Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thank You Lord for Time

The other day I went through a drive-thru, where when I don't forget, I order a senior coffee. :) I'm allowed. Ha.

When the cashier handed the cup over, she said, "Enjoy, Sweetie."


I thought, Oh Lord. Now I've really reached the senior level. Then I remembered all the times I'd also called a lady, "Sweetie." I felt bad. Bad that I had possibly caused some tic in a perfectly nice person's day.

Anyway, I completely understood the cashier's comment. Here I sat, no make-up and a gray streak running through the front of my hair. At a younger age, I'd have never, never even gone to the mailbox without make-up. Boy how times have changed! Once back at home, I took a good look in the mirror. I barely recognized myself. You know, it's that memory we have locked inside our heads that we're still as fresh and great looking as we were at an earlier age. Twenty-something or just topping thirty. Well, that lady didn't stare back at me. I was older, not getting any younger.

I went about my humdrum day and started the next thing in my day. I stopped and considered what would happen if I didn't do "that next thing." Nothing. Nothing would happen. "That thing," would be there the next day staring me in the face. So I didn't do it. Sure enough, the next day I had to add it back into my chores. No matter, I got it done without a hitch.

The following day I had an appointment with the dermatologist. Hubby had gone the previous week for a mole removal. I was tense about the mole, as it looked strangely like some of the cancerous moles I'd researched on the internet. So the nurse called me in and when the doc came in, I proceeded to show him the reason I was there. He checked out different areas, and was about to begin the procedure. All of a sudden, he pulled back my collar and said, "What about this?"

"Oh," I said. "I forgot to show you that one." I smiled, and thanked him for finding the spot. I'd wondered about it for a couple of months, but didn't really think much about it being serious. I'd actually forgotten about it.

"What you have there is skin cancer."

A light breath would have knocked me over.

"No problem. I'll burn it off and if it comes back, make an appointment and we'll get it taken care of again."

Okay. All was well with the world again, I'd simply watch and wait. I could do that. For such and unexpected diagnosis, I was perfectly calm after I left the office.

About two hours later, the phone rang and it was the same doctor's office calling for my hubby. They wouldn't give me a message other than for hubby to call them. Well, my heart jumped in my throat. Could hubby have cancer too? If so, it would probably be worse than mine, because of the shape and size of the mole and the fact that another doctor had suggested he have it checked out.

Hubby called me back with great news. No cancer.

I was thrilled. I thought about how ironic it was that I was so concerned about hubby, yet I was the one with bad news. Except the bad news had a positive prognosis. I was thankful. I have too many books to write. No time for that old nasty cancer.

The rest of the day, I didn't concern myself with the removal of a cancer. I looked forward to doing my chores, my errands, everything that crops up to take up my time.

Now, my time is used for positive. I won't let the negative mar what I have to do, what I want to do. If cashiers want to call me "Sweetie," so be it. I won't even let it register.

I have time on my side.

Enjoy your time and make the best of each day.

Carol DeVaney

If you'd like to check out my books, you can find them listed on my website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peanut Butter and Imagination

Yesterday, I saw a commercial where this little boy grabbed a jar of peanut butter, reached inside the jar and brought out a huge fist full. With his other hand, he did the same with a jar of jelly. He looked at his hands for a second, then jammed his hands together and took a bite. No bread. Isn't that just like kids? If they have no utensils, their hands serve them well. I laughed so hard at the boys reasoning.

I suppose we as adults do the same, except not peanut butter and jelly, and our hands. Hopefully.  :)

A couple of weeks ago the day had gotten away from me and I needed something quick to eat. The lunch meat tray was empty, I had soup, but no time to heat and eat. The only bread in the house was a couple of wheat hot dog buns. I grabbed one of the buns, and spread both sides with peanut butter. Peeled a banana and slid it inside the bun. Easy peasy. No slicing or dicing. Talk about good! I'd eaten banana sandwiches all my life, with peanut butter or mayo, but on regular bread. Either one is okay with me.

