BC19 and During…

I find it very interesting the things that I miss.
And so grateful for the things I did before I couldn’t.

For instance, before COVID 19, I met with my writer friends every other Monday at Jessica’s in Roscoe. It’s NO surprise that I miss my writer friends! Our HUGS! Three hour booth-clogging conversations. The laughter. And tears. Excellent breakfast fare. But what I miss that surprises me most is the free coffee refills! My goodness, what I wouldn’t do for a top off while I’m working. Bowl of creamers on the table. Fresh hot delicious coffee brought to my cup. I tip well for that.

BC19, I had travel plans for April, May, and June. All cancelled. I MISS TRAVELING. Time spent with friends and family at fun and interesting locales. North Carolina, England, a BEACH
BC19, we had tickets to a couple of concerts. All cancelled. And summer without Milwaukee Summerfest? Does it even count as a summer?

I also find myself reminiscing about things we did and feeling grateful we did them! A week before the stay in place order, I flew to Las Vegas. On a packed plane. Out of and into International Airports. We were among thousands at the conference, in the casinos, at the show. We drove to Denver and saw live music, shoulder to shoulder with dancing strangers. Most years, we skip the spring conference. It’s really easy to put off. Thankful we made it happen this year. So very thankful.

What do you miss that surprises you?
What are you surprised that you DON’T miss?

What are you most grateful for having done before it was prohibited?
What do you wish you had done if you’d known you couldn’t?

Please share in the comments.
Enquaring minds want to know!

(looking forward to the AC19 blog!)

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Writing Inspiration?

Six weeks ago, I blogged about waking with a crazy idea for a new novel! Then I joked, just kidding, IT’S REAL LIFE.

First of all, can I repeat that…SIX WEEKS.

In that time, I have received a lot of questions regarding when I’m going to write this specific novel and what spin am I going to give this story. Although I LOVE that I have fans! And that people take my work seriously and are eager to read my words, I think I’m going to pass on this particular subject.

I have a feeling that soon–too soon–authors and print houses are going to be churning out pandemic publications. Before it’s over, and most likely before they are ready, there will be a glut of similar storylines marketing fear, stress, and anxiety.

If we’ve learned anything in the recent weeks, it’s that FEAR SELLS.

That said, I think I’m feared out. I’m inspired to write a ridiculously fluffy rom-com where the biggest worry is will they/won’t they.

Spoiler Alert: They will. ❤

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Hi, Gene? Bye, Gene!

This staying home thing has really wreaked havoc with my hygiene habits.
Things like…
Fixing my hair
Applying make-up
Deciding what to wear

Luckily, I got a haircut right before we went to Vegas, so I’m good for another six months or so. And, as we all know, I don’t have to worry about my roots growing out, since I’m ALL roots.

By the amount of memes posted on the subject, I know it can’t just be me who forgets to bathe daily. Or forgets the last time I bathed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not gross or stinky (well, maybe a little gross or stinky), but I am giving that not washing your hair every day theory a run for its money.

I really only pay attention to my hygiene when I’m leaving the house. (Imagine that meme, lol–showering to go to Wal Mart!) But since I so rarely go out, why bother?

I actually showered, styled, and make-upped for my first ever Zoom the other day! Not that they cared, lol, but I found I neeeeded a reason to be presentable. It’s really easy to fall into the habit of bye, gene.

How have your habits changed under quarantine? Do you bother to shower? Color your hair? Wear pants?

Are you looking forward to having to get dressed sometime…eventually? Or is this your new normal?

Share your hygiene thoughts in the comments.
But first, enjoy these memes!



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What a long strange trip it’s being.

I texted a friend the other day, just to check in, and asked her how she was doing.
She responded that she was excited about the 3 day weekend.
I found that response truly humorous.
It was good to laugh.

As a person on Day 4,523 of lockdown, it’s crazy to think she’s excited about a 3 day weekend. But, she’s essential. She’s still putting in her 40+ hours a week, swinging by the grocery store after work when needed. Cooking, cleaning, reading as usual… Of course she’s affected by what’s going on, but her experience of this novel coronovirus is much different than mine.

And probably yours.
And, to make a finer point–YOURS is probably a different experience than mine, too.

We are ALL going through the 2020 pandemic together. Our daily activities (or inactivities) may be unique, but it’s a shared adventure.

In December of 2014, I blogged about Social Moments, unifying events that connect us with strangers the world over:
Social moments are an important part of our global culture. With more than 7 billion human beings on the planet, it’s hard to believe there could be any one thing we share. Our reactions to these experiences prove our humanity and bond us with our earthly brothers. In a way, I believe they are good for us.

I also said:
By saying I think these events, these shared experiences, are “good for us,” I am in NO WAY saying we need more.

Alas, here we are–riding out a situation we’d only ever conceived of in theory or fiction. Not a “social moment”, but a long-term, life-altering, history-making Social Epoch.

My hope is that we wade through the muck separately and emerge on the other side together.  A myriad of experiences contributing to a unified bond.


