The last day of 2011 has finally arrived. Old people like me, call it “amateur night” and that’s the excuse we use for not going out. “It’s amateur night, I don’t want to be around all the drunks and young people who
can’t handle their alcohol.” When the truth really is that we can’t stay awake that long. In addition, that would be too many hours of drinking, and us old-timers don’t have the stamina to keep up. But most of us are too wise and proud to admit that. Take a look around the bar, or party, at 11:00 p.m., and see who is yawning. Odds are it will be an older person who is “posing” as an amateur. Don’t let the posers fool you! Also, do everyone a favor and don’t drink and drive.
Not many people remember the words to Old Lang Syne so I have written you a new song that you can sing tonight:
(New) Auld Lang Syne:
If all the lyrics you forget
Right after the first line
Don't worry 'cause you’re not alone
That's how you sing "Auld Lang Syne"!
The words are strange, I do believe
What the hell is Lang Syne?
Something about old friends
These are the lyrics forget me not
As we trash Auld Lang Syne
Have a couple shots and beer
Now plastered out of our minds!
It’s New Year’s Eve, so sing
But don’t get it wrong
Too much to drink, oh no
Can’t sing along
All the lyrics are forgot
Sing whatever comes to mind
La, la, la, la, la, la, la
Another Auld Lang Syne
The year 2011 has been phenomenal for me. I got a book deal and gained a bus load of the kindest, most wonderful people the world has to offer. I’m looking forward to driving into 2012 with all of you, I just know it will be an unforgettable ride.
Christmas break is the worst time ever to receive a manuscript to edit. Note self: always time your submissions so you receive editing tasks when
the kids are in school! (Yeah, right!)
Still Losing My Mind
With the Christmas decorations down and put away my house is spacious once again. Except now it looks boring because I boxed up “regular” house decorations when I put out the Christmas stuff and now I can’t find the boxes. Some of my walls are now completely bare.
I still need to take down the outside decorations but it’s raining so I won’t be doing that today. My house and yard were a huge OSHA violation though out the holiday. Extension cords daisy chained together with a cord across the sidewalk where someone could trip, a mass of tangled cords under the tree and various other infractions that would have gotten me a “write-up” or a good “talking to” in the past.
Yesterday I cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, out with the old and in with the new. In a former life I had the title of: Slot Master. Not many job descriptions these days have the word “master” in them. It sounds like a
professional gambler at a casino but it’s not quite that fun. In a nut shell I was responsible for the locations in a warehouse. I had to make sure every item fit by determining the cubic dimensions of the items and then looking at reports to see the fastest or slowest moving items and then to find a spot that was
appropriate for the path the fillers took.
Slotting has now become an everyday way of life for me and cleaning out the cabinets allowed me to use all of my former skills. My expiration dates have been checked, my most frequently used items are to the
front and the items I don’t use much have been moved to the back. One a slot master, always a slot master! I’m just happy I wasn’t dealing with “skunk scent”or ammunition!
After I dropped my niece off at my sisters yesterday I received a phone call. My sister wanted to know why her daughter was allowed to look at pictures of a naked woman while at my house. My niece had
described to her a naked girl where you could paint on her back and butt. She claimed she saw it in my husband’s book.
It took me a minute but then I realized she was referring to a picture she saw in a “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” book that my husband got for Christmas. An artist painted a picture of a tiger on a woman’s back and butt. I explained that that the book is totally rated “G” and we both laughed about it.
At our house Friday’s are donut days. During the week we have waffles, pancakes, fruit, sausage, toast or cereal. But this week I failed to buy donuts and now my children are claiming their lives will be forever ruined because of me. So now they are trying to convince me to let them stay in the car in their pajamas while I run into the gas-station to get some. This sounds completely crazy but I think we will do it. Crazy is a way of life around here some days. And who knows, maybe I can do some editing while they are eating their donuts.
Have a wonderful day passengers. Only 2 days left to do all the stupid things you want to get out of your systems before 2012 comes knocking on our door. Leave 2011 with no regrets. If you have something to say to someone, say it. If there is something you need to do, do it.
This morning I received a partially edited manuscript from the editor. She claims that once I edit the first few pages that she has marked, that I will be able to edit the rest of the manuscript with ease. There is a lot of red. I am not looking forward to this. I can see now why writers pay people to edit manuscripts for them. But I guess I should use this as a learning experience and as I write book number two, I can put into effect what I learned from editing book number one.
