Answers to YOUR Questions-#2

October 11th?  October 11th?  Ugh!  Talk about a BIG, nasty fail!!!  I planned on answering some questions every week…and apparently, I can’t even do it once a quarter!  Fail!!!

IMG_3434However, it IS a new year, and I do like to Blog…just wish I had more time to do so.  Still, I figured I’d attempt to answer a few more questions written on a few more index cards that I brought home with me a few more months ago!

I’m only doing three cards from my deck today…being that a couple of them require wordy answers, okay?  And here we go:

Top Card Questions:

Question #1:  What did you study in college?

My Answer:  Officially I was a Secretarial Science major with a minor in History.  History was/is one of my passions, but I didn’t want to be a teacher, and had already done tons of secretarial work during high school and knew that, at that time, it was a job that paid well.  My mother was a legal secretary and I was always fascinated with the things she was privy to and go to work on. Yep…I’m so old that I learned to take and transcribe Short Hand in college and used afterward!  Can you imagine?!?!  🙂

Question #2:  Are your children named after people you know?

My Answer:  Yes, no and yes!  Ha ha!  My daughter, Sandy Ann, is named after my close, close, bosom friend, Sandy!  Sandy the Elder, as we call my friend, was my roommate in college and 33 years later we’re just as close as we ever were!  Therefore, my daughter, Sandy the Younger, as we refer to my daughter at times, is absolutely named after someone I know–someone I love with every part of my heart!

My second child and first son, Mitchel Lee…isn’t named after Mitch Gaylord (the famous Olympic men’s gymnist from the 80s), but it was while watching a movie staring Mitch Gaylord that Kevin and I decided we liked the name, Mitch/Mitchell…although we chose to spell it with one “l” at the end.  Mitchel’s middle name, Lee, is a family history name, of sorts.  Being that Kevin is from Louisiana, and that I was/am a huge Civil War history buff, Robert E. Lee inspired Mitch’s middle name.  So, no…Mitch isn’t named after someone I know or knew personally…just two people from our family’s history!  Ha ha!

My third child and second son, Trent…yes!  He is named for someone I knew!  Actually, he’s not named after that person, the way Sandy the Younger is named after Sandy the Elder…but when I was expecting Trent, Kevin remembered that another men’s Olympic medalist named, Trent Dimas, was a patient at the dentist’s office I worked at when we were first married!  We thought it would be fun to have two names inspired by two Olympians…one we know of, and one I actually knew!  Trent’s middle name, Adair, however, IS the surname of one of my Cherokee ancestors, Sarah Ann Adair.  So Trent does derive his middle name from someone in particular…though I never met her…at least I didn’t in this life.  🙂

Question #3:  I love the new cover art your books are getting-who did that art/photography?

My Answer:  Well, most of the actual photographs are stock photographs.  However, my daughter, Sandy, is an incredible photographer and designer!  And she’s the one that has been designing my covers by manipulating stock photographs or her own photographs since about mid-2012!  She totally understands my visions of what I want my covers to be, and just runs with it!  It’s awesome, because about 99.9% of the time, she hits the nail on the head with the first try!

Second Card Question:

Question #1:  What is your favorite character you’ve created?

My Answer:  Holy smokes!  ONE favorite?!?!  I can’t even begin to think that there’s only ONE favorite!  Yikes!  And as I took a few minutes to look over my books and think very seriously about this questions…I really cannot choose a favorite…at least a favorite main character!  I’m so sorry!  I CAN say this, however…that my favorite, if you will, secondary character, is totally Carl Harbine from Love Me!  That dude STILL cracks me up, because he is still sooooo vivid in my mind!  He cracked me up out loud a couple of times when I was writing his dialogue, as well.  So although I can not name a favorite main character that I’ve created, I’ve got to say that Carl Harbine is my favorite secondary character to date.  🙂

Question #2:  Do you ever find yourself writing friends/family into characters?  Examples?

My Answer:  Oh, absolutely!  Every main character I’ve ever written has aspects of people I know, or have known, that inspire me!  Of course, Kevin is my predominant inspiration for heroes.  In fact, many, many fun or romantic dialogue lines come directly from him!  My own dad, grandpa, uncles, etc. add a lot to male characters as well.  For example, when Brevan gets run over by the plow in The Heavenly Surrender…that actually happened to my grandpa when he was about 12.  Trader Donavon’s peppermint obsession, is directly inspired from Kevin’s!  Heroines are also inspired by real life people.  Other than my own life experience (probably the main inspiration in most cases), my mom, my grandmothers, aunt, my best friends throughout life (i.e. Sandy, Bobbie, Amy, Gina, Karen, Barbara, Dixie, Sheri, etc.) and my daughter and daughters-in-laws have all contributed to characteristics or life-experiences of my female characters.  An example of one real-life friend inspiration, would be the when Reb Mitchell in The Touch of Sage is found (as a child of course) licking his cat’s newly birthed kittens.  That story was an actual life event of one of my good friends (who shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons!).   I seriously could write a book just enumerating the instances in my books that really happened or inspired me toward a character or something that happens in a book!

