Sunday, December 28, 2014

Putting Away Christmas

I remember as a kid growing up looking forward to Christmas. It seemed the last day of school would never come. And that is how this Christmas was for me. I waited and counted the days before the last day of work. Getting last minute presents wrapped, bags packed and dog taken care of.
For a few short days I lived the dream I had been longing and waiting for. To see my Mom, by sisters and my boys.
It went by in a flash and as I packed away the tree and ornaments I reflected on maybe I wasn't the only one that had this feeling. The joy was gone. It was back to the grind.
But maybe, just maybe that is why New Years resolutions came to be. It gives you something positive to focus on, to look forward to.

I know many have given up on New Years resolutions because they simply can't keep them. but what about goals? Is there anything you would like to accomplish in the year to come. Anything you would like to look back on and say "I accomplished this? I set a goal, I mapped it out and I did it?"
It gives me a burst of energy, a "I can" attitude. It fills me with joy and hope that some things can be changed!

So I'm thinking about what do I want for next year...

to be continued

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tis the Season

The Christmas season seems to start earlier and earlier each year. Before Halloween this year, I saw Christmas decorations in stores.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is a time of families and friends getting together. Even this holiday though is getting commercialized with the Black Friday starting on Thanksgiving.
I don't enjoy getting out in the crowds like I used to, but this year I experienced some unusual but pleasant shopping experiences.
My friend, Paula Smith, came to visit for a short time this Thanksgiving and after our meal we decided to see what all the stores had to offer.

At Walmart's crowds were gathered around what customers hoped to purchase waiting for the ball to drop.

I was buying clothes for one of the "angels" we had adopted at work. So I was standing by the boys jeans and my friend was stationed in front of the men's.

They were close so we went back and forth while waiting. At the men there a was a man looking for his size. Paula and I both looked and were able to help him. Then a lady was looking for a certain size and we helped her too.

At the boys a woman was buying clothes for her grandchildren and was needing the same size but different cut. We looked until we found them and we were all set to go when the buying time started.

Walmart had checkout running smoothly and we were out in no time.
The next day we hit Kohl's. There checkout didn't move as fast but we were entertained by fellow customers and sharing the bargains  we found. My friend had her arms full and kept dropping things. There were not enough carts to go around. A lady in line next to us, though shared her cart. When she saw the coat I had come specifically to Kohl's to buy she wanted one too.
I was able to tell her the sizes and colors they had left. Since the line wasn't moving fast I had time to take her to where they were.

I know this may not seem like much, but it is the kindness of strangers that really seems to come out at this time of the season. My hope and prayer is for kindness to continue all year long.

Merry Christmas!

Thank you God for such a wonderful place to live.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

National Novel Writing Month Ends Today!

It's official! I have completed the first draft of the mystery I have been working on for several years.
I had tried to finish it a couple of years ago, but got lost along the way and put it aside.

Last year I did the NaNoWriMo with a completely new idea to see if I had what it takes to write a fifty thousand word novel in thirty days.

I am happy to say that I did complete it and am a winner two years in a row..

Now for the hard part, revising. As I was writing, I was thinking, I need to go back and start this subplot earlier.
 I need more description here.

Or, this is terrible, it's all passive voice. So I'm going to print it all out (when I get some more toner-today) and start making notes where all these changes need to be made.

I'm doing a happy dance today. Oh yeah!

So how did you do?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Five Things I'm Thankful For this Thanksgiving Day 2014


Last picture of all of with Mom and Dad. Back row: Sherry, Sheila(me) June, Glenda, Larry and Angie. Special thanks to Steven Aldridge for the picture.

There are so many things I'm thankful for that it's difficult to name just five, but here goes:
1.     At the top of the list I would have to put that I'm thankful to God for putting me where I am    
        now. In a country where I can worship Him and study Him without fear of being bombed out
        of my home. A city where I have found friends, a job and church.
2.     I'm thankful for my grandparents who had such an impact on my life even though I only got
        see them about once a year until my parents moved back. They were strong in faith, had    
        morals, faced  many hardships and were good parents, too.

