Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sleep War

Sleeping with another person has nothing to do with love. I'm sure you'll be shocked at this insight, but the truth is that sleeping and sex are two separate things. And sleeping--the more important of those two--can be difficult unless both people agree on the basics.

What basics, you say? Well, temperature. I like the room--and preferably the bed--cool. The house hunk likes it warm. Very warm. Think oven. He accomplishes this by making the bed with a cotton sheet, a flannel sheet, two blankets, and a comforter. And complains that he's cold. I take care of my needs by tossing all the blankets, sheets, etc., on top of him.

Then there's light. He would prefer to be sleeping in a cave. Zero light. I am claustrophobic. I could go for a night light at the minimum--especially as I'm night blind. When I get up in the night for the inevitable potty breaks, I like to see where I'm going.

Now noise is... well, it's noisy. He could sleep through a hurricane--and has. Me? Not so much. A couple weeks ago I mentioned his c-pap machine. It's only moderately better than his snoring was. That vibrated the windows. If I'm going to listen to something while sleeping, I would prefer that it was some nice soft music. He says that it keeps him awake.

When he gets up in the morning, he talks to himself. Now I'll put on my underwear. Now I'll put on my socks. Now I'll go to the bathroom... Yes, I'm serious. And he can not figure out why I wake up. Does not have a clue.

I sleep really well from six a.m. until-- well, until. It varies depending on all the other things. If it's a rainy day? Then it's a rainy day and Anny sleeps until she wakes up. That's the breaks. And after forty years, well, we deal with it. Sort of an armed truce.

How about you?


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Race Words

I have a work in progress with a black hero and a white heroine. In the story I attempted to address some of the issues an interracial couple face. You might ask about my experience with such things. Both of my daughters' significant others are black. When I had the specific scenes written I asked them to read them and comment. Their remarks were that I was actually a little soft on the realities.

One scene in particular dealt with racial epithets and slurs. A short while after completing that section a new set of guidelines were issued by my publisher and some of the words in that scene were... verboten. I did check with the powers that be and was asked to used something else--or just say that racial epithets had been spray painted on the object in the scene.

I put that work away and spent some time thinking about it. It seemed to me that glossing over the horror, hostility and insult would be akin to the difference between describing a sensual act of love or saying simply they made love. I was not going for shock value so much as the reality that men and women suffer because they dare to love someone of another color.

I was discussing this scene with a woman who said to me point blank, "Oh that kind of stuff used to happen in the old days, but not anymore." She's wrong. Every day my grandchildren face individuals who make vicious remarks because they are neither white nor black.

Until we are willing to look at the truth face on, it will continue to be the truth, whether we want to believe that or not. Will that scene be in the book? Probably not. At this point, I believe that the power that drove that scene is gone. The hostility and fear are diluted and therefore, the heroine's demonstration of her love when she stands by her man is less powerful and emotional. It has the feeling of a firecracker that fizzled--not much fire when it blows.

I've revised the story and moved on. And I cannot pretend that my love story would change the world. So I suppose you might wonder why mention it? I guess the answer is simply that I wanted to say that I know that is hasn't gone away. Bigotry and prejudice are still with us in 2008.


Alternate universe

Do you suppose things would have been different if Adam had been a chatty guy? Someone who understood PMS and the need for chocolate and stuff like that?


Friday, September 26, 2008

Moving through life

Sometimes there's just no other way to get past life's little obstacles. Have a good weekend!


Moving on

I have a neighbor who is in the process of moving out. She's been moving out for several weeks. At this point, all that is left to address is cleaning the apartment and throwing out the trash. Of course that could take her several more weeks.

Now I personally don't care how long it takes her to move out. If she wants to pay rent on two apartments, that's certainly her business. What I do find a bit creepy is her habit of showing up very late in the evening--after 10:30 PM--to hang out in an empty apartment. There's no furniture. There's no food. And she's really not one to drag stuff to the trash in the middle of the night, mostly because she's afraid someone will attack her. So why is she here?

Very bizarre. Another neighbor and I have a notion that this woman is just about two bricks shy of a complete breakdown. She's always been a little odd. Sometimes she odder than others--usually when she decides to not take her meds. There is no one to report her strange behavior to either.

The other afternoon the househunk and I were leaving for an appointment when she came flying out the door (amazing how fast this woman can move when she wants to!) and loudly confronted me with this big smile on her face. "Hey! I just want to know if you're still writing that pornography!"