RIP Old Friend
On December 26th our big screen TV died. It was as if the “Holiday Gods” were punishing us and laughing because we spent so much money on the kids that we failed to think of ourselves. We’ve have had it for fourteen years. The TV has been around longer than my kids. It has been a fixture in many of our homes and provided many hours of entertainment, so many in fact that the Fox News logo is permanently etched on the lower left hand corner of the screen. We watched planes crash, the economy crash, 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, Y2K, the advance of technology like cell phones, televisions, iPods and hybrid cars, the first African American President get elected and the Packers win two super bowls. I laughed in front of it and cried in front of it. It’s become more like a family member than just a TV.
When we moved into our current house we were hoping to put it in the family room in the basement but it’s so large and cumbersome that it wouldn’t fit down the stairs. It couldn’t be in the living room because we already had a giant flat-screen for that room so it ended up in our bedroom just feet from the foot of the bed. We stood this monster on a hope chest so that we could see every inch of the screen. It looked like hell and would have made the editors of Better Homes and Garden’s cry but when we were in bed it was amazing, it was like having a movie theatre screen in our bedroom.
A few months ago the color started to go and people like Anderson Cooper appeared with yellow under his lips, on his forehead and on his ears. Then the blue started to go and the other night there was a flash of light and she was gone. I went down to city hall to pick up a “sticker” to place on the TV so the garbage men would pick it up. The sticker cost fifteen dollars. As I was leaving I asked the clerk if there was a special day I needed to set it out. She replied that I couldn’t dispose of it until April as they only pick up large items twice per year! So I guess she’ll still be around for a few more months. RIP TV!
From The Mouths of Babes
I had the pleasure of keeping my niece overnight last night. She is four and quite amusing and entertaining to be around. This morning she was up at 5:00 a.m. and hung out with my husband and me for our morning routine of watching the news, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. As she watched us read the paper
she said we were weird. So I asked her if she knew anyone else that read the newspaper. This was her reply: my Mom gets the paper but she just throws it in the trash, my Grandma Cheri gets the paper but she just does the puzzles and doesn’t read it and my Daddy doesn’t get the paper, he only gets bills!
Have a fantastic day passengers!
This morning as I was in the bathroom doing my hair, inserting copious amounts of bobby pins to hold it down, a song came on the radio that brought back some memories. The crazy thing about memories is that you can’t control their contents and you never know what might bring one on. The song playing was “Beer for My Horses” sung by Willie Nelson and Toby Keith, released in 2002. Every time I hear that song I think of an old boss I had while working at that big box distribution center that I often speak of, his name is Pat Wilson and I believe he still works for the big “C.”
Pat was a colorful character, not boring, smug or uptight like some managers. He taught me a lot over the years but it’s mostly the “way”he said things that stuck with me. Pat learned early on with me that I had a tendency to embellish situations; I guess that was the “writer” in me trying to escape way back when. When I began telling him of my problem or situation he would say, “Whoa, back up the truck.” That meant I needed to start over and tell my story at a slower pace because he already was questioning what I had to say. Pat also taught me about Kentucky Windage, sandbagging and when meetings were over he would wave his hand in the air and say, “be gone.” Some people might have been offended or disturbed by this but none of my co-workers were, that was just Pat. He was funny and we liked it when he told us to “be gone” because that meant the meeting was over. I don’t know why the song “Beer for My Horses” reminds me of Pat but it does and probably always will.
Sometimes things people do will also bring back a memory. A co-worker I once had worked at a Casino for several years prior to coming to work at the big “C.” If you have ever been to a casino and won money you might remember a person counting out your bills and then turning their hands palms up so you could see that they had given you all of the money. This is policy in most casinos. This person had the procedure so engrained in her head that she couldn’t shake it. Each time she handed me a piece of paper she would turn her hands palms down and then up again. It was hilarious but she couldn’t stop herself. Every time I’m at a casino I think of my friend Mindy for this reason.
I spent many years working at the big “C” and could write novels about it, but I would get sued so I won’t even go there so don’t worry. But some of the people I met and worked with have left huge impressions on me and haunt my memories; thankfully I am still friends with many of them.