       My parents who helped me through rough times and taught me that love could endure between 
       two people and be faithful to each other.
3.    My siblings and friends that are as close as my siblings. They have taught me so much about
       love, forgiveness, friendship and patience.
4.    My husband, my very best friend, who loves me,forgives me and let's me be myself. His
       kindness to my parents, friends and others is phenomenal. I'm thankful for him everyday.
5.    I'm thankful for my three children, for their accomplishments, the closeness they share with
       each other and their willingness to help others in need.

Okay, I know I said five but I have to add one more. I'm thankful for my writing buddies and the encouragement they give me. I hope I am helping them as much as they are helping me.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Happy Anniversary

Ken and I took a lovely day to Ormond Beach. We walked the beach and watched the waves rolling in. The wind was brisk so we headed on up to St. Augustine. We stopped on the way there and ate a nice lunch overlooking the river. Then we found some sites to see. First stop was the Oldest House and museum. No picture taking allowed so you'll just have to visit to see the inside. The bottom floor was built around 1726 and the second floor added later. Bailey our tour guide at the Oldest House Museum, recommend the Spanish Military Hospital and it was a good one. We went to there  and learned more than we ever wanted to know about amputations. Thank you Dawn, for that. We also learned about medicine as far back as the 1500's and how some of todays medicines are derived plants and herbs that were used back then.
 Bailey also recommended the Chocolate Turtle for a place to stop for coffee and dessert and it was delicious.

Thank you to everyone that wished us a Happy Anniversary (23). We had much fun and got lots of ideas for future articles and stories.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo off to Good Start

Survived last week with birthday cake and Grace Steakhouse and Sushi, Halloween and next the end of Daylight Savings time!

Now it's time for NaNoWriMo and I'm off to a good start. I want to complete the WIP I've been working for awhile now. I've been studying the craft and taking some online courses too.

Wish me luck and Good Luck to you!
(Hands on Keyboard) Butt in Chair)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Contests and Online Writing Classes

It has been awhile since my last blog, but I want you to know that I have been busy writing. Which is what this blog is about, reading, writing and sailing!

Last week was the first sail race for the Ocala Sailboat Club. Ken fixed a nice lunch for all to enjoy before the race and the weather cooperated.

Online Writing Classes

In the meantime I have been taking an online creative writing class by Creative Writing Institute.
I'm taking the Short Story Safari class and it has been challenging and enlightening. I've never heard of the Debowen method, but it does challenge me in news ways to write.

You can check out all their writing classes here:
WOW, Women On Writing also offers online classes and I have signed up for Susan Bradford Edwards nonfiction class. This class is being offered in October and another one in November.
They offer contests with a submission fee of $10, for and extra $10 you get a written critique of your work. Now that's a bargain!

Check it out here at their website:


Contests! I did mention contests didn't I. It is a great way to stay motivated and create new stories with the prompts that are provided. Institute of Children's Literature has a contest for the Kindergarten age group. If you are member then the contest is free. If not your fee includes a free newsletter.

SCBWI has lots of regions that offer free contest to it's members. Even if you don't win, most include a grade that will help you edit your story and have a better chance of selling it. Writers workshops and conferences are available. check it out at

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Favorite Color


My favorite color is not in the rainbow
It is not in the fall color scheme with vibrant yellow
Or on a given day orange, pink or blue.
Tomorrow it will not be green or purple.
In December it is not red.
What then do you say is my favorite color?
Chocolate of course!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Get Ready!

The Fourth of July is over but there is still time to set off the fireworks!

First, starting Monday will be BIW (Book in a Week) in which you may partcipate in and possibly win a prize. The best prize though is getting further along with your WIP (work in progress).

Since I'm still working pretty long hours I'm cutting my goal back to 25 pages. I still get most of my writing done on the weekends, but I do like getting up early in the morning and cranking out a couple of pages.

