Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • That there are restaurants close to most hotels
  • Leftover pizza
  • That the ice melted off of the road yesterday and the day before
  • The animal magazine I read earlier in the day
  • Antique Roadshow
  • An epic tale
  • Superheros
  • Comic books in general
  • Magic
  • Flintstones vitamins

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Getting through to a live person when I call a 1-800 number
  • English muffins
  • The scent of fabric softener
  • Honey
  • Daydreaming
  • Samples
  • Buying a new book
  • Socks with  pictures or patterns on them
  • Onion rings
  • Solar power

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • After Christmas sales
  • Infomercials when I'm bored
  • When the temp gets warm enough that some of the snow melts
  • Elephants
  • Food coloring
  • Apples
  • When my hair is long enough to pull into a pony tail
  • The scent of bread baking
  • Lap cats
  • A good pair of tweezers

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Fudge
  • Prime rib
  • Hot baked potatoes with lots of butter
  • Sudoku (when I figure out a puzzle.  I'm stumped on one now)
  • Opening presents
  • Warm socks
  • Sizzling bacon
  • New books
  • Hearing stories of Roswell, New Mexico

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Christmas morning
  • Shelter in the winter storm
  • The sound of sizzling breakfast
  • That I'm not traveling on Christmas day or Christmas Eve in the bad weather
  • My warm sweater
  • Soft pillows
  • Looking forward to the new year
  • Looking forward to new year's resolutions
  • Christmas carols
  • Family

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Nearing Christmas
  • The feeling of accomplishment after shoveling a large driveway
  • Animal tracks in the snow
  • Sharks at the aquarium
  • Sunday/Christmas store ads in the newspaper
  • When spicy food clears out my sinuses
  • Finally waking after a bad dream
  • Pictures that turn out well
  • Watching someone trip in high heels (but not injuring herself) :)
  • Italian restaurants

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Toasted, buttered doughnuts
  • Chinese buffet
  • Christmas lights
  • Cuckoo clocks
  • Tickling my hubby's toes
  • Steers
  • Old fashioned oatmeal
  • Reruns
  • Getting off of the flight in which the kid behind me kept kicking my chair
  • A bird's eye view of the city

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Ginger snaps
  • A lazy morning
  • A lap cat
  • Internet Access in unexpected places
  • Not being caught at the airport in bad weather when traveling in winter
  • Cuddling
  • How my husband looks after getting a haircut and messing his hair up before he goes out for the haircut
  • Not finding any grey hair on my head yet
  • Seeing a truck carrying sugar beets
  • A purring cat

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Fir trees in winter
  • Christmas lights
  • Salt trucks/snow plows
  • Saltine crackers in soup
  • Sledding
  • Snow angels
  • Being able to breathe after getting over a cold
  • Cuckoo clocks
  • Chocolate chip cookies in which the chocolate is melted, fresh out of the oven
  • Watching it snow when I know that I don't have to drive in it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Arriving safely
  • Being able to stretch my legs after sitting on an airplane for a long time
  • Being served a cold drink on the airplane
  • Lotion when I'm in Idaho
  • Free *kind of* breakfast at the hotel
  • Sleeping in after a long, long trip
  • A good shower head
  • Mouthwash
  • Fluffy pillows
  • Being able to close the suitcase with everything plus two winter coats inside, then opening it at the airport without all of our stuff flying out in the baggage claim to retrieve the coats.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Seeing a movie in the theater
  • The new calendar I want to open for 2009
  • Getting the mail and having no bills in my mailbox
  • Cartoons
  • The movie room at the gym
  • Finding a funny card to send to my parents in the mail
  • Church bells
  • Karate
  • Chocolate pie with gram cracker crust
  • The differences between American and British English
  • Correct grammar

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • When an idea for a whole novel starts simmering in my mind
  • When the air temp is high enough that the ice storm remnants melt
  • That broccoli looks like little trees
  • Finding new, interesting blogs
  • Creeks
  • Snowflakes on my tongue
  • Foreign films with subtitles (I hate dubbed films)
  • Dutch chocolate
  • Chai latte
  • Sting rays

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Still having my sanity at the end of a frustrating morning
  • That the rain washed the salt off of my car from my trip to Iowa
  • Peanuts
  • Kisses
  • That I still have electricity (unlike a lot of other people in the country at the moment)
  • Frozen pizza
  • String cheese
  • Payday
  • Clean, folded laundry
  • Mongolian stir fry

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Watching the birds on the feeder
  • Remembering that no matter what, my education can't be repossessed
  • Hot showers
  • A good stapler
  • Sundays, preferably lazy ones
  • Pea pods
  • Thick tomato sauce on my pasta
  • The gym
  • The theater
  • Soundtracks

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Watching birds as they migrate south for winter
  • Getting a publishing contract in the mail :)
  • String cheese
  • Arriving home safely from my trip
  • Exercise
  • Audio books while driving ten to twelve hours between Iowa and Tennessee
  • Dry humor
  • Daydreaming
  • Looking forward to my next trip
  • The purring of my friends' cat as he curls on my lap

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Hershey's kisses
  • The quiet hum of the furnace
  • Snowmen with carrot noses
  • Watching kids go sledding
  • Roller blading
  • Gold
  • The scent of fresh cut Christmas trees
  • Ornaments
  • Garland
  • Houses that are decorated on the outside with Christmas lights

Thursday, December 11, 2008


after the storm
ice entombed branches
the shiny elms

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • When other people cook for me
  • BOGO sales
  • Public libraries
  • The heated mirrors on my car
  • The heated seats in my car
  • That I didn't have to replace my battery before the start of this winter
  • Suitcases on wheels
  • Diet Coke
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Seeing old friends

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Chocolate covered cashews
  • Watching the squirrels and crows fight over the corn that is in the snow
  • Bubble bath on a cold day
  • Grill cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
  • Footprints in the snow
  • Watching the deer as they walk across my parents' yard
  • Sleeping in
  • Getting hooked on a book after reading the first page
  • Durable clothing... I have a few items that are over 15 years old and still look new
  • Twitter

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • The magical Internet connection that I'm finding at the moment
  • Slippers
  • Flavored coffee creamer
  • Deer as the eat the corn outside my parents' house
  • Watching the squirrels chase the crows away
  • Being in the warm house during a snowstorm
  • Amish bread that my mom made from a starter she was given
  • The familiar cell phone ring of my husband when he calls me
  • Udder cream
  • Bubble bath

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Knowing that my work is appreciated
  • Low stress days
  • Reading different accounts of the news online
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Ear muffs
  • The audio book I bought at http://www.ravenousromance.com/ titled Appetite for Passion by Jesse Blair Kensington.
  • Silver silverware
  • Gold fillings
  • Red bell peppers
  • Mongolian Stir fry
  • Forming new relationships

