Book of the Month! NaBloPoMo #3


book cover
A couple of nights ago a delightful woman by the name of Virginia Kerth called to interview me. Me, the small town old gal who lives in the woods, me. She wanted me to know that it was her turn to choose the book of the month for her book club. And she chose mine. She chose mine! A book club in Kansas is going to read Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club. They will meet afterwards, review it, discuss it, chew on it for a while and then decide whether or not it is a good read. I am beyond thrilled!

Virginia is such a sweet person that I wanted to interview her. We talked on the phone like long lost friends finding each other at last. Without giving any details of her private life, I can tell you that she is an avid book reader (duh), and apparently a social butterfly. She must know how to entertain as well because she told me her plans for the book club meeting which will be at her home, include creating the refreshments around all things Louisiana and the Old Ladies’ Club. Isn’t that a hoot? She will be serving shrimp, pecan pie and rum drinks with little umbrellas in them. (You have to read the book to understand that.)

By the time I hung up the phone, my head had swelled beyond what I thought it ever could. And then I got out of bed, put my slippers on, let the dogs go out, made the cat go out, fed the fish, and fixed a cup of blueberry tea. Then I got kind of scared. What if they don’t like it? What if it’s a bust? Virginia told me that she would let me know what the club thinks of it and she promised me she would tell me about ALL the reviews – good and bad. Ok, that will shrink a swelled head down to size in a hurry. So all I could do was talk to God about it. I realized He has always given me the desires of my heart. And I know He has great plans for me. And I believe that through Him I can soar like eagles. What the heck am I worried about? I am so weird.

I think the night Virginia called was the same day I found out that my book is on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17397862-secrets-of-the-old-ladies-club?ac) and on Books A Million online (http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Secrets-Old-Ladies-Club/Nan-Tubre/9781475975123?id=5831605601006). Can you imagine that? I got so excited about it I am hosting a book give-away on the Goodreads site. I’m giving away a copy to five lucky people. You’ll have to go here to enter: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway. The last day to enter is Dec 3rd and Goodreads will select the winners.

I also have a give-away on my facebook author page. It runs through November 15th. All you have to do is find the post mentioning the give-away, share it with your friends and ‘like’ my page. My two year old granddaughter will select that winner. Don’t ask.

Oh, and how could I forget…if you want a copy of my book, send a message to me and I give you the details.

It would be a huge help to me if you would offer a comment or two here. Don’t be shy, share me with your friends! I’ll just love you forever for that.

And don’t forget to pray for peace.

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NaBloPoMo ??


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Have you heard of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month? It is a an organization of a varied assortment of writers – novice, seasoned, occasional, you name it. During the month of November they gather in one cyber-spot and write. That’s all. They write. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November and hopefully participants will have a good jump on constructing their own novel. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. The whole point of NaNoWriMo is JUST DO IT. Don’t you love that? I certainly do. I have participated in the event a few times. The first time, I wasn’t able to accomplish 50,000 words. But the next year, I did! The following year, my husband asked me not to participate. He was patient, he said, but he wanted to be the center of my attention that particular November. Well, those weren’t his exact words, but you get the picture.

Anyway, now I hear there is a movement about called NaBloPoMo. National Blog Posting Month. Similar to NaNoWriMo, the goal is to post a blog entry every day in November. Yayyy! I can do that. Can’t I? Can’t I?

I’m going to give it a shot, folks, and, yes, I’m excited about it. There are no rules. I can blog on anything I want to. You may want to fasten your seat belts now because I’m going to fly with this challenge. I have a lot planned for the month of November and if you come along, you will get a picture of the life I live down here in Louisiana. It won’t be easy. My husband just walked in and said “I don’t know why you spend SO much time on the computer! It’s not healthy!” Brings new meaning to the word challenge.

Until tomorrow,
Nancy

Crossing off the Bucket List!


Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Who knew life after 50 could be so much fun?? And I say that with no sarcasm whatsoever. I am deep into my 50’s and the funny part about that is that I didn’t have a clue about life until middle age began it’s uphill climb over my being. I hear people talk about their high school years being the best time of their life. I’ve heard people say early marriage and motherhood ‘completed’ them. I have even heard one or two people wish they were a child again. Not me. Nope. I wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world (mostly because I have the most adorable grandchildren) but as far as high school and childhood – you can have ’em. The simple fact is, for a late bloomer like myself, hitting that 50 mark was like getting permission to finally have a life. Suddenly, young people call me “ma’am”. I seem to have acquired respect through no effort of my own, although I will admit that the first time I was asked if I wanted a senior citizen discount, I was just a pinch offended. Of course, now I ask for it. Hey. It’s been earned.

Along with garnering respect, another perk of aging is suddenly realizing that you can do anything your little heart desires. Confidence is no longer elusive, it’s a new friend. For example, I confidently do not color my hair any longer. Screech. Yes, it’s true. Let the grays come on down! What does it matter? Who cares? My husband told me the other day I’m starting to look like a silver fox. I haven’t figured out if that’s a good thing or not, but it doesn’t really matter anyway. I choose wear it confidently. It’s all good.

I am living life actively and happily now more than at any other time in my life. A by-product of that is the development of my own Bucket List. You know what that is, I’ve written about it before, taking inspiration from the fab movie of the same name. If you recall, the number One spot on my Bucket List was to write a book. Joyfully, I can cross that off the list. I wrote and published my own book, Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club (available on amazon, B&N, etsy, and a few shops locally). Yes, I’m aglow. And I intend to write more books, actually, a few more are in the wings.

Age and confidence gave me permission to add many things to my Bucket List and do way more than I ever really thought I could. What else, you say? I learned how to belly dance. Uh huh. It wasn’t pretty considering I am more belly than anything else, but at least I had the confidence to go for it. Again, who cares what my dancing looks like as long as I enjoy it? The truth is I crossed that off my Bucket List pretty early on. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

But my most most favorite favorite favorite thing to cross off my list is I am finally learning to play the piano! Imagine that! It’s something I have wanted to do since I was a child so when the opportunity to purchase a piano at a ridiculously low price (thanks again Mary!), I jumped at it. I can’t describe how excited I am. I guess if I would have had the opportunity when I was younger, I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do today. The only regret I have is concerning my boys. I wish I could have given them the chance to learn how to play the piano. One of my sons did play the alto sax for a little while, but the other son never was musically inclined. Come to think of it, sax-boy wasn’t that instrumentally inclined, proof of which became evident when he traded said saxophone for a stereo when I wasn’t looking.

This much I have learned: The purpose of having a Bucket List is to give yourself permission to do that which you are passionate about. Awesome.

Here’s something else I am passionate about; creating art. I just finished a series of works with various interpretations of the Tree of Life. It’s not a new concept, just a new interpretation. It’s a subject we artists love because of the unique individual spin we can add to it. I constructed my trees using silver-plated, bronze, copper, and gold-tone wire, added semi-precious stone chips, glass beads, Swarovski crystal and charms. The symbolism includes three main roots to the tree (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), twelve branches (twelve tribes of Isreal), amethyst (royalty), sodalite (peace), aventurine and jade (new life), jasper and agate (earth) and a garnet to depict a ‘drop of His blood’. These are mounted within shadow boxes with backgrounds of religious connotations. I will be taking this line of art to a little shop down in Henderson, Louisiana tomorrow. The owner, Jennifer Casanova, is an art lover and she especially loves to offer home-grown Louisiana artwork in her store. If you get a chance, schedule a fly-by and tell her Nancy sent you!
https://www.facebook.com/casanovamarketshops

Bayou Religion

Bayou Religion


Tree of Life

Tree of Life


Word of God Tree of Life

Word of God
Tree of Life

Please don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. The whole world needs your prayers.

And please don’t forget to drop a comment or like this post. I’ve been told when you do that, something really great will happen in your life! 😉 And that will make me very happy!

What have I been doing, you ask?


There is more to me than meets the eye… not saying that’s always a good thing…but it has it’s advantages. I’ve shared some of my work outside of writing at the end of this post. I love my life.

voices
Bwahahahah!