Second, The 24 hour contest is July 19th. This is where a prompt and word count is given on a Saturday and you have 24 hours to write, edit and enter your story.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Florida SCBWI Workshop

Carter Hasegawa, left and Deborah Wiles led the SCBWI-Fl Middle Grade workshop June 7,2014.

I love when you go to a writers workshop and actually get to do some writing! Carter and Deborah gave us tips on researching and then when incorporated into our writing.

Thanks to Deborah, I have a long list of questions I need answers to. She makes lists of things she loves, things that make her sad and things that make her angry and then she gives them to her characters.
If you have read any of her books then you know she has some memorable characters.

Carter is an assistant editor at Candlewick Press gave some stretching exercises. He came prepared with handfuls of scenarios we picked and described a world using the items that were on list.
I don't write Sci-Fi but I did that day and surprised myself.

Deborah has come out with her second book in the '60's trilogy and I got my copy of Revolution signed.
She has written Freedom Summer, Love, Ruby Lavender ( I love how she came up that name from another list she made), Each Little Bird That Sings and Countdown.

Looking forward to putting all this knowledge to work in my WIK.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

WOW Women on Writing Contest

The Spring 2014 WOW contest is over but the Summer 2014 is just beginning!

I did not blog about the May Contest submission in time for anyone to take part in that. I've kind of been in a writing slump.

But I'm getting rejuvenated! I got a new critique and we are going to meet for the first time at the Florida SCBWI workshop in Orlando, this Saturday.

I did enter a story for the WOW Women on Writing contest.
I don't usually blog about contests that have an entry fee, but this one sounded so good and for an additional $10 you could get a critique of your submission.

I don't know anywhere that offers a critique for $20, but if you do, please share.

Anyway if you are interested in the Summer 2014 WOW contest here is some information:

WOW's Summer 2014 Flash Fiction Contest with guest judge Literary Agent Deborah Herman of The Jeff Herman Agency.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

St. Augustine Lighthouse

A few weeks ago Ken and I visited the lighthouse at St. Augustine, Fl..
It was built around 1834 and completed around 1898.

It has 219 steps and eight landings. I walked them all while Ken waited for me below.

The lighthouse had a keeper until 1955 when the automatic light was adopted. Prior to this time during the WWII, the lighthouse keeper witnessed a German U-boat firing on an American ship. the ship sank. He could see the lights from the shots that were fired up close to South Carolina border.

The lighthouse is no longer ocean front. During the past 85 years a sandbar developed into what is now populated with trees.

St. Augustine will be celebrating its 450th anniversary this year!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Tribute to Mom

Mother taught me a lot of things. I guess the one thing she taught me that really stands out is "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going."

Some of the ways she taught me this was through sheer perseverance on her part, because I could be a very stubborn child.

For instance, I hated washing dishes. I'm ashamed to say we would have some very heated discussions about why it was my turn to wash dishes, again.

Would you believe the first job I got was as a dishwasher? Not putting them in a dishwasher, I mean washing by hand.
But she prepared me for it and I was able to do it well.

Mother worked and had a garden and Dad was gone most of the time driving a truck.

We would hoe, pick, clean and wash the vegetables. I didn't even like vegetables!
But I do now. Thanks Mom.

I learned to live without getting everything I wanted. She proved it could be done. When you have six kids they can't all have everything they want (unless you're a millionaire, which we weren't)

So I didn't get to go to camp. I didn't get to go to concerts or even have my own car.
But I did learn to deal with it.
She gave me the basis for making the best decisions possible, (not that I always did.)
She helped me recover from when those decisions didn't work out.

She gave me faith in God.

I hope I am able to pass that along to my children.

Love you Mom!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Alabama Writer's Conclave Contest

So far I have been able to Keep my goal of entering a contest a month.

This month the Alabama Writer Conclave is open for submissions.

But better hurry! Submissions must be postmarked by April 30th.

This is a very reliable contest and the entry fee is five($5) dollars for members and eight ($8) for nonmembers.

Winners will be announced at the Writer's Conference in beautiful Fairhope, AL July 11-13.