Question #3:  Would you ever consider writing something other than romance?  What is it about romance that caught your interest initially?

ClintMy Answer:  Hmmm…children’s or YA books.  I’d actually love to do both of those.  But beyond that, and personal projects like personal histories of relatives and ancestors, no.  And I think it is probably because I was literally BORN romantic!  My first crush (and I remember it vividly, believe it or not), was on a friend of my parents’s, Clint (see photo to left-late 60s or early 70s…and photo down and to the right is Clint now…he ages well, right?).  He and his beautiful wife, Frankie (who used to play Barbies with me when I was older, and I LOVED her for that), were often around when I was really, really little…I’m talking like 1-3 years old…and I remember, thinking he was soooo handsome and wanting to kiss him all the time…which, from what I hear, he kindly allowed me to do!  He even bought me my first saddle for my 2nd birthday!  It was probably when he left for Vietnam (tho’ I’m not sure), or when our family moved to Idaho when I
clintrockswas 3 years old, that I fell head over heels in love with Huckleberry Finn (introduced to him via a book my mother read to me).  And although I had one other crush I can remember between the ages of 3 and 7,  (in first grade) on a boy named Benny (also a hottie), it was Huckleberry I loved and who was my imaginary friend until I was about seven.  So you see, romance is in my soul!  I was born with the desire to see everyone in love and thinking everything should be romantic in some regard!  So you see, romance caught my interest very, very early on…and I’m afraid I can’t explain it beyond that!  I hope that’s not a disappointment to you. clint and frankie(AND here’s one more picture (below) of my beloved Clint and Frankie! They were such huge influences in my young life…and my teenage life…my life period!  I love them FOREVER!)


Third Card Question:

Question #1:  Do you ever write inside jokes into any of your books?  (Kind of as a joke waiting to see if the person will recognize it…)

My Answer:  Absolutely!  Assuming you’re familiar with the reason every one of my heroes takes off his shirt at some point in every one of my books, and that you know THAT was a secret, or personal joke or tribute to a group of special friends…I’ll share this one, as well:  In Shackles of Honor, there are 6 swans on the lake that Cassidy lingers in watching.  Mason actually writes a poem or some prose or something about watching her watch the swans I think.  Well, those 6 swans were part of that book, simply as a representation to 5 friends of mine.  When we all moved from Albuquerque to various places, we would circulate a care package between us that everyone would add info and/or photos to as updates on what was going on in our lives.  We called it, the swan package…because we laughingly referred to ourselves as The Six Sultry Swans (a corny name I came up with at some point).  So, the six swans in Shackles of Honor, are a tribute to our shared friendship.  🙂  

Question #2:  Have you ever used a pen name?

My Answer:  Ha ha ha!  Funny, funny question!  Yes!  But only for my last name.  My real first and middle name is Marcia Lynn.  But McClure is the married last name of my cherished friend, Sandy!  I chose it as a tribute to her, because she was not only such a loyal friend, but the one who always read my books first…before anybody else…for years and years and years!  I’ve always wanted to use Lolita C’De Baca as a pen name!  But Kevin thinks it’s silly!  I still might do it, though!  Because I like it!  Doesn’t it just roll off your tongue…Lolita C’De Baca?  I love it!

And now it’s contest time!!!!  The last blog contest was for an awesome coloring book for grown ups, and colored pencils!  Marian Brimming…you won!  Let me know (via e-mail at if you’d rather have like a mermaid coloring book or something since Halloween is so far behind us at this point, okay?

THSPB-Web SizeNow for this blog’s contest…referencing card 2, question #1…who is YOUR favorite character I’ve ever created and why?  Leave a comment on my blog and I’ll plop your name in my hat and draw a winner when I blog with more answers to more questions. The winner will receive…wait for it…a copy of The Tenth Anniversary Collector’s Edition of The Heavenly Surrender!  Yep!  We still have a few on hand!  So if you’ve always wanted one, here’s your chance!  I’m going to blog in a week or so, and I’ll announce the winner then, okay?  Meanwhile, thanks for being sooooo wonderful to me, for reading my books, and caring enough to write some questions on some index cards for me to answer!  🙂

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Answers to YOUR Questions-#1

I came home with a STACK of index cards filled with questions for me, submitted at the September events that I did not have time to answer on the spot!  Therefore, as promised, I’m going to begin answering a few here and there on my blog.  I hope you all find it somewhat interesting…but Yikes!  I’m not very exciting!  But, here goes!

007I pulled 4 cards off the top of the deck and here is a photo of them, in case you find it fun to recognize your own handwriting! (Just click on the picture to make it larger so you can read it more clearly if you like!)  There are no names on these cards so I have no way of thanking you guys individually, other than to say, THANKS!  Ha ha!

