When Things Get A Little Creepy

pexels-photo-160107So a week or so ago, whilst cleaning under the bed in my office, I came upon a laptop. (To be fair, there’s a LOT of stuff under that bed, and the laptop is not the strangest thing under there.)

Huh, says I, that must be one of the Juniors old laptops, left behind back in the day. But when the Juniors happened to both be here yesterday…

Me: John, you see that Toshiba laptop? You left it here.

John: Nope, I know exactly where my laptops are and that’s not one of ’em.

Joey: Don’t look at me.

Me: Hmmm. I know it’s not your sister’s…where the heck did this laptop come from?

At which point, several things happened. John opened the laptop. (My, I thought, that looks like a pretty new laptop…) Joey astutely noted that Precious the Laptop is a Toshiba so my power cord would work. I remembered that I’d seen a Toshiba power cord in my closet (I feel like the whole world probably has a power cord in their closet so that’s not weird, either). We plugged in the laptop. And bam! It fired up!



So we needed a password. Fortunately, Mister Man was a smart but rather predictable guy when it came to passwords. After the third try, we were in.

Now, it did not take long for us to figure out a couple of things. Namely, that this laptop was not used very much, and also, it hadn’t been used since Mister Man’s untimely demise. And though I sat there puzzling till my puzzler was sore, I could not figure out why the laptop was under the bed. Why did Mister Man put the laptop under the bed?! I mean, he did some strange and/or bizarre things in his lifetime, but this? This was beyond the beyonds.

Until, as I sat at the new laptop today (and do I need to add that once again, I’m having to learn all kinds of new stuff for THIS laptop?) and realized one important thing:

Mister Man would’ve had to get down on the floor and squinch between the wall and the side of the bed and carefully slide a laptop under there.

Twenty years ago, when that man was more limber (but still very predictable), he wouldn’t have squatted on the floor, squinched into a small space, and hidden a laptop under the bed. But I do know someone who sometimes goes out of town and slides Precious the Laptop under the bed so the boogers won’t get her.

Um…yeah. Apparently, Mister Man gave that laptop to me and I put the cord in a safe place and hid the laptop under the bed. I guess I figured that one fine day, when I had a little time and was ready to give up on Precious, I’d switch over to that Toshiba.

So turns out, it was not creepy at all. And I would just like to say, in case Mister Man heard me yesterday, that he was not at all weird or bizarre in his old age.

But I know someone who is. Pffffft.





But I Have A Good Excuse

bird-crow-black-animal-53187I’m just going to say it: the universe is trying to teach me a couple of lessons in humility. Because every time I write a Muffin post about a certain topic, I’m caught eating crow.

This time, the topic is “The Importance of Being Current,” which honestly, is VERY important. And yet, here I am, taking a look around in various digital spots, realizing that I have not, in fact, been so good at keeping things current.

Well, that’s okay, because that’s pretty much what I admitted to in the Muffin post. And I even tried to update my bio at SCBWI but because they’ve had a recent (and terrific!) update, I’m unable to change my photo and perhaps make other changes.

But here, at my website and blog, for cryin’ out loud, I thought I was pretty darn current! I said as much in my little blurb at the end of the post. I bragged about my currentness (and yes, that may not be a word but I’m in too much of a state to think of the right word. That’s how bad this situation is).



pexels-photo-633432There were two books. And I’m going to jump on that ASAP. And add ’em to my SCBWI bio as soon as I can get into my SCBWI bio. (But if I’m being perfectly honest, ASAP may not be that soon. I’ve taken on a new position in Southern Breeze, my SCBWI region, as Co-Assistant Regional Advisor, and I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Hopefully, I’m making more sense than a chicken without its head, but I can’t make any promises. Still, I managed to circle back around to a bird, so there’s that.)


Whatcha Reading?


The reality of my book shelves

Writers tend to be voracious readers, don’t they?

Of course, I was more voracious before I started writing so seriously; now, I squeeze in my reading in odd little increments here and there. Still, I savor any snippet of reading time, and I’m sure I’m a better writer because of reading.

