Sunday, January 29, 2012

I’m in the Dog House!

This is a letter I wrote to the editor of the Terre Haute Star Tribune earlier this week, but it doesn’t tell the whole story, and it especially doesn’t give the punch line.

Thank You for Your Hospitality Terre Haute Towing Companies

While visiting my daughter in Paris [Illinois], I decided to spend an evening in Terre Haute [Indiana] playing Buzztime Trivia (formerly the National Trivia Network) at Buffalo Wild Wings.  I have friends around the country with whom I play every Tuesday evening.  That night I learned a valuable lesson:  keep the cables in the car even if you drive a Prius.

It was nine pm Illinois time; ten pm Indiana time—not what I’d call late even if I had to get up for work—when I called for roadside assistance.  So why is it that every single tow company turned us down, even when we called the second time and said that instead of towing me back to Paris all I wanted was a jump?  (By then I had polled the other patrons in the restaurant and no one else had jumper cables, either.)  What did these people expect me to do—sleep in my car?  I’m sixty-one years old, I have arthritis, and it’s January.

I would truly like to thank Leigh at GEICO who pursued the matter for over an hour and a half, Ryan of Precision Collision in Paris who came to my rescue somewhere toward midnight (don’t ask me which time zone that was in), and the staff at Buffalo Wild Wings for their patience and support.

I’ll probably go back to play trivia when I’m in town, but I’ll remind my car not to break down unless it’s on the day shift.  Thanks for your hospitality, “gentlemen.”

When we got back to Paris and Ryan, the nice tow truck boy handed my keys to me, I looked at them—really looked at them.  I had tried to start my car three different times that night and I don’t know how I didn’t see it.  I was trying to start it with the accessories key.  I felt my face heat up as I dug into my coat pocket, pulled out the ignition key, and said, “Before you get your jump apparatus out of the shop, try this one.”  My baby started like a charm.

Meanwhile, my daughter and her boyfriend had arranged rides for work.  He starts at five am; she starts at seven.  She woke when she heard me taking the dogs out and I told her it was okay to drive the car and why.

“Again?  Leave those keys at home, Mom!”  She was mumbling about getting people up to give them rides as she went back to bed at one am—Illinois time, and I was felt terribly guilty and wide awake from the extra diet cola I drank while waiting for the tow truck.

For more laughs, check out my review of The Good Neighbors by J.Q. Rose.  Better yet, buy the book.  It’s 5 Roses worth of hilarious.  All the info’s over at Rochelle’s Reviews.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – Rock Bound

The following passage is from the second chapter of my first book, Rock Bound, which is available in both paperback and multiple e-book formats. I have not included a blurb since the trailer is just above on the left.  Hope you enjoy both the trailer and my six sentences.

Annie Peterson and her friend Crystal Petrie survived the chaos at the protest against the dictator who has taken over the United States.  Troops arrested them and they’ve arrived at the Armory in Washington, DC, where the Marines are processing the prisoners.

For buy links, you can go to my web page.

“Put everything in these boxes,” a tough-looking female Marine Sergeant told the women. “All yer jewelry, too.” …
The [first] woman emptied her pockets into the box and began to walk through the metal detector. “Yer still wearin’ jewelry,” the Sergeant chided her.
“These are my wedding rings!”
[The Sergeant] grabbed the woman’s hand, pulled out a vibro-blade, and sliced off the woman’s finger.

I didn’t sign up early enough to join the list, but to follow the official blog hop, go to:

And don’t forget to check next door to see what I’m reading these day and see why I gave The Antique Toy Con by John Russo four roses.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – Rock Bound

The following passage is from the beginning of my first book, Rock Bound, which is available in both paperback and multiple e-book formats.  For buy links, you can go to my web page.

Annie followed Crystal’s gaze to the soldiers. She didn’t believe what she saw, and tried to process the sight of them raising their weapons. Crystal dropped her sign and yelled, “The bastards’re firing on us!”
Paul’s head lolled forward, the charred hole still smoking, and Annie fell to the ground trying to cradle him. She sobbed, crying “No! No! No!” Crystal’s arms were around her, as she sat on the ground, clutching her dead husband.

