Real-Life Inspiration for My Books Contest #1

As you know, I draw from my real life for soooo many scenes, people and tidbits in my stories.  And although many of you may have heard this story before, I’m going to tell it again, and then see if you can guess which tidbit this real-life event inspired for one of my books.

IMG_0108Way back in 1995 (before most of you were born…just kidding), it was a lovely July afternoon and our little family was enjoying a nice visit with some of my cousins.  We were down at my Mom and Dad’s place in the North Valley in Albuquerque…just chit-chatting away.  (Here we are on that very eventful day-at right-Kevin, Mitch, Me, Trent, Sandy and my cousin, Brice).

Brice’s parents (my Uncle Russell and Aunt Linda), and Brice’s little nephew were visiting from Colorado and we were all having a wonderful time just talking and laughing together.  Mitch was 5 years old, and Brice’s little nephew was perhaps two or three years older than that, and he and Mitch were playing out in my parents’ backyard.

At this point, I must give you this little piece of information:  That being that my mother is truly a saint!  And that she never, ever, ever raised her voice to any of my kids, and simply spoiled them rotten with love and fun adventure.

That’s why, when I suddenly heard my Mom rather screeching with a sort of panicked intonation, “Mitchel Lee!  You get in that house right now and scrub your hands with hot soap and water!” I was astonished!  (And she really did say, “hot soap and water,” not “hot water and soap,” which further testifies of her sense of panic!)

Immediately everyone raced out onto the back porch just as my mom hauled Mitch into the kitchen, lifting him up to the kitchen sink and beginning to wash his little hands.

In the interest of time, I’ll just skip to the chase:  Mitch and Brice’s little nephew had been adventuring around in an old shed on one corner of my parents’ property.  Inside the dilapidated old shed that was beautifully swathed in honeysuckle, over near an old wooden piano crate, the boys had found…the carcass of an old, dried-out-to-mummification cat!  AND Mitch had thought it was an old toy and carried it up onto the back porch to show my everyone!

Now, once my mom had disinfected Mitch’s hands, she went back outside to investigate the find…and was naturally uber-intrigued by it!  Believe me, a mummified cat was/is right up both mine and my mom’s alleys!  It was a fascinating thing, in truth…and of course my mom made sure to slather Mitch with praise for finding such a treasure, as she both apologized and explained why she had been so freaked out when he’d first offered it to her. So it ended up being a way fun find for him after all…and for my mom, too!

IMG_0107This is a photo I took of the cat once my dad had scooped it up with a pitchfork.  It’s not anywhere near a true vision of how incredibly interesting the old gal really was…but it gives you an idea.  Furthermore, I would’ve initially freaked out at least as completely as my mom did  if my five-year-old son had handed it to me instead of to her!  But it was pretty darn awesome, and many years later, it DID inspire me to incorporate something into one of my books…a similar experience by a few of my characters.

Do you know which “something” and scene it inspired and in which book?  Well, if you do, or even if you have a good guess, just leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads or via e-mail at marcialmcclure@cs.com and you’ll be automatically entered in my contest this week!

But before I let you know what the prize/prizes will be for this week’s blog contest, however, I better let the winners of my last blog contest know that they are winners!

I loved everyone’s posts, so it was way hard for me to choose!  But for some reason, “Misti Dawn’s” and “Nichelle’s” post popped out to me today!  Therefore, Misti and Nichelle, if’ you’ll please e-mail me your snail-mail addresses at marcialmcclure@cs.com, I can get your copies of Our Tree Named Steve shipped of to you, okay?  Thank you EVERYONE for your name stories!  I LOVE each and every one of them!

surprise book coverAs for this blog’s prize/prizes…I’ll be giving away 2 hardcover copies (1 to each of 2 winners) of the book that includes the “something” that was inspired by the mummified cat my son Mitch found in 1995!  What’s so great about that?  Well, for one thing, this book has never been in hardcover before, AND for another, it has a GORGEOUS new cover to boot (which will premier Monday)!  (There are some hints in there about which book it is, if you haven’t already guessed!)  Thus, this particular blog contest will end Sunday night…so don’t delay in leaving your entry comment!  Your chances of winning are VERY high…being that my last blog only had a total of 18 comments…so don’t despair, and go ahead and guess, okay?  You don’t even have to guess correctly to win!  Ha ha ha!  So, see you in a few days to announce the winners…and here’s hoping you enjoyed this little tidbit about a real-life incident being stranger than fiction!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 33 Comments

Name history! I LOVE it!

So, I was in Sam’s Club the other say, and I bumped into some old friends of mine…Eileen and Doug.  Now when I say they’re old friends of mine…I mean we go waaaaay back!  I’ve actually known Doug since I was a toddler (maybe even a brand new baby, but I can’t remember that far back), and I’ve known Eileen since we were teenagers…before they were ever married…so it was fun to bump into them in Sam’s Club, you know?

Well, as we were standing in the aisle, Eileen (in her very excited, bright, beautiful, blue, wide-eyed, with super long eyelashes way, announced that she and Doug will soon be grandparents!  Awesome, right?!?!  Anyway, as Eileen and I are jabbering away like Chip ‘n’ Dale about the wonderfulnesses of being Grandmas, I glanced over to see Doug gazing off into space.  He had a smile on his face and it was obvious he was reminiscing about something.

So, I asked, “What are you thinking about, Doug?”

He smiled and said, “When my parents brought Tim home as a baby, Randy and I wanted to name him, Lassie.”

(I’ll pause for some background:  Tim is Doug’s little brother and also the member of Doug’s family that I knew best growing up.  He was the “hot guy” when I was a teenager and had a fabulous sense of humor!  Randy was the brother between Doug and Tim, and he passed away oh, so many years ago…Leukemia, I think…and I still remember how heartbreaking his loss was for everyone who knew him…especially his family…especially Doug.)

But back to the story:  So Doug says, “When my parents brought Tim home, Randy and I wanted to name him, Lassie.”

“How cute is that?!” I responded.

Doug then said, “My parents suggested, ‘How about we name him Timmy, instead?'”

Lassie and TimmyI again made some sappy, yet sincere, exclamation about how I loved that cute story!  I mean, what awesome parents…to let their sons name their little brother, Timmy, after Lassie’s best friend!

The three of us enjoyed a few more moments of pleasant conversation, and we parted ways.  But even though my visit with Doug and Eileen was brief, it stuck with me all day long…and for several reasons:

One reason was that I was just so delighted by the story behind Tim’s name that I giggled and smiled off and on all day about it!

Another reason was because it made me start thinking about how I got my own name, and how Kevin and I decided on the names for our three kids…as well as how our kids have chosen the names for their kids!  I LOVE name history!  I find it fascinating!

In truth, however, the biggest reason Doug’s story about how Tim (almost known as, Lassie) got his name stuck with me, was because of the expression of far off memory and love for his bothers that was on Doug’s face and reflected in his eyes when I glanced to him to see him slightly grinning as he reminisced.  I won’t go into my feelings on the matter…because I’ll start bawling if I think about Doug’s family and their loss of Randy AND Doug’s littlest brother, Sammy, some years later.  Therefore, I’ll just focus on the first two reasons I mentioned the brief, but fun, reunion with Doug and Eileen…NAME HISTORY!!!!

I just LOVE to hear how people got their names!  I read a Facebook post once where a lady was going off at people for naming their daughters Elsa after Frozen hit so big.  I couldn’t believe how critical she was about it, and kept thinking, “What’s the big deal?”  Needless to say, I nearly busted a gut when I read one of the comments:  “We named our son, Scott…because it was the name on the paper towels in the bathroom in the hospital when he was born.”  Excellent!  Ha ha!  I LOVE that!

Anyway, just for fun, I’ll share a couple of Name History things with you:

My name:  My mom wanted to name me Sabra…but my Dad won out, and this is what he wrote to me last week about my name:  “Marcia Shradle…she is the daughter of  a Milking Shorthorn breeder who is long gone now…She sent you a book when you were little. Your mother and I liked the name. Lynn is a name we both liked so both of you girls have the middle name.”

