Mother’s Day Surprise!!

Oh my–

UPS delivered a package–

it’s not something >>I<< ordered–

Oh, a gift card–;


Could be–

it’s a box big enough for flowers–

Hmmm…The USP label says DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE – OK TO OPEN Fresh Cut Flowers and/or Foliage Product of Columbia and/or Ecuador, Tulips, Lilies and Irises product of California and/or Holland–

Hmmm…Columbia? Drugs? Horrors! Surely not that!…Tulips, Lilies, and Irises…those sound great!–

Description: Mom’s Rose Delights – Good–

But roses weren’t mentioned above. ??? and the box doesn’t look long/tall enough for usual florists’ roses–

Ah, the excitement grows.–

Slit the tape carefully (at the bottom to preserve the FTD sticker on the top of the box)–

Hmmm…a round pink cardboard with a broad pink ribbon–

Pull gently–

My, my, a five-tiered cardboard “cake” of graduated little hat boxes. Each one is papered with red and pink roses; each one with a soft pink top; the ribbon binding them all together in a stack, with a pink silk rose on the very top along with the wide pink ribbon tied in a pretty bow–

Loosen the ribbon at the top by sliding it off the stem of the flower–Open the top 3.25″ box–

3 cellophaned frosted cookies…2 white, 1 chocolate–

Pull the 1st off it’s little dab of sticky stuff and see what box #2 (4″) hides…Oh my! 10 Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares…Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Filling!–

#3 (5″) has, hiding under white tissue, a 2oz. box of Godiva Chocolatier Milk Chocolate Cashews–

#4 (6″) has, also under tissue…a cellophane bag of bite-sized Pecan Shortbread cookies–

Oh Lordy! Any diet I thought about keeping just vanished!!–

What could possibly be left in box #5 (7″)?–

Pull down the taped ribbon…Open…lift the tissue…OHHH…Godiva Chocolatier Milk Chocolate Truffles (Milk chocolate with a creamy milk chocolate filling (4oz.))

I think I just died and went to chocolate heaven!! But who sent this bouquet of deliciousness?

Oh wait–there’s a card behind the shipping label envelope–

“I know Mother’s Day is supposed to be chocolate and flowers, figured this covered both. Enjoy! Love, Autumn

Hey Autumn!! You sure do have this Mother’s Day all figured out!! Thank you baby girl!

Wouldn’t this bundle of goodies have lit up your Dad’s eyes!! He would have been more deserving, but I’m totally happy to serve as mother now that all the hard work is done.

Love, Mom


Happy 2012! Writing in the Dark

Happy 2012!! A whole new year stands before us, undented, unbattered, unspent. Will this year, as the Mayan’s so kindly provided information about, be the last year? I’ve enjoyed the various “Life after Humans” and such on NatGeo that shows how quickly the globe can undo the destruction of humans; just how many different ways the world can end; and how many of the biblical signs of Revelation are being noted. It’s an exciting time to be alive–even if it’s just the remainder of this year!

Many moons ago, before I was able to reside in solitary splendor in my perfect house, I was a mother, a wife, and an office manager. If I wanted to buy out the time to write, I discovered that the early hours (before the sun rose to declare a new day) were the optimum time to create. And the least time in the day to receive phone calls.
I admire those writers who can labor long into the night. When I try that, the result is just gibberish. That may, in itself, explain why the due-the-next-morning papers produced in the all-night sessions in high school and college were always less than sterling quality. If I had realized then that writing in the dark at the START of the day was so much more productive . . . well, no telling what I would have achieved.
But now that I’m wiser, and have, perhaps, better understanding of my own quirks, I relish climbing out of bed while the world still sleeps and greet my characters to discuss their plans, dilemmas, and dreams.
A dear friend of mine gave me a mug that defines Writer’s Block as when your imaginary friends stop talking to you. So true. But it’s only through that wonderful written conversation with a character that I begin to know just what’s going on with him. I love when one of them discloses that the reason a particular scene isn’t working is because, “I just wouldn’t DO that!” It’s so much easier when you hear from the person herself. I would appreciate if that character would be a little more forthcoming about just what she WOULD do . . . but sometimes the scolding is all I’ll get. The situation becomes even more interesting when we continue the conversation aloud–and, of course, why I shelter two cats just in case anyone happens to hear me talking to myself. That doesn’t explain the various voices, but . . .
I do love my perfect house, set back from the quiet little road, nestled in the tall, tall trees, and virtually neighborless (at least in the summer when the nearby neighbors are hidden by all the greenery.) My light on at 3, 4, or 5 in the morning doesn’t have to be explained to anyone, nor does the darkness at nightfall or shortly after that. The sun goes down, so do I. Works for me!
Is there a method or time that works better for you? I’d love to hear what you find the best time to create.

