Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Insights and Idiocies

Fiorella offers stray thoughts and conjectures to round out 2014:

1) Given time, all things are possible.  The conditional clause is the problem.

2) Detroit is our Chichen Itza.

3) What does torture do to the torturer?

4) Does any cow ever die a natural death?

5) The tabloids have had Doris Day at death's door for the past twenty years, but, at ninety, she's still going strong.  Of course, the same sources have also had Jennifer Anniston pregnant more times than Michelle Duggar.

A Cow-eat-cow World.

Calves are born into a world of sweet grass, warm milk, and bovine devotion. We protect them form predators, inoculate them against diseases, and supply nutrients necessary to their well-being.  Then, when they're at their prime, we kill them and eat them.

We die, our bodies nourish the earth, the earth grows grass to feed the cows, and the cycle starts all over again.  We are all fodder.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sleeping Tight

Fiorella is an HGTV addict.  She likes to watch House Hunters and its various offshoots before trotting off to bed because their total lack of drama soothes her ever-seething brain.  No murders, no chase scene, no competitions, no death or destruction--just shallow people with loads of money looking for houses with impressive entryways, high ceilings, hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, gas stoves, large bedrooms, huge closets, and multiple luxurious bathrooms complete with double sinks.  Oh--and did Fio leave out "a view" and "character?"

Even the script is banal.  At some point, a prospective homeowner always says something about how he/she can picture himself/herself sitting on the deck sipping a drink as the sun goes down, or some such nonsense.

But Fio isn't complaining.  These shows are her lullaby.

Monday, December 29, 2014


It's about time to print out the Fiorellas for 2014, which, starting from May 2006, makes six and a half years of daily blogs.  This having been said, Fio thinks it is time to repeat the description she posted of herself, lo, those many years ago, because she hasn't changed in the least:

I am young, slender, and beautiful.

My eyes are sky blue--gray when life is cloudy, and purple in passion.  My golden hair ripples down past my waist--on good days, down to my ankles--and on really tremendous days, it's long enough to fling out the window for my lover to climb up.

I was not born, but sprang full-grown from my father's brow.  On my left cheek, I have a small birthmark, my only connection to the imperfections of this mortal coil.

I am built much like a Barbie doll.  My breasts are ripe melons that totally defy the laws of gravity. My waist is so tiny that you wonder how I can breathe.  And my shapely legs are not only incredibly long, but come equipped with naturally-pointed toes.  No brains, of course, but they're not part of the package.

I am as graceful as a gliding swan, have a voice like angels singing, and walk in beauty like the night.

I am Fiorella, the young, slender, and beautiful.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Enough Already!

As you know, Fiorella likes watching The Little Couple, the reality show starring dwarfs Bill Klein and Jennifer Arnold.  She likes the sweet way Bill and Jen deal with each other and their adopted dwarf children.  But every now and then she resents the wads of money that they throw around so easily.

Okay, Fio gets it that being a dwarf is expensive.  Their homes, cars, clothes--everything they own or use has to be adjusted to their disabilities.  Plus, they run up tremendous medical bills to treat various conditions caused by dwarfism.  And they have to hire people to assist them in the house and with their children.

But buying a second home on the Houston beach to use on weekends is too much.  And throwing a big birthday party involving pony rides and a petting zoo for a three-year-old was over the top,

Bill and Jen, Fiorella understands you have suffered and that you've worked hard and that you're good people.  But a little less conspicuous consumption, please.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Big Bang Christmas

Among Fiorella's Christmas gifts from Husband lurked a foot-high tyrannosaur which, when its belly button was pushed, moved its arms, legs, and tail, then let out a tremendous roar.  It was as if Leonard had just presented Penny with a Klingon dictionary.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Good Time Was Had by All

It began about eight with the garbage disposal not working.  Then the drain closed down, and the water burbled up into the other sink. Next came the gingerbread cake debacle: after Fio had mixed two batches of gingerbread, she discovered she was out of aluminum-foil cake pans and poured the batter into two plastic pans.  Husband stopped her as she was on her way to the oven. Then the cooking schedule didn't quite work out, The turkey cooked way too quickly, and the salmon was tepid by the time she got to the table.  And somewhere along the line, Fio realized her cuff had gotten drenched with gingerbread mix, which made it look like she had reached into an unflushed toilet.

Yes, somehow, everything turned out all right.  And this morning a repairman replaced the garbage disposal, which gave Fio and Husband water in the kitchen again.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Morn

Fiorella did finish off her decorating last night.  She also finished off a handful of Christmas gelt to keep her alert and active after Husband had gone to bed.  Yes, the whole world slept, but Fiorella wrote checks and wrapped presents and contemplated putting just a few more ornaments round and about.

But this morning, there's no time for decorating.  The house must be cleaned up for Christmas guests.  And although Fiorella is never trusted with the main course, she is expected to make boiled potatoes, chocolate pudding, and a gingerbread cake.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Congratulate Fio.  She's finished her decorating--almost.  The tree is glowing.  All the swags, drapes, and wreaths are up--even the wreath that had to be wired in place because several passes with a Command hook didn't hold. The birds, fruit, vegetables, and butterflies will go up tomorrow, and then the dining room table will be cleaned off.  After a final trip to the post office and HEB, Fiorella will be prepared for Christmas.

What about Christmas dinner, you ask?  Well, Husband and Daughter will take care of the turkey andixin's.  All Fio will have to do is set the table. And be decorative . . . as is her nature.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In the News

Heavens to Betsy, whatever could have happened to North Korea's internet?  Maybe Santa took a wrong turn and cut through the cloud or the ether or whatever.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Fiorella's Christmas Sonnet, 2014

Thank you, God, for friends and family,
For yesterday, today, tomorrow too,
For life and love and laughter, I thank Thee,
For all things wonderful, beautiful, new, and true,
For talents and skills, for opportunity,
For the existence of this country and this world,
For healing--body, mind, and memory,
For material goods, for inner strength unfurled,
For music, art, pen and poetry,
For science, which demonstrates your wonders made,
For your protection, comfort, generosity,
For your forgiveness when we’ve often strayed,
For all that is, that was, that makes us whole,
For Christ, eternal Christmas of the soul.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Cards

Fiorella has finished off her Christmas cards and is sending them on their way, fully realizing she is in a minority population--the cards she proudly displays on her dining room doors get fewer and fewer each year. If people want to communicate holiday greetings, they can text each other, or send emails, or sign up with Jacquie Lawson.

Fio remembers when Mother would spend days not only signing Christmas cards, but adding a little note inside each one.  It was called communication, and was particularly important before the invention of computers that engendered instant contact to anywhere in the world.  In fact, when Fio's family moved to far-away Texas, the voluminous letters written by her three sisters-in-law, Aunt Miriam, Aunt Hattie, and Aunt Julie, were what kept Fio's parents in touch with life and family at "home."

But Fio likes Christmas cards for more than communication.  She likes to design them.  She likes to create something interesting and pleasing to the eye.  She likes to add something new to the world, something that is uniquely Fiorella.

