Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 31st Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

First I want to wish everyone a very happy Halloween. Next I want to wish my friend Keith a very happy Birthday! Y’all know my friend Keith, the horror author. I called him last night and left a message teasing him about being cliché – a horror writer whose birthday is on Halloween. (giggle)

So, the cowgirls are off and running. My daughter and her friend slept over another friend’s house last night, and her mother did all the girls’ hair this morning for school. She did a great job. I think they look adorable! (My daughter’s the one on the left.)

I cannot believe NaNoWriMo starts TOMORROW! I still have so much to do before I start writing. I keep thinking about all of the days in November that are going to pull me away from my writing, that I am already starting to panic over getting the 50K words finished. The first day I won’t be able to write is Sunday because I am doing another book signing at Canterbury Tales.

Not a good thing to happen three days into a project, but I cannot exactly put the book signing off until December. It will be too dang cold then to be outside for five hours! Sunday will be bad enough. It is supposed to be cloudy with the high of only 52°. Burrrr!

Okay, already had a late start to the day, so now I really feel like I’m behind. I need to do more work on the never ending insurance papers and then finish the research for my NaNoWriMo project.

I hope you have a spooky day and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge:

Start your story with: It’s Mischief Night and you’ll never believe what my friends have planned.

It’s Mischief Night and you’ll never believe what my friends and I have planned. There is an older couple who live down the street from me, and as far back as I can remember, every Halloween morning, their house has been a mess. There’s toilet paper hanging from their trees, there are smashed egg guts everywhere, and one time, their mailbox and cars were shrink wrapped.

Although I found the last prank rather clever, I still felt bad for the Emersons. As I said, they were an older couple, both long since retired school teachers. I had heard the stories about them being particularly difficult teachers, but come on, enough is enough. Their last batch of students are all married with their own children in the school system, the time for this abuse to cease is long overdue.

So, here is the plan, and I will tell you the Emersons did not want to go along at first, but after we convinced them none of the mischief makers would be physically harmed, well at least no permanent damage would be inflicted, they relented. My friends and I will be lying in wait in the Emerson’s bushes. When the culprits arrive, they will be doused with foul smelling, dyed water from high powered super-soakers.
It is supposed to dip into the thirties tonight, so not only will the delinquents stink to high heaven, be stained a lovely shade of Barney purple, they should also be good and chilled by the time they reach home. Won’t they have a lovely time explaining to their parents their sorry appearance? Gee, I hope purple goes with whatever Halloween costume these kids had planned, because it will be several days before their normal skin tone returns.
Hopefully, this will put an end to the annual attacks on the Emersons. If not, I know where I will be spending next Mischief Night.

(Photos added after the ten minutes. FB folks, if you want to see the photos, you’ll need to go to my blog.)

Your Next Challenge is:

I’m going to give you a whole lot of leeway on this one. Tell us about your favorite Halloween memory. It could be a special Halloween, an extra special costume or party, tradition, whatever you want to write about.

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

What day is it??? Oh that’s right, there’s been a giraffe invasion, not a camel invasion. If you have a Facebook account, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, then it’s too silly to bother you further.

My daughter and one of her friends decided they were going to be cowgirls for Halloween tomorrow. Nice easy costume. We have all the pieces. So I was getting off easy this year, right? Wrong. Yes we have all the pieces, but not in our possession. My daughter was borrowing my son’s cowboy hat, which his girlfriend was supposed to bring over on Monday, but then couldn’t because of his mishap. Then she was supposed to bring it over yesterday, but instead she drove my son to class last night so he wouldn’t have to drive in the dark with his injured eye. I’M NOT COMPLAINING about her doing these things. It was very sweet of her to rearrange just about everything in her schedule to be able to be there for him, but this does mean I have to drive down to my son’s house today to go get the hat.