I have renewed enthusiasm concerning my novel, Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club. One lesson I learned early on about self-publishing is that it’s hard to get the book out there, especially if you cannot afford a marketing package. So you can imagine how excited I was to get a phone call from a group of ladies at the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism in Ville Platte bidding me to come for a cup of coffee. If you are not from Louisiana, let me tell you that when you are invited for coffee by anyone, it’s a sign – a good one. I was so excited about the coffee klatch, even having the tire on my brand new car go flat on the way didn’t discourage me, although I do admit to being nervous for arriving late. Nervous? Not much! I was a basket case. But come to find out, the people I met were awesome and equally as excited as I was. It appeared that my 15 minutes of fame was extended to an entire 16 minutes. They thought they had a celebrity in the house. Who, me? The one who stuttered and had sweaty palms? The one who worried for many an hour about choosing a suitable outfit from my vast array of jeans and tee shirts for this coffee/meeting? Yes, me.

Worrying is pointless and I must re-learn over and over that it accomplishes nothing. The coffee klatch was a success. It started out with me saying a few words about the characters in my book, then, to my relief, the room exploded into hilarity as, one by one, the ladies reported ways in which they identified with my characters. One story shared led to another, and another and before long, all of us were laughing, slapping our knees, and gasping for air until someone passed a box of tissues to mop up the dripping Niagra of tears while we caught our breath. We couldn’t help it. Old ladies are fun.

So to cap it off, I was asked to give a little talk during the Chamber of Tourism dinner, which I did last Wednesday. And to the October Chamber of Commerce dinner coming up. And someone asked me to speak to the Rotary Club. Add to that, the person in charge of ordering books for Evangeline parish (not county, c’mon, we live in Louisiana) informed me that she had ordered copies of my book for every library in the parish. I. am. surprised. And can’t believe how blessed I am. The author of this blog does not ‘do’ social activity well. I break out in hives, blank-outs, and nausea when I meet people I don’t know. Usually. The good news is when I talk about my book, I rarely have to finish a sentence before someone else in the group takes over and within moments everyone is talking and laughing at the same time. That’s what makes it easy. I start, someone else finishes. I just sit back with a smile on my face, nod my head, and have a good time.

Truthfully, I don’t know how it happened that I have gone from 15 minutes of fame to at least 19 minutes now. I just started with some crazy old lady busting out of my head to get her story on paper. Or something like that anyway. If you have ever written a story, you know that the characters come to life in a unique and delightful way. Once you write about them, they move in. They don’t leave. It’s wonderful.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch….

In an earlier post I’ve mentioned that I have a habit of going through what my husband and step-son call ‘phases’, meaning I go off on a tangent with one of my many hobbies until I have come completely undone. It’s fun. To my husband’s surprise, or perhaps disdain, I rather like it.

My latest burst of energy produced some pretty positive results. Here are a few pictures:

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A bold statement-of-faith necklace and a St. Theresa Chaplet prayer beads.

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A one-decade rosary with a locket crucifix, a one decade world peace rosary with a “drop of His blood”

These are listed in my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ToLoveAlways

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And some five decade tee-tiny little rosaries made for baby’s baptism, or keep one close beside you in your pocket, or give it as the perfect original shower gift.

And these little darlings are not yet listed, but soon…

Oh, and don’t forget to pray for peace, ya’ll. God answers prayers. We wait for His time, but continue our vigil of prayer.

Just as I am


blessed are we

I had to laugh the other day when I read a post from an author I follow on fb. She said even though it was the middle of the afternoon, she was kicked back in her pajamas with a glass of wine, her manuscript, and a bowl of popcorn. Her hair was a mess, she hadn’t brushed her teeth yet, the house needed to be straightened up. And she was writing a steamy, sexy episode in her currant WIP (work-in-progress). We’re talking about a big time author, ya’ll. One with several novels under her byline.

