Friday, December 31, 2010

Challenge Day 5: Sir Poops-a-Lot


The last several days in Florida has been freezing, toe-numbing-blue-nailed cold. Something I’m not used to but accept because its better than humidity equals heat equals melted make-up and bad hair days (sweaty armpits). But, my one dog on the other hand has a difference of opinion(wished I had a picture of him…posted a look a-like from the web).

Chinese Crested Dog - Powderpuff

My older dog is a Chinese Crested Powder Puff. He’s fancy and fluffy like the above picture. White, too. A bit of a priss ball and prances when he walks. Doesn’t care much for the outdoors. Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring. Primping with the brush and getting his belly rubbed is his thing or hanging out on his bed with his blankie. Sometimes he can be found at my feet while I pound the keyboards.

Ten years ago when I brought him home, six cats greeted him and showed him the ropes. They taught him to clean his face, jump and walk on counters, hang out on window sills, lounge on the backs of couches, and when mom goes night-night, to find his rightful place on top the dining room table. They also taught him, the litter box was the proper toilet for all cats, this included him.

Yes, my friends I have a dog that used the cat box. Notice I’m using past tense here.

About five years ago when my daughters, one by one, left the nest so did a cat. One at a time. When the cats were gone, bye-bye went the stinky cat box. And well, guess who had to use the toilet outside. This didn’t go well.

Have you ever seen a dog try to pee with all four legs in the air? My dog hates grass. Dry grass. Wet grass. Hot grass. Cold grass. Especially frozen grass.

Well, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning his little feet received a cold greeting. Monday and Tuesday his pee warmed the grass but later that day my bare feet received a warm greeting in the middle of the night(had to go pee myself…the cold does that to me). Thought I’d pee myself when the warm goo squished between my toes and the rancid scent wafted to my nose.

Four times within forty-eight hours he left me these warm welcomes in different spots. The master bath. The laundry room. The upstairs hallway. And, No-No’s bathroom.

By Wednesday, I’d had it and we had a Jesus-meeting. Me and him. Eyeball to eyeball.

“Come here,” I said.

His tail went between his legs and he lowered his head tip-toeing to the refuge of his bed and blankie. The stinker knew what he did. Dogs aren’t dumb. Don’t let them fool you. It’s all an act.

I followed him with the leash and plopped beside his bed. “You know you’ve been naughty. You’re a Sir Poops-a-Lot. Not my Baby. My Baby wouldn’t do that.”

He blinked his eyes and let out a sigh.

I hooked his leash to his collar. “We’re going outside and your pooping out there. If you don’t poop you don’t come inside until you do. Got it?”

I put his furry coat on him and outside we went.

Since Wednesday Sir Poops-a-Lot a/k/a Baby has been going outside. He’s the fastest pooper in town now. Yes siree Bob! A fast and speedy pooper he’s become. Twice a day, too.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Challenge Day 4: Writing Prompts and a Little Snippet


Back in October, I attended the Florida Writer's Conference which I enjoyed. Thought I’d died and went to heaven, of course. My actual wish is for heaven to be full of tablets, pens, books, writing seminars, and Post-It Notes. After I die, I’m sure there will be plenty of time to meet new characters and write their stories. I’d hate to experience hell. They probably don’t even serve coffee there or give you a pen to scribble with on one of the molten walls.

One of my classes included something on writing prompts. At 7 A.M. I’d head for the nearest coffee machine and then on over to the class. It was better than my daily spin or sculpt regimen. A lot less painful and sweaty, too.

Before I write further, let me introduce the teacher of the class, Jamie Morris of Woodstream Writers. She’s a writing coach and offers writing workshops in Maitland, Florida. You can find her at if interested in seeking her professional help after I stop babbling.

Okay. First morning I attended, Jamie  passed out post cards. Mine had a full picture of a striped cat with big yellow eyes(of course, I was thinking….sure…whatever…how am I going to get a story out of this thing?).

Words of wisdom came from her lips, “Look at your card.” I could have sworn she was my old yoga instructor from years ago. Somehow she had her voice. Soft. Gentle. Flowing. “You’ve been sent this post card by an anonymous party. There’s a single word on it. This word is a clue from the picture on the other side.”

My thoughts, your kidding me, right?

So, I studied the cat. It’s eyes got to me. I picked up my pen and wrote the following:

When I arrived back to my motel room, I plopped in an overstuffed chair, discovering something small and hard hitting my bum. The book I’d been reading. Something stuck out from between the pages and I pulled it out. A post card. How’d that get there, I thought. I studied the front before I flipped it over. The word marbles stared back at me.