Kindess book inscriptionAnd it’s true!  Marcia (MAR-see-uh, or as I pronounce it, Mar-SEE-uh) DID give me a book…Kindness is a Lot of Things.  It’s a beautiful little book that I treasure to this day!  I can still hear my Mom reading it to me when I was little, little, little…and I really DO think it helped shape who I became…how I think about others and how I value kindness.  I just love this little book, and I don’t think it kindness book pagewas until just a few years ago that I connected the book with the woman who shares my name!  I mean, how cute are the illustrations?  ADORABLE!!!  And the message is priceless, timeless, and I wish every child could’ve grown up with this book and its, simple, but profound message!  I’ve always been thankful for Marcia Shradle for giving me this beautiful book!  I mean, really…how truly kind, right?  Like it could be a page in the book…“Kindness is giving a little baby girl a book that she will love her entire life.”

As far as my middle name, Lynn…boy, oh, boy was it popular in 1965 (even earlier and later)!  Not only is my sister’s middle name, Lynn, as well…but two of my bridesmaids and very best IMG_0001 (7) - CopyBFFs to this day have the same middle name:  Alphabetically by first name, Amy Lynn and Bobbie Lynn!  So actually, in this snapshot from my wedding reception, 4 of the 5 of us share the middle name, Lynn!  AND my BFF Sandy, actually has a daughter with the same middle name, but spelled just a little differently.  My sister-in-law has the middle name, Lynn…Kristi Lynn!  My dear friend, Sheri, is Sheri Lynn!  And the list goes on!

Anyway, that’s the story of my name.  As for my kids’ names:

Marcia and Sandy 1988My daughter, Sandy Ann:  Sandy-named after my BFF (and bridesmaid), Sandy!  Ann-I hadn’t read Anne of Green Gables yet when she was born, or she would’ve had an  “e” on the end of “Ann”…but Kevin just popped out “Ann” on a whim and we loved it!  Everyone called her “Sandy Ann” for years, too!  But as she grew up, and we moved to the Pacific Northwest, it became shortened to, Sandy.  (Although her Aunt Kim still calls her, Sandy Ann, sometimes and I love it!)

Mitch Gaylord

 

 

My oldest son, Mitchel Lee:  Mitchel-Kevin and I were married the year Mitch Gaylord was part of the Olympics Men’s Gymnastics Team in 1984.  Then we saw him in a totally rad 80s movie entitled, American Anthem, and decided we liked the name, Mitchel or Mitch.  We spelled it with only one “l” at the end because his middle name is “Lee” and we thought three “l”s in a row looked weird when it was written out (not that he ever has written his full name, Mitchel Lee Meyers very often throughout his life, but still).  His middle name, Lee, is after…you got it, Robert E. Lee…a little family history thrown in because of Kevin’s southern birthplace and upbringing!

Trent Dimas1

 

My youngest son, Trent Adair:  Trent-The first few months we were married, I worked for a dentist as a receptionist.  One of our patients was a boy named, Trent Dimas. (He had really nice teeth!)  Ten years later, Trent Dimas won an Olympic Gold Medal on the high bar in men’s gymnastics.  Thus, Kevin suggested we name our second son after an Olympic medalist like we had our first (and I even KNEW this one)…and we both loved the name, Trent!  Adair was my contribution…being an ancestral name in my family…Sarah Ann Adair, Sarah Ann Adairmy maternal 3-greats grandmother, who was a baby when her mother was trudging along the gruesome Cherokee Trail of Tears.  So Trent’s middle name is very meaningful to my own family history.

Okay, I could go on and on and on about name history…but I know this blog is already 853 times longer than most blogs…so I’ll get to the contest stuff now!  FUN!

First, my last blog contest for the Georgette Heyer books had 5 winners (3 books each) and it was STILL hard for me to choose the winners!  Ugh!  Here are the 5 winners:  Jennifer H., Darlene W., Alysa L., Karen C., and Kelsie N.  I e-mailed all you winners and most of you have books on the way, but I haven’t received Kelsie N.’s shipping address yet…so if you’re out there, Kelsie N….e-mail me at marcialmcclure@cs.com so I can get your books shipped off to you, okay?

Our TreeAs for this week’s contest…yep!  You guessed it!  Post a comment here (preferably), or on Facebook, Goodreads or via e-mail at marcialmcclure@cs.com telling me the story of how you came to own YOUR name!  If you don’t have a story, make one up (and be sure to tell me you’re making it up)!  Either way, I’ll choose 2 winners next time I blog, to receive copies of this darling little children’s book I recently discovered:  Our Tree Named Steve!  It’s adorable!  A little bittersweet, but adorable!!!!  And I love the way the tree got his name, Steve!

Comment away, because I can’t wait to hear your name histories!  ESPECIALLY if you’re named after paper towels in the hospital bathroom or something!

 

 

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 16 Comments

15 FREE Georgette Heyer Romance Novels!!!!!

So, last week I pretty much bombed blogging!  I think my blog was so long and blah blah blahing, that most people just read the first part (depressing to anyone who didn’t read the pick-me-up part afterward).  My sweet, darling angel-friend, Jan, even sent me a bouquet of flowers!…Which I, admittedly, loved!…but felt badly about, too, because Jan just had terrible foot surgery!  And there she was, convalescing in pain, while sending ME flowers!

So let’s just chalk last week up to a dud, and move on…shall we?

011So, here’s the deal…Kevin and I have been renting a storage unit for the past 7 years.  It was a necessity at first, because we did downsize from a larger house (thank heaven!), and because I am a sentimental fool who loves nostalgia and has a hard time letting go of “treasure.”  Anyway, once our first two kids and their families bought their first homes, we were able to dish off a TON of stuff to them.  That took the contents of the storage unit way, way down…but we still had too much stuff to fit in one garage.  We have a three car garage, and Kevin has generously allowed be to store my “treasure” and seasonal/holiday decorating things in one.  The other two garages he likes to use to park our cars in so they don’t get beaten up by the weather or stolen.  (It’s a weird hangup he has or something, ha ha!)

IMG_9422Anyway, as our youngest son (there he is to the left) prepares to get married (to Karli who is with him in the photo) and have his own house, Kevin and I began to really rethink the need for a storage unit at all.  I’ve managed to compact most of my treasures and decorating necessities (even fabric for quilting and stuff) into our garages and still have room for the cars.  And then, holy smokes!  This happened…

One day Kevin and I were talking about things we pay for that we really don’t need at all anymore, but are just in the habit of paying for, right?  And we added up how much we’ve paid on that storage unit over the past 7 years…i.e. $95 dollars a month, times 12 months in a year, equals a whopping (and nauseating) $7980!  I nearly launched my lunch and so did Kevin!  There were other things that gave us nausea…such as the fact that we NEVER watch our Satellite TV, except during football season.  So, in other words, there are about 7 months out of the year that we’re handing out $104 for Satellite TV when we don’t even watch it anymore!  That equated $728 dollars a year, and $2912 in the past four years since we’ve been semi-empty nester’s with no kids at home!  Sickening, right?

IMG_4156Well, this made me decide that enough was enough!  Even though I’ve been trying to sort through and discard things that really aren’t treasure anyway, I don’t have a lot of free time and the job is overwhelming!  I mean, I have soooo many plastic tubs full of stuff…just sitting in storage!  There are even a few plastic tubs that we moved from Rio Rancho, NM to Ferndale, WA in 1997, that then moved with us from Ferndale, WA to Monument, CO in 2005, and then from Monument, CO back to Rio Ranch, NM in 2009 that have NEVER been sorted!  For instance, Tuesday I even opened a tub/bin, that hadn’t been opened since about 1990!  It had untouched, Mardi Gras throw in it from 1990!!!  (Here’s a photo of Kevin and our grandson as our grandson was playing with about 1/20th of the beads/necklaces from the Mardi Gras throw we’ve drug around for like 26 years!  I think my grandson’s expression proves he must’ve been channeling my disbelief at still having this throw!  P.S. I kept the Mardi Gras throw, because…well, the grandkids will like it now!  But I did get rid of all the other New Orleans souvenirs that were with it in that bin…by giving them to my mother and father-in-law!)  Furthermore, you know how it is…whenever you move, there are always those boxes or plastic storage tubs that you just throw all “the rest” of the stuff you don’t have time to deal with in, right? So I have tubs and tubs (or bins and bins) full of…well, I’m just gonna say it, crapola!

