Monday, September 16, 2013

Random *Thoughts and *Thunks

Because I pay so much attention to this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to start ANOTHER blog. *THUNK.

It's because the Bat Collective needed one, due to us cranking out anthologies. Seemed like a good idea at the time, and over time, I'm sure it'll serve us well. RIGHT? *THOUGHT.

Bat Collective Blog - because you know you wanted a link to click. *THUNK.

One of my friends shared a link to an article listing 10 things writers are tired of hearing. My fave on the list? #3: "How much money do you make?" Yes, I've been asked this, got so I'd try to avoid the lady who asked every time she saw me (and I hadn't made good my escape.) Another friend shared her answer to that very question: "How much did you make as a nurse last year?" It's not an okay question to ask to begin with, so why do folks think it's okay to ask writers this? I'm going to start saying, "Like Liberace, who said, 'That hurt my feelings very much. I'm going to laugh all the way to the bank' - I too am laughing all the way to the bank." *THUNK.

It's that time of the year again - pumpkin flavored everything. Marshmallows. Jello pudding. Pumpkin bars. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin cake. Pumpkin pancakes at IHOP. Yay! *THOUGHT.

I've been listening to the Bee Gees lately. I refuse to be embarrassed about the fact that I love them. They wrote their own songs, they wrote songs for others - they sang in fantastically gorgeous harmonies, and if you think singing falsetto is easy, I dare you to give it a go, and sound as good as they did. In fact, I learned that Barry Gibb got a call from his manager who was going to do a movie called *Grease* and needed a song by the same title. I read, and I dunno where, that it took Barry an HOUR to write the song *Grease*. Think about that. An *hour* to write a song that became an instant classic. The *Grease* soundtrack was second only to *Saturday Night Fever.* Guess who wrote that 2nd soundtrack? (Yeah, that's a trick question, because if you don't know the answer, then you probably either unconscious during the '70s, or weren't born yet.) Think about that. Yet, for some reason, it's okay to "Bee Gee Bash." I hope they took note of Liberace, and also laughed all the way to the bank. And if you want to dismiss the Bee Gees' lyrics, try listening to them - really listening, then get back to me. *THOUGHT(ful).

Boxes don't magically unpack themselves. For this reason, I don't recommend moving houses. *THUNK.

Great opening lines for stories will occur to you in the most inconvenient places - while you're in the shower (a friend of mine years ago recommended showering with a sharpie, so you could write your ideas on your thighs - yes, I'm pretty sure she was joking) ; at the Laundromat; while you're driving; any time you don't have any way to write it down somewhere; when you have four other WIPS going; last, but not certainly least - that twilight-y moment when you first awaken in the morning, and you're not conscious, but you're not conscious, either... *THUNK.

It's ALWAYS a good time for a nap. Unless you're a toddler, in which case, no time is a good time for a nap. *THOUGHT & *THUNK.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming...

This is the new Hamby Family Motto. Yep. See, we've been in a state of chaotic flux since the beginning of summer, what with putting our house on the market, selling said house, going on a house hunting trip, sending kids to summer camp and Jamboree, one kid working as a counselor at summer camp and getting evacuated due to a fire - while we were on said house hunting trip, purchasing a new house, losing a very, very, very family member way tooooooo soon - my husband's Auntie, and MOVING. Yep. MOVING. Into a fixer-upper.

All I can say about that is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now, 3.5 weeks later, we're suffering from painter's elbow and have probably experienced brain damage from being exposed to paint fumes. Right now, however, I'm being exposed to that "new laminate hardwood" smell, and it's pretty okay. It sure looks WAY better than what was there. Icky, ugly carpet. *Shuddering*. In our excavations of the floors, preparing for the new flooring, we found relics from the 1980s. Linoleum in that lovely mustard yellow that was so popular in the 1970s. A clip for a set of hot rollers. I also found shelf paper with the hearts. Remember that? Pink? Blue? Oh-so-cute, and it SCREAMS "Born in the '80s!" When we moved the wood stove and the platform it was sitting on, we found tri-brown plush carpeting. Yeah. Also from the 1980s.