During early days of writing kidlit, I read a lot of kidlit. Because I was drawn to writing middle grade and chapter books and humor, those are the books I sought out in my library. And then I immersed myself in picture books because I had a hankering to write a picture book or thirty-seven. Then back to middle grade and YA novels where my heart was calling. If I wanted to write kidlit, I figured, I needed to be kidlit.

Or something like that.

But a funny thing happened. I missed adult books. I missed mysteries and women’s fiction and award-winning novels. I hungered for Brit wit and classics and Neil Gaiman’s fairy tales. Oh! And ghost stories! I love true ghost story collections!


The book shelves of my sweet dreams

And so I began to sneak in an adult novel here and there, or a cheesy ghost story paperback, into the old TBR pile. To be honest, those sneaky books would always somehow end up on the top of the pile. So I’d practically read ’em under the covers– and get back to my serious kidlit reading before anyone caught me.

Until one day when I realized that any reading–even the really bad stuff– is good for me and my writing.

Goodness. That was a long way to go to ask what are you looking forward to reading in 2018? Do you have reading goals? I hit my goal over at Goodreads for 2017, thanks to a pile of terrific rhyming picture books I read there at the end of the year (and a ghost book or two).

So. I started this year with a book of essays, I WAS TOLD THERE’D BE CAKE by Sloane Crosley.

And you know what? I’m enjoying every delicious minute of it!


Off To Work, Sooner or Later


What? Checking Facebook for game stuff is work.

So I had a whole list of things I wanted to accomplish before the big college championship game tonight. But bright and early this morning, whilst reading about the big game in my newspaper, I heard from a Mister Brother Man (I have three of ’em) and brother men do not call just to chat. There was business to discuss (plus football, natch), and would I do some research for him?

Okay, fine, but first I needed to call Juniorette Hall to relay some of the business news (and discuss the game); no worries, I’d be off the phone in a jiffy, then do my research stuff, and then get to my list.

Except then Oldest Junior Hall called and we had to discuss the business, but mostly the football game, and then, no more fooling around, I needed to get that research done (because Brother Man had sent me a text asking for it!). And no joke, I was right in the middle of the research when Youngest Junior Hall pulled into the driveway.

To take me to lunch. Because yes, by then, it was lunchtime. So I finished my research, and Brother Man called again–seriously? Does anybody in the state of Georgia plan to work today?–and took a shower because people out in the world expect you to show up clothed and relatively decent-smelling (though my kids probably know better by now).

Anyway, off to lunch we went to discuss the business and the research and we were almost going to come home so I could work before the big game tonight (which we also had to discuss) when Youngest Junior Hall remembered an Office Depot detour he needed to make.

It’s almost 4:00 now and unless a dead relative decides to pop in (and discuss the game), I think I’m good to get to work. So if you have a minute, maybe you could pop in over at The Muffin and read my post for today: “Time to Tackle What’s Holding You Back.”

Yeah, you can’t make this kind of stuff up. (And one more thing! Go Dawgs!)



There are a lot of things I don’t understand–quantum physics spring to mind–but in the top five, I’d have to include time. Or rather, how time speeds up the older we get.

What is up with that?

Anyway, in the interest of saving what apparently little time I’ll have in 2018, I’m cutting right to the chase: Storystorm.


Storystorm, a month-long brainstorming event, happens in a couple of different places. First, check out the inspiring daily posts over at Tara Lazar’s blog. Then in whatever place you brainstorm, think up your ideas and for heaven’s sake, write ’em down.

That’s it. Except to add that it’s an amazing tool. Last year, when writing didn’t come so easily to me, ideas would pop up, and so Storystorm was perfect. Later in the year, when that little nudge to write came along, I pulled out my idea sheet.

Yep, it was just one sheet. But from that sheet eventually came an entire middle grade manuscript and an outline for another middle grade. So that’s what I wanted to share with you, that it’s not just about picture book ideas (though most of the blog posts will feature PB authors). It’s a great tool for generating ideas for whatever you write.

And that’s it, y’all, ’cause time’s a-wasting and I’ve got work to do! (Unless you can answer that whole time question. In which case, I’ll take a minute or two to read it!)