Top Card Questions:

Question #1:  Can you release a recipe book with all the recipes from your books?

My Answer:  I would LOVE to do that!  I’ve actually shared recipes with close friends in the past by just printing each recipe off and slipping them into page protectors and slapping them into small three-ring binders.  But I’ve had so many requests for just what you mentioned that I think I need to seriously thing about doing that!  Ha ha!  It probably wouldn’t be very big, but since you asked, I’ll nest on the idea seriously…though probably after Christmas.

Question #2:  If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, who would you pick and what would you do?

My Answer:  I’m going to answer this one with complete honesty, so I hope that doesn’t disappoint you…no one!  I would never want to be anyone else!  I like me, my life, my own challenges, stresses, etc. and can’t even begin to imagine guessing at this.  One reason might be because I have the blessing of writing and putting myself into my characters so entirely that I do get to think and feel like myself and someone else simultaneously a lot of the time.  But in the end, I’m glad I’m me with my own problems, family, life, etc.  Does that make sense?

Second Card Question:

kim-and-alanQuestion:  What is the last picture you took on your phone?

My Answer:  Ha ha!  This one is fun!  I actually went back into my phone and chose the last picture I took just after the September events, because I figured that was more accurate in answering your question.  Sooo…here it is!  Just a cute one of Kevin’s sister Kim, her husband Alan, with me and Kevin, too!  🙂

Third Card Question:

Question:  What question do you hate to answer?

My Answer:  Ha ha ha ha!  How funny!  Um…let me think…you mean other than, “How much do you weigh?”… and in regard to writing and/or being an author?  Let’s see…it would have to be, “Can you tell me how to make money and/or be successful as an author?”  That’s something that I cannot ever answer with any kind of certainty and it makes me soooo nervous because I know that whatever I say is a disappointment or discouraging to someone else.  I’ve never been able to help anyone achieve the success they’ve hoped for…even using my own career template…so it’s like the only question where my answer affects (or is that effects) them on a monetary or “dream of being a famous author someday” level.  Yikes!  That one sends me into anxiety overload!

Fourth Card Questions:

Question #1:  Are there just a million things that you get inspiration from?  Or always from the same things?

My Answer:  The answer to that is…a million!!!!  AND sometimes from the most unexpected places! The bulk of my inspiration…probably 90% of it, comes from personal experience, stuff I dream, family history, Kevin’s great one-liners, etc.  But I also draw from things other people say or do to inspire me!  For instance, during and activity night wherein I coordinate activities for girls ages 10 and 11…three of the girls revealed to me their shared, and very terrifying, experience of being crammed into, and trapped together in a dumbwaiter for an hour and a half as it dangled between floors!  Sooo terrifying, right?  Well, you’ll find a reference to that story in one of my upcoming new titles!  So, yes…inspiration comes to me from a million different venues!

Question #2:  How do you feel about emojis? 🙂

My Answer:  Honestly…I love them!  I really only use a few…but I love to put like the eyeball one, a heart one and the sheep one to mean, “I love ewe”…get it?  Ha ha!  My favorites are the laughing with tears, the hearts for eyes, the lips smooch, the Christmas tree, the Jack o’Lantern and the pile of poo one!  🙂

Question #3:  Where would you travel (anywhere in the world)?

My Answer:  This might be another one wherein my answer might disappoint you a bit.  The truth is, I really don’t like to travel!  I love my home and being in it and I love New Mexico!  Having said that, however, when the mood does hit me to travel there are soooo many places in the U.S. I’d LOVE to see that I’d truly do those first!  I DO want to travel to Sleepy Hollow, NY, Salem, MA and Vermont in the fall, for sure!  And abroad I’d definitely hit Austria, Ireland, Scottland…and I’d have to hit England, simply for the history there!  *As a side note:  I do love 6-10 hour road trips…especially scenic ones.  It makes me feel relaxed, free and like I can leave my stress behind!  So those I do love!

Question #4:  What is something strange about yourself?

My Answer:  Seriously?  Only one thing?  Hmmm…that’s hard to narrow down.  Let’s see…one thing would be that I never arrive at the simplest scenario first.  For instance (and I actually said this out loud), the last time Kevin and I were buying a car, the salesman opened the trunk to show us how big it was and I said, “Wow!  You could fit at least two dead bodies in there!  Maybe three!”  Or, about a week or so ago, I was using Super Glue and got a little on the tips of my fingers on my left hand.  Yet, yesterday I said to Kevin, “Do you think I have a flesh-eating disease?  Or do you think this is from the Super Glue, maybe?”  I’m also weird in that (and I know I’m not alone in this at all) I do like to watch Dr. Pimple Popper videos, scraping psoriasis videos, and Jim Nduruchi digging Jiggers videos on YouTube before I go to bed.  Although the Jim Nduruchi videos I watch because I like to listen to his philosophies as well as I feel so badly for the victims it puts my own life in perspective.  With everything weighing on me or stressing me, I always remember, “At least I don’t have Jiggers!”  P.S. Horsehair worms coming out of Praying Mantis freak me out!  But I still watch them!  Oh, and I do listen to Christmas music beginning the end of March through December 24th.  Then I take a little break between the end of December through most of March. 