Now, as I said, I had been slowly sorting there storage tubs here and there and consolidating treasures and tossing things that weren’t treasures over the past couple of years.  But that number that we figured out…that $7980 to a storage unit just really lit a fire under me, you know?

georgette heyer(Oh, no!  I’m babbling again!)

Anyway, I’ll just skip to the chase and telegraph you this:  Found multiple storage bins full of books (Stop)!  I don’t read other authors anymore (Sad-Face, Stop) No time to read (Stop)!  Found a storage bin with 15 brand-new, never been read, copies of Georgette Heyer Regency Romance Novels (Stop)!  Will ship 3 Georgette Heyer novels (titles picked at random by me-though you CAN request a certain title, but keep in mind it will go to whomever requests said title first if they win) to FIVE lucky winner friends who leave comments on this blog before I blog again. (Stop)

the black mothThat’s right!  15 Georgette Heyer (the author who basically created the English Regency Romance Novel beginning in 1921 with The Black Moth when she was just 19 years old), are up for grabs as part of my, “I have too much stuff, and am sick of paying for a storage unit,” plan to release myself from the bondage of worrying over what to do with all this…um…treasure!  Ha ha ha!

So leave a comment on my blog here, on Goodreads, or Facebook, and I’ll choose 5 winners sometime next week!  BUT before you leave a comment, I do have to tell you that, as far as my blog contest is concerned, I’m finding that I love your comments so much, that I chose the last two winners by how touched/moved/amused or whatever, I was when I read their comments!  So from here on, for my blog contests, I will choose winners the same way I play the game Apples to Apples…meaning I’ll choose the comments that I like best…not necessarily the one that is the best answer.  Does that make sense?  That does NOT mean I want you to TRY and touch/move/amuse me!  I don’t like that…just write whatever comes to your mind…the first thing you think of as your comment on my blog today, okay?

As for last week’s blog contest winner:  It was Anna, who sent me this joke as part of her comment:  So these two cannibals were eating a clown, and one says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”

Ah ha ha ha ha!  Thanks, Anna!

In conclusion (makes me feel like an English Lit. teacher whenever I say that), leave a comment for me about anything mentioned in my blog today, and you’ll be entered to win 3 of my 15 extra Georgette Heyer novels!  I’ll announce the winners next week on a new blog.

Meanwhile, thanks for helping me sift through the treasure in my storage unit!  $7980-UGH!!!!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 36 Comments

“Nothing Says Monday Like Cat Barf in the Hallway.”

(Okay…it’s midnight, and I’ve decided to go back to this blog and stick in a little preface at the beginning!  All day I’ve been getting messages and e-mails of reassurance and encouragement!  And believe me, they are appreciated!  But, it began to occur to me that perhaps my blog today was construed as whiny…at least at the beginning of it, and then so long-winded thereafter, that most readers didn’t make it to the fun stuff at the end!  Otherwise, all would know that my day may have started out roughly…but was swiped up into merriment later on!  Therefore, if this blog is too long for you to trudge through…feel free to skip to the end and just enter the contest, okay?  Ha ha ha!  And I promise I’ll do a shorter, less serious blog next week!)

I’m not gonna lie to you…I’m at a difficult, stressful, worrisome, stressful, not-to-fun, stressful, out-of-shape, stressful, sometimes-wonder-if-I-can-carry-on, stressful time of life. I’m sure you probably know (or will know) what I mean. And for some reason, this past week was extra, extra bad! It could have something to do with the fact that my poor, wonderful, valiant mother is losing every memory she ever had (and not slowly). It could have something to do with the fact that my oldest son who is in Law Enforcement, is chasing bad-guy-drug-runners at 125 mph and finding meth pieces the size of bananas when he arrests somebody else. It could be that my youngest son who is also in Law Enforcement, is in the Defensive Tactics phase of his training and has to get tazed, pepper sprayed and fight off and detain a 260 lb. opponent before he can head for the hose and the Dawn dish soap to wash the pepper spray out of his eyes! It might have something to do with the fact that I want to spend more time helping my daughter get her extra bedroom/storage room all cleaned up and organized so SHE’LL have a little less stress hanging over her head! It could be that Kevin had the flu last week and he NEVER gets sick, so it always makes me feel insecure and freaked out when he is! It could be that the book business is a nightmare…it could be that the election stuff is freaking me out because I can’t believe how this country has been brought to its knees in the last 7 years! It could be because my dad is 83 years old, living out in the middle of nowhere and trying to look after my mom as she’s failing, all by himself. It could be because I’m overweight, out-of-shape and not taking care of myself. It could be because my beloved cat of 19 years had to be “put to sleep” a couple of weeks ago and first thing every morning, I still think, “I better get Jed his butter snack.” It could be because I never have time to nurture my relationships with family and close friends the way I want and need to. It could be that I’m a Type 2 diabetic and ate ¾ of a cake all by myself this weekend! It could be a combination of all these things AND a hundred more things that keeps me feeling sluggish, weighed down, and defeated.

Right now you’re probably thinking, “Wow, Marcia! What a downer! What ever happened to your goal to be a sugar sifter rather than a manure spreader?”

But, fear not! I’m still a sugar sifter! However, I did want to take some time to thank all the other sugar sifters out there…even though you might not know you’re a sugar sifter! Even if you didn’t intend to be a sugar sifter!

Let me begin this way: I used to be a lark (morning person).  The nutty kind that hops out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and hits the ground running! I loved that about myself! (And that’s saying a lot…but cause I’m pretty critical and disappointed of, and in, myself most of the time.) At heart, I still am a lark. But these past few years, so much stress and pressure has been weighing on me, that I’ve turned into one of those middle-aged woman that, first of all, can’t get to sleep. It literally was taking me 3 hours to fall asleep there for a while! And since I can’t get to sleep by 10:00 p.m. or so, I’m not waking up until 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m….and even then I have time getting out of bed. My motivation is pretty absent most days.

Keeping that in mind, and the fact that weekends stress me out worse than weekdays, I’ve gotten into a pretty bad habit of lying in bed and scrolling through Facebook. In truth, that pretty much hurts me even more because there are so many sad things, mean things, etc. on Facebook these days. I know you know what I mean.

Well, anyway, this morning as I was lying in bed attempting to find the umph to get up and get in the shower…as I was pouting about the fact we’re now on Day Light Savings time (which is GREAT for night owls, but does a heck of a job on us larks), I found I was sinking into the depths of discouragement and a lack of motivation to do anything! I mean, I finished off the cake last night! So what’s to look forward to today, right?

And then, it happened!!!!! I read a post on my Facebook Newsfeed…and it cracked me up out loud!!!! Now, understand that the post wasn’t meant to be funny. At least I don’t think it was. It was a post about something I have experienced a few times (being that I did have a cat that lived to be 19 years old), and that I also know is NOT a good thing to wake up to. But, even though I know it’s a gross thing to wake up to, the post just struck me as so perfectly perfect for a Monday morning…so perfectly something I had experienced myself…so perfectly something I know can take the wind out of your sails in an instant, that I just literally laughed out loud!

My friend Lisa Mangum’s uncomplicated, effective, and “made my day” post was simply this:

“Nothing says Welcome to Monday like cat barf in the hallway.”

Ah ha ha ha! I soooooooooooo know what that is like! I sooooooooooo LOVE the simplicity of the statement! I sooooooooooooooo know it’s gross and wasn’t a good way to start your Monday, Lisa…but you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo made my morning! You put a smile on my face when I was having a really, really difficult time smiling! You warmed my heart and perked me up and made me feel like hopping out of bed and getting something done!

