We didn’t move. Long story short is banks + hoops + pig-headed me = bite me. Not worth the hassle.

We’ve done a lot of renovating in the house instead and are in the process of redoing the back yard.  Yeah, it doesn’t look like that anymore, and not only because we renovated–Lily dog (Happy fourth birthday, baby girl) decided to eat everything from the waist down and it was looking pretty rough. One of the perils of owning an American Bulldog/Pit Bull is nothing is safe from being eaten for the first two solid years. Bad thing is, we decided to move a beautiful, expensive, wonderful fence and then changed our minds back to the original plan we had in the first place, so now beautiful, expensive, wonderful fence is tucked in the backyard because we’re not risking moving it again, and we have this crazy maze of outdoor rooms. It’s a wreck at the moment–a pretty wreck–so I’ll have to show you later. Yes, we kept the above ground koi pond; no, we will not be having more koi. Neither of us have the time, or the heart to do it again (they all died in an algae bloom a few years back, I just can’t locate the post about it happening). We did get rid of the small sunken pond in the front yard because I’m old and my back wouldn’t let me clean it anymore.

I kept my promise to Zombie as best I could and raised his baby-mama and kittens for two years. When every cat in the neighborhood decided my porch was the place to have litter after litter of kittens, we had to let them go elsewhere. I have no idea where Barbara is, we were unable to trap her and we haven’t seen her since the others left.

What I have heard is a Great Horned Owl and I have witnessed the return of the bats. When I saw the first bat last night, I could have cried because I haven’t seen one in several years. I haven’t seen the owl yet, but Hubs has, and he claims it to be the owl from the cemetery down the way. The cem is a historical landmark property and dates to the early 1800’s. Someone commented about The Secret of Nimh and now I snicker every time I hear the hooting calls from the trees. Coincidence, the owl and the bats showing up after the cats are gone? I don’t know. I miss the cats, and I’m very glad to have my bats back. The outstanding owl is an epic bonus.

My daughter graduates from college Friday and has an interview on Monday for a teaching position at a great elementary school. Gods, how did we get here so fast?

The new job? Hard. It’s been tougher than I imagined going from being the one person who knew everything to being the one person who knows, relatively, jack-squat. They haven’t fired me yet, so I’m hopeful. And since I haven’t drawn unemployment in over a decade, I should be good if they do.

I’m just kidding. Mostly.

I’m also stressed out. And tired, mentally and physically.

But then a little bat flutters by against the backdrop of the gloaming sky and all is good and right in the world, if only for a couple minutes.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll probably be gone for a few months. Again. When I started this blog to embarrass myself into publication, I had no idea how many twists and turns life would throw my way, and how many different ways my priorities would shift, or outright go off the rails. Being published is not so important anymore. I may return to that path one day, but for now, no. Finishing my dollhouse, put to the side–literally, because it’s right here beside me. The house calls, the job calls. I’m the only one who can answer.

So, yeah. There it is. That’s all I’ve got. Peace, love, and karma, bitches. I’m out.



Momma Girl

Let me begin by saying Momma Girl isn’t my dog, but she could be. She’s not even your dog, but she could be. She’s a dog someone used to breed again and again, they starved her half to death in the process, and then threw her away. By the grace of whatever god was listening one day, my friend Sharon was driving along and saw her stumbling down the road, ribs and bones showing, leg horribly broken and healed so badly that Momma Girl couldn’t even use it to help her stumbling. When Sharon opened her car door and called to her, broken leg and all, Momma Girl jumped right into her car, no hesitation.


That’s the first picture I saw of her–curled up, scared, but wanting so desperately to trust someone that she took that chance and jumped.


I think she was asleep before Sharon even got her home. The next picture isn’t pretty to look at, but I ask you to bear with me because you need to see.


Momma Girl’s rear leg is so deformed, it’s several inches shorter than it should be. Skin and bones, she’s sniffing her way to the temporary crate Sharon gave her that day.


A little bit of softened, warm food and she was asleep. Finally safe because someone didn’t just keep driving. Sharon stopped. I would’ve stopped. So many people wouldn’t have.

Then came the vet trip. Thing was, Momma Girl didn’t have many teeth. Her canines were broken off–as dog fighters do to bait/breeding dogs, she had infections in both eyes, no muscle mass, an unbelievable case of hookworms. Luckily, she didn’t have mange, she was just very, very poorly cared for–probably never had a bath in her whole life. More tests were forthcoming, but my gods, wasn’t that enough?

