Knots in My Bangs

I have bangs (at 53, I've found that bangs are cheaper than botox ). Today, I was strapped to a parachute and dragged by a boat, the wind lifting me 800 feet into the air. I swayed and rocked and grinned like an idiot as the breeze whipped around me (and tangled my hair into knots more intricate than those tied by Navy Seals).

Yeah, that's me. Over there on the right. I'm parasailing!

The views of Ocean City, Maryland were spectacular. I could see for miles and miles. What I noticed when I was high in the sky was the silence. Huge dark patches blotched the blue-green bay and I realized those were shadows cast by the puffy clouds. Zipping jet skis left white wakes far below me, and fishing boats rocked on the choppy water. I was amazed how peaceful I felt floating up near the fat, scudding clouds.

After I was safely back on the boat, I was told that the 15-mile-per-hour winds had offered me "the wild ride" (those are the best kind, right?). On calmer days, the ride is much smoother. They won't allow people to parasail if the winds blow at 20 MPH. I felt absolutely fearless. I'd conquered the wild winds!

I'd like to thank the OC Parasailing crew who made this experience absolutely amazing. I'd do it again in an OC minute!

And the knots in my bangs? This fabulous adventure was well worth a little tugging and pulling with my hairbrush.
Here's me at 800 ft:

And finally, here's a short video of me, dipping my toes in the water.

Enjoying Nature and I'm on the Radio

I took a break from editing my latest romance novel to let Roo (my Australian cattle dog mix) run around the backyard for a bit. She spotted a beautiful cardinal sitting on the fence and dodged toward it. Of course, the bird flew to the safety of tree branch. But then Ms Cardinal started chirping angrily and popped her head out of the leaves to stare down at Roo as if to say, "Who do you think you are?"

Then two dragonflies lit on the rocks around my flower bed, and a third (huge!) swooped past so fast I could barely see it.

I love that I'm able to spend time out in nature just by stepping out my back door.

Okay. Back to work.

~  ~  ~

Elaine Raco Chase, host of Authors Corner Review, 
will be interviewing me tonight (May 24th) on
The show starts at 8:05 PM (eastern standard time). 
Click the link above, and scroll down to Authors Corner Review to listen.
Feel free to call in with your questions. Elaine will provide the call-in
number once the show starts. I'll be giving away some books!
See you there!

Authors Are People Too

I was interviewed by Lauren Royal, owner of 
a blog that focuses on authors' lives 
outside the realm of writing. 
Very refreshing!

Mother's Day Afterthoughts

Norma Jean
This blog post is about my 2 mothers. Yes, I was blessed to have two. The first one, Norma Jean, gave birth to me and raised me to the age of 13. Then she was gone--tragically and suddenly--and I was left broken-hearted.

My second mother was Doris Lillian. She came into my life when I was 15. We struggled for a few years (oh, boy, did we struggle!), but we finally found that mother-daughter love. I will be forever grateful to Doris for mothering me when I was so unlovable.

But these afterthoughts aren't about sadness. They're about happy memories and gratitude. That's what Mother's Day is all about.

Mother (left) with her sisters

So I want to remember these amazing women.

Norma Jean was a wonder woman! She could do anything. She was creative, artistic, musically gifted, intelligent, and beautiful. I have often thought she was been born in the wrong century. If she'd had the nurturing and encouragement women receive today, she'd have ruled the world! 

Doris Lillian - my second mom

Doris Lillian was quiet, unassuming, and also beautiful. She was one of the strongest women I have ever met in my life. She succeeded in convincing my father to stop drinking, and that amazing feat changed him into someone I could love. But above all else, I will love Doris for the way she loved my children. My heart always melted when I saw her interacting with my boys. She made my children feel as if they were her treasure, and for that I will always be grateful!

Can you sum up in a few sentences why your mother is (or was) special? 

Gift Suggestion for Mother's Day

Don't forget your mom this Mother's Day, which is celebrated here in the US this coming Sunday, May 13th!

If your mom is a big reader (like me!), I'd like to suggest you splurge and buy her a Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-Touch Display with WiFi. I have one, and I love it! Not only do I use it to read, read, read, but I also use it to watch television shows and movies using the Netflix app I downloaded.

