Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Falling Doors?

A funny thing happened yesterday.  To the best of my memory, this is how it played out…

My oldest daughter (OD) woke up and came downstairs to find me pondering the living room arrangement.  She stopped halfway down, gave me that raised-eyebrow-look before continuing on.  She paused in the entry, then came around and plopped down into the wing-back.  We talked amiably as she wiped away the lingering fog of sleep.  After a few minutes, she stood up, turned to walk away, then suddenly turned back with that same raised-eyebrow-look-turned-glare.  And it happened.

She said, "Tell me you had the yard man come in and move that wardrobe out of the entry into the living room."

Me.  "No.  I moved it.  Veezer helped me.  It wasn't a big deal."

OD.  "You can't do these things, Mom!"

Me.  "It's okay, really.  I unloaded everything, slid it into place with furniture movers, and then reloaded it.  Easy peasy.  Really."

OD.  "No!”  Her hands are on her hips at this point.  “What if the doors fell open while you were moving it and it sucked you into Narnia?  Huh? What would I do then?  You'd be in the other-world of Narnia and no one would know it.  And I couldn't save you from that!"

And then she turned and stomped away, grumping over her shoulder, “never mind it could’ve killed you had it fallen over.”

Life in literary-world is amazing...Narnia?   :D

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Love

Today is Mother’s Day, May 12, 2013.  I find myself reflecting once again on who I am, where I come from, what I’m made of.  I can hardly go there without thinking on my mother Norma Jean and Grannie.  Both have many years past now and pulled that earthy blanket up to their chins to wish us all a good night.  I miss them, the buggars!

Anyway, first off, I have to say this about memories.  Doc M, Sister, and I have three very different sets of memories.  It would seem we weren’t sisters at all with how different they are.  But with Doc M a bit older, I understand her perspective should be different.  But Sister and I?  We’re Irish Twins, for cryin’ out loud!  You’d think we could agree on one memory, right?  Probably not.  I finally came to grips with this when someone explained to me that memories are filtered through our emotions.  Ahha!  That explains it. We are polar opposites when it comes to our emotions, she and I.  But still, it doesn’t keep us from asking each other from time to time, “Where did you come from?”  Hahaha!

I think there are two memories we can all agree on.  One, Norma Jean was a serious romance-book-aholic!  I can’t remember a night of my life in her house that she didn’t go to bed with one.  And many a night was there that we found her with a paperback tented over her breasts, glasses askew and her snores reaching to high heavens.  Little did I know back then that it would be one of my favored memories of her. 

Why, you ask?  Because I was the bane of her existence when it came to reading.  I hated it!  Jack London’s Call of the Wild, Beverly Cleary’s Ramona the Pest, Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows?  Hated all of them.  Oh the books Norma Jean presented to me, every single one of which I slung right back at her.  Ack!  I couldn’t even get past chapters one.  In fact, the only author I would have anything to do with until I was twelve years old was Don Freeman.  Oh how I loved (still do) his stories, especially Dandelion.  But that’s it.  No other books.  None.  Zero.  That is, until… (You know it!) that lovely little red and white covered Harlequin showed up on my lap.  Frankly, I think she dropped it there in disgust at me and said something like, “This is the last straw.  I don’t know what else to give you to read, child.”

Amazingly, I read chapter one.  Then two.  And three and four and …all the way to the end.  And then I asked for another.  And another.  And another.  And then she gave me my very own subscription to Harlequin Romance.   It was a brand new world for me and I knew who I was then.  I was a romance junkie.  My engine had been jumpstarted and there was an endless supply of stories in my soul.
From there on out when we would travel to my grandparents I would imagine stories to write.   Sadly I couldn’t read in the car or else I’d throw up everywhere.  So I would think about the stories I’d read and make up my own.  They were simple stories, boy meets girl, they fall in love, you know the drill.  But they were stories that entertained me just the same.  And that was the beginning of my lifelong passion for love and romance and telling stories.  With that, I learned to love to read because reading was the vehicle for receiving the love.  This was the greatest love my momma loved me with, she taught me to enjoy reading by helping me find what I loved to read.  Bless her heart.  She should get special Mamma Rewards in heaven for that, don’t you think?  Lord knows I tried her patience!

My second memory I think the three of us can agree on is one of Grannie.  Grannie was a gardener and a fisherwoman.  She could grow something in concrete and catch a fish out of the toilet, yes she could!  Granted, she was a lot of other things too, but those two were constants.  Anyway, it seemed that flowers were the preferred expression of love between the women in our family, and in my perspective it was by Grannie’s leadership that it became that way.  When a holiday arrived, flowers were given.  And Mother’s Day was a full bouquet of love.  I remember the joy Norma Jean would have over surprising Grannie with an heirloom rose bush or some other coveted bloom.  It seemed there was a rhythm to their exchanges, a time proven love for each other through these flowers.  Sadly, I left home and didn’t grow into that role with them, but I remember it.  And I’ve tried to resurrect it in my own family.  I have hydrangeas my girls gave me for Mother’s Day a few years back adorning the back side of my house like they did Grannie’s.  And maybe this year I’ll get those Knock Out Rose bushes I asked for for under the dining room windowsill.  But one thing’s for sure.  Every time I look at the flowers in my yard, I remember the love between the women I came from.  And I will give thanks for the love they gave to me. 

