Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Today’s post is going to be one of those Hodge-Podge posts because I have three things to talk about.

First, I have an award to accept:

Now, I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, who in the past has given me an award that I didn’t ‘pick-up’. Normally I don’t do these things, it tends to embarrass me a little, and bore you to death. BUT, Jen is my CP and she has done a wonderful job of sticking with me so how could I refuse.

Here are the questions I’m supposed to answer:

If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I think these are supposed to be things about me that I would change, not the world in general. So, I would like it if I would never get angry. Anger is such a futile emotion that gets me nowhere but in a bad place. I work hard at it, but I still find, although my temper is nothing like it used to be, certain events can send me screaming down a dark tunnel.

If you could repeat an age, what would it be?
For the most part there isn’t a particular year I want to go back to, but if I could I would repeat the year I was diagnosed with cancer. I know, I know, that sounds crazy, but my reason is that I would do things drastically different with respect to the treatment I received. Maybe I wouldn’t even be here today, but I wouldn’t be living with the side effects of cancer treatment, which are truly my only health issues today.

What one thing really scares you?
Someone hurting the people I love.

If you could be someone else for a day who would it be?
I really can’t think of anyone else I would like to be for a day. I admit that some days I would rather not be me, but then I’m not sure who else I would inflict my personality upon.

OK, that’s it for the embarrassing questions. Now, I get to pick three people to bestow this award upon.

First, I would like to give this little REALITY award to Brandon and Bryan at A BEER FOR THE SHOWER. Not only are these two guys deserving, but I would really like to see what they would do with this in a cartoon. Go HERE to find their blog.

Second, is Pat Hatt at It’s Rhyme Time. Pat is deserving also, he and his pet. I only hope that he will take the bet. Pat always speaks in rhyme, visit his blog for a jolly good time. I really hope to see him rhyme his way through this. Find Pat at 'It's Rhyme Time

Finally, Robyn at rawkrobyn. Robin is another ‘quirky’ (and I mean that in a good way) blogger who I’m hoping might find a way to accept this award in one of her ‘famous’ interviews. See Robin at "Life by Chocolate'

OK that’s it for the blog award business. If any one of you three, don’t do blog awards, I understand. I enjoy your style and the appeal of something different in each of you blogs and thought it might be a fun approach to these questions.

Here is a little something for Jen at 'Birdsnest". Thanks Jen.

OK, SECOND thing to talk about. DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude has another new (and great) idea:

Today was the first day or the first person blitzed. It was fun to go and post something on a new blog and see all the love pouring out. To learn more about this new 'blog world' phenomena go HERE

Thanks DL!

FINALLY, I won’t be doing the A to Z Challenge this year so, no need to come by this space daily. I participated last year and made it to the end but I was EXHAUSTED. I found that I DO NOT have the stamina to keep it up (blogging) every day. But ya’all go on and have a good time and I’ll be lurking and checking in on you guys from time to time.

If you want to know what I’m up to I’ll be here every Wednesday; ‘The Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”

So tell me; Do you know Brandon, Bryan, Pat or Robyn? If not check 'em out. These are some of the most fun bloggers out there. How about Jen at Birdsnest? Are you going to get 'Blitzed'? Not if you don't sign up. Doing A to Z? If so have fun.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What price Integrity? or Are we Selling Out to cheap?

Before I started today’s post I remembered that about a year ago I posted this during the A to Z Blog Challenge.

I is for INTEGRITY {a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy.}

INTEGRITY. We demand it from others. We think we want to have it. We believe it is easy to achieve. We tend to misunderstand it. Having integrity basically means that we are consistent in our thoughts, words and actions and that we are not hypocrites. It does not necessarily mean that our thoughts, words and actions are good.

Throughout my life, my thoughts, words and actions have changed. Many of the circumstances I have witnessed in life have caused me to turn completely in another direction. I hope this does not mean I lack INTEGRITY. But, rather that I am teachable. I am able to see the error of my ways and make a course correction. I believe that life is like a great university. There are lessons to be learned and unlearned. We are granted time, that most precious commodity, in which to perfect ourselves. It’s all a preparation for the ‘next great adventure’. As we find our way through this life, it is our responsibility to remain consistent to the truths that we learn. To maintain INTEGRITY to those truths. To live consistent with our values and principles. It sounds like it should be easy. It’s not always so.

The following are only a small sampling of the comments to this post back in April 2012.

