Monday, December 8, 2014

What Happened to Mrs. Claus?

I posted this question on Facebook and no one was able to answer it. 

"I'm watching Santa Claus 2 and it suddenly occurred to me - what happened to Mrs. Claus from the first Santa that Scott Calvin took over for? Did she just disappear? I mean, if Santa has to be married, it stands to reason there had to be a Mrs. Claus with the other Santa. What happened to her?"

I must be honest and say that I've watched these movies for years and this hadn't occured to me before. I put them on Saturday night and as I'm watching Santa Claus 2, all of a sudden I think about the first movie. Now, let's break this down. It is of the utmost importance, don't you agree?

In the first movie, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) dons the Santa suit when the real Santa falls to his death and delivers the gifts to all the good boys and girls. He ends up at the North Pole, spends the night there in a bed big enough for two, and then goes home. Unbeknown to Scott when he put on the suit, he became Santa and was given one year to get his affairs in order before he must move to the North Pole and assume his new position. Nowhere is there a mention of Mrs. Claus, nor is she seen. 

In the second movie, the premise is that if Scott wants to remain Santa, he has to get married. It's a clause in the Santa contract. Okay, so if it is a clause, didn't the first Santa have to adhere to it as well? And if so, he would been required to have a Mrs. Claus, too. 

My Facebook friends were as perplexed as I. This was an obvious plot contrivance and it sort of pisses me off, even though I hadn't noticed it for 12 years. It was a damn good contrivance. Despite this, I like the movie - not the plastic Santa, I found him obnoxious, but I liked the love story and it lured me into seeing Santa Claus 3, which was a terrible movie and gets worse every time I see it.  So I came to the conclusion that since I've been writing, my mind works differently. I think it always did, but having this jump out at me means that my writer mind has developed to such a point that I can't watch mindless entertainment anymore without things like this happening and ruining my heretofore ignorance of the way these movies manipulate us.

It also annoys me that the writers of this movie got away with this for so long. I have a series called The Divine Detective Agency. In order to investigate crimes on Earth, Nick Dandino must put on a suit that allows him to be seen while on Earth. He is dead, you see, and is a spirit, so to speak. There are rules for the suit such as Nick can't leave it while on Earth for longer than an hour or he will evaporate into nothingness. If the suit is damaged, he has to hightail it back to heaven or else. I have to keep to these rules or those of you that have read the two books in the series will let me know about it, as you should. 

So, should I write a scathing letter to the writers of Santa Claus 2? My guess is they really won't care since it made a mint at the box office and no one asked this question before. Still, there are rules, and this has been driving me crazy for the last two days! Where is the firs Mrs. Claus?!!! The first person to answer it to my satisfaction will win a digital copy of The Body in the Bungalow.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I am retiring my Pello Island series and revising it into one book. I made this decision because I've never been completely happy with the way it was done. The Omnibus will be available on until I've finished the revision, which will be one book, so if you downloaded the first book, Pello Island Cassia, you can finish the story. Thank you for your patience and understanding. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Favorite "LIttle" Things

This is the time of year when we begin to reminisce about days gone by. While browsing for Christmas images, I found something that reminded me of a thing I loved when I was younger but hadn't thought of in a long time. 


I fell in love with miniatures when my kids were small. Without a lot to spend, I wasn't able to have this sort of dollhouse, but I did have a small one and furnished it lovingly. There was something about those tiny, intricate things that fascinated me. 

I loved the food, and for a reason I still can't fathom, the little bathroom fixtures. Pull-chain toilets and claw-foot bathtubs were my favorites. Maybe it had something to do with four people sharing one bathroom when my two kids lived at home. Whatever it was, I had an adorable bathroom all to myself in my little house.

I would dream of something like this, so well constructed, so elegant, and just downright beautiful, but this kind of glamour doesn't come cheaply. I would go to miniature shows and weep. I longed for electrified Victorian splendor, and then come home to my little house and put the one thing I could find for $5.00, say a set of stoneware dinner plates, on the kitchen table. Soon, though, I realized that all that stuff needed to be dusted, too. The love between us faded and I packed away the little pieces of furniture, pots, pans, and pillows in a shoe box. It traveled with me from New Jersey to Florida and was placed on a shelf in the spare room closet.

When my grandkids were younger, I bought a shadowbox from Michael's and painted it to resemble a dollhouse. It had separations and I furnished it with that large plastic furniture and members of the Loving Family from Fisher-Price and the kids loved it. When they outgrew it, I put my old stuff in it, but the magic was gone. It looked so shabby, but I realized I had done the best I could to emulate those fancy pieces I'd seen at the shows. I packed the pieces up and put them back on the shelf. I just can't bring myself to throw them away.

