Saturday, March 31, 2012


To accustom or become accustomed to a new environment or situation.

I'm participating in the A-Z Challenge this year. Starting on April 1st I'll be blogging an entire alphabet of things during the month.
What was I thinking!?
Actually, I was thinking it might challenge me to stretch my imagination, write daily and create a habit.  Next year, maybe I'll create a theme like the more experienced A to Z bloggers do.

Downtown OKC is under construction. Merchants and shoppers (as well as those who work downtown) have to acclimate to the dust, the horrible traffic, detours and sometimes little or no business. I feel like my life is under construction. So, as I become acclimated to living in Oklahoma, my new surroundings among other things, I'll also acclimate to a new writing regimen. Being in a new place is like a do-over, a fresh start--a new beginning. Let's see what happens.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Living Lean in Oklahoma

Who’s idea was it to live lean? Mine? Living without is easier said than done. The notion of sitting in lawn chairs might make for a peaceful visual, but believe me, it sounds more like leisure living than it actually is. I told you in a previous post, our plan was to travel light and buy what we needed after we got here. That’s what we’ve done.

Don't you just love all our windows? Light cheers me!

Things seem a little higher here in this neck of the woods: Big Lots, Target and WalMart all. Goodwill is skimpy too. I haven't found the chest of drawers we need so we're still living out of suitcases. Nor have I found bedside tables I was certain I’d come across. Broke down and purchased a couple of little patio tables for each side of the bed--$7.00 apiece.  So far we've purchased a new bed --and it’s sooooooo comfortable.  Dishes--can you believe I left ours at home? I had to mix our corn bread in a small pot because we have no mixing bowls. What was I thinking?

At the beginning of the week, I was sick for my books so I purchased some cheap garage shelving to stack the few I brought. Nothing like filled bookcases to make a bare apartment look like home. Here's what we look like before and after we purchased the futon.

I haven't written a thing but now that I can sit comfortably with banker boxes serving as an end table, I'll dig out my novel and get back to revising. I'm feeling anxious to write. Sight-seeing will be a weekend thing; I'll post our discoveries about once a week.

Hope you're all getting something accomplished. Let me know what you're doing so I'll feel like I'm home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Exploring Oklahoma City

Last Saturday, we visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum that honors the victims, survivors, rescuers and all who were changed forever on April 19, 1995. I’m still thinking about it. Talk about a heartbreaking memorial. Hard to fight the lump in the throat and tears in the eyes.  According to the brochure, “the design was selected in an international competition including 624 entries submitted from every state and 23 countries. The winning design, created by the Butzer Design partnership, was chosen by a committee comprised of family members, survivors, rescuers, civic leaders and design professionals.”

And it is beautiful. Reverant. The perfect place for reflection. And tears. The reflecting pool above is what was once N.W. Fifth Street. It's shallow and flows gently. When you walk around the area, the silence is amazing. No one speaks.
The tall building pictured at the right is the former Journal Record Building. It's now the Museum. We didn't go in. After experiencing the outside, I don't think I could have looked at the pictures of the 168 people who were killed.

Below is the Field of Empty Chairs
Each chair (168 of them) symbolize a life lost, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children killed. they're arranged in nine rows, one for each of the nine floors of the building. They're placed according to the floor on which those killed were working or visiting.  The name of the victim is etched on the glass base. The field's perimeter matches the footprint of the former Murrah Building. It's lined by a granite path--granite that was salvaged from the Murrah Plaza.  

The picture below is the Fence, installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. People leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Those items now total more than 60,000 and some are preserved in the Archives. There's more than 200 feet of Fence that give people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope. The outpouring of mementos is overwhelmingly heartbreaking. One letter I read said, "Dear Mom, You have four grandchildren now. I wish you could see them." By the time I left the Fence, I wanted to fall down on the grass and sob.                  

Across the street from the memorial there's a statue of Jesus. It faces a church that was partially damaged. They erected the statue in memory and honor and at the base of it is the scripture John 11:35: Jesus Wept. After walking the grounds, feeling this place, reading the letters from loved ones, it's not difficult to believe that Jesus is still weeping.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Taking Up Residence in Yukon, Oklahoma

Even as we loaded vehicles and headed toward Yukon, Oklahoma, it seemed unreal. Just doesn't feel right to be living and working here for a year. But, here's a pic of hubby leading me across the southern part of Ardmore, OK so I'm not dreaming. I sort of liked Ardmore--even though we didn't get off the Interstate. I like the mountains much better than flat land where we are. I missed snapping the best of the mountains. By the time I dug out my camera, we were past them. Ardmore is also the home of the Gene Autry Film and Music Festival.

We looked around the area on Friday evening and rented an apartment on Saturday morning. Lots of prayer went into finding a place because I did NOT want to be on the 3rd floor. Well, here were are in Building 13, ground floor. We move in Friday. The first complex we went to had a three-month waiting list. The second complex had two apartments available but both were on the third floor. God does answer prayer! Building Thirteen? No, I'm not superstitious. I'm really not!

The young apartment manager told us her grandparents used to live in Lake Charles, LA. Then when we bought our bed, the guy who sold it to us said his dad works for the same company hubby works for. I'm constantly reminded how small this world is ... and how transient.