Matthew MacNish said...
I've always thought of integrity as doing the right thing, even when no one's watching, but I like your descriptions too.
Integrity: having your YES be YES and your NO stay NO. Sadly, in politics, integrity seems an illusion spun to win elections, Roland
Bish Denham said...
Integrity, to be that which you say you are. To be consistent. What a great word. And I totally agree with what Roland said!
Lynn Proctor said...
hmmm never thought of integrity being possible if one's actions were not at least purposed to be good--interesting post
Catherine Noble said...
Good choice of word for today's challenge! :) Integrity means different things to different people (which is why it will always be inconsistent), but you seem to have hit the nail on the head with your explanation!
You're the second integrity post I've seen today. I love the way you discussed it. I try to have integrity; as a writer, it can be hard to write what is true to me rather than what I think others want to read.

Erin summed up what I wanted to talk about today. Integrity as a writer.

A few weeks ago I asked the question when is ‘enough, enough’. There were some interesting answers, you can scroll back and read them if you like.  Today I want TO ASK, would you sell out to get published. Is all about marketing and making it into that select group able to call themselves authors. (I’ve heard it said you’re a writer until you’re published, and then, and only then can you call yourself an author.)

I REALLY WANT TO KNOW what you think.  

Monday, March 18, 2013


Here I am, signed up for another Blog Hop and I’m almost at a complete loss. This is Alex J. Cavanaugh’s 10 Favorite Movies Blog Hop. I have so many favorites I can’t narrow it down to ten. I keep thinking of others and wondering just exactly what are my BIG TEN FAVORITES. I’m sure as I read others people’s selections, I’ll think ‘OH, I love that movie and I didn’t include it’. So, I’m gonna cheat. Not surprised, are you? I’m going to break my list of likes into categories and tell you some of my favorites in each. Oh well here goes. I’ll start backwards.

10. Christmas Themed Movies.
I’ve got to start with ‘It’s a wonderful Life’. No Christmas would be complete with the opportunity to review George Bailey’s life with him and see that it fact he did have a wonderful life. ‘Every time a bell rings an angel gets their wings.’
For the first time this year I saw the movie Scrooge the Musical and it was absolutely delightful and instantly became one of my Christmas favorites. A big ‘thank you very much’, to the friend who recommended it to me.
Finally I have got to mention ‘Mixed Nuts’ a favorite in my house. It’s wacky, and has quite the ensemble cast, but loads of fun.
Of course I also love old favorites like “Miracle on 34th Street” (the original), and White Christmas.
 9. Musicals
One of my favorites is an oldie, ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ starring Judy Garland as a young girl. I also love ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘Showboat’.
 8. Westerns
I love ‘Westerns’ from ‘Dances with Wolves to some of the old John Wayne’s like “Red River and ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’. I also love Monument Valley, the place where so many of the old time westerns were shot. ‘True Grit’ the original with John Wayne is a classic and the remake with that Bridges guy wasn’t too bad either. Recently I was also introduced to “Monte Walsh’ and I loved it, but then what’s not to love about Lee Marvin. Also a crossover western, made great by Lee Marvin was ‘Paint Your Wagon’. A western musical, who woulda thunk? I’ve also gotta mention ‘The Black Stallion’, it’s not really a western, but it has a beautiful horse and I’m not sure what other category to put it in, so here it will be. I cannot forget one of my all time favorites “Friendly Persuasion’ with Gary cooper, Anthony Perkins, with the title song sung by Pat Boone.
 7. John Wayne Movies
Yeah, the big guy gets a category all to himself. I love the movie ‘Donovan’s Reef’, heck it’s got John Wayne and Lee Marvin. Don’t forget Hatari, McClintock and The Cowboys. Probably my favorite JW flick is ‘North to Alaska’, this movie even has Ernie Kovacs, a guy who I think was an excellent comedian, playing the villain with the big black mustache and the title song is sung by Johnny Horton (remember him and his big hit – ‘The Battle of New Orleans’) John Wayne was something else.
 6. Disney Classics
I know there are some great new animated films out there and I like a lot of them but nothing beats the Disney Classics like “Peter Pan’, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, ‘Pinocchio’ and the two that are tied as my favorites ‘Dumbo’ and ‘Lady and the Tramp’.
 5. Documentaries
I have got to mention documentaries because two of my favorite films fall into this category. The first I mentioned just recently on one of my blog posts, it’s ‘The Singing Revolution’ the story of Estonia breaking the bonds of the USSR over their country. The second is my favorite Rockumentary, “The Last Waltz’, great music and great recording artists. I never get tired of seeing these guys.
 4. Fantasy and Paranormal
My choices for Fantasy are probably not what most people would think of, but my two favorites are ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘Stardust’. Not much more to say about that. In the category of Paranormal, I love me a good ghost story and ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’, another oldie but goodie, fits the bill perfectly. Recently, I saw the movie ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and found it an interesting study in the paranormal along with one I had seen years ago but re-watched recently ‘Altered States’. When it comes to the paranormal, I don’t get out much, but all three of these had a rather profound message.
 3. Silly watch over and over movies, that make you feel good or at least not so bad about yourself.
Ron Howard’s ‘Parenthood’ probably tops that list for me, at least the part about ‘feel not so bad about yourself, as a parent I mean. I love ‘Captain Ron’ and after living three years in the Caribbean, I can attest that most of it is TRUE. ‘The Butcher’s Wife’ is one that I can recite lines from and yet I still howl at some of the sight gags. I like ‘True Lies’ for its goofy spoof of the ‘spy’ movies and the rom/com sentiments between husband and wife. Probably the only Schwarzenegger movie I would sit through more than once. Finally there is ‘Charade’ not really a comedy or silly movie, but it does have its moments and what’s not to like about Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. And, my all time favorite ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. I don’t think any other explanation is necessary for Roger and friends.
 2. Chick Flicks – not sure if this is a good title for this category but I’m not sure how else to group these films.
The first one that comes to mind is ‘Moonstruck’ starring Cher and Nick Cage. Alright so Nick Cage is kind of a weirdo but in this film it works and Cher is superb. ‘Little Black Book’ is another interesting one with a moral about snooping into the life of your significant other and coming up with all the wrong answers. Finally, I really like ‘A Good Year’, not sure this should be called a chick flick, but I don’t know where else to put it. I love the character study and how Max changes as he relives his life with his beloved uncle and soundtrack is fantastic.
 1. My favorite Movie
This movie started out as a ‘Foreign Language’ (Italian) flick that became so popular it was later dubbed in English by the original cast. I’ve seen both versions and love it in either language. The movie; “Life Is Beautiful’. I love the theme about loving someone enough to live your life for them. I’m in an absolute puddle at the end, every time, even though I know what’s coming. I just can’t help it. If you haven’t seen it, rent it right now. The film is separated in two distinct parts that show a sharp contrast in one man’s life and yet when it comes to love, he never falters.

