The Brain-Dead Cardinal

Every time I go into or past the puppers’ room, I hear a steady thump . . . thump . . . thump. It started about a month ago, and it took me a while to figure out what the heck it was. There’s a tree right outside the windows, and a mentally-challenged cardinal lives there. He’s gorgeous but apparently dumber than dirt (which is why I think it’s a “he”). Over and over, all day long, he flies into the window glass, bounces back, takes a minute to recover, then does it again. And again.

Frankly, I figured he’d be dead after a week of it, but when I was in there a bit ago, there he was, banging that pretty head against the glass for at least the thousandth time. Just how stupid is he? I wonder. He can look through the branches and see daylight; he can see other birds flying in and out of the trees, but he just keeps hitting the window, never giving up, always dusting himself off and trying one more time.

Bet you think I”m going for an analogy here . . . how we authors are that cardinal, banging our heads against the publishers’ windows trying to get in. We know there are other, easier pursuits available; we can look through the branches and see the sky, the flowers, the trees where other birds flit, but we stay where we are, knocking ourselves silly. Okay, it didn’t work the last time, but maybe THIS time . . .

Nope. I’m just sharing with you what a putz that bird is. One of these days, with my camera handy, I’m going to open the window and the screen and see what happens when, instead of bouncing off the glass, he flies into the room. With the puppers. I bet there’ll be birdsh*t everywhere.

Come to think of it, it does remind me of the publishing biz. Sometimes you kill brain cells. Sometimes you get knocked off your feet.

And, even if you do make it through the window, sometimes all you get for your effort is sh*t.

A Batty, Motley Rose

I got one of those emails this week. You know the one from the agent, the editor, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Now don’t feel sorry for me, because I don’t. If anything, I am more determined than ever to get published. No agent of doom, no editor of woe is going to stand between me and my dreams. On the way home from my DJ, I came up with this poem and thought I’d share it with you all. It’s a little tongue in cheek.

The inspiration for this poem came from some research I have done for my current WIP. Did you know Meat Loaf once said that it felt as though they were creating record companies solely for the purpose of rejecting Bat Out of Hell? The other two iconic groups I mention in this poem suffered early critics who brutally panned their music. They persevered and today are household names…at least our house. In the case of GNR, they shifted rock music away from glam rock back to metal. But if you read the band’s biography or listen to their later interviews, that was never their intent. They just wanted to make their music, their way.

I don’t necessarily want to turn the world upside down, I just want to tell my story and have someone read it, love it.

So here’s the poem. Hope it makes you smile.

A note received one spring morn,
Damned thing should have made me mourn.
Rejected, facing desolation,
Turned to others for inspiration.

Of the agent thought, “What an oaf!”
That’s when I recalled Meat Loaf
Whose album, Bat Out Of Hell,
Deaf producers damned to hell.

Or pre Jungle Guns N Roses,
Critics warned, “Hold your noses.”
“Great hair,” they said of Motley Crue
“But their music will make you spew.”

So the agent wasn’t smitten.
Yet, another chapter I’ve written,
Still confident in my prose,
A stubborn batty, motley, rose.

L. Somerville

Overwhelmed & Whining

I love taking classes. I’ve gotten to where I am pretty good about choosing ones that involve enough work to be challenging but not so much work that my life revolves around the class.

Every now and then I mess up. Fall of 2005 I enrolled in “Contemporary British Literature”. It sounded like a fun class, it was online and there were books by authors I’d never even heard of. It turned out to be the class from hell…I took it for graduate credit and I made an A in it though. I’m not an english major and I don’t think I have ever worked as hard in any class as I did in that class. I had no life that fall. I swore I would never that again.

And I didn’t until this spring. I took two classes, Cherokee Nation Legal History and Directed Studies in Cherokee Culture.

I thought they would have good information for backstory for my WIP and the novel that will come after it. The information is interesting and will help with my WIP and the other novel. But, ladies, these two classes are eating my lunch. I’ve just finished one paper and turned it in, now I’ve got to start research for the second paper… all together there are four papers.

Last December I decided I needed to “feed my soul” so I joined a theological book study group. More reading and I just found out we are expected to answer “discussion” questions. All I have time for is work, study, research, eat, and go to bed.

So now you know why I haven’t been posting goals or commenting on the blog posts. So until the semester ends I am going to be out of pocket.

And I’d better get some good novel fodder out of these classes.

Claude Mary


First, to all of you who have blogged the past few days, I’m sorry I haven’t kept up.  I’m a pediatric nurse and those of you who know me, know that winter is our worst season.  For awhile, it looked like we were going to get off easy.  But the RSV/Rotovirus/etc. season has hit with a vengeance.  Plus, for the second year in my life, I did my own taxes.  A six-week project that gave me nightmares.  But now, my taxes are in (though I’m still not sure they’re accurate) and I NEED the blog to help me keep my sanity through the rest of the winter illnesses I deal with each day.  So for my blog today, I’m going to just free-assosciate, here.

I want to tell all the guests who’ve been joining us on our ramblings, I appreciate the way you read and comment on our blog.  To me, it’s like welcome company in the house.  Thank you.  Have some cyber-brownies and lemonade.  🙂  It’s always been a mystery to me why people would want to read a blog.  (No doubt that is why I so bad at keeping up my personal blog on my web page at )  Now Twitter…that I can get my brain around except for some of the inane comments people write.  After all, would you really want to hear all about me brushing my teeth?  But the challenge of writing philosophy or parody or a sly remark in such a small space intrigues me.  That I might do consistently.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you…part of the reason why I haven’t been emailing or coming to the blog so often is that my laptop died.  I bought used and don’t grieve for it, but boy, I really miss the Wi-Fi that let me sit in my recliner while doing both.  But do not despair; I’ve ordered a new Dell laptop.  I almost have my PC paid off, so figured I could afford to get new this time.  I’m getting a colored one, Midnight Blue, with a 320 GB hard drive!  Can you imagine…320 GB!!?  Dang, I remember getting excited about a 386 MGB drive.  Times are sure a’changin’!  Only trouble is they won’t have it built and shipped until the end of the month.  And I finally have to go to Microsoft Vista.  Yecch!  And I have a new computer to get used to.

