Everyone loves choices.

Need a beach read? Need a book to read while traveling? Want a nostalgic look at the 80’s and college days? Want a little romance and intrigue? You can have it all in “Your Every Move,” out in print and e-book.

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“The Crossroads” is here!

During the great depression jobs were scarce and the hope for a bright future even more so. For Sylvia Gray her life of poverty, cleaning, cooking and taking care of her three brothers is about as bleak as it can get. With her father out of work and nipping at the jug, her mother has to wait tables at the diner to make ends meet. All the family puts their support to the eldest of the brothers. There’s nothing more for girls living in the back hills of Arkansas in 1935. But Sylvia wants to finish high school and get a job so she can make her own way.

THE CROSSROADS novella available on Amazon.com

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“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple”

I turned sixty yesterday and I have to admit I think it must be a cosmic joke. There is no way sixty years have passed so quickly. BUT, the fact is, they have.  In the process of looking for something in my closet I came across a book I’d forgotten I had. The poem that the title is derived from is one of my favorites. I’d like to share it with you.

Warning by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

oldwoman

The mother of my heart

A close friend of mine died yesterday and I’ll miss her. I’ve known her for over forty years and she’s been Mom Finch to me for most all of them. She taught me so much, both little and big. How to make chocolate chip cookies, make sloppy joes, how to crochet. Many firsts in my life were experienced in the family kitchen: homemade ice cream, big – loud family dinners, quiet patience and giving. She sewed my prom dress in the same style as my best friend, her daughter and my forever friend, Maxine. She taught me how to make things stretch like money and food, to reuse what still had life in it, just like my grandmother did. She gave me so much.

She called me her “adopted daughter” and when her memory was starting to go she seemed to recognize me still. Perhaps not my name, but hopefully my smile and the love I felt for her. She lived a long life and right now I can’t remember if she was 93 or 94, but numbers have never been my strong suit. Suffice it to say she was a lovely nurturing woman and I am so glad she has been a part of my life.

She was as proud of my writing accomplishments as those of her own children. Mom Finch was the subject of one of my first articles for Active Aging, because I admired her so much. She was an ordinary woman with an extraordinary heart, and she took this lost girl in. She raised four wonderful women, one son, and me. They are blessed with her creativity and generous spirit. I’ve been blessed to be accepted as part of the family. Mom Finch is the mother of my heart and will always be my hero. I will never forget her.

forget me nots

Tiara & delusions of grandeur

When I was a little girl I was 100% tomboy. But in the 1950’s girls were supposed to wear dresses and bows in their hair. My preference was slacks and pull over shirts, this was pre-jean mania and slog tee-shirts. I did, however, wear Keds, even with my dresses whenever my parents would let me.

bonnie_jan_50sI still feel most comfortable in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, but I’ve learned the joys of dressing up. There are photos of me when I was 2 and the folks would dress me in Mary Jane patent leather shoes, lacy socks, and frocks with bows in the back. I had naturally curly hair back then, too. But when I started dressing myself I had other ideas.

It really wasn’t until the late 60’s early 70’s that jeans were allowed at school. Prior to that jeans were only worn by boys. We girls were only allowed to show a few inches above the knees, and boys hair could not hit their collar. In high school we rebelled – and long hair, short skirts, and jeans were all we wore. Except to the occasional dance. Then I’d wear a pant suit or halter dress. (Yes, hippie.)

mature_womanWhat was wrong with me? Nothing. It was the times and they changed. Except now anything goes. There are kids with long hair, short hair, and shaved heads and nobody seems to care. Fifty-year old women back in the 70’s looked old, especially with the way they dressed. Now days, women were stylish clothing at all ages and many look much younger at 50 now than they did back then. Who knew? Not me.

girlinjeansI ran into an old neighbor a few years ago at a shop downtown. He looked at me and recognized me immediately. The last time he’d seen me I was wearing the same types of clothing, a peacoat, jeans, tennis shoes, and layered hair. Wow. That’s scary.

As I age I seem to be getting girlier. Sparkling things (like jewelry) really grab my attention, and migrate themselves right into my jewelry box. My favorites are the ones ON SALE with semiprecious stones and beads. Yes, I guess I’m still a hippie at heart. My best friend says we’re like old crows, always attracted to shiny objects.

tiara_biggerSo, where’s my tiara? Surely I’m getting old enough to wear one once in awhile. I’m not sure where I’ll acquire it or where I would wear it, but even if it is just around the house it would be fun. Hey, it works for the Britain’s royal family. Maybe when I retire I can put “princess” in my occupation and wear a tiara every day. My muse wears one…does yours?