So, we got up here in our new town of residence - up in the Sierra Foothills, just a couple hours now from our parents. Parents who are RUDELY (whispers) getting older.

To our surprise, school for our middle son started the Thursday after we arrived. Oops. Kids were off visiting grandparents, and had gone from my folks to The Spouse's mother just that Wednesday. We'd been told, you see, that Grandma K (The Spouse's Mother), hadn't had the boys visit LAST summer, and she was greatly aggrieved. The Spouse and I decided "What the hell? Kid can start school on Monday." Why? Because, there would be a Grandma K-led riot if we went and fetched the boys early. Grandma K had PLANS for those grandchildren. And baseball tickets for Saturday night.

Well. You can imagine, coming from a school of 4000 students to a school of 1000 +/- can be quite the culture shock. #2 Son has told new classmates his old school was that big, and that his class was the size of the entire population of this (new) school. Total disbelief on their part. During the first full week of school, there were such events like competitions to see who could load the most hay bales and chickens into the back of a pickup truck. Apparently, the school will have music on at lunchtime. Imagine my urban kid's surprise to find out that up here, folks listen to BOTH kinds of music - Country AND Western. He was absolutely dumbfounded when one particular song came on, and the entire school sang along. Frankly, I'd be dumbfounded too, because I've never met a school building that can sing worth a damn. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know he meant all the kids sang along. I've had a great time since then teasing him about what I call "the school anthem." "Do you know all the words yet? Do you sing along too?" What is the "school anthem," you ask?

"Red solo cup...I fill you up...Let's have a party...Let's have a party."
I dunno why, but the kid just rolls his eyes at me every time I twitted him about this. I have moved on, but every now and again, I'll ask the school anthem was on at lunch.
So, more fun...we were working on the house - painting, cleaning, painting, cleaning, and painting some more, and I'd headed for the car in order to do the first after-school pick up run when #2 Son texts: "We're being evacuated, due to the fire."
Not THIS again.
He'd been out at PE when the fire started. He, along with every other kid on campus with a cell phone, video taped the event when a tree near the football field caught fire and fell over to burn a corner of the field. He also, in his words, "hit the deck" when the plane flow over and dumped either slurry or water on the fire. Right in the middle of a congested rural area, the fire guys hit this fire hard and fast.
Mostly, I'm waiting to be settled again. We are surrounded by oaks and pines. We are not in a traditional neighborhood with sidewalks and neighbors all around. We have neighbors nearby, but not a mere 15-20 feet away. No tract home for us this time around. Slower paced town, which is a tremendous relief after So Cal. Those parents are close at hand. It's all good. I can't wait to sit out on the deck off my bedroom and write.
I shall leave you with one final thought for the day:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

That Jumble In My Brain

So loads of thoughts tumbling around in my head. I'm not sure there is any coherence to any of them. Here are a few examples. In no particular order.

