Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, New Beginning

I know it’s just another day to many people but for me, New Year’s Day is a new beginning every year. Red and I chatted about it last night.

Kathy: Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet?

Red: Think about, Kathy. You write my life. The only thing I can control is to bug the crap out of you to keep writing. I just keep pinging at your brain and hanging around until you sit down and put the next chapter of my life in the manuscript.

Kathy: (laughing) You’ve done a fine job of that this year. No need for improvement there.

Red: How about you? That’s the real question – what are you going to do get done this year?

Kathy: Well, I only had 5 resolutions last year and I managed to accomplish 2 ½ of them. That’s not too bad, but I think this year I’m going for the gold.

Red: What’s that?

Kathy: I’m going to dedicate myself to propelling a book of mine into the top 100 bestsellers on Kindle.

Red: Now that’s a commitment! Aren’t you afraid of telling everyone in the world that?

Kathy: (chuckling) I’m pretty sure not everyone in the world reads this blog…

Red: (pouting a little) Well, they should! I’m just saying.

Kathy: You might be a little biased. Anyway, I think it’s a great idea to let other people know what your goals are if they’re not too personal. I really believe New Year’s Day is a time for renewal, for new beginnings. If you tell the right people, they can help you get there. Right?

Red: Right, I guess. I wouldn’t know. Being simply a character in your head, I don’t have a lot of experience with this. So, I’m just going to defer to you.

Kathy: Maybe I’ll have you make some resolutions in the next book.

Red: Oh, which book is that? The sequel, Red is an Attitude, or the sequel’s sequel?

Kathy: Maybe I’ll set the third book in the right time frame for a New Year’s party. That would be good. I love a New Year’s party anyway.

Red: Are we going out this weekend?

Kathy: Nope, staying home. I’m starting a new beginning myself this weekend. In fact, we’re holing up for the entire three days to knock out a new novella. Are you with me?

Red: Is it about me?

Kathy: Nope, sorry. But I’m pretty sure you can inform this new character, Maggie.

Red: Hmmm. I guess I’m onboard. Do you think she’ll dig Michael Buble, too?

Kathy: I say we give it a try. You can sit on my right shoulder and Maggie on my left. It’ll be fun.

Red: Will there at least be Bloody Marys?

Kathy: How about eggnog?

Red: Oh, yeah! It’s on. Happy New Year everyone!

Kathy: From both of us…

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Love My Family More at Christmas

Families come in all sizes and shapes. Whatever your family looks like - small or large, related or unrelated - I wish you the very best season of love.

I Love My Family More at Christmas

Of course, I love my family.
I love them every day.
From the eldest, my Pops, to the youngest,
Grandson, nearly 400 miles away.

I’m proud of the baker, the nurse,
The painter, the soldier and the chef.
Not to know how I feel about them all
You would clearly have to be deaf.

The brothers-in-law are all blessings to me
And the nieces and nephews bring joy;
Every one a credit to the marvelous two,
Married 60 plus years now – oh, boy.

So wrap them all up in ribbons and bows
And let me take them home to my heart,
Because it’s always the same every Yule,
My family is truly the very best part.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Embracing Your Inner Santa

My lovely daughter is in town visiting her mama from sunny Phoenix. Here in Sacramento we’ve had our share of chilly weather, so it’s feeling a lot like Christmas, thank goodness.

I took her to my favorite local restaurant for breakfast this morning and we had a bit of a wait. We started watching the others who were waiting, which included several adorable children. Suddenly, there was a tiny uproar as one boy started hollering “Santa” repeatedly. We peered around the corner to spot the object of his attention.

There stood a man, leaning against a walker, who was a dead ringer for Santa if he was just hanging out with the rest of us. He had a full head of long white hair and a billowy beard to match. His face was round and friendly, with the requisite sparkling eyes. The only thing missing was his familiar red suit.

The man smiled sweetly at that noisy boy and the rest of the kids, who were now calling to Santa, too. In his right hand, this Kris Kringle look-alike gripped a green felt bag decorated for Christmas, looped around the walker’s handle. He reached inside for each child and produced a candy cane, warning each one to wait until after breakfast.

As he made his made through the crowded waiting area, an older gent, probably in his eighties, was heard to say, “Thank you, Santa.” Our St. Nick, who was nearly the same age as his admirer, just smiled and made his way out of the restaurant.

Now, I suspect this benevolent candy-cane dispenser was probably a retired department store Santa, because he certainly had his style down pat. What struck me the most about him was his acknowledgement and enjoyment of the fact that he was the image of Santa to both child and adult. He came prepared with his bag of candy canes, dispensing joy and wonder right along with the striped Christmas treats.

In every one of us, there is a quality that others see, which if we’re lucky we can perceive ourselves. When that happens and the quality is one that brings happiness to others, I firmly believe we should embrace it, enhance it and come prepared to pass it around.

I know someone with a devastatingly wonderful smile who uses it very sparingly because she doesn’t want to be known as the “smiler.” I say, why not? Give that smile away, just like candy canes, to everyone who wants one.

A man I work with doesn’t enjoy being thought of as kind because he feels it will diminish his business persona, yet whenever he lets his kindness show, others feel better and work harder for him. Like the smiler, he hasn’t embraced his inner Santa yet.

Too bad for the world, that neither of these two have realized what a wonderful gift each has been given and learned to spread it around. What about you? What is your special gift and are you sharing it?

Thanks, Santa – for a wonderful moment today.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What to do When The Spirit Grabs You

I love Christmas time! Right around the second week in December you can feel a change come over everyone – co-workers, customers and clerks in stores, wait staff, the guy pumping gas next to you – everyone. Red and I started really feeling it ourselves this week.

Red: That woman actually insisted that you go first! And you had just as many items as she did.

Kathy: I know. It’s the coolest thing. People are just so kind this time of year. Did you know the waitress patted my arm yesterday when she said “Happy Holidays?”

Red: (smiling widely) I did. Course, she wouldn’t have done that if she’d known you were having lunch with your imaginary friend – me!

Kathy: (laughing) Maybe not – but still… I feel like hugging the whole world.

Red: They’ll arrest you if you try, you know. (I nodded sadly) But there’s stuff you can do to feel the spirit of Christmas way down deep without endangering your freedom. Like how about getting a bunch of $1 bills and going in search of Salvation Army bell ringers?

Kathy: Hey! That’s a fun idea. I’ve actually only seen one this year. Mini-road-trip. Are you up for it?

Red: Tell you what, why don’t you save that one for when Vanessa (my daughter) visits next week. She’ll love it.

Kathy: Yeah, she will. Okay, so what can we do together?

Red: I liked your mall-sitting idea with a cup of hot chocolate and a good seat near where Santa’s taking wishes. You can wish everyone you see a Merry Christmas and it won’t even seem weird.

Kathy: Let’s do that today, okay? And I’ve had another idea floating around in my head. I want to buy a bunch of socks, wrap them up and give them out when I see people sleeping on benches around town. These folks are everywhere.

Red: That’s a great idea! If you end up with extras we can take them to the homeless shelter on Christmas.

Kathy: (tears threatening) That’s the spirit, Red. In the meantime, I’m writing a poem this year for my family as an extra Christmas gift, so they know how special they are to me.

Red: I guess there’s only one thing to do when the Christmas spirit fills you up…

Kathy: What’s that?

Red: Dump it on everybody else!

We laughed together and raised our glasses of eggnog in a toast to the best in people. Happy Holidays everyone – from your two redheaded friends on the Veranda.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Thing About Bagpipes

I’ve always loved bagpipes as far back as I can remember. I believe it came from being an old movie buff in my teenage years and watching the pipers lead men into battle in more than one black and white film. It was the playing of the Garryowen – an Irish country song – on bagpipes that inspired the 7th Cavalry in the 1941 Errol Flynn movie about General Custer, They Died With Their Boots On.

The Garryowen is still the official song of the present day 7th Cavalry. You’ve definitely heard the song, but probably don’t know the name. Just Google or YouTube it and you’ll find yourself saying, “Oh, yeah.”

When I was the editor for the Maricopa Monitor, one of several community papers for that small town outside of Phoenix, Arizona, I was fortunate enough to cover the events of the fire department Pipe and Drum Corps, the height of which for me was a full page color spread I published one week. Dressed in full piper regalia (kilts and all) this group performed for the community and brought a certain dignity to various fire department ceremonies.

The pipes are not an easy instrument to play either and to do it while marching in time as a group is extremely impressive. When those pipes begin to trill with that distinctive wail, I dare anyone to remain unmoved. There can be joy, grief, pride and any number of other emotions evoked, whether the sounds fill a hall or hillside, by just a single piper. However, when presented by a group together as the Maricopa Fire Department had, accompanied by the drums - well, my heart was in my throat every time.

I don’t think about my own funeral much, but I have decided I'd like there to be a bagpiper. Have you ever heard Amazing Grace piper-style? Truly amazing. However, I’m not religious, so I might request the Garryowen instead.

And as much as I honor and respect bagpipers for their musical ability, Red would never forgive me if I didn’t mention the side-benefit - all those kilts. What red-blooded woman doesn’t love those?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Embracing the Holidays!

Red and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. We shared an amazing meal, potluck style, with the star of the day being a turkey, perfectly roasted by my beautiful niece. A good time was had by all and a true sense of gratitude overtook me. That propelled me into the Christmas mood and I ventured out for my first shopping outing yesterday, with Red sitting on my shoulder.

Red: Wow! We got a lot done in just a couple of hours.

Kathy: Yep, about half of it, I think.

Red: I love the Scooby-Do Bowling Set for James (my grandson)!

Kathy: Me, too! The kid’s got tons of toys, so I have to find something different to make sure he doesn’t already have it.

Red: I’m pretty sure you’re safe with that one. Hey, what about that lady that gave you the dirty look for talking to her?

Kathy: (laughing) She wasn’t the only one! Man, what a grumpy group! Did you catch the lady who abruptly turned away when I said the sweater she was holding was pretty?

