Show my parents at their 40th anniversary party

Missing My Parents

50 years ago today I moved into the house where I’m living now. This anniversary is poignant and I’m missing my parents. I was 14 years old when my family moved here and it was my parents’ “new” house. I knew I’d never see my friends again (we moved 30 miles) and I thought my life was over. (True to the friends part, false to the life being over part.) Well, my parents are gone but the house is here and it is “new” once again. Life took me on some wild rides and deposited me at an unexpected destination.

Winning and Losing–and Temper Tantrums

Even if your parents didn’t teach you anything about winning and losing , when you attended school you learned: Winning and Losing: What not to do… Lying on the ground, stomping your feet, and wailing at the top of your voice was a lousy, ineffective blackmail scheme. Punching Johnny in the nose because he made fun of the way you swung the baseball bat was a better way of being benched than becoming a home run hitter. Badmouthing those who weren’t as smart and talented you were did not earn you the spot as most popular. In fact, it didn’t

Dad and me.

Perspectives about Your Parents

Today is Dad’s birthday. The ache of missing him competes with all the memories, the laughter, the certainty that no matter what–he was always there for me. What are your perspectives about your parents? When We’re Kids Of course, in the way of children, I wish the way he’d been there for me had fallen more in line with MY wishes. And that’s how it is with kids. They think the world revolves around them. They think they should always be the first thing their parents think about when they wake in the morning and the last image they see

What Writing Community Means to Me

No, I’m not drinking two beers. One was my sister’s (she’s the photographer) and, in fact, I was drinking a soda. The photo was taken during a writer’s conference where I learned exactly what Writing Community means to me. Conferences I love going to writers’ conferences. Ironically, the best ones I attended were in New York City with RWA the year one of my daughters turned 11 (she’s never forgiven me for going away). The other two were in New Orleans, one with RWA and one in connection with my award nomination for my first mystery, Second Time Around. (Second

Independence or Community?

In America, we either brag about our independence or gripe because we feel we’re losing it. In reality, we don’t have it, never had it, and never will have it. You might think I’m full of baloney, but I’m not. Just read the dictionary. When you’re independent, you’re free from the control of others. You don’t rely on other people for help and assistance. You are truly autonomous. If we’re going to bandy about terminology, we need to understand the vocabulary we use. We can’t live independently without the assistance, advice, and assent of others unless we march into the

Can You Walk a Mile in Another Person’s Shoes?

Until four years ago, I never watched the news on a regular basis. I never felt the need to follow politics closely or share my political beliefs. My reasons are a story for another day. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, maybe it’s because I’m growing older, or maybe it’s because of something buried deeply in my unconscious, but I’ve found myself fascinated by all the drama playing out on the world stage during the past four years. People are ridiculously simple and complex … all at at the same time. They’re transparent and deceitful, generous and greedy, considerate and

Writer’s Voice Guest: Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith joined me on the first episode of my podcast, The Writer’s Voice. Take a listen! Her latest book is Crimes and Survivors; you can learn more about it on her website at

3 Biggest No-Nos When Working from Home

Nine years ago, I took the plunge and began a freelance writing business working from home. And when I say “plunge,” I don’t do so lightly. When you’ve spent 37 years working in sales, and owning three businesses, and teaching agents and adjusters insurance continuing education classes, that tumble is more like a nosedive. In all honesty, I must disclose that I’m an introvert. Yes, I’m loud and shine in group settings. But I’d prefer to be in small groups or, better yet, by myself. Still, making the adjustment from talking to 50 or more people each day to only

How often do you use “very?”

I find myself using the word very lately, as in something is very important or very stupid. (I also use really in a similar fashion, and actually, but I’m going to stick with very today.) If something’s important (or stupid), how does does very make it more so? Aren’t the words important and stupid explicit enough on their own without having to define degrees of importance and stupidity? Grammatically speaking, how correct is it to modify an adjective with another adjective? Why do we use adjectives anyway? Sure, the red car distinguishes it from the blue and green ones but why