OK that’s it. I know I cheated and names about thirty films, and I’m sure I forgot a bunch, but I just can’t help myself. I love movies, especially those that make me laugh and those that make me cry. I don’t even mind being scared a little bit. And, I didn’t even mention the love stories. Next time.

To learn more about this Blog Hop and to visit other participants go HERE

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


A few weeks ago I told you that I had a post mentally prepared about my father and great-grandfather, but I didn’t feel well, so I didn’t post it. Well, I’m still not ready to write that story, but I have been thinking a lot about fathers.

Arlee Bird over at  Tossing It Out has been devoting some of his blog space to controversial topics like marriage, divorce, child rearing and violence in America. During some of the discussion the importance of Fathers came up and it started me thinking. Now, I’ve read a lot of the books and seen some of the studies, but I feel a little better telling you about the ‘up close and personal’.

If you come by here regularly you already know that I live on an island in the Caribbean. While there are many aspects of ‘life on de island’ that are absolutely delightful, buy there is a downside. The culture is extreme. Let me explain.

Actually, I’m not going to even try to explain all the extreme circumstances and absurdities of the culture here but for one aspect that has to do with the importance of Fathers. Here, Fathers are almost non-existent in the home. Most children are raised by single women. Marriage is generally not a factor, but even when it is, most of the men don’t stick around or with one woman long enough, to see their children through the toddler years.

Most of these men are proud of their ability to sire offspring. One man even publicly bragged that he had two sons born on the exact same day (not twins). This man also stated that he was the father of nine (9) children. He was about thirty-two (32) at the time. Of those nine children there were eight different mothers involved.

I will be the first person to say that I think mothers are maybe the most important component in making up and taking care of a family on the day to day basis, but fathers are just as important. Families without fathers suffer dramatically. While it is often women who take on the greater share of basic child rearing responsibilities, fathers play an ever important role, especially in the lives of male children. There is not much that can replace the positive role model of a dad to loves and provides for his family. Every child needs to feel a fathers love and devotion not only to them, but to their mothers, also. While I see the need for dad to be a role model of honesty, integrity and strength to a young man, it’s also important for young women to recognize these traits in their fathers as they seek their own relationships with men.