Red: Yeah, well, there are a few people who don’t appreciate your social butterfly ways under the best of circumstances. Then throw in holiday shopping and you’re a goner.

Kathy: Oh, so you’ve noticed? (innocent expression)

Red: (knowing look) Yes, I’ve noticed. I’ve also noticed how much you enjoy creating butt puckers in uptight people.

Kathy: Who? Moi? Never! Just trying to spread the holiday love.

Red: Umm, hmm! Well, you might want to give them a big smile and “Happy Holidays!” rather than commenting what they’re buying, what they’re wearing or showing them something you’re buying. I’m just saying.

Kathy: (pouting prettily – I’m sure it was pretty pouting) Oh, okay! You’re probably right. Besides, I can just talk to you instead.

Red: (laughing loudly) Yeah! Well, we’ll see how long it takes for them to call the authorities and have you dragged off to the asylum.

Kathy: Ah, well. I’m still going to have a great holiday shopping season. Time for round two. Are you ready?

Red: Coming!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Twitter’s Just Not That Complicated

Okay, I think most people will agree, Red and I are both generally positive people. But there comes a time for complaints.

Kathy: So, in the last two days I’ve had two people who wanted to know why I followed them and one of them wanted to know if she’s on a follow-list for writers.

Red: Um…isn’t the whole point of Twitter to follow and be followed?

Kathy: Yeah! So, it’s not just me, right? It is insane to sign up for Twitter and then get insulted when people follow you. Right?

Red: No, it’s not just you. You got it right. Hey, so what about that twitter validation service? What’s that all about?

Kathy: Again, I DO NOT understand. What are you being protected against in someone following you. Or even if you end up following a robot unintentionally. You can’t figure out by the tweets that they aren’t a real person? Of course you can.Then you just UNFOLLOW them.

Red: I can tell by the capital letters that you are really irritated. Can you keep it down a bit?

Kathy: Oh…sorry. But really, a couple of months ago I had a couple of real doozies that I had followed. One frat boy who didn’t like me tweeting about my blog and books. I told him to unfollow me, but he spent the next three tweets telling me how rude and inconsiderate I was. My response to each one was – “Unfollow me, please.” He didn't. Then, of course, I was forced to unfollow and block him.

Red: What about the second one? Wasn’t he just rude?

Kathy: Yes, he was - extremely. I had a blog post about list makers and he felt it necessary to tell me that list makers are as sexy as a rusty fireplug - ad nausem. Really? Seriously? This is what you spend your time doing? Finding people to harass on Twitter?

Red: What did you do?

Kathy: I told him politely (although I really wasn't feeling the polite thing) that he needed to do something about his problem and then unfollowed and blocked him.

Red: Why do you think some people are so resistant to unfollowing people?

Kathy: I have no earthly idea. To me, one of the best things about Twitter is being able to build a stream of people who make my day better in some way. Hopefully, the people that follow me get something back, too.

Red: (laughing) Maybe it’s that service that posts tweets about who unfollowed who?

Kathy: (now laughing as well) Maybe! Who knows. Isn’t that just the most ridiculous thing of all?

Red: It’s pretty weird. Here have another Bloody Mary (handing me a glass filled with the yummy red liquid heaven and a stalk of celery).

Kathy: (taking a sip) Ummm.

Red: Feel better?

Kathy: (closing my eyes) Much! Thank you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Being a Man-less Woman

Red and I were discussing how odd it is that in today’s liberated world so many women find it tough to be without a man. Now, bear in mind, Red has her Joe and I have been unattached for a couple of years now. So, it might heat up a little out on the veranda.

Red: I just don’t see why you don’t even try anymore!

Kathy: Try what? To catch me a man? Then what am I going to do with him.

Red: Well! If I have to teach you that…

Kathy: (laughing loudly) That’s not what I mean and you know it. I’m too busy to have a man. I work full time and write every spare minute. I hardly have time for myself, let alone a guy.

Red: I just don’t think it’s good for your health! You know I wasn’t much interested in men after Mac died either, but I met Joe and everything changed.

Kathy: I know, I know. And it’s not that I’m a widow and can’t move on. You know I’ve dated in the past. It’s more about having priorities right now – but then again; I’ve never met a Joe, like you have.

Red: He is pretty special(she answers dreamily). But still!

Kathy: (chuckling now) Don’t you think my family and friends have tried to get me interested in dating again? I’ve heard this from too many people. Seriously, I don’t have time for a man.

Red: What if one comes along who’s just right?

Kathy: (Smiling widely) I’d probably find the time. But honestly, I'm not counting on that. In the meantime, I’m perfectly happy by myself.

Red: What about the movies? Don’t you want someone to go to a movie with?

Kathy: Well, first of all, I’ve got you and I don’t have to buy a ticket or popcorn for you.

Red: That doesn’t count and you know it.

Kathy: Secondly, I actually like going to a movie by myself and I like going to restaurants by myself. I love people – you know that – but I’m fine by myself. Now stop this.

Red: Okay, you’re the boss. I guess if I piss you off too much, I’ll end up with people trying to kill me again?

Kathy: Oh, that’s already happening. The question is whether you get away safely. Don’t mess with me! (serious face for 10 seconds, followed by a big smile)

Red: Okay, okay – I’ll take your word for it – you are fine as a man-less woman.

Kathy: Finally! Now, let’s get back to the bloody marys and this amazing view.

Red: Here’s to being with a man if that’s what you want and without one if that’s what you want. (lifting her glass)

Kathy: Cheers!

We fade out to the sounds of laughter and clinking glasses.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Macy’s and Gimbels Revisited

Hopefully, most of you will be familiar with the 1947 Christmas classic film Miracle on 34th Street. In it, a very young Natalie Woods plays a child who has been taught by her mother not believe in Santa Claus. However, when Kris Kringle himself takes over as the Macy’s Santa, she comes to believe in him and therefore Santa Claus. This belief is the miracle at the heart of the story.

I took away another miracle within the story at a very young age. At one point, Kris Kringle tells a mother that Gimbels has the toy her child wants for Christmas when Macy’s does not. At first, the store management is upset, but when the woman declares that she will always be a loyal customer because of this act of referral and publicity goes in Macy’s favor, Kris is hailed as a genius. I think this is as good as it gets in the miracle department.

About ten years ago, I opened a consignment shop and I made this a habit of mine – sending customers to other consignment shops that I knew carried what they wanted. My parents, who have been in the antique business for nearly 25 years, do the same thing.

First, it just makes sense. If you don’t have what the customer wants but know who does, why wouldn’t you tell them? For fear they’ll find the other competitor? So? The next time they are looking for something they are far more likely to come to your place first because they know you’ll refer them elsewhere if you don’t have it.

Second, it’s the right thing to do. I believe if I live my life always at least trying to do the right thing, more often than not, I will manage it.

So, why am I revisiting this old film now? Because I’m concerned by what I see as competitors nipping at each other’s heels on Twitter, specifically writers – probably because that’s my thing.

To be brutally honest, there are many thousands of writers on Twitter right now, all pursuing the same basic dream, many of whom have been inspired by John Locke’s success story – selling 1 million eBooks in 5 months. We all want to be the next Locke – plucked from the many and settled down into our own private dreams, usually a variation of this one – a worry-free, monied existence, finally able to write to our heart’s content rather than work for someone else in a day job. We want this so bad it hurts.

Non-writers out there are begging for the same opportunity – financial freedom. Twitter is the portal to this golden world. Pen a bunch of yearning dreamers up in a confined space like Twitter and you’re bound to get a few scratches and in-fights.

But here’s the thing. We will not all make it. Some will. Some won’t. I contend that “It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.” – a famous but unattributed quote. Going back to the film, it was when both stores – Macy’s and Gimbels – rose above themselves and began to cross-refer that they both did well.

So, here’s what I propose. When we are lucky enough to find a great writer or fantastic product or funny blogger – or whatever – let’s go out of our way to help promote it or them. Retweet their messages or do an original tweet about it yourself. In that manner, we all do better.

In the end, we live or die as a group anyway. If Twitter remains a positive force, people will hang on to it, help it grow. If it withers away from a plethora of criticisms and negativity, we all lose.

Through lifting each other up, we perform our own miracles every day.

PS - you will find this same post on both my blogs. I want it to reach as many readers as possible.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wild and Crazy Kathy

Most of you are too young to remember Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd, the Czech brothers, congratulating each other for being two wild and crazy guys. Not me - I remember, maybe a little too well. Thankfully, Red has seen the re-runs.

Red: You really were a little wild and crazy, you know? Still are.

Kathy: Not much anymore, I think.

Red: Really? Well, how about dressing up as a garden gnome last year for Halloween? That’s a little wild and putting it on your Facebook page – that’s definitely crazy!

Kathy: (shrugging) Hey, I was proud of that costume – I really looked like a garden gnome.

Red: Actually, like the Travelocity gnome. And let’s talk about when you raised pigs. Or how about your year of cab driving?

Kathy: Well, raising pigs (chickens and rabbits, too) was for survival back in the seventies. But cab driving was one of my great adventures. I absolutely loved it. And the TV show Taxi was a big hit so it was also hip.

Red: How about homesteading in Alaska? Or flying all over the U.S. in those Cessnas counting swimming pools?

Kathy: The homesteading actually was crazy. We would have ended up popsicles if we’d stayed. Thank God for the hunters who came along and told us so. But the flying around was just part of my job as Director of Real Estate…

Red: Okay, then let’s talk about how you quit that job – paid good from what I’ve seen – to become an entrepreneur – a consignment shop, wasn’t it?

Kathy: Yep, called Keepers – now that was fun! I met so many interesting people. Too bad I picked the wrong time to open it – right after 9/11. I swear I’d still be doing it if I had waited a couple of years. But then I never would have become a reporter and editor.

Red: Right! Life just keeps throwing you curve balls, but you keep hitting them anyway.

Kathy: (laughing) Yes, but they’re all pop flies to the infield! I’m waiting for a line-drive or even a homer.

Red: Hang in there, Kathy. I feel a grand slam coming on.