Experience has taught me that there's no point in arguing with her or ignoring her as she'll just pursue you until you drive away. So I smiled back and replied, "Yep."

"Hey! Do you get a lot of money for writing pornography?"


"Really? How much?"

"A lot of money!"

"Could I read one of your books?"

"Sure!" I haul out one of my cards... "Here's the website. I hope you enjoy whichever one you pick!" By that time, I'm backing out of my parking spot.

I have devised a way to deal with her, but many of the neighbors are flummoxed when she jumps them from the blue and starts plying them with personal questions. Her random appearances in our building when she's already living some place else quite a distance away is worrisome. I hope she settles into her new place soon.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The burn..

That's me on the right. Yeah, yeah, yeah... That skinny chick on the left is the one who spent an hour last night telling me all about dietary fat. That was after she spent some quality one-on-one time wringing her hands over my single sausage patty that I have once a week. Later on in the evening, she hauled out a bunch of fat filled test tubes and held them up so the class could check them out. Three test tubes = one big hamburger from a major fast food place. Yeah, I'm sure you can figure out which one. After that the evening went down hill.

So my assignment this two weeks is to add ten minutes of physical activity to my day--every day. That might not sound like much, but it means that I'll have to get dressed everyday. Since I usually don't get dressed (why get clean clothes dirty when I'm not going anywhere?), that will mean that I will a) have to get dressed and b) have more laundry. You all know how I feel about laundry. Need I say more? I guess not.

My sugar has improved. Seventy-five percent of the time, I'm on target with my blood sugar numbers. When I'm not, it's because I cheated and ate the cheesecake. The trouble with cheating while checking your blood sugar is that you can't fake it out. The numbers do not lie! Heh. And now we have to have a blood test called an A1C. This test is the average of your blood sugar numbers for the previous three months. So they get you coming and going.

Moving on to other stuff. I spent three hours the other night researching compost toilets. Very interesting stuff. Did you know that they're very big in Sweden? Neither did I. But then, I didn't realized how the technology has changed and spread. There are companies that deliver and install the entire set-up--including a nice little hut. I can just see it now--I could order one and have it set up on the apartment lawn. Yep. I'm sure the management would understand when I explain that I'm trying to save water.

I also checked out how to make a spear. Just in case I need to defend myself when the apartment management send the custodians to tear down my compost toilet.

My new foray is to search out herbal substitutes for soap and shampoo. Oh, yeah, I also need cooking oil. I believe I can do that with sunflowers, but I'll need to check that out, just to make sure. I read on one site that you "press" the flowers to extract oil. Now I used to raise sunflowers and believe me, it's gonna take a lot of sunflowers to produce much oil. Did you know that even though sunflowers are a native American plant, that it wasn't until the Russians started raising it for oil that the American farmers started planting it? Up until then, it was just planted as a decorative plant in the garden.

Well, I've run out of fun facts so I guess I'll close this for now. Blessings on your day!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Unexpected Assassin

Harold skittered across the open no man's land to the scheduled meet with the new client. Meeting with strangers was always a scary proposition, but that was just one of the difficulties when you made your living as an assassin. There was a whole host of hazards from the people who set traps to the bounty cats who could be waiting around any corner.

Sometimes the media hounds wanted him to explain how he got started as an assassin. None of them wanted to hear the truth--because it wasn't pretty. He had taken up the business of murder for hire because of the money.

Hey! There weren't that many job opportunities for a mouse! And in the bigoted world where women thought the only good mouse was a dead mouse, well, Harold had taken what he could get. He made a steady income that easily supported his extended family so that the little ones didn't have to scramble for cheese and peanut butter. Since he'd taken up the assassin business no one had needed to chance the trap run. No more missing tails. No more gnawed off fingers. He could buy peanut butter and cheese for everyone.

When he drew close to the edge of the table, the waiting cat lifted his head up, staring at Harold in disbelief. "You're the assassin?" he snarled.

"Yep. Who's the target?"

"Prince. He's a German Shepard. Big mean son of a gun. Are you sure you're up to this?"

"A dog, huh. Hmmmm. Well, it'll be tough. Gonna cost you extra."

"Allright. Half now. Half when you do the job."

Harold mulled that over. "Okay. Just remember. If you stiff me for the job, I'll take it out of your hide."