Question #5:  Would you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?

My Answer:  I may be one of those fence-sitters…meaning a bit of both.  But I think I lean more toward Introvert because I’m emphatic and take on the energy of everyone around me in any given situation.  I feel drained after socializing…even though I enjoy it!  Extroverts tend to feel pumped up and “fed” after socializing, drawing energy from the situation instead of worrying over those in the room who don’t seem happy or are worried, or struggling.  So even though I think I’m a bit of both, I really lean toward saying I’m an introvert.  Does that make sense?  Like for instance, a funeral may make a lot of people sad or melancholy for a day, but it can wipe me out for weeks!  You know?  Even if I don’t know the person well!

Question #6:  Is there a man’s name that just makes you all hot and bothered?  That you love?  (For me, it’s Jake. 🙂 )  

My Answer:  Is this YOUR question Meghan E. C.? 🙂  Yes there is!  And I’m not lying when I tell you this…it’s Kevin!  Seriously!  Kevin from Heaven, my husband’s name!  It may sound cliche and corny and like I’m just saying that!  But I LOVE the name, Kevin!  It’s why I named Brevan in The Heavenly Surrender, Brevan…because it rhymes with Kevin!

halloween-coloring-bookSorry I only had time for four cards today!  You know I’m under the gun and way behind on everything right now!  Yikes!  BUT I do want to have a little blog prize for this week so…answer Card #4 Question #4, “What is something strange about yourself?”…leave your comment here, and I’ll plop your name in my hat and draw a winner before I blog with more answers to more questions.  Winner will receive something I wish I had time to do…color in this gorgeous, made-for-adults Halloween coloring book, and a 24 set of Sergeant colored pencils!  LOVE this!  SOMEDAY I WILL have time to do this myself!  Meanwhile, I want colored-pencilsyou to enjoy it!  So leave a comment and see who wins!

P.S. It’s been sooo long since I blogged!  I feel I need to apologize to the two winners of hardcover editions of The Fragrance of her Name from my July 11th, Jimmy Palmer Doppelganger blog, Suasan T. and Sara V.!  E-mail me at and I’ll get those books in the mail to you asap!

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NCIS Jimmy Palmer Doppelganger Alert!

Over a month since blogging…and I STILL can’t think of a good blogging subject!  Ha ha!  (Not that I really ever do anyway!)

IMG_0004However, in scanning some antique photos the other day, I came across this AWESOME one of what appears to be a group of Doughboys and young boys dressed as Doughboys!  I need to research it some more, of course…but meanwhile, I found another doppelganger in this photo!  And you KNOW how I love finding dopplegangers in old photos, right?

Well, there’s a doppleganger right in this photograph…right there, up top by the U.S. Flag!  See him?  He’s a dead ringer for Brian Dietzen…who plays Jimmy Palmer on NCIS!!!!  Do you see it?    Ha ha!  I LOVE it!

jimmy palmerIMG_0004 - Copy









I just had to share one of my doppelganger finds with you today!  And by the way…the winners of the last Blog Contest I did are Mary S. and Ann T.!  E-mail your snail mail addresses to me, ladies, and I’ll have your DVDs on their way asap!



As for a little contest for this doppelganger post…how about this?  Leave a comment here about something you find intriguing about history (or e-mail one to me, post it on Facebook or Goodreads), and you’ll be entered to win one of two copies of my book The Fragrance of Her Name (hardcover or softcover…winner’s choice)!  It’s a book that I love sooo much, but doesn’t usually rank as a fan favorite because it’s soooo long.  It’s a post WWI setting…meaning Brant might well have fought alongside one or two of the Doughboys in this photograph featuring the Jimmy Palmer doppelganger!  Fun, right?!?!


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Hola! I’m your neighbor, the idiot!

So, a few years ago, we had some new neighbors move in to the house directly west and behind us.  They’re are way happy, celebratory family from Arizona/Mexico that have a lot of fun!

However, the first few weeks after they moved in, Kevin and I wondered if we’d be able to stay in our house at all, because the constant noise from our new neighbors as they cemented their entire back  yard, erected a shed there, power washed everything constantly, sanded their cabinets and floors for refinishing, had a little girl whose big brother was always bugging her and causing her to shriek at the top of her lungs constantly, etc. nearly drove us batty!  It was like that moment in How the Grinch Stole Christmas where the Grinch is grumbling, “All the noise, noise, noise noise!  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the noise, noise, noise noise!”

