Thursday, June 28, 2012

The 777 Author Challenge~

I was tagged by a fellow author with the following challenge: Go to page 7 of your current work in progress and write down 7 of the lines. Then, when you're done,  tag 7 other authors to do the same. Let me see...Who shall I tag?

My current work in progress is the soon-to-be released sequel to BAD MEDICINE and BAD KARMA. This one is titled BAD VIBES and the following excerpt is a little more than the first 7 lines on page 7.
“God! You should have seen that guy! He’s built like a brick shithouse and he has an eagle, globe and anchor tattoo on the inside of his right forearm.”
Ida whirled around in the motorized chair. “You could have taken a picture for me,” she chortled. “I’ll add the Marine tattoo to his description. Any other distinguishing marks?”
Darla grinned. “Let’s just say that John Doe comes very well-equipped.” She made a fanning motion.
“You could have asked the sheriff to monitor the shower.”
Darla shrugged. “I did, but he took his time getting there. If I receive special treatment because I’m a woman, then I’m ineffective. I’m handicapped.”
Ida winked at her. “And we’re not handicapped, are we?”
Darla high-fived her. “Absolutely not!”

Now I get to tag 7 other authors and of course, I start with my wonderful and talented blog-mates:
1-Tara Manderino and
2-Carol Devaney.
3-Stephanie Berg
4-Anne Marie Novark
5-Dotti Enderle
6-Lisa Mondello
7-Cynthia Woolf

I hope you enjoyed this small excerpt. BAD VIBES will be released in July

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Favorite Vegetables

Corn is too good! Despite the carb content, I guess corn is one of my favorite vegetables.

You can boil, fry, grill, cream, make a casserole, add to soups or other dishes.

The other night we grilled ears of corn. I wanted to grill with the shuck on, but opted to remove the shuck, butter and wrap in foil. We ate corn on the cob. After grilling, it's also delicious to cut off the cob and saute in salt and butter for about five minutes. What a terrific flavor!

Speaking of vegetables, my neighbor left a cucumber plant on my doorstep a few weeks ago. We've closed off most of the yard and don't have room for a garden any longer. Not wanting the plant to wither and die, I stuck the plant in a five gallon planter. I had no idea whether it would live or not. Last week there were fruits about the size of my finger. Yesterday I checked and found one that was almost six inches long. So I didn't manage to kill the poor plant!

Hubby doesn't eat cucumbers, so that cucumber is going on my plate tonight. Hubby ate cucumber a couple of years ago when I added some to fried squash and onion. He never knew the difference. Cucumbers are healthy, so I figured they wouldn't hurt him. : )

Fried cucumber is to die for. If you've never had them, please give them a try. They have somewhat of a fried green tomato flavor, if the tomato has a bit of pink running through the meat. Fried green tomatoes are another to die for dish. Yum! There are many recipes for fried green tomatoes, but I found this one by Guy Fieri. I haven't tried it yet, but the days coming when I will. Love horseradish sauce on the side, and he has a recipe on this site.

Green tomatoes are delicious added to fried okra also.

I could go on and on about vegetables, but enough is enough. Besides, all this talk of food has made me hungry!

What's your favorite vegetable?

Carol DeVaney

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Andy Griffith Show

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. Two of my favorite, older actors.

Do you love The Andy Griffith show? I do! Granted I don't watch much anymore, but the show kept me in stitches. Who can forget Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife. I always thought he was the funniest man on the show. One bullet. He had one bullet for his gun. Ha!

Ruined relationships didn't last long with Sheriff Andy Taylor around to hold the town together with his wisdom and guidance. He solved more problems than you can shake a stick at.

We all love characters who are so flawed, in a hilarious way, they may never redeem themselves. But, Barney does so often. And, Hal Smith as Otis Campbell. What a hoot! I can't imagine a any town, allowing a prisoner being able to arrest himself, walk into a jail, and claim his own cell. Too funny.

Life in a small town is entirely different than in the big city. There isn't a more understanding sheriff as Andy Taylor. I love that we see the human side of every character on the show. Ron Howard as Opie Taylor, played a stupendous part. He managed to get into all the little boy things, we as mothers know about.

Think I'll buy the series for my grandson. Children need to know, life wasn't always so wild and wooly!

What was you favorite Andy Griffith show?

Carol DeVaney

Monday, June 18, 2012

Are libraries still relevant?

In talking with a librarian the other day, she asked me a question. Are libraries still relevant today and if so, how do we make people see that? She said when talking to many people they say they have a computer and Internet at home and don’t need to go a library. Not only can they research information from the comfort of their home, they can also download books. This is all true.

But what people don’t realize is that librarians are still the first and best search engines. Sure, you can type in a question on Google or bing, or whatever your favorite search engine is, and you will get hits. Many of them reliable. But will you, or the average person, know it is reliable? Many times it’s difficult to authenticate a site. Librarians will know where to look and are happy to share that information with you. They also know where to look, and have access to, sites you may not be aware of. If you’re looking for historical, genealogical, or medical information, to name a few, you might want to consult with your librarian at some point. He or she can point you in the right direction.