The cat grinned. "No problem."

Harold leaped away, streaking across the table. The cat and his companion watched him with unwinking stares.

"Are ya really gonna pay him, Tiger?"

"Heck no." Tiger snapped at his companion in disgust. "You're such an idiot, Fluffy."

"Well, aren't you afraid? You heard what he said!"

"Why should I be afraid?" Tiger slapped Fluffy's nose. "Have you forgotten? Harold the mouse is my bounty. Besides. In my spare time, I'm an assassin, too."


Monday, September 22, 2008

Cover Hogs

It seems a shame after being married a million years that I still haven't been able to train the cover hog. In the dark watches of the night, one of two things happen. Either he decides he's hot and throw all his covers on top of me. Or he decides he's cold and steals all the covers leaving me to freeze.

At one time, I thought the best solution would be to have separate covers so I invested in twin top sheets, blankets, comforter. And routinely found mine on his side of the bed. My second solution was to place back-up covers on a chair next to the bed. Of course, I had to wake up to find my new set of covers and by then they were cold!

If I toss all the covers on him (because he turned the AC off), he just tosses them on the floor on the other side of the bed. I'm thinking about duct taping his covers around his knees. At least he would have to wake up then when he couldn't rearrange his covers.

While I'm at it, I'll tape his c-pap mask to his face so the the leaking air doesn't keep me awake with the whistles, chirps, screeches, and other assorted noises he makes. Or I could super-glue it to him. That's a thought. I tried recording the racket. It didn't work. Maybe I'll get a video tape...

And post it on You-tube...


Saturday, September 20, 2008


Ahhh, yes! I did laundry last night. Three hours at the laundromat. Washers were not working quite right, nor were the dryers so I have damp laundry, but hey! I'm done until next time. Why doesn't someone invent a new way to deal with cleaning the clothes?

It occurred to me that laundry is pretty much same-old, same-old for millennium. We wet the clothes, agitate them in some manner, wring out the water, and dry them--whether we use the good old hang 'em in the air method or a dryer. The cave ladies were doing laundry the same way. That's just sad.

So why hasn't someone invented a new way to deal with laundry? Back in the sixties, paper clothes were all the rage. They were touted as the wave of the future. Of course, they didn't go very far, except for those freaking paper gowns at the doctor's office.

Why not take all the plastic bottles, bags, etc. and make them into clothes? They wouldn't end up in the land fills because they would all be sitting in the closets with the other clothes that no one can bear to get rid of. I bet they wouldn't fade as bad as the stuff we have now. Waterproof, drip dry, maybe we could even just clean them in the shower while we clean the rest of us. Dual use of the water that way.

Can you tell that I'm laundried out for now? Yeah, you probably can. But I would like to hear any ideas y'all have for kicking the laundry into the twenty-first century.


Thursday, September 18, 2008


For the last few hours, I couldn't find my blog. I'm sure you're scratching your head about now. Seriously, every time I clicked on the blogger posting page, my entire list of previous blogs was missing. And I spent quite a while checking every single button and tab, looking for whatever I must have done in the past to make my blog posts disappear.

Eventually, I did stumble on a tab that made them reappear. But it still isn't acting the way it did before so no doubt there is something that I'm not doing correctly. In the meantime, the blog was not written. Hmph!

I find this all particularly annoying as I was a computer teacher in my checkered past, specializing in teaching computer basics. I taught an adult education class titled Computer Boot Camp. Very basic stuff--sort of the potholes of computers. I showed my students things like what happened to make their taskbars disappear. Or how they could accidentally make their documents close. All the stuff that really frustrates the brand new computer user.

So this is a pothole in the blogger programming that is no doubt a very stupid little thing that I did by accident. Eventually, I'll figure it out. In the meantime, I'm make it work for me.

At least I didn't forget the password...


Yay Team

I lived in Houston when Hurricane Alicia came in. We followed all the instructions. Filled buckets and pitchers and bottles with water. Had enough food to eat for about a week. Had two coolers and bags of ice stored in our freezer in case the power went out. Lots of batteries, flashlights and emergency jar candles. Washed all the laundry before the storm came in. Washed all the dishes. Made sure we had fuel for the camp stove. Bought a large stack of paper plates.