Anyway, along with all the noise, noise, noise, noise generated by our new neighbors there also seemed to be a constant stream of family and friends…which isn’t a bad thing, of course.  We began to see an elderly woman in their back yard quite often, too, and assumed that she was perhaps a grandmother or some other relative.  Why is their having a grandmother important?  Well, because of this:

sunsetIn the late afternoon and evening, when the sun is low in the west, the sun shines very brightly onto the back of our house.

Well, one early evening, I went onto our upstairs bedroom balcony, just to admire the beauty of the day…when I heard an elderly woman’s voice say, “Hola!”

I shaded my eyes from the intensity of the setting New Mexico sun (which anyone who has ever lived here can tell you is VERY intense…near to blinding), and looked down to our neighbors back yard in the direction from whence the old woman had greeted me.  But the sun was so bright, I still couldn’t see clearly.

Not wanting to seem unfriendly, I tossed a happy wave into the air and returned the greeting, “Hello!”

Much to my surprise, the old woman’s voice again greeted, “Hola!  Hola!”

Mexican woman with grey hair in Merida, Yucatan

I figured that maybe the kind old lady “No Hablo Ingles” (didn’t speak English), and so I waved again and called, “Hola!  Hola!”

Again the kind, neighborly old woman seemed determined to make a new friend and called, “Hola!  Hola!”

“Hola!” I called, wondering how in the world I was going to leave the balcony and go back into the house without offending our new neighbor.  I mean, I don’t speak much Spanish at all!  “Mi gato es muerto,” (My cat is dead) is about the only sentence I do know!

“Hola!” the woman greeted again.

At utter loss as to what to do, I figured I’d just say, “Adios,” and disappear into the house, right?

But by this time the sun had gone down just another hair, and the neighbors’ house behind us actually blocked its intense rays enough that I could see down into their back yard, at last.

Hola!” I called as I waved once more…as I a moment later I glanced down into the neighbors’ cemented back yard and saw… a big, huge parrot sitting inside a big, huge white cage, calling out to me, “Hola!  Hola!”

parrotI could not believe it!  Of course, my first thought was what an idiot I was…and my second thought was in hoping that none of my other neighbors had seen me out on my balcony waving and calling out, “Hola!” to a parrot!

I’ve never been a fan of parrots…and this particular parrot soon changed out it’s kind, old grandmotherly, “Hola!” in favor of the near continuous shriek of the little girl who was always shrieking!  Believe me, after that switch, I sure wished it would have stuck with making me look like a fool and “Hola!”

Anywho…my kids get a huge kick out of that story, even though none of them witnessed it.  And I’m not exactly sure why it came to mind today, but I thought I’d just share it as a piece of randomness added to you afternoon!

As for this week’s contest…last weeks winners are Amy L. and Amy C.!  Loved your comments and will ship out your European Spa CDs as soon as I receive your shipping addresses!  Please send them to me at, okay?

LongmireThis week, everyone who takes a moment or two to leave a comment here on my blog, on Facebook, Goodreads, or via e-mailing me at about one of your own “I’m an idiot!” moments will be entered to win either a DVD set of Season 1 of one of my FAVORITE shows, Longmire…OR a DVD of one of my favorite movies, Quigley Down Under!  I’ll pick 2 winners and each winner can choose between Longmire and Quigley, okay?  It’s a tough choice, I know!  But either one is fabulous!  Why Longmire and Quigley?  Well, because they both have beautiful sunsets in them…AND Longmire is even filmed here in New Mexico where some neighbors have parrots that mimic sweet old ladies greeting you!

QuigleyMeanwhile, have a great weekend!  Adios!


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Great Grandma’s Iris-Another Inspiration!


So…every day about 3:30 p.m, I kind of hit a thud.  Do you know what I mean?  I get kind of tired and feel drained of energy…and it’s usually accompanied by some anxiety …probably because the day is coming to an end, I’m tired and haven’t accomplished even a small fraction of the things I needed to accomplish.  Do you know what I mean?

Well, today, when the 3:30-even-a-Snickers-bar-won’t-keep-me-goin’ thud hit, I sat down and listened/watched a Jim Nduruchi Jigger-Digging video (long story for another blog).  Now, in this particular video, good ol’ Jim was talking about how some days we’re up and some days we’re down, and how it’s a part of life, and you just have to know that you will bounce back up, etc.  Thus, the thought came to me, “Just get up and do something and I’ll feel better.”

And so, here I am!  I got off my bummed out bum, pushed “play” on my “Bing Crosby singing The Headless Horseman on repeat” playlist, and although I don’t really feel like doing anything, I figure maybe blogging about something random will pull me through until the late afternoon thud takes its daily hiatus, right?  And so, here we go!