  • Hello? Congress? Okay. House? Please stop trying to pass laws that regulate what choices we women can make for ourselves. Unless you're going to start passing laws about Viagra, for example, and mandating intrusive physical exams before men can get that Magic Pill. Let's see less personally invasive bills and more on, say, JOBS. Just an idea. Thanks. Oh, I thought I'd just point this out: you can't claim to be the party of "small government," Republicans, then try to pass laws that require women essentially be raped with vaginal probes when one seeks an abortion. I'm sorry. That is SOOOOOOO not "small government."
  • Now then. Senate. All I can say is O.M.G.
  • If you don't approve of abortions, don't have one. Just because you don't approve doesn't give you the right to make such a personal decision for other people.
  • If you don't condone "gay marriage," don't get gay married, but stop trampling over the rights of others, then scream about your religious freedom.
  • My non-gay marriage is not at all threatened by the prospect of folks getting gay married. Mainly because there are only TWO people in my marriage - me an' Mr. Laura, an' that's ALL.
  • Oh, about your religious freedom. What would Jesus do, indeed. I believe the only folks he had a big issue with were the money changers in the Temple. If you're going to ask WWJD, why don't you DO what He'd do? I'm purty certain He'd be feeding the hungry, healing the sick, helping the poor. *Zips lips and shuts up so ya'll can carry on with your own conclusions.
  • My feet are cold. I should probably put socks on. Guess where the socks are? Yep. Upstairs. Guess where I'm not. Yep. Upstairs. Oh. Wait. There are CHILDREN upstairs. Pardon me, I must pause to holler for socks.
  • I'm making chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight. Because several of us are STILL battling The Cold From Hell. I guess I should put the cluck on to cook.
  • Huh. I am still sockless, even after hollering for socks. And there was just screaming from the children up there. Guess I'm doomed to have cold feet for a while.
  • Hah! Found a pair of slippers under the couch. What? Doesn't everybody keep an emergency pair of slippers under the couch for easy access in the event of cold feet? If you don't, you should. *Nodding.
  • I should be writing on the WIP, not writing on the blog.
  • I wrote last night, and I must say, I think I borrowed my friend Amy's Muse. Her Muse isn't named "Shameless" for nothing. Now several of my friends are telling me I can't say I'm innocent any more. I disagree. I am currently innocent of many things...things like brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and the desire to get up and make dinner.
  • My feet aren't as cold as they were. I bet that eases many minds.
  • Currently, it's a toss up: chocolate chip muffins or blueberry, to go with the cluck soup.
  • I love DVR. Mostly, I love fast-forwarding through the commercials. Heh.
  • Okay, Debby Boone, I don't need a lifestyle lift, thank you very much, and the implication that I can only feel good about myself if I get one to "turn back the hands of time" kinda irritates me. I've earned my wrinkles, my sags, my double chins, and my silver hair, and they are my badge of honor. Yeah, I'd like to lose weight (who wouldn't?), and yeah, I have precious metal in my hair, nothing as mundane as "gray." But to suggest the only way we women can feel good about ourselves involves some sort of surgical intervention? I don't like that message much.
  • Okay, gonna write tonight, and mebbe even this afternoon, while I'm making dinner. (By making, I mean the soup is simmering on the stove. Yep.)
  • One last jumble from my brain: Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy...A kid'll eat ivy too, how 'bout you?
  • You're welcome for the earworm.
  • I don't suffer from insanity. Nope. I enjoy every freakin' minute of it! ;)

Monday, June 03, 2013

2003 Hardin Way

2003 Hardin Way

Situated in Atlanta, Georgia, it's an address like no other. Whispered discreetly between co-workers, e-mailed between friends, found online by the most frightened searcher, it isn't just a building constructed of bricks and mortar.

It represents hope.

For women traumatized by abuse, harassed by others, or merely looking for an escape, this apartment building provides solace, sanctuary and safety for those in desperate need. Living here, women find strength, courage and -- perhaps most importantly -- the ability to love once again.

Hardin Way -- where hearts heal.
Available on Smashwords and Amazon
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Writing my novella, Starting Over, for 2003 Hardin Way was a blast, as was working with Kris Starr, Nell Dixon and Kathi Robb Harris. Born out of a seedling of an idea that 2003 Hardin Way would be an apartment complex where women needing a safe place could go to recover and heal, it quickly grew into this beautiful anthology where women who'd been down on their luck, low on hope, found themselves again.

Now, it's up to each individual author, but I'm donating a portion of my share of the royalties to a women's shelter, and I believe Kris Starr is too. Here's your opportunity to not only get a great read, but to get a great read with a bit of built-in social consciousness.

And if you'd like to leave a review at Smashwords or Amazon, we'd like that too!

Happy reading!

Monday, April 29, 2013

True Love...Have you seen it? Have you experienced it? I hope most of us can say "yes" to at least one of those questions. I'm lucky enough to say "yes" to both.
I work as a caregiver for the elderly in their homes. I have a regular couple whom I see 3 times a week, 12 hours a day. As you can imagine, there are health issues for this lovely couple, which I will not go into because that's not the drift of this story. From here on out, this couple will be "He" and "She."

Yesterday, She took a couple hour nap. He asked me at regular intervals how She was, if She was going to get up, had I checked on her. When She finally came out, pure joy and pleasure beamed in his smile, twinkled in his eyes.

