The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vive la Difference!

           My favorite place on this planet is southern France. The meals last for three hours (lunch) or more (dinner) and there is a sense of joy that is at the core of everything they do--baking bread, making salad dressing, setting the coffee table for aperitif (a set time for drinks and appetizers before dinner). When I retire, and when I can convince my husband to discontinue his homebody-ways, I will move to France (if only in my dreams).

This is a path we took, surrounded by the Pyreenes Mountains.

This is a potato, onion and cheese dish--the specialty of a humble restaurant that we dined at
before hiking to the base of the mountains. It was a work of art with every mouthful... 

Another view of these gorgeous mountains...

         A story about when I took my son to France is in the upcoming Publishing Syndicate's Not Your Mother's Book On Travel. Would you go topless on a beach, with your teenaged son running in and out of the ocean? Would you stalk Johnny Depp all across the rolling hills of Saint Gauzens (Okay, that didn't happen, but only because my Johnny Depp-o-meter was not giving me the accurate latitude and longitude.)  Would you force your son to do something that caused permanent psychological scarring to his psyche?

      You will have to buy the book to find out how ooh-la-la this lady went. And the book? It will be on sale March 26...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Revealing Tidbits About the WWWPs

       Many people are clamoring about details about the twice-monthly meetings of the infamous writing critique group, the WWWPs.

       Oh, some of you try to namedrop, saying, "Well, I know Linda O'Connell," because Linda does lots of book talks, book signings, workshops and so on. When Chicken Soup clucks, there are at least a few feathers left fluttering around from Linda's backside plumage. She's co-authoring a Not Your Mother's Book for Publishing Syndicate. She's been around...

       And others will claim, "Lynn? I know her," because Lynn Obermoeller is a member of the St. Louis Writers Guild.  She was one of the writers whose work was featured in the anthology Storm Country, and was one of the talented twelve who made it into the Fifty Shades of Santa collection. She also is out there.

      But two of our group's members are elusive creatures. They are like those albino blind newts that live in caves. They were rarely sighted. Rumors are whispered about them, but no one is quite sure--what is fact and what is fiction?

     Here is what people are all frothing-at-the-mouth about. An expose' on Beth M. Wood, a founding member of the WWWPs.

      To put her into perspective, I am going to compare her to me (and everybody knows me):

      Beth                          Me

*  uses My Fitness Pal to remember         *  used My Fitness Pal for three  
    to eat enough                                        hours to try not to eat too much;
                                                                no instant weight loss meant I
                                                                tossed it aside

*  when she's really amused, she            * when I snort-laugh, people wonder
    snorts, and it's endearing                      what farm animal has broken out
                                                               of the barn

*  wears clothes that are in the               *  wears clothes that no longer have
    single digits--the LOW single                   numbers on the label--instead,
    single digits                                           clever euphemisms like "Queenly"
                                                                and "Cruise Ship" indicate the size

*  is 5'11'' in her bare feet                      *  is 5'5" in her Crocs

*  wears stylish belts around her              * wears tummy-control pantyhose
    tiny waist                                              like they're a boa constrictor

*  has long, dark-blonde hair                     * well, I do have hair...The color?
                                                                Let me find that box I just threw

*  was excited when--on the                     * was excited when I found a box of
    eve of a horrible snowstorm--                  brownie mix in the cupboard
    she found out they WERE having
    exercise boot camp the next

* has boobs, and both of them                   *  has boobs--they're now
   are where they're supposed to                    divining rods

*  is full after eating a tiny portion               * is full of **it when she says,
    of Lynn's lasagna                                      No more, thanks. I'm full,"
                                                                   when in reality she'd like to
                                                                   eat all six servings and then
                                                                   lick the plate clean

Beth M. Wood, at a book signing in December 2012
She has been published in several Chicken Soup for the Soul collections, in Sasee
along with many other publications

        The next time you see a tall, thin blonde writer, with a smile like Julia Roberts, you now can--with confidence--go up and say, "Hi, Beth." 