Writing is kind of that way. Imagination is a wonderful thing and we all have one. We, as writers, make do with what we have. By that statement, I mean if one thing doesn't work, we reach down inside and try something new. That's part of a writers make-up. We don't give up. The what ifs, the whats, the whys. Will this new thought, this new way of twisting the story work? If it doesn't, then we delete and start all over. Sometimes we can take the same plot and turn it around with planning and persistence. If we're lucky, our characters will intervene and give us the next around the bend development. Give characters a little peanut butter and jelly, they'll come through every time. They go together, they mix well.

So, what's your inspiration?

Carol DeVaney

You can find my books at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other epub outlets.
A Smoky Mountain Christmas
Perfect Match
A Matter of Taste (a short story)  

Thursday, August 9, 2012


by J.D. Faver

Well, I've done my part to celebrate this day. I have waited on my dog, Minx, to the point that she is rotten. I am of the opinion that your pets should be considered part of your family and should share your life completely. She has a fenced back yard and she is the queen of all she surveys. When I let her out in the morning, she polices the yard and makes sure no squirrels or birds have invaded her turf.  

Minx is also known as Heart of Darkness because she is full of mischief and way too much dog for me. She is half Chihuahua and half rat terrier; in other words pure mutt. She is black and looks more like a very small rat terrier with bigish stand up ears and more energy than a bushel of ferrets.

Every morning, I accompany her into the back yard armed with her toys. My job is to throw them as far as my poor little arms can throw. Her job is to fetch the toys back to me. This is her only trick. The only reason she has mastered this single trick is because I do not fetch. If she doesn't bring the toy right back to me, I go inside. Now if she fails to bring the toy to me, I can tell her to go get it and she does. She is probably very disappointed that she can't train me to fetch.

I get more distance when slinging a Frisbee across the back yard than with one of the balls or the rope toy. But when I had a regular size Frisbee she would grip it with her teeth and step on the curved edge which would knock it out of her mouth. For this reason, I went to the pet store and spent a whopping $9.99 on a mini Frisbee about the size of a saucer. Now, she can actually pick it up and come racing back to me...Priceless!

I know she is convinced that we are both dogs. We have to play together, go outside together, we must be in the same part of the house together. If I step out into the garage, I have my little black doggie escort. When I go out the mailbox by the front curb by myself, this sets up some serious complaints. Did mention that my dog is a yappy, talky dog? She has quite a vocabulary which ranges from a high-pitched and continuous yipping to a very vocal wowowowow. I could swear she says, "Wi wuv wu." But then again, I say that to her all the time, so it makes sense that she would say it back. :-)

So spoil your dog today, and everyday. If you don't have one, please go by a shelter and find your new best friend. Your dog is waiting for you and needs you to give him/her a forever home.
Hugs from me and a warm, sloppy kiss from Minx...

Living Without Regrets

At ninety years old, Mom is still getting around pretty good, but her legs are giving out. Always ready to go when someone drops by or my sister asks her if she'd like to get out for a while, she pushes herself to the limit. I can picture the smile on her face now, and know a lunch of fried chicken and biscuits is in the back of her mind. :)
She's the one who guided me into adulthood, along with a village of love. Yes, I'm aware it takes a village to raise a child, and my mom had a large village full of loving family and friends who willingly took over when she couldn't. So many times I think of everything she did within the adversities of her unsettled life. But, she kicks back all the bad times and looks forward to seeing her children, grandchildren, great and great-great grandchildren. She doesn't get to see all of them often, but is proud and loves each one.

I guess the one thing that sticks in my mind is Mom was, and still is, all for the underdog. Material possessions weren't on her list of importance, and I've known her to give her last dollar to the church. If she knew someone was down and out, she was the first to gather what she could for the family. Her huge heart is full of compassion for others.

As I look at photos of Mom scattered around my house, I'm filled with love, good memories and plenty of smiles. But...I get this sinking feeling in my gut, that things could have been so much better for her. Do I have regrets? You bet I do. Still, I know I've done so much that made her happy and that alone helps relieve some of the regrets. We all have regrets, but I'm trying each day to wipe out everything I can to avoid living with regrets.