And, fortunately for me, Lisa wasn’t the only Angel of Mercy in my life this morning!

As I was still grinning over Lisa’s post, I decided to read one more post on my Newsfeed before hopping up to face the day. In the past, this is, 99.9% the time, a mistake… meaning, if I read something that makes me happy on someone’s wall, sure enough it turns out to be a mistake…because it’s 99.9% of the time something angry or dressing that just deflates me all over again.

Still, because Lisa’s post had made me feel so much better, I took a risk and read one more! And it was ANOTHER post the squashed the statistic and proved to be sooooo soooo soooo ME, and sooo sooo sooo funny, and sooo sooo sooo worth reading!

The very next post on my Newsfeed was on my friend, Marie Viator’s wall, and said this:

“Tomorrow I will watch Hoarders, get grossed out, realize my house isn’t that bad and clean.”

Epic! Totally epic! I LOVED Marie’s post, as well, and felt further revitalized!

You must know that I love to watch the show, Hoarders…because the people that are featured on that show just really tug at my heartstrings. They’ve always endured some sort of horrible loss that leads them to hoarding, and I find it fascinating how the heart can literally be so broken it results in that particular compulsion.

But what you further need to know, is that I only watch Hoarders with my friend, Gina! Gina lives in an entirely different state, so we used to save up a bunch of episodes of Hoarders and have a marathon when we’d get together once a year! She’s my only friend that has the same intense interest and empathy for the people featured on the show to the same depth that I do. And even though we haven’t been able to have a Hoarders marathon for a couple of years, we did watch one together recently, via syncing our TVs and talking on our cells while watching. It was awesome and actually helped me feel like Gina was right there with me as we empathized and agonized over the episode.

And so, this is my point: No matter how low I feel, no matter how depressing and angry Facebook gets, no matter how much I think the day is going to be something I have to trudge through…there is always something either beautiful or perfectly funny that pops in to pull me up…and it’s always gifted by the sugar sifters that still roam the earth…often unknowingly sifting their sugar!

Furthermore, sifting sugar should be something that is, not only paid forward, but returned! Thus, I’m offering this small token of my appreciation to both Lisa Mangum and Marie Viator (and to anyone else who needs a little lift today): This is a link to video that I had made years and years ago in hopes of offering a little moment of levity to my friend, Sheri. I had completely forgotten that it existed, because it was only ever meant for Sheri to see. But one year, while my angel of a daughter, Sandy, was going through our old family videos, she found this video of me that she’d never seen. It cracked her up the first time she found it, and it continues to crack her up every time she watches it. It’s not really that funny, so don’t expect much. And when I did it, I didn’t realize there was more than one verse to the song, so when the other verses began, I didn’t know the words. Thus, it remains the worst lip sync I’ve ever performed. But for some reason, it makes my kids smile. In knowing that it may, or may not, make you smile, at least I’m trying to sift sugar today, right?

Now, whether or not my dorkiness of December 17th, 2001 amused you or not, it’s time for this week’s Blog Contest AND the announcement of last week’s Blog Contest Winner!

pepe le pewFirst, last week’s winner (winner of all the Pepe le Pew/Skunk stuff) is Melody/Fox Girl (who loves foxes and Disney’s Robin Hood/Fox)!  I e-mailed you, Meloday…but please e-mail your shipping address…at marcialmcclure@cs.com, and I’ll get your prizes in the mail to you!  I even added a little something extra!

And for this week’s contest…well, Lisa Mangum and Marie Viator have already won boxes of Godiva Chocolates simply for pulling me out of my funk this morning!  So girls, send me YOUR shipping addresses at marcialmcclure@cs.com and I’ll get those in the mail by the end of this week!

Godiva1Meanwhile, this week’s contest is for a box of Godiva Chocolates like the ones Lisa and Marie will recieve!  Nothing helps a girl make it through Monday (especially when cat barf and new episodes of Hoarders are involved) like chocolate, right?!?!  So leave a comment here, on my Facebook page, Goodreads, or e-mail me at marcialmcclure@cs.com and you’ll have your name put in my hat for the chance to win this box of Godiva Chocolates, okay?  Your comment can be anything at all…but I would especially love if you included something random and simple that makes/made YOU feel better at some point in your life, okay?

Now, go forth and conquer Monday, my lovie dovies!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 25 Comments

Why I Love Skunks!

So here’s the thing…I think I’ve mention to you before that one of my greatest regrets in life was not taking the time to keep a journal—not necessarily for posterity’s sake, but for my own! Even if it hadn’t been terribly detailed, I wish I would’ve jotted down just simple things—experiences, memories, thoughts. My paternal Grandmother kept journals, and they weren’t incredibly detailed. She’d mention the weather, or how many peaches she canned one day, or the birth or death of someone significant. BUT, the things she recorded tell me so much about my Grandma and her life, and I’m sure it was unimaginable to her at the time she was jotting things down, how invaluable her writings would be someday!

Therefore, with that “never kept a journal” regret fresh in my mind always…every year I manage to spend a total of about 15 minutes working on my “Personal History.” Pathetic, I know! However, one thing that has helped me jot some things down here and there, are these little “prompts” that my daughter, Sandy, gives to me every once in a while. And in trying to keep the pressure off her in feeling that she has to be responsible for getting me to jot down past memories and things, I’ve been trying to self-motivate here and there.

For instance, I came across this little thingy a while back with 200 questions to use when interviewing someone about their life. I thought it would be a good idea to interview myself when I could steal a minute or two. The idea was that I would eventually answer all 200 questions for Sandy and have a little bit of myself down on paper/computer screen.

Well, while going through the prompts the other day, I found that question #149 said, “What or Who is your favorite:”…and then had tons of sub-questions. One of the sub-questions was, “What is your favorite animal?”

I thought it would be a pretty basic, straightforward, even boring one to answer, right? And so, I began, “Cats, dogs and cows have always been my favorite ‘domesticated’ animals…but lions and skunks are my favorite non-basic animals.”

Like I said, it was an easy one to answer…IF one was to keep the answer just basic. Yet, as I typed the word “skunk”…I got to wondering why in the world I’ve always liked skunks!

Lions are soooo obviously an animal to love! In fact, I’ve often thought that when I head on up to Heaven in the next life, one of the things I can’t wait to do is to romp around with a lion.

But skunks? Even I wondered why I like skunks so much! So, I sat back for a moment and thought about it.

skunk gameThe first memory I have of any skunk thing (other than the VERY discernible odor one frequently gets a whiff of while traveling along on a rural country road…or even city road for that matter), was a game my parents had when I was little. The game was actually called, “Skunk,” and for some reason it totally intrigued me! I was way too little to play the game (I was 3 or 4 years old when I remember playing with the game pieces), but I was so delighted by the little dice that each had a skunk on them, the little plastic ‘chips’, and the score pad which also had a little skunk on it! I remembering fiddling around with our Skunk game and just loving it because of the skunks!

skunk familyStill, I wasn’t sure that just that little game would leave me with an affection for skunks, so I thought some more, and remembered something else—a little tiny, bone china set of skunks that my Auntie purchased for me on a trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs on one epic Zoo visit when I was also very small. There was a Dad skunk, a Mommy Skunk, and an itty bitty cute little baby skunk! I also had a lion family set that Auntie purchased for me on another trip, but the skunks were always my favorite and I still have them! (They look like this…and if you’re old enough, you probably had a little bone china animal family, too, at one point! They were very “the in thing” when I was growing up.)

pepe le pewHowever, I still wasn’t sure I’d hit the nail on the head yet about the magnetism skunks hold for me. And then, all at once, it struck me! BAM!!!! Ha ha! I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to remember the 3rd, and most prominent reason I like skunks—Pepe le Pew!!!!