Everything in life is getting trickier for me.

Marbles. What the hell does marbles have to do with anything? It’s bad enough I found cocaine in the back end of my ex-husband’s car along with guns. It’s bad enough he’s been kidnapped and I’ve been chosen to save his bony ass.

When I was a kid I played with marbles. Sometimes I refer to my brains as such. I’m surprised I haven’t lost them yet. Mom used to tell me to put my marbles away-I kept them in a black bag.

Aha! black bag-something some street person slipped me at the outside cafĂ©. Damn, I threw it away in the motel dumpster. Guess this means I’ll have to dumpster dive. I’m not sure saving my ex-husband is worth all this trouble. Me in a dumpster. Gross.

I ran outside and hooked a left toward the back of the motel. From where I stood, the darned thing looked empty. That would be my luck.

So my friends, if you’ve got major writer blockage, pick up a post card. You never know what you’re brain will come up with.

Happy blog-writing ya’ll!!!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Challenge Day 3: Advice on Pitching Your Novel


Yesterday, Jodee asked me for some advice for her daughter on pitching her novel. She’ll be attending the Writer’s Digest conference in January. Thought I’d post my two cents and quote from “You Can Write a Novel”, by James V. Smith, Jr.

First I’ll give my personal advice:

1. Focus on your main character.

2. Focus on the main characters points. What moved your character from A to Z?

Now in the book, “You Can Write a Novel”, Mr. Smith suggests finishing the novel, of course, before you try to sell it. Good advice. Next, he suggests paring down your entire novel into about forty words (even thirty-eight if you can).

Here’s his example:

Force Recon: Action-Adventure

A Marine lieutenant’s elite band fights a running battle against terrorist behind enemy lines – in Canada. French separatists trap Navy SEALS and Army Rangers, and Force Recon rescues the Americans and erases all evidence of a U.S. invasion.

Then he asks “What’s explicit in that very short story”?

  • The heroic character-a Marine lieutenant
  • The central issue of the story (plot line)-fighting terrorists in an attempt to rescue Americans
  • The heroic goal-to punish terrorists and rescue other elite forces before the United States is accused of invading Canada
  • The worthy adversary-the terrorists, all of Canada, public opinion and (implied) elite teams of other services
  • Action-explicit in running the battle and rescue
  • The ending-Force Recon rescuing the Americans and erasing all evidence of an invasion

He also suggests your thirty-eight words should include:

  • The grabber-fighting terrorists and rescuing SEALs and Rangers
  • A twist-the United States invading Canada

Mr. Smith also suggests that you “write your nugget as if your telling your best friend about a movie you’ve just seen. Don’t worry about the word count at first. Use specific present-tense verbs that describe the action as if it were happening here and now. Use precise nouns. Tighten. Don’t stop refining until you get to thirty-five or forty words”.

More of my suggestions:

  1. When you meet the agent/publisher, introduce yourself, shake their hand with confidence.
  2. Remember to give the title of your novel, genre, and word count after you’ve introduced yourself.
  3. It’s okay if you bring a cheat sheet. Let them know that it’s your first novel. From my experience agents/publishers are gracious and polite people.
  4. Remember, you’ve got ten minutes to pitch. That’s it.
  5. If they want to read your manuscript follow their implicit instructions they give you.

And finally, if you’ve written your chapters in their own separate documents you’ll have to copy and paste them into one. After you do this, make sure you have someone else go through it to make sure you didn’t post duplicate chapters, leave out chapters, and that they’re numbered correctly( believe me its embarrassing when you have to write back to the agent/publisher that you screwed up…I know… because I did that).

You should do this beforehand so you get the correct word count. Trying to tally up each chapter with a calculator is not a good move. I know. I did that,too. Didn’t work for me. Believed I had 80,000 words, told the agent/publisher that and now I’m eating it because Shelly is a dufus sometimes.

Learn from my mistakes people. Take precautions.

Anyway, I hope I spelled it out. If not, can any of you give anymore suggestions on verbally pitching your novel?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Challenge Day 2: My New Years Resolutions



Jodee and Beth have inspired me to write down my resolutions for 2011. I’ve got fifteen minutes to spare and not quite fifty words left to do it in,  but here I go.

1. Figure out my digital camera.

2. Schedule sex twice a week with my hubby(going through the’s kind of screwed up Virginia).

3. Get an agent (that’s another blog…maybe tomorrow).

4. Or publish and market myself.

5. Finish my new novel, “The Boy Next Door”.

6. Engage in a different form of exercise due to health problems(worry that my butt will explode if I do though).

7. Somehow let my daughters know I love them even though I don’t agree with some of their current choices.

8. Get more massages.

9. Visit the chiropractor.

10. Go to the dentist this year(I only have one cavity at 45….shouldn’t take good teeth for granted).

11. Keep learning to improve my writing skills.

Well guys, I did this in ten minutes. Coolio. It will probably take me another five to find a pic from the web to download (actually, it took less than five).

