Monthly Archives: April 2013

George and his donkey

Sometimes Monday evenings are difficult because I put my “major” blog up on Tuesday and have to come up with something. 

In reference to my blog, major doesn’t mean spectacular.  It’s like the prophets in the Bible which are divided into two categories:  major prophets and minor prophets.   How does a book become major?   It’s all based on length.   The longer books are major.    The short are minor.    That’s a lot like my blog posts.   The longer one is on Tuesday; the shorter, on Friday.

The reason I’m madly searching for a topic to writer this major post is that I had one ready to go but needed an okay which I haven’t received.  Maybe next week.

For that reason, I’m going to discuss George, the donkeys and Palm Sunday.  Not a timely topic but it’s all I have and I’d forget it by next spring.

When George was associate minister at First Christian Church in Louisville, KY–which is really in Prospect, KY, but that’s not our discussion for today.  He felt a donkey should lead the procession on Palm Sunday.  It’s not easy to find a donkey without connections to the donkey set but he did and was so excited.  Everyone at church was excited until late Saturday evening, the owner of the little creature called and said, “Your donkey has the flu.”   I cannot describe how disappointed George way.  He said if he ever wrote an autobiography, the title would be, “Your Donkey Has the Flu.”

The next year, he found a healthy creature,  We processed at the Christian Church, then the donkey walked across the highway to the Episcopal Church to lead their procession.

In the church in Burnet, TX, George found a donkey named George.  Palm Sunday mornings were a little confusing.  Shout “George” and who knew who’d turn up?   The donkey George seemed like a placid little animal.  He allowed children to rub his nose and adults to wander around it–at least, until James, who was playing the part of Jesus, tried to sit on top of him.  Then the donkey George reacted.   Not happy with someone on his back, he took off with James hanging on.

If you’ve read my book THE MATCHMAKERS OF BUTTERNUT CREEK, you know that I used this scene.  In reality, the donkey only moved a few yards before he was captured and James was saved.  I made it a lot worse but that’s what writers do.

After that, Palm Sunday was celebrated with only waving palms.  No more donkeys.

Rant Friday

I need your help. please.  I’ve got some complaints–not a lot.  Stronger than pet peeves but not enough for a protest or a letter to the editor.    It dawned on me this is a great place to share my rants and ask  for your input but first I need a good name for this occasional series.    I’ve thought of Frantic Friday or Friday Freak-outs.  I used Rant Friday today because, well, because that’s what I typed.   So first request:  Can you help me with a name?

Here’s my rant.  I’m a careful driver. Okay, that’s not the rant.  That’s what we professional writers call “back story”.  It’s never interesting but, in this case, it’s necessary.   I’ve never caused an accident although several cars have run into the rear of my car because I have a really fast reaction time and because people usually follow too closely.   When I back, I check in the rear view mirror, look out the back windows on both sides, put the car in gear, then turn and look over my left shoulder as I back.

And what do I see behind me?  A small child tottering along behind my backing car, the car with the reverse lights on, while the mother strolls along a few feet ahead or behind.  She is not holding his hand.   Usually the mother seems aware of where the child is but does nothing about the fact that a bad driver could kill her child.  Why isn’t she?

I think the reason she does this is she really believes that the driver is law abiding and careful.  In addition,  the law says the driver must NOT run over either her or the child.  They’re safe here in this huge asphalt-paved space with cars weighing tons (I’m sorry.  I don’t actually know how much a car weighs but it’s a big, heavy metal thing that could smash any fragile human body) moving all around them.

But suppose I’m one of those drivers who doesn’t turn and look behind me?  Imagine that I back looking only in my rear veiw mirror and I can’t see that tiny little one behind me.   Or maybe I’m sneezing at the moment I should be looking out or maybe the driver is drunk or steps on the gas instead of the brake.  In everyone of those situations, the driver is at fault but does that make any difference if a child is gravely injured or dies because Mom didn’t think it would happen?   I can’t imagine being that driver and having such a tragic accident happen because I was careless and the child’s mother thought a walk through a parking lot was as safe as a stroll through the park.  I don’t think I’d ever get over it.  Please, Mom, for your sake and your child’s sake and for me, too, hold his hand.

