Do One Small Thing

starfish on beachDid you ever have one of those years? 2016 turned out to be a sabbatical from my writing. I have excuses, but other writers manage to write through life problems. I admire them. So, I could give you the litany of woes, but I won’t. Except for 6 weeks in a sling after shoulder surgery, I could have been typing around all the life events that hit me.

Depression can stop creativity. Medication doesn’t always fix the problem. Exercise and meditation doesn’t always make it go away. (Especially when you don’t love to exercise) Of course, have your doctor watching out for these things, but the one thing they can’t give you is a purpose. Negative self-talk sabotages all your efforts to pursue a goal. Here’s some examples:

  • What’s the use?  
  • Who cares if I (insert activity) or not.
  • I can’t make a difference, so why bother.
  • I’m not that good at (whatever it is).  
  • My family/spouse won’t like it if I take time away from them for me.
  • Change is hard.
  • What if I fail?

I’ve said all of the above to myself in the last year, maybe longer. All self-defeating excuses that stopped me.  When I said something negative, a friend asked me, would you say that to your child or a friend? It was shocking to think about self-talk that way. Of course, I would never tell someone not to try, or that they might as well quit, or that they were going to fail.

Change is hard. Maybe I won’t make a huge difference in the world by writing my little stories. I know my family loves me enough to want me to try, even if I fail. Even if my family didn’t support me, I need to pursue my writing because it’s such a part of me. I’m trying to get a handle on time management. That’s a big challenge. So, I am cleaning out my office, and returning to my keyboard. It may take a bit of time, but I am already scheming in Skeeterville. I have a few positive motivational sayings that I like:

  • Do One Small Thing. (my favorite, it gets me started)
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes.
  • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
  • A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.
  • Avoid negative people as much as possible.
  • It’s ok to say NO.
  • Stop hating yourself for all you aren’t and start loving yourself for all you are.
  • No matter how you feel, get up, get dressed, get to work, and never give up.
  • Count your blessings, not your problems.
  • Don’t ruin a good today thinking about a bad yesterday. Let it go.
  • What you are is God’s gift to you. What you do is your gift to God.

It’s funny how life inserts itself in whatever we do, whether we realize it or not. In Amazing Gracie, I touched on alcoholism with John but Gracie had to face her lack of self-confidence. That was my first novella, I needed to be brave. In Hiding Miss Daisy dementia was the issue. My mother had dementia, so I knew that the progression is not instant. In my short story, A Tale of Two Doxies there was no dead body. It was a dachshund rescue story. I love doxies and that story was dedicated to my two lovely dogs who crossed the rainbow bridge. And, there’s a man in the story who uses meanness to cover his real feelings.

I started 15 Shades of Blue last year, but I’ve changed the motivation of Desi the goat farmer and rewrote the first part of the story. How does a man face that he can’t do the job he’s done all his life? Once he quits feeling sorry for himself, Desi faces that he’s affecting his poor daughter’s life, too. He calls to get on the waiting list at The Friendly Arms Apartments. We all need encouragement, in this story, Clara Sue steps up to be supportive.

Bless you for being here today. I hope you’re striving towards your dreams, too. What you do matters, whether it’s as big as building a skyscraper or as small as calling to encourage a friend.  I hope you stay tuned for more as this story emerges. And I leave you with the  Starfish Story by Loren Eiseley.

Starfish Story

Hiding Miss Daisy available NOW!

Finally! After several delays, Daisy is on Amazon for you.  Thank you, my patient readers Hiding Miss Daisy Cover smallfor sticking with me. 2015 was an amazing year. I barely had time to catch my breath we were so busy at my house.  I traveled to San Diego to write, Jamaica for our 40th, and NYC for the RWA convention. That doesn’t count the trips to see my six beautiful grandkids or the six weeks in the summer they were here. I was singing Willie Nelson’s song ‘On the Road Again’ a good bit. In November we got a new puppy to keep my 7yo doxie boy company. So, I’m potty training in the cold. Yes, I chose this. No, I don’t like the cold. Ah, the things we do for love.

In spite of all the goings on, I also published the first two Skeeterville stories, which were actually #1 and #3. Amazing Gracie was #1. When my doxie girl crossed rainbow bridge in April, I had doxies on the brain, so #3 A Tail of Two Doxies was written before #2 Hiding Miss Daisy. In February I will fly to San Diego to diligently work on #4 Fifteen Shades of Blue which will have the puppies from A Tail of Two Doxies, plus one more named Romeo. More about that soon.