As I write this, the sky is overcast, dark and the thunder rolls overhead. I don't want my heart to feel this way when I can brighten Mom's day.

Speaking of bright, lightning is popping all around and the power has gone off three times. Time to shut down and maybe I'll call Mom just to say hello. After the lightning stops of course!

Here's an excerpt of my upcoming novel, Not My Own
The sunlight’s warmth lay a spider-web across the gray marble floor, yet a chill cut to Megan's bones. Death hung in the air. She smelled it. Felt it. Her senses alive with its familiarity. Each click of her heels inched her closer to a hissing respirator in room 407.
Accommodating the Vail attorney’s request, providing closure to a chain of unhappy incidents in her past, was not what she’d had in mind. Still she’d come.
Megan pressed three fingers against her temples and moved into the room. Facing the man in the slanted bed, would be the hardest thing she'd done since her husband and son's death.
Uncertain of his feelings, or if he was even aware she was there, Megan moved into the room and stopped beside her father's bed. She was unprepared for the toll the terminal illness had taken on his body.
She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her tears. With a smile pasted on her face, she braved seeing the man who no longer resembled her father.
Her breath caught at the blue eyes, that had once tormented her, staring back glazed in impending death. Anger and resentment passed like a storm in the night over their seven years of separation.
He’d been a virile, yet vain man. The salt and peppered hair that he’d taken such pride in, had turned to alabaster. Thin, yellowed skin folded into crevices of his skeletal form and stilled bony fingers, did little to satisfy her need for revenge. Why  did it matter that he’d not know she’d become successful in spite of him?
Megan recalled her mother’s words. ‘Time waits for no man. Savor every moment.’ There would be no more moments for her and her father. No more time to ease the pain of separation and the precious lifetime they’d spent apart.
A lump rose in her throat, choking off her breath. A kaleidoscope of beautiful memories rushed through the bad ones. They’d both cheated themselves of time. Had being stubborn been worth what she knew now to be the last days, maybe hours of her father’s life?

Carol DeVaney

You can find my books at Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other epub outlets.
A Smoky Mountain Christmas
Perfect Match 
A Matter of Taste  (a short story)

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Little Romance...

by J. D. Faver

Welcome to August, National Romance Awareness Month.  
While I'm pleased that this very hot month has been dedicated to Romance Awareness, I'm also shaking my head. Do you know how HOT it is?
Romance equates to warm embraces, skin contact and so much more that involves heat-producing activities.
Whoever decided that August was the month to be aware of romance was obviously not living in southeast Texas where it's hot and sticky...and did I mention, HOT?  The census bureau confirms that more babies are born in August. (Ahem, both of mine were) That being said, I would think that November, and cooler temperatures, would be more likely to spark a little romance than this muggy, sultry summer heat.
If a hopeful Lothario brings chocolate, you better stow it in the fridge because, even as he walks from his air-conditioned car to your air-conditioned door, the chocolate will become a little ooky. Same goes for flowers. Better get those long-stemmed beauties in a vase quick before they faint.
Just went outside with my dog. We were both ready to come inside in a matter of minutes...maybe it was seconds. Gah! C'mon September.

