Toot Toot

On the one hand, if you toot your own horn, it can look self-serving and narcissistic.

On the other hand, if you don’t toot it, who will?  Besides, who cares how it looks?  We’re beyond looks here!

With that in mind and with Christmas around the corner, I offer up two suggestions for anyone on your list who enjoys ebooks.  Both are short, easy reads and both are very reasonably priced.  They can be found at my author page on Amazon’s ebooks site, which is pictured at the start of this post (link:

The 30th Day:  A Life Journey Novella is centered around the true story of a dear friend I interviewed earlier this year at our winter campground in Florida.  Rebeccah’s life journey shows how generational struggles and family connections mold the clay of our being and, most importantly, how forgiveness can free and inspire us to reach beyond.  The interviewer in the story is a fictional character who is inspired by Rebeccah to reconcile her own family history with her life choices of today.

Billy:  A Campground Chronicles Short Story is my own story, based on experiences this past summer while camp hosting at a campground in Tennessee.  Billy, a special needs teen, stayed at the campground with his family for two weeks.  The story offers an inside view as camp hosts, rangers, and campers all must find ways to deal with Billy’s antics and behavior.  It also shares a life lesson and a beautiful gift that he gave to me.

Whether you purchase the ebooks or not, thank you for reading my blog and keeping me company on my little journey.  A friend and blog-reader once commented that he was surprised at how such a private person would publicly share and reveal so much.  I hadn’t thought of that before, but after giving it some consideration, my response is threefold.

First, as a solo traveler, writing is a natural and cathartic way to share my thoughts and give voice to my words.  Even a loner gets a little loopy after too long a time talking to thin air (or the dog–love you Dawny).

Second, when my friend made that comment, I was slightly flummoxed.  I didn’t realize that I was sharing that much personal stuff.  My main goal has been to remain honest and real, but I suppose if you read between the lines, you can find some personal tidbits.

Finally, this blog has been a safe place where the readers, many of whom are friends, offer caring support and respect.  Just simply by “listening.”  I do appreciate that.  I appreciate you.  And it surely does ease the sharing part of things.

On that note, here is a toot-toot to all of you, wishing you a very merry Christmas, the happiest of holidays, and bountiful blessings in the coming new year.  Tooooooot!

A Woodland All Hallows’ Eve

Tents covered in spiders

Lost souls on patrol

Who knew?

Hallowed spirits still wander

if you know where to look


like me

stumble upon their scene

in the midst of the forest

A magical moment of

sweet serendipity . . .



Traditional fare parades on by

in the form of

cowboys and cowgirls and cows alike

werewolves and witches

skellies and mummies

Awww . . .

Only one ghost in sight

(maybe many more, unseen?)


Look there!

Family values on bold display

Minnie Mouse in a stroller

pushed by fully-tattoed poppa

and purple-haired momma

A little green imp

carried by Frankenstein’s bride

Ladybug in a buggy (what else?)

bundled against a fell chill


Pirate and cop

pulling two ducks in a wagon

followed by a caterpillar a’waggin’

his big rear-end

There goes a Lone Ranger princess

running ahead on a sugar-high

her parents falling far behind

Awww, dalmation puppies

Watch out, here comes Cruella!


Batman, Superman, Spiderman

Ninja in a turtle

foam muscles all a’bulging

Belle, Ariel, Cinderella

Ballerina in a tutu

plastic curls all a’bouncing

Death himself, oh no!

The Incredible Hulk, oh yes!

Pikachu, I hardly knew you!


Witches with black cats

Genies full of wishes (mo’ candy!)

Fairy pink princess hand-holding

her Jedi Knight in white

Teenagers in trash bags and bunny ears

out for the take

Dinosaur chasing a football star

chasing a cheerleader

Robin Hood, help!


There goes Freddie Krueger with Fred Flintstone

Now that’s a time warp accident in waiting


Oooo, a princess-pirate-witch

So cool!

Groovy, there are some hippie girls

(When did I become an antique curiosity?)

Gasp . . .

The hippie girl’s romantic elder cousin

Gypsy girl all a’glitter

ruffled skirt and dotted headscarf

flirting away with Father Winter . . .


Is it the saintly fresh air

filling our lungs?

Or the wilderness digging deeply

into rich pagan roots?

Whatever the explanation

this has been the best Halloween parade

since I danced forth in my own



ruffled gypsy skirt

several lifetimes ago!


This poem was saved for Halloween but written in early October on the afternoon that I lucked into one of the last sites available in Ohio’s Barkcamp State Park Campground.  It was packed for their first annual Halloween celebration complete with decorated campsites, costumed trick-or-treaters, and a haunted walk through the woods.  I usually call parks ahead of time to double check if there is any reason or event that is liable to fill the campground on the date of my arrival.  I did not do that this trip.  I have stayed here several times already when crossing Ohio.  It is quiet, out of the way, and for heaven’s sake, it was early October.  Kids in school, camping season winding down… even on a Saturday, I did not expect there to be an issue.