I didn't get to the OK-RWA meeting as I'd hoped--just too much to do. Actually, I looked like a dozen kittens had taken residence in my hair and had a cat fight; yes, the wind blows constantly here. You know what they say about first impressions!  (And yes, I always wear two sets of glasses at the same time!)
The rain came yesterday around 4:00 and we've been watching the weather ever since. I guess that's what they do in Oklahoma. Counties west of us had their first tornadoes last night. The hotel people told us if a tornado is sited, an alarm will sound and we'll need to get downstairs to a designated room. Hope they have mattresses for us to crawl under. Guess I'd better get used to this sort of thing. I'm an Okie now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The (Happy?) Wanderer

A bit of news: Oklahoma is now a reality. We’re heading in that direction this week. If I’m lucky I’ll be  sitting in my first OK-RWA meeting on Saturday. Yep, I paid my dues so I’m now officially an Oklahoma Outlaw. They meet at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.  This meeting, Mel Odom and Michael Kent are speaking on Self Publishing for Authors. I have a friend who lives in the Norman area and has studied under Mel Odom. She’s been singing his praises for years so I’ve always wanted to meet him. I’m not familiar with Michael Kent but here’s a link about epublishing and academia that some of you might find interesting.

We’ll be holed up in a hotel until we find a place to live. We’re going with nothing more than knapsacks on our backs. Don’t re-read that sentence; you read it right the first time. We’re taking nothing but cooking utensils, clothes, a TV, laptops and books. Everything else we’ll purchase there so get those garage sales ready. Don’t wrinkle that nose, we will buy a new bed and bring it home with us when we come, but for the rest of it--we aren’t buying anything we can’t walk away from when our year is over.
So while our very trustworthy, diligent housesitters are watching over our home, (and putting up with me when I decide I just have to come home to check on/fondle my missed possessions) we’ll be roughing it in the wiles of Oklahoma.  You’ll hear from me again when I get there. Keep your fingers crossed, wish us luck, or pray--whichever works best for you.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I've Been Tagged...

I find being tagged very stressful. It’s not answering the questions that raises my blood pressure, it’s tagging others. I always wonder ... what if I’m bothering them? What if they don’t want to be tagged? What if they don’t like me anymore? Tagging people seems a lot like a chain letter, or telemarketing to me. But since Sylvia Nye tagged me and she’s a little sweetheart, and I don't have anything else to do today, I’m going to play along. I’m even going to tag some people. We’ll see if they still like me when this is all over. 
So, I’ve been tagged by Sylvia Nye! Now that I am “it”, here are the questions I need to answer:

1. What is the one book you couldn’t live without?  Because of the funky mood I’m in this rainy day, I can’t think of one book I can’t live without. Of course, I’m pretending I have the Bible memorized so it’s all in my head.

2. What can you see out your window at the moment?  Because of the wind, rain, thunder and lightning, I’m looking at a beaten-down Bridal Wreath and Azaleas. Little petal crumbs are everywhere.
3. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?  I do not, I repeat, I do NOT eat weird things. I have a very, very weak stomach.
4. What fictional character would you most like to marry?  The
fictional characters in my favorite books had problems I don’t want to deal with so they’re out. But, if I wanted to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life, I’d marry Joseph Turner, a bookish CIA researcher (Robert Redford) in Three Days of the Condor. The movie was adapted from the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady. I have no idea if the hero in the book is Redford-ish.
   5.If ever a fictional villain was going to win, who would you want it to be?  I have to go with J.R. Ewing. He cheated, lied and did all kinds of dastardly deeds for the love of Southfork Ranch. 

6. How many types of cheese can you name off the top of your head?  I just eat it I don’t read it.

7. If you didn’t want to be a writer, what would you want to be?  A detective, a movie star, a publisher, a college professor, a psychiatrist, an inventor and the list goes on and on.
8. Can you play a musical instrument?  I took piano lessons for five years and played a mean flutophone in elementary school.
9. Do you own a Kindle or a Nook or any sort of e-reader?  I won a Kindle by leaving a comment on Curt Iles new website.
10. If you do, how many books do you have on it?  142 books and yes, I buy them too.
11. You just got published. In a glowing review, someone calls you “the next [insert famous author name here]”. Which famous author has to watch their back now you’re on the scene? I’d love to be as imaginative as Stephen King.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012


Southern Writers Magazine, the magazine I write for, is hosting a short story contest. And this summer they'll publish a bonus issue of Southern short stories by our readers. Whether you're already a well-known novelist, or a newcomer ready to get in print, the Southern Writers Short Story Contest is a great opportunity.
Any family-friendly subject is welcome, and the guidelines are simple:

1. Your story must take place in a Southern setting or feature a character from the South.
Manuscript must be 1000 words or less, 12 pt Times or Times New Roman, double-spaced.
Your name, email address and mailing address must be on page 1, with your title and story beginning on page 2.
No erotica, profanity or otherwise questionable content will be considered.
5. Submission and entry fee must be received by 12:01 AM May 2, 2012.
Go HERE for more info. We'd love for you to subscribe to Southern Writers Magazine. It's absolutely crammed full of good articles and great tips and suggestions for marketing, writing, networking--you name, this magazine has it! My article on Louisiana novelist Christa Allan is in this latest issue. Would love for you to check it out.
Some of you know how much I love The First Line Literary Magazine. Editor David LaBounty spoke at one of our BWG conferences: great session if you need a speaker on small presses, literary magazines, poetry, plays or short stories. The  purpose of The First Line is to jump start the imagination--also, an exercise in creativity for writers and a chance for readers to see how many different directions we can take when we start from the same place.
Go HERE to learn more and get a list of deadlines and first lines. I'm excited that The First Line is now available on Kindle. Go HERE to subscribe or purchase a single copy.