Like this blog.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fiorella Takes on North Korea

Kim Jong Un wants the attention of world powers and wants to be a world power.  Because he doesn't have the military might to make a dent worth spitting at, he's established an irritating cyber-space program, one that can take down a Sony movie.

Obviously, the world powers will find a way to counter the attack. Then hackers all over the world will find a loophole and attack again.  Back and forth, back and forth, until the whole system is brought down in chaos and we revert to living in caves.

Might even have to write letters again.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Random Observations

The winter calves are dotting the pasture now, little dabs of orange and white lying in the grass beside their mothers.
Men write with their gonads.  Women write with their hearts.  Men write sex as porn.  Women write sex as romance.
The cedars along the road leading to the Gucci HEB are in full holiday bloom now, their branches laden with ornaments and tinsel garlands.
Fiorella is always singing in her head, even if her vocal chords are not cooperating.  Fa-la-la-la-la-- la-la-la-la.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Frenzy II

One week till Christmas and, in traditional Fiorella fashion, our heroine is only halfway there. She worked on the cards last night and hopes to finish them this morning.  Then there are the outside snowflakes to hang on the little tree--still.  But after that, it's all inside--the wreaths, the swags, and the drapes.  And Minnesota Son and his lovely wife arrive on Saturday. Not that everything will be done by then, but Fio knows she can rely on them for help, especially with the can lights that need replacing.

My heavens, you say--all this, and you also have time to write on your second book?  Well--heh-heh--not quite, but Fio figures that if her editor can take a week off for Christmas, she can too.  Besides, whether Fio has her laptop open or not, the ideas keep popping out of her subconscious--and she always has a notepad handy.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Still No Swags

Yesterday's Christmas decorating, of course, did not gone as planned.  To Fio's credit, the driveway garlands are up, and the mantel is now populated by a manger scene, a small village of old Avon miniatures, and several pine cones.  Fio even got a couple of wreaths in place on the windows and front door, but she didn't locate the outside snowflakes until after her hip started hurting so it was no go in that department.

Fio will be away for about five hours today, but she still hopes to get a few things done--maybe the snowflakes and the rest of the wreaths.  It looks like the greenery swags--over doorways and the big dining room window, running up the stairs--will have to wait.

And yes, Fio never finishes until the 24th, but she makes up for it by leaving her decorations up through January.

Wreaths and Swags

Today the wreaths and swags go up!  Of course, that's what Fio said a couple of days ago too, but this time SHE MEANS IT!

Except, of course, that the outside decorations have to go up first--the tinsel garlands to mark the driveway entrance, the snowflakes that hang from the lower branches of the small tree out front, and the door decor.

Maybe the wreaths and swags won't make it up till Wednesday.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Latest

Fiorella and Husband agree on many things, but not all things.  Definitely not on the thermostat settings- Fio wants it cooler, and Husband wants it warmer.  Let the battle begin!
The stockings are all hung by the fire with care: red-green-red-green-red-green-red-green-red.  Close together, but if anyone else showed up, Fiorella would gladly squeeze out another inch or two.
When she was younger, Fiorella always had a new dress for Christmas Eve church service, but now she wears something already in her closet.  Old friends are the best friends

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Runneth Over

Thank you for the random kindness of strangers--well, an almost-stranger.  Fiorella used to go to Office Depot a lot more than she does now that her recently-retired husband has taken over the chore, and, being her father's daughter, she got to know the clerks. In fact she became sort of chummy with one of them.

So when Fiorella dropped by the store for some of those snap-closed paper clips the other day, and  Nancy commented on her long absence,  Fio explained she'd been spending her time writing.  Then she gave Nancy one of her promotional bookmarks and told her she'd had a romance novel published.  Nancy's face lit up like a Christmas tree, and she said she'd read Fio's book right away.

And she did.  Fiorella got a nice message from her last night.

Again, Fio's cup runneth over.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Eve

How long and dark the night which swallows day
How frightened, lost, and lonely is my soul
How dim the star, how very far away
I cannot see or hope, I am not whole
No lamp without can light my dark within
No hand can rescue from the Stygian swell
I am the waiting world, awash in sin
I drown in darkness from the sea of hell
The universe is dark, eternal night
We live alone in darkness, and we die
And vain dream of hope, and pray for light
And cry to God and wait for God's reply
     How long, O God, must we await the dawn?
     How long, O God, until out hope is born?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Frenzy

Fio is on a roll!  She finished off her Christmas sonnet on Wednesday and mocked up her card yesterday evening.  She's also cut out a dozen big snowflakes and taped them on windows around the house.  The stocking are up too.  Still to go are showcasing her many nativity scenes, tying bows on everything tyable, decorating every empty surface with Santas, hanging plastic snowflakes from the little tree outside the door, putting up the wreaths and swags, baking gingerbread cakes for the neighbors and--oh yes--shopping.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Poetic Update

Fiorella has written a new Christmas sonnet for the first time in two years.  Hooray!  She's been so engaged in churning out romance novels lately that she was afraid she'd lost her touch.

Interestingly enough (or maybe not), Fio consulted her trusty old rhyming dictionary, the one that her parents had given her for Christmas when she was in high school, rather than using rhyming sites on line.  She has used the sites for some of her jingles, but the dictionary gives her access to more words and forms of words, and all at the same time.

It took her a couple of days on and off, but she finally solved a the problem with a troublesome couplet last night after Husband and Sonia Dog had retired.  You'll see the sonnet, complete, nearer to Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Walking Dead

Daughter tells her that it's related to her double-thick eyelashes, but Fiorella has heart problems.  It's only because of an artificial aortic valve, which protects her from congestive heart failure, and a pacemaker, which keeps her heart in lock-step, that Fiorella still treads this earth.

But is this the real Fiorella or some kind of golem?  Is Fio who she thinks she is, or merely an expression of her former self?

The walking dead are among us, and Fiorella is one of them,

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Fiorella's cup runneth over because she has wonderful neighbors. The most recent additions to her honor roll are Mike and Kathy Brown, who live on the other side of the dry creek.  Last Christmas, they brought over a four-pack of mouth-watering cupcakes.  And earlier this year, they came over again to be sure Husband and Fio still wanted to split the cost of a property-line fence with them.

We invited them in, of course, and the four of us talked about ourselves and fences and deer and trees and firewood.  Mike, who knows how to take down dead trees, volunteered to share firewood with us, and this weekend we took him up on it.  An hour later, he and Kathy drove a flatbed loaded with cut wood down our driveway and unloaded it for us.

We are blessed. And warm.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Busy or Bored

Fiorella didn't enjoy the Christmas party she attended over the weekend. She thought about the situation and realized she's never enjoyed parties, which made her further realize that it's not the party--it's Fio.

Your Fio is not a party animal. She has two gears: busy and bored, which means that the only party she enjoys is one that she herself sets up, That way, she has something to do.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Smother Mother

Now that Sonia's of age in dog years, she wants more independence, especially when Fio takes her for walks around the driveway.  For the second day in a row, Doggie broke leash halfway down the north drive on the way back to the house to investigate an interesting smell. But when she'd followed the scent as far as it interested her, Sonia did NOT return to Fiorella,  Instead, she started trotting along the driveway toward the front porch, pausing to look behind her from time to time to be sure Mommy was still with her.