First, here’s a little excerpt from my book, The Windswept Flame:

“But somehow—somehow daffodils were more beautiful thriving in pastures and along the creek bank. Oh, she knew her father had planted the bulbs there when she was a little girl. She’d helped him—helped him place the fragile daffodil bulbs into the ground one early autumn, delighting when they bloomed the next spring, the same spring she’d turned six years old. Perhaps that was why these daffodils seemed more beautiful to Cedar—because she and her father had planted them—because they stood as a lovely reminder of him—because every spring they would bloom and announce to the world that James Dale had once walked the path they now adorned.”

016And now, here you have a couple of snapshots of the simple, very pastel, yellow iris that thrive in one corner of my back  yard.  (My grandma and mom call them flags…but all I can find about ‘yellow flag iris’ is that it’s a noxious weed that’s poisonous to cattle and can irritate the skin… and mine do resemble the description …but don’t irritate the skin and are beautiful!  So I’m not sure what to think!)  Anyway, they may not be vibrant like the purple bearded iris I love…but I love these little flags/iris all the more…because, as with so many things I treasure in life…there’s a story here!

In a recent comment/rating I read on one site concerning my books, someone said, “She (meaning me) seems to always be longing for the past.”  And you know what,
I do long for the past!  Anyone with any age, wisdom and 017experience tends do miss the past, and long for simpler, happier times at one point or another…and I admit that I really do!  I miss the times when kids played outside all summer long, using their imaginations, or running through sprinklers!  I miss when he we had an intelligent man in the White House that deserved to be there and deserved our respect.  I miss my grandparents, and feeding calves formula from a great big bottle!  I could go on forever (as you well know), but suffice it to say…that the story of my plain little flags/iris is another prompt from the past that I love!  Therefore, I thought I’d share it with you!

IMGNow this next photo (I need to have my daughter restore it so that this big old crack int he middle doesn’t distract from it!) was taken in about 1969.  The woman standing at left, is my great grandmother, Edna Mae Guthrie Switzler Howell.  The woman sitting in front of her is my grandmother, Opal Edith Switzler States.  The woman standing behind the chair to the right, is my mother, Patsy Christine States Reed…and the little girl in the chair is me!  Naturally this photo is wonderful to me, because it’s not only a four generation photograph of my mom’s maternal side of the family, but because it’s such a great one of everyone in it!  AND because it’s a visual guide to the history of my flags/iris!

My great grandma, Edna Mae, is the first person to have cared for the rhizomes from whence my yellow flags/iris spring!  As you know, my mom is suffering from Alzheimer’s…and unfortunately, one of the many questions I never thought to ask her before she was struck with the cruelty of the disease, was exactly how long Edna Mae kept/nurtured the flags.  That fact upsets me, because of this:  Edna Mae kept the flags in her flower garden…and at one point, my grandmother, Opal Edith, dug up a bunch of the flags rhizomes and planted them on the place she and my grandpa owned in Canyon City, Colorado.  Sometime after Edna Mae passed away, Opal Edith and my grandpa left Canyon City and moved to Colorado Springs, taking some of the flags/iris rhizomes with them, and planting them in their back yard.

Both Opal Edith and my grandpa (Wayne States…you know him as helping to inspire Brevan in The Heavenly Surrender), had passed away by 1993 when my uncle decided to move from their home in Colorado Springs.  Before he moved, in the summer of 1993, my mother, Patsy, and I, dug up a clump of Edna Mae’s yellow flags and moved them to my mom and dad’s house in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In 1997, Kevin and I moved our little family to Ferndale, Washington…and in 1999 my dad dug up some of Edna Mae’s rhizomes and sent them to me.  I planted them in Washington and they thrived like never before!  And then in 2005, Kevin and I moved again.  In an effort to get back to New Mexico, Kevin accepted a job in Colorado.  Before our house in Ferndale sold, my dear friend, Amy, did me a great service…she went to our little, butter-yellow house, dug up a clump of Edna Mae’s flags/iris rhizomes and plopped them into her own garden.  Then, that fall, she dug up the majority of the rhizomes and shipped them to me in Monument, Colorado.  Knowing that we wouldn’t be in Monument forever, instead of putting great-grandma’s flag rhizomes in the ground, I plopped them in a whiskey barrel half with a bunch of potting soil and dirt.  They thrived in Monument at 7400 feet above sea level, even though they’d come from 300 feet above sea level in Ferndale.  They also bloomed a lot later than they had in Washington…but they survived and thrived.

In 2009, Kevin and I were finally able to move back to New Mexico.  The move was crazy and rushed and stressful, being that it was in the middle of winter…and in Colorado that’s precarious!  I was so thankful when Kevin opened the back of the moving truck to reveal that he’d managed to pull the whiskey barrel half out of the snow pack in Monument and, with my son Mitchel’s help, heft it up into the moving van and bring Edna Mae’s flags/iris back to New Mexico once more!

I left the rhizomes in that same whiskey barrel half until 2013.  I’d noticed that there weren’t as many shoots coming up from my great-grandmother’s rhizomes, and I knew it was because they were long past needing to be divided.  And so, Kevin and I busted them out of the barrel, separated them and plopped them in a spot in one corner of our back yard.

