Woe! It’s Wednesday: Woe Indeed. RIP Davy Jones


In a perfect convergence, I became a pre-teen and noticed boys at about the same time Davy Jones and the Monkees began recording.

It was love at first sight. For me, anyway. I was never able to meet him in person or send him my picture to see if our love could have been mutual.

Other heart throbs would come along.

David Cassidy




Bobby Sherman




Donny Osmond



But none could ever really take Davy’s place in my heart.

So, February 29, 2012 will be a day I’ll remember as the day Davy died.

Much like June 25, 2009 is for my children (the day Michael Jackson died), or February 3, 1959 (Buddy Holly) for my parents.

We all have an icon or image that epitomizes our youth. Who is yours?


Book Talk Tuesday: Sew Iconic


Some dresses are such a part of popular culture that they need no description. Julia Roberts’s Pretty Woman polka dress for watching polo. Marilyn’s white halter.

Part Hollywood history, part sewing how-to, Sew Iconic is a beautiful book from start to finish.

The book includes patterns and instructions to complete ten iconic Hollywood dresses, from  to Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to  Baby’s mambo dress from Dirty Dancing.

Sew Iconic begins with detailed lessons on how to sew including terms, tools, and techniques. The patterns are provided as well as the instructions for transferring the patterns and then cutting them out.

Each section opens with a few brief notes about the movie the dress was seen in, the actress who wore it, and its impact on contemporary culture. The sewing instructions are detailed and the section concludes with styling and accessorizing tips, as well as pictures of the completed project.

I’m a fairly experienced sewer, so I can’t gauge how a new sewer would be able to handle the projects. To me, the instructions seemed detailed enough so that even the most novice of sewers would be able to complete the simpler dresses and build up their confidence to the more elaborate patterns.

Ten years ago (at least) my daughter made the black and red lace dress that Kate Winslet wore as Rose in Titantic. It was a big undertaking but between the two of us, it turned out beautifully. So my experience with Hollywood sewing is that it is very accessible to us non-Hollywood types.

We may not live in Hollywood, but who says we can’t dress like the stars? Sew Iconic makes it possible.


Disclaimer: I received a free digital edition of Sew Iconic for review purposes. It did not influence my review in any way, but  a published copy with the patterns might. Just kidding.


Fiction Friday: The Band-Box Hat

You may have noticed that this story had kind of stalled. Besides not posting for two weeks, the several weeks before that were kind of static. Nothing much had happened to Sarah Jane since she got to LA. Well, that’s about to change. I dreamed this next development. Really.

Yesterday, I told myself I had to think of something that was going to happen to Sarah Jane. Last night, I dreamed this. Next week’s installment will reveal what’s going on. Suffice it to say, Sarah has a decision to make that could potentially change her life forever.

See if you can tell what’s about to happen.


Previously: Sarah Jane decides she’ll now be named Sarah. She calls Jesse from her new apartment but he doesn’t listen to her, that she’s moved and now in LA, too. He says Rachael doesn’t want to see Sarah Jane or anyone else from Rosedale.


Chapter 19

My week flew by so I had no time for more seething or wondering about Rachael or Jesse. By Saturday morning, I yearned for a few minutes of quiet and peace so I headed to my new local Starbucks for a grande caramel macchiato and a book I’d picked up in the school library.

The fourth graders had been a handful, testing my limits and my new rules, but by Friday we’d come to an understanding. I wouldn’t assign weekend homework and they wouldn’t poke holes in my coffee cup.

Walking up to the Starbucks, my heart sank. It didn’t look like I’d get a table to myself, much less any peace for reading. The place was packed with people spilling out the door and filling all the chairs. They were even perched on the side of the brick planters lining the sidewalks.

“Excuse me.” I tried to get past a trio of girls in shorts and gladiator sandals who blocked the door. Once inside, the line snaked past the condiment bar. I took my place at the end and craned my neck to see how many people were between me and my macchiato.

A weird fact began to register. Everyone in line, at the tables, and waiting for their drinks was female. In her late twenties or early thirties. Dressed in something sparkly or shimmery that showed either a lot of leg or cleavage or both. A glance at my khaki capris and white v-neck tee confirmed that I was way underdressed for this crowd.