Fiorella appreciates her solicitude and is relieved that Sonia's goal is the front porch, not the big, bad, wonderful world out there.  And she realizes Sonia is at the age that she feels entitled to make her own decisions.  But Fiorella wants to keep her on the leash.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Subconscious to the Rescue

Hooray for the subconscious mind!.

Friend Jeanell woke up at about four in the morning and lay there letting her thoughts wander where they would.  Soon the disparate parts of her current ms were coming together into a large literary jigsaw puzzle. Jeanell had always known what would happen in WHERE THE HEART LEADS, but she hadn't quite known how it would happen. Now, she knows it all.

Downhill slope, everyone.  Downhill slope.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Political Observation

There's a big difference between patriotism and the nouveau jingoism that seems to be sweeping the nation.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Literary Gratitude

There is nothing like an unsolicited rave e-mail review from a fellow romance writer to pull Friend Jeanell up out of the depths. Thank you, Evelyn Palfrey.
And, while she's at it, thank you, Janece Hudson, for the wonderful rescue review and for your continuing support and advice.
And thank you, Louisa Edwards, for your cheerleading and inside view of the industry.
And a special thanks to Carol Fox for arranging Jeanell's book-signing at Java Junction on Tuesday.  And to all the friends, relatives, and ARWA members who've been supportive of Jeanell's journey.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Christmas Tree

Fiorella has hauled the Christmas tree out of the garage and started putting it together, first joining the three sections of its metal stem, then hooking the branches into its color-coded slots.  She and Husband purchased the tree at HEB for $100 in the days before pre-lit ones existed, and Husband has urged Fiorella to dump the old lady.  But Fiorella clings onto her.  She's big, at least five feet across, and tall, about seven feet, and her metal branches are strong enough to hold anything Fio--an infamous over-decorator--drapes on them.

So Fiorella straightens out all the tangled fronds and hopes for the best.  She doesn't want to replace her Christmas tree.  It's become a member of the family.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Seasonal Euphoria

If you run into a woman  rushing around the supermarket with a big smile on her face, c'est moi, Fiorella, and c'est her time of year, Especially in HEB.

Fio loves the cold weather outside, the noisy crowds of people inside who are buying the store out as if Georgetown is about to freeze over, the HEB elves and fairies setting up Christmas displays and restocking everyday shelves with holiday items.  She loves the way the air seems brighter, more exciting--electric, even.  And she loves the way chocolate-covered Santas and gold-wrapped chocolate coins suddenly appear, as if conjured by a Christmas magi who was passing through.

The Christmas season is in full swing--ENJOY!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Golden Rain

The south driveway, awash in cedar elm leaves, looks like the road to Oz.  And when Fio and Husband walk Sonia Dog, the leaves shower down upon them like golden rain. Fiorella loves autumn.

And you can bet every bit of it will be in her next book.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Get Over It

Fiorella has spent most of her life pursuing perfection--and failed.

She's made mistakes and wrong choices.  She's let golden opportunities, as Frank Sinatra would say, "pass her by."  Her book has typos in it.

But according to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, nothing in this universe is perfect, which means Fio is right in line.  Imperfection, according to the BIG BANG THEORY star, is what makes our universe work.  So maybe Fio's been doing it right all along.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

In Regard to a Certain Office Staff

Do not cross the mighty Fiorella.

Do not screw around with her doctor appointments so she is running weeks late for treatment.  Do not try to blame it on Fiorella's insurer.  Do not lie to Fiorella about the date you called the insurer for pre-approval.  Do not advise Fiorella not to contact the insurer herself because then the insurer would make her wait longer.

Fiorella figured you out, took notes each time she talked with you, and did contact the insurer, who then called you with Fio still on the line.

Fiorella knows the score now and so do you.

Friday, November 28, 2014


I love you, Big Bang Theory.  I love it that no matter what I'm doing or how I'm feeling, I can give half an hour of my time to utter and complete nonsense and be the better for it.  You lighten my heart.  Thank you.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Family and Friends

Fiorella is thankful.

She's thankful that Austin Son celebrated his first wedding anniversary earlier this week and that Minnesota son has twenty years racked up with his sweet bride.  She's thankful that Daughter has a new job and better prospects.  She's thankful for Brother Bill and the wonderful sister-in-law he brought into the family.  She's thankful for her relatives up east and for Cousin Mimi and her husband's recent visit.  She's thankful for Nephew Barney and his wife, Great-nephew Aaron and his fiancee, Great-nephew Barrett and his wife.

And she's thankful for friends.  Those who live in this country and those who live overseas, those she's known a long time and those she's just met, those who like her book and those who wish she'd stuck to poetry.

And she's especially thankful for those who read her blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ten-finger Regret

Just as Friend Jeanell is hitting her stride in WHERE THE HEART LEADS, her right hand is going out,  Somehow she's sprained the muscle below her thumb, and the pain intensifies whenever she uses her pointing finger--the only finger she types with on that hand--which means that, for the rest of the day, all her writing will have to be restricted to the two fingers she uses on her left hand.

Just three fingers to write a book--who knew that Jeanell would ever regret not taking a typing class in high school?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Fiorella learned something yesterday as she sat waiting hour after hour for her car to be fixed.  She learned her writing self-consciousness had been totally healed.  Yes, Fio hauled out her laptop and revised two chapters while she was in the dealership--and one of them included a love scene.

And when she spotted a young woman reading a paperback while waiting, Fio put a smile on her face, asked what she was reading (a romance), announced herself as a romance writer, and gave her a promotional bookmark.

To top it all off, one of the technicians sought Fio out and asked if she had written the book in her car that had her name on it.  Then he told her his wife writes romances and is trying to get published.  Fiorella recommended RWA, gave him her card, contact information, and a bookmark, and told him to have his wife get in touch.

What a day!

Monday, November 24, 2014


So many sorrows within me
So many secrets I cannot say
So much I cannot speak aloud
That will not go away

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fairy Tale Ending

Friend Jeanell turned into Shakespeare yesterday.  After coming home from the wonderfully exciting book signing that she, Carmen Falcone, and Claire Ashby had participated in, her fingers flew across the keyboard and, like Rumpelstiltskin, she spun threads of pure gold.

Now--was it the book signing, or the company, or the bag of chocolate kisses she ate because no one else did and one shouldn't waste food?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Theatrical Triumph

Fiorella was a spy last night.  She'd sent a nice letter to Georgetown's Palace Theater several weeks ago explaining that she wanted to give it a plug in the book she is currently writing, but needed to set up a a one-hour tour for accuracy.

No reply.  Fio bitched.

Friend Suzy told her that there was a cast party backstage every opening night which the audience could attend so Fio showed up at Shrek's debut last night. She started taking notes the second she passed through the door.  During intermission she walked up to the balcony and found the light booth.  After the show she followed the cast up the steps onto the stage and out the back door to the auxiliary building where she peered into restrooms, dressing rooms, storerooms, and the green room.
She asked questions about the construction of the stage.