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Melted butter/margarine
  • Cadbury eggs
  • Fuzzy sweaters
  • Audio books
  • Tissues with lotion
  • Scary movies
  • Snowmen
  • Cruise control
  • Orange juice
  • British idioms

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Free food on my birthday
  • Birthday presents
  • Christmas presents
  • The scent of freshly cut Christmas trees
  • The softness of my fleece robe
  • Watching chipmunks fill their cheeks with food
  • Cheese filled tortellini
  • Loaner cars
  • Gold
  • The moon, Jupiter, and Venus these past few days

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Birthdays
  • Toasted bagels
  • Hazelnut coffee creamer
  • The fudge our neighbors gave us after Thanksgiving
  • Kittens as they sleep
  • Garfield
  • Nutmeg
  • A juicy burger
  • The California Raisins
  • Nearing Christmas

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Finishing NaNoWriMo
  • Bird watching
  • Laughing at the school districts here in the Nashville area who are closing school over a snow "storm" today in which no accumulation is expected
  • Pea pods
  • The control I now have in my car with my new tires
  • Looking forward to vacation in December
  • Wireless Internet access in random places
  • Ferrero Rocher truffles
  • Snow pants
  • Cities with good public transportation systems

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Baseball, especially a match up between the Cardinals and Cubs
  • Tennessee Titan's undefeated season...
  • A four day weekend
  • Starting a new tube of toothpaste
  • Poinsettias
  • Snow plows
  • Thumb drives
  • Finishing a good book
  • Going to the dentist, being told I don't have any cavities
  • Bluegrass

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Making deadlines
  • Squirrel feeders
  • Children's imaginations
  • Lemonade stands at garage sales
  • Good deals in stores but when there aren't a lot of people out and about.
  • Kennedy half dollars
  • 2 dollar bills
  • Comic books
  • That my husband can tell me his size, I can buy him a pair of pants, and they fit. Why can't it be that simple for women?
  • The softness of a new sweat shirt.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Leftover turkey
  • Coupons
  • Exercising
  • New furniture
  • Pie
  • Peanuts
  • Making my word count for NaNoWriMo. I have to get another 12,000 words in by the end of November.
  • Trees when the change. The one by our house is 4 different colors right now.
  • Constellations
  • Gel Pens

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Cranberries
  • Not having to work on Thanksgiving
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Furniture shopping
  • Meat and Three
  • Turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes
  • November sunshine
  • Safety -- The Mumbai terrorist attacks have me a little freaked out right now
  • My husband's laugh
  • When someone else washes the dishes

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Seeing the curiosity of a child
  • Putting sea shells up to my ears to listen for the ocean
  • El Camino de Santiago
  • Frozen grapes
  • Printing out the final draft of a story
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • My wedding ring
  • Mistaking the little bottle of blue alcohol that I received from a vendor at work for breathe spray. It was really antiseptic spray. Being glad I didn't actually spray any in my mouth before finding out.
  • Paper towels with patterns
  • Elves

New Blog

I've recently started a personal blog called What I've Learned Recently. The web address is http://jenbluekissedlearning.blogspot.com/ and I've also added it to my blog roll.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Eating leftovers from the restaurant I went to last night.
  • Warm weather in November. It's going to be in the fifties all this week!
  • Christmas music in appropriate doses
  • The Christmas lights at Gaylord Opryland. If you're ever in Nashville near Christmas, it's beautiful!
  • The feeling of lotion as I rub it into my dry skin
  • Good service when going out to eat or shopping
  • Musicals
  • The scent of apple pie
  • Chocolate chip cookies when they're still warm from the oven
  • The rumble of an organ when it plays deep notes in church

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Warming my fingers around a hot mug of coffee
  • Getting off of work early
  • A sincere compliment
  • The sweater I'm wearing (There is one design on the front and a different design on the back)
  • Grasshoppers (the kind with ice cream)
  • Spider solitaire
  • Pumpkin bars
  • Hot tubs built for 2
  • Sledding
  • Knowing where my husband is ticklish

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Remember when I was a child, eating all the samples from the sample lady at the grocery store without the pressure to buy the item.
  • Holiday music
  • A deep sleep
  • Candid conversations
  • Finding change on the ground
  • New clothes
  • Pop or beer/cider from a glass bottle
  • Coloring with a child
  • Bubble bath
  • Elves

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • The prospect of having a job interview
  • Being employed in general
  • The hum of the furnace when it's cold outside
  • The squirrel who will contort himself in any position to eat the birdseed in the feeder outside
  • Salvation Army bell ringers
  • The hope that the Big 3 will get a government loan-- my hubby works for a supplier to the auto industry
  • Laptop bags that have wheels
  • The Thanksgiving card we received yesterday
  • The prospect of turkey next week
  • Envelopes with the adhesive stripe so that I don't have to lick them closed

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Hamburgers
  • Being able to forgo my coat in November
  • A roof over my head
  • Fuzzy slippers
  • Clean windows
  • Animal crackers
  • Alphabet soup
  • Being tired at the end of the day
  • Chocolate silk pie
  • Leopard print (fake) sheets

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Balancing my checking, finding a large error in my favor. I forgot to add in a paycheck I received from awhile back.
  • Grasshoppers
  • The feeling of grass under my bare feet
  • The sound that fallen leaves make when I walk through a raked pile.
  • Kites
  • When the cramps from my period end
  • Managing to get a stain out of an article of clothing
  • Leap year babies
  • Velvet
  • Jelly fish

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Firefox. Explorer has not been my friend lately
  • Misunderstanding. A friend said she knew someone who had been reading my blog who wanted to try my idea. She was referring to making lists of things that bring joy to her list. I thought that she meant the friend has been reading my erotica blog!
  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Our fireplace
  • The sound of a distant train whistle
  • Finding one of my boxes of sweaters that I've been storing in the attic. I've been fearing everyone at work has been tiring of seeing my beige sweater every day.
  • That I can tease my hubby because I'm almost 10 years younger than he.
  • Saturday morning cartoons
  • That when I took the sweater that I wanted to wear out of the box, it was presentable. I was worried they would all be far to wrinkled and smell like the plastic container in which they had been stored.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Spicy chili
  • Diet Coke
  • Having a windshield wiper on my hatchback
  • Shiny shoes
  • Bird's nests
  • Snails
  • Caterpillars and cocoons
  • The Bat-Mobile
  • My optical mouse
  • Fried chicken

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • A good night's sleep
  • Chocolate muffins
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Nearing time off for a holiday
  • Watching someone play upright bass
  • The aroma of bread baking
  • Ultimate frisbee
  • Frisbee football
  • Amber fields in Iowa during harvest
  • Jazz

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Waffles
  • The smell of my shampoo
  • Free samples at the grocery store or in the mail
  • The sound of the coffee pot perking
  • Nature trails
  • PBS
  • Short stories
  • Finding interesting blogs to read
  • The smell of babies, right in the crook of their necks
  • Silly putty

