may change your mind. I have a proposition for you,” he continued as if I’d said nothing.
Thinking it wouldn’t hurt to hear what he had to say I answered, “This way.”
We walked out of the courtroom. I led him to a conference room that was unoccupied. I sat and waited for him to speak.
“First, I want to say that I am sorry for what my son has done to you. He has always been a disappointment. Second, I would like to congratulate you for the thorough job you did investigating him. There are many things about him I did not know. Finally, I have a trust fund to dispense with.”
“I’m not sure how that affects me,” I said hesitantly.
“That’s what I want to talk to you about. You are way too intelligent to have been my son’s child. I understand that he has besmirched your mother’s reputation and caused untold hurt to you and your father. I’d like to take his half of the trust and put it into a fund that will care for your mother for the rest of her life. On her death, the remainder will go to your father. The rest I would like you to have.”
“You don’t need to give us money,” I responded hotly thinking this man was trying to buy me off.
“I know I don’t, but I have no other children and I’d like something good to come of it. For my part, I’d like to know that if I need an investigator in the future I could call on you. I would be honored if you would accept this.”
“May I have time to think about it?” I asked.
“You may have until the jury returns with a verdict,” he replied.
“Thank you.” I put out my hand and he shook it. Then he left the room.
I talked to Dad about this over dinner. He was adamant at first that he wanted no blood money from the Bannisters. I told him to sleep on it. We could talk in the morning.
At breakfast, Dad was quiet then said, “The money would come in handy for helping your mom.”
“I know, Dad. I thought about that too. It will also help if something should happen to you.”
“I don’t know what you have decided, but for my part, you can tell Bannister, it’s okay.”
“I’ve thought long and hard. If there is money left when you and Mom are both gone, I’ll use the money for two things; one will be to improve the local library and one will be to fund Alzheimer’s research.”
“I would like to add a third,” Dad said.
“What would that be?” I asked.
“I’d like a scholarship at the school in your Mom’s name,” he said quietly.
“That’s something that could be done. I’ll talk to Bannister today and have him draw up the papers,” I told him.
Bannister agreed and his daughter drew up the papers. I signed them and we went into the courtroom to hear the verdict.
Allen Bannister Jr. was found guilty of kidnapping and possession of a date rape drug. He
was sentenced to twenty-five to life. Life for Dad and I went back to normal. Me just hoping I would not awaken again in a jail cell.

If you enjoyed this story please let me know. I think there should be a second one so you know what happened when the trust fund money arrived. Had the thought that I might do a series of short stories on Sam Worth.

TTFN

Friday, August 19, 2011

How Did I End Up Here? Day 6

“Sam, they picked up Bannister. Would you like to be the one to tell him that he doesn’t have an heir?”
“You bet.” I turned to Doc and gave him a big hug. “Thanks so much.”
He handed me the file with the DNA report. Dad shook his hand and we walked out. The ride to the police department didn’t take long. They told Dad, Bannister was in an interrogation room. We walked in together.
“Mr. Bannister, imagine you here and under arrest,” I said sarcastically.
“What is she doing here? I’ve asked for a lawyer. I want her out of here,” he demanded.
“What you want doesn’t much matter. A public defender has been called until your lawyer can get here. I just thought I’d let Sam read the list of charges,” the Chief replied.
“She can’t do that. She’s a civilian. She has no right in this room,” he raged.
“Wrong, scumbag, I have every right to be here. You are first being charged with kidnapping, then there is the issue of the Rohypnol, finally there is the charge of impersonation.” I was enjoying this.
“You misled me. You advertized as a private investigator,” he complained.
“I am a private investigator. I’m also the daughter of the Chief of Police. That was your first mistake,” I informed him.
“You’re my daughter. I hired someone to find you,” he argued back.
“Taking photos of me does not make me your daughter. The DNA test in my hand says otherwise,” I was smirking now as I held up the folder Doc had given me.
“I didn’t have a DNA test done. Those results must be forged,” he defiantly.
“I had one done with my father. Those tests are correct. You aren’t my father. This is a good thing, because I have a file on you that will bury you in some stinking jail cell for a great number of years. You’ll probably be too old to father an heir when you see the outside again.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about. I want this woman out of here. I also want a private DNA test done. She is my daughter,” Bannister continued to insist looking at the Chief.
I turned and walked out, too angry with this spoiled rich man to care. I passed the public defender on his way to the conference room. I went to the other conference room. In a couple of minutes Anna joined me.
“So, how’s it going?” she asked care and concern filling her voice.
“I have the DNA test that says that scumbag in no relation to me. I should be happy. Instead I just want to bury him in a jail cell for a long long time.” Shrugging I tossed the file on the table.
“It will take time, Sam. This man wanted you to be someone you’re not. That’s hard to take.” Anna’s presence was comforting.
“I know in my head that you’re right, but my heart is angry.” I was having trouble letting go of my rage.
“Give it time. His arraignment is scheduled for one o’clock. Will you be there?” Anna asked.
“Yes, I need to talk to Dad then I’m going home.” I could feel the rage start to seep out, leaving me tire.
“Let me know if you need a lift.” She smiled and headed for the door.
“Thanks, Anna, for everything.” I returned her smile.
“No problem. It’s just a part of the ‘protect and serve’.” She left me and went back to her job. The Chief found me sitting at the table.
“Sam, are you okay?” he wanted to know.
“Yeah, Dad, I’m just angry.” I looked at him hoping to see my anger reflected there.
“Let’s get some lunch and then we’ll go to the arraignment together,” he suggested.
I nodded and we left. Lunch was a quiet affair at a little grill up the street from the police station.
After we had ordered Dad said, “I’m sorry we had to do the DNA test. Your mother is a good woman. She would never have wanted you to know there was a chance you were not mine.”
“It’s a dead issue. I am yours. That’s not what bothers me. I’m afraid he’ll make bail and I won’t be safe.” I looked at Dad rarely did I let him see my fear.