Then she packed up and drove home.

Hah!  Fio thwarted you, Palace Theater!  And don't think she's going to give you a shout-out in her book either! Besides, Shrek sucked!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Used Books

Fiorella was reading a book set in the 1950s in which black students resented being issued second-hand school books. Now, there were many inequities back then, but hand-me-down schoolbooks were not one of them.  In those days, EVERYBODY got school books with several names listed on the inside front cover.  The trick was to get a book that had been used by a top-notch student because it might have good underlinings in it--not that students were supposed to mark on the pages, of course.

Fio remembers getting a book that had eight names written in the printed grid, then four more below it.  But Kenny Jones's sister's name was one of them, and the teachers still talked about how smart she was.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Genetic Alcoholism

Fiorella is convinced that at least one gene for alcoholism travels through the female line and expresses itself in the male line,  She knows of two families in which the grandfather was an alcoholic, as was the son.  Both of the sons fathered daughters who were not alcoholics, but their sons were.

Coincidence?  Fio thinks not.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sonja Wendysdottir

  • I'm sitting in front of the dying fire and thinking about Wendy the Weimer tonight.  I remember the compliments our gray lady got from strangers as she pranced around the drive, how seductive she looked when she reclined like a canine courtesan on her princess bed, how amazed we were to learn that her cast-iron stomach could handle Kleenexes, paper towels, acorns--even mustard--before, at ten years of age, it finally turned on her, a common affliction of big dogs.
Wendy was part of the fabric of my life.  I burst into tears the morning after she died when I saw that her princess bed was empty and realized that there was now no reason to put my cereal milk on the floor after breakfast.

Four months later, we acquired Sonia, a mastiff, very different from Wendy, with whom we knew there could be no comparison, but we claimed Wendy as her spiritual mother and gave our new doggie a second name in the Icelandic tradition: Wendysdottir.

Sonia is my darling, but she is, indeed quite different from Wendy,  While she does like to walk around the driveway and will drink my breakfast milk, she is quite discriminating about what she eats, and she won't use the princess bed.

So, after three years, it's time to let it go.  I'll donate the bed to The Caring Place for another dog to enjoy, but not without a tear in my eye.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Friend Jeanell is going to be at BookSpot in Round Rock, 1205 Round Rock Avenue, signing copies of What the Heart Wants at 11:00 on Saturday.  You, your mother, your cousins, and your aunts are all invited to join in the fun.  Swag and chocolate kisses will be available as Jeanell and friends Claire Ashby and Carmen Falcone shamelessly hawk their romance novels.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Last Night

All is well
All is swell
The computer quits
The battery emits
The fire glows
The cold wind blows
All's been said
Going to bed.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fire Trumps

All is not well in Fiorellaville.  Her car battery is refusing to take a charge, and her computer is refusing to shut down.

On the other hand, Husband has chainsawed wood and built the first fire of winter, a moment of magic and wonder.  With flames leaping and snapping in the fireplace, who cares about car batteries and computer glitches?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Road Kill

Fiorella has always had a sorrow for dead deer on the side of the road and a poor opinion of the people who ran them down--until she herself almost hit a little doe who sprang out of nowhere.  Thank goodness, Husband's gasp alerted Fio in time.

Deer are designed to be invisible.  Their colors blend in with the woods, and they freeze when anything approaches, and, at the last moment, they bolt--across driveways, over fences, and onto roads,

It isn't so much that the cars hit the deer as that the deer hit the cars.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cousin Mimi

Fiorella's Ohio Cousin Mimi and her husband visited on Tuesday, and Fiorella is still basking in the glow.  She hadn't seen her cousin in about ten years, and this was the first time Mimi had ever been in Fio's home.  The house was its usual chaos, of course, but who cared--the important thing was that Mimi was sitting on the couch beside Fio, talking to her, laughing with her, catching her up on everyone and everything. And through it all, Fio felt the kinship, the pull of blood to blood.

Family is everything.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Heaven's Choice

"I ain't riding off into the sunset, ever.  I'm a real believer in the Lord's will, and He's got something else He wants me to do," former Lt. Governor David Dewhurst recently told the Houston Chronicle.  Dewhurst said he's thinking of running for mayor  or starting up a large public venture. The article is accompanied by a picture of the newly made-over 69-year-old--smooth forehead, clipped hair, rejuvenated face and all.

You can tell Dewhurst is campaigning in Texas because he's using backwoods grammar and claiming he's one of God's chosen.  But Fio thinks that, while God can forgive bad grammar, there's a special place in hell for false prophets.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Physics and Perception

If a tree falls in the wood and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Some people consider this to be a philosophical question, but to Fiorella, it is pure physics.

Think about it.  What causes sound--something coming in contact with something else.  If Fiorella  goes outside, she can hear the wind rustle the trees.  Inside, if she tries to to play her violin (laugh, chortle), the bow scrapes the strings. Even small motions produce sounds--Fiorella suspects that atoms emit a tiny squeak of horror when they splat against each other.

"Sound," according to Fiorella's analysis, is what we call our perception of this event, this contact between two entities. But what sort of things are happening in our universe that we don't have the physical equipment to perceive?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Socially Awkward

Fiorella leaps in where others fear to tread.  Not because she's brave--because she's dumb.  She should have been born with a muzzle on her mouth and a ball and chain around her ankle.  If there's a wrong thing to be said, she says it.  If there's something that shouldn't be done, she does it.  And all with the best of intentions.

Actually, Fio prefers to let what she writes or paints speak for her, but--let's face it--whatever she produces in whatever medium is just as "different" as she is.

And, yes, she knows she shouldn't have written this blog, but confession is part of her messed-up psyche.  Forgive her, move on, and have a nice day.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sonia's World

Sonia Dog lives in a world of love and always has.  She was a favorite in her kennel, then became Fiorella's darling.

Fio and Husband have fed her, walked her, and cuddled her. She's had the best of medical care, been taken to PetsMart training classes, sleeps in bed with Fio and Husband, is petted, cosseted and accommodated.  Her food bowl is always full, her water is regularly changed.  She receives a retriever stick every morning and Milkbone treats throughout the day.  The back seat of the car is fitted with a hammock in which Sonia reclines in comfort and grace when she rides around with Mommy and Daddy.

Every child in the world should be so lucky.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Adventures with Air Conditioning

The upstairs air conditioner went out earlier this month, when we still really needed it, so Husband called the big-name AC company that had "repaired" the machine a month earlier and set up an appointment for the following day,  When the repairman came, he told us this trip was just diagnostic, then charged us big buck$.  He came back the next day, charged us big buck$ again and told us that the condenser coil was shot, and that it would cost at least $2K to repair.  However, he was doubtful if he could find a replacement coil because our unit was almost ten years old so he strongly advised us to get a new AC instead--approximately $4K on up.

