Tag Archives: writing

Is There Too Much of a Good Thing?

Remember the holidays of your youth, and maybe even the more recent “healthier” versions? Holidays where the family and friends gathered for visits and food. Lots and lots of food. Tables groaning from the weight of the food. Every flat service as a food-server.

Remember those meals? Remember how we’d leave the table barely able to walk because everything was soooooo good and we consumed much more than our usual daily fare?

Remember those feelings? Well, currently, that’s how I am with blog hops and challenges.

It seems every time I click on a blog I’m following they are about to begin a blog hop or challenge. Worse, they’re inviting me to join in. It wouldn’t be so bad if the hops didn’t sound like fun, but they always do. Right now I’m following, or participating in a couple of challenges or hops.

1. The Ultimate Blog Challenge, UBC – the brain child of Michele Scism. The idea is to post on our blogs ever day in January. Every.single.day. Today is day 12 and this post will be number 8. I have another post in mind, was going to tack the information here, but why not give it its own post? That will leave me three behind. With any luck I’ll come back tonight and post about my week with post 10. Then I’ll only be two posts behind. 🙂

2. The Finishers – A Facebook group devoted to cleaning out and finishing projects in our UFO stash. It started last year, I finished, I think, three UFOs. This year will be better.

3. Get it Done – From Judy Laquidera at Patchwork Times. For this challenge we list four projects we’ve started and plan to finish in a given month as well as four more projects we’d “like” to complete. My list is here.

4. The Rainbow Scrap Challenge – From the Super Scrappy Blog, oh my how I love anything with scraps. For this one, a color will be selected each month and we will make something, or finish something, in that color. January is all about pink. Hot pink. I need to get cracking on that one. This challenge didn’t require a sign-up, but I do need to add her button to my sidebar.

5. In the non-sewing/quilting lane we have reading. Specifically reading historicals. This challenge comes from Historical Tapestry.

6.  On Friday’s the goal is to link up with The Gypsy Mama, write for five minutes, no editing, no over thinking, and posting.

As if those weren’t enough, I’m adding another challenge, hop to my plate. It gets it’s own post.

I love Blog Hops and challenges. Enough is enough however, for me there is too much of a good thing. How about you, is there such a thing as too much? Are you involved in any hops or challenges?


Diving vs Jumping

“Dive right in.” How many times have we said or heard that? I don’t usually dive, I jump. There’s a difference.

Diving is calculated, thought about, and graceful.

Jumping in takes little to no thought, no calculating necessary, and is more clunky than graceful.

Both actions get us into the water, whether real or symbolic. Divers look at the issue, consider what exactly needs to be done, and the method best used before diving in and taking care of business.

Jumpers see the issue, have an idea what needs to be done, and jumps in without thinking about the hows.

This blog is an example of one of my jumps. One late night, or early morning, while visiting in a chat room someone suggested I needed a blog to share my ideas. Now, I’d heard of a blog before as a way to get my name out, but hadn’t really considered it. Here was the idea again. This time, maybe due to the late hour, my feeling of aloneness, or just because I’m a closet rebel, I jumped in and started a blog.

No consideration about what the blog would cover. No plan of posting. No idea of what I was doing. Just jump in and figure it out. As a result, the blog has gone, and is still undergoing, changes and revamping.

A diver would have carefully considered what they wanted their blog to look like, what information they’d want to include, how often they’d blog and many more questions. Those are the blogs that look good from the beginning.

Divers and Jumpers usually get to the same place, in the water. It’s just our method of entering is different.

Are you a diver or a jumper?

Linking up with LisaJo at The Gypsy Mama as part of Five Minute Friday. Rules are simple, write for five minutes on a prompt (I think I went over by a couple of minutes). Post what is written, no editing, no second guessing (good for jumpers, harder for divers). Link up at Gypsy Mama, read and comment on other posts.

Also linking up with Ultimate Blog Challenge. Trying to post daily for the month of January.