A Word from Our Sponsor:
The following message appeared in my “in-box” this
Hello to all of you lovely authors! Sorry i have not been on here
much lately, i have been very busy with behind the scenes Rainstorm Press stuff. I recently published 4 anthologies, "With This Ring, I Bleed, DEAD!" "Mutation Nation" "Thirsty Are The Damned" "The Undead That Saved Christmas: Vampire Edition" all of which are now available on Amazon. I have three more anthologies to finish before the end of January, not to mention i have your books to work on. I am posting a link to Jane Isaac's book "An Unfamiliar Murder" which is currently up for pre-order, and we already have some sales!!! Jane's book is nearly completed and i will be moving on to Tammy Maas' book next. Then on to
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Let me “back up the truck” for you. Rainstorm Press publishes a lot of “horror” type novels but I want you to know that my book is not of the horror genre. It’s actually more of a “thriller” type novella with some very disturbing description. My book is not for kids or the faint of heart and that’s about all I’m going to say. How was that for some Kentucky Windage?!
Today is trash day in the quiet little city of Monticello Iowa and clear trash bags line the streets. Typically we are a 2 bag per week family but this week we have 4 bags! It also appears that our neighbors are in the same boat. I feel sorry for the trash pick-up guys today; they have their work cut out for them. Thursday is recycle day which I am also looking forward to as it took me almost 2 hours to break down all the cardboard from the gifts. I have 3 huge boxes of cardboard to recycle this week.
Many people have already taken down their tree’s and Christmas decorations, a task I have planned for myself and the children today. One thing I do that may benefit you as well is this: anything Christmas related gets boxed up for storage. This means: any clothes with a Christmas theme, jewelry, cookie cutters, dishes that are only used at Christmas, Christmas towels and dish towels, table cloths – everything that revolves around Christmas. This leaves me more storage space in my jewelry box, drawers and closets. And more space equals more room for more stuff! And next year I will know precisely where everything is.
I have also begun the daunting task of filling in my 2012 calendar. I make it more difficult than it needs to be because on every Tuesday I write “trash” and every other Thursday I write “recycle”. This is completely unnecessary because the dates never change but I am compelled to do it anyway. That way if I ever lose my mind, I will still know what’s going on! The children’s schedules are the most difficult to manage and I’m still not sure how I’m going to pull it off. One has basketball games at 5:15 and the other wrestling practice at 5:45. And then there is T-ball and bowling. January is
almost completely booked up already.
I also am “rewriting” a new address book. Many people have moved or gotten married and my address book is a mess from crossing out and writing in new addresses. Several Christmas cards were also returned because I had the wrong addresses. I did notice this year that many people decided to forego the sending of Christmas cards. Some sent e-cards or nothing at all. I don’t have a problem with that, in fact I understand completely, it’s time consuming and expensive. But I do plan to continue sending them in years to come as I love the song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” especially the line, “with every Christmas card I write.” It just wouldn’t sound the same with “with every e-card I send” or “with the Christmas cards that I won’t write.”
With a new PS3 in the house it’s entertaining to watch my husband and children play video games. Last night they were playing a shooter game where people on the Internet would jump in and try to kill their characters. My daughter claims she is not a “gun” person and wouldn’t shoot anyone. Instead she would hide and when confronted she would beat people up! She was quite good and did better than
my husband who was carrying a gun and shooting. My son decided there was too
much blood in the game and that he no longer wants to be a soldier when he grows
up. He said he wanted to be a doctor instead. I explained that some doctors have
to see blood too. He then decided that he will be a writer like me but he won’t
tell any stories that involve blood!
Have a good day passengers and thanks to Crystal Bockenstedt and Dianne Duwe for finally “liking” my Christmas Eve blog. My ego has gotten a little deflated over this past holiday but I'm sure you'll have it back in shape in no time : )
The morning after Christmas often brings regrets in abundance: hangovers, the amount of money that was spent, the gifts that were given/received, things that were/were not said, the amount of work that needs to be done to get houses back in order, boring travel, leaving loved ones behind and going back to the rat race. Christmas is a nice season to forget about everything, but eventually reality will come knocking and typically that will be today, the morning after.