Blog Hop Time – Join Us

Blog for those who love books, reading and meeting great authors.

FFVbookcover_thumbA little about FEISTY FAMILY VALUES: The orderly life of successful artist and regal widow, Regina Morgan-Smith, abruptly changes with the arrival of her frumpy cousin, Annabelle–and not for the better. Homeless and covered in bruises, Annabelle requires more attention than Regina’s willing to give. However, family ties are strong, and Regina takes Annabelle into her home in the once opulent Riverside area of Wichita, Kansas.

Where did the idea come from? The idea came to me my senior year of college, while I was working full time.

Who are the main characters? The main characters are Regina Morgan Smith, a snooty woman with resources to spare, but barely a kind word for anyone. Her cousin, Annabelle Hubbard, is homeless and abused and goes to her only remaining family as a last resort. Tilly is Regina’s best friend and house mate and ends up being referee for the cousins while they try to sort things out.

What actors or actresses would you play your characters if it were made into a movie? Sigourney Weaver would make a great Regina. She’s regal and beautiful and tall.

Kathy Bates would make a great Annabelle. She can be soft, but tough when things require her to be.

I picture Sally Field as Tilly. Small. Spunky. Sweet. Funny. Perfect.

Some fun stuff…looking thru fence
1. If I could live anywhere, would you rather live in a medium sized city with mountains or a beach nearby.
2. What would you prefer? Sweets. Definitely sweets.
3. If you were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing you couldn’t live without? My husband Jim.

4. If I had to choose one of these books, I would have to say Alex Cross. But these wouldn’t be among my favorite books. I’d rather chose Sullivan’s Island.
a. Pride and Prejudice
b. Alex Cross
c. Twilight
d. Snow White and the Huntsman
e. The Shining

5. Which word most suits you?
a. crazy
b. funny
c. carefree
d. studious
e. anxious          All at different times and different days, depending on the circumstances.

6. Tell me something about yourself that might be funny to others? It takes me awhile to work through a geometry puzzle, it’s not always logical but I generally come to the proper conclusion.

7. Which group of words explain what you are like the most?
a. fly by the seat of your pants
b. drama queen
c. don’t sweat the small stuff
d. footloose and fancy free.
e. Too tightly wound      All of these at different times and different days, depending on the circumstances.

woman readingThese questions were provided by Tracy Kaufmann, the lead on this Blog Hop. We hope you’ll enjoy them. Please stop by and visit these others participating authors:

Katie McKnight- http://www.writergirlkatie.wordpress.com/
Christine Rice- http://christinerice-author.com/blog/
Divon Delgado- http://www.divonville.com
Cinta García de la Rosa- http://authorsyouwanttoread.wordpress.com
Tracy Kauffman- http://tracykauffman.blogspot.com
Julianne Grider- http://www.jpgrider.com/jps-blog.html
Ruthie Derby- http://madisonpost.wordpress.com/
Kathryn Williams-Platt-  http://kathrynwilliamsplatt.blogspot.com
Jack Strandburg- http://jstrandburg.wordpress.com
Catalina Egan-  http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/

Mother’s Day, And the Women Who Inspire Us

I think I must be one of the luckiest women in the world. All of my life I have been blessed with wonderful women who taught me valuable things. My grandmother (Bonnie, whom I’m named after) taught me how to make things last and reuse them creatively. She showed me how to make simple things in the kitchen like pancakes and banana bread (I still use her recipes).

dirty bearMy Aunt Francis, who is ten years older than I am, showed me how to negotiate like a girl, how to dance to 50’s LP’s and how to take care of my first dog (Butch). I was a terrible flirt at six and used to charm her dates into taking me along. That happened once and never again, because the next time she offered me her giant pink teddy bear if I’d stay home with grandmother instead of tagging along on her date. (I had that bear for years, until he was more gray than pink.) She’s a red-head and to this day I love freckles, and it’s all because of her.

Growing up, my best friend Maxine’s mom (Audine) crankicecreammachine2showed me how to make sloppy joes, chocolate chip cookies, how to sew (a little bit) and later as an adult she taught me to crochet. The first time I ever cranked or ate fresh ice cream was at their house one summer. Wore me out, but it tasted great.