Kathy: Wouldn’t that be nice? I guess I have had a bit of a wild and crazy life though.

Red: I’d say so. Selling everything to live in an RV and write probably qualifies, too!

Kathy: (smiling to herself) Maybe I did achieve my big dream – living a wild and crazy life?

Note to readers - Red has been played here by the conversations I've had with friends and family members over the years. Just so you don't think I'm too full of myself.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What an Incredible Experience!

I’m going in for gallbladder surgery this morning. Yippee! The nasty old thing has shut down on me and been jabbing me rather sharply when she didn’t like something I ate or often just cuz'.

In order to have the surgery, I had to have a echo stress cardiac test. Yes, it did involve a treadmill, but that part didn’t last long at all and was absolutely no strain. The rest of the test was a complete trip and I loved it.

First the technician, an extremely fun guy named Mike, had me lie down on my left side and then began probing my left ribcage area with an ultra-sound wand while fuzzy, gray moving pictures began to appear on the monitor screen.

Soon, he had zoomed in on my heart, literally pounding away. I was immediately impressed. “Look at that thing go!” I thought. Instantly, a name jumped into my head, so I gave it to my heart - Frieda. I said this out loud and Mike laughed. He said that was a first for him – someone naming their heart.

You must understand that I name everything. My RV is called Wanda, my car Bebe and my computer is Toby (short for Toshiba).

We chuckled and chatted for another 15 minutes or so, as he pulled up various views of Frieda, just beating away. It’s funny, but I didn’t have a sense of the pictures being of me - or part of me - at all. No, instead, this was relative or friend of mine, whom I was inordinately proud of, having just met her.

We did the treadmill thing and then it was back to the table and the magic wand. At some point, Mike told me I had good velocity! That means my blood is moving through my heart at a good speed. I took that to be high praise, similar to being told I have nice eyes. Good old Frieda – not only was she doing an excellent job, but she was bringing me approval!

Eventually, the test was over and it was time to say goodbye to Mike. He had managed to make what could have been a “stressful” stress test into a wonderful learning experience and a personal introduction to my heart – now named Frieda. I had a good time and I’m grateful.

When I got to work the next day, I told one of my co-workers about naming my heart Frieda. She just laughed, knowing well my habit of naming things. Together, she and I named my gallbladder – Cruella, as in DeVille.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why We Love DollarTree and the 99Cent Store

I had just come back from the local DollarTree with four bags of stuff I use everyday when Red appeared out of nowhere, excited and happy. She wanted to see what my purchases had been and then calculated my savings. She figured I had saved $17 on four bags and she was about right. Of course, this caused much celebration this morning as we sat on the Veranda, beachside, watching the waves roll in.

Kathy: This post is going to go one of two ways for our readers – “Ooooh, really?” or “OMG, me, too.”

Red: Yeah, I know. I don’t get it though. I see lots of Mercedes and Lexus’ at these two stores.

Kathy: My theory is people that have money know how to keep it. Then there’s the poor schmucks like me who love and actually need a bargain.

Red: I’m excited – let’s get busy with the bragging rights. That drain opener stuff you go last week – tell ‘em

Kathy: Yeah, exciting all right – cheapest at the grocery store was $3.98 – got a bottle of not-name-brand drain opener and it fixed me right up. Drain cleared up in about two hours. I get Palmolive or Ajax dish soap for $.99 always and my favorite brand of fabric softener sheets – ClingFree - are 40 sheets for a $1 and smell better than any of the other brands.

Red: I personally get turned on by the plastics. You know I’m an organizing freak, unlike my creator. We really did a number, last month, on the cupboards for less than $5.

Kathy: Yeah, really! Organization is a big thing in an RV. You do love those projects, don’t you? I have to say you get a little bossy when we take on an organizational task.

Red: What can I say? I like to know where your things are!

Kathy: DollarTree also has greeting cards 2 for $1. The local store even has American Greetings for $1 each. Do you know what that means?

Red: You send a helluva lot of cards?

Kathy: (laughing) Yes, that’s true. Just sent my grandkids Halloween cards. I do love to send cards.

Red: Okay, best bargain ever for taste and pure gladness?

Kathy: I know, I know. The Diet Snapples? Two for $1? Less than ½ price. Did we stock up or what?

Red: (chuckling) I’m still opening cupboards and finding some stashed away.

Kathy: You can’t beat it for a buck!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Some of Our Favorite Movies

It was a beautiful sunny day so Red and I hung out at the beach house, out on the deck, watching the ocean ebb and flow back to us. We got into a conversation about our favorite movies. We went back and forth for hours, but here’s where we got down to it.

Red: One of the best movies I’ve ever seen was Saving Private Ryan.

Kathy: That was such a great movie, but it affected me so strongly I couldn’t speak for 45 minutes afterwards.

Red: The knife scene was really intense.

Kathy: Yeah – I could barely stand to watch it. Actually, for me the definition of a favorite movie is one I’ll watch over and over.

Red: Like The Quiet Man? Man, we’ve seen that one a bazillion times.

Kathy: Well, you can’t beat Maureen O’Hara for sass and it’s a great love story. Actually, there are a few other oldies I love. The African Queen with Bogart and Hepburn – now that’s a love story.

Red: (nodding appreciatively) Yeah, Bogie and Hepburn were pretty great together in that. I loved it when Bogie called her “Rosie, old girl.” She was a redhead in that, you know.

Kathy: (chuckling) I know, I know. Speaking of redheads – what about Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame! Love that old movie. I've secretly always wanted to be Mame! Shhh...don't tell anyone.

Red: Well, she was red in about a fourth of the film. Mame changed her hair color almost as often as her outfits (laughing outright)She was outrageous, wasn't she?

Kathy: She was, especially for the times. Then there’s the best movie ever for feeling good – Love Actually. I watch that movie three times a year at least. Great cast!

Red: Well, yeah, and you have to admit Hugh Grant was really cute in that one.

Kathy: He was – and I’m not even a big H.G. fan. Hey, let’s not forget the WOMAN films.

Red: You mean your “I will survive, because I am woman, hear me roar” movies?

Kathy: Yep, First Wives Club, Something’s Gotta Give

Red: Ever notice Diane Keaton is in both of those?

Kathy: Yeah, I’m pretty sure we have a lot in common. We’d probably be BFFs if we ever met.

Red: (rolling her eyes) Sure you would. Then, of course, let’s not forget our old romantic standby Under the Tuscan Sun

Kathy: Again, with the redheads – Diane Lane. Of course, for "pure fun" movie you can't beat Independence Day. I love Will Smith and Randy Quaid in that one. It always has me cheering in the end.

Red: Any others?

Kathy: Oh, tons! Mamma Mia, Barefoot in the Park, It’s a Wonderful Life, Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes

It went on like that for a long, long time. What can I say, we both love movies! What are some of your favs?

Self-Pity – A Pathetic Waste of Time

I spent most of my Saturday on a ridiculous whirlwind of self-pity. The gall bladder surgery planned for this coming Tuesday had to be postponed for one more test. Granted, I had arranged everything from a ride to and from the hospital to my disability payments, but that was no reason whatsoever to feel so terribly sorry for myself.

Yet, I spent most of the day doing just that. I managed to depress myself fairly significantly. It was only after watching two weepy movies in a row and having a couple of good cries that I pulled myself out of it.

The thing is – I know better. I’ve just finished a fund drive for the Wounded Warriors Project so I’m completely aware that others have a real reason to feel self-pity – but don’t. My own father struggles every minute of every day just to breathe, and most of the time manages to do so with a smile.

How arrogant and self-important to get all in a funk over a schedule change. OMG – what is wrong in this brain that allowed me to magnify such a small thing into something so ginormous? Okay, I feel terribly guilty today for wasting precious time on self-pity but it has made me even more aware of how often we all fall prey to feeling sorry for ourselves.

I wish I knew the genesis of this feeling that somehow the world’s against us, that we are the only ones with problems and that our problems are so important. I’m generally an annoyingly positive person, so this slippage into the pit of despair truly troubles me. For me, I think it was the sense that nothing was really under my control – a lesson I’ve learned before but apparently still haven’t inscribed on my mind.

How can I avoid this happening again? I’ve decided to repeat the mantra below before I fall asleep and each morning when I wake up. Perhaps I’ll repeat it during a particularly tough day. Here goes:

“I am so lucky to be alive. I have so much to be thankful for. I will live in a place of gratitude, embrace the joy I’m surrounded by and see self-inflicted pain for what it is.”

I make a vow here and now – I will not waste another minute of my life involved in self-pity or negativity.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Veranda

As many of you know, Red and I frequently have our talks out on “The Veranda.” As others will realize, in truth, I live in an RV and Red lives in my mind. However, the veranda is an ever-changing necessity in our exchanges and here’s why.

Kathy: Let’s unleash the secrets of “The Veranda” for all our friends.

Red: I’m not sure what you mean? The secrets.

Kathy: The location…

Red: Locations, don’t you mean?

Kathy: Well, yeah. That’s definitely one of the special qualities of the veranda. Today, for instance, it’s raining…so we’re sitting under the roofed area.

Red: Yes, but in the piney woods or at the beach? I’m not getting a read on that from you.

Kathy: Hmmm…I guess I hadn’t looked beyond the mug of hot chocolate in my hands. The piney woods I think.

Red: Sounds good. A little too cold for the beach. So, that’s what you want to tell them? That we change our veranda on demand?

Kathy: Yes, for one thing. It’s nice having a happy place that can change in a flash.

Red: That’s right. I noticed when we’re in the mood for a barbeque we’re always at the beach, but if it’s a little on the gourmet side we’re definitely hanging out on deck among the pines, looking out at the little pond with the mallard ducks swimming around.

Kathy: Pretty much. Party-time at the beach house on the patio with the natural rock edge – instant seating for all of our guests. Reflective conversations are held on the deck overlooking the pond and woods.

Red: What about the terrace on Lake Como? We’ve done that one a time or two, when we really had something to celebrate.

