Mama Diaries

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Clueless

My mom and her husband came to visit this past weekend. Since it was raining, we decided to play board games. One of the games was Clue. A game where you have to guess who committed a murder, with what weapon it was committed, and in what room of the mansion it was committed in. It's a game of strategy that involves a process of elimination. The answer is a set of cards that is hidden away in a "confidential" envelope. You all might be familiar with the game.

As we played the game, it seemed that the location was pretty much pinpointed. All of us thought the murder was done in the Billiard room. Well, it turns out that my son, Bubba, was holding out on us.

He accidentally showed my daughter that he was holding the Billiard room card. Even though previously going around the table revealed that nobody had that card.

"Dude!" my daughter exclaimed. "You had it the whole time?"

Bubba laughed. "Yeah. I kind of forgot about it."

"Forgot about it? It's right there in your hand. How could you forget about it?"

"I'm clueless!"



Before I leave, I would like to share my SCBWI Book Stop page for Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. There's a contest to see who can get the most likes and comments. If you feel inspired, please stop by and like or comment on the page. Thanks! Click on this link.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Nick-O-Lantern

My kids insisted on getting pumpkins to carve for Halloween. Three of them. Guess what? All three are still sitting in front of my house perfectly whole. Not a mark on them.  This doesn't surprise me. Yours truly has always been the official pumpkin carver.  And yours truly was too busy to do any carving this year.

"What are we going to do with these pumpkins?" I asked.

My son, Bubba scratched his head. "I can take them in the back by the creek. There's a patch of land and maybe if we dump them there, they'll turn into a pumpkin patch."

Not a bad idea.

"When are you going to do this?"

He shrugged.

Translation:  Whenever he gets around to it. Probably by next Halloween.

So, I came up with another idea. "How about we carve them for Christmas? We can make snowflakes or Christmas tree cut outs."

Bubba grinned. "Or we can carve faces on them and call them  'Nick-O-Lanterns!'"

(For St. Nicholas, in case you didn't get that.)

Before I go, I'd like to thank all who were part of my month-long blog tour for Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China: Those who hosted me, those who visited, those who shared. I really appreciate all the help in getting the word out!

Congratulations to Yolanda Renee, Danielle Hammelef, Christine Rains, Meredith Miller, and Michelle Wallace who were the winners of my giveaway.

My book is part of the SCBWI book promotion. To visit its page go here. Any comments or likes (or shares) would be appreciated!


 Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. This month's IWSG question is, "How has your creative process changed through the years?"

Uh. I dunno. I think I'm still creative as I have always been. But I think it's tempered by technique considerations. I'm more careful about word choices and making sure that my characters are reacting in an emotional way that is consistent with whatever circumstance they are in. I'd say I'm a little more right-brained these days. Not just spewing out words on paper.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Little Mama

First of all, I want to thank everyone for your warm welcome of guest author, Dennis Higgins, last week. You are all awesome!

I have a hodgepodge of stuff today.

I'll start with the story. This past weekend, I had a Halloween party for my son and his friends. These are eighth graders. Not little munchkins anymore. My son introduced me as "mom." So all the boys called me "mom."

One of the boys was a giant. Do you know how tall he was? Six foot nine!

I looked up at him. "Hi, tall man," I said.

He looked down at me. "Hi, little mom."

Nothing like making me feel shorter than I already am! At least he didn't make me try to give him a high five!


In other news, my book tour for Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China continues. Here are the stops from last week in case you didn't see them (Thanks to everyone who has been visiting and commenting!):

Book Review at J. Bronder Book Reviews

Guest post about doing school author visits at Writers and Authors Blog

Opportunity to enter a win a copy of my book:  Celtic Lady Reviews

Interview at Literary Rambles

Review at Story of a Writer

And lastly,  I am participating in a challenge to raise awareness and funds for a severe neurological disorder called Leigh's Syndrome. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook may have already seen it. The video tells a little about the condition. If you click to watch the video on YouTube, you can see the link for donations. One of my violin students knows a little girl who has it. If you can help by sharing the link or donating, (or creating your own video) the girl's family would appreciate it.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Guest Author, Dennis Higgins

Today, I have a special guest:  Author, Dennis Higgins. This guy has some serious talent as a writer. I've enjoyed reading all of his books! His newest, Christmas Returns to Pottersville, is a lovely story that's perfect for the Christmas season.



Hi, Dennis! Welcome to Mama Diaries!

Thanks so much for having me, Sherry.

1.     Christmas Returns to Pottersville is a clever combination of A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life. Tell us about how the inspiration to create such a story came about.   

I have always loved both stories you mentioned. I heard a movie critic talking about It’s a Wonderful Life saying he wished someone would write a story of redemption where Potter saw his life, had he never been born. So, I wrote it. I suppose, I should tell that critic about it.

You should definitely contact the critic. I'm sure he'd be very interested in this story!