At work I asked one of the female managers (Amy) if she would mentor me. For the past twenty years she’s given me great advice and been there when I needed a professional’s point of view. She never judged. She never scolded. She showed me by example how to stay calm in a crisis (sometimes I forget) and that there is always more than one way to get something done.

coffee and booksWhen I started writing in earnest I had many wonderful women who inspired me, supported me, and kept me going. Carol, Colleen, Phyllis, Peggy, Sandy, Staci, Stephanie, Lois, Olive, Erin, Robyn…so many I can hardly believe it! And I’ve probably forgotten someone, but it’s only my lousy memory – not because I’m not grateful. One of my favorite authors, Dorothea Benton Frank is my idol and I hope to someday write as vividly and with as much heart as she does.

So, you see. I’ve truly been blessed, in every stage of my life by incredible women. YOU LADIES ROCK!!!

Fun & facts relating to Feisty Women & Families:

glasses pen paper
  • Coffee is a great communication stimulator (not to mention a physical one)
  • There are 38 million women Baby Boomers in the US (count me in!)
  • Seventy-five percent of US families are categorized as NON-Traditional (key word: families, regardless of the form they take, they are a unit of people loving and support one another. Families Rock!)
  • Food and talk can unite and strengthen families at meal time (I agree)
  • 2.4 Million Grandparents have responsibility for their grandchildren (Grandparents Rock!)
  • Pets improve family health. More than 50% of US households have a pet in the family. (Hurray for critters)
  • More than 80% of women in the US experience a 5 year+ survival rate from breast cancer. (Awesome)
  • There are 6 million cases of elder abuse each year. (STOP!)
  • Thirty percent of abused and neglected children will later continue the cycle. (Time to Break the Cycle of Abuse)

Always remember…

forget me nots

Recently a wonderful writer, poet, friend and mentor passed away. I’m talking about a wonderful Kansas author, Colleen Kelly Johnston. She meant a lot to many people and we will miss her. The family held a memorial for her and many people whose lives she touched shared stories with us. It was funny and sad and very memorable.

I met Colleen more than a dozen years ago at my first Kansas Writers Association meeting. She was one of the founders and made me feel welcome. She encouraged me in my writing and invited me to be an active part of the local community of writers. Her patience comforted me and her graciousness allowed me to grow in the craft.

A few years after we met and became friends I found out her eldest son was a friend of mine from High School. I also became friends with one of her daughters. She shared so much with others and yet in many ways I didn’t get to know her personally until I read her poetry. At the memorial we were each gifted with a copy of Colleen’s book, “Stepping Stones,” and while I read it years ago when it was published – it was time to read it again. I would like to share the first poem with you and know that it will touch you as deeply as it touched me.

“It is the smallest things
that matter between friends,
words that are not spoken,
illusions that don’t shatter in the wind,
acceptance constant as August,
honor steadfast as the stars.” ~Colleen Kelly Johnston

Thank you, Colleen, I’m honored to have known you and will always remember the beauty you shared with us all. Farewell, my dear friend.

Hero Worship

I’ve got a serious case of Hero Worship going on. In fact, if Dot Frank was a man I’d have a crush on her. Last night I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Dorothea Benton Frank speak at Watermark Books. Folks, let me tell you – she is funny, down to earth, and totally inspiring. I want to be like her when I grow up – IF I grow up.

First of all, I’m so tickled that she came to Wichita and visited one of my favorite bookstores. How cool is that?

Sorry, I digress. My best friend Maxine and I got there early, meeting up with my friend Janice. We strategically sat on the 3rd row, directly in her line of sight. To be honest, I felt like a kid in a candy store filled with free candy.

She was kind enough to answer all our questions and tell us wonderfully funny stories about how she got started writing, her first book and her new book Porch Lights (which I loved), growing up on Sullivan’s Island (I’ve got to go there!), and bits of historical information about Charleston. I’ve read everything she’s written, as had many of the other attendees last night. We were a room full of happy women, laughing and fanning ourselves (it was 103 yesterday and all those bodies made the a/c struggle). There was about 100 of us!

When Dot Frank writes about South Carolina and the islands I not only see them, but I feel the humidity and smell the salt of the ocean air. Wow. If you haven’t read her books, get to the bookstore – this woman knows how to tell a story!

Would you belive I have about 200 books to read on my shelves and all I want to do is read hers over again?

I’d better get busy and write!