Kathy: Oh, I love Lake Como…(gazing wistfully out at the pond but suddenly snapping out of it). There’s always water. Did you notice?

Red: Of course, the water’s essential to the mood. I imagine we’ll have a few other verandas pop up in the coming years.

Kathy: Definitely. Shall we tell them the other secret?

Red: Oh, sure. Why not?

Kathy: Well, when you visit us on the veranda…it can be anywhere you want it to be, too. So, please, feel free to indulge. Wherever you’re feeling like being at the moment…a porch, a terrace, a portico, a deck…your choice. It’s your veranda, too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Approximate Royalties Calculated!

I visited my father this weekend and finally told him about the drive for Wounded Warriors. He was very touched and pleased. I also asked his permission to use his name. So, the donation was made in honor of Tully Bryant, former sailor who served on the USS Iowa. I thank you and so does he.

A couple of notes - a few people mentioned that they made direct donations from the link on the blog post. Several people sent Tweets or messages especially for my dad. Although, I think a month was way too long to do a fund drive, I still think the ultimate and best result was a building of awareness of the organization.

It’s time to give the approximate final numbers on the royalties generated by your generous purchases during last month. I didn’t realize that the royalty statement for the Kindle sales in September won’t be available for a couple of weeks. So I can’t post that, but I have been able to figure out approximately what I earned.

Here’s my breakdown:

19 Kindle copies of Red Mojo Mama @ $2.07 each = $39.33
1 Smashwords copy of Red Mojo Mama @ $2.27 = 2.27
4 personal paperback copies of Red Mojo Mama @ $1.50 = 6.00
6 Amazon paperback copies of Red Mojo Mama @ $1.40 = 8.40
8 Kindle copies of Her Heart @ $.35 = 2.80
12 Kindle copies of Tell Them You’re Fabulous @$.35 = 4.20
Total = $63.00

Below is the sales report from Amazon for the paperback copies. Member ID removed and a couple of irrelevant colums.

CreateSpace Sales Report

Start Date 1-Sep-11
End Date 30-Sep-11

Title Name Product Type Locale Sales Channel UPC/ISBN Title ID Quantity Royalty
Red Mojo Mama Book US Amazon 0615472303 3581488 6 8.4

Here is the donation confirmation (I removed my address). I added a couple of bucks just to be sure I covered the eventual total:

Your Confirmation Information

10/2/2011 10:58:42 PM
Wounded Warrior Project

Kathy Hall

Thank you for your generous donation to Wounded Warrior Project. Your gift enables us to provide comfort and aid to the wounded and families in need.

The following summarizes your contribution:
Payment Amount: $65.00
Reference ID: 1337XX (removed the last two digits just in case there's some weird way to get my personal info.)

Wounded Warrior Project contact information:
Email Address

Again, I can't thank you enough. Also, if you haven't already read this elsewhere - I'm going to be donating 10% of my royalties every month going forward and will have a much shorter fund drive again next year.

Red is the Color of Passion

My car is bright, true red. So are many of my clothes. I’m a redhead by choice. The classic black dress is wonderful, but a scarlet dress will always turn heads. I would probably paint my RV, Wanda, crimson except that she’d look like an emergency vehicle afterwards.

So, obviously red is my favorite color. It’s also Lydia “Red” Talbot’s signature color. Which made for a lively discussion.

Kathy: You know, my first favorite color, when I was a kid was green – forest green.

Red: That’s back in the day, before you had ever experienced passion, right?

Kathy: Well…yeah. What’s that got to do with it?

Red: Once you’ve had passion in your life – I’m not talking just love and sex – it’s hard not to express yourself with red – the color of passion. It stirs the soul.

Kathy: Wow, you’re sounding very literate.

Red: I’m channeling Christiane Amanpour again. But seriously, pastels are pretty but jewel tones are all full of fire, with red at the top of the list.

Kathy: (grinning widely) You woke up full of piss and vinegar this morning, didn’t you?

Red: (slightly sheepish) Joe took me out dancing last night. I wore my red chiffon dress and those red heels. I’m just saying, I think the dress and shoes had something to do with what a great time we had.

Kathy: (laughing out loud now) I’m pretty sure it was what was in those clothes that caused the merriment! You’re a hot potato in jeans and a t-shirt, too, you know.

Red: (shaking her head violently) No, no. It was the red! We were at Forelli’s – that place with the red tablecloths and red brocade walls. We couldn’t get away from red. The color of passion surrounded us on all sides. Joe was even wearing a red tie. We had to surrender to its power.

Kathy: Okay, okay. I give. I’m afraid - very afraid - to let you continue…so we’ll just agree that red is the best color in the whole wide world, okay?

Red: (shrugging as if it didn’t really matter to her at all) I’m just saying.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What I've Learned This Month

Hopefully, I learned much more than I’m going to talk about here, but I want to speak about deciding to have a fund drive for Wounded Warriors and all the ramifications that meant.

First – a month is too long. I must have worn out you lovely Tweeps, because I was worn out by the need to constantly beg for help. This must be why PBS and NPR do membership drives for one week only – several times a year.

Second – and probably most important – people are endlessly kind. Not only did many buy a book to help the cause but so many tweeters tweeted and retweeted tirelessly. Encouragement came from a variety of corners, both my established friends and droves of unknown tweeps, who are now friends, too.

Third - As I write this, we've reached my personal, final goal of 50 books. I originally started with 500. What can I say, I’m an optimistic! One more day left – today. Perhaps, there will be a few more books bought. That would be lovely, but the truth is that 50 books sold are enough. It’s important to know when enough is reached.

Fourth – There’s no adequate way to say thank you. Just know that I’ve got your back! You can count on me to remember how you helped and payback whenever I have a chance.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Favorite Nicholas Cage Movie

I don’t have a television because I’m addicted to TV and cannot have a real life if I have one; so instead I watch DVDs several times a week.

My library is an unending source of cool movies, documentaries and PBS series. Once in a while I pick up a season of something like Boston Legal and have a personal marathon. But the library pickings have gotten a bit slim. So last night, I rented Season of the Witch with Nicholas Cage, honestly for lack of anything better in the Red Box machine.

Cage plays a medieval knight in an okay medieval tale of witchery. It wasn’t horrible. But here’s the deal – Nicholas Cage is at his best when he’s playing a good-hearted average Joe. He wasn’t exactly knightly, in the traditional sense – rather an irate good-hearted average former Crusader.

The thing is: I love to watch him on the screen – in the right role for him. My absolute favorite film of his is an old one he did with Bridget Fonda, It Could Happen To You. It’s the schmaltzy true tale of a cop who promises a waitress he’ll share the lottery winnings if his numbers come in, as a tip.

He does win and he keeps his word. Cage and Fonda are kind souls who have fun giving away some of the money and treating the neighborhood kids to a day at the ballpark. Havoc ensues with his wife, played wonderfully by Rosie Perez, who divorces him and gets every penny of the remaining money, leaving Cage and Fonda broke and broken.

The world hears of their story and cash is mailed to them in small bills until they have enough to re-open her restaurant and begin a life together; a very happy ending.

Throughout this movie you are pulling for Cage… and Fonda. He makes you love him, even if you don’t wanna. That’s when Cage is at his best. He’s surprisingly a little like Fonda’s own dad, Henry. There is an innocence and goodness that shines through his eyes that makes you believe.

I know actors want to stretch, but as a viewer I beg you, Movieland, let us root for our guy Cage in a relatable role. It ain’t too much to ask, Toots.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How Does Anyone Get Along Without Lists?

Red and I went to see “I Don’t Know How She Does It?” today. It’s great taking Red along, because I never have to pay for her and she doesn’t try to eat my popcorn. Anyway, I enjoyed the movie, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan (two guys who are easy on the eyes). One of the plot points revolves around Kate (SJP) making lists obsessively – which kicked off one of our fun conversations. Red listening demurely, as usual, as I expressed myself.

Kathy: How is it possible that she even considers giving up her lists?

Red: Not everyone is obsessive about lists as you are.

Kathy: Well, obviously some people are or no one would relate to Kate’s obsessiveness.

Red: We all know someone like that – for instance, I know you and you are so completely OCD about lists.

Kathy: (puffing up) Who, me? I’m not obsessive.

Red: Really? Then why is there a list for the next book, what you have to do at work, what you plan to get done today, your New Years resolutions (posted on the refrigerator), what to buy at the grocery store….

Kathy: (cutting Red off) Okay, okay. Maybe I’m a little compulsive about it.

Red: You forget, I happen to know that you add things on to the list that you’ve already done – just so you can cross it off.

Kathy: (sheepishly) I didn’t know you noticed.

Red: Oh, I see everything. Remember.

Kathy: You forget that you wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for my list-making. I had a three-page Excel list of plot points and things about you to put into Red Mojo Mama.

Red: Oh, yeah, huh? (suddenly inspecting her Bloody Mary) Did I mention what a great Bloody Mary you make?

Kathy: Luckily, I had vodka on my grocery list today!

Red: Touché, my friend, touché

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Holding on to Childishness

Red and I were blowing bubbles on the veranda today. Watching them float away and burst on cars and trees, laughing and giggling like little girls. That’s how I imagined it anyway, and it made me feel good. So, we talked about it.

Red: If only we had a veranda!

Kathy: Well, we do in my imagination.

Red: Fat lot of good that does us! (chuckling)

Kathy: Hey! Don’t knock imagination. That’s your hometown.

Red: Oh, yeah. Right. Huh?

Kathy: Mmm, hmm. And let’s face it – if I were more of a grownup you wouldn’t even be here.

Red: (looking quizzical now) What do you mean?

Kathy: Well, I’m just a big kid. You know it. I know it and anyone who spends more than a day around me figures it out.

Red: Still, I don’t get it. What’s the connection?

Kathy: Well, I think it’s the child in all creatives that lets loose with the storytelling, the art making, the musical ecstasies. The adult imagination is great for quantum physics and figuring out the financial bottom-line, but it’s the kid that gets into the paints and swooshes them around and the kid who tells wild, crazy, unbelievable lies that one day become a blockbuster movie.