The next piece of the puzzle that’s missing is the shirt my daughter wanted to wear, a purple plaid number. She tore apart her room and all the laundry she put in the basement looking for the thing. Then, out of frustration, she asked if I thought her sister took the shirt with her to college. Since I can’t keep track of my own things, I had no idea. I shrugged and sent a text to my other daughter. Yup, you guessed it. The shirt is in Vermont. Now other than my forty minute ride to my son’s house today, I have a trip to Kohl’s on my “to do” list. Well, at least I know where my cowboy boots are…

So, I am going to have my second cup of coffee, take a quick shower and get my day rolling. I hope you have a fantastic day and happy writing!


Your Last Challenge was (this is the challenge I offered as homework while I was covering the class for Keith, but the group mutinied and would not do it):

Write you own obituary 

Christina, just like she always said she would do, left this Earth on the anniversary of her birth. She would say, “This way I’m not messing up anyone’s day but my own.” In life Christina wore many hats. She was a mom, a wife, a coach, a writer and a friend. Although she never conquered her stage freight, she sang in her church choir on Sundays. She enjoyed music, baking, cooking, reading, writing, painting, and playing silly games on her computer, but most of all, she enjoyed spending time with her family. She left this world with a messy house, dishes in the sink and laundry to be done, but a freezer stocked with meals to get her family through the next millennium and her final story completed and submitted to her publisher.

There will be no wake or funeral for Christina, however, on June 23rd, all who knew her, are asked to participate in a celebration of her life. She wanted a “good old fashioned Irish funeral”. We ask that you bring photos and stories to share; the good, the bad, and undoubtedly the irreverent. Christina has asked for her ashes to be scattered in the places she loved and the ones she never had a chance to visit while she was alive. Please take whatever money you would have used for flowers and spend it on doing something fun with your family.

Okay, I really don’t see what the big deal was about writing your own obituary. This has been used as a creative writing assignment in colleges forEVER. I remember doing it when I was in college, and that was over twenty-five years ago. It didn’t kill me then, and I seriously doubt it is going to kill me now, and if it does, I have until April 1st anyway. I don’t see it as a negative thing; I see it as a reflection of how we see ourselves and how we hope to be remembered. If there is a disparity from how we are to how we want to be, we recognize it and can work to fix it before it is too late. Think Scrooge, not Grim Reaper. Whatever, to each their own. I hope some of you took up my challenge.

Your Next Challenge is:

Start your story with: It’s Mischief Night and you’ll never believe what my friends have planned.

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

Well, I definitely have more grey hair today than yesterday! My son, I love him to death, but he is such a KLUTZ! Like every other male on both sides of our family, he enjoys tinkering with cars. Last night, he was home alone and adjusting something or not on the used Jeep he purchased two weeks ago. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but somehow a screwdriver fell off of wherever he had it balanced and hit him right in the eye. (I will spare you the photo he sent.)

He drove himself to the emergency room, which was at least ten more grey hairs worth of information. Note to readers: PLEASE do not work on ANY projects – cars, roof, tree branches, etc. – when no one else is home with you. Then I found out he went to a hospital where I wouldn’t bring a stray dog to be saved. They are horrible, and as far as I’m concerned, responsible for killing BOTH of my grandmothers. I hope that after it all turns grey, falling out is not the next step!

Anyway, they did a CAT scan, and his eye is ok, it should heal just fine, but it looks horrible at the moment. They gave him some pain killers and some antibiotic eye drops, and a note that he should stay out of work through Thursday. Knowing my son, he may take a pain killer or two, he’ll do the drops for a few days (I will be riding him daily on this one so he actually completes the cycle of antibiotics this time), and he’ll be back at work tomorrow, if not today already. After being out for several weeks in August because of his back injury, he won’t want to miss any more time.

Yup, I’ll be hitting the Miss Clairol before my gig this weekend. Did your mom ever say, “I hope you get one just like you, then you’ll appreciate what I went through!”? Well, I apparently got three just like me, so my mom must have said it too many times. All of my kids are as accident prone as I was, and they’re not showing any signs yet of getting better. Perhaps it would have been wise of me to buy stock in one of the hair dye companies years ago…

I hope you have a wonderful day and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:



Rare for this time of year, but here it comes, and it’s going to be a doozy. The clouds started thickening and darkening about an hour ago, and then they took on an ominous peach glow. As the wind picked up, the sway of the branches dislodged the remaining autumn leaves and blew them into spiraling mini vortexes.