Here in de islands we have an ever increasing problem with gangs and their related violence. We try hard not to scare the tourists, but crime is ever on the rise to the extent that our sister island has held the noteriaty of having the most murders per capita of any area in the US. (They may recently have been outdone by the City of Chicago, who now holds the title “Murder Capitol”, but they are at least a close second and with a much smaller population). Is it any wonder that adolescents who do not have a complete family turn to acceptance within the gang mentality where they are encouraged, strengthened and modeled to become perfect citizens of crime and violence. They feel secure within that ‘gang family’ who celebrate their achievements at stealing, extortion, and even murder.  Weapons become hugs and secret signs and colors replace a ‘good’ family name. While gang members come from every demographic those children who reside in a single parent home are more likely to seek the acceptance and approval of ‘the gang’ than those with a more traditional family life.

Bringing this topic home, I need to say that my father was very important in my life. He was a hard man and having to get things by Daddy was never easy. There were many attributes of his that I expressly did not want to replicate in my relationships with the opposite sex and there were many others that I felt requisite. When I was about six or seven years old, my mother took a job outside of the home. This was in an era when most moms were at home and school assemblies where held during the day. My fathers job called for him to work rotating shifts, so two months out of three he was available during the day. When it was my classes turn to make a presentation, you would find all the mothers sitting on the front row in the small folding chairs provided for students and there would be my daddy, folding his six foot two inch frame into that tiny space and clapping louder than anyone else when I gave my part in the assembly. Daddy attended parent teacher meetings and the return signature on my report cards were always his. He taught me to shoot a gun, ride a horse (kind of), how to fish, and be respectful to others, especially my mother. He taught me about honesty, integrity and responsibility. I was never allowed to blame my errors on someone else.

Recently, I watched from the sidelines as my best friend’s son fought through the judicial system for the right to raise his daughter. This little girl’s mother, to whom he was never married, suffers from a multitude of emotional problems and a very intense addiction to alcohol. At one point in his legal battles the mom offered to end the fight for a sum of money (she basically offered to sell his own daughter to him), he declined and spent more than her request to have his daughter legally awarded to him as her primary guardian. The mother has only supervised visitation. This young man is another tough guy, like my daddy, and yet he sees that his daughter has bows I her hair and birthday parties at the beauty shop with her little friends. He mourns the lack of a positive young female role model in her life and constantly makes excuses for her mother who makes less than half of her scheduled visits. This guy knows how to be a father.

Most people who had a good relationship with their fathers can easily see the importance they have played in their lives. Those who did not have such a relationship almost always can see the lack thereof as a deficit that nothing could replace. While mom might seem to be the more important figure on a day to day basis, don’t discount the importance of fathers in the home and lives of their children.

Think about it. How important was your father in your life growing up? How important is he today? How would your life be different if he had not been there? How different could your life be if he had?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Recently, I got my hands on a copy of ‘Writer’s Digest’; not an easy task when you live ‘off the map’. Anyway, I was excited to have a look inside, hoping to find all kind of ‘insider information. In this particular issue I came across an article titled ‘How Much Is Enough?” excepted for the book ‘Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino

In this article Mr. S (I hope I will offend no one, especially Mr. Sambuchino, by using such a familiarity, but if I have to keep typing that name over and over, well, I just can’t be responsible for how it might end up.) goes on to tell us what type of Internet presence is ‘enough’ to woo an agent or publisher. He  lists all sorts of intimidating facts and figures about what is ‘notable’, ‘very notable’, and impressive by any means.

Now, no offence intended to Mr. S, because I know this article, excerpted from his book is primarily about creating a ‘Writer Platform’ and that was really all he was addressing, BUT I couldn’t help think enough already with the platform. Whatever happened to good writing, creative story line, tight plot and interesting characters?

Recently in my online writers group someone posted that a potential agent loved their work but they were afraid that ‘the market trend had passed them by and this book had lost its chance’. I had to read that over three times before it sunk into my thick skull that this agent was telling this writer that ‘although their book was very good and the agent themselves loved it the MARKET TEND dictates what will be published, not the quality of the work.

Now I realize that there are trends in reading just like any other form of entertainment, information gathering, or socializing BUT are we now supposed to be concerned about what is ‘trending’? How many people like us on Face Book? How clever we can be in 128 characters? From what I read recently, it seems more important to be popular than to perfect your craft.

So, today when I think about my insecurities with respect to my writing (let’s not even begin to consider my general insecurities) I left with the fact that all I want to do is tell good stories. Something that will make you think. Something that might tug at your heartstrings, keep you up at night with the lights on, or something that will make you laugh out loud. I want you to be involved with my characters and engaged in their struggles, hopes, fears, happily ever afters and tragedy. Even though I write primarily fiction, I want it to be relevant to what’s going on in the world today in the hopes that someone might think about taking an active part in solutions rather than complaining about problems. I want my writing to be ‘Enough’. Is that too much to ask?

If you would like more information on the Insecure Writers Support Group or to read the contributions of other ‘Insecure Writers’, please click HERE