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • That it was fifty in TN, where I live. It was below freezing yesterday in IA, where my family lives.
  • That the trees in Nashville are still spectacular.
  • To be in good health.
  • Garlic
  • The wonderful smell in the Indian restaurant to which I went on Friday. The spices were yummy!
  • Finding enough change to buy something from the vending machine at work
  • Owning a hatchback
  • Remembering a time when luggage didn't automatically come with wheels; Being grateful for the addition of them today.
  • Doves
  • The cool breeze

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Comic books
  • The thought of someone else cooking Thanksgiving dinner
  • Shoes that fit
  • My wedding photo album
  • Forgetting how much we paid the photographer for our wedding album
  • Anniversaries
  • Sending funny cards to people I love
  • Power tools
  • Spaghetti
  • Pop in glass bottles

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Gourmet chocolate
  • A lazy day
  • Getting connected to the Internet after a period with no connection
  • Shrimp at Red Lobster
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Receiving a back rub
  • My dishwasher
  • Forever stamps
  • Easter eggs
  • Penguins

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Celebrating a landmark in my marriage
  • The sound of car horns from little cars
  • The smell of a pile of fallen, raked leaves
  • Not wearing a jacket yet in the first week of November
  • Whistling when my team scores a goal/makes a basket/scores a run
  • The climax of a good story/book
  • Wiping the water from my face with a towel after a shower
  • Writing "Paid" on my paper bills after paying them online
  • Snicker doodles
  • Cranberries

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Thinking I'm late to work. Then realizing I just forgot to turn the clock in my car back an hour for the end of daylight savings time
  • The feeling of clean teeth after visiting the dentist
  • Water balloon fights
  • Snow forts
  • The carrot nose on a snowman
  • Reading someone's bluff in poker
  • Metallic looking fingernail polish
  • French fries
  • The lines on the floor after vacuuming. The proof that I did some work!
  • Birds' nests

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • The speech in Arizona last night
  • The speech in Chicago last night
  • Buttered toast
  • Inhaling to sneeze while chewing toast, the ability to cough enough that I didn't choke
  • Cheaper gas
  • Attractive covers on books
  • Looking forward to time off
  • Roses as they open
  • Air in a can
  • Skittles

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Productive writing time
  • Productive revision time
  • Poker
  • Oil pastels
  • The pizza delivery guy
  • Spoon rings
  • Hippos
  • Along Came Polly
  • The election process
  • Creative commercials on TV

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Getting an hour of extra sleep when we turned back the clock this weekend
  • The hot water in my shower
  • Finding clothes in my "winter clothes" bin that I forgot I had
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • 20 oz bottles of pop
  • No longer being sore after exercising
  • The excitement of election night tomorrow
  • Alphabet soup
  • Brownies
  • Hot fudge sundaes

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Plungers being used as mutes by trombone players
  • Comfortable furniture
  • Possums
  • Watching a good movie from start to finish
  • The ring on my cell phone that tells me that my mom is calling
  • The public library
  • Classical guitar
  • Finding cans on the ground for deposit (when I lived in Iowa)
  • Finding funny cards to send to people
  • Holding hands

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • NaNoWriMo
  • My recliner
  • Juicy pears
  • A clean bathroom
  • Mongolian stir fry
  • Warm socks
  • Blue lipstick
  • Blue corn chips
  • Waffles
  • Leftover Halloween candy

Friday, October 31, 2008


Moonlight caught
The cat's eyes as
She walked alongside
Children, pillowcases
In hand, begging like
For chocolate.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Real Butter
  • Missing the morning traffic rush
  • Good driving music
  • Dreams, especially the kind where I wake up and none of what I remember makes any sense
  • Milk cows
  • After a haircut, the feeling of having my hair off of my neck
  • The scent of Thanksgiving dinner as it cooks
  • Raccoons
  • Relief after a headache
  • Going to the dentist. Being told I have no cavities

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Keeping my balance while the personal trainer shows me new exercises, then watching my husband do the exercises when I'm too tired to continue
  • The pile of men after the Phillies won the World Series
  • My husband emptying the trash. He's such a sweetie :)
  • Squash
  • Pente
  • Marbles
  • Watching other people cook
  • Warm towels, right out of the drier
  • Fairy tales
  • The Monster Mash

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Learning about wine
  • Wanting to someday master the art of using chopsticks
  • The hum of the furnace
  • Jack and the Bean Stalk
  • Water guns
  • Opening the mail and not having any bills
  • Easy Mondays
  • Calzone
  • Gummy Bears
  • Staple guns

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Reminding my husband that he's older than I am :)
  • Sending letters to friends
  • Hot tea
  • That Halloween is almost here
  • Finding out that a good friend of mine just got engaged
  • Writing
  • A well crafted character, like Hannibal Lector
  • Pente
  • Going to an ethnic restaurant and not being able to pronounce what I ordered. Asking the waiter to repeat the name of my dish three times so that I could repeat it, only to forget the word once my delicious food arrived.
  • Dreams

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Fabric softener
  • The picture of my in -aw's cat trying to get into the bell of my husband's trombone
  • Living in a free society
  • Sweatshirt weather
  • Food that clears out my sinuses
  • French toast
  • Freshwater pearls
  • Vacation
  • The loop on carpenter jeans where the hammer fits
  • When road construction is finished and the new road is smooth and ready

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Trying new food
  • Looking for something I've been wanting to buy, then finally finding the item online
  • Brainstorming
  • The echo in a large church
  • Stained glass windows
  • Honey bees
  • The show, "Survivorman"
  • Polished rocks
  • Bubble bath
  • Good driving music

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Making up after a fight
  • The scent of my mom's perfume
  • Wall calendars with fun pictures
  • Remembering when I was a child, thinking that elbow grease was something one could use to cook
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Dill pickles
  • Baby powder
  • Pay day
  • Laser printers
  • Waterfalls

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • The hum of a healthy car engine
  • Rocky road ice cream
  • Cashews
  • Double rainbows
  • The ability to breathe after being in a high altitude, after coming back down from the mountains for example
  • Double dates
  • The scent of fur trees
  • Cats batting at Christmas ornaments on the tree
  • Fake fangs for Halloween

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


my facial expression
when I used an expression
that in the north is innocent
but elsewhere in the country
means something racially charged.

and the friend who politely pulled me
to tell me of its meaning

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Ribs
  • Sweet corn
  • New car smell
  • Antique shops
  • Needing to complete a task and having the right tools to do the job right
  • Arrowheads
  • Fossils
  • Cities that have a vibrant downtown
  • Redwood trees
  • Eagles

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I just returned from a trip to the Smoky Mountains. My conclusion is that everyone should see them in the autumn while the trees are changing colors at least once in one's lifetime. There is no way that pictures I took will be able to do the sight justice. I may put them up on the blog once I've had a chance to veg from the trip.

I smiled a lot during the trip. Other than the driving that my husband and I crammed into a weekend, I had a blast.