As the distant rumbles of thunder began, we scurried about the yard to ensure every possible projectile was secured. When the outside was as safe as we could make it, we moved indoors, and as we prepared for the worst, we continued to hope for the best. Flashlight batteries we checked, candles and matches were unearthed, the tub was filled with water, and a hasty dinner was prepared as the thunder grew progressively closer and it was joined by brachial flashes of lightening.

The deafening sound had us cover our ears and close our eyes. The house shook. The lights flickered …once…twice…then went out, plunging us into near total darkness. The storm was upon us. The wind howled and the distinctive ping on the windows announced hail had accompanied the now torrential downpour. With the threat this rogue autumn storm was more than predicted, we elected to ride it out in the basement, just in case.


Your Next Challenge is (this is the challenge I offered as homework while I was covering the class for Keith, but the group mutinied and would not do it):

Write you own obituary 

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

Yup, it’s Monday. I’m thankful I felt well enough last night to attend my father-in-law’s birthday celebration. We had almost everyone there for dinner. It was a little strange not having my daughter there; this was the first family event she wasn’t able to attend because she’s at college. I know this will be happening a lot now, but the first time is always weird – at least it is for me.

Hit a milestone this morning. I now have 200 followers on Twitter – imagine that – and I have followed back all except one. I don’t just automatically follow someone because they are following me. I actually go on to their page, determine the best I can that they are not an axe murderer or something, and then I will follow them. This one person’s page is written in a language I do not recognize, and I even tried plugging in their blurb into some translation software, but it is difficult to have something translated into English when you are merely guessing as to which language you are starting out in – my first two attempts did not work, so I gave up. Hey, I tried…

I will not be doing any writing today, well except for this blog. Today I am going to focus on getting the house in order and doing the grocery shopping. Then with that and some laundry done, I can write guilt free for a few days. Okay, it’s almost 10:30, so if I plan on getting anything accomplished today, I best get moving. I hope you have a wonderful day and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Your best friend is retiring and you are asked to give a speech at the retirement party.

I’ve known John since large reptiles roamed the Earth and fire was our latest technology. It’s hard to believe anyone was ever stupid enough to hire John, let alone allow him to work at their company for over thirty five years and become their managing director. Oh, if you only knew…and guess what? Since you can’t really do much about it now, I’m going to tell you a little something about your retiring director.

He’s if not the son of, and he isn’t because his dad was the nicest guy in the world, he is at least related to the Devil himself. That man right there, the one you all trust and love, has a mischievous streak a mile wide. The trouble he used to get me into while we were growing up would make any parent in this room cringe and be thankful he was not their son.

Hey John, anyone here ever hear about the time you locked our football coach in the port-a-john at the championship game and how the other team’s fans tipped the port-a-john, and then our bus driver wouldn’t let the coach back on the bus for the ride home because he stunk so bad? Or what about that time in college when you got into the professor’s computer and translated her only copy of the English final into Italian? Betchya you never shared any of those stories did you?

Yes folks, there is a lot about John you don’t know, and I could go on for hours, but I won’t. Because, as funny as some of these stories are, you already know the most important parts of John. He’s honest and faithful, kind, hardworking and fair. John never encountered a stranger, merely a friend he had not yet met. Over sixty years of friendship can attest to how good a friend John can be. So here’s to you buddy. May you have a long and adventuresome retirement. You have well-earned your time to play.