Oh well. I shrugged and opened my book, since it looked like I’d be waiting a while for coffee.


A paper appeared on top of my book and I grabbed it in reflex as it started to slip off. “What?” I asked.

“I need you to fill this out.” A young man with horn-rimmed glasses shoved up on his forehead glanced at me then did a double take. “I mean, please answer all the questions and give it back to me.” He moved down the line, giving papers to the others behind me.

I shrugged and looked at the questionnaire. It must be some sort of survey, maybe for his statistics class. Besides the usual name and address and date, it asked how many siblings I had, where I went to college, hobbies, religious preference, and—I gasped and grabbed for a pen to make a big X. No, I’ve never had sex in a public place.

Except for that one and another about how many times I’d been arrested for being drunk and disorderly, it was a pretty standard questionnaire. I didn’t put my address on it though. I mean, I’m willing to help out a budding statistician or actuary or pollster or whatever he was, but a single girl can’t be too careful. Especially in the big city.

Feeling virtuous for having done a good deed, I handed the paper back to the young man just as I reached the front of the line.

“Grande caramel macchiato, please,” I said to the barista scribbling orders and names on cups.

“Thanks,” the budding pollster said. He tucked my paper behind some others, but he must have been a speed reader. I’d barely gotten my coffee and was heading for the door when he accosted me again.

“It says here that you’re Mennonite.” His glasses were now settled on his nose and he looked at me with searching blue eyes. “Is that like Amish? Where’s your bonnet?”

I smiled. “A lot of people think that, but there are several orders of Mennonite. The Amish and Mennonite are from the same roots. My order allows us to dress normally, although modestly.”

“Interesting.” He scribbled a note on my page then ran his eyes up and down my outfit. “You’re a teacher, too. Where do you live? You left that blank.”

“I’m from Rosedale, in central California. I live nearby now.” As nice as he seemed, I wasn’t about to give up my address.

He nodded. “Good. I’d like to schedule an interview for this afternoon.”

“With me?” My eyebrows rose. “What’s so interesting about my data?”

He smiled. “You’re kidding, right? You’re absolutely unique. Exactly what we’re looking for.”

Warmth filled my chest. I’d never been what anyone was looking for. Even though I was still only wanted for my statistics, it felt good. “Really?”

He nodded. “Can you be back here at 3:30?”

“Sure. I guess so.”

“Great.” He scribbled another note and walked away.

The pair of blondes in front of me, turned and gave me blistering looks and I felt my cheeks flush.

“Wouldn’t you know it?” one of them whispered to the other. “The place is full of models and actresses and they want a teacher-look.” She tucked her own survey under her chin and pulled her hair back into a pony tail that she twisted and secured with her pencil. “There. How’s this?”

Her friend clapped a hand over her mouth but giggles spilled out anyway. “Perfect.”

I spun on my heel and strode out the door. I didn’t need the mean girls to tell me what I already knew. I was out of place here.


Book Talk Tuesday on a Thursday

I want to let local readers know that Pastor Jim Cecy will be signing The Purity War this coming Saturday at noon at Majesty Bible Book Store at Cedar and Herndon. He’d love it if you’d stop by. I’d love it if you told him you read about it here.

Click here for my review.

See you there!


Also, my weeks and especially Fridays have been more than a little crazy lately. I hope The Band-Box Hat will return tomorrow. Stay tuned!


Book Talk Tuesday


I need a shower. Or something.

A writer I love recently recommended a book by a friend of hers. I thought it would be in the same vein – light, fun, romantic, but not graphic. There’s sex in the beloved writer’s books, but it’s all “off screen.”

After I started this new one, I commented to a friend that there was an awful lot of sexual tension pretty early in the story which made me wary of how graphic it would be when the hero and heroine gave in to the inevitable.

I was right to have trepidations.

I finished the book, because it was a good story, well-written, with great characters and a charming setting.

I don’t really want to know how all their parts fit together in the shower, in the bed, on the washing machine, on the floor, and in the car.