That was last November and this is Momma Girl today.


When you have two big dogs, taking in one more can seem daunting, but instead of turning Momma Girl over to a shelter, or anywhere else, Sharon kept her. Momma Girl has a home where she’s safe and warm, but her past is still dead on her heels. She’s not healthy enough to be spayed just yet. She’s gained ten pounds or so and is a happy dog, sharing life with her new family, but that broken and deformed back leg has to be amputated, and she has heartworms. And guess what? Sharon is still going to keep her.

Sharon is my hero.


This precious baby that’s been through so much in her life has to go through more. I know Sharon would empty her wallet to see that Momma-G has her treatment, but there’s this little thing going on to raise the funds. It’s going well, about a third of the way along to make the goal. Honestly, I’d rather give my money to Momma-G than any shelter around here. (Mill Dog, nuff said.)

You can donate to Momma Girl’s surgery fund here.

You can follow Momma Girl’s progress here on her Facebook page.

I posted the funding link on my Facebook page and someone asked me if I actually knew Momma Girl. Which I really don’t blame someone for asking–there’s a lot of scams out there.

Do I know Momma Girl? Yes. I know her in every shelter dog that can’t be helped.

She can be. This is no scam.

What this is… this is the reality faced by a lot of Pit Bull-type animals in this country and it sucks. It’s an overwhelming problem.

What this is is one woman who made a difference in one dog’s life.


And what this is is your chance to make a difference, too.





Life is Good

I knew it had been a minute since I blogged, but seeing August 6th at the top of my last post was sort of shocking. I have an idea about where I was and what I was doing for a couple of months–you reach a place where family drama pisses you off to the point that no fucks are given and one day blurs into the next–then I went on vacation early October. I’d only been back at the day-job for two days when my world spun sideways, and it’s taken a bit of time to right itself.

Lemme stop and cut the dramatic music that’s trying to que up, because it’s not all bad. In fact, most of it is astoundingly great, but it’s not all wonderful. And it’s not all over.

I took a phone call, listening to a looooooong-not-spoken-to friend while shoveling chocolate covered pretzels in my mouth (because I’d become a stress eater, and can’t seem to shake that) and changing into jammies, but I only half grasped what she was saying. A job? Doing what? I wasn’t comprehending what she was saying. I hung up with her and started to go about my evening because I just didn’t get it. I was missing something. Did I hear her right? It was nagging at me. I thought she had been talking to me about a job, but the state of mind I was in just wasn’t clicking the whole thing together. It all came out of nowhere, seriously, and I wasn’t prepared. So. I called her back a few hours later and was like, “I’m sorry I’m a dork, but whut?”

Fifteen days of agony later–do they want me? do they not? what’s the hold up? have they changed their minds?–I  gave my extended notice (I may be a bitch, but I am not an asshole) at a job I’d held for twelve years.

Oh, boy. That was scary. I was about to turn forty-nine and I was turning my back on a guaranteed paycheck, but I did it. I left.

One month and ten days (of even more agony because ANXIETY DISORDERholy hell, if only people who don’t have it understood…) after that long-not-spoken-to friend called me, I started my new job Thanksgiving week. My birthday week. I don’t think, even then, that I fully understood what that job was until I spent that first week at my desk. You have to imagine, I suffered from Stockholm Syndrome for a decade and it did not register in my brain that I was actually being offered a great job with great people because I just might be worthy of such.

I am in love with my job. Wait, let me change that. I am in love with my career. You will never hear me call it “the day-job” in all that phrase’s derogatory connotation.

The phone call that changed my life came October 13. I didn’t get a phone call October 22, and I’m thankful for that.

What I got when I came home that day was my husband looking at me like he was searching for something on my face because he had been the one to get the call. I gave him my trademark six-heads look and he asked me if I’d talked to my aunt? Only one aunt of mine has his number. Any other day, it may have registered immediately. Not this day, because I was knee deep in the ungodly stress of waiting to see when I could turn in my notice. We, my family and I, had arranged it that way–don’t call me, call Hubs, because I won’t be able to handle it if I’m off by myself somewhere.

I’m big on words–words have power–and yet I don’t remember how my husband told me, the words he used to tell me that my grandmother had passed away.

