Monday, December 26, 2011

My Ugly Christmas Kitty

Every week since November 15th I have posted on my Facebook page a little hint of a Christmas wish. I never knew what a stir it would cause but as the weeks went by the 5 words ‘All I want for Christmas’, followed by a picture of a black kitten, generated a mountain of responses, phone calls, personal messages and face to face chats.

My heart is full. Many hoped the best for me and loved ones as far as Denmark offered adopting a kitty for me if my holiday wish failed to come true.

Christmas is now a day past and the very first gift that was given was that of the ugliest, smelliest, scrawniest, mangiest little kitten I have ever laid eyes on! He must have come straight from a trash can, I swear it! My husband went to the local animal shelter and saw this rat of a cat, shoved in a cage and climbing over the others cute fluffy kitties, trying desperately to get out. He knew without a doubt which one belonged to me.

Can you guess what I named him? The winner gets a handmade prize from me. Oh, what fun! Sorry, but readers of my Benjamin Bohns story must not play!

Hint: A black cat + crossing my path = good luck

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Peek Inside My Cozy Cabinet

During a call one day with my artist friend, the question was raised as to where I write? When I responded telling him, “in my closet”, (I’m easily distracted anywhere else) he chuckled and asked if I’d send him a picture. He wanted to see where I created my fun little tales. While still on the phone, I took a peek at my closet nook and knew I wouldn’t be sending him a picture anytime soon. My room was in desperate need of a straightening up. To change the subject, I then asked to see his place of inspiration. It didn’t take long for his pictures to arrive in my inbox. I grew envious as his place was everything I wished mine would be.

A few days later when my friend asked again about my room, I decided to take a day, fold and hang the mountain of laundry that was taking up my throne and toss out the Halloween candy wrappers on my floor. I also wanted to frame pieces of art and go through boxes full of old memories in hopes of finding pieces to add to my room.

At the end of the day my room was finished. It wasn’t as grand as my friend’s but I was pleased. Inside you’ll now find my favorite books of those who inspire me. You’ll find my childhood toys and trinkets. You’ll find gifts from family and friends who know me best. You’ll find artwork and photos that motivate me. You’ll find little notes of encouragements and illustrations of my characters from my children.

Finally, I’m surrounded by the things that make me unique; the things that scream, my room, my nook, my cozy cabinet!

Do you have a special place that you call yours?

Be sure to check out my friend’s blog. His work is amazing!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Black Licorice Spiders and a Little Goofy Girl

Since my book hasn't quite made it to the publishing world yet, I'm constantly contacted by friends and fans hoping for a peak to tide them over until that big day happens. When I do give them a tiny glimpse, I enjoy seeing their faces light up. I love to hear them chuckle which tells me they pictured just who I've described.

So for those of you who've never had the chance to ask me about my story and have always wanted to know a little more, let me introduce you to Maryanne.

In high school you can bet that Maryanne sat alone in the lunch room. She wouldn't have minded a friend but since there wasn't anyone, she’d hum to herself while gazing out the window eating something like a mayo sandwiched and bruised banana. You can bet she was the last to be picked in gym class. Partly because she was goofy looking but also because she was uncoordinated. She wouldn't be afraid to tattle on the football star who found it okay to cheat off her algebra test and instead of carrying a tissue around to wipe her runny nose, her sleeves worked just fine. You can bet there was a time she had toilet paper stuck to the bottom of her shoe or the back of her dress tucked into her granny panties. But even with her imperfections she was confident enough to ignore the scoffs and snickering but every once in awhile, one would stick and her little heart would break. Still, she’d pick herself up and all alone, she’d move ahead.

Since she was an honest person and a hard worker, she was a perfect employee at a certain toy and candy factory. The factory came with strict rules and her boss was a stickler about obeying them. While other employees murmured about the regulations, Maryanne happily embraced her boss’s wishes. Knowing he expected a top notch product from each of his employee’s, Maryanne perfected her craft. Her black licorice spiders soon became the hot product and because of this…her life, her boss’s life and many others are thrown for a loop.

Please visit my website!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Little Yellow House on the Dusty Road

Mine and Mike’s first home together was a little one bedroom farm house with a leaky roof and six foot black snakes that slithered about in the basement. In the winter we froze along with our kitchen pipes. In the summer we’d sit in front of a fan that blew out hot air. But even though we were poor as church mice, we loved our little home because it was ours and we were finally together.