Looking at these images gave me a deeper understanding of why I enjoy writing historical fiction. It's my way of inhabiting one of my beloved dollhouses through my characters. 

Here's some images to drool over.

I found these images on Pinterest where there is a large community of miniature aficionados. Look at that pull-chain toilet! And that bathtub, ah. I want to go to there. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches, I searched the Internet and found some antique Thanksgiving cards. I hope you enjoy them.

What are you thankful for this year? I'm thankful to have a wonderful husband who still likes me after 37 years. I'm thankful that my children and grandchildren are healthy. Though my family is spread around the country, I'm grateful we can see each other on Facebook where I get to see my nephews and nieces grow up. Thank you, my family, for posting, liking, and sharing. 

This is First Cloumn Before seprator
This is Second Cloumn After 
May you and yours have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

A New Series! Libby the Psychic Dog's Christmas Story

Announcing the debut of a new series! Libby the Psychic Dog is the star of my new series and she has a special talent. 

In this first book in the series called My First Christmas, Lord Percival Plep died in the war to end all wars and one day, he awakens to find that he has been reincarnated as a dog. He is now a terrier mix and horror of horrors - a female! When he is adopted by an elderly woman, "Mama," he is christened "Libby," and gains the reputation of being "psychic" with Mama's friends when the scrappy little dog finds their lost eyeglasses and keys. With a lust for treats and droll take on life, this little rotund dog's Christmas story will win your heart. Available now on Amazon.

Friday, October 31, 2014

What Scares Me this Halloween

Caretakers abusing an Alzheimer's patient, a baby monitor hijacked by a hacker so they could scare the baby - just two things I saw posted on Facebook within the last 24 hours. And forget about those SPCA commercials. Cruelty has been with us since the dawn of time. We salivate when, watching a movie, a man gets an evil look on his face as he plans some dastardly deed to create misery in the life of the hero. Sometimes we laugh, and I find humor is necessary as a way to reduce the stress brought on by something that affects me negatively, but are we losing our humanity? Have we grown numb to the suffering of others because we see it so often that our subconscious minds, unable to make sense of it all, are simply shielding us from the uncomfortable reality of life? Or, as a society, do we just suck?

Today, my husband, Hans, and I went grocery shopping. He needs a motorized cart so when we entered the store, there was only one left. A boy of about sixteen was sitting on it. I asked him if he was using it and he mumbled. I said my husband needed it and he mumbled again but didn't move. It was obvious he wasn't going to and unless I could somehow get his bony ass on the ground and sit on him, I wouldn't be able to do much about the situation. Someone I know once said that the trouble with the world today is a lack of love. This boy's attitude reminded me of that pronouncement. His lack of consideration for my husband's disability is really a lack of love toward his fellow man. I asked the manager to help and she got the kid off the cart. 

Now, I know I'm expecting a lot from a teenager as we all know they are very self-centered, but twenty years ago he would have gotten up. He may have made a face or mumbled an expletive, but he would have gotten up. As the years have gone by, we as a society have decided it doesn't matter that someone else is in pain. We just plain don't care.

True, there are those who will risk their lives trying to help the Ebola suffers. There are also those who are born to care for others, like the young boys who feel so touched by the plight of the homeless that they organize drives to collect blankets for them.  These people do exist, but they are dwindling. It's getting harder to be kind toward others.

More often than not, I find myself ranting as I drive because someone goes through a red light or a stop sign as though they are different and can do whatever they want to while you and I have to obey. I also don't understand people who stop in the middle of a grocery aisle while you wait for them. Pull your damn cart over. Really, is it that hard to be nice? Am I missing something?

Hans is always tempted to run his motorized cart into someone's ass. While I find the idea amusing, I warn him not to because that is assault with a deadly weapon. Really. In the state of Florida, it is. So he doesn't, but not because he cares about injuring them. He cares about being arrested. He no longer drives, so I don't have to worry about that, but for everything else, I act his moral conscience. I keep him out of trouble. But I think his love for mankind has faded away. I tell him to be kind, that karma is a bitch, but he's tired. I tell him we have to be nice to the young because we are going to need them one day and he says f it. I've lost the battle. But this is one of my greatest fears as I grow older - are the young going to take care of us? Are we all so pissed off that we just don't care about anything anymore, even karma? 