I was worried that first year, because the flags/iris did not bloom.  I knew it was because of the trauma of being transplanted, and also because we’d moved them in the spring instead of waiting until fall.  However, the very next summer, Edna Mae’s flags were blooming beautifully!

Opal, Patsy, Marcia and SandyThree years later, they’ve tripled, and I plan on dividing some of them this year for my own daughter, Sandy, to plant in her own back yard! Sandy was 6 months old in this photo (1988) of my grandma, Opal, my mom, Patsy, me and Sandy.  I can’t wait for Sandy to have Great Grandma Edna Mae’s flags/iris in her yard and know that, every time she looks at them…every time she tends to them, that every time they bloom, she’ll know that they have sprung from the efforts, love and care of five generations of women in her family!

Now, if you read the book excerpt at the beginning of my blog…and if you made it all the way through this blog, I think you can see that I figured out where my inspiration for Cedar Dale’s love of the daffodils came from!  So many things in my stories are inspired by my real life experiences…by the people and things I cherish.  So yes…maybe I do long for the past.  I do miss Reagan in the White House.  I miss my mom being able to remember everything she ever wanted to, and my kids being little.  I miss when people wore colorful clothing instead of only gray and black.  I do long for the past…but that longing and love is what so often inspires me!  And so, I hope that, even though I live in the present, worry and hope for the future, I hope that I’ll always appreciate the beauty of my past…that I’ll always make every effort to tenderly care for and nurture my great grandmother’s yellow flags…even if some people thing they’re a noxious weed…because to me, they’re pure pale-yellow treasure!!!

So?  How about a new blog contest to celebrate the blooming flags/iris in my back yard, huh?  But first, the two winners of my last blog contest are, Deborah Andreasen and Sandra Jensen!  Just e-mail your shipping addressed to me, girls, at and I’ll get your books and DVDs sent out asap, okay?

dan gibson spaAs for a new contest…hmmm…let me think.  Ooo!  I know!  As you know, I LOVE Dan Gibson Solitudes!  Most of them are going to a “download-only” status, but a few of my favorites are still available on CD!  So, the 2 winners of this week’s blog contest will receive a copy of Dan Gibson’s Solitudes European Spa!  My friend, Gina, actually introduced me to Dan Gibson Solitudes…but my son, Mitch, introduced me to this one!  It’s VERY calming…especially right before you go to sleep!  So, if you’d like to be entered to win a European Spa CD, just leave a comment here, on Facebook or Goodreads, or e-mail me at and you’re good to go!

And thanks for listening to my rambling!  Ha ha!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 8 Comments

Weird Things My Sister and I Used to Do as Kids-Episode #1

Several years ago (like a decade probably), I proved to my hunk-of-burnin’-love husband, Kevin by asking my friends and readers…that I was NOT the only farm kid who used to go Salt-for-cowsout into the pasture and lick the big, beautiful pink, sparkling rocks my dad left here and there.  Sure, I remember wondering what had made the smoothed bowl shape in the middle of the small, sparkling boulder (realizing years later that it had been the tongues of the cattle in my dad’s herd), but no matter…because cows have cleaner mouths than a lot of people I’ve encountered…and the beautiful, sparkly pink salt was mmm mmm good!  Besides…who HASN’T licked a salt lick at some point in their life, right?  Maybe it was your bunny’s salt-lick instead of your one for meant for a herd of cattle, but we’ve all done it…so let’s chalk it up as a great childhood memory and move on, shall we?  Because we all had our fun little “secrets of mischief” as kids.

And that brings me to something I was thinking about/missing the other day.  I’m sure many of you (if you are old enough to remember refrigerator freezing compartments that were NOT self-defrosting that is) shared in enjoying a fun little treat my sister and I relished when we were kids…eating the soft, fluffy, snow-like ice that would accumulate in our mom’s non-self-defrosting freezing compartment of the family refrigerator!  Am I right, or what?!

Luanna Reed Rodham and Marcia Reed Meyers-Approx 1976Yep!  My little sister, Luanna, and me (pictured right at ages 12-me and 4-her) used to hope Mom would delay on taking a Saturday to defrost her fridge freezer…simply because of the snow-like ice that would form on the top inside of the freezer compartment.  If Mom put defrosting off too long, the ice would get to the perfect stage necessary for us to use canning jar rings and lids, or small metal measuring cups to scrape the ice into for our specialest treat ever…freezer snow!

freezer frost2Freezer snow from the fridge freezing compartment was like gold to us!  We loved it!  And it was quite the treat to snatch up when we could, because it took forever to accumulate and we had to take advantage of it before Mom had time to defrost the freezer, forcing us to wait weeks and weeks before we could have it again!  (For those of you who may never have had the wonderful opportunity to live in a house with a non-self-defrosting freezer, here’s a photo of what a refrigerator freezing compartment would have looked like if you didn’t defrost regularly…though ours was never this bad, and whoever is using pans of hot water to help soften the ice in this photo has already destroyed the lovely snow-like freezer frost that would have formed on the top of the freezer.)