There are hundreds - no, thousands - of free ebooks she can download and enjoy. One of them is a Mother's Day anthology called Memories of Mom. Download it today! (And don't forget all those Donna Fasano romance novels that will surely offer your mom hours and hours of reading pleasure! Heh-heh!)

So don't forget your mom this Sunday! She brought you into this world, she powered your butt and warmed your strained peas. She also hauled you around to all those soccer games. She deserves some recognition.

Almost Heaven

Last week, I took my 75-year-old aunt to visit the town where she and my father were raised. This is the first trip we've made there since my father died, so it was an emotional journey for me. Hinton, WV is a quaint, old-fashioned town that sits on the far side of Sandstone Mountain. On our way down the curvy mountain road, we saw the house that's listed in the Guinness Book World Records for being passed the most times by the same road. It's a good thing my stomach was empty or I might have gotten a bit queasy.

Brick street in Hinton
We drove past the old family home, now in sad shape with its boarded up windows, peeling paint, and sagging eaves. I sat on that squeaky porch swing many a night when I was a young girl, snuggled up next to my grandfather as he puffed on a Camel cigarette and we listened to the crickets chirrup. I remember that the stars were profuse and seemed to glitter like bright diamonds against the black satin nights in Hinton. The days were long and lazy, and I would often be gifted with a quarter and allowed to walk beside the brick streets into town to spend my money at the local Five 'N Dime. I would return with a small treasure, a new yo-yo or a set of jacks or a sparkly bauble of some sort. My grandmother loved petunias and her flower boxes overflowed with colorful blooms, their heady aroma wafting in the dense summer heat.

Dairy Queen lunch...yum!
No trip to Hinton would have been complete without a stop at local Dairy Queen for lunch. Now, hot dogs are normally not on my favorite-foods list, but these mouth-watering bites of pure deliciousness are too delectable to pass up. They're smothered in onions, mustard, cole slaw, and chili. And the buns are fresh and soft, buttered and toasted on the outside. I'm salivating as I type this. The French fries are crispy, salty and hot; the fountain 'co-cola' is syrupy sweet and fizzy.  I don't want to think about the number of calories I consumed, or the saturated fat that now clogs my veins. All I can say was all worth it!

The New River
Hinton sits on the New River, a beautiful, wide ribbon of water that gurgles and churns on its swift flow toward Bluestone Dam where the river is impounded and forms Bluestone Lake. My family had yearly picnics in the park that surrounds the lake. I can still taste my grandmother's succulent fried chicken and my mother's potato salad and buttery fried green apples. Grandmother would make a tasty jello cake for desert, or we would stop off at the Dairy Queen on the way home for a frosty, chocolate-dipped ice cream cone. (As you can probably tell, food was--and still is--an important part of my life.)

We visited with my cousin, Lynda, who lives in lush, gorgeous Greenbrier County in the tiny hamlet of Quinwood, population 458. (In all honesty, I don't know the true population count, but Quinwood IS very tiny.) Lynda lives at the top of a mountain, and she and her husband, Dennis, are surrounded by green trees, cool breezes, and friendly neighbors.

We made our annual pilgrimage to Clifton Forge, VA. That's where my grandmother lived as a young girl, and that's where the Montgomery Family cemetery plot is located. The cemetery is peaceful and is surrounded by picturesque mountains on all sides. Great-granddaddy and Great-grandmother Moss are there along with Granddaddy and Grandmother Montgomery. My uncles, an aunt, and several cousins are also there.

Clifton Forge sort of hangs on the side of a mountain, and as we drove through town, my aunt told us a story about one snowy winter when my grandmother rode her sled down a steep street, and being unable to stop, found herself flying right up the courthouse steps.

Shenandoah Valley

On our way home, we drove through the Shenandoah Valley. I was struck silent by the beauty of the countryside. There is something awe-inspiring about seeing the stark rock-faced cliffs juxtaposed against the rolling green lushness that simply takes your breath away.

This area of the country truly is Almost Heaven.

Wanda Redovian

I'd like to dedicate this blog post in loving memory of my cousin, Wanda, who recently went to be with the Lord. There is nothing 'almost' about the Heaven where she now resides with her mother and father, her sister and brothers. Wanda, I love you and miss your beautiful smile, your sharp wit and quick laughter, and your vibrant Light. Until we meet again...