Happy Mother’s day y’all.
I hope the day blooms lots of love for you, too!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Batcat to the Rescue!

I've been kinda absent in the past few months...absent from blogging but present everywhere else, it seems.  And in that absence I posted a few incidents on social networking sights that a few folks have requested again.  So, I'll try to post them here in the next few days/weeks just for fun and for getting back in the swing of things.  Enjoy!  :D

From February 17th...

For all my grumbling about Chali2Na and his consistent begging for me to let him outside throughout most days, I’m very thankful this morning for his persistence. From the first time I brought him home with me, he’s been extremely aware of our property…he tells me things…things like when a package arrives on the porch and the delivery man doesn't knock or ring the bell. (That one freaked me out the first time it happened.) He also lets me know when my little one doesn't get off the bus. I usually have to calm him down on that one.

But this morning? The little buggar would NOT give in. I had already fed him, there are no bus schedules or deliveries on Sunday mornings, and it’s too cold for him to go outside...I’d already tried pushing him out four times! But what to do when he won’t give up and keeps meowing and pressing his little clawwed-paws against me to get my attention? Okay already! Ack!

So I go to let him outside, again! But what does my little rescuer take me to? A fire in the kitchen! Yep. Earlier, I had turned on the front burner of the black glass-top stove to heat a pot of water, placed the water on the back burner and didn't notice the dark green oven mitt sitting on the front burner that I had turned on. Gads! And there it was right in front of me, up in flames! Mr. Chali2Na sat smug in the middle of the room waiting for me to jump to it.

Oh the smell was awful! Bleck! Of course, I quickly put the fire out (thanking Norma Jean for teaching me these skills as a child). And then Chali decided it wasn’t too cold to go outside afterall. Buggar!

Strangely, the rest of the family slept through the entire episode…..I was soooo tempted to yell FIRE! and wake 'em all up! Hahaha….imagine the mayhem….hahaha! Nah, I decided on another quiet cup of coffee instead.  See? Sometimes I keep my circus to myself! :D

How 'bout you?  Ever been rescued by a rescue cat?  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Under the Influence of Love

I’m on my way home from a little hiatus in the clouds brought on by a dance that the local dentist initiated.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s a keeper, the dentist.  But, whoa doggies!  Did that little spin around the chair ever cause me some down time! 

So what’s a girl to do when she’s left drug-dizzy and immobile for two weeks?  She’s left to take a little help from her friends, yesiree.  So I took a nudge from all my TV lovin’ friends and set out to watch some shows from the past few years.  Why?  Because I think the last time I watched TV as a form of entertainment (and not for the weather ripping through town) was about the time I had my first kid.  I just haven’t had a minute to spare for such things since then.  So I aimed to catch up a little and see what I’ve missed.  I didn’t get very far.  Once I caught up with the latest episodes of Eureka on Netflix with the mini-Nerdette, the next place I landed was where I stayed. 

It’s a little place in Kentucky where there’s a bad-ass Deputy US Marshall named Raylan Givens.  I think I fell in love with him on the spot.  Now Netflix can’t exchange DVDs with me fast enough.  I’m a TV addict.  Yes I am.  And I've got forty two episodes to go. 

So what do you do when someone says, "Relax.  This won't hurt a bit."?  Ever fall in love while under the influence?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

T’ain’t No Gifting Going On

Every once in a while I get surprised with a gift.  You know the ones…I’m in the middle of sticking a meatloaf in the oven when the doorbell rings and the delivery guy from the florist is running from my house after having left a gorgeous bouquet on the porch.  Or I show up for lunch with a friend and she has a little somethin’ somethin’ waiting at my place.  We all love a little extra special love, right?  I know I do.

But here’s the thing.  Every time this happens, I can’t help but look at myself and think, “Wow, Lesia!  When’s the last time you gifted anyone?”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a selfish sort.  For instance, Christmas gifting is one of my favorite things to do.  But random gifting?  It never ever occurs to me!  It’s like it’s just not in my wiring or something.  Birthdays?  Uh….hmm.  You have one, right?  Of course you do!  Will I think of it?  Not unless there’s a timer in my phone to alert me.  That’s just sad, right?  Okay, so I even forget my own wedding anniversary.  There!  It’s that bad!  And….I’m truly embarrassed to say….I do have gifts for my sisters somewhere around here.  I just never think to get them in the mail.  That’s serious, right?