"There she is!" He reached out to grab her hand. "There she is."

"Here I am," said She.

And He went back to watching the game on TV, everything now right in his world.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's a Crazy, Crazy World...

It's a world gone mad, at least in my little corner of it, here in the States. Bombs at the Boston Marathon. Not too long ago, a madman armed to the teeth going on a killing spree in an elementary school. And before that, the nastiest election cycle I can recall.

Sadly, during the election season, I wound up blocking and unfriending someone I'd gone to school with. Not because I didn't want to hear his views, which were completely opposite of mine, but because the ONLY time I saw him on my Facebook page was when he came to, shall we say - stir the pot. He never liked or commented on any non-political status updates I posted. Never liked/commented the rare pictures of my kids that I posted or the frequent pet pictures I shared, never like/commented on any of the funny memes I'm fond of saying. No. He came to tell me I was wrong. It got tiring after a while. I began to feel like I was being stalked, and it got so I dreaded looking to see who'd commented on what. He's welcome to his opinion, he's welcome to express his opinion. He has a right to both, a right, like any American, I'll defend to my death. I also have the right to not subject myself to his opinion, but more importantly, the manner in which he chose to express it. Perhaps if he'd managed (and I'd asked him a couple times to tone it down, and very nicely, too) to show interest in other things I had going on, not just showing up to start a "very spirited political discussion," I wouldn't have felt it necessary to block and unfriend him. I didn't take the action I did because I felt the need to trample on his right to freedom of speech, or because he disagreed with me. I did it because I felt attacked. I've several LOVELY conversations with people who have differing views, too. I welcome those discussions. Life is stressful enough offline. I don't need it online, too.

Phew. There. I've had that on my mind for a long time.

Onwards...we'll fast forward to current events. It warmed my heart to see how we Americans react in a tragedy, surging forward to help the injured without a thought (or much of one) of their own safety. It also hurt my heart that we get to see this due to tragedy. It's a crazy world, and it just seems to be getting crazier. I hope for the day that we are able to forget how we identify politically, sexually, geographically, religiously, colorfully and remember that we we are all part of ONE race: the Human Race. Until then, I'm sending prayers up on wings to Boston.

So lately...what have I been doing lately? Arguing with the Muse about two WIPS I'd wanted to finish and publish in February and March. Innit that special? We're still discussing these stories, but I'm determined to get them both done. Also helping to the stymi-ing is a firecely busy family life and a new job for me, outside the house. Being tired almost constantly doesn't help the creative writing juices.

However, I'm not creatively bereft. I've been having fun with a dollhouse I found for an excellent price at a local antique store. SOOOOO much fun. Here's a couple of pictures.

Attic: Sewing/Laundry Room
And, last, but not least, a bit of a teaser from the reissue of my Blue Plate Special: Pops' Girls novella, in anthology form with Shara Jones' novella. Enjoy!
From Janie...
And remember, with growing season just beginning, Sissy Peters reminds everyone to plant lots of vegetables... ~~From the Glen Meadow Bugle.