Your Next Challenge is:



You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 27th

Hi, it’s Christina – 

Not feeling well today, so I am not even going to attempt the writing challenges, sorry. I’m not even going to church today. My choir director is going to kill me. This means I’m going to be missing two weeks in a row. The wind and the cold yesterday took their toll on my voice and my stomach is also acting up, so it would be hard to sing with no voice and from the bathroom. I get glares in two weeks, but she’ll forgive me. 
In spite of the cold and lack of actual sales, we had a great time yesterday. Tons of people took our cards and paperwork, so we all will more than likely see a spike in our Kindle sales this week. The same thing happened last time as well.

The neat thing this time was two different people who stopped at my table told me they already had Taking Chances on their Kindle, and one of the people had read it already – and she wasn’t just saying that, she actually made relevant comments about the book, and when I asked, she agreed to post a review on Amazon for me. She also said after finishing Taking Chances, which she downloaded while I was doing one of the free promotions, she went and purchased A Second Chance because she wanted to see how the series all started. She also started bugging me about the release date for Simply By Chance.

That alone would have made yesterday worth freezing my butt off for five hours, but as I said, she was only one customer who I chatted with. She had two friends with her who took my business card and told me they would be downloading my books as well.

Keith, Linda and I worked so well as a team. Whenever someone stopped by any of us, we all talked about each other’s work, not just our own. It’s an easy thing to do when we are all fans of each other’s writing. And, even though our writing genres are different, we each have elements of the other’s in our own pieces. Other than hard core non-fiction readers, we had something to offer everyone who passed.
As I said before, I’m really not feeling well, so I am going to head back to be for a few hours. I hope you have a Super Sunday (this concludes the alliterations) and Happy Writing!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

Good morning! The blog is going to be short and sweet today, because I have to leave by nine to get to Canterbury Tales Forever by ten. I don’t have anything packed yet. Ok not completely true, the books are already boxed, but they have been since the last signing. But other than the books, I need to get everything else ready, shower, do my hair and make-up, find clothes that I won’t be freezing this morning and then sweating my ears off this afternoon, pack a lunch, and load the car. Yikes! I have a lot to do and only a little over an hour to do it.

If you go on my website, under the events tab, there is a map feature, if you need directions to Canterbury Tales Forever. I hope some of you will come out today. It is a gorgeous day and if you have never been to Peddler’s Village, it would be a treat. If this weekend doesn’t work out for you, next weekend is the Apple Festival, I will be there on Sunday. Both Keith and Linda will be joining me again as well. If you were interested in the book Monty (the Christmas dog children’s book I told you about a few weeks ago), Sam will be at Canterbury Tales Forever next Saturday.

Yikes again! I really have to run. Hope you stop by to say “Hi”, hope you have a Stupendous Saturday, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Tell a story, pick any subject you want, but no word you use can be more than five letters long. 

Gina is a sweet lady with long dark hair and eyes. Her hubby, Tom, also has dark hair, but he has green eyes. They wed four years ago and now they are with child. They can’t wait to see who he or she will look like.
The time comes. After many hours and much pain, he is here; tiny, red, bald and pruny with grey eyes. He does not look like mom or dad, but he is the love of their life. Guess they will just have to wait some more to see who he will look like.

Holy who-ha, that was hard! I don’t know how many times I had a word that was more than five letters, so I needed to find a replacement. Some I couldn’t think of anything that would work and I had to scrap the entire sentence. Ten minutes to write eight sentences. Today’s challenge will be easier…

Your Next Challenge is:

 Your best friend is retiring and you are asked to give a speech at the retirement party.

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

Yesterday was a great day. I finished editing a story for a friend, dinner came out yummy even though I didn’t get to eat it until nine o’clock, and I attended a symposium at Princeton University where I only had to look up one word they used in the presentation. (I thought I knew what the word meant, but it did not make sense to me in the context the speaker was using it. I looked the word up, and I did know the definition, so now I’m really confused because what she was talking about was pretty much an antonym to the word she used.)