Now self-ruminating made me wonder….what makes a gifter gift?  And this landed me on a book by Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages.  Fascinating stuff in that series, but it did present an answer I could wrap my thoughts around.  Gifters gift because that’s how they show they love you.  Huh!  Who knew? 

So what are the other love languages you ask?  According to Mr. Chapman they are:  Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Touch.  While I’m not exactly sure what my language is, I know for certain it t’ain’t no gifitn’ thang!  (Okay, so maybe it has something to do with words….I’ve truly missed writing for y’all on a regular basis!)

How ‘bout you?  I’m curious…do you gift or do you ruminate?  :D

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Mix-It-Up Under the Tree

The time has come where the Southern Girls of Okay Listen Here are mostly published and moving in various directions, multitasking like no other time before.  It’s been an incredible journey together, learning and growing, laughing and thrilling together in the written word.  Being the newest voice under the tree, I had to go back and look at what all has happened over the years.  And le’me tellya, Cher!  What wonderful times have been had underneath this tree!  Stories of Precious Angel and Oldest Friend, Book Reviews and talk of cereal, fabulous Friday Recipes, tales of the High Seas and Pirates and Gators, and Barn Tales and Ghost Stories, too!  And then along came my voice of wacky to throw into the mix this past year.  We’ve laughed a lot and made new friends along the way.  Yes.  It has been wonderful!  

But now with Alicia Hunter Pace (aka Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones) and Katherine Bone published and touring other blogs and manning websites and such…not to mention writing more stories to entertain us all… well, it’s time to heed the changing season and mix it up a bit here on the bench.  

Starting this week, we’re going to post blogs on a need basis rather than every day of the week, Monday thru Friday.  In other words, when we need to step under the tree and say something (of great importance, no doubt!), we’ll blog and let you know by way of our usual social groups, Facebook and such.  We don’t want you to miss one beat of what’s going on with us in the world, be it publishing or our day-to-day happenings. 

So followers, thank you for reading our words, encouraging us, laughing together with us and supporting us on our journey into the world of books.  We are each so very thankful for your support and interaction.  Watch and be ready though!  I know there will be more stories to share very soon!  In the meantime, please find Alicia Pace Hunter and Katherine Bone at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Crimson Romance  You are just going to LOVE their books!   And if you want to help, “Like” their titles at such places as Amazon, Goodreads, and Pinterest to spread the word.  Shout it out and let the world know there are a few Southern writers new to the publishing world having their say!    

Happy reading, y’all!  See you soon, right here under the tulip tree…..

Monday, December 3, 2012


I have not had much trouble balancing my responsibilities in years—until lately. Every writer works, waits, and prays that one day she will be able to say, "I'm on deadline." But it's a double edged sword. It means that finally, finally someone has bought your book on proposal, but you have signed a contract promising to have that book finished by a certain time.

Stephanie and I are there. That certain time is January 1. I have been terrified that we won't get done. And what would happen? Well, surely our editor would call all the other editors in the known world and say, "Jean and Stephanie, writing as Alicia Hunter Pace, did not get done. Put them on THE LIST." And everyone knows what the THE LIST is. It's the roster of people who never get to publish another book. Not only that, they have had their computers, legal pads, pens, and that old dusty Smith-Corona typewriter in the attic taken away. No more writing. And that is worse than no more publishing.

So all I did was write, worry, and fret because my house was dirty and I needed to do some things to begin to get ready for Christmas. Then I realized I was doing more worrying and fretting (which is the same thing in my internal dictionary, no matter what Daniel Webster thought) than I was writing.

I don't function well when my house is not in order. It messes with me. I can't help it.

It was time to call on my old friend Logic. I got out that handy dandy plot chart that Stephanie insisted that we make. I figured out we lacked four scenes—two pretty long, one medium, and one short. They would all have a lot of dialogue because that's how we roll. Add on a little epilogue and done. Though we are not tied to a word count, I reckoned we lacked about 9 thousand words.

I have never been one to look at how many words I write in a day. Lots of writers do. They even have goals. I don't know why I don't care about that. I just write and hope for the best. But now I wondered.

So I did a little figuring. On a good unrushed day, I can write 2000-2500 words. That's after I edit the previous days writing, which I always, always do.

I finally faced what Stephanie had been trying to tell me all along: We were not in trouble. So, last Friday, I did not write. I cleaned my house, went to lunch with Oldest Friend, conned Oldest Friend into helping me finish decorating the front of my house for Christmas. That night, I took my niece to eat at Red Robin and to see Breaking Dawn. Over the weekend, The Guy and I got a tree, set it up, and got boxes out of the attic. We went to church, to lunch, a party, and played D&D. Most important, we watched our team win the SEC Championship. (Roll Tide and National Championship, here we come!)

And all the while—well maybe not during that intense game—, I played in my head what I would write today. I am ready to roll. It's going to be a great writing day.

Did you have to learn balance or does it come natural?