Critique Group: Goals

A friend recently undertook to start a critique group.  She stated the guidelines and we started out with bringing either the first 5 pages (i.e., first scene) or first chapter of our current work-in-progress (WIP) for the other members.  Then, having exchanged email addresses, we decided to transmit our next meeting’s submission ahead of time so everyone would have a chance to review it before the meeting.

We are to print out the material to be critiqued, mark it up, and then bring it to the meeting. After the critique session, the markups will be given to the writer for him or her to take home with a record of everyone’s suggestions.

(Yeah, we kill a few trees in this group, but the physical markup is important.)

For the new members, a few rules:

  • EVERYONE critiques at every meeting.
  • EVERYONE receives critiques at every meeting.  This is why we limit the size of the group.
  • We expect everyone to make progress on their book at every meeting.  If you’re in the planning stage, that’s fine, we’ll help you brainstorm and plan your story; if you’re writing, we generally want to see the next chapter, not the same one over and over again.  We want to encourage every member to keep pushing forward to finish their books!!
  • Yes, there are exceptions to the every-meeting-submission thing. Life happens and is sometimes out of our control. But if you’re not contributing and attending on a regular basis, re-think whether this is the group for you.  With a small group we can also be flexible about times and dates to meet the majority’s needs so if there’s a conflict, let me know and we’ll see if we can adjust it.
  • We’re here to help at whatever stage you are in your writing: help with planning, plotting story structure, brainstorming, and, of course, detailed critiquing.
  • We are here to improve our craft, which means we are NOT here to sit around and tell each other that our stuff is “just wonderful” when it’s not.
  • With that said, your critiques should point out what the writer is doing well.  If you particularly liked or were impressed by something, by all means let the writer know.  Writers get too few ego-strokes and far too many rejections as it is!
  • If you find something wrong, you’re expected to also suggest ways to fix it. If you can’t think of any fixes, the group will brainstorm a solution for the writer.
  • We are here to improve our WRITING, which means we critique the words on the page, not the person.  Any personal attacks on another member will result in being ousted from the group.
  • We have no limits on type of book being critiqued, other than it must be for popular fiction rather than literary fiction, but bear in mind that not everyone is equally knowledgeable about all genres.  Make an effort to read at least a book or two in everyone’s genre if you’re completely unfamiliar with it.  Yes, guys, that means we’ll expect you to read a romance or two.  Trust me…you might learn something!
  • Generally, we meet every other Saturday at 2 PM here in Advance.

Basically the goals of this group are two-fold: To prod each other to KEEP WRITING and provide group support and encouragement when writing gets hard.

# # #

Guess I’ll just have to look forward to:
  • Each meeting
  • Each person’s submissions as her/his story grows
  • The breathless anticipation for how to improve my story
  • Subjecting myself to the discipline [agony?] of nailing my delicate butt [Are you buying this?] to my chair and actually progressing in my novel
Some people will do anything to be mentioned in the credits.
Are you in a critique group?
Would this guideline work for your critique group too?
What would you change in this by addition or subtraction?