Friday, November 25, 2011

Vignettes from the Past

All went well at our house for the Thanksgiving feast. Uncle Gene and Aunt Georgette joined us and brought ambrosia and spinach/pepperoni bread. Cousin Jeannette drove six hours to eat with us and brought a pumpkin/pecan pie. Daughter #3's true love brought homemade cranberry sauce and a broccoli casserole. Daughter #2 arrived with her laptop and work to do, but she was very attentive at dinner in listening to the conversation. Daughter #1, as usual, was my extra pair of hands. She washed pots, provided beverages, and picked up Granddad while hubby was picking up Daughter #2 at the train station.

Hubby carved the turkey.

It's hectic putting a big feast together, but the part I enjoy comes when everyone has had their fill and sits around the table to talk. We seldom see my father's side of the family. So it was especially nice to catch up with what has been happening in their life.

Eventually, the conversation came round to family genealogy. I do not know much about my father's family, but I told some brief stories about some of family members I had known. My uncle thought I should write everything down. However, all I really have are some short vignettes from the past--brief incidents and interactions that became embedded in my mind because they were either funny, tragic, or pointed out someone's unique character.

For instance, my Great Aunt Marion--my grandfather's sister--was truly devout. Once, when I was staying with my grandfather, Aunt Marion came to visit. However, at a certain time, all conversation ended. She was involved in saying a Novena. Every hour for nine hours on the hour, she pulled out a prayer card and recited the prayer. My grandfather and I had to be patient and quiet. As soon as she had finished the prayer, the conversation went on where it had left off.

Yes, I write fiction, but I find inspiration in people and their real-life experiences. I love characters--and we have been blessed with a wealth of relatives who have been fascinating individuals. Hosting the Thanksgiving feast is work, but for someone who has spent a lifetime studying human nature, the effort of all that cooking and baking is well worth it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Are You Still Writing?

Since I grew up in the county, taught in local schools, and have been an active member in several organizations, I often chance to meet people I may not have seen in several years. I bump into them at the deli counter or in the mall and very often the conversation starts out, "Are you still writing?"

Oh well. They are not great fans and haven't looked me up on Amazon or Barnes & Noble lately. That's okay. From what I've heard, there are a lot of people too busy to read. :^(

I find it a disconcerting question. My sister thought as a conversation starter it was a step above, "Are you still breathing?"

At any rate, I figure I'm lucky they recognize me.

But yes, I'm still writing. I started writing a long time ago and I enjoy the process. Telling stories is what I do. I retired from teaching, but I am not going to retire from writing--unless I become too feeble to type.

Other writers understand the joy of it. I had a blast the other day typing out my heroine's dream sequence. I suppose some people thinks that's really crazy, but I can't help myself. I've got plenty of stories to tell.

Nevertheless, I feel I need a witty comeback for those people who ask if I'm still writing. Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Like My Fan Page, Win a Book

I will give away FOUR paper editions of The Fiend of White Buck Hall tomorrow night (November 10, 2011). Due to a dark cover, it has not received much attention, which is sad because it is a great story! (Warning: It is a rather spicy paranormal.)

To enter the contest go to That is my fan page. Click the LIKE button at the top of the page and become a fan, in addition leave a comment on this post. The four winners will be posted both here and at my fan page tomorrow night.

Hurry up and sign in to win. Good luck!

The lucky winners in the contest are Jenn, Deanna, Leann, and MarkD! Thanks for playing!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Love and Marriage

This is a photograph of the top from our wedding cake. At thirty-five years of age, what was once sparkling white is now turning yellow, but it is a precious and tangible sign of the commitment hubby and I made to each other on our wedding day.
I believe in love, which is rather obvious since I write romance novels. I believe in relationships that last forever. I’ve seen plenty of other couples who are devoted to each other and who have celebrated many anniversaries. However, the brief marriage of Kim Kardashian, last week’s big news story, wasn’t what I would call a marriage.

I have no idea what the truth is in that situation. Though the wedding boosted the television ratings and made lots of money, it did not resemble any kind of committed relationship. The big party was lavish. Kim had a beautiful dress and she looked stunning but she could not have paid much attention to the words she recited.

While I cannot claim to be a marriage expert, hubby and I ran a Pre-Cana program in our church for seven years. The Catholic Church has an excellent marriage preparation program. Anyone who wants to get married in the Church must attend either an Engaged Encounter or a Pre-Cana. Yes, there are Catholic couples who divorce despite the instructional course, but hubby and I believe it can be helpful. We went through both a Pre-Cana and an Engaged Encounter before we were married. We were serious about our marriage. Do we still argue? You bet we do.

My parents were married for sixty-two years until my mother died. Did they argue? Sure they did. Hubby parents have been married for an incredible seventy-one years. They have had disagreements, too.

Love is a decision. Marriage involves work, communication, compromise, and a whole bunch of forgiveness from both partners to build a sound, permanent relationship.

It isn’t easy. Unfortunately, Kim Kardashian’s stunt cheapens the idea of marriage, which is a shame. It would be wonderful to see entertainers setting a good example, but I guess that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. :^(

Nevertheless, I will continue to write about two people who find love and make a permanent commitment to each other. It can work.