Rethinking Games from My Youth

When you’re a kid learning how to play games from adults, you latch on to certain things, depending on your personality and perspective. For me, in Scrabble, it was “Oooooo…7-letter word. Aaah…triple-word score.” I was a nerdy, dictionary-reading kid, so as part of my strategy, I also memorized the “q” words that could be spelled without a “u.” In my circle of family and friends, I was a very good Scrabble player. Fast forward about 30 years. I started playing Words with Friends online, and one of my pals was whipping my butt. The worst part? He was doing it…

I’m Alive…and 49 Pages Closer to “The End”

Another heavenly week has come and gone. This was year 2 of my Virginia Beach writing retreat with the Doll Babies. If that’s conjuring up images of sweet, little ladies popping bon bons as they write, well, the bon bons are not far off course, but sweet…nah. If you saw us coming, you might think we were a gang. We’ve got the thriller-writing motorcycle mama, and the tattoo-covered fantasy writer. Then there’s the one that sounds like My Cousin Vinny. Ahem. Throw in a former investigative journalist, a nuclear plant engineer, and a flamenco-dancing biologist. Don’t let the two southern…

7 x 7 Link Award

My pal over at Celluloid Zombie passed along this award, which led me to revisit some old blog posts. The rules to the 7 x 7 Link Award are simple: Tell everyone something about yourself that nobody else knows. Link to a post I think fits the following categories: Most Beautiful Piece, Most Helpful Piece, Most Popular Piece, Most Controversial Piece, Most Surprisingly Successful Piece, Most Underrated Piece, Most Pride Worthy Piece. Pass this on to 7 fellow bloggers. And we’re off. Tell everyone something about yourself that nobody else knows If not one person knew some deep, dark secret of…

Winter Status Update in Bullet Points

January and February are not my favorite months. I go into hibernation mode. I run less. I stretch less. My hamstrings tighten up. I eat comfy foods more. My love handles bulk up. My belly looks like Baby Roo has taken up residence. My back aches. The number on the scale increases. I don’t walk as much. I don’t get as much fresh air. I don’t get as much sunlight. My mind is not as sharp. I am reduced to writing in bullet points. My emotions are not as stable. I make the scary discovery that the state of my…

Horror: What truly terrifies you?

There are countless books and movies that attempt to scare us. Some succeed; many fail. Being scared out of your wits is a personal thing, it seems. What succeeds in scaring you may completely fail to frighten me. So, I ask “Which bits of a book or movie are capable of truly terrifying you?” There’s something exhilarating about entering into a potentially scary experience. It’s a delicious sensation that builds and creates goose bumps on my skin and chills in my core. I curl up tighter on the couch and sink lower under my blanket. My hands make their way closer…

Felix the Cat and MacGyver Picnic on a Purple Sarong

I’ve been on holiday in England the past couple of weeks. A travel blog post is on its way, but in the meantime, I was wondering… Do you have tangible items in your life that are symbols for your dreams and desires? You might remember that I attended a Writers’ Retreat in Virginia Beach back in May and, while there, visited the Edgar Cayce Center. In addition to several books, a purple tie-dyed sarong with fringes caught my eye. It didn’t match my bathing suit, and yet I knew I had to have that sarong. It was more than a…

Travel: Gaeta, Italy in October

♥ This one’s for you, Nan. ♥ If you dream of Italy, possess an explorer’s spirit, and enjoy immersing yourself in a foreign culture, have I got the vacation for you. Take a sledgehammer to your itineraries cast in stone, burn your vacation to-do list, and never again wake at an ungodly hour to catch a stuffy tour bus en route to crowded attractions. In Gaeta, you can’t help but fall into the rhythm of the natives, a rhythm steady enough to keep you on course but with breaks in the beat for some solo improvisation. Perfection. Gaeta? Never heard of…

A Vacation for My Soul

I’ve always believed that the universe sends gifts our way when we most need them. My most recent gift came via email from my friend Julie Compton. There was a spot available at a writers’ retreat at a rented beach house in Virginia Beach. Nine other women who had known each other for years had room for a tenth. Was I interested? I admit for a brief moment I was transported back to school yards of yore and uttered “that sounds like hell.” My friend laughed and reassured me, “not these women.” I decided to go for it because I…

Gone Fishin’

Fishin’ for words, that is. I’ll be out of town until next Saturday at a writers’ retreat with 9 women. We’ve rented a beach house in Virginia Beach. We each have our own bedroom and bathroom. From morning till about 3:30 PM, we’ll go off on our own to write. In the afternoon, we’ll come together to talk shop or read excerpts. For dinner, one of the writers will cook up some yummy sounding meals. She’s already sent us the menu: Saturday: Guiness Beef Stew, bread, salad Sunday: Chicken parm, and pasta in a roasted tomato sauce Monday: General Tsao’s shrimp, rice…