Big finish tomorrow, stay tuned.
TTFN

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Did I End Up Here? Day 5

Anna printed the photo. She wanted to have a hard copy when Dad got here. She also saved the photo to a disk. We shut down the computer and went to wait.
When Dad came in a few minutes later, I handed him the photo. He looked at it questioningly.
“Barstow wanted me to find his daughter. He sent me a ten year old photo of her. Dad, who is this guy and why does he think I’m his daughter?” I wanted to know.
Dad sat and just looked at me. I could see he was measuring what he wanted to say. I waited. Anna left the room presumably to give us some privacy.
“He may be your biological father. Your mother was pregnant when I married her. The guy had run off. I didn’t care. I loved your mother. Her child would be mine. We were never able to have children and I figured it was my fault. I am legally your father. This man Barstow, and that is not his real name, is looking for an heir. He is Allen Bannister Jr. and once he produces one he will inherit a trust worth millions. But the money is tied up awaiting an heir. The trust will be divided equally between the heir and Bannister.”
“Dad, I am not his heir. I am your daughter and Mom’s. Nothing will change that.” I was
Furious.
“He’s going to want a DNA test,” Dad stated.
“Let’s do one,” I demanded.
“Are you sure?” He raised his eyebrows.
“Yes, was Mom pregnant when you met her or just when you got married?” I asked.
“I never really thought about it,” he answered me honestly. “I knew she’d been thrown over by this guy and ours was a whirlwind romance. I wasn’t even sure she loved me at first.”
“Anna, we’re going to see the ME (medical examiner), care to come along?” I yelled.
Anna appeared nodding her head yes. The three of us left, Anna following in her car. It took no time to reach the medical examiner’s office.
Doc Watson was quick to take cheek swabs. He told us it would be a couple weeks but he’d put a rush on it. In the meantime, Anna and I were going back to the house. I wanted to know everything I could about the man I knew as Barstow.
We arrived at home, Anna threw some sandwiches together, grabbed a couple bottles of water and we booted up the computer. We started with a people search of Allen Bannister Jr. Once we got a photo of him we went on to search his family. A quick credit card to Intellus and we had a fountain of information. Bannister was the family bad boy. He had a sister who was a lawyer, a brother who was a doctor, and he seemed to be the wastrel. I couldn’t see where he’d finished college, but he’d attended four. He hadn’t held a job for more than a year. There were a couple of tickets for DUI-driving under the influence. He’d had some gambling debts and it would seem a couple of incidents with women that had been hushed up. Apparently he had no children. I didn’t want this man to be my father. I didn’t want his money or his name.
I left the room frustrated. Anna had printed off all the information we’d found. She also found an empty file folder and put it in there. She slowly followed me to the kitchen.
“Sam, what do you want to do with this?” she asked waving the folder.
“Frankly, I want to burn it. I want nothing to do with this man, especially after last night.
What kind of father gives his daughter Rohypnol and leaves her wandering along the side of the road?” I could feel the anger building inside me.
“I don’t know. Not a good one that’s for sure.” Anna agreed.
“He can’t be my dad, Anna, he just can’t. Why my mother didn’t even recognize him.”
“She has Alzheimer’s. She has days when she doesn’t recognize you, doesn’t she?” Anna probed.
“Not yet. She’s been pretty lucid when Dad and I go to see her.”
“This man would be a stranger. Not someone she has seen in recent years,” she reminded me.
“How’d he get that photograph of me? I remember that day at the beach. I was with a bunch of school friends. I don’t remember anyone taking pictures of me.” I was pacing like a caged lion now.
“Any good investigator can take photos from long distance. You know that. You’ve gotten some shots that have helped us when we couldn’t get close.”
“Yeah, I suppose. This is just so disturbing.” I don’t know what was more frustrating, that this man could be my father or that he thought so little of me that he’d drug me and leave alone and unprotected.
“The Chief will find him. Then we’ll get to the bottom of all this,” Anna tried to be reassuring.
“I suppose. Well, we’d better make a plan for the next couple of weeks. We are going to be together a lot.”
Anna laughed. “I guess you are right. What sounds like fun?”
Anna and I spent the next two weeks hacking into every file that held information on Allen Bannister Jr. We learned that he was broke and owed large amounts of money to some on-line gambling establishments. He appeared to live the high life and he treated people badly. His scrapes with the law always managed to go away. Either his lawyer sister got the charges dropped or his wealthy father must have put out large sums of money to make them go away. So, when Dad called to say Doc Watson had DNA results, I felt armed to battle this man who claimed to be my father. We had an appointment with Doc Watson in the morning.
I tossed and turned all night, was up early, showered, dressed, and making breakfast when Dad came down the stairs. I poured him coffee and he sat at the counter. When I had breakfast on plates we moved to the table.
“I heard you roaming around last night. Are you sure you want to go with me?” he asked concerned.
“Yes, Dad, I want this over one way or the other. With Anna’s help I have enough information on the man to make him go away. Not to mention he left ME on the side of the road drugged.”
We finished breakfast in silence and I did the dishes. Then we headed to the car and drove to the ME’s office. Doc was waiting for us and took us to his office.
“I don’t want to keep you in suspense, but I need to understand why you wanted this test,” his demeanor saying this shouldn’t be an issue.
“There is a man out there claiming to be my biological father and he wants to destroy my life and my family,” I retorted hotly.
“Well, I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s barking up the wrong tree. I won’t ask Chief, but I cannot imagine that you needed a test to know that this high spirited young woman is your daughter. I did run the DNA and voila the results are as I suspected Samantha is your daughter.”
I could hardly contain myself. I threw my arms around Dad. “Well, this has all paid off. We can now add kidnapping to the charges against him.” I beamed.
The Chief’s phone rang at that moment. “Excuse me,” he said as he stood to walk across the room. “This is the Chief. Uh-huh. Okay. I’ll tell her. Thanks.”

