Monthly Archives: May 2013

It is Friday, right?

I have confessed previously my inability to have even the slightest and most hazy idea what day it is.   On Wednesday evening–I knew it was Wednesday because the cleaning crew comes on Wednesday, one of the few markers of time in my world–a local news anchor said, at the end of the broadcast, “Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday. “

If you don’t think that messed me up!  I searched for that morning’s newspaper and figured since the only one I could find was Wednesday’s, the next day would probably be Thursday.  I checked the guide on the cable and dashed through programs for today and tomorrow until I got to SATURDAY–then counted back.   Then I checked on the icons on the Mac screen–further proof the news anchor was wrong.  It gave me a feeling of smug satisfaction.

Not that it really makes any difference.  My daily schedule is get up, read the paper, write, swim, read a novel, watch the news with meals inserted at the right times.   Add church on Sunday.  My most important activity is–according to Maggie and Scooter–petting the cats and spoiling them but because that comes at whatever time they demand, it’s not written in the schedule.

I remember back–oh, so many years ago–when I was young and chanted, “TGIF”, looking ahead to a weekend stretching ahead empty and full of  adventures.    When I got older, the adventures didn’t hold as much appeal and, besides church, I spent six hours on Sundays grading papers and doing lesson plans.   That made weekends not nearly as tantalizing.

All of which leads to these questions:   Do you  cherish your weekends?  Why?  What do you do–or don’t you do–that you look forward to?

What I did for love

You have probably guessed this is not going to be a confession about my secret life because you know I don’t have a secret life.  No, as usual, this is about our pets.

We had the carpet taken up and replaced by wood a few months ago.  I had no idea how dull and dark and bare  the room would look without the lighter carpet.   So I bought a rug.  Before I could unroll it and put it down,  Scooter–the fuzzy boy cat–walked to the middle of where I’d planned to put the rug, started hacking, and threw up.   I took the rug back because, obviously Mr. Scooter made it very clear he doesn’t want one.  The first thing I did for love.  Of course, I didn’t want to have to scrub it either.

When we got our first dog many, many years ago, George and I had a double bed.   The dog took up one third, George took up half which left 1/6 of the bed for me.   I demanded a queen-sized bed.    That lasted until we got three cocker spaniels.  Small dogs but even three small dogs take up a lot of room on the bed.   We bought a king.   The second thing I did for love:  give up half of my side to whatever dog we had.  Fortunately, the cats don’t demand that much.

My sister-in-law called a few minutes ago and asked why my Tuesday blog wasn’t up.  I explained I’d forgotten  today was Tuesday (please see earlier blog on this subject) because yesterday was a holiday.   To calm her, I told her I had a title and an idea and promised  it would be up soon.   She said that what she does for love is take her dog for a walk when it’s raining or snowing.  I’m impressed by that.

How do you spoil your pets?  Please share.  It always makes me feel so much better to know I’m not alone.

Tiny bubbles. . . in the windshield

I wasted the morning.  The entire morning.  Four hours–gone, never to be seen or lived again.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a little blurring on the back window of my car but this isn’t a story about the white car.  It’s about that wasted morning.   Because I’m always willing to leave the car or an appliance time to heal themselves, I ignored it.  Two weeks ago, I realized there were bubbles around the defroster wires but I could still see through it.  What are a few bubbles?  I could almost think of them as decorative.   But last week, the number had doubled, then tripled and the windshield wasn’t going to get better by itself.  I called the dealer and set up an appointment for Wednesday, explaining to the man who set the appointment that I had bubbles across the back window.

Many of you may know what the problem was.  I didn’t.  That’s why I called the dealer.   When I took it in, the customer service guy looked at the window and said, “That’s your glass tint.”   I had no idea what he meant.   In a voice dripping with “what-a-stupid-woman-you-are” he said, “The bubbles are in the tint.”   It was as if he were speaking a different language.  Did I have tinted windows?   And, if I did, isn’t tint something that’s brushed on?     Seems not.  Seems as if I am really stupid because everyone knows this.   As I was attempting to sort this out, the manager grabbed me, explaining this employee sometimes speaks too harshly as he escorted me into his office.  He explained well but said that, because this is a used car, the tint wasn’t under warranty.    Hey, if that’s the rule, I’m okay with that.

However, because everyone in the world knows all about tinted glass, I asked the manager, “Why didn’t they tell me this when I called?”   The manager answered, “Maybe you didn’t describe it well.”  Then he said and I am NOT making this up, “He couldn’t see the window over the phone.”   Yes, he said, “He couldn’t see the window over the phone.”   He apologized after losing a few layers of skin. I think I got over to him that this had been a rude and condescending comment.   Then he called the company that does their tinting, set up an immediate appointment, and got me directions there, all done very politely. 