The storm arrived in the middle of the night with sound and fury. Afterwards, the skies were blue, the sun came out, and we baked. Because of course the power went out. Two houses down, a neighbor fired up his huge grill (a converted fifty-five gallon drum) and offered to cook any meat anyone wanted to bring by.

People started preparing foods that were perishable so that they would be eaten rather than thrown out. Neighbors opened their garage doors and played cards or board games in the shade. A couple people put up tarps and set up tables so that we could arrange the potluck dishes the neighbors brought by.

A couple of guys went from house to house assessing the damage, making a list of things that needed to be replaced. Others cleaned up debris from the yards.

We were blessed. We lived far enough inland that we had limited consequences from the storm. But we also pulled together to make things better. Everyone did something. Everyone participated. Disaster relief isn't just the responsibility of the government. WE are the government. WE are the people.


PS: Today my granddaughter is eleven years old! Happy birthday, kid!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lost my marbles...

It's been an interesting three or four days. There have been some pressure jobs to complete. I function well under pressure for a while and I'd forgotten that. But I've finished the jobs and now I'm ready to unwind. Today that means laundry.

I absolutely hate doing laundry, but it requires next to no thought so I'm gonna take a book with me and watch the clothes go 'round and 'round and 'round. When I'm sufficiently unwound, I'll possibly do some other stuff like the dishes that haven't been done for three days (thank goodness for paper plates!) and the food diary that is woefully out of date.

I also have several new reference books on basket weaving that I received today from Amazon. While I don't expect to weave a basket this week, the time travel story I'm reading has some basket weaving in it, so I'll pore over them enough to not make uninformed mistakes like using modern materials or dyes or other stupid stuff like that.

My current search is for instructions to make extremely primitive furniture. Not much luck so far, but I will be happy for any hints. Another search is for instructions to make natural dyes from weeds and herbs. And a third search is for hints on making air dried veggies and fruits. Ah, the joys of research!

Well, that's it for today. Those are my steps to regain my marbles. Hope y'all have a safe place to keep yours!



Winner of the free download was Brynn Paulin! Congratulations Brynn! Please e-mail me with your choice!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hedge Fund

Do you get the idea that retirement might be a thing of the past?


Whatcha doin'?

Yeah, human stuff... Actually, I'm up to my eyeballs in edits, thanks to my fabulous editor, the Shadow Frog. Fix this, this, and this... So, I'm kinda busy.

Happy to report that all family members in the path of Ike are fine. A little damp, but fine as they were prepared. Interesting that I seem to talk to the family more in hurricane season. I wonder why that is?

For those interested in participating in such things, I'll have an Anny and Friends chat tonight from 7PM -9PM EST at the EC chat loop. Please come, bring your excerpts and chat. Tell us about your books and plans.

I've been stumbling around in the dark lately regarding my writing. The editing has given me a chance to regroup and reassess my work. It's not terrible. It could be better--as all writing can be better. Very few writers look at their work even a few weeks later and don't find things that make them wince or things that they wish they could change. So I'll keep plugging away, happy for one more opportunity to make those changes before the book goes out in public.

I spent Saturday looking at several short "jump-start" beginnings for new works in progress. It was pretty funny. After reading one of them, I looked around and thought what was I thinking? But the others were good. Short. Very short, but good. So I have something to mull over in the wee hours while I consider changes for my current work in progress. Yes, yes, after I finish the edits!

I'm sure that all of you are busy with fabulous chores. Leave me a note and tell me what you're doing. I'll randomly draw a name to win a free copy of any of my current releases. So, if you want to win, make sure I have an e-mail to reach you!

Shazamm! I'm out of here!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Definition of Stupidity

People who refuse to participate in a mandatory hurricane evacuation-- and then change their minds and call 911 for a rescue in the height of the storm!


Friday, September 12, 2008

Sinking for the third time...

Heh. Kinda an awkward position to be in, huh? Let's see. What did I do yesterday? I did research. Basketry, the black ash, antler baskets, plane tickets to Texas (incredible prices... really incredible--I think the planes must be made of gold), reeds, why condoms break, crafts for kids, how to make a hand loom, card weaving, and climate in North America in 500 BCE.

Oh, yeah, I wrote some. Finished Chapter Nine. Considered what I will put in Chapter Ten. And put some thought toward the next book. I'm in one of those moods where I "feel" like I should write a really deep and meaningful book. I usually get in these moods when I don't feel deep and meaningful. You know when you feel really irreverent so maybe you should pray?