So … ewww. It wasn’t quite erotica, but pretty darn close.

No, I’m not exaggerating.

I’m not even going to tell you the name of the book or the author.  At least not here. If you’re dying to know, you can ask me and I’ll likely tell you.

So now I know that, while the author is very good, she’s not for me.

And I’m worried that the writer who recommended it is going to drift into that graphic territory.

I sure hope not. There’s little enough out there that’s seriously good without the sex.

My two current favorites are Kristan Higgins and Claire Cook.

But you already knew that.

Thanks for reading!


Book Talk Tuesday: One Was A Soldier


I’ve been a fan of Julia Spencer-Fleming for years now.

Because she writes:

  • well crafted mysteries.
  • complex characters who change and grow.
  • a dynamic setting that has come alive in my mind.

I’m in the middle of her seventh Millers Kill book, One Was A Soldier.

One Was a Soldier

The series began with In the Bleak Midwinter. In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter is currently on sale at Amazon for $2.99 for the ebook and $9.57 for the paperback. Bargains, both of them!

The Reverend Clare Fergusson is new to Millers Kill, New York. She’s also a newly ordained Episcopal priest. She’s from the warm southern states. She’s an Army helicopter pilot.

Millers Kill police chief RussVan Alstyne is retired Army Military Police who recently moved back to his hometown with his wife Linda.

Russ and Clare are thrown together as murder and mayhem strike Millers Kill.

Each book title in the series takes its name from a hymn or a line in a hymn.

Clare takes her vocation seriously.

Russ takes his marriage vows seriously.

I had a few trepidations as the series continued because of Russ and Clare’s growing friendship and attraction. I was afraid they would have an affair, especially because his wife’s character is not a part of the early books. Then I was afraid his wife would die a convenient death just so Clare and Russ could be together.

I won’t give away the story, but suffice it to say, I haven’t been disappointed.

In the latest book, Clare is back from a stint as a National Guard chopper pilot in Iraq. She’s drinking too much, self-medicating too much, and having nightmares. She’s not alone. She joins a support group for other returning vets and gets drawn into their stories. The double leg amputee. The married woman whose battlefield affair follows her home. The doctor who can’t remember which patient he just saw and what he prescribed. The cop with anger management issues.

Last fall I visited an area of New York state that felt very familiar and comfortable. The lake. The farms. The dairy. The village. The brick storefronts. It wasn’t long until I realized why I felt like I’d seen it before. It was the Julia Spencer-Fleming books. She did such a great job making the setting of Millers Kill come alive on the page that it was a short hop to thinking I’d been there when I saw it for real.

Anyone else a fan?


Book Talk Tuesday

I broke a rule yesterday.

I went to a movie without reading the book first.

In my defense, I didn’t know there was a book to read.

The Descendants Poster

The credits said the movie is based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

It’s a very good movie.

I went with more than a little trepidation.

Last year’s Up in the Air with Clooney was extolled as wonderful.


There was no change in the character. He went back to doing the same thing. There was no growth, no lesson, no nothing.

I was afraid I’d be disappointed in The Descendants as well, but I wasn’t.

He did see things differently. He was changed at the end.

What a difference.

I don’t want to say much about it because everyone should see it from their own perspective of life and what makes a marriage and a family successful.

I will say George’s acting is better with every movie and he does a brilliant job in this. The young actress who plays his seventeen year old daughter, Shailene Woodley, is simply amazing.

Now to decide if I want to read the novel or if I should leave well enough alone.



Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

Previously: Sarah Jane checks into a hotel and gets a voicemail from Jesse telling her he was sorry about her father’s death and that her sister Rachael is coming to the service. Sarah Jane realizes that she saw Rachael arrive, but she left anyway, missing her chance to see her sister and be reconciled.


Chapter 18


A week after my arrival in Glendale, I was gainfully employed and had a place to live. I had a long term substitute teaching job in a private school. It didn’t pay even as much as the job I left behind in Rosedale, but I still had my savings to add to my earnings. I’d need the extra cushion since I’d never paid rent, and I think my heart stopped when my new landlady told me how much for a studio apartment.