Fio and Husband were aghast.  A new AC had not figured into their retirement budget,

And Fio was also suspicious.  So, Fio being Fio, she called a neighborhood friend for the name of her AC people, and the guy came out the same day.  Funny thing--he said the only thing wrong with the AC was that two seals were loose, and he charged us moderate buck$.  He asked if anyone else had worked on the AC recently and we told him about our experiences with the big-name company.

He didn't say anything, but did takes Husband outside to show him how easily the seals could be tightened or loosened--by hand.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Trying to Understand

Okay, let Fio get this straight.  The jobless rate, which was horrific under the previous administration, is the lowest it's been in years, and salaries, which were stagnant under the previous administration, have gone up--so why do people say they voted against the current administration because of the bad economy?

Does Fio sense the power of The Big Lie somewhere in the woodpile?

Friday, November 7, 2014


Fiorella's cousin is visiting for the first time ever next week, which means Fio is running around like the proverbial headless chicken trying to get the house in shape.  It's wearing, but, on the other hand, it's also invigorating--all that action is pulling Fio out of her funk.  And talking to Friend Suzy across the ocean also buoyed her up, as did attending the San Gabriel Writers' League meeting last night.

Action and social communication--that does the trick!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sociopathology Revisited

Sociopaths are charming, clever, and have a wicked sense of humor.  They woo you with compliments, profess their loyalty, and say you are their best friend--until, of course, someone better comes along.

They murder the soul.

But forgive them.  They can't help it.  They were born that way--without a conscience.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Another Fad down the Pike

Years ago, a romance writer was always asked if she was a plotter or a pantser.  That is, did she plot out her stories or write them down as they came to her--by the seat of her pants.  The correct answer, Fio was informed, was "pantser."  Some years later,  being a pantser went out of style and "plotter" became the correct answer.

Now there's a new fad one has to answer to, a special technique--writing for wordage, sitting down at the computer and banging away until one reaches a certain word count. When talented, seasoned writers do it, the method works.  But, let's face it, they could write bestsellers while hanging upside down from the proverbial chandelier.

Fiorella tried the forced-word technique, but it left her with a literary mess so she's back to chapter-by-chapter and what-would-logically-happen-next.

Wish her well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Maybe it's because, with the reversion to "real time," the night is coming on much earlier, maybe it's because her new printer has developed a negative temperament, maybe it's because the house is a mess, the garage is a mess, the yard is a mess, and she is a mess.

Whatever, it is, Fiorella is in a deep blue funk.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Luann Revisited?

Hang on, Luann, and Fio will love you again.  The past couple of days, the strips have been sorta fun, like the good old days.  Fiorella got a kick out of everybody getting together in that old building, and especially yesterday, when TJ was obviously looking it over as an investment property.  Hey, author--let's get some redemption going for TJ, and maybe a sweetie too.  And let's see more of the other characters--Ox, Leslie, Miss Phelps and Mr. What's His Name, for instance--and whatever happened to that soldier brother of Bernice's that Luann was corresponding with?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Post-Halloween Trauma

All work and no play has made for Fiorella gaining about five pounds.  Yes, slumping on the couch in the den and working on the new book the whole day long means she has skipped those twice-around-the-driveway walks with Sonia Dog.  And, well, an overload of Halloween candy hasn't helped.  Yes, Fiorella's hips are currently all too well padded with miniature Milky Ways, and Husband has been finishing off the Butterfingers.  We are both into Halloween big-time--and Halloween is into us,  For about a week longer, I estimate.  Then the dieting begins.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Friend Sharon was overloaded the other day so Fiorella took charge of the church baby doll for her--the lifelike dollie that the pastors use to teach the children about baptism.  The baby had the most darling face and the cutest little nose. It's times like these that Fiorella understands Giuseppe and Pinocchio.

Yep, in a couple more years, you'll probably find Fiorella putting her $150 down on an advanced model--one of those baby dolls that warms up and seems to be breathing.

The maternal instinct never dies.

Thanks to Friend Janece for telling Fio why Ebola is spelled with an uppercase E--it's the name of an African river.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three Ebola Questions

Why it that measles, pneumonia, and cancer are written with a lowercase initial letter, and Ebola is written with an uppercase initial letter?

Why do people complain about being quarantined for possible Ebola when it's a public health issue?

Why is it that Governor Perry wants to keep passengers from Ebola-infected countries from flying into Texas (stopping the plane in mid-air?), but hasn't proposed check points on highways?  And why hasn't he quit flying off to points around the country himself, where he comes in touch with Lord only knows who from Lord only knows where?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Fio is a sucker for those Facebook quizzes, although she opts out when all the choices are unknown to her or repugnant.  And, of course, she likes the ones that compare her to people such Elizabeth I and Wonder Woman, or identify her as sage or charming or well-balanced. But some of the other quizzes run deeper, and Fio has noticed a pattern in her answers indicating that she is uncomfortable in large groups unless she's the center of attention or in control of the situation.

And she's been known to duck out on a social situation entirely if no one is compatible.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's Complcated

Fio leads a simple life, but her every electronic move is supervised by a myriad of super-secret codes which are pinned to the bulletin board in her kitchen, along with all those other immensely important announcements that have come her way. But no person of evil intent will ever find any of  her codes because, most of the time, Fio can't even find them herself.

Monday, October 27, 2014


As if a ton of rocks were dumped on her head,  Fiorella has again been reminded of how different she is.  How--well--weird.  If you've been reading Fio's blog for any length of time, you've probably come to the same conclusion.

Basically, the problem is, as Fio's mother once told her, "You think too much."  Yes, Fio's mind munches on everything in the meadow.  She theorizes about past times, even prehistoric times, and she wonders about the future.  She is not content just to live her life, but also wants to understand it.  In fact, she wants to understand everything.

And she wants to do everything too.  She wants to paint and draw and to sing and compose music and to write poetry and short stories and novels.  She wants to design and sew and crochet and embroider.  She wants her house and yard to look spectacular.  And, although it's way too late, she'd like to become proficient in some of the languages she's dabbled in through the years: Russian, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Telugu, Hindi, and Mandarin (Latin and Sanskrit being optional).

Yes, Fiorella is certifiable.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Anyone with Access

The jury's in.  It's impossible to tell who's going to pick up a gun and start shooting.

Some of the school shootings have been blamed on the victims--they must have bullied their murderers somewhere along the line.  Others have been blamed on the shooters' parents--they must not have brought their children up right.  Some have been blamed on the shooters' own unique psyches--they must have been resentful outsiders. But the shooting in Washington state belies all of these pop psychology explanations.  The shooter, who targeted his own relatives, was an insider, a popular football hero, and his family was supportive and loving.

Who will the next shooter be?  Anyone with access.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hoarders in the Family

As Fiorella's hands set rocks around the driveway, her brain was busy trying to piece together the psychology of her late sister-in-law.  In her later years, BJ became a classic hoarder.  Narrow paths wound their ways between the piles of treasures in her architect-designed home on a prestigious street in an exclusive Austin zip code.

Maybe BJ's hoarding was because her parents had died on her, one of her sons had been killed, and another had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. But BJ had a third son who was very much alive and sane.  And two grandsons to boot.