Sending you a cool excerpt from my romantic thriller, ON ICE. Hope you enjoy it.
It snowed again that night. Rene stared out the window at the powdery flakes falling to earth. The full moon cast a silvery glow over the whiteness, contrasting against the dark of the trees. She shivered, contemplating her aloneness. She thought about Brett’s home, so snug and secure. What was he doing now? Was he staring out the window, thinking of her? The lonely howl of a wolf broke the stillness of the night.
She pulled on her jacket and boots and stepped quietly onto the porch. The crisp, cold night air tingled against her cheeks. The wolf howled again. Rene crunched out into the snow, taking in great lungfuls of the chilled air. It only hurt a little now. Throwing her head back, Rene answered the wolf, howling mournfully. The sound resonated, creating a hollowness when it died away. The eerie silence was broken when the wolf howled its reply.
“Mom?” Seth held Sara’s mittened hand as they watched her from the porch. They wore warm down-filled jackets, their breath sending cartoon-like balloon shapes from their mouths. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. I was just keeping the wolf company.”
“The wolf?” he asked.
As if on cue, the wolf’s howl cut into the icy night.
“The wolf.” Rene held her arms out to the children. They ran to her, still holding hands. She embraced them, and then holding their hands, danced them around in circles. As she danced, Rene howled to the wolf. Sara threw back her head and let out a shrill, wolf-like howl. Seth and the wolf joined in.
“Let’s go in,” Rene said. “It’s cold and we have to get up early tomorrow.”
Rene slept well, but dreamed a strange jumble of dreams. She was dancing in the moonlight. First, she danced with the children, then with Brett. Then it was Mark. She ran as Mark changed into the wolf and chased her. She stopped and turned on her pursuer. Rene became the bear. Rearing up on her haunches, she growled and slashed her powerful claws at him. Waking suddenly, she lay in the dark listening to her heart thudding against her ribs. She smiled in the darkness, feeling powerful and secure.
ON ICE is currently available on Amazon:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Changing Times

I can't believe it's August already. This year zoomed by. Some of our schools started back at the end of July. Unbelievable. We didn't return to school until after Labor Day. Parents and children alike, rush to get in quality time with each other. They barely have time  to turn around, then it's time to shop and ready the kids for the next school year.

My grandson has been to camp, spent a few days with a friend, a few days and nights with us, here and there. He spent a week at the lake with his other grandfather, a week in Florida, and has just returned from a cruise with Mom and Dad, and friends. He has one week left before attending school. He's growing up so fast.

When I think of everything I need to do before year's end, it boggles my mind. Last year I barely made my (second) deadline of addressing Christmas cards. I'm hoping to improve on the schedule this year. The list has dropped from around two-hundred to under one-hundred. Some people moved away, some passed away, others send online good wishes, still others have, for one reason or another, stopped sending cards. Some were employees of businesses no longer in business. Sad.

My card box is filled with beautiful cards I picked up on sale in January. Buying in January reminds me of a sweet Jewish couple I worked with for a while. If they were going to give birthday gifts, the after Christmas sales found them busy choosing. Usually  a money card is what their family received, which at one time I thought was something I'd never do. I love choosing a special gift and watching the receiver's eyes light up. But, as the children have gotten older, me too, I find money is the one thing children love the most. They can buy whatever they want and not feel they have to smile and say thank you for something they already have or have no use for.

Gifts under the tree has grown smaller by the year, but the kids always make a beeline for their stocking. Filled with fun things, something small but special, and that one flat envelope they know will be inserted.

So, I guess you can tell I'm already planning ahead for the holidays. I'm also looking forward to them.

What has changed in the way you plan holidays these days?

 Carol DeVaney

Look for my next novel before Christmas

Not My Own blurb

After nine years of being estranged from her father, Megan Phillips now faces the second most difficult time in her life. The man who hurt her the most, has summoned her back to Vail, Colorado, her childhood home. Even in death, her father dishes out the last word. One thing she knows for sure is, she won't allow her father to dictate her future from the grave.

Either Megan procure responsibility for Adam, a seven-year-old brother she hadn’t known existed, or she loses a vast inheritance. Megan wants nothing from her father, and refuses the inheritance. But, her father's love child has nothing to do with the rift between her and her father. She can't abandon the child, but her search at finding a home for him, alters her in ways she never dreamed.

Then, there’s her father's lawyer, the hunky Bret Evans. A bachelor, all business, Bret is married to his law practice. Love and a family of his own is far down the ladder of achievements. Megan, the woman who catches his eye from the start, could be the one who removes a few rungs in his ladder.
Whatever will Megan do with a man who makes her forget she never wanted children, a family? The man who takes her breath away.