“That’s for one month?” I gasped. “Not six months?”

She chuckled. “No, sweetie, that’s the rent per month. And it’s a good deal for this neighborhood.”

Her name was Jana Ryan. She was a no-nonsense talking woman who wore long flowing skirts and Reeboks. She had thick gray curls that she kept pulled away from her face by a wide brown headband. I’d seen the ad in the local paper and called right away and she agreed to meet me right after my interview at the school.

So far, my new life was coming along just fine. I’d had an uncomfortable phone conversation with Anna who heaped guilt on me and tried to tell me I should come back for April’s sake. I tried not to let her upset me, but I’d finally interrupted her, said good-bye and hung up.

Now, it was the night before my first day at the new school. I had an inflatable mattress, a card table, two folding chairs, and dishes for four that I bought at the dollar store.

I stretched out on my mattress and stared at my cell phone.

To call Jesse or not to call.

To try and find my sister, or … figure she always knew where to find me and never bothered. It would be ironic if now that I had moved on, and she returned home to look for me.

I stabbed in Jesse’s number and held the phone to my ear, not sure if I hoped he’d answer or I’d go to voicemail.

“Hello?” His voice held a questioning tone.

“It’s Sarah. I mean Sarah Jane.” Since I was starting a new life, I’d decided to go with a new name, too.

“Oh … hi?”

I don’t know what I expected, but this seemed odd. Jesse was never unsure of himself, what he wanted and what he planned to do to get it.

“I need Rachael’s phone number.” May as well get to the point.

“Oh. Uh … Didn’t you see her at your dad’s service?”

I didn’t want to go into the whole story. “No.”


For an English major, Jesse sure seemed to be having a problem with his native tongue. Forming words was an issue.

“I’d like to call my sister.”

Silence met my declaration.

“Ummm … Jesse?” The monosyllables must be contagious.

“Yeah. Well, the thing is Sarah Jane—”

“Sarah. Just Sarah.”

“Right. Sarah, see the thing is, Rachael was upset that you left as soon as you saw her and she thinks she should stay out of your life.”

“You just asked me if I saw her. You already knew I didn’t?”

More silence.

“Jesse. Things … have been crazy. In fact, I should tell you, I decided—”

“Look, Sarah Ja—I mean Sarah. I’ll tell Rachael you called and you want to talk to her, but she’s not planning to go back to Rosedale anytime soon. Well, probably anytime at all.”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I—”

“Don’t get your hopes up is what I’m trying to tell you.”

“Fine. I understand. Rachael doesn’t want to see anyone. If you won’t give me her number, will you please ask her to call me.”

“I can do that.”

“Thanks, Jesse.”

I hung up, torn between seething and obsessing over why Rachael didn’t want to see me. Or I could put the whole thing out of my head and go to sleep and get up tomorrow, ready to start a new job with a group of fourth graders whose teacher just had a baby.

Tomorrow would come soon, so I went to bed and seethed.


Woe! It’s Wednesday


I guess I wasn’t feeling passionately about anything last week because I didn’t post a woe last Wednesday.

It’s been a month now of being selfish and working hard.



It’s going well. I’ve gotten quite a bit done although I still have plenty of ideas and projects I’d like to work on.

I’ve started a new novel. It’s a historical which is a completely new genre for me. I’m enjoying the story and getting to know the characters.

I’m finishing up the current revisions of my contemporary romantic comedy. I’ve been told it’s time to set it aside and let it be, but I think I’m going to send it out to some new eyes. All they can do is say, “No.” Well, I guess they could delete it (and me) but that’s the same as a “NO!” so I’m no worse off.

I’m writing two articles for local magazines.

I’ve compiled several romance short stories and I’m getting ready to publish them as an ebook. Look for them in another month or so. I hope.

My days are more productive now that I’m being more intentional and protective of my writing time. I haven’t (yet) had to miss anything fun or any family events.

I’m just back from a mini-retreat with a friend. We spent two days writing, writing and then writing some more. We both have projects and needed some time to concentrate fully on the work. I made lots of progress.

Now, on to February!