Maybe the  hoarding was a genetic thing--BJ's aunt had been a hoarder.  Maybe hoarding had once been a survival mechanism for the human race.

Fiorella didn't draw any conclusions about BJ, but at least a lot of rocks got put in place.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Birthday Dog

Sonia's birthday was Tuesday, and Fiorella missed it, for which she profoundly apologizes.  After all, it was a very important BD for doggie, her third, which means she is now twenty-one years old in dog years--old enough to vote, to drink, and to make her own living.

Sonia may not be holding down a job yet, but she has matured.  She isn't as interested in rawhide sticks as she used to be, and she doesn't chew on anything else at all.  And yesterday, Fiorella was able to persuade her to ignore four deer in the woods within fifteen yards of her, even when they bolted.  Also, whenever Sonia breaks leash now, she heads straight for the front door and waits on the porch to be let in.

She knows where she belongs.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Uncomfortable Party-goer

Fiorella does not understand parties.  She's very good at talking person-to-person or before a crowd (classrooms of her students, gatherings of which she is president, etc.) but has never understood how to mingle.  It seems rude to stick with one person or group the whole time, but she's not sure she can make it around the room.  Actually, she'd rather everyone line up in rows and that the socializing be regulated by a gong sounding every five minutes to signal it's time to change partners.

Obviously, Fiorella is, as the Facebook quizzes keep telling her, a Lone Ranger type of gal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Good-bye, Luann

It's official with Fio.  Luann, move aside.  You are no longer a To Die For comic strip.  Fiorella has switched her allegiance to Edge City.

Maybe it was the change from high school to college that did Luann in.  Somehow the strip doesn't seem as clever or relevant anymore.  And Fio totally disliked Bernice's party scene.  Parties are a subsidiary to college, not the main event.

Fio also misses Luann's old cast--her high school teacher, the guidance counselor, Ox, Dawn.  And whatever happened to that funny little Elvis Presley guy?  Glad to see Tony, Brad, and Shannon still around, but they can't carry the whole show.

Luann, you're just not working for Fiorella anymore.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Fiorella is rolling in chocolate.  She won a raffle basket at her RWA meeting last night--which is a miracle in itself because Fio NEVER wins any kind of drawing--and it was overflowing with M&Ms, Milky Ways, and Hershey bars.  Of course, there were also six paperbacks, all kinds of writing implements, and several other items in the basket, but the chocolate was what she focused on.

Lucky there's no Willy Wonka factory around here or Fio would meet a bittersweet end.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Facebook Politics

Fiorella is disturbed by the hate-mongering on Facebook.  Sure, the cute dogs, cats and children get a little old, especially since Fiorella's Sonia is the cutest dog around, she has no cats, and her children are adults living their own lives, but pictures of the President of the United States photoshopped to look like a zombie or a vampire do not influence Fiorella's vote.  In fact, like graffiti scrawled over a wall mural, they repel her.

Let's grow up, everyone, and put politics on a more adult level.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Credit Card News

Good thing that Fiorella hadn't memorized the number on her new credit card, the one issued to her when Target was hacked, because now Home Depot has been hacked and Fio's getting another replacement card with yet another new number on it.

What's next?  Starbucks?  FedEx-Kinko's, Barnes and Noble?

Pretty soon the credit companies are gonna run out of numbers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

News Flashes

Okay, now a man in wee little Georgetown has been exposed to Ebola.  It's all  matter of time.
Fio and Husband had their rock-gathering expedition in the west yard interrupted by an army of wicked-looking little black ants that gushed out of the ground and stung like hell.  We were totally routed.
We have all these wonderful electronic means of communication--email, FaceBook, Google--and they all go down the drain at the slightest hint of a thunderstorm. Nature will prevail.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Empty Heroes

Fiorella has noticed that certain people are always the heroes of their own stories, those little anecdotes we all tell each other about ourselves.  Most of us downplay our triumphs and, with a pang of sorrow, laugh at our failures, but some people twist their stories to makes themselves shine and everyone else look stupid.

Maybe it's protective bravado that's driving these people to shellac themselves with unmitigated success. Maybe it's plain old boorishness.  Whatever it is, Fiorella finds these people annoying and avoids them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Specialty Menu

Fio lives on chocolate bars,
And chocolate drinks, and ice box pies
And chocolate-frosted chocolate cakes
And chocolate kisses, oversize,
On chocolate Hard Shell, chocolate sauce,
On Easter bunnies in their season
On chocolate pudding, chocolate fudge,
Ah--chocolate, chocolate --always pleasing!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Landscape Plans

Has Fiorella told you her plan for the west yard inside the U-shaped driveway?  She wants to clear as many rocks as possible from it, then use them to line the drive. She also wants to clear out the broken branches and debris.  And to trim the low-hanging trees. And to cut down the tall weeds next to the driveway.  Also to use some sort of yard vacuum to take up the fallen leaves.

In short, she wants the area to become a park.  Any volunteers?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Passing Fad?

Fiorella has albums full of photos, boxes full of photos, drawers full of photos, even cabinets full of photos.  She knows what her grandparents looked like because of these photos. Her own life and her children's lives were documented in these photos.  But no more.  Not since the cell phone camera arrived on the scene. The newbie was fun to aim and shoot, a novelty--but few of the photographs were ever printed.  And when the cell phone died, the photos died.

History became oblivion.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Celebrating Holidays

Fiorella has decorated her front door with paper pumpkins and posterboard bats. And several more bats are flying on her front room windows.  And a pair of pumpkins and a bevy of bats are taped to her patio doors.  And soon she and Husband will come home from HEB with two real live pumpkins for her to carve into jack-o'-lanterns..

If Fiorella seems to be more into Halloween this year, it's because Friend Jeanell's characters in WHERE THE HEART LEADS will also be celebrating the holiday.  The story continues through to New Year's, so Rafe and Moira will get to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

Nice of them to accommodate Friend Jeanell's plot.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Regarding Amazon Reviews

Fiorella's friend Jeanell never wrote an Amazon review until she was asked to.  Luddite that she is, she didn't know how to do it and had to be instructed, step by step.  Since then, she's written eight reviews, solicited and unsolicited.

What about the multitudes of reviews some books receive?  Fiorella is sure some books are surefire and attract spontaneous reviews.  But she also knows there are companies out there that sell positive reviews.  And that some authors provide free copies of their books with the stipulation that the readers write reviews.  And that membership in a Golden Heart loop produces raves from one's fellow travelers. And that friends and family can be hit up.

Shameless self-promotion.  It's part of the publishing revolution.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Regulated Lifestyle

I live by my calendar, I confess,
So why is it always such a mess?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Out of Africa

The disease has crossed the ocean, which was bound to happen. Fiorella realized the possibility when she first read about it years ago.  After all, the world is shrinking every day. But let's hope Ebola is contained and that the medical advances in its treatment are effective.  And let's hope it doesn't become a weapon.

A weapon, you say?