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The winner of last week’s drawing for a free copy of each of my books, Rock Bound and Rock Crazy is:  Susan!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Happy Birthday

She Who Was the Helmet-Maker's Once Beautiful Wife

After last week’s blog, I’m not quite sure what to write this week.  I wrote about time flying, and my goals for this year, so this week, I think I’ll simply quote one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite authors, Robert A. Heinlein.  In the book “Stranger in a Strange Land” Ben Caxton, a news reporter is having a discussion with Jubal Harshaw who is sort of the paternal figure of the book, in a room with replicas of Rodin’s sculptures.  Ben has just made a derogatory comment on the nude of an old woman, “She Who Was The Helmet-Maker's Once Beautiful Wife.”  This is Jubal’s response.

“Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master—and that is what Auguste Rodin was—can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is...and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be...and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her matter what the merciless hours have done to her. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn't matter to you and me; we were never meant to be admired—but it does to them.”

At Twenty

September 2011, Age 60

Is there any one of us who doesn’t bop to a song from the year we were eighteen? Or glance in the mirror and wonder who that old woman is?  Sure—I earned every wrinkle, laugh line, grey hair.  I wouldn’t trade my kids or grandkids or great-granddaughter for all the gold in the world.  But I still love rock and roll.  I still have some good moves on the dance floor, and I don’t ever plan to get stodgy!

Lea Shizas MuseItUp Publishing, Inc.
My birthday is actually tomorrow, January 9, but…Lea Shizas, of MuseItUp Publishing, it’s your birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Boss Lady!

I promised gifts!  Comment and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win copies of both Rock Bound and Rock Crazy!

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Monday, January 02, 2012

A New Year

Chase Marchand, My Step-Grandson
Sydney Jean Shoenke, 12-06-11
It seems the older you get, the faster time flies.  To a three year-old, a five minute time out takes forever.  To his grandma, he’s growing up way too fast.  How did it get to be 2012 and how is it that my sixty-first birthday is a week from today?  Except for a few aches and pains, I still feel like an eighteen year old.  And yet my kids are now complaining about being middle-aged and my eldest stayed home on New Year’s Eve baby-sitting her granddaughter!  Well, almost.  Her fiancé has older kids.  But to Sydney, we’re Grandma Lizzie and Great-Grandma Rochelle.

So, at the start of the year, it’s customary to make resolutions.  I’ve sort of given that up.  I will, however, set a few goals, personal and professional:

PERSONAL:  At some point this year I will stop losing weight and go on maintenance.  I haven’t determined an exact weight goal.  It’s somewhere in the vicinity of 135/140 maybe.  I at least want to be able to shop in the Misses section at a regular store.  So far, I’ve lost 130 pounds, but that was as of early December.  I may have lost more since then.

October 2004  Had to dig for 300# Photos
Last Summer.  Still Camera Shy


1.     Promote more.  My publisher suggests we either set aside one hour a day or one day a week for promotion and I have not been very good about that.  We have four company Yahoo groups:  one for authors to support each other with promotional ideas, one to communicate with readers, one for us to chat amongst ourselves so we don’t clutter our support group with jokes and off-topic stuff, and a business loop for official announcements from our publisher so they don’t get lost amongst the chatter.  That’s because on any given day there are a couple hundred e-mails on each of the other groups combined.  By the time I get through those groups, there’s little time or patience left for the other chat loops or forums out there where I should be promoting my work.  I’m not really complaining.  I love the fact that MuseItUp Publishing, Inc. is so supportive.  There’s also a Google spreadsheet I can check any time to see how well my book is selling and where—a reaction to less scrupulous publishers.

2.    Publish at least one fifty thousand word book,

3.    Have a fifty thousand word book ready to submit by the end of next year in addition to the one I publish.  I’m a slow writer.  Each of my books (including my current WIP) was started over a decade ago.  I even cheated and did a rewrite from scratch using the characters in my WIP for NaNoWriMo and due to illness didn’t even manage to come up with fifty thousand words.  I reset my goal for thirty and barely managed that.

4.    So, next NaNoWriMo:  fifty thousand words!

As the British say, I think that should be enough to be getting on with.

Be here next week for a double birthday bash.  My publisher, Lea Shizas shares her birthday with Elvis on January 8, and I share mine with Judith Krantz on the 9th!  Check in and comment to win copies of both my books.

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