Can you blame me for being distracted with all this going on in my life?  Oh, and that doesn’t even count how little writing I’m actually getting down.  🙂

A Good Wish

I know what I’m asking Santa Claus for Christmas, although I want it NOW! Maybe the Easter Bunny will bring it in my basket of goodies. Oh wait, I’m the Easter bunny even though none of our kids will be here. DH still gets a basket ‘cuz he’s really been extra good this short part of the year.

I want a distracter shield—a force field—installed. Here I could exist where no outside happenings would affect me while I’m writing. Inside my bubble there is no other world except for my characters. Where my writing flows like water from the faucet—clear, cold, refreshing my creative muse. The mystery is suspenseful, keeping the reader flipping pages. The black moment has one gasping for breath and the HEA brings a tear of joy. Sigh. I recently read an article where a writer said her writing comes easily and if it doesn’t for you, then get out of the biz. Wow, to have such dedication to a schedule. And do you have any other life? Sorry, the distracter had a brief power outage.

My unit also has to function as an internal editor eliminator, ego-deflating niggling negatron, corrector of all grammatical and spelnigl errars, declutter my office, and remove all M & M munchings.
Maybe if I pull a tooth—I have several manufactured ones—and put it under my pillow, the Tooth Fairy will grant my wish.

What is he thinking?

I like men. Hold on. I’m a writing slut but not a slut slut. And I know as women we are supposed to be proud of our sisterhood. Ya. Ya. I am. But I find men soooo fascinating. They are such intriguing creatures. Watching and listening to them I feel a little like Jane Goodall documenting the gorillas in the mist. Their size, shape or color doesn’t matter. What goes on in their head is an endless mystery that must be unraveled.

You don’t need an MD or a PhD to know that there is a difference between men and women. Yes, in many ways we are equal. But let’s face it, in some areas we are just hardwired differently: which is a subject for a whole separate blog. But a man’s perspective on the world intrigues me. The noblest of them will do the most amazing things. Fight a war so that their loved ones can be free, pin on a badge to protect and serve, or fight for legislation to improve people’s lives. They’ll work a crappy job for thirty years so that their children’s lives will be better than theirs or leave behind a successful career because the demands on their time don’t allow them enough of it with their families. What intrigues me the most is their hearts. I like exploring how their hearts and minds work. The women they love and the lives they build together fascinates me.

I will admit to being a shameless eavesdropper and covert people watcher. When my family and I go out to dinner or church, or at family gatherings, even at work, I’m always watching and listening more often than not, to the men. And yes I know I sound like some whacked out psycho, but really it’s all in the name of RESEARCH. I listen for their word choice and tone of voice. I watch their mannerisms, facial expressions. All in an effort to just get a clue about what’s going on in their heads! Then I file it away for use in a book someday.

This May, my husband and I will celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary. We dated for five years, so we’ve really been together for thirty-three years. We have three children; two sons, one twenty-five, one thirteen, and a girl, fifteen. I’ve learned a few things about the male of the species after living with my husband and sons.

1. Fart jokes are always funny. Bathroom humor is a laugh riot.
2. A guy is never truly a guy until he can belch the ABCs. The obnoxious noise made with the hand in the armpit can be substituted as proof of testosterone levels.
3. Saying something to shock your wife, your mother, your sister, your aunt, your grandmother etc. and watching her reaction is almost as funny as a fart joke.
4. Big or little, they notice boobs. They’re hardwired that way.
5. They never outgrow cars, boats, bikes, trains or planes, all manner of gadgets and tools.
6. They love things that go boom or vroom, and movies with plenty of action and things that go boom and vroom.

And just about the time you think you want to wring their neck, they do something unexpectedly sweet that makes you fall for them all over again. My husband’s a funny guy. Really! When I was in labor with our oldest son, my husband read jokes to me from Truly Tasteless Jokes. His fart jokes are the best! He always remembers March 1976, especially March 31, 1976. He never forgets the month or that day. When I do, he makes it a point to remind me. March 31, 1976. He makes certain we celebrate that day every year. What’s so special about March 1976? That’s the month we first met.

March 31, 1976 is the anniversary of our first date.


L. Somerville


I’ve got to have 20 CEU’s a year to keep my license current. These have to be completed by June, so I’ve scheduled myself to attend two six hour workshops in March and two in April.

There is something you have to know about these workshops. Their titles and descriptions all sound good but most of them don’t deliver what they promise and you have to sit through six hours of tedium. I attended one last week in Tulsa that was dynamite; I knew it would be because the presenter is very good. The one I attended today was an unknown but I was pleasantly surprised. It was also very good. And there’s nothing like a good workshop to get my creative energy going.

I’d jot down some points from the presenter’s lecture in my lecture notebook, then switch to my writing notebook to work on the scene in my WIP where my heroine finally meets her father, then switch to my planner to add things to my Friday to do list, switch again to answer emails from the shelter, then back to the lecture notes or my WIP scene. If I had been able to listen to some raucous, energizing music on my iPod, things would have been perfect…I would have been in heaven. I love multitasking!

Claude Mary