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Honestly, of all the CDC and WHO recommended practices, the not touching my face is the hardest for me.

I realize, I’m at home–without any new exposure–and I’ve washed my hands, repeatedly, probably even more than the rest of you because my dishwasher recently broke, so I CAN TOUCH MY FACE. But still, I’m trying not to.

Studies show we touch our faces 10-25 times an hour! Adjusting glasses, biting nails, wiping tears, scratching itches… I touched my face three times (that I noticed) while watching this ten minute video about how germs spread.

I cringe every time I see someone on TV ponder pensively, gasp, or giggle with hands to face for emphasis. I respond in like when I read about tucking the errant hair behind an ear. GET YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR FACE!

It’s important to recognize the behavior and replace it with something else. I prefer brownies. Just kidding, that would entail bringing my hand to my face again! Some ideas to keep your hands occupied when you have the desire to touch your face are to clench your fists, do finger stretching exercises, or sit on your hands. If you add a count to the distraction, say pump your fists or extend your fingers ten times or sit on your hands for a full minute, it will help the urge to pass.

Those are terrific substitutions to help break the face-touching habit.
This time of forced focus is perfect for working on my other BAD HABITS.

Like procrastination.
You know what’s NOT helping with that?

At least I got this post done on time.
Keeping my clean fingers occupied on the sanitized keyboard.

What do you find most challenging regarding the recommendations?
What are you hoping to accomplish during this down time?
Leave a comment, let me know!




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It’s a Petty Party!

Usually we don’t want to focus on the petty gripes of daily life. Those hashtag First World Problems, #FML, or #SMDH kind of posts. Especially when we have BIG things to complain about. And hooboy, do we have bigger things. But today, as we head into week three of our containment, I say, let’s have a PETTY PARTY!

Let me go first–
You know what’s really bugging me? I recently had the carpet removed and hardwood installed in my hallway. It’s beautiful! I love it! Yet, and here’s a good example of first world problems, the hallway walls are not aligned making the grooves of my new planks obvious. With carpet, I had no idea my walls were crooked! Just admiring the dark wood, I can’t really tell. But when I put the rug runners down, OMG, the OCD that I do not have absolutely kicks in.

I have tried every possible way to adjust the not-completely straight carpet runners to best camouflage the imperfect lines between walls and wood seams. There are none. Not completely true. In the dark, it’s harder to see.

I can’t NOT have runners. Loud, slippery, running the risk of dog claw marks, etc…ON MY NEW FLOOR! Carpet strips are a must.
I will learn to live with it.

Probably about the time I can leave my house.
Just sayin’.

What are YOU griping about NOW that pre/post Covid would be no big deal?
Scratch lightly. I want truly silly, frivolous, superficial, ridiculous complaints.

My god, could my cat lick his butt any louder?!

Yeah, like that.

What do you mean there’re only FOUR seasons of The Good Place?! That’s like one afternoon of viewing.

I know, right?

If I close my eyes when I walk down the hallway, it’s not so crook–oh, wall!–ed. Huh.

Your turn.
This is a safe zone, share freely.
Remember, GO PETTY you’re ALREADY HOME.

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Listen up!

In this time of isolated binding–housebound, carbound, cubiclebound, etc, you’ve got plenty of time to listen to great tunage.

My last “social” event was The Unlikely Candidates concert at The Bluebird Theater in Denver. We really could not have had a better send off to quarantine. The bands played well–rocked the house. They were personable and friendly on and off stage, and signed and greeted after their sets.

The openers were RH2, a fantastic band with a great front man and a too short set. Check out their music videos here. They did a cover of Cheap Trick‘s I Want You to Want Me–and in a bizarre twist of concert fashion, I was NOT wearing my Cheap Trick t shirt!

Next up were Castlecomer, a group out of Australia. This band came a loooong way to rock a few sets before the tour was cancelled. They, too, were really enjoyable with a star front man and talented musicians. Check out some of their videos here.

The headliners, The Unlikely Candidates, a band that Dave found while doing a search of venues along our trek home from Las Vegas, were amazing. We listened to them a lot before the Vegas trip in preparation for the show–and, thinking they were our little secret, were super impressed to hear their hit single Novocaine, played over the P.A. in the Palazzo. Then we found out the song was #1 at Alternative Radio. As it should be.

It was a great show with three really great bands. The Bluebird Theater is the perfect venue. Not too big, good sound, and a tiered floor with rail dividers for leaners like me.

This is music you can move to. Groove to.
Wash your hands to.

Seriously, each of these bands deserves your attention.
The Unlikely Candidates
I hope you will check them out.
(click band name for Spotify links)

Now, tell me–who are YOU listening to?
What are some of your favorite Quarantunes?
What’s your “Shelter in Place” soundtrack?
Share in the comments!

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I woke up this morning with a great idea for a new novel…

Just kidding.


As a fiction author who has dabbled with post-apocalyptic and dystopian themes, I am both fascinated and freaked out. Which is fascinating in its own way.