Whatever, I’m just happy I was able to hold my own at such a prestigious house of learning. I was fearful all the speakers would be using $3 words because they thought they were supposed to because we were at Princeton. It’s funny, I’ve watched lectures from a few ivy league schools, some regular universities, and even one course from Oxford (research for books comes from all sorts of resources), and there are some speakers out there who I swear are just trying to impress folks or make themselves feel superior by using words 95% of people do not know. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate learning a new word or two, but I don’t want to have to look up every third word used. As far as I’m concerned, when a writer or speaker does that, I consider them a pretentious snob and I really don’t care what they have to say, so I tune them out. I don’t think it is wise to make your audience feel stupid; in fact, it’s counterproductive.


Have you ever had the chance to meet someone you admire and they turn out nothing like you expected or you are disappointed with who they really are when you see them in person? It has happened to me on a few occasions, but I am HAPPY to say, that was not the case last night. I had the opportunity to meet two fabulous authors last night, one of which I have admired for quite a few years, Ms. Eloisa James.


At first I was rather nervous about approaching her, but I wanted to thank her in person for the advice and words of encouragement she has given me over the past two years while I was starting my writing career. Eloisa is not only an award winning, bestselling, author, she is a college professor with more letters after her name than a beachcombing airplane. She has degrees from Harvard, Yale and Cambridge, and she’s literally brilliant. As I came to discover last night, she is also extremely approachable, witty, and undeniably down to earth.


The other author I met last night was Ms. Jennifer Crusie. Again, another well educated (but she doesn’t have her PhD even though folks keep saying she does), award winning, bestselling, gifted author. She was also one of our speakers last night. Let me tell you, she’s hysterical and she tells it like it is; no candy-coating for Ms. Jenny. I loved listening to her talk and to hear the bantering going on between her and Eloisa during the round table discussion. The two of them together are a stitch.

So, that alone, plus getting to meet some other wonderful people at the symposium, made for a pretty great evening, right? Well guess what, it didn’t end there. When I got home last night, I fired up my computer to see what I missed while I was away, and I received several more items which catapulted my day from great to AMAZING.

I have a brand new cousin (several times removed on my husband’s side, but as far as I’m concerned, more family to love). Please meet Miss Francesca Rose. She took her sweet old time getting here, but we are all happy she has finally arrived. Baby, Mommy Kaitlyn and Daddy Michael are all doing well.

But wait, it didn’t stop there. Several months back I helped another author with a children’s story she wrote on bullying. (Honestly, all I did was help her reposition a few stanzas to help maintain the cadence of the story. I don’t even think it took me an hour before I returned her piece to her.) Anyway, she sent me a note saying her story was going into production. I am so thrilled for her. It is a wonderful story and I’m glad it will have the opportunity to be shared with the world.

Guess what, there’s more. I received an email notice that another author I absolutely LOVE is following ME on Twitter! This blows my mind even though it has happened several times now. Now if I can figure out a way to actually meet my “idols” in person instead of just online, I’d be a happy, happy girl.

Needless to say, after all the excitement yesterday, I had a really hard time winding down to be able to get some sleep, so I’m a bit tired this morning, but I still woke up smiling. Even the dog getting sick on the living room rug this morning has not put a damper on my good mood.

Today is an amazingly glorious day, so I think I will wash my blankets and get them hung out on the line so they are all fresh for the upcoming cold weather. Then I want to do the research for the book I will be writing for NaNoWriMo. There are several Gaelic terms which I will be using as the names of the different kingdoms in the story, so I need to find them, and I also need to brush up on my Irish folklore before I get started. I can’t believe NaNoWriMo starts in a week!

I hope you have a FABULOUS Friday, and if you happen to be near Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA tomorrow, please stop by Canterbury Tales Forever and say “Hi!”. I will be there with authors K. Edwin Fritz and Linda Rawlins from roughly 10 – 3. Happy writing!


Your Last Challenge was:

 Write a story using the following three words, Lily, Anger, Murder

The official ruling was suicide, but anyone who knew Lily, even casually, knows there was no way she could have done what they say she did. She had two amazing children whom she adored, a job she loved and the people there loved her, and a generally sunny outlook on life in general. True she had been having some health issues before her death, but they weren’t life threatening and she was facing them with grace and determination. A few weeks before she died, she had had knee surgery on both of her knees, so it was extremely difficult for her to walk. Even short distances caused her pain, and if it happened to be one of her physical therapy days, she could barely move after her secession. The day she died was a therapy day, so there was no way she could have physically walked the two miles to the train tracks.