Happy Blog-writing!!!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Challenge: Fifteen Minutes a Day to Blog for Fifteen Days Straight


Recently, I read an article from an on-line magazine, The Infinite Writer. Penny Sansevieri wrote an article on blogging(forgot to write down the title..oops). One of her suggestions was to blog fifteen minutes a day. In fact, your posts don’t have to be any longer than fifty words.

Fifty times fifteen minutes a day. Sounds like a good idea. Wonder if I could do it? Wonder if any of you could do it?  Blog fifteen minutes a day. Fifty words only…about anything. Anyone up for the challenge?

Happy blog-writing!!




Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A snippet on Gram from “Secondhand Shoes”


This is the last snippet…Regina, I introduce you to Lila’s Gram. Enjoy everyone.

I looked over my shoulder at Gram again. I’d spent her last Sunday on earth with her. We sat in her kitchen, blinds closed against the setting sun. A candle flame flickered in the middle of her kitchen, two parts leaned into each other like slow dancers. It’s dance intensified, the flames intertwining, pulsating until they merged, became one and sighed.

“That’s it, child.” Gram said softly. “Focus.”

My lids heavy, they closed. Faces I didn’t recognize appeared. They whispered change and undefined danger.

My eyes flew open.

“No, child,” Gram said. “Look back into the candle. Breathe, let your eyes close, thoughts take wings like the birds in the sky.”

I followed her instruction. The faces appeared, whispering. Change and danger vibrated through my subconscious.

“What is the voice saying to you?” Gram said.

“Lots of voices. Only two words. Change, and danger.” I opened my eyes. “Gram, I really should stop this. Mom doesn’t approve.”

“Oh, pooh on what your mother thinks. You have a gift. You need to use it. Besides, she thinks and says a lot of things that don’t make sense.”

I spent Sunday mornings with Mom and Daddy at church, but in the late afternoon, I went to Gram’s and we practiced the ‘gift of sight’. That’s what Gram called it. Mom called it craziness and delusional visions.

Gram did her best to teach me the Tarot and tea leaf readings. I didn’t care much for that stuff, though. Too complicated. Most of the time, she had me stare at a candle flame and quiet myself so I could hear what the other world had to say. This didn’t overwhelm me, and I did it well.

Gram spread the Tarot deck out in front of me. “Okay, child, run your hands over the deck. Concentrate. Where ever you feel energy, pick a card.”

I squeezed my eyes shut and ran my hands over the deck.

An energy started at the top of my head and it flowed down to my fingertips, my skin goose bumped when I slid my hands to the right. I picked up a card, opened my eyes, and laid it down.

“The Tower card,” Gram said. “The card of change.”

“Okay, what does that mean?” I asked.

“Close your eyes and concentrate again, and let the energy tell you which other card to pick.”

This time, picking the card was faster. I opened my eyes and looked at the card. The face of the Pagan Horned God, The Devil covered it. It gave me the creeps. It could only mean something bad.

“Oh my, child,” Gram said. “Your cross is being enslaved. But that’s because you allow it, dear.” She pointed to my chest. “Somewhere inside there is the power to break any chains that bind you, today and in the future. This includes breaking the apron strings your mother has you tied to.”

Right. How am I supposed to do that. “Uh-huh.”

“Pick another card.”

This time, I kept my eyes open and ran my hands quickly over the deck. One of the corners of a card was bent upward and nudged me. “This one.”

I flipped it up. A dead man with ten swords in his back. It was terrible, and it frightened me. Someone will kill me, or I’ll come close to dying.

Gram let out a painful sounding sigh. “Oh, my. Sometimes everything goes wrong.” She nodded. “Change and danger are definitely coming your way.” She pushed her chair back and doubled over, hands grabbing her stomach.

I stood. “Gram, are you okay?”

“Of course. It’s just my bladder. I have one of those UTIs. I’ve been taking medicine from the doctor for it.” She stood but staying bent a hand on her belly. “I think we’ll call it a night.” She backed further away from the table and stood with a wince. “Call your mother to come get you, child. I’m going to lie down.”