You just can’t do this kind of research from a distance.
You can Google potential, you can imagine and expound based on limited personal experience, but you can’t really know how things would work or how people would react.

With hindsight (of merely a few days time), I kind of miss the naivete of creative writing.

This pandemic is a work in progress. Let’s hope it runs its cycle quicker than I finish writing novels. And that it has a satisfying ending.

I’ll be focusing on my next publication.
The universe has gone to great lengths to suggest I stay home and write.
A little extreme, but the kick in the pants I need.

In the meantime, stay solo, wash your hands, and READ A BOOK.
I have some fine recommendations. 😀
Click here for my Amazon link, or click the highlighted titles below.

My Publications:

Short Story Collection:
Foe Be Us : Phobias
, a collection of thirteen thrilling short stories based on phobias. 

Safe Harbour
, a follow up to Kinder Garden – A Kimmie Jillison Mystery
Baker’s Dozen – A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery Kindle World Story
Kinder Garden – A Kimmie Jillison Mystery, paranormal ghost story

Published Novels:
A contemporary continuation of the Pandora myth. A young woman who is orphaned for the second time makes amazing familial discoveries and must come to terms with her legacy. Coming of age tale, first in the The Pandoran Legacy seriesUrban Fantasy/mythology
Pocket Money, four friends reunite after college and fall into the familiar competitive dynamic of their youth, resulting in a deadly game of one-ups-manship. Thriller

Thank you. 
Be smart. Be safe.



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Bad People make the Best Stories

I love that title, don’t you?

Full disclosure, they’re probably not the best stories, and honestly, there are certainly worse people. But it’s catchy and relatable. I’m thinking this could be a series.

Entry 1:
I was at the store buying liquor. All right, it was Wal-Mart and it was a case of Miller Lite. They card now. EVERYONE. I must show ID. I can’t just provide an obviously older than 21 birth date, but must instead dig my driver’s license out and hand it over. At Wal-Mart. For a case of Miller Lite.

The clerk takes my ID, looks at the photo, looks up at me, returns to the photo, then back up to me again and says, “I see you let your hair go.”

Yes, folks, four years ago when I had my last DL picture taken, I had brown hair.
I no longer have brown hair.

I say, “Yeah, I got tired of keeping up with the roots. Too much time, too much money.”

She hands me back my ID and says, “I’m not ready to look that old.”


Trying to make light of this conversation, I replied with, “I’m a grandma now, so it’s cool.”

She told me she wasn’t a grandma and even if she were, she’s not sure she’d advertise.

Any comments on my DL stated weight, lady?
For real, though, wow.

There was more to our exchange. She shared how she was 55 (older than I am) and her salon time is her therapy (I don’t get that, but I respect it), and also how her stylist told her she could NEVER go gray (of course the lady you pay to color your hair told you that, duh) because her hair would be pure white! I told her I thought that would look stunning on her.

Then, two weeks later, I happened to catch a glimpse of that same clerk from behind. Solid inch and a half of outgrowth. Roots.

I did not comment. (I tell you instead, lol.)

THAT is exactly why I don’t bother with the coloring anymore. The upkeep!
I’ve gone natural. It happens to be gray.
But you know what?
I don’t hate it.

It’s not for everybody. I get it. That’s cool.
Also, can we stop saying, “Grandma” like it’s an insult?

AND, an addendum to this story:
I’m at the Palazzo in Vegas and one of the high-end salon peddlers stopped me and asked if my color was natural or dyed. She said it’s gorgeous and she has clients–young ones–that pay big bucks for this color. And extra for my “highlights”!

Why, thank you.

Maybe Gracious People make the Greatest Stories?


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I received a subscription to MasterClass for Christmas. I immediately went through the list of many offerings and compiled a wish list of classes I’d like to take.

For those of you who are not familiar, MasterClass offers online classes on topics like Film & TV, Culinary Arts, Writing, Business, Photography, and Fashion. They are created for students of all skill levels. The instructors are the best in the world including popular, recognized, and professional chefs, actors, athletes, and authors. A few of the many impressive names associated with the sessions are: Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsey, Annie Leibovitz, Penn & Teller, Timbaland, James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, Simone Biles, and Serena Williams.

Not only am I drawn to the writing courses, but watching the trailers piqued my interest in other speakers, as well. I’m curious about the hows and whys of successful people–no matter their craft of choice.

There are over 75 MasterClasses available. Each class is broken up into about 20 lessons and each lesson is about 10 minutes long.

I’ve watched a couple of episodes from a couple of different instructors. I’ve participated in several of the suggested exercises, and I’ve read through some of the syllabi. I am eager to be taught and inspired.

Unfortunately, between writing book 2 and doing design work, it’s hard to find MORE time to (sit at the computer and) commit to an entire class. BUT I WILL!

And when I do, I will gladly share my impressions.

If you have taken any of the MasterClass offerings, please share your experiences.
Maybe we could get together and discuss.
(That would force me to get through a whole course, lol. I’m just sayin’.)

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