With the approval from our dear landlord, we decided to paint our home a soft yellow. Since Mike worked at a mom & pop hardware store, he brought the gallons of paint home one day. To my surprise, the paint was bright as sunshine! I frowned at Mike’s choice for we couldn't afford to fix the mistake. Our humble little farm house, on the top of the old gravel road, suddenly became quite popular. I’m sure after it was finished, it could be seen from the moon!

To match the house, I also painted the mail box the same yellow. As carefully as I could, I painted our names upon it without using a stencil and even painted the flag with stars and stripes. As the days went by, we’d secretly mail letters back and forth to each other just so we would have reason to check the mail box. On our way home from work or town we’d try to beat the other by yelling out, “I wonder if we got any mail?” It became a game and we still play it today.

As it happens too often in life, new jobs and opportunities force us to move. We packed up our few belongings, said good bye to our home and moved away. Eventually we found ourselves hundreds of miles away from our first home. The memories have never left us though. That house is where our first ones were made. We had happy memories and sad ones but through it all we grew as a couple and our bond was strengthened. We have often talked about going back to visit but life often throws us curves and money and time is always tight.

Our little yellow house is now crumbling down and has trees growing from the wooden floors. I’m sure those snakes in the basement have turned into alligators! I’m sure our kitchen pipes are shattered from the cold.

No one moved into the little yellow house after Mike and I left so our memories are the last ones that lived there. This makes me happy and sad. I know the house was happy to have us, for within its walls was a time it held laughter and joy. I’m sad for the obvious. I wish I could pick it up, move it here and fix it, but that would be impossible.

I've always wanted a physical piece of the house but because I live so far it was impossible…that is until a dear sister went to visit our family farm and stomping grounds. As she took her family on this little trip they passed by the little yellow house. Thoughts of me came to her. My secret desire to own a piece of the house was made known. After special arrangements, from old friends and neighbors, she was given a piece to give to me.

In the mail one day, out of the blue, a big package came. I curiously opened it and to my surprise was the mail box I had painted so many years ago! Its bright yellow paint is chipped and mine and Mike’s names are faded but they are still visible. I burst into tears as the memories flooded back and my kids stood dumbfounded at why I was crying over an old metal hunk of junk. I quickly told them it was from the little yellow house, for they all knew the stories. They hugged me and tears even came to many of their eyes. I called Mike, even though he was in class, and shared the news. He too was touched.

It’s funny how garbage can sometimes be worth more than gold. It’s the memories that make something invaluable. Already, the kids are fighting about who will be willed this little piece of their parent’s history. Thank you my dear sister Laura and her old friend Beth for helping this piece of the past find its way back to me and my family. It now sits safely in my home away from the elements. From time to time, I find little treasures tucked inside from my children. I know this new tradition will move forward as the years go by.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Letting My Monster Go

When a story has your agent’s final mark of approval, there isn’t a word to describe how wonderful it makes you feel. It’s done! Completed! YAY!!! It’s ready for that next step toward publication. At least that’s the way I thought I should feel. I asked a few other authors their feelings on finishing novels because I was very confused with mine. Most I talked to celebrated. They felt proud, relieved and were ready to move on to the next story. I, on the other hand, felt a little sad.

Benjamin Bohns came to me in a dream. He showed his face to me. I was the only one who knew him. I was honored that he picked me to tell his story. Me! A little house wife who lives in the Appalachia Mountains. Me! The world’s worst speller. I often asked, what did he see in me? He must have seen something because for years he was my friend. For years he let me in on his secret life and opened up to only me. For years, I secretly snuck away to my little corner and stayed up late with him while my husband slept on. For years, I got up early typing away…click, click, click…following his lead.

I've never experienced the sadness of sending a child away to college or to be married, etc. but I think I got a taste of that feeling when I knew Mr. Bohns’s story was finished. Like most children, they’re ready to leave and move on but most moms aren't quite ready to let their babies go. Mr. Benjamin Bohns is thrilled with what I’ve done and now he can live on even though he’s dead. I nurtured him well and gave him experiences to help him grow into a fine and proud skeleton. I know he loves me. That is way he’s pushing me to write again.

I guess in Dreadville Mr. Bohns has been pretty busy talking about what I did for him. As I start Dreadville’s next adventure, it’s amazing how many other monsters are waiting for their tale to be told. Who would you like to hear about next?