Does this bother anyone else?


Help! I bought a new computer and I can’t set it up!

Actually, what I wrote in the title isn’t true.  I have much of it set up but still have some glitches.  I was on the phone for an hour this morning with MOZY to get my files transferred from one to the other and need to talk to them more,  then AOL, and then the Apple store.  Maybe by next week I’ll figure out how to do everything on the iMac.

The reason for the change is that my PC is sooooooooooo slow loading and was freezing up all the time and I had to restart two or three times a week, usually completely wiping out the most beautiful sentences ever written in the English language.    My friends with Macs tell me they never freeze.

George was always pushing me to upgrade.  Without him, I still would be using an Apple IIE.    We started in 1981 with a TI (Texas Instrument for you young ‘uns) which save to a tape recorder.  No pictures only words on the screen.    A few years later, we started on Apples but by 1993, we’d switched over to PCs because of the software.  And I fought George every step because I was comfortable with the previous models.

And now I have an iMac which I don’t now how to use.

But I’m sure I’ll be a much better writer.  Perhaps now I can work on that proposal and first twenty-five pages my agents has requested with out cursing (but only in the nicest, least nasty words) because I can’t finished the sentence without restarting.    I hate to pretend that’s the reason I haven’t done the proposal but it’s as good an explanation as any.  I can only hope she’s note reading this.

I’m writing this blog on the old PC because I can’t figure out how to get into the backdoor on my blog on the new computer.  Someday I will.  Nor can I figure out how to save pictures–someday I will.

Which do you prefer?  A PC or a MAC?  Why?    Please tell me all the hassle with the iMac is worth it.  I’d feel so much better.

Another white car story

I did it again.  I couldn’t find my white car.

Even worse, I didn’t realize I’d found the wrong vehicle until I got inside the car.

Either the owner hadn’t locked the door or it worked on the same frequency of my remote, but I got to the car in the parking garag, pushed the “unlock” button, opened the door and got inside.  Only then did I notice the seat didn’t feel the same.  And the interior was a different color.  And it wasn’t a Mazda. 

You’d think I might have noticed that it didn’t have a Kansas State Power Cat magnet on the side or the KSU football helmet on the antenna.  I tell myself this happens because my creative mind is filled with new stories and hears the voices of my characters.   I don’t believe it.  I believe I’m really flaky and absent minded.

I’m very glad I got out of the car before the owner came along.  On the second try, I found the right car.

Why?  Why? I shout, Why are there so many white cars in the world? 

A BIG welcome to Kris Fletcher!

 I’m delighted to welcome Kris Fletcher to my blog.   Yesterday, I posted her bio so check back to learn more about her.    So, Kris, take it away!

Jane, thanks so much for inviting me here today. I love having the chance to take over – um, I mean, visit my friends on their blogs.

I’m writing this on the last day of my children’s spring break. What this means in everyday terms is that for tenth day in a row, it’s been Mommy and the Kids, all day, every day. Okay, there were a couple of breaks. (Let’s have a rousing cheer for critique nights and chapter meetings, shall we?) But by and large, it’s been, “Mommy, can we …” and “Mom, I want to …” and “Mom, I need …” pretty much non-stop. Because even though my kids are really very excellent and as considerate as kids can be, they’re KIDS. They know that the only reason for my existence is to make their world right. Anything that might be on my list is simply proof that my priorities are totally out of whack.