2.     What was a challenge you faced in writing this story? How did you overcome it?

The challenge was that I was already doing research for my next book on internet scammers while trying to finish this one. I missed last Christmas deadline and didn’t get it finished until this year. But, perhaps this was the right time for the book’s release.

I think it's out right in time for Christmas, so it's perfect timing!

3.     What do you want your readers to get out of reading your book?

I hope the reader has a sense of optimism that while this world seems to have gone wrong and become a bit like Pottersville, there is hope and love conquers all.

That's a beautiful message!

4.     Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I always enjoyed putting stories down on paper. It was the best thing I did in school. I have no formal literature education, I just have a vivid imagination. I wrote my first book in 2009-2010. That was my time travel along Route 66 book. I am a person who believes strongly in God and very little in politics. I love music, art, and animals.

I think a lot of us writers can relate to the "no formal literature education" and a "vivid imagination"!

5.     Do you have any advice for writers?

Not really because we writers are all different.

That's true. I'd say if writing is something you enjoy, stick with it. 

6.     What are you working on now?

My next WIP is different from all my other works. I have actually infiltrated the seedy side of the internet and allowed myself to be a would-be victim of several scammers. I did this to learn their techniques and what makes them tick. To learn what makes them the type of people who could cheat others out of money. It has been an eye opener. I call it: Confessions of an Internet Scammer.

Sounds intriguing! This might help others not get scammed.

7.     What is your favorite Christmas memory? 

Wow! I would say it is the collective memory of all my childhood Christmases. The anticipation and love of my family. Gathering around our silver 1960s Christmas tree and taking our time opening presents on Christmas eve, always after we had dinner. My mom believed in making the magic last. All of my immediate family have passed away accept for my brother and me.

I never had a silver Christmas tree, but I sure enjoyed all the Christmas festivities as you have. 

8.     Do you enjoy watching Christmas movies? If so, do you have a favorite?

Yes, yes, and yes. So hard to pick a favorite, although It’s a Wonderful Life is way up there. So is A Christmas Story, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and one very few have every heard of. It’s called 10th Avenue Angel with Margaret O’Brien and a very young and pretty Angela Lansbury. I hate to admit this as they may take away my guy card, but I even like cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies.

It's okay. We'll forgive you for that. :)  I always liked the animated movies. Rudolph, Frosty, and Heat Miser Cold Miser.  

9.     Did your family make Christmas cookies? Would you share the recipe of your favorite cookie?  

My mom was the cookie queen even until her last Christmas on earth. But my favorite of hers were the basic ones she made when we were kids. Tollhouse, Butter cookies (spritz), crescent cookies. Those recipes are fairly basic and obtainable. Since my favorite is chocolate chip, the Nestle morsel bag has that recipe. It was her technique and cookie presses that made her cookies perfect.

Can't go wrong with Tollhouse! Maybe I'll go make some now. :)

10    Where can people find Christmas Returns to Pottersville?

Amazon.com is the exclusive site for this title. Here is the link.

Thanks again for having me on your wonderful blog, Sherry. You are a woman I admire greatly.

Aww, thank you so much, Dennis. It's my pleasure to have you here!



Book Blurb:
Frank Capra’s, It’s a Wonderful Life was the ultimate parallel universe story. George Bailey was shown by an angel a world in which he had never been born. A world where the cute little town of Bedford Falls no longer existed and in its place was the seedy town of Pottersville.
But imagine if Pottersville still existed in the current age, along another path of existence. Welcome to Pottersville, a town owned and operated by Peter F. Potter. A sleazy, corrupt town where Christmas was discouraged and people were miserable. What if Potter was taken to this town, in a world in which he had never been born?





Reviews:


August 31, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have been looking for a new Christmas classic this year, Christmas Returns to Pottersville by Dennis Higgins is the one to get. The main character Mr. Potter has a demeanor of Scrooge out to ruin the Christmas spirit of a town that he practically owns. Tremendous imagination has gone into the making of this story by this creative wordsmith. Excellent Christmas read!


September 30, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
This was such a great Holiday story. It is a twist on the old classics," Its a wonderful life" and "A Christmas Carol" combined. While I enjoy watching the movies, I must admit that I like this version as well! Peter Potter is the descendant of the original Mr. Potter who "owned" Pottersville and destroys it with greed, corruption, and illicit behavior. I really liked how the author mentioned the movie characters in the story because it makes the story more familiar to the reader. Even with all the meanness that Peter Potter bestows on everyone, there are moments that will make you cry with good emotions. The characters are strong in their beliefs despite coldness and despair that the town is living in. This is a very fast read and one that will fill your heart with joy....and faith ! A definite must read !!!