Red: (tilting her head sideways) I guess you’re right. But in the real world childishness “don’t get no respect” (now mimicking Rodney Dangerfield).

Kathy: (laughing) No, you’re right. If you told most people they were acting like a kid, they’d be insulted. Me? I’d probably say, “Great! Must have a story about to break through.”

Red: So, we can still blow bubbles?

Kathy: Sure, but after that – let’s play jacks.

Red: Okay. What if I win?

Kathy: I’ll let you pick the next game.

Red: Deal! Pass me the bottle of bubbles.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Honoring Wounded Warriors

Today, I received an email from The Wounded Warriors Project, thanking me for a donation I had made in honor of my recently deceased uncle. He had been a Marine in World War II, but that’s not why I chose that particular way to give.

My father, who will be 82 in December, has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD.) He struggles for breath always, even when he sleeps. Yet, he wakes up every day and fights the good fight. He keeps on trucking, doing whatever he can to contribute to the life he and my mother share. It’s hard. I watch him and think, “I hope I’m this brave when I need to be.”

My father served 10 years in the United States Navy and, I believe, he might have made a career out of it if it hadn’t been for the protracted absences from his family. Maybe this is why the thing that seems to touch my father the most nowadays is the sacrifice of our military personnel and their families. In particular, for his Father’s Day, birthday and Christmas presents, he always asks that we girls, his four daughters, give to The Wounded Warrior Project instead of buying him something. We do this – what little it is.

The motto of this worthy organization is “To honor and empower wounded warriors.” They work to make sure those wounded in the service of our country are not forgotten and helped in every possible way.

On the way to visit my parents, I remembered the email and the fleeting thought came, “Dad would be pleased by this.” Suddenly, I was struck with an idea that seems too simple, too easy. Maybe it is, I don’t know.

I can do something for my Dad that would make him very happy. I can donate a portion of the royalties for my books to The Wounded Warrior Project. So, that’s what I’m going to do for the month of September.

If you were already considering buying a copy of one of them, please do so in September, from the first to the 30th (so if you’ve already made your purchase this month, it counts.) At the end of the month, I will post my book sales reports on this blog and when I receive my payment from Amazon, 60 days later, I will donate a portion of my proceeds (and post the receipt here) in the following way.


Red Mojo Mama – Kindle Edition - $.75
Red Mojo Mama – paperback - $.75
Tell Them You’re Fabulous – Kindle Edition - $.20
Her Heart – Kindle Edition - $.20

(PS - in answer to a question about this. After accounting for the tax I'll need to pay on the income, the donation amounts to between 51-86% of my income from the books - depending on the book)

I also have Red Mojo Mama available on Smashwords, but frankly don’t understand the royalty system enough to pledge a specific amount. However, I’ll donate a 1/3 of proceeds from whatever sales I make in the month of September.

Let me say here, I am not affiliated with The Wounded Warrior Project and they don’t know about this plan (at least at the time of posting this). They have not endorsed me or my books in any way. This is just a way for me to do something meaningful for my dad.

You can donate directly, by going to their website,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Universe, Please Save Me from Growing Old Mentally!

Red has been nudging me to talk about my fear of becoming an “old thinker” on the blog. We’ve been bemoaning the mindsets of some folks – a few who are actually old and some much younger people. They seem to be stuck in a rut, afraid to try anything new. I told Red to just shoot me if I get that way.

Red: Finally! How long have I been bugging you to talk about this subject on the blog?

Kathy: I know, I know. But it’s a deep-seated fear of mine, so I was avoiding it. See, I don’t mind if my body gets old…

Red: …but you can’t live with no longer being able to think young. Youngly? Whatever.

Kathy: My mind is fairly youthful, I think, but what if one day I stop listening, stop learning. What if I get so stuck on a personal point of view that I can’t consider anything else (now breathing heavily)? What if I quit taking chances or become afraid of everything? (heart palpitations)

Red: You do realize you’re scaring yourself right now, right? Calm down. I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to happen to you…anytime soon anyway.

Kathy: (Taking a deep breath – centering myself) Seriously, Red. What’s the point to life if you’re too afraid to live it? I know people like that. People who turn their nose up at the idea of trying Ethiopian food or have their minds made up that Twitter is for silly people without ever going on it or can’t ever take a chance on anything without weighing every possibility (which, in my experience, is impossible anyway.) They wake up every day and stay firmly in their comfort zones. What a terrible way to live.

Red: You’re right. New thoughts, new ideas, new music, new foods – it’s all part of having your mojo in working order. If you can’t try anything new, you either lost your mojo or you never had any in the first place. What is life without mojo, I ask you?

Kathy: (chuckling) Leave it to you to bring it all back to mojo!

Red: Well…there are some things in this world that are just necessary – courage, a fresh mind and mojo! They are “gotta haves.”

Kathy: You’re right, Red. Do you promise to put me out of my misery if I start acting old, start thinking like I’m already dead?

Red: Deal! Now get back to work on the sequel. (grinning widely)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Having an Attitude Has a Bad Name

What’s the saying you used to hear all the time? “She’s got an attitude!” And of course, this meant a BAD attitude. However, there's a whole world of attitude you can have and bad is the last I’d pick. How about you?

The title of the sequel to Red Mojo Mama I’m currently writing is Red is an Attitude. I chose this title before I even published the first in the series, because I knew the second book would have something to say about the “new” attitude Lydia “Red” Talbot gains in the first book. She gets her mojo back and that’s a really good thing.

So the attitude she’s got now is that, at the end of the day, she can handle anything - a pretty good one to have, if you ask me. Back here in day-to-day life I witness approaches to life that boggle the mind. Here are a few – good and bad - see if you recognize any of them:

· Everybody’s Best Friend – whether male or female, this is someone to have around you. They give to everyone of themselves because they know they are human and so is everyone else.

· The Seagull – this person appears harmless until they have your trust then they dump a big one on your head (insert also - deed, idea, plan, family, friends). Remember they appear to have a harmless attitude.

· The Helper/Solver – this human being looks at life like it’s simply a problem that needs to be solved and they are there to help. Usually their attitude is very heartfelt. Sometimes called The Do-gooder.

· Life is a Frightening Experience – These folks approach everything as though there’s a hidden danger in it. They cringe at the computer, warn you incessantly, cannot relax at parties – in fact, ever.

· The Diva – “I’m the reason for everyone else’s existence. They are sooo lucky to have me.” Need I say more?

· The Surfer Dude or Dudette – This is one of my favorite types. You can’t throw them for a loop. They’re just happy to be alive. They are naturals at prioritizing things, because they can remove the garbage attached to any idea.

There are literally thousands of attitudes you can adopt in life. Most people’s are probably an amalgamation of several or they switch attitudes with the weather. At the core of each of us, however, there’s a basic way of looking at things – and that’s an attitude. We’ve all got one. It’s simply a matter of whether ours is a good or bad attitude.

I’ve noticed when I really get bothered by something, what does me the most good in getting over it is an attitude adjustment.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Believing is Half the Battle

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’ve been wandering around for years, trying different things, hoping to hit the one that fits you just right. Maybe you’ve had trouble believing that this time could really be it.

It’s so hard to know when you’ve finally found the right person…house…lifestyle… dream...story…character. Basically, every thing works against you having confidence in it when you finally do stumble into the perfect thing or person.

You’ll hear things like - “Oh, sure. I’ve heard that before.” Or maybe, “What kind of crazy thing are you up to now?” And the worst part is – some of these terrible words are rolling around inside your own brain. Nobody even has to do a number on you because your own internal judge is busy doing it for him or her.

So, I’ve come to know – after a good many years – that my instincts are almost unerringly correct – IF I actually listen to them. IF I don’t over-analyze them, thereby changing the initial thought or feeling until it is practically unrecognizable. When I take it into myself and begin to believe it immediately, the idea or connection or whatever it is has a good chance of survival.

I’m paraphrasing here, liberally, but Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called Blink and in it he said something like – 95% of the time our first instinct is the right one. (My apologies to Mr. Gladwell) Well, not only is Gladwell brilliant, one of the only non-fiction writers I can read and enjoy, but this particular phenomena he points out is one we need to embrace. We often don’t trust our instincts, because it’s been bred out of us.

We don’t need our instincts like we used to – in order to survive the wilderness, lack of food and water, getting eaten by some larger being. And we have families – who have often systematically beaten our natural inclinations out of us (figuratively and sometimes physically). All of this makes it hard for us to trust ourselves. To believe that what feels right probably is right.

Writers constantly battle with the internal judge whose voice is overwhelmingly negative. So, just to get the words on the page, we have to learn to shut that holy terror down. We may be a little more adept at believing than the average bear, but we still need a boost and that’s why I’m writing this piece.

If you – and I – can keep believing in ourselves, in our natural instincts, the tree will bear fruit. The message is simple – believe.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Our Loved Ones Never Really Die

Lydia “Red” Talbot is aided through getting her mojo back by her husband, Mac, who’s been dead three years. His return is both shocking and comforting for her and a big part of the book, Red Mojo Mama.

There’s a reason why Mac returns to his wife this way. It’s because I lost my beloved husband in 1998 and all these years later he haunts me, in a good way. Oh, I don’t see him – Devon “Pete” Hall – in the traditional sense that people talk about ghosts and nowadays he rarely comes around anyway. But that wasn’t true in the beginning and I tried to let Red have a similar experience.

Whatever your religion, most people believe in an afterlife of some kind. I don’t have any secret keys to how or why, but I’m completely convinced that we become something else on a different plane. Part of the reason is because I’ve experienced times of knowing Pete was around me. I still do – not as often as I’d like, though.

I’m sure this will seem too weird or too personal for some, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to say for a while and giving Red her ghostly husband was part of that. Here’s the rest.

When Pete first passed away, my first awareness of his presence was very physical. Twice I felt him pass through me. Once it felt as if he was massaging my terribly bruised heart. I relaxed that time – quit crying and was able to return to work. I know I didn’t imagine it – he WAS there.