I often look at the “trending” items on the Internet as it fascinates me to see what the rest of the world is thinking about. On Christmas Eve one of the top five searched items on the Internet was “symptoms of depression.” I found that really sad. I’m sure there were a lot of people who were at parties and weren’t on the Net at all on Christmas Eve, but those that were on, were not happy. Depressed at Christmas? Maybe after Christmas but not prior to! If they were depressed before it even started how are they feeling today?
Thankfully I am blessed with a wonderful family and am truly happy and have no regrets but I still wish there was a way I could have reached out to the depressed people in the world on Christmas Eve. The only thing I was depressed about was
that not one person “liked” my Christmas Eve blog. Usually I can count on Dianne
Duwe or Jackie Ward for a “thumbs-up” on Facebook or a comment or two on the
blog page but I got nothing, not one like. I guess everyone was just too bust to read my silly old blog. That really hurt my feelings as I thought it was pretty funny. So as you can tell I’m still pouting about it and having a little “hissy fit” in my head. Blogging is depressing, not Christmas.
My kids had a great Christmas but they were worried on Christmas Eve. When my daughter was “forced” to sit on Santa’s lap at the mall she got bucky and told him she didn’t want anything for Christmas. As we watched the Santa Tracker on the Internet she started to sweat. My son was truly impressed with his loot. When I asked him if he was happy with his toys his reply was, “I’m really impressed mom, with as bad as I was I thought I would only get one present but I got a whole bunch!” Way to go
We had a nice lunch, Cornish hens. The kids think it’s a hoot to have their own little chicken to eat. We had Mississippi Mud Pie for desert, yum! When I told my mother that we were having Cornish hens she said,“make sure you cook them all the way” and I could feel my cheeks start to get hot.
Twenty years ago I made Cornish hens for my parents and Grandmother when they came for a visit. I was fairly new to cooking at the time and made the mistake of taking the hens out too early. Needless to say they were not done. My father had diarrhea so bad that he had to make several stops between McGregor and Dubuque Iowa, where they lived. My Grandmother thought it was pretty funny, bless her heart.
So I screwed up, I admitted it and I moved on. But my mother never did. Even though it was twenty years ago she still had to REMIND me to “cook them all the way” before we eat them. I guess forgive and forget does not apply when salmonella is involved.
We’ll I have to go now; my son is eating Moon Dough! I Hope you had Christmas free of regret and full of life, love, laughter and lots of 'likes” on your blog too!
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the bus, the driver was nervous, making a fuss.
The book was now written, submitted and done, but what if none sold, not a single one?
The passengers were nestled, stuck to their leather seats, while tapping their toes to the radio beat.
When from the back of the bus arose such a clatter, I pulled the bus over to see what was the matter.
I pushed the “door” button and walked to the back, a stupid flat tire, this would get us off track.
The moon was huge, giant and bright and the tire was flat with no spare in sight.
When what to my crying eyes should appear, a shiny red tow truck and a guy with a beer.
On the hood of the truck was a big red bow and on the side it said, “Mistle-Tow.”
The little old driver was wasted and hairy, the tag on his shirt said that his name was Jerry.
More rapid than diarrhea his cures they came, he cussed like a sailor and lacked any shame.
He scratched and he burped and he even passed gas, he then spit tobacco in a McDonald’s collector glass.
He was covered in fur from the dog at his side and he patted the seat and offered a ride.
I politely declined, biting my lip, rubbing the pistol I had at my hip.
His eyes full of blood, red as a cherry, he said, “hello Darling, my name is Jerry.”
With his mouth full of drool and his white beard all dirty, I looked at my watch it was 11:30.
I asked him to help me, to please change my tire, I could see his shirt wet as he began to perspire.
He got out of the truck and agreed to assist, he worked very fast and nothing was missed.
I offered to pay him but he blew me off in a hurry, said, “Merry Christmas honey, there’s no need to worry.”
The Book-Writers-Express bus was ready to rock, than he reached into his pants and pulled out his clock. (I know what you were thinking- shame on you!)
“It’s time to move on my new writer friend, your book will do well you’ll see in the end.”
He gave me a Coor’s light and I opened it fast, I chugged it right down and spit on the grass.
He got into his truck and with a hand in the air; he swerved down the highway, avoiding a deer.
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, “JERRY Christmas to all and to all a good WRITE!”