Usually, I can deal with this tug-of-war between their needs and mine, but this week was a challenge. It was spring break AND we were rounding out a double-holy week (Passover and Easter) AND we had to go away for the weekend AND my editor sent me revisions much earlier than I anticipated AND – most pressing of all – I had two books releasing. (A BETTER FATHER and CALL OF THE WILDER, thank you for asking J)Two books to publicize. Two books worth of blogs to post and monitor. Two sets of sales figures to obsess over. And two books worth of moments to savor and celebrate, because these were my first –ever releases after eighteen years of writing, and dagnabbit it, that was worthy of celebration.

So what did my week look like? Write a blog. Run to Target. Check Amazon. Play a round of Quelf Jr. Hide Easter eggs. Post to the Harlequin forums. Scramble some eggs. Post to Facebook. Remind people to put away their toys. Cut five hundred words from a scene. Order one child to set the table, one to unload the dishwasher, and one to clean up the front hall. Stop for a moment, pause, and send up a fast prayer of thanks for the fullness of my life and the realization of so very many dream.

 It was a full week. A challenging week. An exciting, never-to-be-repeated week crammed full of all the bits and pieces of my life.

But I’m still going to be awfully happy when Monday morning rolls around.


My friend Kris

  1. Many, many years ago, Kris Fletcher and I met as aspiring writers on an AOL  group.   She was a contest queen.   Now–GREAT NEWS!–her books are available to all not only contest judges.    She presently has two books published:   The Call of the Wilder and A Better Father.  A third will be published in–KRIS, help me on this–November.   I’ve  read and loved A Better Father,  have The Call of the Wilder downloaded and look forward to many, many more wonderful stories from her.

She’ll be blogging here tomorrow so please come back!

Here’s Kris in her own words:   
Kris Fletcher grew up in southern Ontario, went to school in Nova Scotia, married a man from Maine, and now lives in central New York. She shares her very messy home with her husband, an ever-changing number of their kids, and the occasional grand-hamster. Her greatest hope is that dust bunnies never develop intelligence.

News from Alexa Bourne and her new cover!

Thank you, Jane, for giving my new cover and me some time on your blog! Today marks the official, public beginning for an exciting time in Decadent Publishing’s history. We are unveiling the new Tease series, a smart, sassy and short line that includes historical, paranormal and contemporary romances.

This is the cover to my first Tease, Carry Me Home. This story is a heart-warming story about a married couple, Jamie and Mary MacDougall, in the Highlands of Scotland. Tragedy drove them apart but Jamie knows they’re meant to be together and he won’t give up on them without a fight. This cover fits Mary and Jamie perfectly and I absolutely love it. Isn’t it gorgeous?

My book will be released June 5th, but you have plenty of Tease stories before then. To find out more, visit today! AND you can be in the running for some GREAT prizes. So come join the party!



Twitter: @AlexaBourne





Took the car in today and found out the fact that I cannot read the speedometer because it is hidden in a deep well is a design problem which cannot be fixed because it IS in a deep well with no additional lighting.   In September, George bought me a 2003 Mazda which is a really great car but I fear a myriad of speeding tickets lurk in my future.  Also, it’s–sigh–white.  I’ve decorated with with a Kansas State Power Cat magnet on one side and a University of Louisville Cardinal on the other but I still can’t find it in the parking lot the way I could my yellow car.   In fact, I’ve stood next to white cars clicking my remote to unlock the doors and cursing (only in the nicest way) that the battery in the remote must be low.  Fortunately it only takes a few minutes before I realize it is not my car and move on to the next white car.

Little by little, I’m checking off tasks.  I got the extension of income tax paperwork in to the IRS Wednesday, the health insurance straightened out and in my name, information to Social Security, and many thank you notes written to our dear and generous friends.  I’ve worked on my novels a little but am still having trouble getting a read on the love interest in the fourth Butternut Creek novel  for which I’m attempting to put together a proposal with a brain low on creativity.

But I’m doing better.   For example, George loved olives.  The sight of the olive bar at H-E-B only makes me sad not burst out in tears.  Those breakdown have been  frightening for the ladies at the nearby sushi counter.  