         But don't count on it happening too soon. After all, Beth hides in her lair, taking care of her young'uns and in her precious free time, is busy sending off writing submissions. The sightings of Beth are rare. But at least you know a few things about her now.

        (And Tammy, as you probably already suspect, you're the topic of my next expose.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Where is That Darned Horse?

      I recently submitted a piece to "Listen to Your Mother." They're doing shows in 24 cites. Stories were due by February 15, and yesterday, it was announced who would be making it to the audition phase. The live show is going to be in May.

photo by createsimona

      I had a prior committment (nothing major--a mini workshop that was non-work related) on March 2. Since that is one of the audition days, I decided I was going to have to cancel on the mini workshop. After all, a chance to speak out as a writer took precedence. At least I thought so.

      Checking my email yesterday, I got a message from the "Listen to Your Mother" folks that had "Thank you" in the subject line.

       Thank you?  That doesn't sound good. That sounds too much like "Thank you, but no thanks."

         Whoah, Nellie. It seems I had put the cart waaaaay before the horse. Apparently there were 60 pieces and only 30 were chosen. My piece was one of the rejected ones. At least, I wouldn't have to cancel on my mini workshop. At least I wouldn't have to drum up support for the show. (The proceeds from the ticket sales helps out a charity.)

        And I won't have to set aside that day in May for the show, either I thought to myself.

        Whoah again. Two writing friends, Linda O'Connell and the infamous Kim have made it to the audition phase. Most decidedly--if they are part of the show, I will be there to cheer them on. (I'll even refrain from heckling, though it will be hard. That will be my "gift" to them. Linda knows what a sacrifice that will be for me. I'll have to put my anti-SD on.  What does "SD" stand for, you ask? The "D" stands for disturber. I'm leaving you to figure out what the "S" stands for.)

       'Cause that's what writers do. They support each other. They celebrate their friends' publications, even when they themselves have been rejected.

        (Kim and Linda--I'm keeping my fingers crossed.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Twists and Turns

      I love twists and turns. I love roller coasters. I love Palahniuk's novels, and I love books by Sandra Dallas and Jodi Picoult because of the twisted plots they create.

      Recently, Lisa Ricard Claro shared her super-short (under 150 words in length) prize-winning story. Not only did she win the competition in her category, she snagged a Pushcart Prize nomination. (Sioux said, after pushing her jaw closed again.)

       If you want to read a awe-inspiring story, go check out Lisa's post. It will definitely make you gnash your teeth, wishing you had written it. And leave Lisa a note. She'd love to hear from you.

       For the more visual learner, I have a five minute film for your viewing pleasure. My writing friend Julie sent it to me. I love Hitchcock, and it has some Hitchcockian touches...along with a major twist. (I promise you you will enjoy it.)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Huey, a dapper, at-least-ten-years-old gentleman
          Yesterday I was at a meet and greet event at Wolfgang's new location on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis. We are trying to find Huey a forever home. (If you're interested in a handsome, well-behaved senior fellow, go to Love a Golden Rescue. He's a wonderful dog.)

          There were two other (younger) dogs, who spent most of the time playing with and barking at each other. They grabbed each other's neck in their mouths. The "snapped" at each other (their brilliant white teeth flashing, but no blood was drawn). They left trails of slobber on each other.

           One of the dogs was Mr. Wilson, a dog who has a golden heart but isn't a golden. He is gorgeous, he's young and he's en-er-get-ic. (The photos below don't do him justice.)

He's a Lab mix, is around 90 pounds but still needs to fill out a little.

          Often it looked like Mr. Wilson and his playmate were fighting. But looks can be deceiving.

          At times, we might be sitting at our computer, and it might appear as if we are just sitting there. Like we're doing nothing. After all, we're not tapping away at our keyboard, so jumping to that conclusion is logical.

          But perhaps we are mentally doing some re-writing or even writing. Maybe we are searching for the perfect word. It might even be that we are imagining a scene in our heads and breaking it down, so we can recreate it on paper.

         Yes, looks can be tricky, they can suck you into making the wrong assumption. And now, about those dogs. Are you in the mood to rescue either Mr. Wilson on Huey? (I'll make some fudge for any takers.)