Ten Things That Make Me Smile For Today:

  • Splashes of color along hundreds of miles of landscape
  • Carvings of black bears
  • Cherokee, NC
  • Panning for emeralds
  • Being a tourist
  • Creeks
  • Seeing the stuffed teddy bear, wearing a shower cap, in an old basin in the shop.
  • Letting my hubby drive
  • A comfortable bed in the hotel
  • Stopping alongside the road to take pictures, then pulling the burrs out of my pants from the ditch.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Mountains
  • Electric and acoustic guitars
  • Muffins
  • Kids climbing trees
  • Waterfalls
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Peanut Butter
  • Caves with stalagmites
  • Hummingbirds
  • Random statues-- last night I saw a huge elephant statue in Crossville, TN

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Mentos
  • Good drivers
  • Gold fish
  • Lemonade
  • Skittles
  • Black cats
  • Pop (soda) in glass bottles
  • Rootbeer floats
  • When the police officer behind me turns off on a different street without pulling me over
  • Nachos

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Carmel
  • Brainstorming
  • Giant Squid
  • Home runs
  • Free samples
  • Snow forts
  • Sleeping bags
  • Toffee
  • Sword fights in movies/plays
  • A steamy shower

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Deer
  • Stamps with fun designs
  • Home cooked food
  • Light Traffic
  • When the price of oil falls
  • Elephants
  • Sticky Notes
  • My pillow
  • Violets
  • Cold pop (soda)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Singing Birds
  • Kudzu
  • When I handed the cashier my library card by accident rather than my grocery saver's card.
  • Balancing my checkbook and coming up with the same figure as the bank says I should have in my account.
  • Four leafed clovers
  • Fool's gold
  • Fun Calendars
  • Picnics
  • The Mountains
  • Beavers

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Warm sweaters
  • Tail gating
  • Fleece
  • Golf pants
  • Cinnamon roles
  • Pudding
  • Fun cookie jars
  • Alphabet soup
  • Hammocks
  • The giant Superman statue in Metropolis, IL

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Flash Fiction
  • Doughnuts
  • Leap year babies
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Foot rubs
  • Getting a bonus
  • Watching kids jump into piles of fallen leaves
  • Boardgames
  • Knowing that I have the cure to hiccups in most instances
  • Fun refrigerator magnets

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Then Things That Make Me Smile

  • Rebate checks when they come in the mail
  • Caterpillars
  • Rainbows
  • Back rubs
  • The Mississippi River
  • Singing
  • Being barefoot
  • The Public Library
  • Vanity license plates
  • Divinity (the candy)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • The new car smell
  • A light breeze
  • Seeing hot air balloons in the sky
  • Fridays
  • Vacations
  • Piglet from Winnie the Pooh
  • Realizing that there is no towel hanging near me after I take a shower, yelling for help, and then having someone (usually my hubby, or my mom when I was younger) save me by bringing a towel.
  • A white Christmas (as long as I'm not the one driving in the snow)
  • The Flintstones
  • Thanksgiving

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Hamsters
  • Being taken out to dinner
  • Seeing the water periodically drained from fire hydrants
  • Ehlmer's glue
  • Silly putty
  • Finding out someone has an interesting middle name
  • Girl Scouts
  • Diamonds
  • Frog jumping contests, usually at the county fair
  • Candy at the store the day after Halloween or the day after St. Valentine's Day

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Kites
  • Kittens
  • Penguins
  • A lazy day at home
  • Honey
  • The first hard frost of the year (I have allergies)
  • Duct tape
  • WD40
  • Cuckoo clocks
  • Scare Crows

Sunday, October 5, 2008

10 Things That Make Me Smile

  • Fried chicken
  • Bubble bath
  • The music of the ice cream truck
  • Garlic bread
  • Fireworks
  • Music from the 80s
  • Toe socks
  • Seeing a couple holding hands
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Owls

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Indian Summer
  • Harvest Moon
  • Mums
  • Music Row in Nashville
  • Postcards sent from foreign countries
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • The shoe in Monopoly
  • Airplanes in the night sky. Remembering when I was a child, thinking they were UFOs
  • The smell of the ocean
  • Warm chocolate chip cookies


the symphony concert
little girl in the front row
as she conducts on her own

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • The northern lights
  • Lilacs
  • Drinking grape juice, but managing not to spill any on my white shirt
  • Groundhogs
  • The loosening of my rings when I lose weight
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Cotton balls
  • A sunny winter day
  • Pin the tail on the donkey
  • Flannel blankets

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • My hubby's clean shaven cheeks
  • Silk scarves with a fun pattern on them
  • fresh fruit
  • crepe myrtles
  • fudge
  • Burt's Bee's Wax
  • Watching people walk their dogs
  • The Loch Ness Monster
  • Alligators
  • Seedless watermelons

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Autumn hayrides
  • Small town cafés
  • Carving pumpkins
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Turkey and dressing sandwiches (it's an Iowa thing)
  • A quiet room
  • fireflies
  • Parking in an area sunny enough that I don't have to scrape my windows in late Autumn
  • Various accents, especially in the South
  • Woodpeckers

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ten Things That Make Me Smile

  • Chai
  • Mittens
  • Fun Stationary
  • When my frizzy hair calms down
  • Painted toenails
  • Christmas carols
  • Sledding
  • "Boat" cars from the 70s
  • Unique business cards
  • Fun earrings

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ten Things that make me Smile

  • Being so tired that I know I will get a good night's sleep
  • When someone links to my blogs
  • A good seamstress
  • The comics section of the Sunday newspaper
  • Ergonomic keyboards
  • Peanut M&Ms
  • A colorful sunset
  • Driving west during a sunrise/east during a sunset
  • Purple ink pens
  • Pogo sticks

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


months after her death
he cleaned their closet.
the box held love
letters to
another man

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ten Things that Make Me Smile

  • Finding a good seamstress
  • That my new blog is doing well. http://www.jenbluekissederotica.blogspot.com/ (only read if you are at least 18 years old)
  • That I was able to buy gas. Nashville is having quite the gas shortage since hurricane Ike
  • Carmel apples
  • Trees in Autumn
  • Ibuprophen
  • The band Gaelic Storm
  • Snowmen
  • Seeing writing made by tracing one's finger through the grime on a dirty car that says, "Wash Me!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Haiku/Short Poetry

trying to sleep
outside my window

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Haiku/Short Poetry

little girl, waffle cone
dripping chocolate
her dress
and scabbed knee

Ten Things that Make Me Smile

  • My new blog. Only read it if you are at least 18 years old. www.jenbluekissederotica.blogspot.com
  • Sleeping in
  • Being taken out to dinner
  • Campfires
  • Being invited to a party
  • The sound of a whistling tea kettle
  • Ice skating
  • S'mores
  • Baptisms
  • Sitting at home, cuddling with my hubby while watching a movie

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ten Things that Make Me Smile

  • Naps
  • Cotton candy
  • Free food
  • A full tank of gas
  • The harvest moon
  • Bald eagles
  • Chipmunks
  • Watching kids try to eat corn on the cob who have their two front teeth missing
  • Tongue twisters
  • Taking my bra off at the end of the day!