The place was hard to find, taking me two trips down the frontage roads of I-35.   After I found it and handed my keys over, I settled in the waiting room.  After five minutes, a man came in.  I asked, “This will cost about $100?”  He said, “Yes.”  After a pause he added, “We don’t have a credit-card hook up yet because we just opened.  You’ll need cash.”    I never carry more than forty dollars with me.   Carrying a hundred dollars around would terrify me both because I’m a coward and I’m cheap.   And I lose things really easily.   I leaped to my feet–those of you who know me realize this was not a fast leap–and said, “Stop.  I don’t have that much money.”   Of course they don’t take checks so the man said, “Don’t worry.  We’ll just charge it to the dealership.”    Sadly, I have a deep vein of honesty.  George always said I was a twit.  I do things like give too much change back.     Nothing to do but go back home.

So, at 12:30, four hours after I left the house, I returned still with bubbles in the back window.   I took a nap.  But I do have one questions:  Does everyone out there know about bubbles in the tinted windows? 

I never know what day it is

There’s an old song with the title I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.  That’s not my problem.  I have clocks all over the place.   But what day is it?  I never know.

For example:  My sister-in-law called yesterday and asked what I was going to blog about.  Blog?   I didn’t even realize today was Tuesday.  It’s a problem I’m having more and more often.

Second:    I had  carefully written on my calendar that I was going to lunch with my good friends, the Jones at 11:00 on Friday.   I was writing, finishing up a proposal for my agent and lost track of time when a call came from the complex office that my friends were here. I realize it doesn’t help to make a note if one doesn’t look at the calendar.    Being a writer, I hadn’t even showered yet.  I tossed on clothes, drew on eyebrows, and combed my hair which looked only slightly better than Edward Scissorhand’s.  The Jones were lovely about it and we had a delicious lunch and good time.

Part of the problem is that I’m retired and the only days I have to remember are Sunday for church and any day with a doctor’s appointment.   Not that I haven’t forgotten them as well.   The other part is that I  do not have a calendar in my head.  I’ve really never known what day it was.   I still have delivery of the newspaper because I want to support in-print papers but also because I can check it for the date.  Oh, and I do read some of it.    In mental hospitals, one way staff finds out if a patient is oriented in time is to ask them the date.  I’d fail that every time, would probably never be released.

Before I retired, I had the framework of, well, work.    It’s lovely to look ahead of days to write and hours to read and time to spend with friends–if I don’t forget.

Guess you’d call me chronologically challenged.  Anyone else out there have the same problem?  Please tell me.  I’ll feel so much better.


I’m not a fancy lady

The Romance Writers conference is in July.  Because I’m a RITA finalist, I have to come up with something  to wear.  Looking in my closet, I realize my wardrobe consists of jeans and knit tops, many with Cardinals or Power Cats on them.    I once had a pretty, flouncy dress.  I wore it in 1999 when I was a Golden Heart finalist and in 2004 when I was a presenter during the awards ceremony.  This spring as I cleared out closets, I thought, “I’ll never wear this again because ‘fancy’ doesn’t fit my life style.”  Some lucky woman bought it at Good Will and I’m out looking to replace it.

The search has been distressing but had it’s moments of fun.  I tried on a lovely black sequined dress which did not  look like me.  As I left the dressing room, I ran into Tracy Wolff–one of my favorite writing friends–and had such a great conversation that people came over and said we sounded as if we were having fun.  I’ve been pondering if they really meant, “You’re too loud.”   She got some great and very bright clothes.  I got a pair of jeans.

A few days later, I went to lunch with the beautiful and talented Katie Graykowski who offered me a couple of her fancy outfits.  Thanks, Katie!  Katie is gorgeous.  She’d look great in red velvet but it’s just not me.

Then I had an idea!  I had a black top with black beads around the top in my dresser.  I’d never  worn it because, yes, it’s fancier than I am.  Sadly, that shirt had been ignored for  so long that one-third of the beads had fallen off.  

How would you describe yourself?  Are you fancy or comfortable or do you just not care?

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far

I wrote a piece for a Writers Digest blog a year ago and requested it be posted in November, 2012, as promo for THE MATCHMAKERS OF BUTTERNUT CREEK.  I’d completely forgotten about it until it showed up in a search today, published only five months after it had been schedule.    Actually, it’s not bad so I’m including the link here–just in case you’d like to know 7 things I’ve learned so far about publishing.

May 9, 2013 | Chuck Sambuchino | Comments: 3
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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers (this installment written by Jane Myers Perrine, author of THE WELCOME COMMITTEE OF BUTTERNUT CREEK) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent — by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

(Looking for a Christian agent for your inspirational book? See a list here.)

