Friday, December 27, 2013

The Memory LightsThe Memory Lights by K.M. Weiland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The setting is Victorian London, and K. M. Weiland did it justice. She kept the whole story in the first person point of view. Mary, the protagonist, was experiencing a lost of memory. We experience her struggle as the story unfolds within Mary’s confused and frightened mind. She struggled with a lack of memory thicker than the fog that obscured the streetlights of London; the streets she wandered at night as Colin’s witless accomplice in common thievery and pickpocketing, along with a boy named Jack. I felt for Mary as she went through her traumatic jarring experience that revealed the truth, and brought the story to a satisfying end.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

WRITING FUN - Writing Prompt

Write a story about a paperclip. Limit your story to 150 words. Include the words 'London', 'desk', and 'archive'. And write it in 20 minutes.
(I got this prompt from following Tiffany Jenson's writer's blog.) She has a lot to teach to us who aspire to write.

     First I must disclose that I did not complete this little ditty within the twenty minute challenge. It took me fifty minutes, but I should be able to knock off a couple more minutes because I was eating a pot pie at the same time.

     I was amazed at how helpful it was to "attempt" to write within a short time limit. It jarred my mind out of the self conscious writers block mode, into a sense of whew, look at me I'm writing! So, thank you Tiffany for throwing this little exercise out there for us beginner's to sink our baby writer's teeth into.

     Here is my little ditty:

          Sarah stood wringing her handkerchief around her finger until circulation had stopped and her index finger turned blue. Finally the pain set in enough to cause her to let go of it. "So your telling me my records are lost because of a paperclip?" It was a large paperclip encased in pink plastic, heavy on the few papers it held together before she laid them on the consulates desk in the hotel she was staying at in London. Seems it fell off her vital records. The consulate held it out to her. "Yea, I'd want it back if I could teach it to talk. Then it could tell you where, when, and in what country I was born, and I could go back to America!" Sarah snatched the big pink paperclip out of the consulate's hand. "Because I used this big pretty pink paperclip my papers aren't in the archive!"
(150 words exactly)

So kids, join the writing fun.  What else are you going to do while you're waiting to open your presents?  Slap your 150 words in the comment area below this post. Then you can eat your pot pie!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Non-Human Point of View / Writer's Digest writing prompt

Write an end-of-days story from a non-human point of view (animal, tree, insect, cloud, etc.).*Post your response (500 words or fewer).

What I wrote:

I haven't smelled vanilla or peppermint for weeks. No sweet treats, why live.  I've had my antennae out for fellow roaches to no avail. How far and fast did we all run when the colossal blast hit. No organic waste left to clean up. Not one hair. I feel dry, and worse yet there is mold close by. I feel it in my antennae. This is not good. Too bad my buddy roach lost his head in the colossal blast, but at least we made the most out of the remaining seven days without his head. The last sac of eggs from him are nymphs now. My little family would live more harmoniously in a larger group. Where are the throngs of roaches?! What’s wrong?! Poor little ones haven't even experienced what a sweet tastes like. What it’s like to crawl all over other little nymphs in a crowd large enough to feel the world is right. I feel so dry. So dry. I would die just to smell a sweet right now. Without the taste of peppermint the world might as well end. I’d give all three knees on all six legs just to smell a sweet. There hasn't been any organic waste for a month, and sweets, oh sweets! for longer than that. What I wouldn't give for the sweet smell of a peppermint candy smashed on the ground somewhere. The world is done if there are no sweets. 
There are no more sweets.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Virgin Passport User

San Ignacio, Sonora, Mexico

This is the first time in my life that my travels involved the use of a passport. I've never had one before, just got my first one ever, and I was anxious to use it. So imagine my excitement when I was invited to go to Ignacio, Sonora, Mexico. Well, excitement isn't a complete picture when it comes to me going to Old Mexico. Yep, I'm one of those people afraid to go to Mexico. The only news coming out of that country is about drug cartels, crooked 'policia', and kidnappers that take your families money then kill you anyway.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Unicorn WesternUnicorn Western by Sean Platt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I put off reading this book because the title reeked of absurdities. My bad. UNICORN WESTERN is a delightful treat for readers, no matter their preferred genre. I don’t usually read fantasies, but I liked Johnny B. Truant's "The Fat Vampire", so I

Sunday, November 10, 2013


My Dad, H.D. Varnum 1941

I was in the bank in Sierra Vista the other day waiting for one of the bank employees that take you to a cubical. There was an old gentleman that had arrived before me. I don't know his name, and I didn't feel like I had a right to be snoopy and ask. For the sake of this story I'm going to call him "Joe". As in "G.I. Joe."