1.) The Blue Lady and Her Bleeding Hearts

2.) The Frog-Faced Bureaucrat and His Motor Bike Adventure

3.) The Pumpkin Fellow and His Tic-Toc Clock Shop

4.) The Red Devil and His Broken Tail

5.) Licorice Larry and His Man Eating Ice Cream Shopp


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Once a Farm Girl Always a Farm Girl

When I was little, I remember baking in the sun while crawling down rows of vegetables and weeding for hours. I remember dipping recently butchered chickens in boiling water so I could pluck their feathers. I remember standing over bubbling pressure cookers making sure the temperature gage stayed just right. I remember thinking what a lot of wasted time.

Those were hot and miserable days. I couldn't wait to grab my pole and a can of worms and go fishing in the pond or at Flat Creek. I just didn't get why my Mom thought it important to put up food for the winter. I mean, it was easier to just go to the store and buy it. We canned everything; from watermelon rinds to turkey neck soup. At the end of the growing season, our basement was nothing but shelves of packed jars.

Now that I’m a Mom, my kids ask the question I never did. “If you can buy all this at the store, why do we waste so much time canning?”

I now know the answer. There is nothing more rewarding that opening up a jar rather than a can. There is nothing more rewarding than tasting freshness instead of tin. There is nothing more rewarding than a job well done. There is nothing more rewarding than a family working together. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you can do it! And this one touches home, for it takes me back as a child; there is nothing more rewarding than knowing through the long winter months, you are not going to go hungry. Mom has just secured your life. Food is in abundance.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Flipping the Driver's Ed Car

As the years pass, we collect experiences that help mold us into who we are. Since the present is usually were we’re focusing, our past events sometimes become forgotten. We all have fun forgotten facts; I’ll share one of mine, if you share one of yours!

My family is large. There are 12 of us counting Mom & Dad. Even though it’s big, the chance of a couple of us rolling and totaling cars is slim. But the fact is we have rolled our share. Six out of us twelve have, and leave it to me to be the one that caused the biggest stink.

It is true; I flipped the Driver’s Ed car. Now, let me explain! It wasn't my fault! Truly it wasn't. Who would put a new driver on a freshly-tarred, black top, curvy road while it was raining? On top of that, lots of loose gravel on the shoulders.

I think you can picture it. Teenager + car + rain + tar + black top road + curve + gravel = disaster. Thankfully we all came out of it okay, though my fellow student in the back booked it to the woods to relieve himself.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

R.I.P Ugly Puppy


Since winter our family has talked about getting a puppy. I knew exactly what kind of dog we needed; a Red Bone Hound. Lazy and beautiful is what I was hoping for. But Mike told me my dog picking days were over. The last dog I picked almost killed me.

When spring came, we began our search. We checked the local papers and Craigslist but nothing seemed right. We went to our local pound but instead of roly-poly puppies, the pens were full of angry adults that snapped and barked.

Spring passed, and with its passing so did our hope for a puppy…that is until Mike came home with one a few weeks ago. When he held her out, proud of his pick, the kids all squealed with excitement. I stood in the doorway with hands my hips and said, “That is the ugliest puppy I have ever seen. It looks like a possum!”

Instantly the kids loved her. They called her, ‘Panda’. I called her, ‘Ugly Puppy’. She howled and scratched at our front door. She barked constantly at our cat. She liked to poop in my strawberry patch. Her favorite things to chew were bicycle wheels and she liked to jump on my baby boy. As the weeks went by, I saw puppy disasters everywhere.

Monday night our family went on a nature hike in a field by our home. Panda began to follow. We shooed her home, knowing she couldn't keep up. When we got back, she was gone. We told our worried children she was around and not to fret. When the kids were in bed and I was out watering my flowers, I dropped the hose when I heard the yelp and a car speeding away.

The next morning we buried Panda under the apple tree. We all gathered flowers and said a little prayer. Our youngest, Abe, (5yrs old) was the first of our children to say a little something about our family puppy. He told us, with regretful tears rolling down his chubby cheeks, he was sorry he ran away when Panda wanted to play and he was sorry he pushed her down when she licked him on the face and he was sorry he got mad when he stepped in her poop. He was now going to miss all that. He wished Panda didn't have to die.

If any of us had dry eyes, we didn't anymore. Abe said it perfectly. Puppies aren't perfect; they actually drive us a little crazy at times. But what is perfect about a puppy is all they want is to love and be loved. We realized it didn't matter that our puppy was ugly, we loved her and she loved us. She was a good little mutt.

