Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Things We Remember by Jessica Scott

61Y-FObJaZL._UY200_I asked Jessica to blog here when her most recent book was published.  She agreed–many thanks, Jess–and sent me this blog, this lovely blog.  I did not force her to write nice things about me and am deeply humbled

Lest we lose sight of her latest book, here’s a reminder about Homefront, available APril 7th.51s2OQ0a6ZL._AA160_

And here’s her blog.

I was in Iraq five years ago. It’s amazing how fast that time has flown by. It sometimes feels like I just came home. Other times, it feels like it’s been a lifetime or more.

There are lots of memories from that year. Many deeply embedded that I hope I will never forget. The people. The smells. The dust and the dirt.

One memory that stands out is how Jane wrote to me. Pretty much once a week or more I’d get an email from Jane telling me about her day, her cats or what she and George had gotten into.

Her notes were a small slice of normalcy for me that year. Along with notes from Jane, my home chapter of the Austin RWA sent me care packages that they collected up at every single monthly meeting. Something as simple as bottles of shampoo that could make you feel like a woman for a brief shower. Or CDs of new music to remind you that there was an entire year passing you buy back home.

I don’t have the shampoo. And the CDs have long since been burned onto playlists that I still listen to, especially when I’m writing and need to access those memories.

But I still have Jane’s emails. They’re all in a folder on my computer – the same computer I’ve had since that tour. I haven’t reread them but I’m planning to print them out someday and put them in a folder along with letters I wrote to my husband and letters I received from other people during the war. Because those letters that Jane wrote kept me connected to life back home. They were such a simple thing but they reminded me that not everyone back home was going about their daily lives, ignoring the war.

When I came home from Iraq, Jane sent me and my family a patriotic bear. It was her way of throwing us a parade. It’s gestures like that – simple little things – that make such a big difference in the grand scheme of things.

So Jane, thank you for being there for me. Thank you for writing, for arguing with me when I stepped in it and for being such a dear friend through a particularly rough time in my life.

One of the most amazing people I know

61Y-FObJaZL._UY200_I’m thrilled to death to announce that the marvelous Jessica Scott will be guest blogging HERE tomorrow.  She’s a dear friend, a great writer, and so much more.

Jess has a new book that’s just out so I asked her to blog.  She graciously accepted.  Homefront was out April 7.51s2OQ0a6ZL._AA160_

Seven or eight years ago, Jessica Scott joined the Austin chapter of Romance Writers of America even before she arrived in Austin.  An active-duty officers, as she and her family were moving to Fort Hood, she posted to our loop so we all got to know her before she attended a meeting.  I didn’t know this at the time, but that’s Jess.  She takes charge.  She does what she needs to do.  She goes straight ahead and I admire her greatly for that.

Jess knew she wanted to write novels about her Army family.  She set that goal and worked hard and look where she is now: twice a USA Today bestselling author with eleven published novels; wife of a retired NCO,  mother of two, and manager of a zoo-full of pets and–again–so much more.

Here’s her biography from  Jessica Scott has written for the New York Times At War blog, War on the Rocks, PBS Point of View Women and War and has been featured in Esquire Magazine as an American of the Year in 2012. She has published 11 novels and novellas about soldiers returning from war and has hit the USA Today Bestseller list twice. She has compiled two nonfiction projects about her time in Iraq and the return home.

She has recently completed a master’s Degree in sociology from Duke, Masters Degree in Telecom Management from University of Maryland University College, BA in Cultural Studies from State University of New York.

She’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.


Lies I told my students

imagesActually, I don’t believe either of these count as lie–more like things I didn’t tell my students because it was better that they not know.

Many years ago, when I was really young and taught Spanish at Hays High School in Western Kansas, I took 25 of my students to Mexico in a bus.  We stayed two weeks.  At one of the first restaurants we dined at in Mexico, I was talking to the manager about payments, etc.  I gotimagesto the dining room after most of the students has finished their soup.  I sat down, looked into my bowl and noticed that there were tiny worms in the soup, wiggling in and out of the chunks of chicken. I felt nothing would be gained if I shouted, “You all ate soup with worms in it.”  So I stopped eating and pretended this never happened.  Fortunately, no one got sick.

Before the celebration of el día de los muertos, we made crafts that Mexicans would have images
used for decorations.  A popular craft is to decorate sugar skulls.  I decided to use this with the 4th and 5th year Spanish students.  Because the skulls were sugar, I broke up a chipped skull–they were a little smaller than a fist–and passed the pieces out to the fifteen students to sample.  They tasted like sweet, thin cardboard.  After two days, we finsihed the decoration and painting.  As I was putting the material back, I read the side of the box that contained the skull.  There was a warning on the side:  These skulls are not meant for human consumption.

I never told them this either.  No one died.

The future of an Easter chick isn’t pretty

imagesMany years ago, my husband, George, had a secretary who had a young son.  One Easter, the secretary–I’ll call her Mary to protect her identity from any animal rights group–and her husband bought little Bobby a chick several weeks before Easter.  The family also had a German shepherd, a large but gentle dog, Mary said, who adored that little bird.  She told stories of how the dog allowed the chick to sit on his face, to run across his back.  The dog even carried the chick around on the top of his head.  It was so very cute.images

On Easter Sunday, they headed for church and left the chick and the dog alone, together, as usual.  When they returned home, they couldn’t find the chick anywhere.  They looked all over and even called it because chicks are so good at coming when their names are called.  Finally, they decided, the chick had escaped from the house somehow.

Does anyone want to guess what George thought happened to it?