I don’t know what it is about me and October–my first trip to Nola, my best friend’s birthday, my daughter was born, I was married for the second (and last) time, saw my first dolphin in the wild as I watched the sun set over the Gulf, Kal passed away, among a billion other things–but October has always been good, and awful, to me. One memory it won’t carry for me is attending my grandmother’s funeral. She didn’t have one, and I didn’t go up there, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the new career. My job has actually been my lifesaver. I’m glad I had it to occupy my thoughts at the time because I may have just fallen apart, otherwise. Or ended up in prison.

There’s some amount of closure with my father because he’s with me every day. There is none with my grandmother, and I’m not sure there ever will be. I don’t know that I will ever forgive what made it this way. I don’t know what to do with that, so for now, I do nothing. I will deal with it all in my own time, in my own way.

Pretty much the only thing I know these days is we’re planning on moving to a bigger house, which makes me happy. When we move, I think I’ll hang some of my grandmother’s paintings in the new house. I don’t look forward to moving all my books and the shelves I built for them. I’m happy to get up and go to work every day where I had not been before. I finally added three hours work time to my dollhouse last weekend by staining the roof. I even glanced at my manuscripts with that heart-flutter they once gave me. My daughter is doing so great and I could not be more proud of her. I won’t say life is returning to normal, because normal for me, personally, had been sort of shitty.

So, I’ll say life is good. If I don’t blog for another few months, life is still probably good. I’m just moving house.






Unexpected package

Well, not really. It was just the specific contents that were unexpected.

My father passed away Thursday, July 16th. I found out when the family in North Carolina sent the local coroner to my house the next day.

That’s a very, very long story.

My daughter and I drove to see him and to sign his cremation papers that Saturday. I spent a few minutes with him at the funeral home. He had long white hair in a ponytail, and a bushy beard–very much not like I’d ever seen him before. My uncle said they’d scatter his ashes at his favorite creek. I was all for it. My dad loved to fish.

My and my daddy. I was less than a year old.

Me and my dad. I was around a year or so old.

I came home today and found a box on my porch. My uncle had offered to send me a keepsake. I had been expecting a little locket with a bit of Dad’s ashes inside. Something small; something that would fit in a shadow box, because most of the ashes were going into his creek. I got a little silver urn instead.


He was a whole lot of a geek. I like to think he wouldn’t mind sitting beside the works of Herbert and Martin.

Love you, Dad.

Puit D’argent

I’ve been trying to come up with a name for my big dollhouse because all cool real houses have cool names. They just do. It’s a rule.

I put out a call to the Facebook Hive Mind and asked for the French translation of “money pit” because trusting Google translate is like trusting the guy at the tattoo parlor when he says that Chinese character he’s gonna tattoo on your butt really does mean ‘rebel’ when in actuality it means prostitute. Or something.

My buddy, Laurie, came back with advice from her friend in Belgium. Puit d’argent could mean ‘pit of silver,’ but puit can also mean a well, as in throwing money down a well. Without the benefit of wishes, Laurie added.




Thing about this house is I’ve based a lot of the rooms and items on characters in my books. There’s a picture of Nita framed for a wall; my friend, Gail, gifted me with mini guitars which Javier and Celestino argue over daily.The master bed I have yet to find, must be similar to old world Spanish design because Esteban won’t stand for anything else. He thinks it’s his house, so why the French name and not Spanish? “Because we are in New Orleans, reina. When in Rome?”

Who wants to argue with a five-hundred-plus year-old vampire?

The only thing I wish he’d remember is that I don’t have his wallet.

I wanted to figure out a name because I’m looking to order a custom made sign to hang in the garden–as a lot of Nola houses have–when this is finished. The sound you can’t hear is my hysterical laughter over having typed the word finished. Just when I think I have something figured out–like building lights for the kitchen–they’re not good enough and this house does it’s damnedest to pick my pocket. My other houses? They’re good; they’re patient. And they’re not as persnickety about what goes in them.

It’s all Esteban’s fault. If you knew him, you’d know he’s reading a good old fashioned print-copy of the Times Picayune and acting as if he’s ignoring me.

At least now I know exactly what that sign in the garden will say.


Say hello to my Princess Anne house, saved from Craig’s List.

Top right, in PURPLE!  Ignore the cob webs.

Top right, in PURPLE! Ignore the cob webs, I’m too short to reach up there.

Add three more.


That took three days simply because of dry time.


I just sort of stuck it up there to see what was what.


Not too shabby.


I’m kinda glad I missed a few hours on Facebook today. One of my favorite authors is scaling back his presence and culling his herd because assholes and that sucks.


So, I got this brilliant idea that I wanted a similar ceiling in the kitchen.