I can relate. Except for the steamy, sexy part. I can’t say my experience in writing has led me there, but I’m not judging those who do. I just relate to the part about sitting in pajamas with a glass of wine for an afternoon of writing. If I had a glass of wine, I would be drinking it now. Sitting in my pajamas? Naw, I can’t because there is an old man who lives across the road who is liable to come a-visiting at any given moment. He’s funny that way. He and my man sit on the back porch and shoot the breeze quite often and for as long as a good pot of coffee lasts. I’m glad my husband has friends who are like that, especially since we live way out in the boon-docks.

I love my life here in the country. I have everything that makes me happy along with a deep and abiding appreciation for the One who led me here. I’ve had my share of disappointments and problems, and no doubt will have more. That’s life. But considering where I was and where I am… Every once in a while I have to say “You’re scarin’ me now, Lord!” because of all of the unexpected and wonderful blessings He drops in my lap. And for what? What did I do to deserve anything?

The simple answer is that I did nothing to deserve any blessing. They are His gifts. A Father’s gifts to His child. Ain’t it grand!

The reason I mention it is because last Sunday my husband and I went to church in Alexandria, some 45 or 50 miles from our home. We love to go to Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church when we can. I know the Spirit is the same everywhere but something is different for us there. The atmosphere feels holy and alive. When we settle in to pray at Mass, we feel thrust into the life of the Spirit.

And the music ain’t too shabby either. Just before the Mass is over, a period of meditation is offered and music is a big part of that. Last Sunday, the music director sang a song that gave me goose-bumps and made my husband wipe tears from his eyes. I don’t know the name of it, but I do know the message: Oh, how he loves us. Those words became real like they were coming straight from His lips. He loves us! He really does rejoice over us!

I can’t speak for everyone there, but I needed to hear those words precisely at that moment. Blessed be the Lord!

This afternoon, I am kicked back in the recliner, fully dressed, no glass of wine or popcorn (although that does sound good) and I’m trying to add meaningful words to my own WIP. Failing that, I let my mind wander and reminisce about where I am in life, how I got here, why, and where I’m going. Good questions, huh? Well….wherever He leads me, just as I am. I will need His guidance because on my own, I’m a pretty awful example, but with Him, I am awesome. Glad I thought of that. Now maybe I can get some writing done.

Blessings to ya’ll! Don’t forget to pray for peace.

Parrino’s Drug Store In Beautiful Downtown Bunkie, Louisiana


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I’m beyond pleased that Parrino’s Drug Store is carrying my book now. I feel like I’ve hit the big time!

Let me tell you a little bit about beautiful downtown Bunkie, Louisiana. It’s a pinpoint spot on the map at the crossroads of Central and South Louisiana. I’ve been told Bunkie used to be a happenin’ little town. Coulda fooled me. I’ve known about this place for about 15 years now and it’s always been a sleepy, quiet, little town. It’s really very charming. When I first moved to the area (about 15 miles south of Bunkie – love brought me here 🙂 ) a Walmart lived here. And some delightful antique shops lived on Main Street across from the railroad track. There were about 3 or 4 car dealerships, a Dairy Queen, and a Chinese restaurant, a couple of furniture stores, two grocery stores, Winn Dixie and Piggly Wiggly. They say there used to be a clinic here too. Business used to be good; a couple of sign companies, a Coca Cola company, and I’m sure many more businesses were here. Bunkie used to have a bumpin’ Train Depot. The track slides through the middle of town and everyday, trains pass blowing their whistles ninety to nuthin’.

It’s different now. Winn Dixie closed. Walmart closed. Chinese restaurant closed. Car dealership shut down. Sign companies are gone. Antique stores look like they are taking a long nap. Even Dairy Queen left. McDonald’s weathered the economic downturn. So did Piggly Wiggly and City Drug. There are a couple of flower shops, several churches. Fred’s and Dollar Stores replaced Walmart.

The most awesome part about Bunkie is the people, I kid you not. I think the people living here love that down home feeling only a small town can deliver. People still walk to their neighbors, or to church. The kids go to school with the same friends from kindergarten to high school. Everyone knows each other and, can you believe it, a person can just say “will you put that on my tab?” and some enterprises will actually do that. You don’t see that much anymore. When I lived in Austin, Texas back in the 80’s, a person had to show three forms of identification to write a check!