“Remember to pay attention to your dreams, Lila. Pay attention to the voice inside you.” She smiled. “I’ll always be near watching over you.” She cupped my chin and kissed my cheek. “And be a good girl.” She winced again, pressing a hand hard against her stomach, and sucking in air. She exhaled and said, “And bring Julio next time. I like that boy. He’s got manners and a bright future. Your Mom’s full of pooh about him, too.”

She turned and walked toward her bedroom.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Last Snippet From “Secondhand Shoes”


This will be the last snippet of Secondhand Shoes….well…maybe for Regina I’ll post a snippet on Gram for Wednesday. For anyone else if you haven’t read any of the snippets you’ll have to go back and read the other three to understand what is going on.

Mom spun, pulled half a dozen tissues from the box on the vanity next to the full-length mirror, and shoved them into my hand. “Now fix your face.” Out of nowhere, her face softened. “Let’s go.” Her voice sweetened. “People are waiting.”

Mom turned on her heel but stopped, looked at me and said, “You know that I love you and want what’s best for you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Why do you think we spent so much money putting you in private school?” After a second, she turned and marched out of the bridal room, leaving the door open behind her.

The man I called Daddy from the time I was four stood with his head down. He looked up and, taking a tissue from my hand, wiped my face.

“Your mother’s probably half-right, you know, honey. It’s nothing more than nerves.” I don’t think he believed this, but how else could he justify his wife’s actions. It irked me, but I didn’t let him see it. Maybe one day when I’m all grown up, I thought.

I nodded as I choked back more tears.

My Daddy gave me a small smile. “That’s my pretty girl. Now blow your nose, and fix your make-up, and I’ll walk you to your groom.”

I blew my nose and fixed my make-up as I thought of my real dad. I wished he could be here today. I jostled my brain trying to remember if I addressed an invitation to him. I know that I did because I tucked a note in with the wedding invitation. That note read:

Dear Dad:

I know that you and Mom don’t get along. But, I would love to have you walk me down the aisle along with my stepdad. I feel so lucky to have two dads in my life even though I haven’t seen you since I was ten. I don’t know why you haven’t come to see me or call but I would love to see you on my wedding day. Please come.



Mom promised that she mailed out the invitation and note. The week before the wedding Mom placed a yellow post it note on my bedroom door while I was at work. That note read:

Your father is not coming to the wedding. He never received the invitation.

I tried calling him but got his answering machine instead. I left several messages for him to call back. He never did according to Mom.

Mom voiced later in that week that my sister Katy may have intercepted his mail. “Maybe she ripped it up and threw it away. She’s a hideous child that never should’ve been born, you know.” A comment we all heard from the time Katy had turned three.

Finishing my lipstick, my Daddy put out his forearm and smiled. “Are you ready now, honey?”

No. I entwined my arm in his and looked into his amber puppy eyes. We were both Mom’s captives doing her bidding.

“Of course.” Another hiccup freed itself. At least something got to be free. Too bad I can’t be a stomach bubble today. Too bad I can’t float away somewhere.

We walked out of the church’s bridal room and into a long dark corridor. Something shadowy waltzed ahead of us. Silence echoed in the passage to the sanctuary.

Flashbacks of my dream raced around in my head. I could see myself in a mall void of people. Lights dimmed from front to back. I pushed on a glass door. Locked. At full body weight I shoved myself into it. Nothing happened. Not even the slightest movement of air came inside.

I lowered my head and walked toward an escalator. Still and silent it sat. I looked up to the top of it. I saw nothing but an eerie glow. Curious, I lifted my long white dress and took the first step onto it. It jerked and made a humming noise.

The escalator went from unsteady to a smooth glide. I took a few more steps up. Something black and sharp nicked my forehead. A surge of black pointed objects hurled themselves at me. I crossed my arms in front of my face. This lasted seconds.

Something bony and dry touched my hand. The stench of sulfur and death filled my nostrils. I peeked through my arms and gulped down a lump of fear, suppressing a scream. Bulged eyes in rotting sockets looked back at me. Pieces of ash-colored skin hung in clumps below its cheeks and chin. It tilted its head from side to side and groaned. I jumped out of its way, and my long white dress got caught under my foot. I clung to the rail, and it walked along side of me in the opposite direction of the escalator’s destination. More of these zombie-looking creatures came toward me, and a gush of wind hurled tiny pointed objects at me. They bit into my flesh while I continued up toward the light.

The sound of organ music brought me back to reality as my Daddy and I walked closer to my fate.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

“Another Snippet from Secondhand Shoes”


Hopefully, you read the first snippet. If not, go back back and read it. Enjoy!

Daddy stepped away from me and raised his hand in a calming gesture, something he did when he tried to take a stand against Mom. In the fourteen years they’d been married, Mom won the battles. All of them. The land mines that she planted in our home were too much for him to contend with, and he’d backed down.

