Memoirs writing

FOLK Magazine 2013 Journal Challenge: The Most Exciting Moment of My Life So Far?

This week’s Journal Challenge from FOLK Magazine asks us to describe the most exciting moment of our lives thus far.  I could talk about my first date, my first prom, graduating from college, my wedding day, the day I had my first child, then my second child, etc., etc., but you already know those are extremely exciting moments in everyone’s life, and each one in its own special way.  Not to diminish any of those moments at all, especially getting married and having children, but for today’s assignment I think I will choose the day my first book was accepted by a publisher.

I had been dreaming of being a writer since I was ten years old.  I read Harriet the Spy so many times the school librarian had to replace the “Due Date” paper at the end of the book.  My name filled the check-out card. 

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Following Harriet’s example in the book, I made notes in “private” notebooks, wrote short stories, composed poems, and filled up notebook after notebook and diary after diary.  I even made up dialogues between famous people I admired like the Kennedys during high school classes on folded pieces of notebook paper that I would slide under my books if anyone came too near. 

I abandoned my writing habit temporarily when I started college.  Working part-time, attending classes, and having a social life left little time for reflection.  It wasn’t until I had married and had my first child that I attempted to write again.  While my son was a toddler I actually wrote an entire novel.  I submitted it to several publishers but it was never accepted.  Reading it now I realize how cheesy it was, even though I have read some cheesy published novels!

When Publish America said they wanted to see a book manuscript years later I was beyond excited.  And when they said they wanted to publish it and sent me my first copy, I was even more excited.  Holding my first book in my hands, dear friends, has to be the most exciting moment of my life besides the ordinary family stuff.  I guess in a sense, holding a book you have written is like holding a baby.  It comes from your heart and soul, just like your own child!  I hope there will be many more of these moments to come.

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By the way, if you are interested in purchasing a copy of this book or my first novel Night Keeper, they are available for sale at,, and in paperback, hardcover, and ebook.

What was your most exciting moment ever?



FOLK Magazine’s Journal Challenge: My Favorite Trip of All Time

This week’s journal prompt from Folk Magazine mentions that this is the time of year when people begin planning summer vacations.  They then ask us to tell about our favorite vacation of all time, and then explain what makes it so special.

Another tough one, but out of all the family vacations I have taken in my life, first as a child with my family, then as a parent with my own children, I would have to choose the vacation that my son took me on just after he graduated from high school.

I will never forget when he asked me.
“Let’s go to New York, Mom,” he said.
I had to laugh.  “Yeah, right,” I said.
“No, really.  I’ll pay for it with my graduation money.  If you will buy the food, I will cover the hotel and flight.”
Suddenly a real live trip to a real live place that I never thought I would ever in a million years be able to visit became a possibility.  (That is SOME sentence, even for an English teacher. . .)

Soon, we found ourselves in the middle of a big ol’ city with not a clue as to how to get around.  My son is a pretty smart young man and he figured it out for us.  And this was pre-GPS and internet on your cell phone.  I will never forget the landmarks and sights we beheld, or the rush hour subway traffic and street vendors, or the way New Yorkers use their feet like Texans use their cars.  My feet were so sore one night I had to sit down in the shower!

Matt and me at Maxie’s in Times Square.  It was June, 2002.
But the thing that will stick in my mind forever is the fact that Matt invited me, his mom, to go with him when he could have invited any of his friends or other family members.  What a privilege for a mom to be included in a once-in-a-lifetime experience with her teenage son!

On Liberty Island with Manhattan behind us.  Gotta love those plaid pants!  And I was a redhead back in those days. . .
We had such a great time that I was invited AGAIN two years later to go with him and his best friend before Jordan entered the Army!
Yep, it was a great trip with a great kid.  I’d have to rank it up there as my all-time favorite.  

What would be your favorite trip of all time?


Life Memoirs miranda lambert

Wedded Life Wednesday: Ups and downs and all arounds. . .

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Last weekend hubby and I drove two hours east to see my former student and country superstar Miranda Lambert in concert.  Hubby really does not like country music at all, but he has been a trooper and accompanied me to many of her concerts.  I think the opportunity to shop at Bass Pro and eat at Fuddrucker’s was the real deciding factor, though.
Image from here–Janice Caldwell (another teacher), Miranda, and me
He took the night off from work–he is night supervisor at the local zoo–and we left early to spend the day in Shreveport/Bossier City.   We visited the nice and relatively new Louisiana Boardwalk, which borders the Red River where all the casinos are, and went to several of the shops along the boardwalk.

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The weather was perfect, although with a cold breeze, but it warmed up as the day went on.  We ended up with time to burn before the concert so we headed down “Antiques Row” which amounted to about four little antique malls.  NOT my idea of an antiques district.  Have these guys ever been to Gladewater or Jefferson, Texas?  Hubby doesn’t really like browsing antique shops either but he was patient and even showed some interest in some of the things he saw.
We then visited Horseshoe Casino and played some slots.  We limited ourselves to $20 but I came away with $68, which paid for our meal at Fuddrucker’s and a warm scarf for my neck.  It was cold!  Thanks, Jack Binion!  We are big spenders, yes? 

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Finally it was time for us to head over to the concert arena, Centurylink Center.  The doors were supposed to open at 6:30 and the concert at 7:30.  There was a huge line outside the doors, and when they finally opened, only four arena employees checked bags and tickets!  There were a few angry attendees, to say the least.  Hubby was a little annoyed.  I actually snapped at a lady who accused us of breaking in line.  Gunpowder and lead, baby!

We had no trouble finding our seats, but they were in the middle of a row, making it very difficult to move once we were seated, so I only got up once for a drink.  Teenagers were all around us, dressed in their cute little dresses and cowboy boots.  The adorable little teen girls next to hubby were the last straw on the camel’s back of patience for him.  Their constant screaming for Dierks Bentley and then Miranda Lambert, and their constant picture taking of themselves finally got to him.  His patience had run out.

When one of my favorite songs “Kerosene” began, I jumped up to sing and clap like I always do, and he tapped me and motioned for me to sit down, ruining the joy! Needless to say, I was bummed the rest of the evening, or at least toward him.

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The ride home was not amiable.  He finally explained why he had been so frustrated–which I knew anyway–and apologized, yes, apologized for ruining my night!  He felt bad about it!  I told him he didn’t ruin my night, just that song, and I would never ask him to go with me again to see a country concert.  

That was last Thursday night, almost a week ago.  Yesterday he asked me again if he had ruined my whole night.  He still felt bad about embarrassing me like he did.  

Up, down, all around.  Marriage is just like that.  Mad one minute, happy the next, ho-hum the next.  Just like life.  It’s crazy.  But I couldn’t imagine life without him.  Even if he doesn’t like my music.

Who wants to go with me next time Miranda comes to town?  I’ll need a date. . .