Taking Time for Thanks

Jim Reeves, and other artists recorded a song, THE FARMER AND THE LORD.  It reminds us there is always something for which to be thankful. You can hear the song here.

Last year I found Janice Tanton and joined her journey to list five things I’m thankful for each day. Thursday’s I’ll recap the previous week’s gratitudes.

Friday, January 4

Someone willing to write a blurb for my book My second quilting devotional is finished, and I wanted to add a blurb on the back from another quilter. Barb is willing to be that person. The sunshine makes the day brighter, my kitchen is clean, I’m making progress on making a sewing room and most especially I’m thankful for PeeWee and her help in clearing out the future sewing room.

Saturday, January 5

Finding new blogs,  others’ blogs add variety, education and fun. I’m always thankful when I find a new one I enjoy. Five Minute Friday, the brain child of Lisa Jo at The Gypsy Momma and her friends. It’s where we write for 5 minutes about a subject she posts and then we post, no editing no second guessing. It’s fun? Courage found to do difficult tasks. Grandkids carrying on a tradition, showing in livestock shows, like their daddy and grandpa. Milk for breakfast cereal, because seriously, who wants to eat cereal and not have milk?

Sunday, January 6

Crispy potato wedges, I actually left them in the oven long enough to become crispy. I’m thankful for the patience and the taste. Policeman stopped me on my way home last night, I’m thankful it wasn’t for lawbreaking, so no ticket. Thankful he did stop me, to let me know my headlight was out, before it caused an accident. Grateful there are stock shows close enough to attend if I so desire. While the calendar says January, the temps say more October. Love and appreciate the lack of cold.

Monday, January 7.

I’m always thankful for the people in my life, and periodically I will list five of them for my daily gratitudes. Monday was one of those days. I met these five ladies through the internet and they have all blessed my life considerably. Amy Mullis is a funny writer. Really she is. Check out her venture, Stage of Life. I must warn you, it’s best not to have liquids in your mouth when reading her insightful prose.  She is a fun cheerleader and has boosted me several times when I’ve been down.

Mariam Kobras was promoting her first book, The Distant Shore, and caught my attention. Who knew she was a quilter before she became an author? We have become good online friends and I’m looking forward to meeting her this year when she once again is in the United States. Her blog, Author on the Porch, often includes snippets from her books.

I “met” Lauri Rottmayer through Mariam. Now how strange is that? An author in Germany connects two Okies? Lauri makes me smile every time I see her tweets. One of these days she and I will meet in real life and have lunch.

Rebecca Laffer-Smith, is another friend from “across the pond.” She is an Australian author. We  met at AbsoluteWrite.

Lisa Adams, is caring, encouraging, a mother, and a cancer warrior. I always look forward to seeing her posts. I worry and send up prayers for her when I don’t.

Those are just five of the awesome people I’ve met online.  Hope you enjoyed meeting them too.

Tuesday, January 8

In Your Words Blog hop, a group of quilters selected a word for the year and made a small quilt/wall hanging featuring the word. It’s great fun, not only to see the words others have chosen, but also the many creative ways of expressing the words. Pretzels, the hard crunchy salty ones. Had some left from the holidays and enjoyed munching them. Technology that works, because often it doesn’t. Book signings, always thankful to meet others who enjoy reading and quilting. Also it’s a fun  way to promote and sell my book. Fifth gratitude, finally, making progress on finding and establishing a routine.

Wednesday, January 9

I don’t often dream, or at least the dreams aren’t remembered, thankful to not only have and remember the dreams, but also the reconnection with those I love, even if only in my sleep. I love attending Toastmasters, and am thankful for the Atoka group that is only an hour away. Rain, filling the ponds, and adding much needed moisture to the soil. Having a safe trip, after dark and in the rain, neither are my favorite driving conditions, thankful the trip was uneventful. Red birds that brighten the dull winter landscape.

Thursday, January 10

Receiving cards in the mail, just because someone cared. The bills are all paid for another month and there was money to pay the bills. Places and people to visit or see, a reason to leave the house and be involved in life.