Hmmm. So I'm standing on the river bank considering all the ways to get to the other side. For the life of me, I don't have a story in there anywhere. I can't think of a single clever, interesting idea. I can't even think of a single boring, stupid idea. Argggg!

Possibly, I have brain overload. Yep, that's it. I'm sure. Sooooo. I think I will take Saturday off and meditate. If I find an idea... perhaps I need inspiration.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Songs by the Fire

Heh. Have you ever seen something that just made you laugh for no reason at all? That's what happened when I saw this picture. It called to mind all the funny songs we sang at camp and other gatherings. Most of those songs don't make any sense at all, but what the heck, we were having fun.

I grew up with campfires, singing and telling stories in the dark with the firelight flickering over the faces that surrounded me. Off in the black night, insects hummed and whirred. When I was very young and still lived in the southwest, sometimes coyotes howled counterpoint.

As an adult I went on women's church retreats where we gathered around a bondfire and sang songs. Earlier in the day, we attended a retreat session where we were asked to write down all those things that were hindering us from being the women we wanted to be. That evening, we tossed them in the fire... a symbol of our willingness to move forward.

It's interesting, I think that no matter how modern and civilized we become, we are still drawn to that simple campfire in the night or that fire in the hearth. No matter how warm we are, we still hold our hands out to the fire. I imagine some man or woman from long ago, also drawn to the warmth and security of the fire. I see the tribe gathered there while their elders share the stories of their heritage.

It is sad, I think, that in our rush to embrace technology, we've lost that simple transmission of knowledge that was passed on around the fire. Youngsters learned about important grownup moral codes by absorbing the lessons taught at the hearth. They learned that joy and contentment wasn't necessarily a product of wealth, but was the shared harmony of spirit in the home.

Perhaps that is the attraction of the campfire in the night. Harmony, happiness, and a good song.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pretty Pictures

The cover gods at Ellora's Cave have blessed me with two gorgeous covers. I wonder if they like chocolate? Anyway, Magnolia--the one above is going to be released 12/12/2008. It's the fourth book in the Flowers of Camelot series. And Love Never-Ending--the one below will be released sometime after the new year. It's the fifth book in the Mystic Valley series!

Makes me wonder what the wonderful artists will do with the next one. My current work in progress is a time-travel/suspense/mystery. My hero and heroine are in a plane crash that apparently carried them back in time to 500 BCE. They have quite a few difficulties to face, especially as they realize that no one is coming to their rescue!

I have to say that writing this book has been an adventure all by itself. It's amazing what you can learn when you start investigating. So far, I've learned about solar power, harvesting food from the wild, native plants, native animals, primitive building techniques, medical superglue, squash, acorns, snares and traps, basket weaving, solar cooking, and primitive gardening.

By comparison, my other work in progress is a piece of cake. It's a relatively short story that takes place in Mystic Valley. At least I know the answers to all the questions there... and if I don't, I have the luxury of making them up!

I just want to say that writers of historicals have my deepest admiration!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Yesterday on a friend's blog, she asked for recommendations for romances with military type heroes. I wonder what our fascination is with the military man? Soldiers and their civilian corollaries (policemen and firemen) have been staples in romance for a long time. What makes them such perennial favorites?

I suppose that part of it is the innate alphaness of the military male. Control, self assurance, clean cut appearance and a well kept body are all attractive attributes. There is that certain feeling that no matter what emergency crops up, he can handle it... handle it well.

But I also think that there's an edge to the military hero. They're just a tad different from the rest of the world out there. They have a camaraderie that is closed to the rest of civilization. They have experiences that can not be shared in general especially with the female population. Oh, I know that in recent years, many female soldiers are on the front lines in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but that's a recent development. For the most part, the military is still a masculine domain.

So there's a bit of mystery about the soldier. And a bit of... love 'em and leave 'em mystique. They're always moving on. If a woman actually captures the attention of a military hero so that he's not willing to move on, then that's twice as attractive. Wow! That makes her an extra special heroine, too.

You know, it pains me to say it, but they know about guns and weapons. They have an entire arsenal that they're familiar with and can use if necessary. They know stuff about unarmed combat. They're kind of the modern equivalent of the western cowboy. If anything comes along to threaten the woman, the military hero is capable of protecting her.