I’m also reading the other books that have been nominated for the RITA in my category.  They are wonderful.  I’m honored to be in that group. 

Next Monday, I have two events on this blog.  On Monday, I’ll start the day highlighting the cover of Alexa Bourne’s newest novel.   Later in the afternoon, I’ll tell you about Kris Fletcher whose first published novel–A Better Father–was available a week ago.  Great book!  To my delight, Kris will blog here on Tuesday.  She’ll be telling us about the changes in her life as a published author with edits and promos at the same time she deals with her twenty or thirty–or maybe five–children.  Hope you’ll stop by.

Rudy Galindo, for example

Last week, I asked the question, “How is writing a novel like figure skating?”   In that blog, I stated there was one more similarity—and difference—to come.  For those of you who’ve been anxiously and breathlessly awaiting that, here it is!

Anyone remember Rudy Galindo?   In 1996, he seemed to leap from nowhere in an astounding singles figure skating  performance at the US Championships in San Jose.  I watched the program on television and could feel the energy of the performance and the energy from the crowd.  We were all enthralled at the beauty and perfection and energy of that performance.   And we all thought, “Where did this guy come from?”

There are writers like that.  Suddenly, with a first book, they become best sellers, shooting onto best seller lists while readers wait for the next book.   I know writers like that and I hate  envy admire them greatly, but most of us don’t appear like that.

My second point is this:   Rudy Galindo wasn’t suddenly hatched.  He didn’t show up at the competition and launch himself into spins and twirls.   He’d been working at this for a long time.  He was pairs partner with Kristi Yamaguchi until she decided to concentrate on her career in singles.   They’d won the US championship in 1989 and 1990.   He dropped out for a while but decided to return.  After a year of hard work, he burst–again–to the top of the figure skating world.

Even writers who appear suddenly have worked on their craft.  Jane Austen wrote her first books for the enjoyment of her family.   I have a friend who had the first book she wrote published and twenty more since.  She also has a PhD in creative writing.  Others have been journalists or have a number of completed and unfinished manuscripts under the bed that will never be published or took creative writing classes and submitted and entered contests and worked with critique partners.   Oh, I’m sure there must be someone who just wrote a great book with no background but, like figure skaters, most writers have spent years practising their leaps and foot work and tracing words onto paper until it finally comes out right.

Obnoxious and anxious

Knowing how much I love University of Louisville basketball and that George and I used to watch every game together, two lovely couples from church each  invited me to watch the Louisville/Wichita State  game with them on Saturday.    I do have wonderful friends and want to express my deep appreciation to Rhonda and Drew, Karen and Bob.  However, I turned both couples down.

I’m a terrible person to watch basketball with.   Much of this comes from my father who was a huge University of Kansas fan.  He took me to nearly every KU basketball and football game from the time I was three or four until I left for college and Kansas State.    He was the most pessimistic fan I’ve ever known.   When the Jayhawks were thirty points ahead and the opponents hit a basket, he’d say,”Oh, we’re going to lose this one.  We’ve blown it.”       Heredity or nurture,  I don’t know but I’m the same way.    I don’t know why I want my Cards to do well because the better they do, the farther they go in a tournament, the more miserable I am during the game.  Close games are nerve wracking.  There are no leads big enough to calm me.  I go outside.  I move to another room.  I play computer games or do crossword puzzles.   I change channels and watch House Hunters International for ten minutes before going back to check the score.   And, when Payton steals a ball or Russ drives, I will rewind and replay that, even four or five times so I can see how the play happened.

No one wants to spend a few hours with a person like me.  And, to tell you the truth, I don’t want to watch with anyone because then I’d have to behave.    When George and I watched together, I did behave.  Oh, I still moved around and did crossword puzzles, but he held on the the remote so I couldn’t watch a play over and over .  He did NOT allow me to change channels.

So, again, thank you, dear friends.  I hope you’ll watch and cheer for Louisville but you truly do not want me around.