Mother’s Day Gratefulness

I read a blog yesterday written by a woman who was condemning Mother’s Day. She said it makes women who are not mothers feel bad. She also said she’s raising her son to not observe Mother’s Day because she doesn’t want him to feel obligated to buy her anything.

First, I think the woman is a gigantic twit. What about all the other kids making special construction-paper gifts at school for their moms? Is he supposed to sit in the corner and not make one, because she doesn’t want a gift? She’s obviously got emotional problems that need to be addressed, and she’s teaching her son to be ungrateful. If we’re not grateful for what we have in our lives, then we are doomed to be chronically unhappy. Perhaps he can find another nurturer to give his dandelion bouquet to.

lambSecond, there are also maturity issues here because Mother’s Day is not about buying gifts or getting gifts. It’s about giving. It’s also not about being a biological mother and feeling bad if you’re not one. It’s about thanking the person who nurtured you, who pointed you in the right direction, who loved you unconditionally. Hopefully, we all have someone who did that for us.

 

From a mother’s viewpoint, raising children (even furry ones) is not an easy job. It’s often painful and sometimes feels futile, but we do it. Do you know why we do it? Because we love. And love is the most important thing on the Earth. I don’t expect or need anything from my family in return, but I know what they will do on Mother’s Day. My daughter will send flowers and/or chocolate-covered something because she knows I love chocolate. My son will call late in the day and claim he forgot it was Mother’s Day. He will simply say, “I love you.” I raised them. I know what they’re like. My husband will buy me something to show he’s thankful for the way I raised the kids. Obviously I’m not his mother, but he’s showing his gratitude. I don’t need anything from them, but the moments of acknowledgement are sweet. They tell me the pain and futility of the job was worth it.

 

lionBack to the woman’s blog. If you haven’t done that painful job, why would you feel bad when other women who have done the job get special treatment and you don’t? Doesn’t make sense. The holiday is not about getting, remember? Get off your immature, egocentric horse, and go find someone to be nice to. Buy them a flower. Give them a hug. Call them late in the day and claim you forgot it was Mother’s Day but you just wanted to say, “I love you.”

 

Sure, some people, like me, don’t have a mother any more. Some mothers have lost children and grieve them on Mother’s Day. Some people have mothers who they wished they didn’t have. No one’s life is perfect. But, that’s no reason to squash the love that comes out on Mother’s Day.

To all you nurturers out there in the blogosphere – Thank you for loving someone and making the world a better place. Happy Mother’s Day!

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The Backstory of the STUCKEY’S BRIDGE TRILOGY

Here’s a little background on the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy.

stuckey's bridge from VA Iron and Bridge Co on wikiMy childhood: I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi and heard the legend of Stuckey’s Bridge my whole life. It actually began in a book about the area written in the 1970s. The local paper, The Meridian Star, picked up on the legend from the book and the story spread like wildfire. The bridge instantly became THE place to party on the weekends, searching for ghosts and frightening girls into cuddling closer. (If you want to go there: head south out of Meridian on Interstate 59. Turn right at exit 142, then a quick left onto Meehan-Savoy Road. Travel 2.2 miles until you see a dirt road on your left. That is Stucky Bridge Road. The bridge will be about two miles down the dirt road. It is now closed, so you’ll have to turn around to leave. After you read the following legend, you may not want to go.)

The legend goes: In the late 1800s, a former member of the Dalton Gang came to Lauderdale County, Mississippi to find his fortune. He opened an inn near the Chunky River and stood on the old wooden bridge at night, flagging down merchants with his lantern, offering them a warm bed and a hot meal. Supposedly, he murdered his victims in their sleep and buried their bodies on the banks of the river. In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding the old bridge and the bodies were discovered. The innkeeper, Old Man Stuckey as he is known to the locals, was hung by a posse from the iron rails of the new bridge.

Stuckey's cover_webIf you know me, you know I couldn’t stop searching until I figured out who this Old Man Stuckey really was…that became the first book in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy, THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE. (Check out the book trailer…creepy!)

unnamedWhile writing the story, I didn’t want Old Man Stuckey to be alone all the time, so I had him run across a young boy named Levi. In the story, young Levi took on a creepiness all his own, and I received tons of emails and messages asking what Levi’s past was. As usual with my overactive imagination, I was more interested in his future than his past, so I wrote STUCKEY’S LEGACY: THE LEGEND CONTINUES. At the end of that book, Levi “got his” and the story focused on the young woman he met during the story, Penelope Juzan.