We will miss you, Ugly Puppy. You have touched our hearts.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Mouse in the House and the Ugly Puppy

My husband is a yard sale, flea market junky. Every weekend he comes home with boxes of knick knacks, stuffed animals, actions figures, baseball cards, well…I could use this entire page to list the items he brings home. Let’s just say he brings home a bit of everything. He is all about making a profit and so he flips his finds on eBay or sets up a table, from time to time, at the local flea market.

Usually he goes through his finds before toting them up into our bedroom but apparently he failed to do that with one box. As I was working on a story idea, thesaurus in hand, something caught my attention and I looked up. From out of that unexplored box was a mouse jumping up and down, trying to make its escape. In a panic I looked around wondering what I should do. I yelled but no one came to my aid. I was horrified when I watched the mouse finally hop from the box.

I wasn’t about to have a mouse in the house so I did what I could only do. I threw my thesaurus. To my surprise it stuck the mouse! I ran to it noticing it was only stunned and about to come around. I screeched and finally my 11yr old daughter heard my alarm. To my rescue she came. “Are you kidding?” I asked as she handed me two pieces of toilet paper. But before I could tell her to run for a cup or something, the mouse was on the run again. I grabbed it, with my two pieces of toilet paper, and hurried down the stairs to throw it outside.

Warlock, our great hunter of a cat, turned his nose up at the mouse when I tossed it out. He even lifted his paw as if saying “ewww” and backed away. It was our ugly, possum looking puppy that ended the drama. He came over and with one chomp swallowed the thing whole.

Maybe that ugly thing is worth something after all.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What's That Coming Over the Hill???

Since my book is all about monsters, I often wonder what kind I would be. According to Wikipedia: ‘a monster is any fictional creature, usually found in legends...’

I always believed in order to be a monster, one had to be blood thirsty, wanted to eat my brains or lurked in the depths of a green, slimy swamp. As I wrote, I realized that any creature we believe to be made-up is actually a monster.

So that leaves hobbits and gnomes in the same class as vampires and zombies! Do these little innocent dwellers, that keep to themselves, deserve to be called monsters?

Take a moment and think about your personality. Deep down, who are you really? Are you an innocent monster or a bad monster?

Mike says I’d be a gnome. I know he said that because I’m short. He didn’t even give me that hope of calling me a hobbit! He skipped right over that. At least he didn’t see me with hairy feet! Even though he may look at me as a little gnome and wish me to be one, I know I am not. If I were a monster, I’d be a pixie. Though I seem innocent and sweet, it is me who is the one smiling in the background while everyone else is blaming others for the trick I have just done!

HeHe…look out for me!

What monster would you be and why?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Hello everyone! I'm starting a blog and would love to invite all my facebook friends to join in the fun. I'm kind of new to all this so maybe some of you can give me pointers as I go.

Father's Day!!!

When I was a little girl I had to share a bedroom with my older sister. When Ann was a baby my parents started her on a Madame Alexander doll collection. Every birthday or Christmas she was given a new doll. Around their waist's she would twist thin wire and then tack the dolls on the walls around our room. Most little sisters would have looked at these pretty little dolls and dreamed of having such a collection, but I wasn't like most little sisters. When I looked upon these dolls (I rarely ever did) I saw little people that stared right back at me. I was terrified of my room. When night came, there was never getting out of sleeping elsewhere. I had a bedroom and a bed and that was where I was to sleep. One night when I was being tucked in by my Dad, I told him I was scared. I was embarrassed to tell him why because I feared my big sister would make fun of me. I asked him if he would, "leave a little light on the door." I believed that if there was light that shined into my room from the hall I would be safe from all those dolls that wanted to eat me. Of course Ann complained saying she couldn't sleep with the light shining in but Dad, knowing I was scared of something, solved the problem. To the door he did a jig and sang this little song, "Leave a little light on the door," Kicking out a foot and throwing out an arm, he'd continue, "Carrie wants some light on the door. Leave a little light on the door," etc... Ann and I would laugh and those pretty monster dolls would suddenly go away.

I love my Dad. His quirkiness has always made me smile and helped define who I am.

What is one of your favorite dad, uncle, grandfather or father figure stories?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hi Everyone!

Hi it's Carrie take a look at my new website!