Seriously! Pepe le Pew has ALWAYS been my favorite Looney Tunes character! He’s followed closely by Foghorn Leghorn, and Speedy Gonzales, but Pepe le Pew I LOVE! He literally makes me laugh out loud, cracks me up, totally entertains me! The reasons I love Pepe le Pew are many:

* He is soooo positive! Nothing gets him down! He’s never deterred! (Except in the one cartoon episode where the girl is chasing after him. Pepe likes to be the aggressor, so he wasn’t too thrilled when the tables were turned!)  Pepe is eternally hopeful, self-confident and patient. Love that!

* He is SUCH a romantic lover! Like when he says, “Permit me to introduce myself. I am Pepe Le Pew, your lover.” Oh, and “You are my peanut, I am your brittle!” And he likes to kiss! Gotta love a man who likes to kiss!

* And probably most of all, I LOVE his one liners! Ah ha ha ha ha! Especially when he goofs them up! Remember the one where he gets buried in the snow and pops up covered in snow and says, “I am the abdominal snowman, no?” Abdominal! Bwah ha ha ha! And “Where have I been all your life?” Ah ha ha ha! My husband, Kevin, often messes up clichés and I LOVE it! So in matters of being the perfect lover and having great one-liners, I guess Pepe le Pew led me to my one true love in a way! (Only Kevin smells delicious…unlike poor Pepe!)

And so, THAT is why I love skunks—a vintage game, little bone china Skunk family, and especially Pepe le Pew! (I love the way real baby skunks waddle around after their mama, too!  Sooo cute!)  I guess it’s just more proof that so much of what we like and who we turn out to be is built upon impressions we receive in our formative years, no?  (And as Pepe le Pew would say, “viOLA!”  I’ve answered one tiny question to add to my personal history!)  :)

pepe glass Now…here’s the deal…leave a comment here on my blog, on my Facebook wall, or send me an e-mail at marcialmcclure@cs.com, subject line “Pepe le Pew,” and tell me what YOUR favorite animal is, and why, and I’ll put your name in my hat for the chance to win a little Pepe le Pew pack for yourself! The package will include a DVD of 17 Looney Tune episodes starring Pepe le Pew, a Pepe le Pew glass tumbler, AND a set of Skunk Dice so that you can play the new version of Skunk with your pepe le pew dvdfamily! Ha ha ha!

 

skunk dice

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 56 Comments

Ahhh! Another CLASSIC Photo Bomb!

It’s true!  The last time I blogged was over a year ago (on September 23rd of 2014, to be exact)!  AND when I DID blog, it was about a vintage photo bomb!

Well, being that I “lit’rally” (as Rob Lowe’s character ALWAYS says in Parks and Recreation), get to sort through my vintage photo collection only once or twice a year, today was one of the days I chose to sit down for an hour and go through some of my 2015 acquisitions!  And lo and behold, while I was leafing through them, I came across not one, but two, wonderful photographs that I wanted to share with you.

Says on Back-Zora and Olive Bowman about the turn of century 1900, Palestine, OhioThe first is this AMAZING photo of two little girls in front of their family Christmas tree!  I’m going to assume that this was Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning, being that they appear to be enjoying new dollies and even new toy dolly buggies!  LOVE it!  Written on the the back of the card the photo is mounted on is:  “Zora and Olive Bowman at the turn of the century 1900 in Palestine, Ohio.”  How awesome is that?  Now, I know that sometimes old photographs can be frustrating because of focus issues…and that everything behind the girls and the Christmas tree in this photograph is in better focus than the girls themselves.  In fact, I’m going to have my daughter photograph this photo, because many times photographs of photos turn out better than scanner scans of photos for some reason.  Still, I do want to mention, that at the time this photograph was taken, people still had to hold completely still for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on lighting and what sort of camera was being used.  So, as fuzzy as it may seem, it’s still an unusual, very rare, historically priceless photograph, to my way of thinking!  I love it!  (P.S.  You should be able to click on all of these photos to see a larger image and more detail, okay?)

IMG_0002Now, the next photograph I came across today, is another fun one!  Sadly, this photograph has no writing at all on the back…not even a date, or the names of the wedding couple (which is true in about 99% of vintage photographs before the 1940s or so).  I LOVE this photograph so much!  It’s such a wonderful example of Edwardian EVERYTHING!  I love the ladies and their hats, the men in their suits, and ESPECIALLY the children!  The children in this photograph are simply ADORABLE and the main reason I purchased it in the first place!  I could lit’rally (again, my Parks and Recreation reference) study this photograph for hours!  I love the curly-haired toddler in the back row on the left, and the grouchy toddler a couple people to the right of the curly-haired one!  I love all the grouchy, unhappy looking little boys, and all the little girls on the front row who are obviously so excited to be involved in a wedding.  I love all the smiling faces in this photo–for smiles in photographs were still a little questionable in photographs at this time–at least in wealthy circles.

IMG_0002 - Copy (2)Still as I was studying this photograph this morning and just loving everything about it (the fashion, the kids, the headpieces on the little girls and the bride, the ivy climbing up the brick wall to the left behind the wedding party)…BAM!!!!  If you haven’t seen it before now (which I’m sure you have) look at the window top photo center!  PHOTO BOMB!  Ah ha ha ha ha ha!

IMG_0002 - CopyWhat was the guy thinking?  Was it an accident?  I think not!  For although people didn’t have to hold perfectly still for very long by the time this photo was taken, there was still a good measure of “hold still.”  Therefore, I like to believe that this guy was some kooky, eccentric old uncle or someone the like, who was just being a dork in the family wedding photo!  Ah ha ha!

Photo bombs pulled off back before there was a term for the thing, are so fun!  I hope dorky, old Uncle Ernest or whatever, made you smile today, the way he did me!  There he is…long gone for probably decades up on decades…and yet, he’s still making people smile!

 

 

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 3 Comments

A Vintage Photo Bomb I LOVE!

Okay…the other day, a friend pointed out to me that it had been a WAY long time since I had blogged.  Not that my blogs are anything profound, or even important, but she noticed… which made me feel happy!  Ha ha!  It doesn’t take much to give me a jolt of joy…and it did to know she noticed.  :)

However, as you know, I’m a terrible blogger all the way around!  My content is weird and random, and I sometimes tend to ramble on and on and on and on and on…and I’m not at all consistent.

But, I did come across something a few months back that made me smile, and that I instantly thought of sharing with you.  As ever, it’s random, and pretty pointless, but it made me smile, so maybe it will give you a grin, too.

You probably know that I’m a photo fanatic!  I won’t go into all the history and reasons as to why (the blog would be way too long!), but suffice it to say, that part of my photo fanaticism revolves around vintage photos, and has for all my life.

Therefore, you will not be surprised to find out, that I’m an avid collector of old/vintage photos…ESPECIALLY old wedding photos, old military photos, vintage sibling photos, etc.  I have learned, along the way, to be VERY selective…otherwise I’d have to buy another house to store all my photos in.

Still, even though I am very selective about which photos I actually purchase, when I saw this snapshot…I HAD to have it!  It’s not the usual kind of wedding photo I add to my collection, and even though the bride and groom are adorable and I LOVE their affectionate pose…it’s the photo bombers in the back that I fell in love with!

This photo looks to be circa mid-late 1930s, and I simply adore the display of happiness and fun by the bride and groom AND the photo bombers!  The bride and groom and their romantic pose is actually very rare for this time period when, although smiles were finally incorporated in photos, a lot of touching wasn’t.  So that made this photo special to me.

Then add those two crazy photo bombers…also appearing to be a couple…and I just smiled and smiled off and on for hours after seeing them.  Keep in mind, that the actual photo is tiny…about 2 inches by 3 inches…so the wonder of this photo could easily have been missed.  But not by yours truly…no sirree!  I LOVE it!  And I bought it!  Yep…I spent a whole $1.50 on this sucker…because someone missed it’s true value…both emotionally AND monetarily as a collectible.  Whew!  Lucky for me, right?