Back to my childhood: There was a second legend around the area where I grew up. Supposedly there was an inn on Lake Juzan in the 1840s where an innkeeper murdered his guests for wealth, much like Old Man Stuckey. The man’s name was Pierre Juzan, and he dumped the bodies in the lake with the help of his Indian sidekick. Toward the end of the legend, one of them killed the other for the wealth of gold they had confiscated.

Side note: There were also a couple different accounts of trunks of confederate gold disappearing as they traveled through the area during the Civil War.

I thought all these stories had a similar thread, and I wondered if I could separate them.

stuckey Gold Cover smallBack to the trilogy: I came to the conclusion that these legends were indeed different stories, but thought they were probably connected in some way. Those crazy ideas in my head became the third book in the trilogy, STUCKEY’S GOLD: THE CURSE OF LAKE JUZAN. 

These tales tickled me pink while writing them, and I hope you enjoy them too!

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Update: October 1st release of – The Complete Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy  available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon. Click HERE!

Lori Crane Books at Amazon

It’s Constitution Daaaaayyyyyy!

Well, how can you not be excited about that? …especially if you say it like the radio announcers waking Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.

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What in the world is Constitution Day? I’m glad you asked.

It is the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution (this year being the 226th) and a congressionally-mandated law (passed in 2004), requiring all schools that receive federal funding offer an educational moment on the Constitution. Funny, of all the things the Constitution mandates, public education is not among them.

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So, what IS the Constitution?

It’s a document stating how our country should be run, beginning with the Preamble (kind of a mission statement) and followed by seven Articles (the rules, if you will).

The first three Articles separate our government into three branches so that one branch does not have anymore power than the others.

The fourth and sixth Articles lay out the foundation for relationships between the states and to the federal government.

The fifth provides instructions for amending the Constitution. (Since its inception, it has been amended twenty-seven times.) And the seventh provides instructions for ratifying the Constitution.

It was written in 1787, and not everyone was happy with it at the time. A feeling that continues through today.

“I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.”
–Benjamin Franklin, 1787

You can get a FREE pocket-size Constitution (with $3 shipping) if you go HERE.

In my humble opinion, there are not more powerful words in America than the Preamble.

flagWe, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Wow!

Wednesday Writer’s Corner – August 21, 2013

Swimming in a Turquoise Sea of Jumbled Lyrics    

  *or*

Why Don’t You Just Hire an Editor?

“The sky was the color of a bruised palette…”

Road-Cloudy-Sky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was reading an intense, frightening chase scene when the above sentence appeared. It stopped me dead in my tracks and has stuck in my mind for a long, long time. I assume the writer meant the sky was filled with blue and gray clouds, but he could have meant someone’s mouth was bruised from getting punched in the face. Obviously, I don’t know the difference in spelling between the roof of your mouth and the board used to mix paints. Either way, it took me out of the story. I began thinking about painter’s palettes and how they can’t get bruised, because they’re made of wood.

I’m not only going to pick on that writer. I’ve done it myself. While running from a murderer through the foggy forest, my character “looked up into the black arms of the haunted trees.”

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Fortunately, I have a fabulous editor who crossed it out in bold, bright red. I thought it was pretty clever, but I could almost hear her yelling “WTF?” all the way from her office in California.

An editor will kick your artistic butt, but they will make you look good. They will correct your grammar, your punctuation, your point of view, tighten up your wonky dialog (as above), and if you give them enough latitude, they will do heavy copy editing and replace your poor choice of words, repair your jumbled scenes, and restructure your paragraphs. They will also check your facts and your timeline. In one book, I mentioned Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a story that took place two years before he was knighted. My editor caught it and deleted the ‘Sir’ from his name. Deep in my heart, I know she’s worth far more than I pay her.

There’s only one bad thing about a good editor. When you get your manuscript back with more corrections than your ninth-grade English term paper, you will feel like you should never write again. But you have to shake that off. Editors do what they are paid to do, and it has nothing to do with your talent or your feelings.

Stephen King has an editor. You should too.

(The above photos are from thewallpapers.org and flickriver.com.)

Liebster Award

 

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A big thank you to Denise Hammond for honoring me with the coveted Liebster Award. Check out her blog here. We met during the April A to Z Challenge. She blogs, she photographs, she travels…always new and awesome things on her blog…and she’s a fellow Michigander, so we share a deep love for Michigan weather. (That was sarcasm. Do we have a font for that?)