Untitled Haiku

the dusk picnic
falling leaves

Friday, September 19, 2008


Please share your short poetry!

under my
windshield wiper
amber leaf

sun filled car
tissue from my purse

downpour, afterward
the earthworms

the squirrels
distract me

Ten Things that Make Me Smile, Depending on My Mood

  • Ants
  • Hail stones
  • The toy in the cereal box
  • Ibuprofen
  • Push pins
  • Insurance
  • A good poker hand
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Salad

Ten Things That Make Me Smile. What Makes You Smile?

  • Stuffed animals
  • Hot chocolate
  • Fully intact spider webs
  • Turtles
  • Gummy bears
  • Vanilla candles
  • Warm blankets
  • Feeding ducks
  • Butter nuts

Ode to Pizza Pie

Oh, how I love my dear pizza pie!
The cheesy, gooey stuff
Even in Spain: tuna, oh my!
I can't ever, ever get enough

Pepperoni, sausage, olives, ham
With lots of red, tomato sauce
I'll eat every crumb, every gram
The heck with this program of weight loss!

I wait by my window, peeking through
Watching the delivery boy drive by
With some cold, frothy, golden brew
I'll enjoy my fantastic pizza pie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ten Things that Make Me Smile. What Makes you smile?

  • Sincere compliments
  • Hard cider
  • Freshly laundered sheets
  • Kids in Halloween costumes
  • The first robin of Spring
  • Better than Sex Cake
  • Gingerbread men
  • My father's curly sideburns
  • Leisure suits
  • Cardinals

Untitled--> I would love to read your haiku

wooden deck
the spilled bird seed

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A few questions I've wondered about for awhile.

Please, share your thoughts.

People say that when it thunders, that the angels are bowling. When it rains, that God is crying. When it hails, did someone loose some marbles?

Why is it that our salad is so naked that we have to "dress" it? Why is good salad dressing made with extra virgin olive oil? Is dressing a naked salad with extra virgin olive oil wrong on some level?

How can the olive oil be extra virgin to begin with? No, it really REALLY hasn't had sex yet. That must be it.

Why do so many foods have human body parts? Why do lettuce and cabbage have a head? Why does corn have ears? Why do potatoes have eyes?

From a language perspective, why is there a difference between grapes and grapefruit? If I were learning English, I think I would be a bit confused.

Why does putting sugar in a cup of coffee make it no longer black?

Why is Mister abbreviated Mr. but Missus abbreviated Mrs. but Miss has no abbreviation? What is the written out word equivalent to Ms.?

Why do pants have legs, shirts have arms, shoes have tongues, socks have toes, but neither socks nor pants have ankles?

Why, with all the technology that we have, do we still have a date on the calendar devoted to a furry little animal predicting how many more weeks of winter we'll have?

If the appetizer is the first course, and dessert is the last course, why isn't the entree called the intercourse?

I know what peas look like and taste like. I know what nuts (you know, the things that grow on trees) look like and taste like. Why are peanuts like neither of these?

Dried grapes are raisins. Dried plums are prunes. Why don't dried apples, pears, bananas, papaya etc. get their own name?

I know the answer to the next one, but still find it strange that hamburger isn't made out of ham.

What is the purpose of red turn arrows on traffic lights?

Why are pancakes considered a meal or side dish and not dessert?

Are woolly mammoths and sheep related in any way?

Grapenuts. Why on earth are they called Grapenuts?

Why is frosting normally served on a cake at room temperature?

At what point are undergarments called panties and not underwear? What do they have to have or not have to cross that line?

Pits are holes that things can fall into. As in, "Sorry I was late for this meeting, I accidentally drove my car into a huge pit." So, why do I have armpits? What ever gets stuck there?

Puppies are cute little animals that drool and chew things up. Why are those fried round things that I get at Long John Silvers called hush puppies?

Why is the place I park called a driveway and not a parkway?

In a pre-arranged marriage, do they serve cantaloupe at the reception?

Why are some guns called shot guns? Isn't that the point?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trying to stay positive

The last twenty four hours have been a little irksome. I tried five different gas stations last night, frantically trying to fill up because I knew I didn't have enough to get to work this morning. The first four were out of gasoline altogether. The fifth had the premium gasoline still available at 4.20 per gallon. There was a huge RV filling up on the other side of my pump. As I paid a few pennies shy of $60 for around 12 1/2 gallons of gas, what was frustrating me was that there was no limit on how much people could buy. I think filling up an RV in that situation is just plain wrong.

So, in an effort to think happy thoughts, here is today's list of 10 things that make me smile. I would love to hear your list.

  • Carmel apples
  • The county fair
  • Chocolate milk
  • The sound of Rice Krispies
  • The pillowcase my hubby gave me that says "Mrs. Always Right" on it
  • Halloween costumes
  • Garage sales
  • Elvis impersonators
  • Colorful stationary
  • Creative bumper stickers
  • Living in a state with no state income tax (Go Tennessee!)

Okay, I can't resist. Here is today's list of 10 things that seldom ever make me smile

  • Struggling to button my jeans
  • Getting caught in traffic
  • That a member of the band I like dies, like today Richard Wright of Pink Floyd
  • Scrubbing the toilet
  • Paying sales tax on groceries (I'm originally from Iowa, where there is no sales tax on groceries)
  • Coughing spells
  • Biting my tongue
  • When the straps of my bra fall down and I have to reach into my shirt to readjust in public.
  • Burned Toast
  • Pushing the snooze button too many times for my own good.

Things that make me smile, depending on the situation and my mood:

  • An overdue fart
  • Wet wipes
  • Realizing I should have gotten my period yesterday
  • Edible clothing/jewelry
  • Fake diamonds
  • Remaindered books
  • Snow
  • frozen pizza
  • Red staplers
  • Deadlines

What are yours?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Things that make me smile

  • Little kids in their Sunday best
  • Chocolate chip pancakes
  • Coupons
  • An entertaining sermon
  • Finding money in the pocket from last year in my winter coat/purse.
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • New crayons
  • Snail mail that isn't a bill
  • Live music
  • Scrabble

What makes you smile?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

There's Too Much Acid in the Ground

How proud was my father
Of his walnut trees!

My mother, “Why bother?”
The tomatoes won’t live! Please!

He loved to shell and hull.
The squirrels stole a few.

The tomatoes void and null,
She wanted them for beef stew.
“There’s too much acid in the ground!
Anyway, those nuts are too much work!”

He refused to cut them down.
(Knowing it drove her bezerk).

Years later, I came back.
Both trees had long since died.
Now, there’s seldom a lack
Of tomatoes: my mother’s pride.