Here’s the link to Hiding Miss Daisy:   http://amzn.to/1npR8Ek

If you read my stories, please leave a review. Amazon likes that and so do I! As much as I’d love all five stars, I really want to know if you enjoyed my seniors.

Here’s the blurb you’ll find on Amazon:

Hiding Miss Daisy  – A Senior Cozy Mystery Novella

Skeeterville Senior Cozy Novella #2

After three mysterious deaths at Sunnydale Medical Care Center and rumors of other strange happenings, Irene Weatherspoon doesn’t want her older cousin, Daisy, to go to the assisted living wing.

Mildred Fortier finds it hard to believe her life-long friend and apartment mate has dementia. Poor Daisy is just forgetful but her daughter is trying to force her into assisted living.

Though the authorities rule the deaths “medication errors within tolerable limits,” Irene is not convinced when “the error” claims another victim. Irene and Mildred band together to hide Miss Daisy. The ornery seniors from the Friendly Arms Apartments join forces to help Irene solve the murders.

What to do? Feisty Irene takes notes when she visits friends at Sunnydale. She uses the resident therapy dachshund to sneak behind the nurses’ desk. But Mildred, the seniors, and her boyfriend Wally, think Irene’s gone too far when she dons purple PJ’s to tackle the role of amateur detective, and goes undercover at Sunnydale.

Irene won’t stop investigating until she knows the answer. After all, most Skeeterville seniors end up in Sunnydale, and no one wants to end up dead.

 

 

 

Finding the Cover Model

Finding a cover model is a challenge. While my romance writing friends combed the web for pretty people, I looked for beautiful dachshunds! I have a line on another painting by Mick Williams, similar to the cover on Amazing Gracie. And my cover designer is warming up her Photoshop to put all the elements together. I am getting excited now that the cover is coming along, and I am getting Miss Daisy into critiques. I am mostly healthy now, and as fall sets in, I want to wrap up in my office cocoon to write. I plan to have Miss Daisy out mid November.

Hiding Miss Daisy is not a story about dachshunds like A Tale of Two Doxies, but Marco is a therapy dog who lives at Sunnydale Medical Care Center in Skeeterville. His master was a pastor who visited Sunnydale with Marco, then the pastor became a resident and brought Marco with him. Then he passed away.  The staff adopted him and kept him on as a therapy dog. He plays a role in Irene’s sleuthing.

I want you to see the finalists in this beauty pageant.

 

Travie from Claire

This is Travie. Don’t you love his eyes!

 

Maxx

This is Maxx. He always looks like he wants to give you a kiss.

 

Lori Blk tan Fritz

This is Fritz. He has such a such a soulful gaze.

 

Papa Bear

This is Papa Bear. He’s so furry I want to grab those furry cheeks like an auntie.

 

Frankie

This is Frankie. He was my dear friend’s dog. He was a therapy dog who crossed rainbow bridge.

He inspired  me to create Marco in the story.  I wish we had a hi-res picture of him.

 

AND OUR WIENER, UH, WINNER, IS: YULE!

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Yule looks so noble. He would walk the halls of Sunnydale with his head held high doing his job, I’m sure.

 

 

 

 

Summertime Flew By!

I love my grandkids, which is why I have Camp Oma every year. This year I had between one to six kids, and one to three dogs here from June 21 to August 6, longer than usual. Lots of camps this year. Lego Camp, Writing Camp, Hockey Camp, and Theater Camp. Oh yes, add in vacation for parents. We also went to the zoo, the bounce house, tie-dyed at a neighbors house, spent time at the park, a few dinners out, and don’t forget the xbox and chill time at our house.  Did I love it? Yes! Am I tired? Exhausted!  Is it a sacrifice to use my time like this? Yes! Will I do it again? As long as they want to hang out with their grandma and grandpa aka Oma and PopPop, we will be here. Too soon they will have friends and jobs that will take their time. They will love us from afar, partly because we took this time with them every year. Good memories for all of us.

What do you do with kids ages ranging from 3 to 14?  I need ideas for next year!

Now it’s back to my computer and Skeeterville. (Thank goodness)

Here are some pictures of the time I spent with my dear grands.  Yes, I am a grandmother and Yes, I have pictures! (But I won’t torture you with all of them)

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The best toys for 3yo were the Fisher Price little people her mother used.

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Fourth of July picnic. Caught the 7yo & 9yo cousins in a rare sitting moment. They slept well that night.

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Three 14yos cousins in their natural habitat – huddled together looking at silly youtube videos and laughing like crazy.

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Tie-dye in the process

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Tie-dye the results

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Zoo time

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It took a while, but she overcame her fear and fed those goats.