So, I got this brilliant idea that I wanted a similar ceiling in the dollhouse kitchen.

And I wanted the beams the same color as the floor, and with this embossed paper on the ceiling.

And I wanted the beams the same color as the floor, and with this embossed paper on the ceiling.


I may add cross beams tomorrow. I say tomorrow because I want to get it all flat, glued, and dry before I start mucking with cross beams.

While I'm doing this, I sprayed a couple coats of poly on my floors.

While I’m doing this, I went back and forth and sprayed a couple coats of poly on my floors.

And put up wallpaper.

And put up wallpaper.

In two rooms.

In two rooms.

Glued the embossed paper to the template.

Glued the embossed paper to the template and smushed it. It’s still drying. Too damned humid.


Went outside and got the floors and, lo, they did warp. And speckle. Which means sanding. And smushing.



Hi. Long time no see. What have I been doing lately?


That’s the basic structure for a “screamer” I’m entering in a paper mache challenge this Halloween. That’s all I can share because challenge. My daughter and I are also working on a super secret dollhouse project that I’m not at all allowed to share. You’ll just have to wait on that one. My Painted Lady is at a standstill because I’ve reached the point where money is the issue. I tell you, I have the wrong day job. I should be selling dollhouse miniatures because O M G they cost a fortune. It’s raining like crazy right now, and the roof in my sunroom is made of metal. Can you say loud? My nerves can’t take it. I’ll pass on working in there today until it stops.

So, here’s the deal, and why I decided to finally get back to the blog: Delilah Dawson wrote this blog post the other day and it gave me that nudge, and the itch started; niggling in the back of my brain until I read my query and sort of blinked. It’s been forever since I read it, and the damned thing ain’t bad. Open the MS file, and yanno? It doesn’t suck. It really doesn’t. When did that happen, me not sucking? Because I was convinced that no matter how many people tell me otherwise, that book sucks because nobody wanted it, or me, back when I was sending agent queries. So, I stopped.

I took a year-plus off writing, as if you couldn’t tell by the growing list of hobbies. The thing was, my own health issues aside, I was disheartened. The small breather I intended to take got bigger and bigger, and longer and longer, because WOW. Publishing was tough twenty years ago, and it’s even tougher now. If you’re at all keeping up with the chatter, you know how crazy insane it is lately. Between Amazon’s .983495394583094583 cents a page in the KU program, Sad Puppies, and #AskELJames… good lord.

I wonder sometimes if the Internet hasn’t done quite a bit of damage to publishing, and I don’t mean the advent of self-publishing. I mean to authors directly. So much dirty laundry gets aired that should be hidden in the bowels of Mordor forever, villagers and pitch forks chase down well meaning authors for no good reason, and down right mean ass people hide behind the anonymity of the Web and fling arrows for their own amusement. We creatives are sensitive by nature, no matter how thick a skin we’ve grown, and those damned arrows suck. There is so much good we can do with the platforms we have, and yet when we do try to signal boost something worthy, it gets twisted and misconstrued, and here come the pitch forks again. And, sometimes, it’s friendly fire. Christ on a bicycle, rock and a hard place doesn’t even begin to cover it. Writers are a tribe, and we should defend our own when they deserve it, but when the tribe is attacked from inside AND outside? That’s just unbelievable.

You know who is on the outside, too? I mean the people standing back behind the people with arrows and pitch forks, looking over their shoulders and wondering what the actual fuck is going on. Readers. The ones we want to read the blood and sweat of our labors, and readers are seeing a cluster fuck right now. Writers are expected to have a Web presence these days, and sometimes it goes sideways, bigger than shit. The arrows fly and readers’ bubbles are in danger of bursting like firecrackers.

Well, we only have ourselves–publishing as a whole, I will clarify–to blame because we’re putting it out there in the first place. And I say we because, even though I haven’t said jack shit on writing in months, I’m still one of the tribe. Maybe not one of the cool kids, but still a member of the tribe. And I’m not exempt from arrow-ducking, so I guess I’ll buy some kevlar and hope for the best.

I remember Stephen King doing an American Express commercial back in the day and thinking, “Oh, that’s what he looks like.” I think he even commented in an interview something along the lines of if he’d never done that commercial, no one would have recognized him for years. Now, authors are front and center, and I could pick any dozen out of a con crowd without even blinking because I ‘see’ them online so much. So, what do we do? Keep our mouths shut, post pictures of puppies and kittens, dollhouses and paper mache, and walk a fine line? If so, where is that line? How many steps until we get there? Will it crumble under our feet, or be sturdy enough to stand on?