Awards are $100, $75, $50, and $25 for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively.

For more information click

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2014 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem


Happy Poetry Month! Today is my turn to add a line to the 2014 Progressive Poem, organized by Irene Latham. The poem started April 1 at Charles Waters’ blog. My friend Patricia Weaver will be adding the next line tomorrow. To follow along, I've included the schedule.

2014 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show--Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Day and Poetry Month

Today is April Fool's Day. Did you survive? Were you the practical joker or were you on the receiver  end?

I remember one April Fool's Day at work a fellow employee greased my tray. I had to clean all the grease off before I could start my rounds. No one was around when I discovered this joke, so pretended nothing happened. All day long this worker kept looking at me and asking me if I'd had any trouble. I told him no.
I overheard him asking another employee if he had greased the wrong tray.
It was a hoot to see him sweat.

Today is also the beginning of Poetry month. I will be part of the Progressive Poem for this year. Please see these site to follow along.

2014 KidlitosphereProgressive Poem

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show--Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The March Madness Writing Contest!

Here are the rules:

Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.  Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like.” Check out the complete rules at Ms. Hill’s blog HERE. My word count came in at 389 not including the title.

The Tale of Cinder Ella
By Sheila Renfro
There once was a tomboy named Ella who preferred to be called Cinder.
She fished and climbed trees and put snakes in her stepsister’s bed.
Her stepsisters were mean! They made her model their dresses and experiment new hairstyles. They’d pull and yank and oohed and ahhed.
So Cinder put snakes in their beds and frogs in their bath water.
One day a ball was announced and her stepsisters vowed to get even with her. They would dress her up like a doll.
They caught her and tied the corset so tight, and then they styled her hair just so.
When they were done, they dragged her to the ball to meet the prince.
When the prince extended his hand for a dance, Cinder teetered in the glass slippers she wore. So she kicked them off and high-tailed it out of there.
As she went, she pulled pins out of her hair and discarded the skirts she wore so she could run fast.
Finally she stood below her favorite tree and climbed up as fast as she could. She huffed and puffed trying to get her breath. She could hear the horses running towards her.
She waited and watched.
Then the Kings army thundered underneath her tree, and they were gone.
She made herself comfortable on a limb that branched out in the shape of a “Y” and soon she was asleep.
In the morning she looked all around and, not seeing any King’s men, she slid down the tree.
She broke off a branch and tied some twine to it and at the other end she made a hook out of a hairpin. Next she dug for a worm to put on the hook and then she fished for her breakfast.
She heard a rustle and before she could hide, the prince stepped out, fishing rod in hand.
“May I join you? I love to fish, but the King says it’s too dangerous and I have to run and hide to get away from my body guard."
“I’m Cinder,” she patted the ground next to her. “I’ll make sure you don’t fall in, just make sure my stepsisters don’t find me and put a dress on me.”
They agreed and fished the whole day.
Afterwards they had a fish fry at the castle and invited the whole village.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Goal Setting-How's it Going?

At the beginning of the new year, I had set some goals for myself and was evaluating myself.
Unfortunately, after the time changed, it's been difficult getting up and writing. I've tried going to bed earlier. I go to bed at 9pm and sleep 8-9 hours and force myself to get up then!
I'm hoping my body will adjust and I can get back on schedule,
Some things I have accomplished.

1. I have entered a contest every month so far this year.
2. I am studying markets like never before.
3. I am writing more days than I have.
4. I am also putting forth effort to eat right and exercise. I do feel more energized. So I'm going to       keep doing that!

How are goals going?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fever 1793

FEVER 1793
By Laurie Halse Anderson

ISBN 978-0-689-83858-3
Pages: 252

During the summer of 1793 Philadelphia was hit with an epidemic of Yellow Fever.
This is the story of one family's struggle to survive.
Sixteen year old Mattie Cook lives above the coffee house her mother and grandfather own and run. She works in the coffee house alongside their cook, a free black woman named Eliza.
Ms. Anderson's writing is impeccable, sprinkling historic facts in with the fiction of her character.