GIVEAWAY: Jane is excited to give away a free copy of her first novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal).



welcome-committee-butternut-creek           jane-myers-perrine-author-writer

Jane Myers Perrine has worked as a Spanish teacher, minister, cook, rifle instructor, program director in a state hospital, and been an active volunteer but she’s always wanted to write. She’s now writing a three-book series she loves about a young minister in a small town of Butternut Creek in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas. She likes small towns, warm, friendly people and humor. The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek, the first book in the series, published in April 2012. The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek, the sequel, was released in November 2012.



1. Don’t stick to one genre unless you sell in that genre immediately (actually, that “unless you sell” disclaimer should be added to all my comments). I love mysteries. I always think a dead body adds interest to a story. Sadly, I don’t write them well. My agent told me to try something else. I also tried fantasy but friends discouraged that as well.

“Those who know stuff” told me to stay in one category because editors would get to know who I was—from all the rejection letters I imagine—and I’d hone my craft. However, honing one’s craft in a type of literature one doesn’t write well or is being rejected constantly seems unproductive to me.

Very simply, if I’d taken this advice, I wouldn’t be published, wouldn’t be writing this three-book series for the wonderful people at FaithWords. I started writing sweet, traditional Regencies. At the time I was submitting, publishers in the traditional regency market were dying off, lines closing only days after I queried.

It took me time and a lot of false starts before I discovered I write stories about small towns best. I never would have known that if I hadn’t tried many different genres. Experiment!

2. Don’t stick to what you know. If we all wrote what we knew, there would be no paranormals or historical novels or murder mysteries. My friends who write this type of fiction have never killed anyone, as far as I know, or lived in an alternate universe or been reincarnated in a different century. They have great imaginations and read widely. With the internet, research is easier than ever. Do it!

(Should you sign with a new literary agent? Know the pros and cons.)

3. Stick to writing what you know. Yes, a contradiction but much of writing advice is contradictory. Often writing is both this and that.

My husband and I are both ordained ministers. We’ve served in churches in small towns and large. I know churches, church people, and small towns. One day, the opening of The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek came to me, the young, inexperienced minister heading into Butternut Creek in a tow truck, his car being pulled along behind. The novel didn’t immediately flow but I do know about churches and small towns and ministers so well that it came together fairly easily—for a novel.

But there are incidents and characters in that book I know nothing about. One of the main characters is an alcoholic Marine amputee with PTSD whose problems are way outside my experience. I did a great deal of research.

4. Find your voice. When I first started writing, I wrote what I read. My voice was boring because it wasn’t authentic. This wasn’t my voice. It belonged to those other authors. A friend read fifty pages of the novel I was working on. On page forty-two, she said, “There, Jane, that’s your voice.” I didn’t know what she meant. I didn’t realize I had a voice and my friend read forty-two pages before she identified it. Until you do find your voice—or voices—you won’t sell. Voice is what makes the novel uniquely yours. Who can’t tell the difference between a book by Kristin Higgins and one by C.J. Box?

What is your voice? How do you find it? You keep writing and learning.

Your voice won’t be the same in everything you write and during your entire writing life, but, whatever your voice is, it must be real, It has to be uniquely yours.

5. Don’t stick to that same old familiar novel you’ve been working on for years. Writing a novel is like dating. When I was dating, every time I broke up with a guy, I’d think, “Oh, no. I have to start all over.” We’re afraid if we break up—either a relationship or leaving a book behind to start another–nothing better will come along. For that reason, we cling to what isn’t working. Yes, you love the characters you created. They are so clever and the chemistry or suspense is so strong—but they aren’t real. You’ll find your true love but you must keep learning. That won’t happen in a book you’ve written and rewritten. At some time, you have to move on and find a new love.

6. Learn the craft. Most of us don’t sell our first novel. While I was still struggling to find my voice and write a book someone—anyone!—would buy, I went to every conference and workshop I could and took copious notes. Audio tapes helped me most. During my twenty-minute drives to and from work, I could listen to most of a tape on some phase of writing. I listened to the tapes so often I could quote sections. I learned by osmosis, my brain sucking in the information until I automatically used those tools in my writing. My writing improved.

Enter contests for feedback. Join a critique group. Take a class. Read a book or articles in a writers magazine that focus on your weak points. And, if or when you sell, keep learning.

7. When the book is finished, the conflict resolved, and all the threads tied up, stop.

What makes you buy something. For me it’s simple: YELLOW!

If I see something yellow I buy it.   I’ve had several yellow cars, painted rooms yellow, have yellow shoes.  Sadly, as much as I love yellow, it isn’t the most flattering color on me–but, still, I buy yellow shirts.

The reasons?  I have none but I do have a guess.  Yellow is like sunshine.  I see it and it cheers me up, makes me smile.  Could be seasonal affective disorder and I treat it by surrounding myself with yellow.  Or, it could be simply because I like yellow.   One of the few things George and I disagreed vehemently on was color:  he was a fan of more neutral colors.  I ceded that point to him but  used bright color in my study and bath. 