When you analyze it, small wonder that the SEAL and Ranger heroes are so popular. Hmmm. Now where did I put that book?


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Never-Ending TV

As I've mentioned more than once, I don't watch television. I don't have some moral objection to television. It just seems a major waste of time. The other night, my granddaughter called me to tell me that Josh Groban was singing on television. So I dutifully went into the bedroom where our television lives (so that that house hunk can watch football during the season) and turned on the TV. And waited. And waited. Finally caught Mr. Josh singing for perhaps two minutes. This was after watching a telethon for cancer for about forty minutes. Ack.

Again, it's not that I have a moral objection to telethons. I just don't want to watch one. Anyway, I wandered away and went back to my very important occupation of making beaded hair piks. So I suppose you're wondering what I'm waffling on about. It's about the lack of quality television. Cable was supposed to open our homes to the wonders of quality television programming. Not so. Now we have a hundred channels of reruns.

Oh, I know. Whenever I go to my daughter's house, the television seems to run non-stop. And you can flick through the channels every hour, looking for quality programming only to find yourself stuck with cartoons, CSI reruns, cooking shows, gardening shows, decorating shows, sports of an infinite variety, and British soap operas.

When we moved here, the cable cost was beyond our budget. Without cable we are able to receive about four channels. Three of them have snow from interference. By the time we could afford cable, I had long since succumbed to boredom and found something else to do with my time. And I no longer have a desire to watch television. Because let's face it. One hundred channels still didn't do the trick.


Review Happiness

Good reviews always make an author happy. In general, if a review site uses ratings, those ratings range from 1 to 5 with 5 being the best. It might be five hearts or five ribbons or just a plain old five. A couple sites have recommended reads for their special reviews. So having explained that, here are partial snips of the reviews with links to the entire review next to it.

"There are so many stories inside the short action packed approximately 110 pages. I have to admit I did get lost at times. Now though, I see how Anny Cook connected the dots and crossed her t’s."~~Dee, from Night Owl Romance, 4.75/5 Reviewers Top Pick

"Oh my Goodness, Kama Sutra Lovers is smoking hot and burns up the monitor. I do swear my computer needed a cigarette when I was finished. Anny Cook really knows how to write an action-packed love story with a slice of humor thrown in for good measure."~~Jambrea, Joyfully Reviewed, Recommended Read

"KAMA SUTRA LOVERS is a sexy romp filled with mayhem, sinful Kama Sutra Cards and a love so powerful it changes the course of one planet. Ms. Cook delivers a spine tingling story that will keep you on the edge of the seat..."~~Dawn, Love Romances & More, 4 Hearts

"Kama Sutra Lovers is a brilliant futuristic erotic romance by Anny Cook. Ms. Cook takes her time, immersing readers into the planet Elyria, unfolding events and scenarios layer by layer."~~Claudia, Just Erotic Romance Reviews, 5/5

What's it all about?
Elyria — land of the matchmaker-arranged tri-marriage. Noting the heated desires Hart, Arik and Giosetta keep hidden, their matchmaker decides to give them a nudge toward tying the knot. Kama Sutra cards with erotic suggestions start turning up in surprising places. Never slow to take a hint, Arik and Hart quickly arrange a hot, naughty encounter for Giosetta that opens their own eyes to all the sexy possibilities in a loving threesome. Two men, one woman and a life so hot it rates five fans.

That's the way it was supposed to be. But somebody is trying to kill them so they're on the run, forced to fit their honeymoon into stolen moments while fighting off the Assassins' Guild, carnivorous spiders and piecing together the puzzle of why their tri-marriage is under attack. Only by solving the mystery will they finally find their happily ever after.

Want more? Click on the book cover!

Until tomorrow...


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Don't wanna talk about it!

What is it with guys? "I don't want to talk about it!" That's how they face life.

"George, I'm pregnant."
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Well, we'll need to talk sometime before the baby comes..."
"What baby?"

"Harry, aren't you going to work today?"
"Why not?"
"I was fired."
"Why were you fired?"
"I don't want to talk about it."

"Why are you getting home so late, Bob?"
"I had to walk."
"Why did you have to walk? What's wrong with the car?"
"The tow truck took it away."
"What happened?"
"I don't want to talk about it."

"So what did the doctor say, honey?"
"I don't want to talk about it."

