Better 6 Feet Apart than 6 Feet Under

It’s hard to believe that this time last month we were living a very different way. How quickly things changed! I’m just hoping this doesn’t become the new normal.

In the meantime here are some quips I got in an email. Lots of fun!

  • Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem.
  • I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.
  • I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.
  • Still haven’t decided where to go for Easter —– The Living Room or The Bedroom
  • PSA: every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.
  • Homeschooling is going well. 2 students suspended for fighting and 1 teacher fired for drinking on the job.
  • I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone
  • This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog….. we laughed a lot.
  • So, after this quarantine…..will the producers of My 600 Pound Life just find me or do I find them?
  • Quarantine Day 5: Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business.
  • My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.
  • Day 5 of Homeschooling: One of these little monsters called in a bomb threat.
  • I’m so excited — it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?
  • I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyarda. I’m getting tired of Los Livingroom.
  • Classified Ad: Single man with toilet paper seeks woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.
  • Day 6 of Homeschooling: My child just said “I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year”…. I’m offended.

How are you handling things? Can you find what you want at the grocery store? Isn’t it great that gas is so cheap? (although this might indicate larger economic problems later…) Are you using walkie talkies efficiently to visit with others in the yard?

Isn’t this whole Covid-19 stuff crazy? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Death by Chocolate

My husband always says when I get bored I get dangerous. These cookies are definitely on that list. Really excellent! Enjoy.

1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup (4 T) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.

Melt butter and let cool. Mix in brown sugar. Making sure mix is not hot, mix in egg. Mix in cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt. Finally stir in  chocolate chips.

Get a scooper if you have one or else use a spoon to form 1T cookie balls. Place in refrigerator and chill for about an hour.

Oven 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place cookie balls on sheets about two inches apart.

Bake for 10 minutes. When out of oven press in about 5-6 more chips on top of each cookie so chips melt. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before moving cookies.

Makes up to 3 dozen cookies.

 

Grocery Shopping

My husband and I went grocery shopping yesterday. Well, I didn’t shop but waited in the car and observed the shoppers. I didn’t count the number of people going into and out of the store but it was a steady stream, maybe a new customer every minute or so. The parking lot was about half full or less. During the half hour I waited I saw only one lady with a mask. No one wiped down the handle before grabbing the cart.

Precautions for covid-19 seem extreme but can’t hurt. Here is a short video on safe grocery shopping that might be interesting.

How is everyone doing?

Back in the (Novel-Writing) Saddle Again

It’s been awhile since I’ve done fiction writing. It’s hard. That’s the main reason.

You can always find something else to do, something that may be easier and certainly will give you rewards on a shorter time-scale. I’ve been building my publishing business (www.ebooklistingservices.com) that helps authors truly self-publish  rather than being caught in the bear-trap of subsidy publishers. Subsidies are another blog for another day, but I’ll just  say I feel like I treat my clients super-well and help to guide them through a complicated maze of how-to-publish-a-book without getting ripped off.

But I digress. Fiction writing, that’s what I want to talk about. Continue reading “Back in the (Novel-Writing) Saddle Again”

Covid 19

Welcome to my new blog! Do you like my new website? I’m excited.

Right now the COVID-19 virus is all in the news. We’re hearing stories of mounting casualties in the USA and across the world, and being told, especially if you are over 65 and/or have health concerns, that you are particularly vulnerable to this thing.

Thankfully in this country while we hear reports of outbreaks in certain areas, most of us haven’t seen direct illnesses (yet). There WAS a run on the supermarkets last week starting about Thursday 3/12 — completely empty shelves especially for paper products and canned goods — and many churches including mine cancelled services on Sunday. Schools and colleges are closing or going to online instruction, and workers are being told if at all possible to work from home. You might see people now wearing a mask as they walk around the community. Cars have an open road through streets that are normally jammed. Continue reading “Covid 19”

Solving the Character Arc

I love to deconstruct story (fiction and film) to figure out how to deliberately incorporate the important elements that make a story “work.” Here’s a straightforward method to create a powerful character arc. Despite popular opinion that the character arc is a mysterious alchemy of emotions, careful writing, and hope, it can be done by simply inserting a few key plot points at the right places in your story.

These points will sound formulaic. They are like cartoon lines of a picture that, if you use them with some subtlety, will blossom in your narrative. See what you think.

Here are the elements: Continue reading “Solving the Character Arc”

One Tough Coyote

This story is from an email I received. I would tend to doubt it… except the pictures speak for themselves.

Meet the wiliest of all coyotes: Hit by a car at 75mph, embedded in the fender, rode for 600 miles – and SURVIVED!

When a brother and sister struck a coyote at 75mph they assumed they had killed the animal and drove on. They didn’t realize this was the toughest creature ever to survive a hit-and-run. Eight hours, two fuel stops, and 600 miles later they found the wild animal embedded in their front fender – and very much alive.

“We knew it was bad”: Katie, who was in the car when it hit the coyote, bends down to take a look at the fur poking through the fender.

Continue reading “One Tough Coyote”

I Want to Be a Writer!

The story goes that back in the day Winston Churchill gave this commencement speech. In its entirety:

NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.

 

This is apocryphal, by the way, but it’s still expresses a true sentiment.

At social gatherings people can be interested to hear I’ve published books. They sometimes say something like,  “I have the greatest idea for a book! When I have a little time I’m going to write it and once  it’s published everyone will be talking about it and it’ll make a great movie too.”

Honestly, I don’t get this confidence… people know that you’re not going to play a Beethoven  sonata on your third piano lesson, or paint a masterpiece after a few months of art lessons. So,  why do they expect to just sit down at a keyboard for six months if they’ve never done it before and bang out a  bestseller that will make a million dollars? Stories of lightning-bolt authors notwithstanding, it doesn’t usually happen that way. Continue reading “I Want to Be a Writer!”

Tempus Fugit

Old friends, old friends sat on their parkbench like bookends
A newspaper blowin’ through the grass
Falls on the round toes of the high shoes of the old friends

Old friends, winter companions, the old men
Lost in their overcoats, waiting for the sun
The sounds of the city sifting through trees
Settles like dust on the shoulders of the old friends

Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a park bench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends, memory brushes the same years, silently sharing the same fears

–Simon and Garkunkel

They used to live in-town, but now live 15 minutes away from us in the upscale retirement home that takes great pride in caring for its residents. I can’t help thinking of one without the other – like the salt-and-pepper shakers they go together, and have been married close to 60 years. It was hard for them to move from the house they built together, and they have crammed as much as they could take of a house worth’s of furniture into a three-room apartment. While it’s not exactly crowded, the proportions seem small as I walk between the table chairs two steps into the living space with the tired couch, the stained armchair, and the straight-backed rocking chair. The furniture is meticulously arranged, if dated – she has always liked things “just so.” Their most precious trinkets are relegated to one low shelf. Just beyond the sliding glass door is a concrete patio six feet on a side before a common lawn. She, who used to grow jungles from tiny shoots, now fusses over the pitiful planter basket of flowers outside that doesn’t look as if it will survive the next month. She drops cracker crumbs onto the patio to coax the squirrel living in the nearby tree to come visit. This squirrel is fat.
Continue reading “Tempus Fugit”