Anyway, just another random blog that won’t do anything to change your life.  But if you’re have a rough day today, hopefully this little treasure in my collection will make you grin a bit and remember the fun, photo-bombing or just-being-happy-and-silly times in your own life story.  :)

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 5 Comments

Unexpected Treasure-My FAVORITE! (And who won the bacon!)

So, as you may or may not know, I’m a deltiologist (one who collects and studies postcards)…my specialty being postcards of the ephemeral nature…antique postcards of the Edwardian era (1901-1920 officially…but extending through 1918).

Blah blah blah…let me get to the point…that being, as a deltiologist I have learned that one must be selective in which postcards to keep and which ones to sacrifice for the frustrating sake of lack of storage space.

Therefore, when I received an E-Bay auction “lot” of 15 vintage Christmas postcards, I knew that there would be a risk that some of them would have to be let go…whisked away to join someone else’s collection.

I initially bid on the lot of postcards because this one, and at least seven others, were so darling!  The lot was up for a cheap beginning bid, and I was pretty astonished when I won them for the opening bid price.  Impatiently I waited for the postcards to arrive, and when they did, I began to sort out the ones I favored and could keep over the ones I could not.

It’s important to mention here, that I like antique postcards not just for the beautiful artwork or photographs on the front, but for the wonderful messages that can be found on the back!  I LOVE when I find a fun, fun message on the back…or especially a romantic one, etc.  But to be honest, most have a simple, “Merry Christmas,” type message or something.  Others however, are very interesting, tender…or in the case of one of the postcards in this lot, historically significant!

So there I was, sorting through postcards…and though I hate to part with ANY postcard, this one of the 15 was my least, least, least favorite.  In truth, I didn’t like it at all…the poor little French clown kid having fallen down and dropped his mistletoe and holly.  :(  How sad!  Definitely not my type of postcard.

Yet, if and when I do have to part with a postcard, I always, always read the back first…and I’m so glad I do!

You may or may not be familiar with my book The Fragrance of Her Name…and the mention of the Influenza Pandemic that killed an estimated 100 million people (3-5 percent of the world’s population at the time).  WWI was part of the reason for the rapid spread of the virus, and as you know, Brant Masterson was a wounded WWI soldier at the beginning of the book.

While doing research for The Fragrance of Her Name, I learned so much about the “Spanish Flu” (so nicknamed because Spain it was falsely assumed, for some time, that Spain was especially hard-hit).  I remember a little skipping rhyme that I learned was popular at the time of the Influenza Pandemic:

I had a little bird…
Its name was, Enza.
I opened up the window,
And in-flu-Enza.

Morbid I know…and it stuck with me long after my research was over!  It STILL sticks with me!

Also during the time I was researching stuff for The Fragrance of Her Name, I went to visit my sister in Tennessee.  (Yep…same trip where we went to visit Graceland!)  Knowing I LOVE old cemeteries, she took me to one in a little town near where she lived in Knoxville.

As we were searching…wandering through the part of the old cemetery where those who had fallen during the Civil War were laid to rest…I meandered away from that spot for a ways.  I came upon a line of tombstones…the names of which all ended with the same surname.  At first, I thought that it was simply a family plot…for it was obvious that all the people interred there were relations.  Yet as I looked more closely I began to read the dates on the tombstones.  Seven of the tombstones bore dates very close to one another—with in days of one another—all in the year 1918.  Five of the tombstones were children, as I recall…and two were there parents.

In truth, it took me a moment.  I thought, “How terrible!  A whole family within the space of a week!  I wonder what could have…”

Yep…that’s when realization finally hit me…influenza.  How sad!

I was pretty depressed, in truth…thinking of that poor family and those who may have lived to miss them.  But then, when I returned to the car, my sister had switched my beverage (ice and water) with hers (ice and Sprite) in the center car console, and when I picked up my drink (which had only ice remaining in it a few moments earlier) and removed the lid from the plastic fast-food cup and tipped it and my head back to retrieve ice…but then found SPRITE all over my front, I was kind of startled out of my despair for that poor family back in 1918.

Anyway (how I DO ramble on, right), as I was going through the postcards I’d won on E-Bay, and found this poor little French clown kid one that I didn’t really like, I DID take a moment to turn it over and read the back.  Wow!  I hadn’t expected what I read…and needless to say, the postcard remains in my collection…not because of the front, but because of the message written on the back and it’s  historical significance to me.

I’ve posted it here, and you can click on it and it should bet big enough to read.  However, in case you can’t see it very well or something, I added some punctuation and it reads:

(Postmarked December 23rd, 1918)

To Mrs. Norma Ransbottom (Thanks for the name info, Mindy!)
Delphos, Ohio
R.R. #6

Dear Friend:

I have been wondering what had become of you.  We are well…have escaped flu so far.  Schools are closed again.  My sister is here visiting again so I am pretty busy.  How is Lorene and Edwin’s kids?  (Often) speak of them.  Answer real soon.  Your friend, Ethel.

See what I’m saying?  Historical treasure!!!  Did Ethel escape the flu entirely?  Did she catch it and then survive it?  Did Norma ever tell her how Lorene and Edwin’s kids were doing?!?!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  So many burning questions!

Maybe it isn’t the pretties postcard ever…but the history behind it is incredible and has already settled into my mind permanently!  Moral of the story…always read the back of something before you give it away!

And now, for a new silly contest.  Let’s see…the winner of my last blog contest is (“Hey, Rocky!  Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”)…this post from Michelle Zeugin!

Michelle Zeugin says:

Hi Marcia! I cannot tell you how much this touches my heart! You see, I am a para professional ( a fancy name for aid) to special needs children! My student this year happens to be an amazing young athlete who just happens to have Down Syndrome! I love the story of Tim’s place! I feel Special people shine with a joyful light! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle…e-mail your address to me at marcialmcclure@cs.com and I’ll get that bacon to you asap!

As for today’s contest…you know I always like to have a contest that somehow parallels my goofy blog…so how about this…This LOVELY little book of 30 Norman Rockwell postcards!  I LOVE Norman Rockwell (and so does my beverage swapping sister!)!  These should be fun to send to friends, include with gifts, or SIMPLY to look through once in a while!  So leave a comment and I’ll pull a name out of my hat next time I blog for the winner of the postcard book!  Fun!  (Though…I’m still haunted about Ethel and Norma and whether or not they escaped the flu! :( )

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 11 Comments

Another Kevin Bacon Epiphany! (And the winner of the Almond Roca!)

So here’s the deal…you know how the only two places a woman can ever have a quiet moment to think are in the shower or when she wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep? Right? Well, today during one of those two moments a woman can find think (in the shower), I realized something kind of fun.

Let’s begin yesterday. I went to Joann’s to get a couple of spools of thread I needed for a fun quilting project, and while standing in line waiting to get my fabric cut (yes…I bought more than thread while I was there), I saw an old friend, Lori. (It’s kind of funny, because I rarely bump into her, but the last two times I have, it’s been at Joann’s. :) )

Well, Lori and I got to chit-chatting (me babbling on like an idiot…you know how I get when I’m nervous), and I remembered a trivial little story I wanted to share with her.

Last April, my sister-in-law, Kristi, and her kids, Amanda, Blake and Aubree, came down for a visit. While they were here, my brother-in-law, Kyle, had the idea all of us taking the kids to a fun little restaurant in Albuquerque called, Tim’s Place. (Click here for a link to Tim’s restaurant’s web site.)

You may or may not know that two of my sister-in-law’s four kids have Down Syndrome…and so does Tim, the owner of Tim’s Place! Therefore, we knew it would be a way fun place to have lunch! :)

We arrived at Tim’s Place, received our hugs from Tim (who slathered us all with attention :)) and then were seated and told our waiter would be right with us. The very instant I saw our waiter, I kind of did a double-take, thinking he looked really familiar. He was tall, handsome and his name was, Sam…and I could’ve sworn I knew him from somewhere, but I couldn’t think where.  Hmmm.

