National Novel Writing Month—pronounced NaNo—ReMo—begins November 1 and runs the entire month. For the first time I plan to participate in the effort to create a novel from scratch in only thirty days. Wish me luck!

Here’s the official blurb:

National Novel Writing Month, is an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process. The website provides participants with tips for writer’s block, local places writers participating in NaNoWriMo are meeting, and an online community of support. The idea is to focus on completion instead of perfection. NaNoWriMo focuses on the length of a work rather than the quality, encouraging writers to finish their first draft so that it can later be edited at the author’s discretion. NaNoWriMo’s main goal is to encourage creativity worldwide. The project started in July 1999 with 21 participants, but by the 2010 event over 200,000 people took part – writing a total of over 2.8 billion words.



East Texas is referred to as the Piney Woods, and each year two great universities there compete in what is called the Battle of the Piney Woods, the third oldest college rivalry in the state of Texas. Sam Houston State University in Huntsville has won 53 times against Stephen F. Austin from Nacogdoches. Up until four or five years ago, the game to claim bragging rights to the best of the Piney Woods was held at one stadium or the other. However, the game outgrew those places so moved to NRG Stadium in Houston. Granted, 26 thousand fans don’t look like a lot in that huge arena, but they are just as avid and rabid as any Houston Texan fan ever thought of being.

This year was the 90th meeting and no easy game. SFA drew first blood, but Sam Houston finally got their act together and won—by 3 points. A nail biter of a game all the way!
One of the things Husband and I look forward to each year is seeing friends there and this year, relatives. Teacher friends sit across the aisle from us; the head of KatDaddy Tailgaters usually sits nearby (this year right in front of us). He’s a hoot to be around. Last year a young friend of ours sat across the stadium with a friend who happened to be from SFA. But this year was the best. A niece’s daughter attends SFA as a freshman and Niece and Daughter came to the game and met us. Wow! That was special! The relatives outweighed the rivalry. It was nice to win this time—in two ways.


There are few truly charismatic persons left in the world but Pope Francis is one of them. I’m not Catholic, but I watched his visit in the United States this week, fascinated by how he responds to people. And how those people react to him—people of many faiths. They adore him, as he seems to adore them. His personality exudes charm and allure that few others can match. He’s a quiet person, it appears, with a tenderness that appeals to almost everyone.

That very softness then makes his words more powerful. He addressed Congress, the UN and those gathered at the World Trade Center, the Family Conference in Philadelphia, as well as church services, a school in Harlem, a prison and lunch with homeless in DC. While his English might be halting at times and his accent a bit thick, the meaning of his words is strong and clear. The contrast between words and action melds into a man with a commanding personality and a heart big enough to take in the Catholic believers as well as those of other faiths. I admire the man immensely. Somehow, I think that if he and I sat on a park bench just chatting that he’d be a lot of fun, too.


In the last two months, we’ve been to two reunions and have another to attend three weeks from now. A reunion is defined as a gathering of old friends, relatives or colleagues; I’d say we’re going to hit all of those.

The first was a family reunion for Husband’s mother’s side of the family. Wow, lots of folks—but then this large family comes together for fun as well as memories of their heritage. Lots of laughter and music (the head of each family plays guitar or drums) as well as ‘do you remember…?’

We just returned from reunion #2—Husband’s 50th high school reunion. Of 330 graduates of this particular high school, 48 were gone/not to be forgotten and about half of the remaining graduates attended the meet & greet Friday night and banquet Saturday evening. Fortunately everyone wore name tags with their high school photo on it. Handshakes and hugs all around.

The last reunion is Husband’s father’s side of the family—an annual event. Sometimes as many as sixty show up, other times as few as thirty. It’s a noon meal and auction—we pay for the catering and the event hall out of the monies we raise each year. Twice I’ve taken a quilt to auction off.

While reunions are fun, sometimes you leave a bit wistful, remembering the days of your youth and those who didn’t attend as well as those who did—all the fun and shenanigans. And while you might long momentarily for the good ol’ days, you probably would rather move forward than back.

FREE Anthology!

Choice of Death/complied by Micheal Maxwell


I joined four other authors in creating a great anthology called Choice of Death, stories of murder, mystery and mayhem. And it’s FREE! A gift to our readers. Today it’s up on Smashwords, barely been there twenty-four hours, and doing great. The anthology has been downloaded to about twenty different platforms, some that require at least a week to upload the collection. Yes, it will be at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but at the moment it’s only on Smashwords.

The man who compiled the stories is Micheal Maxwell and the anthology is listed under his name. But we’re all in there—Kay Hadashi and her beautiful story about the Hawaiian beach, Micheal and his detective who has seen enough, Wayne Zurl and his Tennessee police chief, Ilil Arbel and her Russian designer as well as my contribution of death in a mist-shrouded barn and how sisters hunt for the cause.

Feedback is always appreciated. I’d love to know what you think about our collection.

Look for Choice of Death on Smashwords today, coming soon to other websites!


Last Friday Husband and I had dinner with a young couple, both of whom work. Both of whom expressed delight in a three-day weekend coming up, celebrating Labor Day. When I said ‘oh, it IS Friday’, the young woman kidded me about being retired and not keeping track of days. How wonderful that will be when she gets there (in twenty or twenty-five years) she quips. Honestly? I wasn’t rubbing it in about being retired—I simply had lost track of days and forgot it was a Friday!

One thing about working is that you establish a routine. From kindergarten to graduation from high school, I knew where I was going to be for ten months of the year. During college years, despite classes changing each semester, I set up a routine of when to get up, study, eat, show up for classes…that sort of thing. Thirty years of teaching DEFINITLY establishes a routine…up at a certain time, to school by a certain time, classes each hour, home by a certain time and bed by a certain time.

While retirement is freeing of that routine, it also hinders me. I do have a set time for my alarm but that doesn’t mean I have to get up just then. I might have goals for the day but if Husband wants to go or do something then I’m there. Or something may interrupt my plans. Bed time has no set time though by ten o’clock I’m usually ready to find my sheets and pillow.

There is little or no routine to help me distinguish a Monday from a Friday. I simply get up and do my thing. I might start out knowing it’s Friday but by the time I get to dinner after five o’clock that afternoon I have probably forgotten. To be honest, a bit of routine would be appreciated in my life.

Just a quick visit today—Husband will celebrate his 50th high school reunion in September. An auction filled with things classmates made will raise money to give to the school district to be used for scholarships and student use. Husband makes lovely pens so will make a set of pens out of either deer antler or cedar. Since I have some skill at quilting, I’m making a quilt referred to as braided. If the rows laid side by side they would look ‘braided’ but since the colors are quite…well, colorful…I’m separating each of the five rows with white. The border will be deep blue as well as the back, in honor of his school colors, blue and white. The photo is one of the rows, untrimmed but you can see white behind the colors so that gives you some idea of what the quilt will look like. I should have the top of the quilt (a lap quilt—not a full bed-sized one) finished by next Monday.