Dating Disaster

Two friends, Courtney and Allison
Took to trying poetry to dinner.
Courtney courted Consonance
And Allison asked Assonance
To date at eight, a double date!
Assonance showed up exactly as expected.
Consonance clearly couldn’t count correctly.
It’s eight already!
Courtney called Consonance to confirm their courtship.

Allison asked Assonance about Alliteration, Allison’s assumed chaperon.
Assonance always averted answering about Alliteration because
Apparently, Alliteration almost ate Assonance in April.
Alliteration tried to take total
Command in Assonance’s attempted Allegories.
Courtney came crying.

“Consonance can’t come! Courtney croaked.
The three thought thoroughly through their
Problem. Perturbed, poor
Courtney cursed Consonance completely.
She swore she’d sever shared relationships right
Out of everyone’s poetic existence.
Allison and Assonance answered,
“Let’s leave.”

Driving dangerously during dating disaster,
The three turned toward
Rhyming Verse Road and parted ways that night.
Allison, annoyed and angry at their plight,
Scolded Courtney for having no insight tonight.
We didn’t personify Consonance and Assonance right!
We should have taken out Free Verse and Hyperbole in hindsight.

Courtney’s reply, “Whatever you do, don’t take out haiku!”
“Haiku’s not a man of words. He won’t have much to say, and you won’t know what to do.”

They agreed and parted ways until their next date
And left romance up to their poetic fate.

A neat idea

I was reading http://www.happiness-project.com/ last night. The Happiness Project is such a neat idea. I've told close friends for years that I'm a pessimist wearing an optimist's clothing. So many times, I try to be positive about events in my life, but when things aren't going my way I tend to grumble. So, the keep my mood lifted, I'm going to try to post at least 10 things that make me smile on a regular basis. Feel free to add a comment with your own personal list. These are in no particular order.

-Footie pajamas
-The Smurfs
-Waking up with my hubby's arms around me
-Connecting with old friends
-Ice cream
-Coffee. -->My mother in law taught me to put a scoop of ice cream IN my coffee :-)
-Road trips
-Finishing a good book
-Clearance priced clothing that is actually cheaper when I get to the register than what I thought it would be when I tried it on.

Friday, September 12, 2008


arthritic fingers
the untouched piano keys

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Autumn wake,
the first time I
saw my uncle
without his wheelchair

Monday, September 8, 2008


on bland meat,
in the little cut on my hand
gargling when I have a cold
the tin canned beans.
The story of my friend who baked
cookies and added two cups
salt instead of sugar.
margarita glass rim
baking soda tooth paste
soy sauce, beef bullion cubes,
the shaker with holes one size too big—
having to warn my guests every time!
salt shaker collections at yard sales, chipped.
high blood pressure, eat less
French dip sandwiches
just a dash—
in this recipe
enough to bring out the

the deer with the broken leg
in the city, limping
her fawns following behind.
she licks the salt block in our
after the thunderstorm.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Saturday Funk

Yesterday and today I have been rehashing chapter six of my novel. I called my mother to ask what physical actions a really distraught woman would take that would show frustration, fear, and violence but still be an ordinary household chore. My goal was to make my scene as believable as possible, but keep my character at home so that if she were to receive a critical phone call, she could have the privacy to be able to take the call.

My idea of housework and her idea of housework usually are quite different. She keeps a very clean, orderly house. I avoid cleaning and various other chores like the plague. Thank goodness my husband helps me at home! Why scrub the floors when I could be revising, right?

But, after a half hour of discussing different chores, she helped me to set up a believable scene. I'm now excited for the emotions I was able to show through what my character is doing.

Unfortunately, I actually have to do laundry tomorrow in earnest.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gassy Gassy

Gassy gassy

Pumping gasoline into my car
I watch the dollars leave my wallet.
One week’s worth of stinky stuff
Pours into my gas tank.

Gassy gassy

Bean burritos in my stomach
From the convenience shop.
My husband’s pinched nose as he
Lifts the covers and gives me a dirty look.

Gassy gassy

Helium balloons and champagne glasses.
White wedding reception by invitation
The guests clap after the best man’s speech and
Feeling the tightness of her sleeveless gown when breathing.

Gassy gassy

These early years of marriage and I find out
That I am the better belcher. And laughing.
I wonder if when I am old if we will develop
More gassy gassy then than we have now.

This Week's Bites

Mosquito bite, the little
nub on the
pink, swollen tip
my little finger

Nibbles, purple teeth
marks, twice
on the crook
my neck, under
an ironed shirt collar

Clickity clack, nails
pecking the black
ripping apart

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Country cemetery:
our friend and his family
honoring his mother and son.
He begins to play
the accordion and asks
my husband for some
Songbirds, in the nearby trees
as Amazing Grace fills the
May afternoon air.
And then the polka beat
As his great granddaughter chases
A black, orange butterfly
Behind the no longer used church
As I look upon weather-beaten
headstones, no longer legible
and wonder who they were and
when they even lived and died.
Pondering, if they were dancing.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Killer Nashville, Emotions

As I spend a good chunk of Labor Day rewriting my novel, I've been contemplating what I learned during Killer Nashville. Probably the most important tidbit of advice that stuck during the conference was a comment that a panelist made regarding emotion. The question was asked, "How does a writer make the scene fresh when the same things happen over and over?"

I thought about the mono-myth that my college English professors had so diligently discussed when I was studying for my B.A. in English Lit. For a moment, I flashed back to the diagrams of hero, guide, building action, climax, descending action. I must agree, there are only really a handful of stories.

That's when her answer at the conference really clicked. I'm paraphrasing, but the answer went something like this: As long as the scene has the character's emotions, the action will seem new.

Never had I really put stories in that context before. The drafts of my novel had previously focused more on what happens and how the action happens. I focused a lot on the whys of my story. As I rewrite, I'm having to reconnect to my characters. What emotions motivate them throughout the scenes? What charges their reactions to information? Why does the reader care about the character?

All of this, I'm sure, sounds incredibly simple. I should have been thinking in these terms from the beginning. The learning curve of writing is a bit like a rainbow. I know the other end exists, the pot of gold awaiting me. But, try as I might, the other end is always out of sight. There is always something profound to learn about the craft.

on jobs I have had

Spanish teacher, overhearing
about her first date and pregnancy

in the library, I find my
co-worker hiding in a
sofa box from the move to the new building

as store clerk, I never did
understand why people cuss and scream
over a nickle’s difference in price

listening to stories of cancer, murder
being eaten alive
by acid at the
life insurance company

substitute health
teacher, scolding
the boy who announced
which classmate
wasn’t circumcised

student teacher as
I attempt to decipher the main point of an
English essay.

intern at the alternative school
helping a student research the Civil War
who couldn’t read

Sunday, August 31, 2008

His Pillow

His pillow, rumpled beside me
I breathe in his cologne
Wishing he didn't have to
Work so early
My pent up energy
Waking within
Musk, sweat, the

Scent of last night
His head impression dimpled
In the fluffy cotton
I reach for my teddy
Barely absent, the bed still warm
The next long, eight hours...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lions, Tigers, Revision, Oh My!