Then there was a whole series of instances when I would smell him. Not just in the apartment where our little family had lived, but in a house in another state, with all his things put away. The strong scent of Lagerfeld, cigars and Ben-Gay permeated the air around me, suddenly and regularly.

My favorite way he presented himself, and the only way I still sense him, is with the appearance of butterflies. Once, we had gone as a family to the San Diego Zoo and all of us entered the butterfly exhibit, where the magical winged creatures fly freely. While most people had a butterfly, or two, land on them, Pete was swarmed with them. One persistent Tiger stayed with us throughout the time in the exhibit and finally Pete had to shoo it away.

Whenever I’m sad or just kind of blue, a white butterfly will appear out of nowhere. Pete’s favorite song at the end of his life was “If I Could Change the World,” by Eric Clapton. About a year ago, I was feeling devastated and at a traffic light turned on the radio. That song came on and at just that moment I looked out at the hood of my car – right then a white butterfly landed smack-dap in the center. No one will ever be able to tell me that this wasn’t Pete giving me encouragement.

So, I made a conscious decision to put ghosts in all my stories. Why? Because I love writing the part of a happy ghost and because I believe that spirits are all around us, especially those of the ones we still love whether they are with us anymore or not.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Let's Hear It For the Boys!

It was my sudden burst of flirting and the sound of Michael Buble belting out “There’s Gonna Be a Heartache Tonight,” that started Red and me talking about men. Watch out.

Red: You have been flirting outrageously on Twitter! Don’t deny it.

Kathy: I have, haven’t I? But it’s not my fault. There are some very interesting…people on Twitter.

Red: Yeah. Uh, huh. Anyway.

Kathy: Well, there are. And who are you to talk? You practically drug that poor man into the pool with you!

Red: May I point out that it was you that wrote the scene?

Kathy: Oh.

Red: Yeah. Uh, huh. And it’s always you that puts the music on when you’re writing. You know that brings out the beast in me!

Kathy: Michael Buble?

Red: Of course, especially that Crazy Love CD. But do you leave it at that? No! Then here comes Al Green singing about how tired he is of being alone. Followed by Tony Bennett, the most elegant man in music – you know I melt when his voice comes out of that little box.

Kathy: Well, let’s be honest. You melt a lot. I mean, there’s Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Lou Rawls…

Red: Give me a break. Any woman swoons a little with those three.

Kathy: Okay, then how about Rod Stewart, Frank Sinatra and Roy Orbison…

Red: That’s not fair. You swoon, too.

Kathy: Okay, okay. It’s true. We’re just a couple of women who like men. And if they can sing, we’re really goners.

Red: It’s not the worst thing in the world to be.

Kathy: Guess not. As Denise Williams would say, “Let’s hear it for the boy…s!”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Grill, Baby, Grill

Red and I were talking about the debt ceiling crisis, the credit rating debacle and the stock market dive and here’s what we decided –

Kathy: I don’t have any stocks to speak of and I’m not in a position to buy treasury bonds. I certainly can’t make the government or anybody else (including me) buy less stuff on credit. What’s a woman to do?

Red: Grill, baby, grill!

Kathy: Huh?

Red: Seriously. You throw a couple of steaks on the grill; maybe a couple of ears of corn. I’ll whip up a pitcher of margaritas and it’ll all be good.

Kathy: That’s your solution to everything.

Red: Not everything. Sometimes I prefer ice cream. Chocolate and peanut butter from Baskins-Robbins, in case you forgot.

Kathy: How could I forget? I wrote that line the first time. And this time grilling and cocktails isn’t going to cut it!

Red: Why not? There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Thank goodness, you’re not in the stock market, but even if you were…nothing you can do. Nothing. Might as well eat, drink and be merry. Stop pouting, right now!

Kathy: I’m not pouting. (the creases in my forehead getting deep enough to store change in)

Red: Yes, you are. Now light up the charcoal briquettes, or I'll get down in the mouth, too. (The breeze whipping her wild red hair into a frenzy)

Kathy: (I laugh a little too hysterically) That’ll be the day. You might get pissed off, but you never feel sorry for yourself. Okay! Where are the steaks?

Red: (wide grinned and pointing) Over there, thawing? Oh, and here’s the first pitcher.

Kathy: Boy, you know me, doncha?

Red: Pretty much, my friend. Que Sera. Tomorrow’s another day. Let bygones be bygones. Can’t cry over split milk…

Kathy: Stop! No more clichés. Just hand me that little bit of lime-flavored heaven! You’re right. Not much to be done, so I might as well quit worrying about it.

Red: That’s my girl – Grill, baby, grill.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Younger Generation Is Awesome

I know I can never be friends with someone who utters these words, “The young people nowadays…” always followed by some compliant about the younger generation.

This person is either living in an idealized world of their own making, completely out of touch with reality or they simply don’t remember their own youth, or both.

In the space of just four weeks, I’ve met several young women through Twitter that are the very personification of fantastic. They are kind, caring and spread good vibes through the Universe. They are much like my daughter, Vanessa, who at 26 is, I’m pretty sure, the best young woman I’ve ever known.

My son is also an admirable man, though he’s now past what can be called the “younger generation, “ however the other young men in my life – my nephews – qualify and every one of them is a quality human being.

I like myself, now, but I’d be lying if I said I was like any one of these terrific young people at their age. I believe my generation and those older than me could use a refresher course – maybe a mental video of their younger days – to understand that not much has changed, in reality.

Except, of course, that the young people of today face much more difficult times and expectations of them than we did all those years ago.

Because of constant exposure to the media, they know about stuff we never had a clue about at a very young age. You’d be hard put to find anyone over the age of 8, who hadn’t heard the words “rape” and “murder” repeatedly and any multiple of other horrible concepts. I was addicted to Law and Order, when I had a TV, but, come on, anyone who lets their kids watch it is either irresponsible or crazy, and I know some who do.

So, given the chance to vote on whether the current generation of teens and twenty-somethings will make a mess of the world, my vote would be – no more than we did, and perhaps they’ll do much better. Let’s hope so.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Primal Scream Therapy

I spent most of yesterday pissed off and by the time I was sitting in the driveway at home I was still boiling mad. So, Lydia – Red – and I had a little heart-to-heart.

Red: Wow, you look like hell!

Kathy: (glancing in the rear view mirror) That’s what high blood pressure all day will do to you!

Red: You wouldn’t look like that if you had used Primal Scream Therapy on the way home. As a matter of fact, you’d be quite chilled out. Maybe ready for a nap. Better company anyway.

Kathy: (chuckling) Seriously? So, how does it work?

Red: Easy enough – you just scream your guts out at the top of your lungs where no one can hear you. Your car is perfect…except when you’re stopped at a light.

Kathy: Really? What does that do for you, besides making everyone think you’re a crazy person?

Red: All the tension goes away. Try it right now.

I took her up on it and started the car. By the time I was rolling down the boulevard towards Mickey D’s I was yelling my head off – a high, piercing sound. I glanced around self-consciously. No one appeared to notice. Of course, there wasn’t a car closer than 10 yards anyway.

Red: Feel better now?

Kathy: Yeah…strangely, I do. Much better. What’s it called again?

Red: Primal Scream Therapy. I used to do it pretty regularly when Mac was still around. You know how men can drive you crazy sometimes!

Kathy: I remember. It’s been a while, but I do still remember. (laughing)

Red: What made you that mad anyway?

Kathy: Let’s see – people who have to be right at all costs, liars, mean people, people who get off on pissing other people off.

Red: Geez, you really ran into a bad bunch of people today, didn’t you?

Kathy: Nope, just one. She happened to have all those traits. I think I’ll take the long way to Mickey’s and scream a little more.

Red covers her imaginary ears and I scream myself hoarse. Feels so bad it feels good. Tomorrow will be much better, I think.

Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

True Friendships on Twitter?

I just started tweeting on the long July 4th weekend and I already have several people that I am happy to call my friends.

Those acquaintances and loved ones who don’t tweet also don’t understand the idea of friends on Twitter. If I’m talking about it on the phone there’s sudden a long silence until I ask, “Are you still there?” In person, I get the strangest looks. Ah, well, sometimes we can’t understand something we haven’t experienced.

Here are some of the reasons why I believe it’s possible to have true friendships on Twitter:

· Some people say more in 140 words than most people say all day.

· What a person chooses to re-tweet tells you as much about them as what they say.

· People show kindness every day; re-tweet stuff that’s important to others, respond to sadness, mention their friends - just cuz.

· You’ll read the words “Thank you” on Twitter way more often than you’ll hear them in real life.

· You can easily find others of a like mind. When was the last time you could complain about the troubles of Indie publishing to someone you met in the grocery store?

· While we may have come to Twitter to promote something – in my case, a book – quite a few stay for another reason – the people and ideas you find within. After all, how hard is it to whip off a few promotional tweets and leave the Twittersphere? It’s extremely easy to just stop by, but many invest more than a few minutes a day.

· Following a link to a new blog can open up windows to the world you had never considered. Of course, you feel gratitude and closeness to the real life person who led you there and the real life person who wrote the glorious piece.

· Finally, when someone sends you a direct message telling you that you are a good person, that someone becomes your friend. No questions asked.

I know Twitter isn’t for everyone, but I’m thankful I bought John Locke’s book How I Sold a Million eBooks in 5 Months! It was his description of how to become a good tweeter than started me on my way. Thanks, John. I got so much more than a way to promote my book out of it.

Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Following Your Dream

For years I knew I should be writing. It’s not that I’m a great writer. It’s that writing gives me the greatest, most consistent joy in life and when I’m joyful I spread that out into the world. When I’m writing, I do good things.

It took me years to begin to write seriously and many more years to find the type of writing that truly made me happy. For a long time, I thought that waiting so long to make my dream come true was a bad thing. Now, with the wisdom that comes with maturity, I realize that I just didn’t have that much to say early on.

In 2004, instead of looking for a job in my old career path that had lead me to making over $100K annually, I took a reporter’s position for $10 an hour. Really! I decided that I would finally commit to writing for a living no matter what it took. That led to a job a year later as the editor of another small paper – also pretty low pay.