Monday, October 7, 2013


Boo Dog

My dog makes me so proud.  Look at him sitting up.  This is his newest trick.
Once Boo learns a new trick he starts doing it as soon as I reach for the doggy training treats; before I give the command.  He's so funny.  He learned 'roll over' before I started teaching him how to sit up.  This picture was taken a couple of days ago, the day I grabbed the doggy training treats, turned around and he was already sitting up.  I didn't have to wait for him to quit rolling over.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Last Legal Indian Execution Is In November, 1894

Thank you Dad for this little hidden treasure I found inside one of your books when faced with the unpleasant task of clearing out your office.

The caption under this picture reads:  "On April 19, 1894, Silon Lewis was sentenced to be shot "until dead," for the murder of Joe Haklotybbi.  He was given his freedom, without bond, until execution day.  On November 5, 1894, he promptly appeared at Mashalatubbe Court House, near Red Oak, Indian Territory, sat down on a blanket, removed his shoes and calmly signified he was ready.  He was shot through his lung by the sheriff, because Lewis' heart-beat was on the right side of his breast.  Guards are shown smothering him as the sheriff stands by with a Windchester."

Monday, September 30, 2013

My New Favorite Funny Vampire

Fat VampireFat Vampire by Johnny B. Truant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Years ago I would never watch a vampire movie, or read anything with the word vampire in the title. Then, when the kids were young, they forced me to watch “Lost Boys”. It is one of my favorite movies as a result. This is why I read Fat Vampire. I’m glad I did.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Writer's Digest Contest #53

I just want to let you know that I am busy writing things other than book reviews. Right now I'm working on a little ditty for the Writer's Digest Your Story contest. They have one, a Your Story contest  in every issue of their magazine. I have made a few attempts before. Refer to my previous post:

Writer's Digest Contest #47

So here are the entry rules for Writer's Digest Contest #53 - Write a short story of 750 words or fewer based on the prompt below. You can be funny, witty, etc; after all it is your story.

Prompt:    A girl puts a quarter in a gumball machine and a human tooth comes out.

The deadline is October 14th, 2013.

BOOK REVIEW - Laura Pauling spun magic for young adults AND adults

HEISTHEIST by Laura Pauling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jack Brodie, or Fiasco, the main character, is a young boy of sixteen with the weight of the world riding on his shoulders. He is trying to save his Dad who is in jail for being involved in the Gardner heist in 1990. But it is 2013. What can Jack do to fix his Dad’s past mistakes? Jack has a unique ability to time travel through the art itself. It’s not enough he is going through the normal trauma of being a teenager, he’s also trying to get his Dad out of jail by time traveling, and each time he does his world is hurled into chaos. I’m not even sure how Laura Pauling pulled this off, but she did. What a ride. I was exhausted by the time I finished reading this plot turner. Good read. I recommend this book to all readers of every age.

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Friday, September 20, 2013


Winter in June (Rosie Winter, #3)Winter in June by Kathryn Miller Haines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this to be a very easy book to read. I think that means Kathryn Miller Haines is a good writer. It is a great depiction of the 40's era. I especially enjoyed the way she handled the slang of that era. I'm a sucker for any story built into a WWII setting anyway. The lead character, Rosie Winter, is full of spunk, and I found that to be very satisfying. Murder, mystery, and intrigue start with the first sentence, is framed

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 17th Writer's Digest

(500 words or less)
You delete a chain email that says if you don’t forward it to ten people, you will have bad luck for ten years. On your way out of the office, a black cat passes you. Then you find a parking ticket on your car. And, to top it off, your car won’t start. Was it actually the email? Write your response to the bad luck, as well as other ensuing events that make you wonder about hitting the delete button. 


Saturday, September 7, 2013

How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life: A NovelHow Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life: A Novel by Mameve Medwed
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Being from Cambridge, a neighborhood populated with high achieving academia's, her father a professor, intolerant of a child achieving less scholarly attainments than himself, and being a woman scorn by more than one man in her young coming of age years, it is no wonder that Abigail Elizabeth Randolph maintains a basal existence. The item responsible for saving Abby’s life floated into her life by a

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy KingsHow To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings by Laura Pauling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I want to adopt Bianca, with all her vim and vigor. Bianca, the main character, is a twelve year old girl who loves her grandfather, Zeb, and was convinced she had received a sign that he was in trouble after eating a piece of pumpkin pie, and so her sleuthing began. She wanted answers and nothing was going to stand in her way, so naturally she was elated to discover her parents had

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Mr. & Mrs. , and who's that baby?