October 2, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this is the best story that has been put out there right now, Dennis Higgins has really out done his self with this story it is such a down to earth message for everyone not just at this time but for all the time.
Please read slow an take in what messages are being told to you as your read then go on Facebook or were ever you can send him a message telling him what a great book with such heart meaning words for all to take into their heart and mind I felt like I was right there in that town. thank you for writing this story Dennis Higgins I am going to tell others about but I am not going to say it here I want to give anything away for other readers to feel the words as they read.



October 18, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Peter Potter is the Scrooge who owns Pottersville. Corruption and discontent run rampant in this miserable little town. After attempting to take his life, Mr. Potter is shown what the place would've been like had he not been born to wreck it. It's a real eye-opener that inspires Mr. Potter to change his ways and create a wonderful life.

Full of imagination, Christmas Returns to Pottersville is a clever combination of the familiar stories of Scrooge (A Christmas Carol) and It's a Wonderful Life. It is a well-written, quick read that offers hope that kindness and love can make the world a better place. A lovely Christmas story recommended for all ages.



Bio:
Award winning author, Dennis Higgins is a distant relative of Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier. He has traveled the world over, collecting story ideas. As a native of Chicago, Illinois, Dennis Higgins has a passion for things that are gone but not forgotten, a romance with the past. For him, time travel is the answer. If not for real, then in the pages of his books.

Quote: “I once had a passionate affair with an Irish lass back in 1871 Chicago. I broke her heart. It just wasn't our time.”

He now lives in the Chicago suburbs with his lovely wife, a dog and a birds.

Among his influences are: Richard Matheson, Jack Finny, Dean Koontz, Joan Wester Anderson, Peter S. Beagle and Audrey Neffenegger.

Author of Pennies From Across the Veil, the Time Pilgrim series: Katya and Cyrus, Almost Yesterday and Tomorrow's Borrowed Trouble from Whiskey Creek Press. Also five indie books, Parallel Roads (Lost on Route 66), Steampunk Alice, The Old Scrapbook, The Writer’s Apprentice, and Christmas Returns to Pottersville.


LINKS:




Website:





Before I go, I'd like to let you know that my book tour is continuing. I'm a guest on Literary Rambles blog. Please stop by and learn how Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China came to be.





Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Case if the Missing Lunch Box

My boy has a habit of losing things.

This time, it was his lunch box. I figured it was stuffed somewhere in his locker. Even though he hasn't been in school for more than three months, I had a feeling it was an utter disaster.

"Dude, can you clean out your locker? We've gone through two lunch boxes already, and I'm tired of stuffing your food into these paper bags," I said.

I don't know if he bothered to clean his locker. Probably not. But he did come home with this announcement:

"I know where my lunch box is."

"Where?" I asked.

"In my homeroom class. The teacher is using it as a door stop!"


Before I go, I will let you know that my tour is continuing. I'm on Julie Flander's blog. Please stop by to read an excerpt (different from the others you may have seen) and enter to win a copy of my book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Canine Catastrophe

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen that Schultz, my giant German Shepherd, was not feeling well.



Let me tell you about his vet visit.

We took him to the vet where he was examined. It was discovered that he had two ear infections, a skin infection, and a bunch of soars on his tummy and neck. He was a canine catastrophe. Schultz did not like being poked and examined. There was lots of yiping and whining and snapping at the vet.  I'm sure it didn't feel good. But when they got out the razor to shave his neck, he decided enough was enough.

I'm not sure how he did it, but he escaped from the back room and made a beeline for the front door. All you could hear were dogs in the waiting room barking, the scrambling of feet across the floor, and the vet yelling, "SCHULTZ!!!!!"

It was chaos and mayhem!

All I have to say, is it's a good thing Schultz wasn't able to open the front door, or he would've ended up in Timbuktu.

Schultz is better now, but it's not fun shoving pills down his throat with our hands. Those are some mighty big teeth! (He's an expert in getting the pills out of the pill pockets and dropping them on the floor.) The good news is, he didn't have to get his neck shaved. The vet knew better than to mess with Schultz!

Have you ever had anything crazy like that happen with your pet during a vet visit?


I am a guest on The Story of a Writer today. You can read an excerpt from my book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China and enter to win a copy of the book.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

IWSG




I know I'm a couple of days early, but I won't have time to be here on Wednesday, so I'm doing this now. What am I doing? Answering the IWSG question of the month: Have world events influenced your writing in any way, and has writing helped you?

I can't say I'm influenced by events in the news. I don't have much time to watch the news, and most of it is depressing anyway. I write whatever I feel like writing regardless of what's going on around me.

Writing has helped. Mostly by getting my mind off of problems I'm dealing with in my personal life. I don't share much about those, but they've been significant and long-lasting. Writing is an escape from all of that. It forces me to focus on a story, rather than the troubles. I imagine it's like that for a lot of people. 

What about you? Are you influenced by world events? Has writing helped you?



This month, I will be doing a blog tour to promote my new book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. The first stop will be at Writer's Gambit on Friday, October 5th.  If you have a chance, please stop by.