I realized this, as if I didn’t kow, yesterday when I saw a yellow plate with white dots on it.  I had to buy it.  Fortunately–because I am really cheap–the plate didn’t cost much. 

Another weakness:  a calendar with either kittens or cocker spaniels on it.  I limit myself to one a year–not easy–or I’d have them covering every wall of the apartment.  However, I don’t buy clothing with kittens or puppies on it because, after all, one must act one’s age.    And Stacy and Clinto would make me throw them all away (a reference to What Not to Wear, if you don’t pick up on those names).

What is an automatic buy for you?

Wayne Barnett: A true and dear friend

I’ve often said that my husband George was the best man I ever knew, but Wayne Barnett is a pretty close second.  The friendship between George and Wayne stated at church camp in 1958 when they were in high school.  George lived in Pewee Valley;  Wayne, in Cropper.   They were reunited on their first day at Transylvania College in 1960. 

In 1963, on a retreat, George fell from a cliff into the hard mud of a creek and broke his back.  Doctors predicted he would not survive.  He did but a difficult recovery lay ahead.  Dr. Perrine hired Wayne to live with George and push him in his wheelchair.  Since Transylvania and most of Lexington—and, indeed, most of the world–had yet to adapt buildings and curbs that were wheelchair friendly, George and Wayne were almost like conjoined twins, rarely separated.

After George’s graduation his dad purchased a home where George and Wayne lived while attending Lexington Theological Seminary.  Wayne married LaDonna on June 4, 1966, with George performing the ceremony.  George and I married two weeks later with Wayne as best man.  Both graduated, were ordained, and began their full-time ministers.  They wrote sporadically, visited a few times when George returned to visit family in Kentucky, and saw each other at church assemblies.  After retirement, they renewed and deepened that friendship with several visits between Northern Kentucky and Austin, Texas. With George a huge fan of the University of Louisville and Wayne a long-time Kentucky fan, basketball season was filled with teasing and taunting.    They kept up on email.  When George realized how sick he was in October, 2012, I email Wayne and asked him to call George, to help keep his spirits up.  Wayne called at least weekly, every one of them a joyous event for George.

All of his life George battled health issues and had numerous surgeries.  On January 31,  2013, the doctors operated again.  Everything seemed to go well, but after the surgery, he couldn’t breathe.  Although brought back, George never fully recovered. s

In February, when George knew he was dying he scribbled his last message, “Call, Wayne.”  He wanted the man he considered a brother to be with him.   Of course Wayne came.  I never doubted he would.  He left for Austin the next day and stayed until 18 days until after George’s funeral March 5.  I’m grateful because he supported me and helped with decisions regarding George’s health care but I’m most grateful because this best of all friends came when George asked him, no questions. No excuses.  No delay.  Wayne came and was here for George as he always had been.

On March 2, the day George died  and although George was probably too sedated to know this, the Wildcat fan watched a UofL basketball game in the hospital room and cheered for George’s Cards against Syracuse.  Then he watched George being taken off life support with George’s sister, Diane, and me.  He cried with us. 

As sick as Wayne was with some bug he picked up in the hospital, he attended the Monday evening visitation, coughing his lungs out.  Fortunately, he got a prescription that night.  He didn’t cough during the funeral but was there to remember George. 

Wayne was George’s best friend, always there to love and care for and support and joke with him.  I will always admire and appreciation your loyalty and friendship, Wayne.   You truly are a fine Christian man.  Thank you.

Why do people . . . ?

There are times I ponder the deepest, darkest problems of society, the questions that reverberate within the human soul.    But mostly I just wonder about the simple stuff.  Today  I’ll share two of my shallow musings with you.

1)   Why do people like garden tubs?   They take a lot more water and space than a regular tub AND they are hard to get into and out of.  Now, I have to admit, they may not be hard for someone young who possesses good muscles and flexible joints, but I fear I’ll end up on a padded part of my anatomy when I get out.  And, let’s face it, we’re all going to be old, weak, and clumsy if we live long enough.  I could understand have a Jacuzzi.  There’s a reason for the odd shape and placement of a tub that swirls warm water around the bather, but with a garden tub, the water just sits there.

2)   Why do women pull their hair back in those plastic hair clips?   My cat sometimes loves to lick and play with my hair–not that I encourage this–after which it looks better than hair in those clips.  Perhaps women choose to do this because they can’t see the final result?  They don’t realize it sticks out all over?  I could NOT find a picture of the back of a woman’s head with a clip on her hair and looking awful.  My guess is manufacturers don’t want women to know how bad they really  look.

Opinions, please?