What did I get out of taking what seemed like a step backwards to almost everyone I knew? I learned who I was as a writer. I found out I can write great editorials. I found out that I’m pretty prolific – at about 1000 words an hour. I found out I didn’t want to be a reporter anymore. Or an editor.

The next job I took, the one I currently have, I took on the theory that it was less stressful than management or the news biz, and I would therefore have more energy to write when I got home. Well…not so much. But in the past three years, I have finished two books. One I shelved voluntarily, because I just didn’t like the main character and the other, Red Mojo Mama, was a delight to write.

I fell in love with my main character, Lydia “Red” Talbot. She became so real to me that now I blog with her as my verbal sparing partner. She does the things I cannot do. She is the person I’m striving to be.

So, now, I’m a struggling writer with no retirement plan and an eye out for a more creative job. (No worries, my boss knows.) Would I change anything? Would I go back to the higher paying job? What about the powerful position of editor?

Straight up? No way. I’d rather be poor(ish because I know I’m not poor compared to so many others) than to not have pursued my dream. I have faith that someday, my books (two more in the works right now) will be bought and read. It’s actually more important to me that they are read. I want the world to know my characters. I want them to come alive.

So, if I had one piece of advice for other writers – anyone really – it would be FOLLOW YOUR DREAM. It’s really the only way to go.

What is your dream? What have you done to pursue it?

Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Family – So Much More Than What You’re Born Into

A Sunday morning conversation between me and my imaginary friend and main character, Lydia “Red” Talbot.

Kathy: It was interesting watching two families blend at the wedding yesterday.

Red: Blend? You mean crash into each other, don’t you?

Kathy: (laughing) I know what you mean, but this time they seemed to be blending. There were several cute kids there and that always brings people together.

Red: I still regret that Mac and I didn’t have kids. I would have a family now if we had.

Kathy: Red, you have a huge family! Seriously, your trailer park people and half the town of Nuggetville!

Red: That park full of crazies? And the other half of Nuggetville hates me!

Kathy: Okay, so there are a few challenges in the park, but what about Joe and Bob? (Red’s face goes a bit pink) And Judy? Evelyn? Donnie?

Red: Alright, alright, I give. They are my family and I love them all.

Kathy: And then there’s your actual family that you’re related to – Geez.

Red: Are you saying I was just feeling sorry for myself? Are you telling me to quit whining?

Kathy: I’d never tell you to quit whining. You’re so good at it. Mom always told me to do what I good at. But really, that’s one of the things I loved about writing your life. How you build a family out of the life around you. I think people do that all the time, but don’t really realize it.

Red: Yeah, you’re probably right. I can count on Joe and the others as much or more than my blood relatives.

Kathy: Sure you can. Maybe Family really means the people you love that love you back. Remember, Under The Tuscan Sun?

Red: (smirking) Another movie we’ve watched 3 million times.

Kathy: Well…she is a writer, after all. Anyway, the story is about recovering herself by gathering a family to her - a mishmosh of people she met and fell in love with because of who they were instead of because she was obligated through birth. That’s Family.

Red: Kind of like me! I get it. Okay, not having kids doesn’t make me family-less. Happy now?

Kathy: Yes, except for one other thing.

Red: What? What is it now?

Kathy: You could always adopt!

Red stares off into space, considering the possibility and I go back to writing the next adventure in her life. We’re a pair, aren’t we? Can literary characters be part of your family? Hmmm…


Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Love Those Redheads!

Watching the world stage, I’m often stuck by the shortage of redheads out there. That’s one reason I love being a redhead (admittedly with a little help). Redheads are noticed first and then given just a little bit of slack in anticipation of their much-discussed passion, which we really have in spades, by the way. When the world loves a redhead, it really, really loves her (or him). Famous redheads somehow go beyond normal fame – all the way to redheaded fame.

My female characters always have red hair. It just comes out that way. That why my main character in Red Mojo Mama, Lydia “Red” Talbot and I, (Kathy, her creator -geez I love saying that) were discussing righteous redheads last night. This is how the conversation went.

Red: I still think Lucille Ball is the greatest redhead of all time.

Kathy: That explains your VW’s name! I would have a hard time choosing between Katharine Hepburn, easily the spunkiest real-life actress ever and Maureen O’Hara, whose beauty knocked everyone’s socks off every time she was on screen – especially in “The Quiet Man”. You know, the movie with John Wayne.

Red: (rolling her eyes) What do you mean do I know the movie? I’ve watched that film with you 5 times in the last year. I know, I know – the rain scene in the ruins.

Kathy: Yep, you got it. Your turn.

Red: I’d have to go with some of the music greats – Bette Midler, Reba McEntire, Bonnie Raitt, Clay Aiken – does Pink count?

Kathy: Definitely not – she’s a blonde. So is Bette most of the time.

Red: Well, they’re totally redheads at heart and Bette was bright red in “Beaches” the best movie ever.

Kathy: (counting to 10) How about those Brits? Prince Harry, Sarah Ferguson, Queen Elizabeth I (and her papa Henry VIII – so much for red-headed passion), Winston Churchill, the Redgrave sisters and that actor from Twilight.

Red: Robert Pattinson! Ooh, baby! If we’re talking guys too – here’s a few: John Glenn, the son of Dr. Evil – Seth Green, TV Texas Ranger Chuck Norris, the Harry Potter friend – Rupert Grint, Ron Howard, Eric Stoltz ( hubba-hubba), Shaun White (Snowboarding King)

Kathy: How about Red Buttons, Red Skeleton, Danny Kaye and Mark Twain!

Red: All dead guys – you notice. And Mark Twain – I thought he had white hair.

Kathy: (my eyes were flaming by then) Dead doesn’t keep you from being a GREAT redhead and Mark Twain WAS a redhead before his hair went white.

Red: Okay, okay – calm down. Didn’t mean to diss your guys.

Kathy: (taking a deep breath) A few final entries - Ann-Margaret, Julia Roberts, Agnes Moorehead (the fiery Endora on Bewitched), Rene Russo, Rita Hayworth (Fred Astaire’s favorite dancing partner), Debra Messing, Joy Behar, Bill Walton, Susan Sarandon (sexiest older woman imaginable), Rihanna (canned color – but oh how red she can get!), Carrot Top, Bozo and Ronald McDonald (Oh, those clowns!)

Red: Wow! You can really do a summation. Ever think of becoming a lawyer?

Kathy: (laughing) No, Red. I don’t have any extra time after writing your life.

Red: Yeah! Get back to it will you? I’m getting a little sunburned on this cruise. Back at it girl.

So, I closed my eyes, turning off the voices in my head, re-opened them and hit the pages. That’s exactly what I’m going to do right now. But I will be thinking of my legacy as a redhead and trying to live up to it – everyday.

Who's your favorite redhead? We (Red and I) want to know - so tell us below!

Redheads! Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Looking For Lula

Kathy: I just finished reading Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich, the latest in the Stephanie Plum series. My reaction to it is – meh.

Red: You’re being much nicer than I would be.

Kathy: Well, the woman – Janet – has created a remarkable cast of characters and reading the books has been a hoot up until the last couple of books. The formula is showing…

Red: Yeah, it’s getting old. And what the heck has happened to Lula?

Kathy: For those of you that haven’t read the books, Lula is Stephanie’s African-American sidekick, a gun-toting, plus size former ‘ho with a mouth on her that won’t quit.

Red: Not so much this time out. Where’s the Lula I know and love? All her smart-ass seems to have up and left. Even Granny Mazur was a little subdued in Smokin.

Kathy: More about Gramma Mazur in a later post. Let’s stay on point. So, Lula is usually more than a little shocking. If it isn’t her skin-tight flamboyant clothes or her philosophies on life, it’s her attraction to all the wrong men or the volumes of food she can eat. Lula is hands-down my favorite Evanovich character, and that includes the two hot men Stephanie has hanging around, Joe Morelli and Ranger.

Red: Me, too – although I do get a little crazed for the boys!

Kathy: I’ve noticed. Down girl!

Red: Can’t help myself. My Joe and Stephanie’s Joe are kinda similar – except mine’s a tad bit older. And Ranger? Well, he literally smolders on the page.

Kathy: BACK to Lula…

Red: Okay, okay.

Kathy: …anyway – Janet, let’s bring Lula back full-force! Love her, miss her, want more of her!

Red: Janet – a plea from the other side. We, the characters who are created in the minds of novelists, want our rights! Let us speak! Hear our needs! We’re all behind Lula. Free Lula. Free Lula! Can you hear it – the roar of thousands of characters? There’s Jane Eyre and Sherlock Holmes raising their fists in the corner. And Holden Caulfield – looking a little morose. He’s bummed. What’s that you say, Holden? Free Lula? Yay, baby, free Lula!

Kathy: (looking askance at her own rowdy character) Are you through?

Red: I suppose so, but we gotta talk about Gramma Mazur.

Kathy: Later, Red, later.

All you Stephanie Plums might just want to buy my book! Here’s the link – just for you!

Stephanie Plums Fans Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Sunday, July 10, 2011 Spreads the Love

Kathy: I’ll kickstart this discussion. Kickstart – get it? (blushing) How many times have you wished you could lend support to a starving artist? Be a benefactor to the next great author? Help someone become Steven Spielberg’s successor? What’s a financially challenged person to do? Well, I personally buy the greeting cards that painters create from their works of art. It’s usually about all I can afford. But I always feel like I’ve done SOMETHING to help out.

Red: Speak for yourself. Personally, I inherited a wad of money from Aunt Esther, so I can give freely.

Kathy: I hate to point this out, but you are a figment of my imagination and so are your bank accounts. Anyway, now, there’s another way I can help and so can you. is a website dedicated to helping artists of all persuasions to get their projects off the ground. There are any number of projects to pick from and you can donate whatever you can afford to a project you think is worthwhile.

Red: I would just like to point out that YOU made me real by writing about me. If it’s in print, it must be true!