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Tent in the yard

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Just before they went home, my dryer broke. They were rewarded for good behavior.

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In the middle of July, Fluke graduated his beginner class. He was such a good boy.

 

 

 

 

 

The Frustrating Middle.

322 smallMy main character Irene Weatherspoon was here she would bonk me on the head with a newspaper if I stopped in the middle of this story.  It’s a sweet story about two devoted friends aging together. Plus a few unexplained deaths.

My dear Skeeterville seniors have a dilemma. Irene’s cousin, Miss Daisy is the oldest resident in The Friendly Arms Apartments and she is getting dementia. She lives with Mildred who is also in her eighties, mentally sharp, physically having problems. Change is hard to face, and Mildred is in denial about Daisy’s worsening issues. Daisy’s daughter wants her to go to assisted living.

Sunnydale Medical Care Center has assisted living, nursing care and a rehab center under one roof. But Irene learns that there is UNEXPLAINED DEATH at Sunnydale! The seniors have friends there, and eventually, most of the folks living at the Friendly Arms will have to go to Sunnydale. Certainly, Irene can’t let Miss Daisy go to assisted living until this is resolved. Which means Irene will investigate the situation.

The seniors ban together again to help Irene. Her boyfriend, Wally pitches in, as do their friends John and Gracie and a few others. First they hide Miss Daisy from her daughter. That won’t work forever and the situation gets worse. When the third person dies at Sunnydale, Irene goes undercover to solve the crime. Deputy Tom Radon isn’t sure what to believe. And, poor Mildred has to realize that change is inevitable.

Some of the situations in Hiding Miss Daisy come from my experiences with my mother as her dementia progressed. Mom was a gentle soul and never had the anger issues that many with dementia have suffered. In her moments of clarity we talked about her fears and laughed about the forgetful moments and the interesting way the mind works to resolve problems when you can’t remember everything. She was often embarrassed by her own actions. My sisters and I reassured her that it was our turn to care for her. Part of that care was moving her to assisted living where she was monitored and helped 24/7.  My mom was happy being with other people her age even though it wasn’t like her home. Much of Miss Daisy’s gentle personality is based on Mom.

Staying at the assisted living residence and then staying at the nursing home during Mom’s last month was eye opening. Most of the aides really do care about their residents. But, there is never enough staff to answer all of the beeps immediately. Some of the sweetest moments I saw were at assisted living when there was nothing going on. One aide would go pray or sing hymns with old church members. Another would sit on the couch and rock one of the residents against her shoulder while humming lullabies.  Yes, there were a couple who just did their job, but most of the staff loved their residents and were patient even when they were childlike or angry.

And NOW, back to the frustrating middle of this story where Irene is dressed in Daisy’s purple PJ’s and could get caught pulling her shenanigans. How will I get her out of this one? Stay tuned.

What a Vacation!

2015-05-13 10.05.20I had the most awesome getaway to Jamaica with my Dear Husband for our fortieth anniversary. I thought I would get more writing done as we lounged by the sea or the pool but the rum drinks were so tasty, and sneaky! Plus, we did a few fun outings. We swam with dolphins, and held a shark. (not jaws, a nurse shark with a trainer) We took an afternoon cruise on a catamaran. I spent time with DH reminiscing about forty years together. He surprised me with flowers and a private torch light dinner on the beach. He was such a distraction. We stayed at Couples Negril. The people who work there were fantastic, the accommodations immaculate, and the food multi star restaurant quality. Yes, I want to go back!

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Next time, I will be on a mission to take the Skeeterville seniors to Jamaica for a short story. Can you imagine that they might find a dead body along the way? Maybe in an airport, or in a beach chair, or washed ashore, or. . .

I have plenty of time to focus on that next year. Right now, Hiding Miss Daisy is taking over my Skeeterville writing time. The poor dear really pulled a doozy this time. Right after Miss Daisy tried to put the garbage in the washer, she was headed to the garbage can with her laundry basket. Irene caught her in time or she’d have clean garbage and no skivvies! It was just a forgetful day, but that was happening more often. Sunnydale Medical Care Center is really a lovely place when it’s time. The assisted living wing has lots of activities and nice aides. There’s even a dachshund who roams the halls. But yesterday the third person died there under questionable circumstances! Medication mistakes within tolerable limits?  The seniors find this intolerable! Until Irene and the seniors figure this out, they will hide Miss Daisy from her daughter and keep an eye on Sunnydale.

Oh! I just thought of something Irene did. And the PJ’s will be purple. Back to the keyboard!

I leave you with a few pictures from my vacation.

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A Tail of Two Doxies – Seniors to the Rescue!