"I know dear. No. I can't hold the baby, I'm holding my gloves dear."

"She knocked my hat off"

"Yes dear. Well your hat isn't a John Fredric's, which isn't low in price."

"When she comes back in the room she'll expect the woman to be holding the baby."

"No dear. She'll see I'm holding my gloves. Shush dear. Here she comes."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Grace, by TL Bliss - Book Review

GraceGrace by TL Bliss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a story about a young girl, Sara, who loves to write. And about how Sara found the true purpose and value of her writing after interviewing her older and wiser neighbor, Grace. Both had written as a way to deal with life, yet neither had shared all the notes, poems, and memories they had collected. Both kept them hidden away in a box, hidden from the world, and more importantly from the ones

Sunday, August 11, 2013

They Rode Good Horses, by D.B. Jackson - Book Review

They Rode Good HorsesThey Rode Good Horses by D b Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brady McCall and Franklin Stillwell partnered up the winter of 1840 in St. Joseph, Missouri, when they were just boys. The pairing of mischievousness and naive goodness bound them together for life. By spring of 1840 when the 58 families that wintered in St. Joseph were finally headed west by wagon train, the boys had earned themselves some Comanche Indian Ponies by working for old crotchety Mr. Hogue at the livery stable. Good horses that afforded them an advantage on the long arduous trail west.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review - An Apricot Year, by Martha Egan

An Apricot YearAn Apricot Year by Martha Egan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a testament to us mature women that have been abused, then abandoned in the prime of our lives. That would be any time after fifty years of age. In Martha Egan's book, AN APRICOT YEAR, the main character is all the above. Luli Russell was married to an abusive drunk who mentally and physically abused not only her, but her children also. In those days women were taught to sacrifice for the

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BOOK REVIEW - No Laughing Matter: A Short Story, by James Scott Bell

No Laughing MatterNo Laughing Matter by James Scott Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The tension in every sentence, every word, of this suspenseful short story caused me to inhale it in one breath. The main character, Paul Harvey, is a comedian that had just bombed on stage at a comedy club, then naturally proceeded to the bar to cry in his bourbon when he got an offer he couldn't refuse.


The Magic DiaryThe Magic Diary by T.L. Bliss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Becky and Alex are neighbors who become best friends. Both of them are being raised by a single parent. Becky is being raised by her Dad, Joe. Alex is being raised by his mother, Heather. Becky lost her Mother, Sara, to cancer, and Alex lost his Father, Doug, in a car accident. This book illustrates how discipline, and morals, protect children, and how respecting your parents keeps you safe. And that if a child loses a parent, that parent could still magically be with you when you need them.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review/ The Magic Diary - The Bully, by TL Bliss

The Magic Diary - The BullyThe Magic Diary - The Bully by T.L. Bliss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Turn off the television and hand your children "The Magic Diary" series of books, written by TL Bliss. Not only will they be learning how to read, they will be learning pure and simple morals to make their worlds easier to manipulate through in tough times. In this story, "The Magic Diary - The Bully", Alex and Becky learned to go to their parents to help them if problems seemed too frightening. They learned


The stranger looked at Susie, shook his head, rested it in a right angled tilt, and said, "That horse is not worth $500. If you're set on that number then I'm done here."

"Nice meeting you then." Susie turned, cleared the top two-by-four of the coral, was nearly to the gardenia arched gate entrance of the white picket fenced yard surrounding the little white wood plank house she was born and raised in. She never walked, she always happily bounced along. Her puppy would give out before she did.

Guy Rogers had decided it wasn't the horse he was interested in anymore, and no price was too high. "Hold on there girly!" At six feet, four inches, he was afforded a gait that could close the distance between him and most anything that walked on earth without putting much effort into it.

"Yes? I'm sorry, what'd you say your name was?"


"You change your mind on the horse?" 

"Just thought I should do my horse trading with a man, not a baby girl."

Now Susie was pissed, "It's my horse Mister! I'm old enough to own it, feed it, brush it, and saddle it!! I'm selling it, my asking price is $500, you said you don't want it, so I'll thank you to ride on out of here on that sorry poke under your saddle, or you will be dealing with my Pa!!! He won't settle cheap on taking a piece of your hide neither!"

No price too high, thought Guy. "Whoa there little lady." He bowed his head as he tipped his hat. "I sure didn't mean to offend you in any way at all." Guy fell in love right then and there. 