First thing is 11 unknown facts about me, then 11 questions posed by Denise, then my 11 nominees and the 11 questions I pose to them.

11 UNKNOWN THINGS ABOUT ME:

1. I’m a work-a-holic. (That may actually be known to many of you.)

2. I’m right-handed, but I play baseball left-handed.

3. I am a certified nutritionist and a personal trainer.

4. My favorite singer is Paul Rogers from Bad Company.

5. I’m a GREAT cook!

6. I’m an only child and an orphan.

7. I’ve spent approximately ¼ of my life on airplanes, in hotels, and on tour buses.

8. I’m an eternal optimist, unless I’m tired, then I’m sure the world will end in the next thirty minutes.

9. I couldn’t survive a day without creating something.

10. I’m a numbers freak.

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11. Excedrin is my best friend.

11 QUESTIONS FROM DENISE:

1.  If you could receive any award in the world, what would it be? Winning a Pulitzer would be nice, wouldn’t it?

2.  If you could run for any election and win, what would you run for? I wouldn’t like to run for anything; the current political arena is far too nasty for me.

3.  Assuming it is raining for days on end and you are stuck at home, what would you do to wile away the time? Sleep, work on my next novel, cook something, and play dumb games on the computer.

4.  Describe yourself in one word. Tired…Oh, no, wait, you probably mean in general…Organized.

5.  What is the most fun you have ever had?  (keep it clean) In high school, our choir sang at Greenfield Village for a holiday function. When we finished, we spent the whole day running around, goofing off, and laughing like crazy. That was the silliest day ever!

6.  What place to visit is number one on your bucket list? Egypt. I’d love to visit the pyramids.

7.  What food is your ‘guilty pleasure’? It’s a toss-up between chocolate and bacon. Maybe chocolate covered bacon. Yum.

8.  If you could be a character in someone’s novel, which author (living or dead) would you choose? E. B. White – I would love to be the spider in Charlotte’s Web. She was wise beyond her years and had the patience of a saint.

9.  The beach or the mountains for vacation? I work a lot at resorts and on cruise ships, so MY vacation is definitely the mountains.

10.  If you could own any car, what would you drive? A two-door black Jaguar with the little kitty emblem on the hood.

11.  I stated in a previous blog that if I won the lottery I would buy an Aston Martin DB9 (I’m drooling right now).  What would you ‘splurge’ on if you won the lottery? I’d hire a cook. I love fresh, homemade, wholesome food, but don’t always have the time to put it together.

MY 11 NOMINEES:

Miss Samantha Jill 

Bottled Worder

Explore Newness

Dadicus Grinch

Wiley’s Wisdom

Author Angie Skelhorn

A Hundred Years Ago

Ellis Nelson

John W. Howell

11 QUESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO ACCEPT THIS AWARD:

1. If you could do anything right now, what would it be?

2. Why aren’t you doing it?

3. What’s your favorite band or favorite song?

4. Are you a people person?

5. What was your very first job?

6. Where was the best place you ever visited?

7. If they offered free trips to the moon, would you go?

8. PB&J or BLT?

9. What one thing reminds you of high school? (good or bad)

10. What will you be doing 20 years from now?

11. What do you hope will be mentioned in your eulogy?

Wednesday Writer’s Corner – May 15, 20something

Wednesday Writer’s Corner

Disclaimer:

I’m a little bitchy today, so I’m standing on my soapbox with a noose around my neck.

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Here are my favorite questions from self-published authors on an ebook forum:

How do I get reviews? Why isn’t my book selling? How do I get paid? What should I charge for my book? How can I get a bad review removed? How long will it take to get an agent to notice me?

Are you kidding?

I’ll just be blunt. You have not done your homework. You should stop writing immediately, sell your computer, and take up needlepoint. How many books have you bought on self-publishing? Have you had anyone proofread your blurb? How many articles have you read on marketing? Formatting? Cover Design? Let me guess. Zero.

All right…I’ll give you the short soapbox answers:

How do I get reviews? Sell books.

Why isn’t my book selling? You have no reviews.

How do I get paid? Get a real job.

What should I charge for my book? Doesn’t matter, no one’s buying it anyway.

How can I get a bad review removed? I thought you wanted reviews.

How long will it take to get an agent to notice me? Forever. Like I said, get a real job.