Daddy looked at her. “Lila has something to tell you.”

Mom jammed her fists on her hips. “What is it?”

“I don’t want to marry Max.”Where the words came from, I didn’t know. I certainly hadn’t taken bravery pills.

Mom’s gray eyes narrowed.

If she goes to slap me, I’ll grab her wrist mid-go. Maybe. If I’m fast enough. Speed is the key here.

“What do you mean you don’t want to marry Max? There are two hundred and fifty people waiting out there. I spent twenty-five hundred dollars on the caterers, which, if you’ll recall, can’t be refunded. I put a lot of time into looking for your dress and shoes. You have bridal nerves, that’s all.”

I hiccupped and shifted my feet.

“It’s not bridal nerves, Mom. Don’t you remember the dream that I had?”

Tears welled up in my eyes again, and my throat went dry.

“Don’t start with that dream nonsense.” She threw her hands up in the air.

This time I flinched. I thought for sure she’d hit me, but she didn’t. Unusual.

“No, you have bridal nerves, and you’re getting married. So don’t start your nonsense and ruin your chance at having a husband.”


Mom stepped closer to me and put her finger in my face.

I lowered my head. She’d never fought with just words.

“Do you want your future husband to find out that you’re certifiably nuts before the ink is dry?”

“But my dream was trying to warn me.”

“Lila, your dream is proof that you’re nuts. Not to mention, you see people that no one else does.” She chuckled. “It’s as if you think you’re a psychic or something. Your Gram filled your head with this foolishness. I guess she wanted you to be a fool like your father.” She annunciated it with anger, spewing spit out of her mouth.

Daddy put his hand on Mom’s shoulder. “Dear, she shouldn’t go through---.”

“You stay out of this. She’s not your daughter.”

Daddy slouched. Defeat stretched across his face and seeped through his eyes. That’s all she had to say. Remind him that I’m not his biological daughter. I know it pained him.

Verging on hysteria, I fell into my Mom. “But, I can’t, Mom, please. This should’ve been me and Julio’s day.” Immediately I pressed my lips together. This comment earned me a good whack.

She grabbed my arms hard and pushed me back instead. “Now stop this Julio and dream nonsense. Do you think you’re the only bride who panics at the altar? You’re not. Pull yourself together and act like the lady I raised you to be. This is your wedding day.”

I twisted free from Mom’s grip. What could I say at this point? My mouth opened to speak, but nothing came out. I thought twice about it. People were here, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. They’d take her side anyway. I’m sure she’s told all of them how crazy I am. She would do that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Snippet From My Novel “Secondhand Shoes”

florida woods

I thought over the course of this and next week, I’d post snippets from, my novel Secondhand Shoes, from Chapter One.

Lila is eighteen years old and everywhere she goes her Gram goes but…Gram is dead. Lila is a psychic/medium that doesn’t listen to her own intuition. She’s bullied by her mother to break up with the one she loves to marry an undesirable guy(a drug thug).

On the way to the honeymoon destination they stop off at a diner. It is there that Lila decides after an argument that there is no way she can have sex with this guy. She takes off with the wedding cash, still dressed in her wedding gown and shoes to the bathroom. There she escapes with Gram close by, out the bathroom window into the Ocala, Florida woods…..

Second Thoughts November 12, 1983

I stood in front of the full-length mirror. Black mascara streaked my tear stained cheeks. A hiccup escaped in the midst of a long sigh. I ran my fingers under the high lacey neckline, and scratched.

My reflection squirmed in the A-line wedding dress. The lacey neckline and sleeves of the dress made me itch. Taffeta made up the bodice and lower half of the dress. My chest, shoulders and neck itched something fierce. I hated the dress. I felt artificial. I thought I looked like a Wedding Day Barbie doll with two black eyes.

My Mom, Babs bought the dress at a bridal shop auction in Georgia a couple of months ago without me. Proud of herself, Mom went on for weeks about paying only: one hundred and sixty dollars for a new wedding gown. I never had a say in it.

The pretty-white shoes were covered in lace with three inch heels. But, they were a half-size too small. The backs dug into my heels and the fronts squeezed my toes. I hopped from foot to foot trying to find relief.

Mom found the shoes at a secondhand bridal boutique and brought them home to me. They cost eight dollars.

My mother picked the wedding day, and the groom, too. She’s never been one to give me an opportunity to speak.

I swiped at my tears and picked up a hand-mirror on a near-by table to see the back of my head. My headpiece slid midway into my blonde curls, and I adjusted the pearlized combs.