My mother used to say that each child is born for a reason. She never specified what the reason was, and I can say unequivocally that one of my sons was born to refine my patience, but I do agree that having family is a necessity. You never know when you will need a kidney. These are the people who care about you. It's just the way it is. It's some kind of thing inside of us that makes us care and won't let go. Your family understands where you came from and even if you don't like them very much, you will help them because they are family. Don't burn your familial bridges. These are the people who will be there, who will make sure you aren't forgotten. I'm lucky. I like my family. Yeah, I said it. I went there. 

I love my sons. I wish I had known how to be a mother when they were young, but they grew up despite me. I think they like me. I don't think they will abandon me. I know they won't abandon Hans. They always liked him best. My brother lives nearby. We help him and he does what he can for us. He's the one truly loving person I've ever known. He would give you the shirt off his back and feed you. He was born that way. He doesn't have children. He has us, poor thing. Take care of your family. Put them first, even if you can't stand them. Remember what I said about needing a kidney.

While it may be pleasurable to imagine we are islands unto ourselves, we are not. We all need a man or woman Friday to be there if we fall down a flight of stairs or get hit by one of those idiots running a red light. That boy who wouldn't give up that cart will be old one day. He'll walk into the space grocery store and an alien will be sitting on the hover cart. He'll tell the alien he needs the cart to shop and the alien will give him the finger, a nice little gesture he learned from Earthlings. That old man won't remember my husband, but karma will laugh.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Writing and the Human Psyche

Getting into someone’s head isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. As a writer, I spend a great deal of time trying to figure out what motivates people. It’s a thankless journey filled with potholes but necessary if I want to create characters people can relate to. Unfortunately, my drunken muse, Fred, likes to throw a monkey wrench at me ever so often and I end up with a character like the woman in my latest book, Circumstantial Evidence. She is the victim of abuse. I’ve never been the victim of the type of abuse Donna Bronson has been subjected to, so I had to put myself in her place and try to walk in her shoes. What would I have done if this had happened to me? I know it’s not the same thing but it’s all I had to go one, that and many episodes of Law & Order: SUV.

Donna is kidnapped by the antagonist when she is fourteen. Without going into too much detail (I do want you to read my book after all), she suffers at the hands of a monster whose main tool is fear, layered on year after year, until she is more machine than human. She functions within the confines of a small life and when the terrible details of what has been happening in her own back yard come to light, people, particularly men, cannot fathom why she didn’t leave. I wrestled with this question myself and created reasons that would make it more believable, but was it necessary? 

For those of us who haven’t grown up under the threat of constant abuse, yes, because we think we would have left a long time ago. That is why when we hear a news story in which a mother kills all her children we are horrified, as we should be, and we struggle to understand why she didn’t just kill herself and leave her children alone. Or the man who does kill himself after killing his wife and children. Why doesn’t he just off himself and do us all a favor, leaving his family intact?

I have a dog. She is a sweet girl who is very obedient, but she does not come when she’s called. Instead, she runs in the opposite direction and hides. I got her at the local SPCA where the only history they had was she was given up because the people had to leave their home due to foreclosure. My dog, Trixie, had a friend who had been adopted, leaving her alone. I fell for her and brought her home, and for three weeks she would not leave my husband’s lap. She spent day and night snuggled in his arm.

After a while, she grew brave and eventually began to interact with me, but to this day, four years or so later, she will not come when I call her and when I get up in the morning, she runs to her “room” and goes under the end table. I see her there and say, “Good morning.” She wags her tail, and if I go into the room, she makes to leave it immediately. I have never raised a hand to her though I do occasionally raise my voice, but only because she won’t let Hans go to the bathroom alone.

Trixie also won’t eat in the kitchen if someone is there. She stands by the door looking in, waiting until the coast is clear, then walks inside and eats. No - she takes her food to the living room and eats. Odd behavior she can never explain. Lest you think she’s a total basket case, she does play with me, she tolerates a bath well, and loves the kids when they come over. I’m not sure what happened to her in her other life, but I’d like to beat someone myself for what they did to make her this way. Her anxiety rules her and without the help of the Dog Whisperer, I don’t think I will ever get her to come to me willingly.

Perhaps I had Trixie in mind when I wrote Donna. I imagine her cowering at the sight of her abuser, running away if she can so she doesn’t have to be in the same room, trying to find a way to protect the one she loves while it seems she doing the opposite. Motivation is the hardest thing to explain because unless you’ve experienced exactly what the other person has experienced and your genetic inheritance is identical, how can you truly walk in their shoes? You can’t, but it’s my job to present a reasonable facsimile of the truth, and if I do my job well, you will understand why Donna couldn’t leave.

Have you created a character you can’t explain or read one that perplexed you? Take heart. We all have, and if all goes well, we will again.