I think it's a fundamental difference between female and male. Women talk. And talk. And talk. And maybe talk some more, but we don't bottle that stuff up. When things get stressful, we e-mail or call a female friend and say, "I need to talk!" Those four words explain everything.

So what happens with men? They come home, have a beer, watch some television, and go to bed. And that solves all their problems. Don't quite understand it, but it works for them, because women do all the worrying while the guy is snoozing his troubles away. I say--make 'em talk!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Recapture the Dream

In the past few weeks I've sensed a... lull in the dream department. Fellow writers that were hyped and enthusiastic six months ago are considering moving on to something else. They're discouraged and down in the dumps.

I admit that it's hard to stay on task and focused when things aren't going so well on the home front or personal front or even on the professional front. Depression sets in. Hopelessness follows. And then it becomes more difficult to write. There is the tendency to think, what's the use? Nobody wants to read my books anyway.

So today, I want to launch a Recapture the Dream day. There is no dream too big. I want you to tell us what your dream is. Think big. Dream big. Be extravagant. It can be a professional dream or a personal dream. Whatever it is, make sure that it's really something important to you. Because... the second part is just as important. Tell us one step you are taking--or promise to take--to realize your dream. It can be a small step. It can be hard or not so hard. But every journey to our dreams begins with one step. So what's your first step toward your dream?

My dream is a personal dream. I want to lose fifty pounds. It's very important to me because it would mean the difference between life and death. I suppose you could say that's quite a bit of motivation, but just like everyone else, it's easy to get discouraged when that scale doesn't move!

So my step is to work on keeping my blood sugar below 120. It's tough. It means that I have to eat on a regular schedule--something I haven't done in twenty-five years. It means that I have to measure every blasted thing I stick in my mouth. It means that I have to remember to take the stupid pills! Just explaining that this is going to take some work. However, our secret dreams are worth a little bit of work--right?

That's my dream. I'll be checking back in with y'all every so often and asking how you're doing. In the meantime, share your dream and how you're going to start attaining it.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Professional

Over the past few weeks, I've learned the hard way that as a writer, I'm always "on". There is no time (except when I'm in my apartment, hanging out with the blinds closed) that I am just free to be Anny Cook's alter ego. I'm a gabby sort. People who have talked to me on the phone will be happy to attest to my gabbiness. In the process of flapping my lips, inevitably my writing career shows up in the conversation.

Call me shallow, but the truth is that people make snap judgments based on appearance. I would like for it to be otherwise, but alas, it isn't so. Therefore, when I start chatting about my career as an erotic romance author, hopefully I will at least not look like a refugee from a flood. Real refugees have good reason to look desperate and hopeless. I do not.

I've hawked my books under some odd circumstances--restaurants, laboratories, gas stations, laundromats, doctor's offices, grocery stores... Most times I was dressed. But one memorable time, my sole garment was a pink paper gown that was three sizes too small. It opened down the front. My cardiologist was standing behind me, listening to my lungs and chatting about odds and ends.

"So! Are you working now?"
"Yes." (Deep breath!)
"What do you do?"
"I write erotic romances." (Deep breath!)
"Excuse me. What did you say?"
"I write erotic romances." (Deep breath!)

He stopped what he was doing and moved around until he was facing me. "You write erotica?" I wish I had a camera. His expression was priceless. We embarked on an animated discussion about the ins and outs of writing erotic romance as a profession... all the time I was sitting there in my gaping pink paper gown--freezing to death. I resolved the next time I am asked that question under similar circumstances I will answer, "I kill people for a living."

I can not tell you how many times I've grabbed my purse to run out to the store, clad in shorts and tee shirt, hair standing on end, only to encounter an acquaintance who is eager to introduce me to their friend. After all, a lot of people think it's cool to be friends with a real live author. This always happens when I look like I just crawled out of bed after an active night. The looks I get are hair curling.

So my new resolution is to pretend that I'm running for President. The media is always looking. And the fashionistas are always critiquing. And I just may not be caught off guard again. Maybe.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Time Out

When you were a kid, did you ever have a set-to with your siblings and end up punished as a group? Parents sometimes have a difficult time judging just who was at fault and find it both easier and fairer to apply the punishment to all concerned. While one might have started it, another probably continued the disagreement.

When my kids were growing up, I found that most disagreements were between the same-sex siblings. Since I had two boys and two girls, that made for a lot of squabbles. Back in my day, we didn't call it time out. We called it the corner chair. Of course it wasn't that effective as I had four dreamers who were perfectly happy to sit in the corner and think their thoughts.