Naturally, the moment Sam had seated us and had handed our menus to us, I leaned across the table and whispered to my niece, Amanda, “Amanda…aren’t you glad we got the hottie waiter?”

In her adorable little voice she said, “Yes I am, Aunt Marcia!” Amanda appreciates a handsome guy as much as any of us, after all.  :)

Now, over the years, one of the blessings I have observed of having Down Syndrome, is that those with Down Syndrome don’t seem to be as easily embarrassed as the rest of us. Amanda and Blake (Amanda’s brother who also has Down Syndrome) don’t struggle with the burden of humiliation like the rest of us do. They own a certain liberation we can only envy.

Therefore, when Sam Our Hottie Waiter returned to our table, Amanda promptly smiled and greeted, “Hi, Hottie!” (Awesome, right?!?! That girl is so free and uninhibited! I love it!)

Sam Our Hottie Waiter was very patient with us…very kind and cordial and even posed for some photos with Amanda! (Cute photo of Amanda and Sam Our Hottie Waiter to the right there.  I told you he was tall!  How dreamy, right?)

Yet, the entire time we were at Tim’s Place, I kept thinking, “I know that guy,” any time Sam Our Hottie Waiter was a round.

Well, we had a blast at Tim’s Place, then went home, and that was that. Of course, Tim is too wonderful NOT to request as a friend on Facebook, so I requested him, and he kindly accepted me as a friend.  :)  He’s such a nice man!

Weeks and months went by.  Periodically I would check in on Tim (via Facebook) here and there to see what he was up to.  (And he’s always up to some adventurous thing.  :) )  But I never could figure out why Sam Our Hottie Waiter had seemed so familiar to me.

Then one day, WHAM! Tim posted a photo of Sam Our Hottie Waiter and tagged Sam in it! Lo and behold, Sam Our Hottie Waiter’s full name was Sam Dalton—and that’s when it hit me!

If you remember the Author’s Note in by book, A Better Reason to Fall in Love, I mention that my “Bacon Number” is three—you know, my Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon number—I can be linked to Kevin Bacon in three people…remember?

But what I did NOT tell you in the Author’s Note, was through WHOM I’m linked to Kevin Bacon in just three moves. And since it’s pertinent to this little tale, here’s the deal:

1. In High School I was acquainted with a couple of Hottie Brothers named Eric and Darren Dalton…the younger of the two being Darren Dalton. Well, while were in high school, Darren Dalton just happened to became a movie star! And one of the first movies he made was The Outsiders.  (He was Randy Adderson. :))
2. So I know you see where this is going…Darren Dalton was in The Outsiders with Tom Cruise.
3. And as EVERYONE on earth knows, Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon!

So there you have it! Now you know the secret to my THREE Degrees to Kevin Bacon! And I think you can see what’s coming next, right?

After Tim of Tim’s Place, led me to Sam “Our Hottie Waiter” Dalton, I Facebook messaged Sam and asked him, “Are you related to Eric Dalton?”  I mean the minute I realized Sam Our Hottie Waiter’s last name, I realized he looked sooooooooooo much like his dad!

Sam took mercy on me and was kind enough to answer my message and tell me that, Yes!…he is Eric’s son and that Darren Dalton is his Uncle! Totally fun, right?  The family resemblance is so uncanny…and that’s why I thought I had met Sam Our Hottie Waiter before, that first day at Tim’s Place!  Ha ha!

Anyway, back to me having a moment to think in the shower this morning…as I was in the shower this morning thinking over my conversation with my old friend, Lori ( I was actually thinking of what a dork I had been…nervously babbling on like and idiot…because for some reason the ol’ social phobia still raises its ugly head now and then and chose yesterday in Joann’s to do so…ugh :( ), and how I’d told her about bumping into Eric Dalton’s son/Darren Dalton’s nephew, because she was friends with the Dalton boys as well…it hit me!

I thought, “Oh my heck! I have GOT to tell Kristi and Amanda that they have a Bacon Number of four through Sam Our Hottie Waiter from Tim’s Place!”

You see, Kristi and her kids are in town right this very instant for another visit! And I realized that since Amanda met Sam Our Hottie Waiter, and since Sam Our Hottie Waiter is Darren Dalton’s nephew, and since Darren Dalton was in The Outsiders with Tom Cruise, and since Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon…Amanda has a Bacon Number of 4! Yay!

Yep…true inspiration and/or epiphany usually hits me while I’m showering. I mean, I’m sure that’s true for everyone…but I thought I’d just share my morning epiphany with you…just for fun…being that we all LOVE to know our Bacon Numbers, you know?

Now…because I’m such a terribly tardy blogger…I realized that I owe someone out there a GIANT can of Almond Roca! And that lucky someone is…Melody!  Melody…here’s the comment I pulled out of my hat, and it’s yours…so just e-mail me at marcialmcclure@cs.com with you address and I’ll get your Almond Roca shipped asap!

Melody says:
February 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm “Love it! Coquette is a name I have down if I am lucky enough one day to have a daughter, I think it’s just beautiful. ”

As for the little goody I’m giving away for THIS blog…hmmm…let’s see. I’ve got it! Leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads, etc. concerning your Kevin Bacon number, an “it’s a small world” story of your own, or anything fun, and I’ll plop your name in my hat to receive a package of Hormel Black Label Fully Cooked Bacon…72 STRIPS OF BACON!!!!! Delicious!

P.S. 30 years ago this very month, my college roommate, Sandy, and I…hailed the soundtrack to the ORIGINAL Footloose as our favorite music to blast through our apartment! Long live Kevin Bacon! Ha ha!

P.S.S. Here’s a video of an interview with Tim of Tim’s Place!  He’s sooooooooo awesome!!!!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 14 Comments

Almond Roca and The Whispered Kiss! :)

It’s been soooooooooooooooo long since I blogged…5 months, to be exact. But when The Whispered Kisswas chosen as this week’s “featured title” on my site, I was asked to blog about it, and decided this would be just the perfect thing to get me started…again. (*The Whispered Kiss being featured at www.marcialynnmcclure.com means that all versions of the book are on sale all week! Hardcover, softcover and e-book! So if you’ve been needing extra copies, or haven’t read it at all, here’s a chance to get a copy cheap, by the way. )

The truth is that, The Whispered Kiss is one of my favorite books! Like very book ever written in the entire world, it gets some guff from reviewers here and there (mostly for being too sappy, or because of Coquette’s first name), but it’s honestly one that I love, and that I loved writing.

When I was getting ready to write this blog, my mind was a void (which it often is, ha ha!). I couldn’t get started, so I asked friends to ‘jump my battery’ so to speak, and give me some suggestions of things they’d like to know about The Whispered Kiss and it’s origins.

I’m going to start with Teya’s posted comment: “I love the beauty and the beast reflection of the book. My question is, was that it’s inspiration and if so why and if not how did it come be like that?”

Well, Teya…bingo! Beauty and the Beast was ABSOLUTELY my inspiration for the book! I’ve always, always loved the story of Beauty in the Beast, and would still tag it as my favorite fairy tale…or at least in my top two. One reason I love the Beauty and the Beast theme, is because the thread of Beauty and the Beast can run through so many different real-life situations. If you don’t take the beast part as literal (a guy who physically turns into an animal-type thing), you can actually see Beauty and the Beast stories all around you. I think that’s why the idea resonates so strongly in me…and it’s what inspired me to write The Whispered Kiss.

Even though The Whispered Kiss is a historical romance, the wounded bad-boy theme is believable—because haven’t we all known a situation like Valor’s? Whether it’s the boy or the girl in a relationship, we’ve all known someone who has been brutally injured emotionally and has had to go through a healing process…one that often includes anger, bitterness and resentment. Heck! most of us have our own personal experiences on some level, that helps us relate to Valor.

Next I’d like to address Kelsie’s suggestion. She wrote, “I always like to hear the history of the characters names, any inspiration and trivia tidbits.”