Kathy: Not even close.

Red: You believe in Tom Hanks, don’t you?

Kathy: Yeah…because he’s a real person.

Red: Have you ever met him? Seen him in person?

Kathy: No, but he’s on TV and in films regularly.

Red: They can animate all that you know. If you haven’t seen him in person, you’re taking it on faith that he actually exists. Just like when your fans read about me they believe I exist – so I do.

Kathy: Uh…off topic. Let’s get back to the point. So, where was I? Oh, yeah. The project has to get enough donations to meet its budget, which might be $500 or $10,000 or whatever. Once it does, you’re charged and the project gets it’s funding.

Red: Sounds pretty cool. I’ll think I’ll contribute a couple grand to that chick who’s making the funky rainboots.

Kathy: (Rolling her eyes) It’s a fun way of contributing to the arts and becoming invested in someone else’s dream without having to be a Rockefeller.

Red: Yeah - one day, you may be able to say – I helped Ratfink Pollusa become the Pablo Picasso of the 21st century!

Kathy: Ratfink? Really? (shaking her head – refocusing) Interested? Just go to and see what I’m talking about. I’ll make a small donation today on behalf of Red. Poor, delusional girl.

Red: Hey! If I’m a delusion – I’m yours.

Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Why Kevin James?

There are sure to be guys out there who don’t get why women want Kevin James in their lives. You should know in advance that I was brought to own understanding through the daily repetition of the words “There’s my husband” by my daughter for a couple of years during the height of “King of Queens.” There was no way I could personally lust after the man that she was sure would be my son-in-law, but I did start asking whether he had available male relatives after seeing the movie “Hitch.”

Will Smith is one very hot man, but Kevin, who on first glance couldn’t compete if Will walked around with a bag over his head, nearly stole the movie from big, bad Will. It was his klutzy, immovable love for a woman he could never have that moved women of all ages. Geez, we really wanted James to end up with the girl.

Kevin’s stocky, frankly manly body, coupled with those puppy dog eyes, and adorable pout could be the perfect man. He’s seriously not beautiful on any level, but he’s overwhelmingly attractive on many. He’s such a guy guy that the fact that many woman want to rescue him doesn’t diminish his manliness at all.

Somehow, we’d forgive the pizza cartons we know he’d leave on the coffee table regularly. We’d overlook the pile of clothes on the bathroom floor and the sizable paunch he’d rest his beer bottles on during the endless streams of football, hockey, basketball and baseball games (and their televised national drafts).

It’s the puppy dynamic - because a puppy is so adorable, we extend an automatic forgiveness level about 12 steps beyond your average full-grown dog. Same situation with Mr. KJ. Sure, there are some things we’d draw the line at, but it’s different for everyone and way beyond the norm for how we’d treat a regular guy. Even for what we’d forgive in Will Smith.

So, that’s why Kevin James. He’s not exactly an “every man”, but more of an “every woman’s man.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red and Stephanie Plum Have A Lot in Common

Don’t tell Red (she’s napping right now, so maybe I’ll be able to pull this off without her input) – but if you want to know the truth, she often thinks to herself – “What would would Stephanie do?” That’s right, she and I both love Stephanie Plum and although Stephanie is a lot younger than either one of us, we wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps. Stephanie is really just a baby at 24 or so, but she tumbles through life, having the best time, in spite of her cars blowing up and people threatening her life.

It’s not all about how popular she is either. Thank you Janet Evanovich for creating a character, cute and lovable, but flawed. She’s usually struggling to keep her hair in place, always resisting the desire to sleep with men other than her boyfriend and always, always eating crap – donuts and fried chicken.

Yet, she survives and survives well. Her family’s insane and incredibly funny – from Gramma Mazur to her quietly tortured father. Joe Morelli and Ranger are hot as cheese-filled potato skins straight from the oven. It’s all good.

So, what does Red have in common with Stephanie?

· Well, she has two hot men in her life, too. Okay, so one’s a ghost.
· She’s young…ish. Well, she IS more than ten years older than Stephanie.
· Her hair’s always a challenge. Yeah, but men are attracted to that head of red.
· She’s cute, funny, fearless, a big-mouth and a smart-ass. That’s right! Yeah, Red and Stephanie really are a lot alike.

So, I guess it’s true – what a friend told me – my Red is a lot like Stephanie Plum! Hmmm…there are worse things to be.

All you Stephanie Plums might just want to buy my book! Here’s the link – just for you!

Stephanie Plums Fans Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Writing for Bucks

Kathy: I’m posting this time with Red looking over my shoulder. Please!

Red: Well, you have me sitting in a chaise lounge on cruise ship right now (in the next novel – Red is An Attitude) so what else have I got to do?

Kathy (heavy sigh): Soak up a little sun while I tell the folks my theory on writing for sales versus writing for craft.

Red: Crap?

Kathy: No! C-R-A-F-T

Red: Geez, you don’t have to be like that! Go ahead – I’ll just lie here quietly.

Kathy: That will be the day. Anyway, I read a tweet from a writer yesterday saying she was all about craft, not sales. Basically, she was announcing she was above the new John Locke plan to sell books on Amazon. Really?

Red: You go girl! I hope you told her like it is.

Kathy (shaking off Red’s interjection): No, actually, I didn’t. I thought about it overnight and realized she’s totally bought into the whole publishing biz hype. Craft is all well and good – and who’s to say these books HAVEN’T been highly crafted anyway – but bottom-line: Craft doesn’t necessarily sell books.

That means readers never see your finely crafted words. So, sales are important, aren’t they?

Red: Right! Anyone with any brains could figure that one out.

Kathy: Thank you for your support, Red. Now, may I continue?

Red: You may.

Kathy: Secondly – if you’re a writer that has to support yourself in another way (until you manage to start selling books) you’ll relate to this one. You have to have time to write! At least, in any volume. I love to write – LOVE it. But I’m often too tired to do anything when I get home from work.

Red: I can relate.

Kathy: I would love to sit down and whip off a few pages, but really – even if I’m not too tired, I often have a hard time transitioning from the hard-core business side of my brain to the creative side.

Red: Hard core?

Kathy: You know what I mean. Anyway, so selling enough books to live modestly and write for a living – now that’s heaven on earth. THEN I’ll sit down and write the dozen or so books that are floating around in my head that the world would deem more literary.

Red: Just a dozen?

Kathy: In the meantime, I’m writing to entertain the masses. My hero – Janet Evanovich.

Red: Now, she can entertain.

Kathy: I’m just saying.

Visit my website

Purchase my book - RED MOJO MAMA

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Heroine Tells It Like It Is

Hi, I’m Lydia. Most people call me Red. I’m the protag in Ms. Hall’s book – Red Mojo Mama. You can expect me to come along every once in awhile when I have something to say. Guess what? I have something to say.

As a journalist (okay, it may be for a tiny little community paper, but still) I’m sensing a trend here and it’s heartening. THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE FOR WRITERS IS SELF-PUBLISHING. Duh!

Ms. Hall recently purchased a Kindle and then received a promotional email from Amazon for John Locke’s book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! She bought it and the world opened up for her. She’s a much happier person nowadays. Let’s just say – she’s getting her mojo back, too.

So, first Locke exposes how self-published authors have been ostracized and discounted – pure BS from the publishing industry– thereby validating Ms. Hall’s opinion on the subject and her self-esteem. No, she is not a vanity author – she’s a writer who finally got fed up with all the encouraging and wonderful REJECTIONS from agents and had the cojones to do something about it; like so many writers recently.

Then he lays a plan out that anyone with the ability to read could follow and - viola! We were in business. It’s work, okay – but its not digging ditches.

A writer friend of Kathy’s said, “You have to go on Twitter? Oh, then I couldn’t do it!” Really? Hmmm, maybe she’s a writer-wannabe. Or maybe she’s satisfied with possibly being discovered after her death? I’ll betcha Van Gogh, who sold 1 painting while he lived, would’a tweeted his ass off. (Sorry for the grammatical lapse – I tend to do that when I get passionate.)

Anyway, we are off and running now. Ms. Hall wants to laud John Locke for sharing his secrets with her fellow authors and I personally thank him, too. After all, when our book goes wild – the world will discover me!

Thanks – Lydia “Red” Talbot

Visit my website

Purchase my book - RED MOJO MAMA

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jennifer Aniston Has Definitely Found Her Mojo

Okay, let’s be brutally honest. Everyone has felt a little bad about Jennifer since Angelina stole Brad! Everyone.

We loved her. She was Rachel. All the men wanted to bed Rachel and all the women wanted to be Rachel. We were all stunned when that schmo Ross let her get away. Face it - we (the women who were rooting for Rachel) were a little amazed that she fell for the guy in the first place. But we bought into the relationship ultimately and went along for the ride.

Rachel – I mean Jennifer – then hooks up with Brad Pitt. The television uber-babe weds the hottest man in history – well, at least in the 90’s – and we all sat back and waited for the baby Brads and Jens to come along. Then along came Angelina and wham-o! Jennifer and Brad weren’t even on a break, for God’s sake!

Jennifer’s public – the world at large – watched with bated breath as she slipped into a May-December romance with John Mayer, landed the big guy Vince Vaughn (my personal favorite) and then dallied with Gerard Butler.

As each relationship failed, we felt sorry for her all over again. “Poor Jen. She’s just can’t make it last!” Funny thing, though – Jennifer never seemed that broken up by her break-ups. She bounced back – even from the Brad thing – with amazing grace.

We definitely don’t need to feel sorry for her anymore. She’s everywhere nowadays. She dating Justin Theroux and apparently thrilled about it – if you read the Yahoo headlines. She’s made a bazillion movies in the last couple of years – even got kudos for The Good Girl. Check out her bod in Just Go With It. Really? How annoying is it that she looks better than ever?

It’s not about men, either. She’s grown into herself. Jennifer Aniston has definitely got her mojo back.

Here’s my favorite Jen quote: “A relationship isn't going to make me survive. It's the cherry on top.”

Right on! You go girl!

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