Have you ever thought what would happen if adults had time out? I envision an office setting where two secretaries get in an argument. The boss comes out and sends them to the time out chairs. Hmmm. If it's a really busy day with the phones ringing off the walls, maybe I would want to go to time out!

Sometimes I want to send the house hunk to time out. He does have "his" room and if he gets too rambunctious, I suggest that he go to his room for a while before he seriously annoys me. Annoying me is not a good thing in his eyes. He doesn't like living with me when I'm annoyed.

Maybe the next time things get overwhelming, I'll put myself in time out. After all, nobody is supposed to talk to you when you're in time out. Of course I would prefer to serve my time out at the local ice cream parlor. Preferably noshing on chocolate almond chip with peanut butter sauce and lots of cherries. Time out!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How can I help?

Have you ever been involved in a genuine emergency? One where you have no idea whatsoever how to help the person? It's pretty scary.

A few years ago the house hunk and I were shopping in WalMart on a rainy vacation morning. We were in a town that was eight hours from where we lived. He held up a shirt for my inspection. "What about this one?" I was flipping through the shirts on another rack. When I turned to face him, he was falling right between two circular racks of clothes.

My first thought was that he had tripped. I rushed around the rack out into the main aisle to find him lying on the floor in a full grand mal seizure, obviously is respiratory distress, turning red. His tongue was blocking his airway. I remember dropping to my knees and screaming, "Help! Somebody help me!"

I give the WalMart in Olean, New York full marks for incredible service. Their staff was very well trained. An ambulance was summoned. And while we waited, the manager stayed with us. Staff arrived from all over the store and stood in a circle around us with their backs turned blocking us from sight so that we had privacy.

I had no idea what to do for him, but clearly his breathing was getting critical. I turned him on his side and just held him there so he wouldn't roll on his back. Immediately, his breathing eased. The doctors later told us that one simple move had likely saved his life. But what if I had not had the courage to do that? No one else was willing to touch him. No matter how fast the ambulance arrived, it would have been too late.

After the immediate crisis was over, there were many things to deal with. One of those things was the loss of security on my part. I've talked to many other spousal units out there. Once something traumatic happens to a spouse, the partner loses that security that we take for granted... that security that when the spouse walks out the door, they'll come back. Now that is a thing of the past because now I know how quickly that traumatic event can take him away. What would happen if he had a seizure taking out the trash? How long would I wait before I went to see why he was taking so long? No one knows who he is or which apartment is ours. Would anyone summon an ambulance in time?

So each time he walks out of sight, it's an act of faith now that he will come back. It doesn't matter where he goes. It could be just down our short hallway to check the mail. It could be a trip to the grocery store. It doesn't really matter. Because the fact is as his spouse, I have to let him go. I can't wrap him in cotton wool or smother him with concern. No one can live like that. But somewhere in the back of my mind the thought is always there. Such is life.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Dark and Stormy

Tropical storms and hurricanes are a fixture on the east coast and gulf coast of the United States every summer and fall. It's weather roulette that residents play for the pleasure of living near the water. Most of the time you win. But when you lose--you lose big time.

Today while a lot of our citizens celebrate Labor Day in the traditional manner--barbecue and picnics--a little over two million of our citizens are camped in shelters, hotels, and with relatives while they wait out the storm named Gustav. In a massive evacuation, people packed up their families, pets, and most treasured belongings and hit the road.

Usually on Labor Day, we talk about the celebration of the common man, the worker. This is our day. But today, many of those workers will be out there working to keep others safe. In the storm, emergency personnel, military personnel, volunteers, police officers and firemen, meteorologists will all be working overtime for the safety of their fellow citizens. As soon as the storm is past, a platoon of electrical and phone technicians will be moving in, trying to restore services. The day is aptly named. Labor Day.

Let us keep our fellow citizens in our prayers and our thoughts both now and when they go home. For many, there will be heartbreaking futures. Futures both difficult and exhausting. People always voice the thought that as long as lives were not lost they can always rebuild. But most of the time, rebuilding is an overwhelming job. In the rush of the disaster, everyone pitches in to help. Let us not forget afterwards, after the press and media have moved on to the next hot story.

Wherever you are, whoever you are with, I wish you a safe and dry holiday.