Kelsie’s comment is kind of fun for me, because one place where The Whispered Kiss once got hashed was by a reader who went on and on about how much she hated Coquette’s name. Thick skin or not, I am upset when someone trashes one of my character’s names. After all, you might as well tell me you hate one of my kids’s names, right? But I so so soooooooooo love Coquette’s name! Since Beauty in the Beast is oft times associated with a French setting (being that the first published telling of it was La Belle et la Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740), I wanted to pay tribute to that by using a French name for the heroine. However, my main reason for naming the heroine, Coquette, is because I LOVE the word…and I have loved it since the first time I ever heard Bing Crosby sing, “Katrina” in Disney’s animated version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

“And yet when you’ve met, that little coquette, Katrina…you’ve lost your heart!” the song goes.

In truth, the word coquette most literally means a woman who flirts…and it’s also a species of hummingbird. But it can also mean, enchantress…which is the definition I choose to acknowledge with my heroine in The Whispered Kiss. To me, Coquette is a very pretty name that brings to mind femininity and the appearance of vulnerability.

Of course, these days, the qualities of femininity and the appearance of vulnerability are sometimes considered weaknesses in a woman. But I whole-heartedly disagree. First of all, femininity is fun, soft, nurturing and important. And as for the appearance of vulnerability…just because a woman inspires protective instincts in a man, the world should not assume she’s weak or not empowered. The phrase “Steel Magnolias” says it all. So there you have my thinking behind naming Coquette. A synopsis would be, she’s a very feminine woman, inspires the protective instincts in a man, yet is strong in spirit, mind and body.

As for Valor…well the name just came to me as sounding really cool…and then a moment later, I realized that the meaning of the name fit what Valor is. Though he slipped up for a time and became bitter and resentful…vindictive for a moment even…Valor literally means: determination and boldness in facing danger, especially in battle; heroic courage and bravery. That’s what Valor exemplifies to me at his best—what Coquette needs to unearth in him by healing his heart.

Yikes! That turned out to be a pretty long explanation of my inspiration for the names of the hero and heroine in this book. Sorry.

Now, my friend, Astasia, had several questions for me. I’ve listed, and answered them below.

What playlist did you listen to while writing this? I listened to a playlist I compiled of pieces by my favorite composer, Brian Crain. Some of the titles of the tracks I listened to are, A Walk in the Forest, A Voice From the Past, The Secret Letter, Eclipse of the Moon and Crimson Sky. Brian Crain is AWESOME!!! His music is what will be the intro on the audio editions of my books. ?

Which scene was your favorite to write? Oooo! I have no idea! I could tell you what my favorite scenes are…but those weren’t necessarily my favorite to write. Um…I did like writing the one where Valor and Coquette are at the dinner party and she’s freaked out by Lord Springhill and Valor picks up on it and stuff.

Do you have a ceiling mural? Ha ha! Nope! My bedroom has a sign over the door that reads, “An Autumn Haven,” and it’s all about coziness and warmth. :)

Did you come up with the ‘whispered kiss’ idea or were you introduced to it? Ha ha! Katie asked the same question. :) I was never introduced to it, that I remember. I just thought it would be deliciously romantic! (I must mention that, the ‘mumbling against my mouth’ kisses are ones I know WELL from experience, however! :) )

What was your comfort/brain food while writing this awesome book? Ha ha! The same as it always is…a package of Milk Chocolate Chips and a jar of Jiff Peanut Butter! Mmmmm!

Next, Kirsten asked: “What was your inspiration for the book? Why did you choose the specific timeline, place setting, and certain characters? Do you ever dream about your characters while you’re in the middle of writing the book (I ask because occasionally I’ll dream about the characters as I’m reading it!)?”

My inspiration for the book (other than the basic idea of Beauty and the Beast without the thread of magic in it), would totally be the simple fact that the idea for the title popped into my head while I was driving somewhere one day! It’s not the only time that’s happened…that I’ve thought of a book’s title before I’ve even thought of the concept for the story…but it was the first time it happened this way. Once the title popped in my head and I started thinking about it, the Beauty and the Beast plot thread began to simmer in my mind and Voila! Ha ha! I’m so weird, right?

As for the timeline, setting, etc…it’s simply what I imagined when I thought of Valor and Coquette’s romance…i.e. the surroundings in which I envisioned them.

And do I ever dream about my characters? Absolutely! Both waking and sleeping! To me, each story is real in my mind, you know? Like a movie, or memory. Though, maybe your dreams are a bit different. :) I did have a friend call me after she’d read The Heavenly Surrender years and years ago. She told me she dreamt all night about being on an airplane with Brevan…and that he was the most delicious kisser ever! Ha ha! ?

Okay, Marche asked me the question that is always, always a quandary for me. She asked, “Do you ever picture any celebrities when writing about your characters? Who would you pick to star in the movie (if it were made into one)?”

It might surprise you to know that, while I’m in the process of writing a book, I never ever picture celebrities! Each character has their own appearance in my mind, and that’s how I always see them. It’s also why I have trouble imagining who could play them if a book was ever made into a movie.

For instance, here’s one description of Valor from the book: “Her breathing stopped, her breath dying as she gazed on his perfect face, intense amber eyes, narrow and straight nose, square jaw, and strong chin. The brown of his hair, windblown, gave him the look of some wild predator.”

Honestly, I cannot think of one movie star that measures up to how I see Valor in my mind! Ha ha! I way open for suggestions! :)

One thing I did want to mention (because Jennie commented that the book frustrated her at first because of all the misunderstandings) is that, to me, that lack of communication and multiple misunderstandings thread in the book, is probably one of the things that makes the relationship so real. We can’t ever assume someone feels one way, for they might feel completely opposite of what it appears they do. We have to talk things out…communicate with one another. Otherwise misunderstandings begin to snowball…to fester and grow to a point that is ridiculous. I’m all about communication and working things out NOW…instead of waiting until a more convenient time. I think Valor and Coquette realized that in the end…and that’s how life is a lot of the time. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to suffer deep hurt and harm to learn important lessons.

Now for some Trivia Tidbits, as Kelsie suggested.

1. I LOVE Nutmeg! Honestly, quite often, I just take the jar of Nutmeg out of my spice cupboard, rip of the lid, and inhale to my heart’s content! It soothes my senses and gladdens my heart. It may sound weird, but to me, it’s TOTALL aroma-therapy! I also love the taste of it, and use Nutmeg in my French Toast, instead of cinnamon. :)

2. My friend Amy (one of the friends this book is dedicated to) is hysterical! I called her one day to talk to her about something in the book I was working on. Amy had been reading The Whispered Kiss chapter by chapter as I wrote it. Once I’d written the chapter where Valor and Coquette first kissed, Amy called me…and when I answered the phone she exclaimed, “Let the games begin! Do we get to see him naked?!” It made me laugh so so so soooooooooooo hard! She kills me!

3. Lions are one of my favorite, favorite, favorite wild animals! In fact, as a chilled I used to collect little lion figurines, stuffed animals, etc. I still love lions and wish I had a place to keep a collection now…but I already collect too many things I have to find places for, you know?

4. The very first cover of The Whispered Kiss featured a lavender rose against a muted gray background. That image was taken from a painting that famous artist Jared Barnes did just for me…just for the first The Whispered Kiss cover! Jared gave me the original painting and I cherish it more than he can ever imagine!

5. Of all the covers of my books that incorporate a human element (some I like and some I do not), The Whispered Kiss is one that I really like! Not that the people on the cover are really who I imagine Coquette and Valor to look like…but I just like the unusual color and the concept.

I’m not sure whether or not you found anything interesting in this little blog about The Whispered Kiss…but I hope you did! And just to make sure you find SOMETHING to like about it…how about some Almond Roca? Ha ha! So random, right?

Leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads, etc…or e-mail a comment to mariclamcclure@cs.com concerning anything to do with this blog about The Whispered Kiss, and I’ll choose someone to receive a 42 oz. can of Almond Roca! Ha ha! That’s like 100 pieces of Almond Roca! A dream come true, right?

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