Chapter One

“Mayor Stringham, if you’d eat more vegetables, you’d be more regular.” The elderly woman’s voice carried over the muted conversations of the other diners.
Janie Lowell almost dumped the plate piled high with biscuits and gravy into her customer’s lap when she overheard the suggestion caroled out much like one would discuss the weather.
“Sissy! Honestly. What a thing to say to our fine mayor.”
“It’s true!” The woman crowed. “Look at his expression. I’m telling you, he needs more roughage in his diet.”
“Never mind them,” the man told Janie. He winked. “Sissy Peters is always worried that everyone in town is constipated. You should hear them at Flannagan’s Market.”
Janie blinked. Even after living here for a couple of months, the open friendliness of Glen Meadow astounded her. A tough couple of months, as she lived off the minuscule savings she’d accumulated over the past ten months before she’d gotten the waitressing job at Pops’ Diner.
A near miss run-in with her ex-fiancĂ© had scared her enough to tread with utmost caution this time. She couldn’t afford to get too comfortable here, as she had in that tiny town in southern Indiana. However, the need to eat and pay rent had forced her into the daylight once again. She promised herself to be more cautious this time around. Loneliness wasn’t an excuse for letting her guard down.
Janie mustered a smile, mindful of Momma’s admonishment that no one likes a sourpuss. Grateful to Momma and Pops for hiring her, Janie wanted to live up to their standards, even if it killed her.
So many habits to unlearn. She didn’t want to be memorable. No. She wanted to blend in and disappear. Talking to strangers made her nervous. The only comfort here was that the people she talked to were strangers. She didn’t expect to find anyone here that knew her.
“I’ll be right back with your eggs, sir.”
“He’s not a sir, young lady. He’s Myles. Myles Channing.”
And from Cindi by Shara Jones...
He eased inside the diner and let his eyes adjust from the bright morning light. He searched for Pops, but saw Cindi instead. She whispered to the red-haired waitress and her face lit up when she coaxed a smile from the tense girl. A small dimple showed in Cindi’s cheek with her pleasure.
"Janie! Your order's up!" Pops bellowed.
Steve, focused on Cindi’s face, saw her smile slip into a moue of surprise. He heard, rather than saw, a coffee carafe crash to the floor, seconds before a rain of breaking dinnerware followed. Only dimly aware of the other waitress, Steve’s entire being focused on Cindi. He vaulted from his place by the front door to extract the small blonde from harm’s way.
"I told you not to bellow at Janie, Pops!" Momma scolded, as she hurried from of her office.
"Clean up, aisle six!"
"Mickey Flanagan, you're not helping."
Steve heard Momma’s voice chastise one of the locals who now blocked his path to Cindi.
Through the crowd he spied her, already galvanized into action. Her dark-blonde ponytail bounced as she shooed the concerned diners back to their tables. He moved further away, and hoped no one noticed his impulsive lunge toward her in the chaos of the scene.
"She's by the door, Pops!"
He glanced over to see the red-haired waitress, a stricken look on her face, straighten in what looked to be resolution as Pops approached her, wiping his hands on his apron.
"Are you hurt, hon?"
Steve found a seat across the diner. He wanted to keep Cindi within sight while he watched Pops and Momma hover over the shocked and injured waitress.
"That will need stitches." Pops examined the girl’s arm, careful to be gentle with both her and her injury. "It was an accident, Janie. Momma will take you to the clinic."
Cindi bustled from behind the counter and handed a purse to Momma as she escorted her wounded chick from the restaurant.
“Make your self useful, Big Earl,” Cindi commanded. She shoved a broom and dustpan towards a hulking bear of a man. The plaid shirted giant levered himself from his chair and fisted the broom handle in one paw, as meek as a mouse to follow the little dynamo’s orders.
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. 
~Ray Bradbury

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hello... blog.

Again, I am forced to ponder where the time goes in between my blog postings. Ack..

I popped in on my author page at Amazon, and found this lovely review by Gail Bowen on *Cupid on a Mission*:

A cute premise, Cupid on a mission to further love, and the author did a great job. Not just one couple, but two couples to bring together. One couple was easy, only a few bumps on the road, but the second couple seemed hopeless, yet Cupid persevered and won in the end. I would enjoy reading more Cupid stories from this author.

*Cupid* on Kindle
*Cupid* on Smashwords

I guess this is the elusive sign I was looking for to motivate the Muse to work on *Cupid on Another Mission.* Someone named Laura Hamby better hop to it! Right after she finishes the Eagle Court of Honor invites for her Oldest Son, which can only be done after she goes to Kmart for the appropriate non-showing tape, buys stamps while she's out, rearranges the huge comforter in the washing machine and washing it again because there was enough kitty fur on it to knit an entire zoo of kitties, and bathes. Oh yes, the bathing must happen before the going out in public part. Nobody outside the immediate family who lives with me should be subjected to Medusa Hair, Drooping Under-Eye Baggage and the I Just Arose From the Dead look I'm sporting. Oh, and must put together Mom's and MIL's birthday prezzies...Santa, I could STILL use that clone!

And a timely reminder before I  hop to it!