Next installment tomorrow. Happy reading.
TTFN

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Did I End Up Here? Day 4

I poured a second cup of coffee and offered a cup to Anna. We sat in the living room.
“So, what big plans do we have for the day? I brought my own car so we’d be less conspicuous if we go out.” She was always eager to help.
“I don’t know, maybe web surf on Dad’s computer. I may be able to remote access my files. I need to know what Barstow wanted to hire me for. Maybe then I’ll know what it is I cannot remember.”
“Need any help? I’m pretty good at hacking systems,” she volunteered.
I looked at her wide eyed. “You’re not serious.”
“Yeah, I took training at Quantico on how to hack into systems. I have a computer background.”
“Well, come on let’s have at it.” I was eager to see what I could learn.
We went to Dad’s office I booted up the computer, typed in the link to my website,
and logged in. I went to the section I kept on potential customers. Then I opened the file
on Barstow. Anna and I quickly read through my notes. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He wanted me to find his missing daughter. He’d lost track of her after he divorced her mother. We agreed to meet.
“Did he e-mail you a photo?” she asked.
“I don’t remember.”
Excitedly she said, “Here let me look.”
I slid off the chair and let Anna sit down. Then pulled another chair alongside her. She typed quickly and accessed all my photos. Sure enough there was a file that said Barstow. I was almost afraid to look. When the picture came up I was floored. It was a picture of me, taken at the beach about ten years ago. How did he come to have this photo? Who was this man?
Anna looked at me speechless. I think my expression mirrored hers. I reached for the phone and called the police department.
“Applewood Police Department, how may I direct you?”
“Agnes, this is Sam is my dad in yet?”
“He’s just walking through the door. Hold on a minute.”
The next voice I heard was Dad’s, “What’s up?”
“I need you to come home. Anna and I found something on the computer you need to see.” The seriousness of my voice had him on alert.
“Want to tell me about it?” he asked.
“No, Dad I need you here,” I told him.
“Okay, I’ll be there in ten minutes.” The next thing I heard was a dial tone.
Anna printed the photo. She wanted to have a hard copy when Dad got here. She also saved the photo to a disk. We shut down the computer and went to wait.
When Dad came in a few minutes later, I handed him the photo. He looked at it questioningly.
“Barstow wanted me to find his daughter. He sent me a ten year old photo of her. Dad, who is this guy and why does he think I’m his daughter?” I wanted to know.
Dad sat and just looked at me. I could see he was measuring what he wanted to say. I waited. Anna left the room presumably to give us some privacy.
“He may be your biological father. Your mother was pregnant when I married her. The guy had run off. I didn’t care. I loved your mother. Her child would be mine. We were never able to have children and I figured it was my fault. I am legally your father. This man Barstow, and that is not his real name, is looking for an heir. He is Allen Bannister Jr. and once he produces one he will inherit a trust worth millions. But the money is tied up awaiting an heir. The trust will be divided equally between the heir and Bannister.”