jarlid2As I said, my sister and I really knew the best tools of the trade for optimum freezer ice enjoyment.  A simple Mason or Ball canning jar lid was the preferred implement.  One would simply put a lid inside a ring and then, using the ring to scrape the ice, watch with wild anticipation as the lid began to fill with freezer snow!  Mmmmm!  No flavoring was added…because it wasn’t necessary!  On a hot, summer day in Albuquerque, there was no more refreshing treat than good ol’ freezer frost!

Now, although my kids probably don’t remember this, the first refrigerator Kevin and I owned was a non-self-defrosting model.  Thus, I didn’t miss the chance to hand down the scraping-freezer-ice-for-a-treat, time-honored tradition to them!  AND I never thought there was anything at all unusual about it…until one evening when Kevin and I returned from a rare night out on the town (dinner and a movie), having hired a babysitter for our three little kids.

We had asked a wonderful girl we knew and trusted to babysit, and when we returned home, the first thing she said to us was, “Sandy and Mitch asked me if they could do something weird…and assured me it would be okay for them to do it…so I hope it’s okay that I let them.”

Kevin and I looked at one another, wondering what on earth our two oldest children (our youngest wasn’t talking yet) could possibly have asked the babysitter to let them do that she would interpret as weird.

“What did they ask you?” I asked.

The babysitter’s eyebrows knit together in an expression of thinking something was REALLY weird and explained, “They wanted to scrape the frost out of your fridge freezer and eat it!  They showed me how to use jar lids and measuring cups to scrape out the frost…so I figured it was something they’d done before…so I let them do it.  I hope that’s okay.”

I laughed and reassured her that it was a time-honored tradition in our family and that all was well.  I’m sure Kevin probably rolled his eyes and blushed with humiliation that our kids would do something so weird in front of our babysitter…but oh, well.

IMG - CopyTo the right you’ll see a copy of a photo of Sandy and Mitch when they were still “we love freezer frost!” age.  It’s one of my very favorite photographs of all time!  Kevin snapped it with a Polaroid camera he’d brought home from work one day and it has been displayed on my fridge for about 24 years now…because, to me, it just embodies so many things I loved about my kids being little:  Their obvious delight in the fact that their daddy had purchased treats from the Ice Cream Man for them (Who remembers that sound of the Ice Cream Man’s truck coming?  Loved that!)..their end-of-the-day and Mom’s-to-worn-out-to-worry-about-it grubbiness, Mitchel wearing only a shirt and his training undies, Sandy sitting on some random folding chair we had borrowed from my parents for some reason…I just LOVE this photograph!

Just a few years after this photo was taken, our old fridge was left behind when our family moved to Washington State and we never owned another non-self-defrosting freezer fridge again.  (Heavy sigh!)  Another time-honored tradition lost to the advances of technology…another childhood delight squashed on the window of “Let’s invent self-defrosting fridge feezers so moms will have more time to do something else more demanding and fast-paced than defrosting their freezers, so they can have even more stress!”

Anyway, that’s my random ramble today…a longing for the past when all it took to delight a child was the thrill of scraping freezer frost out of the freezer for a treat.

Now, onto this week’s contest!  First off, the two winners of my last blog contest for hardcover editions of Sweet Cherry Ray are:  Sara Jenks and Julianne Criner!  Sara and Julianne, please e-mail me at with your snail-mail addresses so I can get your books shipped out to you!  Let me know if you want your books signed by me, and to whom, okay?

polarbear kingAs for this week’s contest…hmmm…let me think.  How about this:  I recently discovered that my little sister, Luanna, loves polar bears!  (Hmmm…I wonder if that has anything to do with our scraping freezer frost for treats during her formative years?)  Which reminded me of the fun little Norwegian fairy tale film, The Polar Bear King that I’ve always loved, AND, East of the Wind, West of the Moon…the same fairy tale in book form!  I’ve always wanted to fiddle with writing my own version, but Jessica Day George has already done that!  (I’ve never read it, so let me know how it is!)  So, this week’s prizes (and for two winners) are a DVD copy of The Polar Bear King  (See fan-made trailer at end of blog) and a paperback copy of Jessica Day George’s version of the same fairy tale, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow!  Okay?

And you know the drill…just leave a comment here, on Facebook, Goodreads, or e-mail me at, and you’re entered!  I’ll choose two winners in about a week when I, once again, blog about something completely unimportant to the world!  Okay?

Meanwhile, here’s hoping someone out there still has a non-self-defrosting freezing compartment they can enjoy with their kids!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 20 Comments

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 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, 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 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 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 | 38 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, 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 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 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