Walk softly, my friends. Maybe make that line a salt circle.

OW–An Ordinary World–is about to come back to life and get flung out into the publishing world like spaghetti tossed at a wall to see if it sticks. WB–The World Below–will be a first draft in less time than it took to write OW because I stepped back, and lived, and learned.

And it’s scary. It’s scary as fuck.

Why would anyone want to jump back into this?

Because writers are nuts by nature. Obviously.

Got him at a thrift store. He always ends up with his legs crossed.

Got him at a thrift store. He always ends up with his legs crossed. Guess he needs a name.

You would think these kits are easy. Nope. Total pain in the ass.

You would think these kits are easy. Nope. Total pain in the ass.

All those little bitty pieces.

All those little bitty pieces.

And a great big instruction sheet.

And a great big instruction sheet.

Ended up having to make a gluing jig.

Ended up having to make a gluing jig.

Stained it and, of course, broke one of the spindles. Ya do what ya gotta.

Stained it and, of course, broke one of the spindles. Ya do what ya gotta.

I mentioned needing a gauzy fabric to the hubs. He says,

I mentioned needing a gauzy fabric to the hubs. He says, “What about that gauzy stuff at the mill?” This is part one of a second project, and the curtains for the bed.

There's wood under that tape. Boiled and shaped while hot. Been there for a week or more.

There’s wood under that tape. Boiled and shaped while hot. Been there for a week or more.

There's roll after roll of it at the mill. We think they used it for their filter system. I'll give it a shot.

There’s roll after roll of it at the mill. We think they used it for their filter system. I’ll give it a shot.

Pieces for the corona that will hang over the bathtub.

Pieces for the corona that will hang over the bathtub. That gauzy stuff will also hang from this corona.

Yes, that is an empty masking tape roll, some bent coffee sticks, and a laser cut wood disc. All stained. The hole is for the light fixture that will drop down inside it.

Yes, that is an empty masking tape roll, some bent coffee sticks, and a laser cut wood disc. All stained. The hole is for the dimmed light fixture that will drop down inside it.

That took hours and hours and HOURS.

That took hours and hours and HOURS.

I can’t even fairly count making that stuff as dollhouse time. I never made it to the gauze part because I refuse to turn the heater on to dry the stain when it’s almost eighty outside. I’ll get there next time.

Finished tape wire.

Finished tape wire.

While I DID finish the wiring on the top floor, that was all the dollhouse work I did this weekend. I just wasn’t feeling it, for one. For two, I’m at the stage where I need lights, and most of my lights are on back order or got sold out from under me on eBay. So. We wait.

In the meantime….

Ignore all the crap hanging off the edges. I'm drying fake herbs.

Ignore all the crap hanging off the edges. I’m drying fake herbs.

Once upon a time, someone loved this house.

It's a mess. Missing so much.

It’s a mess. Missing so much.

But someone loved it. Loved it enough to hand paint the floors and walls, and make curtains, and hang wallpaper.

Well, I tore all that out today.

Well, I tore all that out today. As much as I could without diving in all hard core.

But here’s a promise to the person who once loved this house. I saved some of the bits and pieces of what I could save. Some things you took the time to put in the house.


I don’t know what and I don’t know how, but in some way some part of what you did will stay with the house when I make it beautiful again.




I forgot… *hem*

Um. This happened.

This is dollhouse #2, which I've mentioned before. I think. Greenleaf "The Orchid."

This is dollhouse #2, which I’ve mentioned before. I think. Greenleaf Orchid.

SO! I mention to my mother that I’m building a dollhouse.

“I have two. You can have them.”

My daughter built this with her grandmother many, many years ago.

My daughter built this with her grandmother many, many years ago. 

It’s in horrible, shape. Just BAD.

It's in horrible, shape. Just BAD.

It’s a Dura-Craft Lafayette.

This is not AS bad, but it's still bad.

This is not AS bad, but it’s still bad.

It's an older version of the Vermont Farmhouse Jr. by Real Good Toys.

It’s an older version of the Vermont Farmhouse Jr. by Real Good Toys.

They were both covered in so much dust and flat dirt that I had to take them to my husband’s shop and blow them off with the air compressor before I could bring them in the house, and then hope to gods nothing flew off.


When I say making floors is relaxing and I can’t wait to do it again, I guess I better mean it.