Tune in tomorrow for more.
TTFN

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How Did I End Up Here? Day 3

“I’m going with you.” I looked him in the eye letting him know I was ready to argue.
“You bet you are. You have power of attorney for this box,” he said simply gaining the upper hand.
“Oh, Dad, no, you don’t think he stole from the box do you?” My brows drew together indicating I was worried.
“I think because you still have the key that things are okay,” was his reassuring response.
We drove to the bank, talked to the manager, and went to get the safety deposit box. It was as it had always been. It held my grandmother’s jewelry and some savings bonds my mother had for me.
With help from the bank manager, the box was changed and a new key was issued. The Chief drove me to my apartment where I got some clothing and then he took me home. I went up stairs took a long shower and changed. When I came down, there were two officers in the living room. I knew them both. Anna Wilkins, a petite good-natured officer, was assigned inside the house and Jack Adams, tall and lanky with a desire to please, was going to be in the car outside.


I went up to my old room, crawled between the sheets, and was asleep in minutes.
The Chief went back to the office to find out the status of the BOLO and finish up his day. He called the administrator of the nursing home. He wanted no one in his wife’s room that was not personally known to the staff. A man claiming to be from the church had shown up today. He was not from the church. That taken care of he needed to find the man Barstow and find out what he wanted.
Later in the day when, I awoke, I felt refreshed. I dressed and wandered downstairs to find something to eat. I found Anna in the kitchen and wonderful aromas wafting out.
“Afternoon, Sam, hope you don’t mind my taking over the kitchen. The Chief will be home in about half an hour. If you can wait that long, I’ll have dinner ready for you.”
“Anna, that’s great! I can wait. But I need a bottle of water,” I told her.
Anna reached into the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. She handed it to me. I took it and sat at the counter.
“So did you get drafted to go to ER with me last night?” I asked.
“I volunteered,” she replied with a smile.
“Thanks for that. I wish I could remember. I don’t even recall seeing Molly,” I said morosely.

“I talked to Molly today. She came to see you when her set was done. She had trouble getting you away from the man you were with. When she did you weren’t too coherent. You gave her the key and told her what it was for. She said you weren’t too steady on your feet,” Molly told me.
I shrugged and drank some water. Something was niggling at the back of my brain. Something I knew would be important. Try as I might, I couldn’t grab onto it.
The Chief arrived Anna and I put dinner on the table. I asked Anna to stay but she said she needed to get home to her husband. She left and we sat down to dinner.
“Dad, there is something in the back of my mind about last night. I can’t seem to hang on to it long enough to remember.”
“It’ll come to you. Don’t think about it now,” he said calmly.
“Do we have night coverage, too? Maybe we should take them some of this delicious pork.” I said trying to figure out how serious this situation was.
“No one is assigned to watch the house tonight. They are driving by on the hour and half hour.”
“Thanks, Dad.” I meant it and smiled.
“Just a precaution I also took care of your mother, too,” he told me.
I nodded and continued to eat my dinner. After dinner Dad and I took coffee into the den. We watched some TV together then I turned in for the night.
I slept a very restless sleep, filled with images running into each other. Jesse Barstow kept running through my head. What had he wanted me to do? Why had he hired me? Why had he drugged me? How did my mother fit in? I awoke tired and still drawing a blank.
Dad had coffee on when I came down the stairs. He had just put bacon in the pan. He looked up and said, “Couldn’t sleep either?”
“Nope, still cannot get to that niggling little thing in my head.”
“It’ll come to you. What have you got that you need to be working on?” he questioned.
“I’d just finished up for Molly, so the job offer by Barstow would have been the next thing. I’m going to call and see if I have any messages.” I went to the phone called my office and checked my voice mail. There was a cryptic message from the voice of Barstow.
“So, you are a hot shot PI? I really don’t think so. You fell for the oldest con in the book. It was so easy to get you where I wanted you.”
I replayed it so Dad could listen. He sent Anna over to get the tape and take it in to be analyzed.
I called my home to check the voice mail there. There was none. At least he hasn’t got my home number. I was careful not to give that out to clients. My office and cell phones were for business.
Dad and I ate in silence. I cleaned up after breakfast and Dad went to get ready for work.
Anna showed up as Dad came down the stairs. He nodded to me and said to both of us. “You
girls keep out of trouble.” Then he left.


Hope you are enjoying the story.
TTFN

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