Think about infecting someone, then sending him into a target populace.  Whole nations could be wiped off the face of the earth.  Whole continents could be swept clean.  Humankind could be reduced to small enclaves hiding in caves, much as we began.

Hmm . . .  wonder if this has happened before.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Adventure in Vacuuming

Fiorella and Husband had an adventure, and it started at the community fair where Fio was peddling her friend Jeanell's book.  A woman at the next booth expressed interest in WHAT THE HEART WANTS and said she would buy it if she could give a fifteen-minute presentation to Fiorella and her husband at home about her own product, which Fiorella understood was some kind of air freshener.

Fay showed up at the right time, but with Angela, her niece, in tow.  Angela, forty-one, was a new grandmother.  Fay, seventy-three, told us she has ten children, twenty-three grandchildren, and numerous great-grand-children.   Both were dressed in tight clothes with plunging necklines and lots of sparkles.  Angela's hoop earrings had  a four-inch diameter, and her hair was piled up six inches above her head in front and dyed/bleached three different colors. Both of them were plastered with make-up and spoke an interesting patois which called for "was" to be used as a plural and "no" to be substituted for "any." Fiorella suspects they were gypsies.

The women carried in a couple of big boxes which turned out to be a Rainbow vacuum cleaner and its attachments, The demonstration and spiel took a full hour.

Husband and Fio were polite, but, to the surprise of the well-rehearsed ladies, they didn't bite or buy. "Why?" Fay asked.  Husband said the vacuum was too expensive ($3500), and Fiorella said she was not a gadget person. After making an immediate price reduction and a final attempt, Fay and Angela packed up and departed, but not before asking Fio and Husband to recommend them to friends and family.

No way.

The experience was interesting--an old-fashioned, fast-talking, door-to-door salesman kind of pitch-- but Fiorella already has a very good vacuum cleaner, a Miele, and she isn't interested in one with an attachment for unclogging toilets.  Besides, she researched Rainbow on the Internet afterwards and learned that it's schlock.

P.S.:  Fiorella never got a last name or a business card from either woman, and Fay never said a word about buying Fiorella's book.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Did you read about those position-tracking brain cells we all supposedly have?  The ones the discoverers got a Nobel Prize for? Well, Husband has them in abundance.  Fio doesn't.  As Fiorella has often said, she is geographically challenged.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Theological Viewpoint

Churches can be very nice, but they are not sacred unto themselves. A church is a meeting place, not where God's lives.  God does not dwell therein or thereon. God is uncontained.  God is everywhere. Thus no place or site is any more sacred than any other.

All places are sacred.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mysteries and Romances

Mysteries and romances are alike in that the protagonists in both genres have to uncover secrets and defeat evil-doers.  But they differ in the way the stories are told.  In mysteries, the beginning of the book--where all the questions are asked--and the end of the book--where all the questions are answered--are vital. In romances, the beginning of the book--where the main characters are introduced--and the middle of the story--which documents the characters' journey--are most important.  The end is obvious.
Fiorella used to read mysteries, but now she reads romances because then she isn't tempted to flip to the last chapter right off the bat.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Today is Minnesota Son's birthday, and, for the first time in years, Husband and Fio will be able to celebrate it with him.  Yes, Son and his lovely wife are in Texas right now.

The nuclear family got together last Sunday for a pre-birthday celebration at Longhorn Steakhouse in Georgetown.  Then yesterday, Son and his wife, Fio and Husband met with part of the extended family at Frisco in Austin.  And today Fio and Husband will again have most of the nuclear family together, this time for cake and ice cream.

Yeah, birthdays are a big deal in Fiorella's world.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Now that Ebola is loose in the United States, how can we protect ourselves?  Maybe we should seal off Dallas,  But, no, already people who had contact with that Liberian guy have traveled to other cities in the state.  Well, how about sealing off Texas, something Rick Perry has been trying to do for years?  Won't work--people who were on the same plane as the guy, but traveling to other states, have already landed.

In fact, some of those passengers may have been heading to other countries too. Let's face it, Ebola is worldwide now.  It's a new form of plague.

God help us.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Ceremonies of Morning

Fiorella has her habits.

She rises at approximately eight in the morning, uses the bathroom, brushes her teeth, applies deodorant, smears on sunscreen, fixes her hair and inserts her earrings, gets dressed, makes the bed, looks around for what else needs to be done, then walks downstairs to put on lipstick, check out Google news to find out what's been going on in the world, skim Facebook and email, and read the newspaper and work out the anagrams.  After that, she raises the blinds to let in morning, takes Sonia Dog for a double walk around the driveway, and eats breakfast.

Now she's armed and ready for the day.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Fiorella has discovered an old friend--reading.  She's often said that she's spent half of her life reading, and now she's pouring it all back out in her books, but somewhere along the line, she got depleted.

Time to stoke the coals again.  Yes, right now Fio's devouring every book, romance or not, that she can get her hands on because she needs to feed the fire.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Dance

Fiorella is dancing, Fiorella is singing, Fiorella is walking on air!  Her cardiologist's nurse read the book and loves it!  In fact, she said she couldn't put it down, that Fio had her from the first "Hello," and she read it straight through!

Fio needed that reassurance because she has no earthly idea whether WHAT THE HEART WANTS is selling or not.  There's probably a way to get that information, but Fiorella wants to dwell in possibility (a fairer house than prose) for a while longer. Besides, she doesn't know of anything further she could do to promote the book.  At some point, it's got to develop its own legs.

And Fio hopes those legs can travel.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In Praise of Chocolate


Sonia Dog awakened Fiorella much too early yesterday morning so she (Fio, not Sonia), spent most of her morning drowsing on the couch, in the bathtub, or on the bed.  But this inactivity wouldn't cut the mustard--Fio had work to do.  Besides, it was boring for her to lie around and do nothing--even though she didn't feel like doing anything. So Fio drove down the road to Walgreens and picked up a large Dove Bar for herself and a double Snickers for Husband,

Yes, Fio knows they should eaten a more healthy lunch, but what's done is done. And an hour later, Fiorella was back up to speed.  She played the piano, broomed the webs off the front porch door, and started working on her new book.

Chocolate saved the day.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Minnesota to Texas

Sonia Dog is in seventh heaven.  Minnesota Son and his wife are here, which means there are two more people to anoint with her love juice, two more laps to snuggle her bulk into, and four more hands which should be engaged in petting her.

Let's hope she doesn't realize the Minnesotans have their own doggie hiding out in the guest room with them.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Catching up with Fiorella

It was a hard summer, but now autumn, Fiorella's favorite season, is on stage.  Sonia Dog doesn't mind evening strolls, green acorns pave the driveway, and the door between the bedroom and the bathroom stays closed without wrapping a sock around the lock.
Fio's laptop is back in business.  Husband did something magical with the router and a toggle switch and the machine sprang back into action--for now.
When Minnesota Son&Wife arrive in Georgetown this afternoon, the whole tribe will be here to greet them--Austin Son&Wife, Daughter, and of course, Fio&Husband.  Wish us happy!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Attack of the Machines

Fiorella is accustomed to computers attacking her.  The first mortal blow she can remember was many years ago when she took weeks recording the Christmas carols she had written, not by note, onto an expensive program Husband had bought her for her birthday.  The program produced sound, and she envisioned herself listening to her compositions in eterna.  But soon afterwards, the program rejected her, insisting she was illegal. Two years later, when Fio had to switch computers, despite Husband's assurances everything would transfer, all her music disappeared.