My stepdad, Howard opened the door wide enough to poke his head into the small room the church set aside for brides. He smiled and asked “Are you ready?”

He looked handsome in his black tuxedo, even though his belly hung over his pants. He smoothed back his salt-and-pepper hair, and his usually droopy eyes twinkled.

The mirror reflected that he walked into the room smiling, came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulder. “Lila, you look---.” He fixed his eyes on my runny eye make-up and gave me a wary look. “You look lovely.” He forced out the words. “Seems like yesterday, you were six and falling off your bike. Scraping your knees. And then I’d have to pick you up and carry you into the house to wipe away your tears and put iodine on your scrapes.”

I bowed my head, and my lips quivered. Daddy did his best to make light of a terrible situation.

My mind shouted at me before he spoke again. It shouted and shouted Julio’s name. It shouted that this day should’ve been ours. My brain went into tantrum mode, but I bit my tongue. I knew Mom considered Julio a moot subject and Daddy shied away from it.

“I hope those are tears of happiness, sweet angel?”

He knew better.

I shook my head. “Oh, Daddy I can’t marry Max. It’s all wrong.” Julio jumped into my head. I shouldn’t have broken up with him.

He pulled me to his chest. Cuddling my head against his shoulder like he did when I was little. “Did you tell your mother, this?”

“You know that would bring doom on me.” Mom’s wooden spoon crossed my mind. She never leaves home without it. “Couldn’t you do it?”

He patted my back. “Honey, she’s only doing what she thinks is best for you. You know how she is?”

I lifted my head from his shoulder. “But I’ve only known him three months and I’m barely eighteen. I should’ve taken your advice. I should be allowed to make my own decisions.” I pulled at the high lacey neckline to scratch my neck again. “My stomach’s upset.”

Daddy grabbed a bunch of tissues from a Kleenex box nearby and wiped at the smeared make-up on my face. “Do your best to convey this to your mother. I’m right here, sweet girl.”

A lot of good that would do. Daddy’s never done a great job at standing up to her. I wished he had the guts to do it for me.

The door to the bridal room flew open, hitting the wall. Mom barged in, and the door bounced shut with a click. Her hair looking more fiery red than usual and her eyes piercing, she said, “Why are you still here? You should’ve been out there five minutes ago.” She cocked her left brow at both of us. Her eyebrows were painted on. It was a grimace-inducing sight when she cocked sans paint from a barren forehead. Prone to neuroses about her appearance, she pulled all her eyebrows out lest they wild-hair on her.

Thank God she didn’t come with her weapon. Quick, I looked around but saw nothing she could grab to swat with.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mercury in Retrograde Affects Me



Okay. I know, you are scratching your heads now.

The other day I received a letter on a short story I wrote and edited myself. For some reason, I have massive issues checking my own work. To be honest, I suck at it. Can’t see through the forest kind of suck at it.

It embarrassed me to read that I didn’t know the difference between a proper noun and a plain ole noun. My insides cried out, “But I do. I really do. Gee. I’m sorry.” Clunk me in my forehead. Dufus.

Issues in my writing do exist, I still can’t figure out when to capitalize ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. The rule boggles my brains.

Repeating words is another problem.

Sometimes I can’t tell the difference between telling and showing in my stuff. Pop me in the forehead, again.

There are days I wonder why I can’t just write the story and let the powers that be figure out all the nitty-gritty stuff that makes my eye-brains cross. I’m a STORY WRITER.That’s all. I’m no genius and right now I can’t blame this on the Wicked Witch of the West or her Flying Monkeys. It’s Mercury in retrograde.

And everybody asked, “What the hell is that, Shelly?”

For one, Mercury is a planet in the Solar System-in case you didn’t know.

Retrograde is where the planet has the illusion or actually is orbiting backwards. When this happens, it affects all written and verbal communications. More accidents and arguments happen. Any contract signed, will not stand the test of time. Appliances, computers and cars break down. It can cause real havoc in any ones’ life, like mine.

But, it can also be a time to re-do and edit anything we’ve written. It gives us a chance to fix the piece of doo-doo we may have created, like me. The retro started on December 10th and will last until December 30th, plus five days after.

Mercury goes retro three to four times a year.

Mercury retrogrades for 2011:

March 30 – April 23

August 2 -  August 26

November 24 – December 13

Now that you’ve been warned, I’ll be able to sleep without tossing and turning tonight.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Conspiracy Theories: Bible Prophecy, Mayan 2012, and the Christmas Bombers

The other day, believe it not, I was thinking(scratching my chin and eye-squinting type thinking). Boy. People are really going to be freaking out by next Christmas. 2012. Wonder if there will be another bomb set off somewhere in the world. Scratch….scratch….scratch. Revelation. Okay, I think I’ve linked some things. We Americans might be in some deep doo-doo.

