Posted in childhood, Family life, First Friday Five

First Friday Five: Cheap ways to say “I love you”

February brings with it a pretty high pressure holiday, and I don’t mean Groundhog’s Day. As a kid, Valentine’s day is pretty easy and when you are in the first stages of love, you are so goo-goo eyed over everything your beloved does, Valentine’s Day is the stuff of dreams. But for the rest of us? It can be an anxiety-filled and potentially expensive moment of panic. Whether you are in a relationship or not, chances are there is someone in your life who you love. Here I offer five cheap ways to share the love.

  1. A foot massage, or a back massage. It feels great. If you are in a romantic relationship, do this without any expectation of where it will lead.
  2. Do your beloved’s least favorite chore, whether it’s scooping the litter box, shoveling snow or cooking dinner.
  3. Throw out that awful shirt your beloved hates.  Better yet, gift it to them so they can throw it out.
  4. Take care of that little project your beloved nags you about. This year, I hope my kids clean the playroom. I intend to sort and deliver things in the towering stack of items to donate. IMG_0376
  5. Put down the electronics, look someone you love in the eye, open your mouth and say those three little words, “I love you.” Cheap and powerful.

With so much anger, hostility and frustration in the world, letting someone know you care is a powerful act of courage. Be brave and thank you for reading.

Posted in Family life, First Friday Five, Lists

First Friday: Five Simple Joys

This month I’m celebrating five simple joys that I’ve rediscovered now that my left arm is no longer encased in a shoulder to wrist cast.

1. Opening a drawer or cabinet with one hand and retrieving something with the other.

2. Holding a hardback book.

3. Holding a phone with one hand while writing information with the other.

4. Styling my hair in something other than a 1980’s side-pony.

5. Hugging with two arms.

I may still struggle to type, but every day I get better and stronger. Spread happiness and share a simple joy of your own.

Posted in Family life, First Friday Five, For Writers, Lists, parenting, tween

First Friday Five: Writing Tween Girls

You can get Valentine’s tips anywhere, so rather than celebrating romance with my First Friday Five, I’m sharing

Five flaws an editor would point out you wrote a tween girl as they actually are.

  1. “This character is inconsistent. One minute she’s likable, the next she’s bat-shit crazy.”
  2. “Your character needs a clear goal, not the vague desire the world is against her.”
  3. “She lacks proper motivation.”
  4. “The conflict is too scatter-shot. Focus. Giving a more concrete goal and motivation will help.”
  5. “I found three variations on “eyeroll” and counted 812 incidents in the manuscript. Avoid repetition.”

Let your inner editor free in the comment section. I’d love to know what you think.

Posted in Christmas, First Friday Five, Winter Fairy

First Friday Five – Holiday Cheer Specifics

By now, you’ve likely been inundated with ways to simplify the holidays, bring on cheer, buy the most stuff for the least money and how to give thoughtful homemade gifts. ‘Tis the season indeed. Most of the articles and gifs serve to remind me of my handicraft foibles, and make me guilty that I’ve spent too much, too little or all my money in the wrong place.  Add in all too frequent encounters with any Alvin and the Chipmunks song, and the cacophony threatens to put this writer of holiday stories in a bad mood.  Sound familiar?

As an antidote, I’m sharing 5 specific things that reawaken my holiday cheer. Maybe they’ll work for you.

1. Spritz cookies.


If your mouth is watering, then you know exactly what I mean. These buttery gems are not the easiest cookies to make. You need lots of butter, a cookie press, patience, and strong arms, but the results are worth it.

2. Cheese and Cracker Trays.  Count calories in January. For now, pass the espresso parmesan, or the warm brie, or the cheese curds, or the …. you get the idea.

3. Illuminated Trees.  I love twinkling lights, but whether in a front yard or a family room or on a city street, illuminated trees make my heart pitter-patter. Lights on a house or a building don’t have the same organic shapes.

4. Even though my mom never cooked chicken and collard greens, I have a soft spot for Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis, the song and the video.

5. And if all else, fails, there’s nothing like a cup of hot chocolate spikes with a candy cane.

This list has made me hungry. Time to put number 4 on the radio, drink some 5, set out some 2 to nibble on while I make 1 so they will be ready in time to take a stroll to see number 3.

What puts you in the holiday spirit this season, no matter what you celebrate?

P.S. – My holiday romance, Winter Fairy is being rereleased as part of  Winter Dreams: 7 Heartfelt Holiday Romances.

Posted in Family life, First Friday Five, Food

First Friday Five: Why I love October

October is my favorite month. Why? Read on!

1. Fall colors.


2. Birthday cake for both kiddos.

3. Cool enough for a sweater and boots, but not too cold to sit outside with a cup of coffee and a hot book.

4. Candy Corn.

from photobucket

5. Halloween.


Oh yes, and the return of The Walking Dead, and TV specials about creepy haunted houses, and leaf piles, and the list goes on. What do you look forward to this month?