Bunkie is historic. It’s a diamond in the rough, although it used to shine like a star a long time ago. I hope somebody else sees it for what it is and keeps it from dying a slow death. It’s a beautiful place.

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This is a photo of the Parrino Drug Store on Main Street. I’m sure it hasn’t changed on the outside for YEARS. But the inside – now that’s a different story. I love that store!

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It’s full of the neatest stuff! Ya’ll pile up in the wagon and go to Parrino’s! You won’t be sorry.

What about your town? Is it a treasure like Bunkie? Feel free to leave a comment on this post. I’d love to hear from you!

It Ain’t Eeeeas-sy


i am a reader

Somebody take me away, I’m stuck in hyperbole hell. Who said making your dreams come true was easy and effortless? It couldn’t have been me; I’m having a hard time of it. That’s not to say I haven’t already had my dreams come true. I have. But keeping the dream alive, to borrow an expression, is the hard part. For example, I’m writing another novel. It’s hard. It’s not speeding toward ‘The End’ in any way, shape, or form. I’m having trouble fleshing out my characters and laying the plot down the way I want it. I can’t decide who will be my antagonist and who will be the hero. At this point, both are interchangeable. Not good. Maybe. I don’t know, I’m confused. So many stories in my head! Have you heard that saying that has been going around facebook “I try not to listen to all the voices in my head, but some of them actually make sense” ? That’s me. I know what the novel is going to be about. I’m pretty sure I know the direction I want it to go. And I even have some scenarios worked out in my head. Getting from the first sentence to the last one is the problem. I have notes jotted down in my own special shorthand in every corner of every room, and even in the bathroom, my purse, and my car. Some I can read, some I can’t. “Don’t forget the balloon” and “Body in the woods” and “Is she crazy or is she faking it?” I got those covered, but when it comes to some of my notes, I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote them.

Who can relate?

I am what some in the writing world call a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants instead of methodically plotting out the story line from beginning to end. Some writers even outline each chapter before they write it. I can’t do that because I never know from one writing session to the next where my story is going. The characters take on a life of their own. They do what they want to do and I have no say in the matter. Take my last novel for example: Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club. Regina, Donna, Stella, Bethany, and Cicely came to life for me. I really miss them now that the book is finished and published. My old friends, bless their hearts. How I wish they could come have coffee with me one more time! (You know I’m joking, right?)

The good thing about being a pantser is what makes it so complicated. It’s ok with me that the story takes twists and turns as it pleases. Think about it. It’s like reading a book at the same time it’s being written. Now, that’s fun. But it ain’t eeeeas-sy!

The more I read, the more I want to read. There are so many dang good books out there! I wish I could tell my late mother how much I appreciate her love for books and how she inspired me to read. She gave books to me for Christmas and birthdays. I remember the Nancy Drew Mysteries and later, a whole series of Janice Holt Giles. Mama had a ton of books lining the shelves on one whole wall in her house. I think she kept every one she ever bought. I wish I could say the same! Mama liked to write too, but she never had anything published. She wrote short stories about her childhood which wasn’t easy either. In fact, how she gleaned those darling stories from her awful childhood is a mystery to me. She didn’t have enough confidence in herself to write a book or share her poetry, so she wrote letters to her mom and sisters. We moved a lot when I was a kid so she considered it her job to keep the rest of her family up to date about where we were living and what it was like there. Mama’s descriptive letters were akin to painting a picture. They were awesome. Too late, I realized, so was she. I think I want to create a character in my work-in-progress just for her, her name, and everything. She will be a short, red-headed, fiery tempered, out-spoken, opinionated, kind, generous, God-loving, insecure woman with lots of good advice whether you want to hear it or not. Um, yeah. We have a lot in common. But anyway, when the book is finished and published, I will dream about her, along with Regina, Donna, Stella, Bethany, and Cicely, and we will all have coffee together and laugh and laugh and laugh.