As Jim Reeves points out in the song, regardless of the down side, there is an upside, and always something to be thankful we have in our lives. Have you taken time to notice some of your blessings? Please share, either here or join us on Twitter, using the hashtag 5dailygratitudes.

New Day, New Week, New Year

The new If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.   — Mary Pickford.

As far as this blog is concerned, falling down is letting it go dormant for days, weeks at a time. Still, I keep trying to post on a consistent basis and follow a schedule. To jump-start my plan, I’ve joined The Ultimate Blog Challenge. The idea is to post every day in January.

Since I forgot to post on January 1, that’s already not happening. Which means the new goal is to post almost every day in January, thirty days out of thirty-one isn’t bad.

The current schedule for the blog is:

Monday Meetings, posts with book reviews, interviews or profiles of authors, quilters, or both. Since my current WIP, Follow The Sun, is considered a historical I’m taking the challenge to read more historical novels. To help and encourage me, I’ll be linking up with Historical Tapestry for the 2013 Historical Fiction Challenge. My goal is to read ten historical novels this year. Thanks to Becca at Lost in Books for steering me to Historical Tapestry.

Tuesday Tutorials, most weeks this will be a round-up of 5 tutorials from other bloggers. Once a month or so there will be a tutorial from me.

Wednesday, is middle of the week progress report.  This is where I try to keep myself on track and post my progress with my writing, sewing, reading, and book sales.

Thankful Thursday, a recap of the past seven days gratitudes listed with Twitter’s Five Daily Gratitudes hashtag.

Friday I will be linking up once again with The Gypsy Mama and  participating in, Five Minute. Current plans are also to include writings from Absolute Write’s Sunday night  Flash Fiction challenge.

Saturday is showing and sharing. Pictures from the previous week, whether that means hanging out with writers, speakers or quilters. Also, pictures of quilts and other sewing projects either completed, or worked on during the week.

That’s one of my goals/resolutions for this year, to blog more consistently. It’s a new year, anything is possible.   Are you joining any linky parties, or taking any challenges? Bring on the new year!

Following a schedule topic schedule is difficult. I will attempt, however, if a linky party comes along that piques my interest, it will mess with my “editorial calendar.” Some days may have two blog posts, like today, because the computer and/or internet wouldn’t play nice and let me post.

I have other goals and resolutions for this year, and will probably be sharing them as the year progresses. For today, the goal is to post daily on this blog. Did you make any goals or resolutions? How are you doing this first week?

Playing Catch-Up with the 30 Days of Thanks

Time to play catch-up. Again. Sometimes I think I play that game much too often. The last few days have been spent working on Christmas projects and writing, which left my little blog neglected.

So, today I will catch up on at least the last couple of days of gratitude. My list for the month is listed here. The last “thankful” post was for my computer, all computers, here.

Next on the list are, the internet, Ozzie (my dog), and trees. Here we go.

The Internet

Our connection source. The world has become much smaller in my lifetime thanks to the telephone, television, and air travel. These are all good tools to help us reach others, but they have their limits.

We only call, or receive calls, to chat and visit from people we’ve previously met. Seldom do we call a random number and strike up a conversation and friendship with someone.

The television is passive, we don’t interact with it and we view only what others want us to view.

Travel is expensive and time consuming. Whether we travel by plane, car, bus, train, or boat, there is a cost and time factor involved. Limiting how much we connect with others far away.

Enter the internet. We can meet others online. We can go to sites, and meet others with similar interests. I “met” several friends at Absolute Write (AW). We have writing as a common factor, but we differ in many ways.

I’ve even found quilters I visit and follow at the Quilting Gallery. Who knew people moved away from their sewing machines long enough to post their sewing progress online?

Then, of course, there are the social networks, Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest that allow me to meet a variety of people from all walks of life. Online friends are an eclectic group, a more diverse group than can be found in any neighborhood, or social gathering.