So, let this be a lesson to anyone’s ears open to hearing that calling ahead is always prudent, and a gift to anyone’s heart open to magic that serendipity is an unplanned treasure.

— Dedicated to my good friend, Carol:  Texas co-rancher extraordinaire, super-mom, super-duper grandmom,  maker of the most delicious meals, and, I must say, a very well-organized sort (that is my highest complement, you know).  Happy birthday, girl.  You sure picked a great day to start your parade! —


Writer’s block.  Seems pretentious to even call it that.  It’s not like I’m…  Actually, I am.  I am a writer.  My two ebooks have earned barely $60 in total but, hey, they are mine and, hey hey hey, I got paid for them.  But now I am blocked.

My son is a talented writer.  And thinker.  And story teller.  The other day he told me that when you are blocked you need to do something to kickstart yourself right out of there, even if it takes some time.  Find out what it is, and then do it.  For him, it’s playing video games.

If I did that, I would lose myself.  Trust me, as a former addict of the game World of Warcraft, I know.  I still dream of being in bear form and knocking the snot out of some big monster while my teammates go in for the kill and others shoot heals my way so I can outlive the monster who is trying to chew my head off.  I have a friend from those days who still plays.  She posts videos of her guild’s battles on her website and talks excitedly about her latest weapon acquisition, so I can enjoy the game vicariously through her.  But I don’t.  I don’t even watch the videos.  It would hurt too much, in a way, because I can no longer play.  I guess that’s partly what makes an addict an addict.

My son and I agree that reading a good book can help unblock the block.  I find that to be a lovely and safe choice.  Usually.

Right now I am reading Agatha Christie Mallowan’s Come, Tell Me How You Live, kindly sent to me by a friend.  It is an accounting of her travels and adventures with her husband, famed British archeologist Sir Max Mallowan, during archeological digs in Iraq and Syria in the 1930s.

If the internet existed back then, Dame Agatha would undoubtedly be tapping away at her blog every day or so–no writer’s block for her!–updating eager readers over tea on her struggles, both mundane and fantastical, ranging from constipation (not hers–she is a true lady, after all) to murder (also not hers, but probably inspiring her fictional works).   She would share with her contemporaries the beauty, charm, and magnificence of the Middle East and its people during this interlude between two world wars.  As for future readers such as you and I, Christie’s poignant references to Aleppo and Mosul, Raqqa and Beirut, Armenian, Arab, Moslem, and Kurd fall heavy on the heart.  But it is a grateful heart, blessed with a glimpse into our own very real world in another very real time.  Between those lines, one can sometimes find hope.

Where Dame Agatha’s work is a gentle, cultured read, my son’s recommendations lean toward the wild side.  Per his encouragement, I have read a dozen of Jim Butcher’s books in his series The Dresden Files, which follows the adventures of a modern day wizard-detective who turns out to be so much more.  Butcher is an incredible writer who blends nonstop action with humor, managing to squeeze in some real character depth while he’s at it.  I took a break from the series after finishing volume 12 last spring.  I’m still too exhausted to pick up number 13.  But I will.

My son is an avid Stephen King fan, as well, so upon his urging I read The Stand.  I texted the poor boy for days afterwards about how much I despised, no, DESPISED!!! the ending.  I slogged for weeks through a thousand-plus pages for that???  I felt so cheated!!!  On the other hand, King sure did manage to elicit a passionate reaction and, for any author, that’s success right there.

Bowing to more of my son’s advice, I read a sneak peak (10 percent of the book) on Amazon of King’s classic horror novel, It.  Yes, It is very well written.  Inspired, you might well say.  But, yikes, Mr. King sure taps into a deep well filled with some very dark stuff.  The sneak peak ended (OF COURSE!) with the frightened little wife shaking in her slippers, turning the doorknob to the bathroom where her husband had mysteriously retired… drip drip drip sounds from the other side of the door.  Amazon then asked me to buy the book.  Instead, I googled spoilers for It and found out what happened without having to get immersed in the remaining 90 percent.  Look who’s the cheater now, ha!

You have to be careful what you put into your brain, you know?

Actually, what I think works best to unblock the block, at least for me, is to simply sit and write.  Just start.  See what pops out, then follow it along until it fades away…  end of story.  Or maybe not.  Go back in a few days and tweak it.  Maybe a crazy video game scene will come crashing into a discussion of Agatha Christie who, in a ladylike turn, will toss her tea and shift into a monster out of a Stephen King novel.  Oh!  Bear form, quick!  I’ll kill Pennywise the clown with my bare paws!!!  And look!  Over 900 words later I have managed to unblock things, at least on the blog front.

Now, back to work on my next little ebook.  It will be sweet, a bit on the tame side, but hey, that’s what I know.  Heck, maybe I will toss in a little spice… but no clowns.  Absolutely no clowns!

(For any interested readers, my ebooks can be found on my Amazon author page,  If you do pick one up and enjoy it, please consider giving it a review.  That is helpful both to search rankings and to author encouragement.  Thank you!)