And what about books? Sure, you download a ton of free books, or you can buy them online – no muss, no fuss. This is terribly convenient when the snow is swirling about or it’s a blistering 95+ degrees out, but truthfully, there are some things you may not want to own or pay for. And if you’re not in a tremendous have-to-have-it-in-my-hands-now hurry, you can get it through your public library, even if they don’t have it on their shelves. All public libraries in the U.S. are part of an interlibrary loan system. If one library doesn’t have a book (article / DVD) they will do their best to get it from another library. Some librarians are positively tenacious about tracking these items.

I certainly think libraries have changed over the years. As a kid, I remember visiting the children’s section of the local library and reading my way through the collection. Because of the size, I was forced to read biographies and histories I normally wouldn’t have. I believe they enriched my life tremendously, even though I didn’t know that at the time. But libraries were a place only for the real readers. Now, libraries provide programming and entertainment. The face of the education they provide has changed, but not its mission.

Search engine gurus might be able to make your inquiry pop up quickly, but a librarian can make it relevant to your needs.

Are libraries still relevant? The question floored me. I can’t imagine a world without libraries. How to make people see that they are relevant? I have no idea. Any suggestions welcome. What do you like or dislike about libraries?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cleaning Decks and Watching Fireflies

The other evening I wanted to finish cleaning our deck chairs, but dusk had begun to fall. Lighting would be poor. Besides, I'd already worked the afternoon away cleaning the side rails and I was bushed. Time wasn't on my side; the next day was so full I didn't know how I was going to get everything done. So I loaded the dishwasher and put away the pots and pans I'd washed.

I went outside for some fresh air. The evening was warm, but  a nice breeze carried scents of Magnolia, Camellia and an incredible fresh-cut grass aroma. Before I knew it, I'd flipped all the outside lights on and filled a pail with water, cleaning solution, then started to brush the mixture on the chairs. Fireflies danced around the yard and reminded me of when my son was young, we'd catch the Fireflies and place in a jar, with punched out holes in the lid. I think all children love chasing the light, my grandchildren did, my grandson still does.

Californians don't see many fireflies as they feed on snails in a damp habitat. Doesn't say much for our area. :)

Anyway, I'd cleaned the front side of the chairs when my husband came out to see what I was doing. Little did he know the back side of the chairs and a cleaning brush awaited him. :)  We finished cleaning and put away the pressure washer. The outside air had cooled and it was nice just to relax. We live on a main street and the traffic is way too noisy sometimes. But, for a few minutes the silence was golden. Then came the twitter of a bird, its sound was lonesome though. Then crickets and whatever else was roaming around joined in. I brought a cup of coffee out to enjoy the clean deck and chairs. Still have a Wishing Well to clean, my son and dil gave us for Christmas one year. So pretty and holds all my extra books, pens and writing pad in a plastic bag so they won't get wet. We all have our book stashes, don't we?

Even though the long-lasting chore took way too much of my time, I'm glad it's almost complete. Nothing left to do but stain and set everything back in place.

Anyone have a deck they want stained? Please don't call me, I've had my fill of decks this year.

I wish you love, butterflies and music...

Carol DeVaney

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sighted or Visually Impaired, We're Still All the Same

Last weekend we traveled to Nashville, Tennessee. Despite its May,  2010 devastating flood, the city full of history has come back strong. It's as beautiful as ever.

I have so many fun filled memories of Nashville. The old Ryman Auditorium, The Grand Old Opry, Tootsie's Bar & Grill, Printer's Alley, Music Row, The Hermitage, Belle Meade Plantation, Belmont Mansion,  to name a few. If you're planning a trip to Nashville, be sure to check online for other attractions. You'll not run out of things to do and see.

Also, Donelson, a suburb of Nashville, is home to Tennessee School for the Blind. There are so many musical talents there! The memory of that one place in Nashville, holds a special place in my heart. The children there are strong, and don't feel sorry for themselves. I wonder how many of us sighted people would have the courage to overcome their plight in life? They are my heroes.  

I'm sure there were, and are, famous graduates from the school, but one man in particular comes to mind. I personally met a man named Hargus"Pig" Robbins. Hargus is a quiet, soft spoken, unpretentious man. I'd seen him at the school for a number of years, but had yet to hear his story until last weekend. He'd gotten his nickname from coming in from playing one day. One of the teachers had told him he was dirty as a little pig. Thus, the nickname, "Pig" stuck. Here are a few photos of Hargus with some of the people he played back-up for. Hargus "Pig" Robbins was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2012.

I wish Hargus had played for us, but we didn't get to hear his music while his fingers tickled the ivory! :)

The next time I see a visually impaired person, I'm going to tip my hat.
Carol DeVaney

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wedding Meets Reality TV

My mom was visiting the other day and turned on the television. Her idea of great TV is news, sports, news, talk show, news, food show, news and an occasional movie tossed in. I think on most days she still tries to catch General Hospital. She does watch Dancing With the Stars and a few other reality shows Overall, that’s the TV lineup if she’s tuning in for an hour or a day. (She’s much more current with events than I am.)