Guy got on his sorry poke and rode over the ridge to make camp where he could watch for Susie's Pa, and accidentally bump into him on his way home. He decided he needed a job in this here part of the country. 
Coral that little filly.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Are You Relative To This??? Am I???

Ida Means (left), and her nephew Dorwin Means (right).


"Ain't no need da wade through them old pictures Ida."

"Ain't no need not to," Ida slung back at Dorwin. 

"Ya just gonna get down syndrome from it."

"This here picture is taken after the cows come home following 'at load of hay Grandpa Joe brought in on back o' his jalopy. Didn't even have 'tah saddle a horse." Frail fingers held the picture two inches from her eyes, refusing to wear glasses at "her young age of 98 years". 

Dorwin, done with the last of the dishes, came to sit down beside his aunt. Her frangible arm reached the picture out to Dorwin as he passed to his chair. He didn't need to look at it, but held it with both hands up to his view with implied interest as he plopped in his chair, and began the sequence of statements Ida wanted to hear. "Them dogs sure were something."

"Weren't none better in the county. Dang Jeb shouldn't shot Boo. Damn fool. Dog trumps a chicken. Damn fool."

Dorwin listened, talked at the appropriate times, just loving that his aunt Ida was still sitting there with him, telling her stories for the hundredth time, like a favorite bedtime story. Daylight dimmed through the linen curtains Ida had made years ago. Dark would be here like every night; at the end of the story, which always ended with, "and that was the best worst day of my life. When the cows come home followin' a truck. Grandpa Joe makin' it easy. No more hard riding or workin' the dogs. Yep, best worst day of my life."
In the twilight.

Friday, June 21, 2013


I inherited so many old pictures of people I don't know. My relatives, or not? 
There are gazillions, or maybe so many that there isn't a number large enough to quantify how many pictures have "come" to me. More than a room full.  

I've decided to turn the arduous task of having to deal with them into a writing exercise. Namely, stick my hand in a box of them, pull one out, and

Feel free to join in. Send your stories to:


"No boys. We can't afford no studio picture. Get Gus socks this year. Lord knows he needs 'em. His feet eats socks."  Sogg had more reasons than no money for not wanting to put a picture of the boys all lined up, close for comparing, in front of Gus. 

"That's what Gus said he wanted for Father’s Day. A studio picture of his family." Reb whined, then his shoulders drooped as he slumped out through the front screened door before Sogg told him to do that very thing; to quit his whining and get on out to his chores. The other boys followed Reb out like they always follow him. Reb's two shadows.

Sogg began ruminating on years gone by. Gus never showed any sign of doubt about all three boys being his. He was always glad to hear another boy was coming. Lord knows he needed more work hands to help out around the farm. He jumped and clicked his heels together each time the doctor yelled, “It’s a boy!” Gus know’d better than to leave his cow out to pasture when the neighbor kept his capable bull in the pasture just the other side of an adjoining fence line. The gold rush out in California caused him to forget about caring for his cows, his home, his family.  When he got home there was a few extra calves in the pasture, a few extra boys in the house, and not one question about 'neither from Gus.

Sogg yelled to the boys from the porch. "Reb!" All three come a running. "Run on over to Sally's and tell her I need to borrow her polaroid. We'll get your Pa that picture."

What remains of our past?

Book Review - Poeple of the Noatak by Claire Fejes

Poeple of the NoatakPoeple of the Noatak by Claire Fejes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a soul filled book. The author/artist was able to depict the ancient Eskimo culture with the written word just as skillfully, and beautifully, as the pictures she sketched, and painted of the Eskimos. She had such passion for her art; resulting in adventure's up the Noatak River, Alaska, to record these ancient cultures before they were gone forever. To quote Claire Fejes, "I had not viewed Sheskalik as an anthropologist or scientist but as a woman and an artist." She had to gain the trust

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How About A Cup Of Really Good Coffee


I've learned so much about coffee from ROASTe, the largest online, one stop coffee shop. You could have a cup of coffee, or you could have a cup of really good coffee.

Don't be overwhelmed by the vast selections of coffee blends, beans, and brews. Start by setting up a coffee profile, your coffee profile, to help document what you like, build on that, then discover what you can learn about a really good cup of coffee.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Banished to vaporized memories?
 The vapor's are still there.

When I was an english major at ASU, ok like in the '70's', an english professor made the statement that there are no bad words, there is only bad usage.  From that time to forever this is what I believe.

I've been following the last two posts on, they have a blog. These last two posts THE WORST WORDS OF 2012, and The words you want to banish in 2013 got me going.