No, Lily didn’t commit suicide, she was murdered, and although I can’t prove it, I’m pretty sure I know who did it. It makes me so angry, no, furious that her good-for-nothing husband still walks around town, still works at the same place, still is able to have a life, when everyone knows he is the one who drove Lily to those tracks. He is the one who left her there with no way to get to safety. But for some reason, the case was rubber stamped and no investigation ensued. It’s not like the husband came from money or prominence, he’s just your average Joe. Well, maybe not so average if he did what we all suspect he did, then go about his business as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

He makes me sick every time I see him. All I have to say is, he may have gotten away with it for now, but eventually he will have to answer to a higher authority, and I doubt that authority will be as easily fooled.


Your Next Challenge is (I think this one is going to be difficult and the responses are going to be short, but have fun with it):

 Tell a story, pick any subject you want, but no word you use can be more than five letters long.

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24th

Hi All - Spent the morning editing a story for a friend and now I need to get dinner prepared (I won't be home until late) and start getting ready for a symposium I am attending at Princeton University later today. I will do an actual blog post tomorrow. (I couldn't think of a good alliteration to use to wish you a great Thursday anyway.) Chat with you tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23rd Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

There were twelve of us at the writer’s group last night. Well, I should say twelve of us who stayed. One lady left before anyone even said a word to her, one gentleman left when he realized the group was not a workshop and not really what he was looking for, and the third gentleman left when he received a text telling him there was a family emergency. He left part way through the first prompt, but I think we may see him again in the future.

We tried something a little different last night in the writing group. Instead of doing one ten minute prompt and then sharing what we wrote, I had the group do four ten minute prompts in rapid succession and then we discussed them. I figured by putting all the prompts together, and not breaking in between, we could keep the flow going.

I think it went well, but if I do this in the future I will only have three prompts in the beginning and not four. I felt bad for the folks who were actually writing and not typing. Their wrists must have been sore after forty straight minutes of writing.

Finally we ended with one fifteen minute prompt and then another discussion, so it would only be sharing time and not writing time which was interrupted by the “get your junk and get out” announcements kicking everyone out of the library. Turned out the first announcement came really late and we had just finished the last reading.

I did cheat and use yesterday’s writing challenge as one of the prompts last night, and I pulled the others from previous blogs. Some were received more favorably than others. Oh well, I tried. You are not going to be able to please everyone all the time. It gave me a feel for what it will be like to run my own group. It is going to be difficult to come up with multiple prompts on a weekly basis. I only have so many in reserve. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I did receive an email reply from the FBI with a request for more specific information, so I will be working on that today. I was shocked at how quickly I receive a response, so if the next response comes just as quickly, I will be able to finish Corporate Blues by the end of the month.

Okay, I am going to go take some sinus medicine before the pressure makes my head explode, and then I’m going to start the email. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, and happy writing!


Your Last Challenge was:

Write a letter from your future adult self to yourself as a teenager.

Knowing me, and obviously I do, you are not going to believe this when you find it, but it’s real. For reasons I cannot get into, I was given the opportunity to give my teenage self some advice. Advice YOU MUST LISTEN TO.

I know you still are thinking this is a bunch of crap and either Cheri or Lisa are playing a trick on you, so I am going to tell you things you know you haven’t told anyone. Like when Toby snuck back to our house after he walked Lisa home; his excuse was he forgot something, but what he really wanted to do was kiss you.

And then there is the coffee can under your bed that holds all your money and your Marlboro reds, which you should really give up now, because we are still struggling with them in the future. They were a stupid thing to start, and why? To impress Sue? Let me tell you now, she turns into a good for nothing white trailer trash, piece of dung, who ends up before she’s thirty. She’s not someone you should associate with. And while we’re at it, when she asks you for $50, don’t give it to her. She is not getting her sister a graduation gift; she uses the money to go from pot to the harder stuff.