Remember these?


They belonged to this guy:


The guy who wore a bomb in the crotch of his underwear. The one who intended to sacrifice his “willy”(how was he going to use it on his seventy-two virgins totally beats me) along with innocent people flying on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, on the way from Amsterdam to Detroit, on Christmas day 2009. Yeah. That one. Umar Farowk Abdulmutallab.

Okay then. Remember these people?


These people are the innocent townspeople of Portland, Oregon. They had no idea a car bomb waited to kapowi their beloved Christmas tree, not long after Thanksgiving 2010. Because of this guy:


Mohamed Osman Mohamud

So, Shelly was thinking there might be some serious dots to connect here with two other things that are weighing heavy on her mind, the Mayan 2012 thing and  Revelation 17 and 18.


Revelation, because we Americans are referred by these terrorists as “The Great Infidel” and in Revelation there is a nation referred to as “The Whore”.

Now, I probably have some of you scratching your heads and where the sun doesn’t shine but I’m getting to it, okay. I’m thinking. This is a little like algebra for me, but I see the answer.

In Revelation 17:15 it says, Then he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the whore is sitting, are peoples, crowds, nations, and languages. 16 As for the ten horns that you saw and the beast, they will hate the whore, bring her to ruin, leave her naked, eat her flesh and consume her with fire (America’s been loosing her clout).

Then you go over to Revelation 18.

Revelation 18:8 Therefore, her plagues will come in a single day- death, sorrow, and famine; and she will be burned with fire…et al.

Which brings me to my next point.


December 21, 2012.

What if the Christmas bombers succeed in pulling off something really big like nuking America on this day? Wiping only Americans and their country off the face of the earth. All they need is one day.

It’s just a brain fart guys. Kinda like fart writing.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Behind the Chair: Tipping Your Hairdresser



Tipping. Hmmf. This subject is not an easy one for me since I’m a hairdresser by trade but its important. A lot of hairdressers today work for corporate companies(Fantastic Sams, Smart Style, Super Cuts…) meaning they are paid minimum wage. The ones that don’t work for these companies struggle as well. Especially since these hairdressers rent their space and buy their own products to use on their clients, it can be difficult. These guys and gals rely on their tips to feed their families and pay their bills. Your tip is important since its how they make their money.

The guys and gals that do your hair, also pay for the up keep of their own equipment, their education, and their licensing. It costs them to keep everything maintained in order to provide you with a great hair style and its impossible to do this without your tips.

I know, the economy is in the tank but would you like to keep the stylist you have, forever? For years, I’ve watched hairdressers hop from shop to shop because they couldn’t make the money they needed. The corporate owned shops see you as their client not the hairdressers. So when they leave no one will tell you where they went, they’re not allowed.

I remember eating peanut butter and milk at one time because of minimum wage, and no one bothered to tip. It’s not a good thing to have someone suffering from low blood sugar working on your hair (scissors are dangerous all by themselves).

So please tip your hairdresser that’s how they make their money. A lot of them still have beauty school loans to pay off. It’s not a cheap venture even though our status in life has been cheapened.

Yes, we understand it’s a gesture of kindness but it’s also how we make our money.

How much should I tip?

That depends on the type of service.

Haircuts only $2.00 to $5.00

Shampoo and cut $5.00

Shampoo, cut, and style $5.00 or more

Perm or Color $10.00 or more

Once again, the writer of this blog understands that tipping is out of kindness. But, please take into consideration that your hairdresser depends on your tip to thrive.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Three Things I Learned This Week


Proper Time to Contact Agent/Publisher

My husband’s been driving me nuts ever since I sent off my manuscript to Wiley-Merrick Literary Agency. That was the second week in November after I painstakingly copied and pasted each chapter into one document (Oh, no Toto and Flying monkeys. Lots of them. I thought I’d strangle my computer over it).

“Have you heard yet?” he asked(he’s a chronic nag).

“Nope,” I said.

“When do you expect to hear anything?”

“Nothing for a while.”

“Can’t you call?” he asked.

“Not unless you want my novel to be pushed back further,” I said hoping, he’ll get the message. It’s all about patience.

It’s a good thing I’m the writer in the family and the hairdresser (his hairdresser of 25 years butchered his neckline a couple times before my hubby decided to come to me…it’s a way that hairdressers get rid of a nagging client…don’t let them know I informed you all of such). Yes, do not piss of your hairdresser like do not piss off the agents and publishers. They will teach you a lesson you will never forget.