Each chapter begins with an excerpt from a letter or newspaper or journal, describing the happenings in the city.

President George Washington and others leave the city at the end of the term for the summer recess, missing the epidemic.

Mattie's mother sends her off to stay with friends in the country until the worse is over. But she never makes it there. Her grandfather, who was traveling with her, fell sick, not of the Yellow Fever, but the people were so paranoid they abandoned them on the side of the road.

She is taken to a hospital where French doctors who have experience treating Yellow Fever, save her life as well as her grandfather's. She makes her way back to Philadelphia, searching for her mother.

Mattie Cook goes from a child avoiding chores, to do doing what she must to stay alive.

At the end of the book are author notes with further information about the period and the history of medicine.

I can see why this book should be on the list for  "Must Read".

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Celebrating Milestones

January 21, 2014 I was lucky enough to be in Alabama celebrating Kendall's 21st birthday.
We were joined by Eddie's wife and our friends Pam and Brad Farris.

It was another whirlwind trip, visiting mom and sisters and brother. My friend pat Weaver and Irene Latham went to a picture workshop on the Saturday before Kendall's birthday.
I have not been to a picture book workshop before so I was excited to learn about this genre.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

THE GREAT BRAIN by John Dennis Fitzgerald

This is an Oldie but goodie! It was published by Dial in 1967, illustrated by Mercer Mayor. 175 pages. ISBN: 0803730748
This is the story of three brothers growing up in Adenville, Utah among the Mormon's and other religious groups.
John's older brother had "The Great Brain" that can figure anything out. He is also a mastermind of making money.
This is also historical fiction set in the turn of the century.
John is the youngest of the three. The stories he tells are timeless.

If you are able to find this book, it will be worth the search!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

ICL Santa Holiday Contest

ICL had a holiday contest and the deadline was January 1, 2014.
I'm proud to say I got an honorable mention! Here are the winners and their titles. You can view their stores on facebook.

Congratulations to all!

For our holiday contest, we congratulate our top three finalists: Winner “Gotcha Santa,” by Myra G. Steffen; “Let It Ring, Dear,” by Mary Barker; and “Christmas Day 5K,” by Charlene Profiri. Honorable Mentions to Joy Bachman Cook, Barbara Sturgill Charles, Marianne Gage, Steve Moran, Sheila Renfro, and Linda Schueler who were in our top ten. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Santa Fleeing
By Sheila Renfro

“Santa! Where are you going?” The doctor asked, running after him.
“I don’t want a flu shot,” Santa said, sprinting for the sleigh.
“But it’s good for you. It will keep you from getting sick,” said the doctor.

“I’ll get him,” Rudolph said blocking Santa’s path.
“Hold him!” Mrs. Claus called as she ran to Santa’s side and took the bag of toys from him. “You’re not setting a very good example for all the boys and girls,” she scolded.
Santa hung his head.
Mrs. Claus hugged him. “Now roll up your sleeve. If you’re good I’ll fix you a thermos of your favorite hot peppermint chocolate.”
“Oh all right,” Santa rolled up his sleeve and Mrs. Claus pinched his nose while the doctor gave him his flu shot.
Santa looked around, “I didn’t feel a thing.”
Rudolph rolled his eyes. “He says that every year."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Book Review of The London Eye Mystery

The London Eye Mystery
by Siobhan Dowd

The hurricane (Aunt Glo) is nothing compared to the tidal wave of emotion of cousin Salim's disappearance.

Ted and Kat's aunt and cousin come for a visit before moving to New York.

Ted has a disability which turns out to be an extraordinary ability and to help solve the mystery.

I like this story for several reasons:

1. It shows realistic family relationships.
2. Let's the reader solve mystery.
3.Shows a disability in a good way.
4. Brother and sister working together.
5. Learn a lot about the weather and how it relates to other things in life.
6. Good detecting.
7. How to read body language.
8. Twists and turns as theories are disproved.

I give this a book a five out of five. It keeps the reader engaged.