My niece is getting married in July. This has opened a whole new world of reality TV. Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings is now on her list. She tuned into the latter when she was at my house.

Wow! I have been living in a cave, no doubt about it. And after watching this show, I think I’m ready to crawl back into it. If you’re not familiar with the show, four brides go to each other’s weddings. The camera follows them so they make comments on the bride’s dress, the ceremony and every aspect of the reception. At the end of each segment, the viewers are treated to the score from each of the brides whose wedding it’s not. I learned in the end the winner gets a prize of an exotic honeymoon, so you can see that a lower score would benefit you indirectly.

I found the comments eye-opening to say the least. It was all show, and I don’t mean for the television.  The dress might not have been what they expected for that person, or they loved it; for the most part, they had difficulty with religious ceremonies for the wedding, the reception didn’t have enough personalization, or there were not enough variety of cocktails, the food wasn’t what they expected, the d├ęcor was too impersonal… These were not inexpensive little affairs. Each of the weddings were in the $50,000 to $80,000 range.

I was appalled on so many levels, I sat and watched like a zombie and wanted to reach for the barf bag. Why would anyone think it was all right to criticize the bride’s dress? BTW, in this particular episode, the brides had all chosen white wedding gowns and wore veils.

I grew up thinking weddings were special. They’re a celebration and come from the heart. You share it with family and your closest friends. Decades ago, when it was becoming more popular to have sit down weddings at country clubs and not invite children, my father-in-law would shake his head. He said ‘Whatever happened to the fire hall weddings?” He wasn’t just talking about the venue, but the whole atmosphere. (Saving that for another post.)

Without a doubt, the part I found most offensive was their take on the ceremonies.  When the camera would pan the group at the churches, I was amazed to see almost no one present. Isn’t that what a wedding is all about?  You can always have a wedding without a reception but not the other way around, yet for these girls, and the viewers, it was all about what they expected to find at the party, not what the bride thought should be there. When I commented to my mom, her take was that’s what people expect. Have I got this all wrong? I thought the idea was that I was doing something that mattered to me, and I was inviting people to share the joy and come along for the ride. What’s your take?

Friday, June 1, 2012


My pet therapists are doing a very good job with me. All three are conscientious in providing my daily therapies

Daisy, my younger cat weighs 25 pounds and she is my official Massage Therapist. She is a white cat with one blue eye and one yellow eye. She gives me a daily massage and I wish you could see her expression. She really throws herself into her work.

My older cat is a 17 year old Manx tabby with multiple health problems, the first of which is an enlarged heart. I could have told you that Emily has a great big heart. Look at the way she adopted me. She has taken on the role of my Occupational Therapist. She makes sure that I spend plenty of time cleaning up after her so taking care of her has become a full time occupation. She sheds copious amounts of fur, so I spend time every day vacuuming it off the pale beige carpet. Emily is also my acupuncturist, for her talon-like claws are frequently glommed onto my forearm or thigh through my clothes. I try to convince her that I don’t need acupuncture, but she loves me sooooo good she has to hang on tight. Big emerald green eyes assure me that it will only hurt for a little while, so I try to hang in and endure the treatment stoically.

My Physical Therapist is Minx, the half rat terrier/half Chihuahua mix I adopted. She has more energy than a bushel of ferrets and is twice as playful. Minx is an eternal optimist. She is always convinced that I am ready to play. I am always certain that I am NOT ready to play, but she convinces me otherwise. It’s hard to say no when she presents with her little smiling face and lays a toy at my feet. When she looks at me with her ‘I love you’ face, I’m a goner and I pick up the darned toy. We head for the door and once in the back yard, I throw said darned toy until my arm falls off. Minx, for her part, is willing to fetch long after my arm has fallen off, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go. I pick up my fallen arm and go inside, leaving a disappointed doggie face and a wagging tail behind.

Minx also provides Speech Therapy. Being a tiny black wolfish type dog with a snout, she ‘talks’ incessantly. When I return from work, she is barking from the second I come in the door. In fact, she can hear me pull up in the driveway and sets up her litany of welcome home barks. “Please don’t yell at me,” I say, but she keeps it up until we are in the back yard once again with darned toys. Her vocabulary is such that I’m certain she will one day soon be fluent in my language. She has a crisp, yappy bark and a wowowowow-type howl, as well as many other sounds. I know she’s speaking volumes to me but I’m too obtuse to understand. Fortunately, she remains positive and continues to provide therapy whether I need it or not. 

Between the three, I think I also receive plenty of psych therapy. Yes, they're always able to provide their furry psychological counseling. Wasn't it Charlie Brown who said, "Happiness is a warm puppy...or was it a kitty?"

J.D. Faver!/JDFaverauthor