September 2016

Monday, September 3, 2018

You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

If you've read my books, you know I gently spoof some of the foibles of small town life. But this  isn't done out of malice of any sort. No indeed. I live in a town of about 12000 souls and love it. In my tales of the fictional Coldwater Cove, the most immediate source of local information is the Methodist Prayer Chain, but a close second is the journalistically-challenged Coldwater Gazette, the town's newspaper. 

I confess. I loosely based the Gazette on our own often unintentionally entertaining hometown paper. Over the weekend,  I had my family in stitches reading from, of all things, the police blotter! Here's a rough synopsis of the article. (The names have been changed to protect the guilty!)

Police Officer EverReady Goodman was on patrol when he noticed a red pickup and a woman standing by the side of the road, bleeding from the nose and yelling. Fearing domestic violence, Goodman stopped. (Well, of course, he did. He's a Goodman, after all!) The officer discovered Snedley Slacker in the truck with his foot on the brake. Slacker told Goodman that his former passenger, Ima Nutt,  was drunk. Goodman suspected Slacker was as well and ordered him out of the vehicle. 

When Ima Nutt approached Goodman, the officer noticed she was carrying a duck. Slacker claimed they'd had a fight, but Nutt fell when trying to catch her duck. He then refused a breathalyzer test, saying he couldn't afford another DWI and was too drunk to take one. Goodman handcuffed him and put him in the patrol car. At this, Nutt began carrying on and yelling about how she was losing her duck, but when Goodman asked if she was all right, she said she was okay, just drunk.

To prove her point, she dropped her pants and peed by the side of the road while waving at passing traffic. (During the ensuing chaos when Officer Goodman arrested Ima Nutt for public nudity, the duck must have made good its escape because it wasn't mentioned in the article again!) 

After we all wiped the tears of mirth from our eyes, I read the sobering report that Slacker had 6 prior DWIs. Silly behavior may rate a few giggles--and who wouldn't chuckle at a story that featured both a duck and public nudity?--but there's nothing funny about driving while impaired.

So if you toss back a few at the BBQ this Labor Day weekend,  please call an Uber or stay with your friends and family. Remember if you drink and drive, you could lose a lot more than your duck!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Best Laid Plans...


This has been a very busy few weeks. First, the writerly news. I map out the work on my books ahead of time, estimating the word count I need to produce each day to meet my deadlines. I'm currently working on A COLDWATER WARM HEARTS CHRISTMAS, which will be out in October 2018. 

I know it seems like a long time from now, but the wheels of publishing grind slowly. Once I turn the manuscript in to my editor, who has a deft hand with my stories, I can expect to see it back again for revisions a few weeks later. Then it'll be off to the copy editor for grammar, spelling and fact checks. Once the CE has made his or her suggestions, it comes back to me again so I can accept or reject the changes. In the meantime, Kensington, my lovely publisher, is working diligently on yet another gorgeous cover for this series and planning the best way to market it to the reading public. All in all, with everything that needs doing, the 2018 release will be here before you know it and I need to stick to my carefully crafted writing plan. 

But sometimes, life intervenes in writing schedules. 

My dear sister Jenn, who lives in Corpus Christi, had surgery a couple of weeks ago and suffered some complications. My parents, who are 82 & 80 spry years young, were so wanting to be with her but it's a two day drive from our town here in the Ozarks. And as my dad put it, "I'd drive 100 miles out of my way to avoid driving through Houston."

So my DH and I loaded up the pick-up and camper and took my parents down to Corpus Christi so we could all pitch in and help while Jenn recovered. 

It was so good to be with Jenn and her little family. She and her hubby have one grown daughter (who lives in the same town we do!), and still at home they have a teen-aged son, a son and daughter in first grade and four (count 'em!) foster kids aged 9 months to 7 years. 

Needless to say, not a lot of writing happened in Texas. 

But that's okay. As I said, life intervenes.

And sometimes sadly, death does, too. 

While we were in Texas, two of our tenants died unexpectedly. Though there was no evidence of foul play or suicide (it was drug use and a heart attack), we were so very saddened. Years ago, when we made plans to fund our retirement by providing nice rental homes for people to live in, we never thought about them dying in them, too. 

Especially since our tenants were young--27 in one case and early 40's in the other. And since neither of them had a will, we are trying to follow the letter of the law to make sure the rights of their legal heirs are protected until the estates can be probated. 

You'd be amazed how many people come out of the woodwork claiming the deceased had something of theirs or promised them something verbally. We were inundated with calls the first few days. And some not very nice texts, but the last thing the police said to us was not to let anyone take anything from the properties without a court order. We have to walk a fine line between being sensitive to the grieving and making sure we follow the law. 

Think we're in for a steep learning curve. 

Anyway, this sad development has caused another change in plans as well. I won't be going to the RWA conference in Orlando next week. My husband needs to stay close to home so he can be available to deal with the courts and grieving family members. And because my pesky lung condition (see my SecondWind blog if you want to know more about that) makes it difficult to travel without my DH, AKA my faithful "sherpa," to help me haul all the medical equipment I need to keep going, I won't be going to Florida either.

So here's the take-away from all this turmoil:

  1. Don't do drugs. It may be the last thing you do.
  2. Choose your emergency contact person wisely. This may well be the person who will be in charge of your things if you pass away without a will.   
  3. Make a will. No matter what your age. Your family and friends will thank you for it and you'll have peace of mind knowing you spared them needless anxiety.
  4. Be willing to surrender your plans. This is a toughie. I tend to want what I want, but sometimes, things just won't let us go forward with our original plan. That's when we need to take a break and realize every day is a gift. The opportunity that "now" presents to us is enough. 
So how about you? Have you ever had unexpected things change your plans? Come on, I know you have. Share!