The internet also allows me to do research for my books, or just for my information easily. The closest library to me is 15 miles and only open in the afternoon, my next choices are both 30 miles away. Doing research at the library requires planning (something I’m not good at), and travel. The internet allows almost instant (assuming it’s working) access to a larger research pool.

Of course, nothing is perfect and the internet has its flaws. Among other cons, the internet can cause people to abandon their real lives and families, that’s not good. But, for most of us, the internet has been a benefit and I am thankful to have it.

How about you? How has the internet impacted your life?

Next up on the list for Saturday is Ozzie my little dog.

Ozzie was a ‘gift’ from my little granddaughter Paisley. He was her dog.  Mom and dad had their hands full with their jobs, Paisley, livestock, and the new baby on the way, they needed a new home for Ozzie.

Paisley, of course, did not want to get rid of her dog. However, she was willing to let Grandma Nin take him, for awhile. It’s been three years. Now,  she’s okay with him living at my house.

Ozzie may be four years old, but he’s a little like having a two year old in the  house. He gets into everything that is within reach. Drop a pin cushion on the floor, or just forget and leave it on the ottoman and it’s his. I’ll be running the magnet over the entire floor to pick up pins, and gathering up what’s left of the pin cushion after he chewed it.

It’s common for him to hear, “Ozzie, what do you have?” Then he tilts his head and gives me that innocent, ‘what are you talking about?’ look.

Ozzie loves people. One year my dog-sitter was unavailable so Ozzie attended the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. (OWFI) conference with me. He loved all the attention from the other writers. Amy Shojai shared a video of him playing which Paisley enjoyed watching.

Ozzie makes me smile and I am so glad he’s in my life. Thank you Paisley. Do you have a pet?

Finally, for today, trees are on my list.

I’m lucky to live in Southeast Oklahoma which is full of trees. I can’t imagine living in a place without trees.

Right now the wind is blowing, hard. Not tornado hard, or hurricane hard, but hard enough to rock the chairs on the porch, and blow unsecured items around the yard. The trees buffer a lot of that wind. Sitting in the security of my house the wind howls and sounds horrible. The trees however, stand their ground.

In the summer the trees offer shade and relief from the blistering heat. I’m often the last  of my friends to turn on the air conditioner, because the trees surrounding me help keep me at a comfortable temperature.

Although I no longer climb trees, in my youth I did. Today the trees remind me of that time when my brothers, and neighborhood friends would climb the trees. We climbed and hid among the leaves, creating our own worlds high above the real world and our parents below.

In the winter, the trees offer refuge to wildlife, and the bare limbs remind me that spring and new life is coming.

So, there you have it. I’m almost caught up, and three things I’m thankful to have. What about you? What are you thankful to have in your life?

Computer Gratitude

On Day 8 I’m thankful for computers, all computers. They have become so much a way of our life we often forget about them. Us mere mortals, hospitals, schools, law enforcement, airlines, travel agencies, and city halls, are among the few entities using computers. Of course there are small areas where computers aren’t commonplace, but I’m thankful for all of the ways computers have enriched our lives.

Recently my cousin Steve was in the hospital and his entire stay was computerized. Every time a nurse or tech entered the room to attend to Steven, or give him a procedure they’d first check his computer, instead of reading handwriting in a chart. Since some of the handwriting of medical staff is often illegible, this system of typing information into the computer seems to be a great improvement.

Watching the procedure each time gave me comfort, I knew Steven was receiving the correct care. Steven’s modern medical care reminded me of my cousin’s backwoods medical care.

It wasn’t really backwoods, she received the best care available at the time. The time though, was the middle of the last century. Despite her rudimentary care, she survived and thrived. Today she is a healthy, fun adult. The only lasting result of her computer-less hospital stay was the loss of her sight. She says that’s a small price to pay for having a good life. We are both grateful that babies today have a better chance of surviving and thriving with no lasting effects of their lengthy hospital stay, thanks to computers.  In fact, there are babies who faced near certain death before the computerized care.

Technology has come a long way enriching our lives. Computers are part of that progress.