I have a small correction to yesterday’s blog. My uncle Randy sent me and e-mail and reminded me that we were not on my Grandmothers porch when my awful wish came true. We were actually driving down the street following the trailer hauling the sleigh and it fell out right in front of us. He claims we even got out and helped load it back onto the trailer. That only proves one thing; my mind is also starting to go!
Yesterday I locked myself out of the house, put my daughter’s water bottle in my son’s backpack and gave them each two spoons in their lunch boxes. Christmas not only clutters the home it also clutters the mind! I would not consider myself a minimalist however it does drive me crazy to see clutter. I like the countertops in my kitchen to be clear but they are not clear: containers of cookies, a gingerbread house, a poinsettia, a centerpiece, hot chocolate mugs and the list goes on and on. And there is no other area to move these objects to because the other rooms in my house are full as well. I am so ready for Christmas and all of this “stuff” to go away.
I designated an area in a cupboard for my husband because I can’t stand it when he gets home from work and throws his keys, garage door opener, change, wallet, cell phone and other misc. junk on the counter. He claims it isn’t fair because I get to leave my purse out. I offered to buy him a purse to put his things in but he declined. I even changed it to “man bag”and he really declined.
It was a happy and joyful time when I was hauling in box after box of Christmas decorations but now I just want it to all go away. And now I dread taking all the ornaments off the tree and hauling box after box back out to the garage. There is nothing more depressing than Christmas being over and knowing you have a pile of work to do to get your house back in order. But Christmas isn’t over yet so I guess I’ll have to hold out for a few more days.
Did you see XFactor last night? I was disappointed when Melanie
Amaro won as I was hoping Josh would win. Don’t get me wrong, Melanie has an
extraordinary voice however she plans to sing Christian music with her 5 million
dollar recording contract. And that’s great for all the Christian music fans out
there but to me it’s like Christmas music, I can stand it for a short time and
then I just want it to go away. She also was rude on stage after she won and was
too busy crying and hugging her friends to talk to the host who made several
attempts. She even cried during the song she was supposed to sing at the end and
made herself look like a real amateur. You could tell that even Simon was
getting angry with her. But I still think and hope that we will hear Josh on the
Well it's crunch-time passengers, let's get this bus moving!
Enjoy the below pictures!
This is a picture of me as a baby (before my big hair came in) with a scary, frightening Santa. He is not holding me properly and you can tell I clearly feel violated in the picture.
This is a picture of my husband when he was small with a Santa at the Town Clock in the summer. He is rocking his “Trans-Am” shirt and multifunctional wrist watch. Isn’t he cute?!
Well I’ve been 43 for 16 days now and I sure am feeling it. Yesterday I was at the Fairway getting some groceries and I bent over to unload the groceries from inside the cart onto the conveyor belt and hurt my back! Then I was carrying laundry up the basement steps and pulled a muscle in my leg. This morning I got one of my “vestibular migraines” when I was in Dubuque.
I took one of my new prescription pills on the way home and my tongue started to swell up. I kept my cell phone at my side in case I had to call 911 – even though they probably wouldn’t have been able to understand me. (Elp me ma ten iss swoone!) By the time I arrived home it was half-way back to normal and my headache was gone so I guess it was worth it. I still feel kind of “foggy” though. I hope I live to see the day where they have some magic pill that will take away the pains of aging. If this is 43 I can’t imagine what 53 or 63 will bring.
While I was driving, with my life was flashing before my eyes, I began to think of Christmas memories because that must be what happens right before you die. I remembered a time, in my teen’s, when I was at my Grandma’s house on White Street. My uncle Randy and I had just finished watching a Christmas parade and we were back at the house sitting on the porch. There was a truck and trailer stopped at a stop-light in front of the house, one of the floats from the parade. On the back of the trailer was Santa’s sleigh all decked out with poinsettias, bows and gold glitter.
I said to Randy, “Wouldn’t it be cool if that sleigh fell out of the trailer?” and before I got the words out of my mouth, Santa’s sleigh was dumped onto the street, blocking traffic. Randy laughed hysterically and I was impressed with my new found special powers. I tried it again and again, wishing cars would crash and birds would fall from
the sky but none of my other wishes came to life.