My Most Sad News  –and Happy News.

Many of you know that over the last five months I have lost three dear pets. My 15yo doxie boy, Otto, in November 2014, my 18yo lovebird in February 2015. Last week my 7yo doxie girl, Carmen, crossed rainbow bridge. Carmen had a heart attack during a much needed dental cleaning.  My rescue boy, Fluke, has clean teeth but is confused, partly because she is gone, partly because he has only been with us since Easter.

In this short story, Irene and Gretta rescue two abused dachshunds. From the start, I planned to have my two furbabies on the cover. I had no idea they would both be gone when I wrote “The End” through tears.

My Happy News-
I uploaded -A Tail of Two Doxies, A Skeeterville Cozy Short Story- to Amazon. Like my first Skeeterville story -Amazing Gracie- it’s short, it’s fun, it’s 99 cents.  

A note of embarrassment here- The pictures of my 2Doxie Press symbol and my author pic didn’t load with the story.  The story is the same, but you won’t see my smiling face there. You have to see me here or on Facebook until I can figure it out and reload it to Amazon. I wanted perfection, but. . . Nooooo! 

I am going on a writing retreat this weekend to diligently get back to -Hiding Miss Daisy.- Dear Daisy is half done, but Gretta’s dachshunds had to be saved. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my special rescue story. 

A Tail of Two Doxies http://tinyurl.com/qd4tq39

My New Furry Kid!

This is Fluke. He is a six and a half year old chocolate, long-haired dachshund. We adopted him last week. His family didn’t have time or money to give him all he deserves, but they loved him enough to want him in a good home. They know that living with me, he will be completely loved and spoiled. I was once told by a fellow writer that if they died, they wanted to be reincarnated as one of my dogs. I guess I go overboard.

Fluke spent the last two years or so receiving manna from heaven. i.e. food from the baby. So, he is fat. He barks at every dog he sees or hears. He cries. I think he has anxiety issues. The rehab Fluke program will consist of 1. Walking, good for me too. 2. Socialization – obedience class will help. 3. Consistency – and if he doesn’t calm down, the vet and I are discussing doggie downers.

My short story A Tail of Two Doxies will be out soon. It’s a rescue story for two abused dachshunds, Skeeterville style. Of course there’s a happy ending. I wouldn’t cheat my readers out of that! It’s a taste of Skeeterville between the novellas. I hope you enjoy it.

Right now, I have two doxies at my feet. Sleeping, not crying. Carmen has been a gem and accepted him like a brother. I’m happy.Fluke at door

A Fine Week in Utah for a Ski Trip?

My sweet husband took me on a ski vacation with our friends. I don’t ski. They all do.

However, I enjoy travelling and having alone time to write. So, I am tucked into the condo pounding away at my little keyboard. My short story, A Tail of Two Doxies is with the editor. Gretta and Irene rescue two abused dachshunds. Of course there is drama, but there are no dead bodies in this one. It’s just a taste of Skeeterville until the next story is out. I plan to have this out at the end of April.

Now I am focused on Hiding Miss Daisy, the next Skeeterville novella. Of course, Irene is a big player in this story. since she is Daisy’s cousin, she takes extra care of her. Daisy and Mildred are the oldest residents at the Friendly Arms Apartments.  This time Irene will go undercover at the nursing home when there is unexplained death occurring.

In this dear little town of Eden, Utah, the dining options are limited but tasty. One interesting jewel we found is Carlos and Harleys, a biker bar/Mexican restaurant combo. The food is good and the beer is cheap. They make a decent ice tea, too. Their decor will keep you busy reading the signs on the wall. In the center of the room is a statement piece that left me in awe. Yes, that’s a swordfish with a silver saddle and a Corona pinata in its mouth. I have never seen that before. Interesting use of an unusual object. We have eaten here twice. Swordfish in Utah

Hanging with the Red Hats!

I had lunch with The Ladybugs. These Red Hatters met at the Tilted Kilt where the waitresses are cute as a button and the fellas are in kilts. Eye candy for everyone! We ate a good lunch and chatted for a couple of hours. They let me blather on about Skeeterville, which I love to do. That was kind because my family gets tired of it and I’m always looking for new ears to bend.  After lunch we had to have a picture together with the waitresses.  So, I want to thank these ladies for putting up with me today and I can’t wait to visit with them again. After all, I am qualified to be a Red Hat!

Shown here with Teresa Quill are: Elizabeth Brackin, Barbara Hildebrand, Sherry Matzko, Jane McPhaul, Lenora Staley, Judy Virts, Clara Wamsley, and A.J. Willard (Queen Ladybug)

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