The writer in me however, viewed the almost complete dependence on the computers from as a plot line in a story or two. I could only imagine what a writer of horror, suspense, science fiction, and the paranormal could do with a computer (working or not) in a hospital situation.

Since I don’t write in those genres, I don’t even dabble, I’ll leave all those possible ideas to others better able to craft such a story. However, thanks to the computer, those writers another possible, plausible, plot line for their stories.

The writer in me does appreciate, and is thankful for the computer for another reason. I can make changes, either typos, or idea changes easily with the computer. Making one little change doesn’t involve retyping an entire story, thanks to the computer. Plus, the computer has reduced the paper clutter in my house. Less clutter is always good. 🙂

What are you thankful for today?


Mariam Kobras- Word Scraps Create Novel- Under the Same Sun

What happens when a quilter starts writing?  Scraps of fabric make beautiful quilts, word scraps create wonderful stories. At least in the hands of former quilter, Mariam Kobras.

Mariam has gone from sewing scraps of fabric together to form a warm, comforting, cover to stitching words together to create an entertaining, enjoyable read.  Under the Same Sun, is the second in The Stone Trilogy, and follows Naomi, Jon and those close to them as they try to regain control of their lives after the shooting of Naomi. The event  affected  them all in different ways. Added to the mix is Naomi’s desperate wish to have a second child and her difficulty in conceiving.

Mariam’s characters and situations, while figments of her imagination, are real and she could be telling the story of their lives were they actual living, breathing, people instead of just “real” characters from her fertile imagination.

She expertly stitches events and feelings together to form a tapestry that one can almost reach out and touch. Her descriptions are beyond good. She writes with layers, much like a quilt.  Each sentence another stitch in the written quilt, the story.

Mariam’s beautiful sensory descriptions of each new venue allow her readers, even the most frugal of us, to feel as though we’ve traveled the world with Naomi and Jon. Whether we are dancing on a lakeshore in Geneva with them, shopping at Harrods in London or decorating her house in Brooklyn, with Naomi, we are there. We can see the area, feel the smooth wood of the Steinway or the rough cobblestone road, the local aromas waft around us, as the sounds mingle with those of our real surroundings.

Real life drama fills the book and the resolutions are satisfying and make sense.

Sometimes in reading the story I wondered, “how did she know about that?” Because a portion of my life so closely followed the happenings in the book. There are so many real life situations in the book, that most people will be able to relate to at least one of them. Even if we have no idea what it’s like to be a rock star and have more money than we could possibly need.

While Under the Same Sun is the second book in the series, it also stands alone. That is you can read it and understand who everyone is without reading The Distant Shore, but why would you want to? Reading the books are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

And of course, Mariam needs to buy a Porsche. How can she do that if we don’t all rush out and buy both books?

I am so happy  to be a part of Mariam’s blog tour, that way I got to read the book sooner. I’d been looking forward to reading it as soon as I finished, The Distant Shore. Now, I am eager to read the final book. Oh. My. Gosh. It won’t be out until next year !

This was the sixth stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the Amazon.com bestseller list on its first day on sale!

There’s only a few left, so order yours now, then while you’re waiting you can go to our blog and click the link to read the first two chapters for free.

But first, write a comment below about this blog post for a chance to win one of three copies of Under the Same Sun (plus some pretty gosh, darn, yummy chocolate)! You can get additional chances by following Mariam at every stop on her hop and leaving comments after each post. And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog. You won’t regret it.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 10/23, Mariam will be visiting Carrie Bailey.  Join us there!

Check our blog for the full calendar and more details!

about the author: Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Mariam lived in Brazil and Saudi Arabia with her parents as a child before they decided to settle in Germany. She attended school there and studied American Literature and Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, where she met her husband. She lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her husband, two sons and  two cats.

Join Mariam on Facebook,  her blog, and her publisher’s website.

I am linking up with The Nester during the month of October and posting about one subject each day (more or less). My subject is “scraps”.  Check out her website for other blogs writing on the subject of their choice.