To be honest, at the times (many times) that he has pestered me, I didn’t know what the proper agent-etiquette deal was. So I called my editor this week. The proper waiting period is three months and two weeks. Those were the exact words. So I’m looking at February before I hear or they hear from me. Patience is good.

Windows Live Writer


This popped up in my box sometime last week. It’s a blog writer (guess that’s the proper name for it). For some reason when it identified itself on my computer screen, I clicked on it thankful it wasn’t a virus (clicked on one of those before without thinking…kapowi…killed my hard drive). The angels heard me all the way from heaven and sent it to me making my life easier. Now I can post pictures, too . But, I still need to read my manual on my digital camera on how to save my photos. Time.

Speaking of time leads me to the next thing I learned(wrote that one on my grocery list this morning).

I’m an Anal-Retentive Time Keeper

Yup. I am. Last night I blocked out time to beta read and edit this morning for a fellow writer. Blocked out time to write but…

“Honey, come snuggle with me,” my hubby said. Well, he more like whined it.

Yup. He tempted me with his warm-harry-chubbykin-body to hop back into bed, and it worked. And if that didn’t work, his dimples did. They come out when he smiles. Another coaxing mechanism. Besides, when it’s in the fifties in Florida it’s like being in the teens to us (Okay, enough of the x-rated stuff…No-No edits my blogs for me so she’s already grossed out).

Afterward, I cooked. Oatmeal. Egg white and turkey scramble. Applesauce pumpkin muffins. Okay. Yeah. I got sidetracked form my original schedule. But really, I schedule two hours on my work days for writing, four hours on my off days, thirty minutes to read other blogs and respond, thirty minutes to beta read, thirty minutes to edit. Everyday I schedule house chores, cooking, laundry….you name I schedule it. And like my hubby gets cranky when things are out of place, I get cranky when I don’t follow my schedule.

And right now, I’m a cranky Shelly-bear.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Conspiracy Theories: Why I Question Authority



I thought I’d share one of my many vivid dreams…maybe it’s more like a nightmare.

My back plunged into a cold stonewall, knocking the air out of me. I blinked a couple of times thinking my imagination worked overtime when a snake-like creature whirled around to face me. I gulped in a gob of air, held it, and watched the creature slink toward me, within inches of my face. Sweat beaded across my forehead and my heart pounded. Oh. My. God. It had the face of a man. A face I knew. A face I saw in many paintings. Jesus.

But, his eyes were large and round. His pupils were slits like a lizard. A long fork-like tongue slithered between his lips. Wings spread out from the creature’s back hovering over his head. A crown of thorns rested a top his man-like head, and beads of blood trickled down his cheeks. His snake like body moved in S-formations before me.

“I’m not Jesus.” This thing read my thoughts. “But, I AM the I AM,” it hissed.

I swallowed another chunk of air, held onto it for about thirty seconds, and then let out a loud gasp. I pressed my body hard into the cold wall trying to push through it. Charcoal and sulfur wafted from the creature’s mouth.

“No one can save you,” he said, and then slid around me some more. “There is no God and Jesus to save you.” Two arms appeared from out of nowhere making him look more like a man and scooped me up into his arms. “You and I are destined to make a new future for planet earth.”

His voice sounded familiar .

“This is my world, my earth, my domain,” he said. “The earth is my footstool and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.” He grinned squeezing me tight against his nasty-smooth-snake body.

I froze in its arms, and in some far distant place an alarm sounded.

After, I jumped out of my bed and ran to the computer, typed in snake and reptiles on Google (oops…shouldn’t have done that..they’re onto me now). The words lead me to New World Order, shadow governments, and so forth and so on. And all of this, lead me to the next three fellows:

david icke

David Icke. Yeah. He is a bit strange with his belief that all the powers that be are all reptilians from another planet (well, politicians and such are blood suckers no matter how you look at it, and for the most part we are pretty much at their mercy). But, there are a lot of intelligent things that he says, too. Like, the human mind is a computer. Makes sense amongst other things but that can be another blog.



Alex Jones. Yep. I know. Another weird dude. I know what you are all thinking now (Shelly’s completely lost it). But, he’s in the watchtower every day peeling the layers of crap off the bills that none of us have time to read.



Jessie Ventura. Yeah, well…he was a governor once. That ought to say something.

Anyway, I’ll probably post more about this topic. It’s one of my favorites. And yes, Shelly questions all authority. It started when I realized my parents lied to me about Santa and the Easter Bunny.