Do you believe me yet? I hope so because here is the reason for the letter. I know you love Paul, and he does turn out to be a wonderful husband and father, but don’t give up the Air Force Academy for him. You are intelligent and gifted and talented, so you do turn out fine, but not going to the Air Force is the one regret you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Paul loves you, really loves you, and although he will be sad while you are away, he will wait for you, and you will get married, have three beautiful children, and have a wonderful life together.  

Your Next Challenge is:

 Write a story using the following three words, Lily, Anger, Murder

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22nd Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

Mornin’! Even with three bathroom breaks, two gas stops (I only put a few gallons in each time because I had an issue with paying $0.60 & $0.45 more a gallon then at home) and one stop at Panera to pick up soup for lunch, I made it home in six and a half hours. That’s not saying I wasn’t exhausted and crashed and burned when I got home, because I did, but the whole ferry route definitely saved time.

Today my back and legs are a bit sore and I have a mark from where the seatbelt was rubbing on my collarbone. I am not meant to drive fifteen hundred miles in four days, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat if it meant spending time with my daughter! My next road trip isn’t until November 22nd when I go get her for Thanksgiving, but since she doesn’t have to go back until December 1st, it shouldn’t be too bad. Let’s just hope the weather cooperates.

There is definitely a nap in my future today. Without one, I don’t think I would be able to stay awake for my writing group, and I’m running it tonight, so I kinda need to be an active participant. Keith, the leader of our group, is away on a week-long camping trip with his students. Monday – Wednesday half the 8th grade class goes and Wednesday – Friday the other half of the 8th grade class goes. It’s basically a team building retreat for thirteen year olds. Keith says he and the kids love it, and I’m sure they do, but I’m not sure I could handle a week with four hundred thirteen year olds! I shudder at the thought! God Bless teachers. I couldn’t do what they do, that’s for sure.

I have a zillion things to do today, so I better get started. I hope you have a terrific Tuesday, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:


Do you have a point in your trip which signals you are almost at your destination? A particular land mark you spot where your heart does a little flutter and your brain screams, “almost there”? Over the years I have had several. Years ago, it was the sight of the Twin Towers as my plane was about to land. It signaled the end of a conference, a business trip and even a European excursion. It meant I would be home soon.

When I was a teenager, I’d often take trips to the shore and we would travel the back roads to get there. We’d have to make a right at a farm, and that road eventually wound its way to the highway which led to the beach. On our second trip, we weren’t exactly sure where the turn was, so we were watching carefully so we wouldn’t miss it. As we neared the farm, my girlfriend Laurie said, “There’s the turn. I remember the cow.” and the rest of us started laughing hysterically. She had no idea why we were laughing until we pointed out that cows moved. On all subsequent trips we would rib Laurie if she saw her cow. One time I told her we couldn’t turn because the cow wasn’t there.

On trips to Florida, the sight of the Mickey Mouse telephone pole was our land mark. To this day, whenever one of us or one of the members of the other family who went with us on that first trip sees the telephone pole, we take a photo and text it to the others with “MICKEY MOUSE TELEPHONE POLE” as the comment. The random texts make us smile and remember the wonderful vacation which started it all.

Now, the sight above, tells me I am almost to my daughter’s college. In less than an hour, I’ll be able to see her, to give her a hug. The remaining drive time goes both quickly and slowly, and it is filled with anticipation which wasn’t as prevalent in all the hours preceding that point in the trip.

So whether it is South of the Border, the Maryland House rest stop on Route 95, Big Bird and Elmo on the water tower, or the first glimpse of Penobscot Bay after cresting the hill, there will always be certain things which make my heart sing “almost there”.
(I did add all the photos AFTER the ten minute time limit.)

Your Next Challenge is:

Write a letter from your future adult self to yourself as a teenager.

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.