Over Labor Day weekend, I'm attempting to focus my energy on the act of revision. In speaking with another writer friend, perhaps the creative edge to rip apart a chapter or two and then reconstruct will emerge within me. Perhaps I'll disable my Internet for a few hours or go to a place without wireless to click clack on my keyboard for a few hours. Maybe I should lock myself out of solitaire and minesweeper as well. I don't know how to prohibit my machine from these games, but there has got to be a way!

The creative juices are flowing again. I was helping with a critique for someone else earlier in the morning. Some of the comments that I wrote on the other writer's story caused me to pause and think about some of the details within my own work. Creativity begets more creativity and revision hopefully will beget more revision!

Having; In This Millennium by Jennifer Bluekissed

a mortgage, car to drive, designer clothes
payments; a ball and chain to compete
with the Joneses
glittering jewelry and the latest gadgets
All charged on credit cards
freedom to have things
and working long days of servitude for
Plastic dreams of gold.

My husband, whom I adore. Daily exclamations
he receives from me, “I’m so glad
I get the keep you!” He, in
turn, depending on his mood, replies, “Me
Too!” or “I’m so glad I have to
keep you!” The distinct mischief in
his eyes during the reply.
My life mate. I won’t let go.

the distinguished college degree
and the mountains upon mountains of molehills of debt
all following me like my invisible friend’s shadow
always behind me and attached to my heel. It is
the bondage of seeking work that pays
at least enough…more than mere survival in
this cell phone, potato chip, easy credit world. I’m
thirsting to do more with my life than
answer the phone
my employment; the call center; scribbling poetry.

Health insurance, as privilege, of a few
that which is no longer a right, to find
the cause of a cough.
contractors, consultants, freelancers, part-timers
and so many others. Their last prayer at night,
“Please keep my family healthy.” An emergency appendectomy
would kill us financially.
Nevermind cancer. This malignancy so grotesque,
even the insured can’t pay for treatment after a
year, but it touches us all. We all know someone inflicted.

pesticide dripping vegetables and antibiotic cows,
cloned beef so like real meat, there’s no need for
labels. Factories so prosperous there are jobs to
go around. At least in China I hear there are jobs. Where
Communist laws govern the air, water, and wages.
Back home, the service sector provides six
dollar an hour jobs to all the seekers
Before taxes.

family hugs, story-time, moments for a nap
fortune on my side. The luck of my birth in
this country where food awaits on my table.
No government thugs extort my free thought
and my water is still crystal clear clean,
fluoride enhanced, and drinkable.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Silly Mood Today

I'm in a silly mood today. This is the story I wrote just to be goofy. I had no other reason than to chuckle a bit.

Mr. Caveman hunted a mammoth and brought home lots of meat for his family. Mrs. Cavewoman diligently prepared mammoth stew for supper that evening. Mr. Caveman loved the stew, but complained that he needed something with which to eat the feast. He wasn't very suave about how he said this. What he meant was, "I wish somebody would invent a spoon and fork so that we could partake of your wonderful feast, honey." What he actually said was, "Why'd you make that for supper?"

After sleeping on the rock-couch that night, Mr. Caveman decided to keep a journal so that he could learn from his mistakes with his wife. His advice to himself was very limited, however, because he didn't yet have many tools. Number two on his list of things to pass on to his son was, "Don't tell your wife you're keeping a journal of things not to say to her. She'll think you need to invent paper because these stone tablets won't hold all of the things there are to learn about women."

Mr. Caveman was eaten by the brother of the mammoth that he killed for supper the previous night.

Many centuries later, archaeologists discover the oldest writing on record. They think it is some sort of picture writing. The only part of the drawing they are able to decipher is a man sleeping on a rock by himself. "Man began as a very antisocial being," one young grad student named Charlie deciphered.

Charlie, being an overly ambitious grad student, decided to bring the picture writing home to further study it. He placed the slab of rock on the kitchen table before he entered his bedroom to change out of his luxurious grad school clothes. Meanwhile, his wife came home and saw the slab of rock on the table. She yelled to her husband through a few walls, "You better not expect me to cook mammoth stew for dinner tonight, Charlie."

What Charlie heard through the walls was, "You better expect me to give you mammoth nookie tonight, Charlie."

Charlie came dashing through the living room with his pants around his ankles, eager to make sure he heard correctly. When he saw his wife's hands on her hips, he realized he must have misunderstood. The saddened man said to his wife, "What are we having for dinner tonight, honey?"

She replied, "I don't know. What do YOU plan on cooking?"

Charlie thought for a moment before saying, "Well, I wasn't planning on cooking anything. Isn't that your job?"

As Charlie slept on the sofa that evening, the meaning of the cave drawing suddenly occurred to him.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Revision from Killer Nashville

While I attended Killer Nashville, one of the professional writers there critiqued the first ten pages of my manuscript. She was really nice about it, but basically said that I have a lot to learn. Since the conference, I have looked at those ten pages and realized that she was very correct. So, my story has been ripped apart in an attempt to revamp it.

Fighting with my ego to take the constructive criticism was a little difficult. I went in to the conference thinking that those pages were very polished. It was nice, though, for me to have someone else look at the pages with fresh eyes. After I've been staring at the ink on paper for months on end, I've found that it's difficult for me to be objective about what I've written.

Now, my scene is entirely different. Hopefully, my rewrite has made it better. Now, I just need to do the same for the remaining twenty some chapters! I'm fighting the urge to start writing the rough draft of the other book I have in my head and continue on the rough draft of the other a third book I was writing before I found out about the upcoming Killer Nashville conference. Writing something from scratch is much, much easier than revision. So far, I'm winning the battle against those urges. Hopefully, I will continue to win that battle rather than shelving this manuscript again.

Ever since I started back up at my day job, I've also discovered that I am more productive with my writing time when I'm working. Having ALL day to stare at the computer screen in my office prompted lots of time for solitaire, www.pente.net, and other random time consumers. Now, when I can only devote an hour or two per day to writing, I actually write. What a concept!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Killer Nashville Arson

Some of the most valuable things I learned from the arson presentation was the pattern a fire creates. One of the things that the TBI gentleman said was that many times people think that if they start a fire that all of the evidence of a crime will be destroyed. He said many times that there is always evidence. The fire never ruins the crime. There will always be something left. Also mentioned were that if someone is in his/her bed and there is something like lighter fluid or gasoline involved, many times the arson is motivated by love/sex/marriage relationships.

I see many, many possible plot twists that could be used from this new piece of information. One other thing that was mentioned was that it is not illegal to burn down one's own home in the state of Tennessee as long as no third party is involved in the aftermath of the fire. So, if there are no mortgage consequences, deaths, insurance involvement etc., someone is free to burn his or her house down in this state.