So as I’m driving home I’m pondering this and wondering: what if we all get one “true” wish in life and I wasted mine on making Santa’s sleigh fall in the street? That was really a stupid way for me to waste my wish because one day I might need it; like in case I was having an allergic reaction to medicine or something.
Another memory I thought of is about Tom and Ami, my aunt and uncle. One year they decorated the outside of their house for Christmas and it was beautiful. In the dark of the night someone came and took all the decorations. They were devastated and had little kids to boot (well not to kick, maybe I should have said they had kids too.) Who does that? Who steals Christmas decorations? (And don’t say someone who wishes Santa’s sleigh would fall in the street, I was just a kid!) So anyway my Dad and his brother went out and bought them new decorations and surprised them by redecorating their house. That is the true meaning of Christmas right there.
So as Christmas Eve approaches, make sure you use your Christmas“wish” wisely as it could be the last “true” wish you ever get to make. Unless of course you have already wasted your wish on something stupid like I did. All I want for
Christmas is my wish back!
A few days ago my friend Jane posted a blog www.newbiewriters.com about where book characters come from. She told of a situation regarding her hot water heater not working and then described the plumber who came to the rescue. Believe it or not, last night my water heater stopped working! I was so focused on the plumber: his actions, his appearance and his quirks that I hardly heard anything important he said. Lucky for me my husband was at my side listening and watching intently.
The plumber was an older man with salt and pepper hair peeking out from his red and white logo cap. He wore dark blue jeans that were too short in the length and too high on his waist, a red and black flannel shirt that was tucked in too far and held up by a black leather belt that appeared to be too tight. His short pants fully exposed a pair of brown hiking boots with leather laces. He had a worried look on his face as he banged around the utility room.
I clearly told him that the element must have gone out. I was impressed with
myself for knowing what a heating element was; disgusted with the thought of it
he shook his head and announced loudly that my water heater did not have an
element. Well maybe that was the problem then? He was not at all impressed by my
stupidity and pointed to the word “gas” on the water heater. I still didn’t get
it. “Is it out of gas?” “No, it’s not out of gas; one of your pressure valves is
broken. “Can’t you hear all the water running down the drain?” I stuck my head
out in front of me so it appeared that I was listening intently and I turned an
ear toward the water heater.
He then informed my husband (he was done talking to me by that point!) that our water heater was set up improperly. The water should not be piped to a drain; it should be allowed to drain onto the floor. Now that made no sense to me and when he decided he would “fix” the problem by removing the pipe to the drain, I protested. Even though it was a utility room with a concrete floor I still didn’t understand the concept of just letting the water drain onto the floor. With his brow furrowed his face looked like a roadmap, he snapped in my direction with the bill of his hat flapping like a ducks bill, “If there is a problem with the water heater the water will drain onto the floor and you will see it. If there is a problem with the water heater and the water runs down the drain you will not see it.” I didn’t reply this time, but I wanted to say that
if the water runs down the drain I will still know there is a problem because there will be no hot water. Huh! And I didn’t even go to plumbing school to learn that.
After he informed us that our electrical system was set up incorrectly and that the water heater was vented in the wrong place and that we need a water softener, he was done and so was I. I wanted him to leave. My hot water heater was fixed, it was 8:15pm and I was ready for bed. In my head I kept chanting, “Be gone with you.” After he left he can came back once more to give me his business card in case there were further issues. “Don’t’ call the 1-800 number, just call my cell. I don’t usually do this but in this situation I will.” As he walked away I wondered why. Was I a special case not worthy to speak to the 1-800 people? Was he embarrassed at my lack of water heater knowledge? I wasn’t sure and I really didn’t care. His job is to fix plumbing
issues and mine is to write – he can thank my friend Jane for making him the subject matter in my blog today! Who knows maybe our plumbers can get together and compare notes some time.
I think the one thing I learned from this little exercise about characters is “style”. Jane writes eloquently, her words are smooth around the edges. She paints a picture and I sketch. Her words are colorful, mine are black and white. She strokes each sentence while I chisel each sentence. She is ebony and I am ivory – but we live together in perfect harmony!(sing it now)( side by side on my piano keyboard oh Lord why don’t we!) OK and I might just throw in some aniMAASity and humor every now and then too : )
If you have a chance, read Jane’s blog: www.newbiewriters.com Have a great day passengers!