Also, apparently, it is not illegal to burn your own meth lab down as long as there is no third party involvement in the aftermath/consequences of the fire!

There are all plot twists I hadn't considered. Now I'm wondering if those same two things are legal in Iowa. How do I go about finding the answer to this question. Any time I try to research such things, people think I'm out to get somebody. Fiction can be more fun than reality. In the case of fire, that is my opinion.

The day after I attended the arson presentation, there was a local news story in the Nashville area in which a lady had a house fire. She had sprayed some bug spray on an insect on her wall. The bug was near an electrical outlet, causing a fire. Of all the things! I think if I were to put something like that in fiction, it wouldn't be believable. Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Killer Nashville, Explosives

One of the first sessions I attended during Killer Nashville covered the basics of explosives. My humbling began in earnest. I thought I had a basic understanding of how explosives work, but I entertained many misconceptions for years. It had never occurred to me that pressure is what causes a lot of the damage from explosives. The pressure alone, specifically positive pressure, can stop a beating heart and bend signs that are miles away from the blast. I had always assumed that most damage from explosives results from flying debris.

We saw footage from different sizes and types of blasts during the session as well. I jumped more than once during the presentation! The folks from TBI that deal with explosives sure are knowledgeable! I have a new level of respect for those who put themselves in harm's way to protect the public.

So many new ideas popped into my head for things I could put into a story at some point. As a private citizen, explosives are scary. As an author, explosives hold a lot of potential. Seeing the world through the eyes of a writer is a hoot! Which reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a relative.

I asked several people I know to ask their physician's how much of a certain household item it would take to kill someone if force fed. I got the same reaction over and over again. "I can't ask Dr. So and So that! He'll think I want to kill myself or someone else!" That line of research doesn't work to well right now! Oh well. There's always the Internet and MY doctor to ask.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Killer Nashville High

Before I write about individual workshops I attended and the wealth of knowledge I learned at the conference, I want to devote this blog post to my overall impressions of the conference. Would I recommend an aspiring writer attend a writing conference, even if he or she doesn't have a polished manuscript? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Did I say yes yet? Yes.

Before attending, I was incredibly nervous. Would I be able to meet people? Would I be way out of my league? Would I feel like an utter fool for sitting in the same room with other people who have actually achieved the written word in published format from New York Publishing Houses? My stomach was in knots the entire night before.

I was embraced by fellow writers. I saw a plethora of personalities. I witnessed incredible presentations. Most importantly, I felt affirmed that writing is a process. A journey, not an inaccessible mountain. Was I bored, even for a moment? No. Between the speakers, networking, having some books signed, and the panels, I was utterly engaged.

Damn! Tomorrow I have to reenter the world of non-writers again and start a new 40 hour per week job day job. It's a good thing they can't drug test for this type of high.

What is your best conference experience?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Killer Nashville Days One and Two

Killer Nashville has been amazing so far! There are so many things I have learned that I don't know where to start. All of the speakers so far have been incredible. I'll probably write separate blog posts for several days with one per workshop because the information has been fantastic and the speakers so charismatic. My biggest high so far in the conference was my pitch session. One of the people I pitched to said her publishing house didn't take erotica, but that my plot sounds like something she would buy as a reader!

Also, I have learned that I have some drastic rewriting to do, which I expected on at least some level. There is definitely a big learning curve in my case. I have felt like such a newbie all weekend, but I'm okay with that.

Networking is also very interesting. I would consider myself shy by nature, as I suspect many writers are. Everyone I've met so far has been very supportive and told me that attending conferences is a great tool to learn about the profession.

I've also gained a lot of respect for TBI and law enforcement in general. Wow! I'll write more after the conference is over with specifics.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Organization before Killer Nashville

Tomorrow is the first day of the Killer Nashville writing conference. I find myself needing to get organized and make some decisions! So, I'm compiling a list of things that I think need to be accomplished before tomorrow. Hopefully, I'm not overlooking anything important!

  • Figure out what I'm going to wear the next few days. How formal should my dress be?
  • Revise my synopsis and make copies of it.
  • Decide whether I want to lug my entire manuscript with me throughout the conference. Perhaps I'll keep a copy in the car in case I need it.
  • Write my one page and one line.
  • Decide exactly what I'll say during my two pitch sessions.
  • Print out the schedule of events with meeting room assignments.
  • Charge my cell phone!
  • Decide whether I want to take my laptop or a notepad for taking notes during the workshops. Darn! Where's that extra laptop battery when I need it? Oh yeah, I decided not to buy one!
  • Make sure I have extra pens, preferably ones that work!
  • Pack some extra tissues, cough drops, and other random things!
  • Mapquest the hotel in Franklin where the conference is being held.

I'm sure there are other things that I need to do before arriving at the hotel tomorrow. Right now, I'm trying to harness my excitement in having the opportunity to attend. All of my nervous energy in anticipation of of the pitches and critique is starting to cause worry about whether I'll sleep well tonight. Probably not! I've been reading different blogs regarding conference prep information on networking, pitches, etc. I can't wait to experience it all for the first time!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ideas for Novels

I often wonder how other writers find ideas to write their novels. When does the idea for a novel or character form for many writers? I've read that for some people, a lot of plotting and research happenes before any prose is written. For others, perhaps mad brainstorming sessions occur.

For me, the ideas almost always keep me awake at night. Usually, the next day something really important is going to take place. A good night's sleep is essential to whatever I will be doing the next day. The idea eats at me for hours while I try to sleep. I fight off the urge to rise out of bed to write the my ideas. I'm always afraid that if I walk up the stairs to me office from my bedroom, that the hope of falling back asleep will be futile after tackling the stairs.

Last night was one such night. I lay down at nine thirty, right at women's gymnastics in was to begin on TV for the Olympics. By twelve thirty, I fell victim to my ideas knocking on my imagination's door. So, I finally wrote down the entire plot to novel. There were no subplots, but the basic plot is now sitting in my email box for later use. I'm sure the idea will change and morph before I actually write that story, but for now I have an idea!

If you are a writer or other artistic type, how do you create? Do you set aside creative time on a regular basis for your craft? Are you simply struck with an idea at random times? I would love to hear how creativity affects you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Killer Nashville Prep

Killer Nashville begins on Friday and I find myself excited. Finally, I live in a city big enough to host a writer's conference! I just moved to the Nashville area from Iowa. Now, every time I introduce myself as a writer, people ask if I went to the Iowa Writer's Workshop. It's sure a bummer that I haven't had the opportunity to do that yet. Perhaps one day I'll return to the Iowa City area and do the workshop.

The synopsis of Her Almost Ex-Husband: An Erotic Tale of Murder is working into shape. I also can't wait to meet other writers at the conference and mingle.

Everything worked out well with my job. I don't begin my continued insurance research at my new job in the Nashville area until after the conference begins. Murder and insurance are so fascinating!