And that's the way it's gone through the years.  Computers have played Fiorella false, and now her jumpy Toshiba has lost the ability to connect with the internet.  Click, her trusty repair shop, says it's not going to be a quick fix, which means Husband will have to transfer all her documents to the upstairs desktop, which scares her because she understands mortal blows.

Wish Fio well.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bad Day

Stay calm, Fiorella,
Cool it, play nice--
Despite the fact that taking an ax to the whole wide world feels like the only thing
That will suffice

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Writing Professionally

Let's make the matter clear.  Friend Jeanell is not a hobbyist.  She's in this writing business for the long haul.  She wants to make money, and she wants to make her mark. She wants her romances to sell big, and she wants to get her message out there, that women's endurance is the strength of the world.

We must move forward because there's no way we can back up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Patient Griselda

Fiorella read widely when she was a young'n, and one of the tales she was especially attracted to was that of patient Griselda, a woman who married a king, had two children by him, then was inexplicably sent to live alone in the forest. She made the best of it, never complained, and continued to love her husband.  One day he rode up to her humble hut with a beautiful young woman by his side and told Griselda he was going to marry the girl.  Ever patient and faithful, Griselda wished him and his new bride well.  At that point, the king revealed that the girl was their daughter all grown up, that he had been testing Griselda's love all these years, and that she could now return to the palace and be his queen again.

Dumb as this story may seem, Fiorella was fascinated by the idea that a woman can overcome by patience.  Fiorella still is.

Endurance is also strength.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Morning Prayer

Heavenly Father,
I humbly pray
In all I do,
And all I say
Please help me today
To follow Thy way

Father, today
In all I do
And all I say
Help me to
Follow Thy way

Monday, September 22, 2014

Love, Not War

Please, folks, let's stay civil.  Let's support our own candidates rather than slandering the opposition.

Fiorella has been especially appalled to see that some of the people who post religious devotions one day turn around the next day and post virulent, vicious attacks on those of a different political stripe. No, you aren't convincing Fio to vote for your candidate.  You're making her even more certain that she's on the correct side of the aisle.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


It's been hard labor time around Fiorella's household lately.  She and Husband have been traipsing outside in the mornings to collect rocks from the area within their U-shaped driveway and using them to shore up the sides of the drive against washes.  Fio started this project a couple of years ago, Husband joined in, and then Austin son added to it.

Give her a little more time, and Fiorella will shape up the world.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What Fio Has Learned from Facebook

As far as Fio is concerned, Facebook is educational.  She's learned that the queen she most resembles is Elizabeth I, that she can also be compared to Wonder Woman and an annoying angel, that she's good at geography, that some people think she's a balding, fifty-ish male, and that her greatest fear is losing someone dear to her.  Thanks to Facebook, she also knows that her friends have darling grandchildren, but she has the sweetest, most beautiful dog.

She's also discovered that the most fascinating thing in the world is watching sea lions performing floor exercises.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sonia Grows Up

Fio walked Sonia Dog twice around the driveway with four deer grazing in the middle of it.  All it took was a stick and a half of PupPeroni and Fiorella's hand under doggie's collar.  Somewhere along the way, Sonia realized that the treat was guaranteed, but she'd never yet caught a deer.

Maybe it's adult maturity setting in,  After all, Sonia will turn twenty-one in dog years next month so she'll be putting all that teen-age nonsense behind her.  She isn't as interested in rawhide bones as she used to be, and she gets querulous if we stay up past her bedtime.

But she's still our sweet baby Sonia.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What Have You Heard?

Panic, panic! Fiorella got involved in composing a love scene for her next book and almost forgot to write a blog!

Has she told you about the wonderful time she had at her RWA meeting on Monday?  And that THREE people asked her to autograph books?  And that she wore her T-shirt with the cover of WHAT THE HEART WANTS on it?  And that she showed off a print edition of WTHWs?

Has she told you that Forever Yours is starting a publicity campaign for WTHWs this week?  Has she told you she has the promise of another review from a friend?

Has she told you she is going stark raving bonkers--or can you figure that out for yourselves?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

So-so Show

The Georgetown Palace's last presentation of the season was a musical version of The Full Monty. Fiorella loved the sweet, funny film version so she was really looking forward to the stage show.

Of course, it opened with the Palace's usual over-loud fanfare so Fiorella spent the first couple of scenes with her fingers in her ears.  Also, it seemed to her that the quick lyrics weren't always as clever as the writer obviously thought they were, and that the score was a bit show-offy.

The story itself was razzle-dazzle, completely lacking the poignancy of the movie except for lip service to the motivation of the leading man (paying child support).  Finicky Fio also didn't like the story being transferred from Manchester, England, to Buffalo, New York.  Okay, she understands that New Yorkers burst into laughter at the mere mention of Buffalo, but its humorous implications were lost on her. Which is all to say that Fiorella wasn't wild about "the book." It seemed like a caricature of the film.

What about the local performance?  The voices were great, but the dialogue seemed stilted at times, like--well--like someone was reciting a memorized speech,  (Also, why did some of the women have those NY accents, but the men didn't?)

The scenery, however, was A+, as were the costumes.  Oh, and the dancing was good--a shout-out to Jessee Smart.

All in all, Fiorella gives The Full Monty a B.  She's glad she saw the play, but wouldn't bother to see it again.  It was a one-gimmick show.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

To Spank or Not

The debate about spanking was raging full force when Fiorella's children were little.   Fio herself had been spanked as she grew up, usually by her mother, first by hand, then with a yardstick,  She was also slapped across the face, especially as a teenager. In accordance with tradition, Fiorella spanked her first child, slapped his hand when he got into forbidden stuff, and slapped his face once that she remembers, when he kept pushing down the receiver on a telephone while she was trying to make an emergency call,

Then it dawned on her that physical punishment wasn't working, that Son considered himself shed of his sins afterwards and proceeded into new mischief.  So Fiorella switched strategies and tried to build a conscience in him.  She did the same with her other two children, relapsing occasionally, she admits, in dire circumstances.

If Fio ever has grandchildren, she hopes they will be violence-free.  We CAN improve from generation to generation.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Time Is Precious

Fiorella and Husband are hitting the road today to attend Fio's medical appointment in San Antonio.  They've plotted out their course with MapQuest, laid in supplies, and gassed up the car.  Fio's planning to take not only her medical record and cell phone, but also promotional bookmarks, her RWA identification tag, and a copy of WHAT THE HEART WANTS because she's attending a meeting of her local chapter this evening and may not be able to make it home between times.

Your Fio's on the go.  But then, she always is.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


The weather has changed and Fiorella is invigorated.  Fio, who lives in the moment, had almost forgotten that milder temperatures existed.  She breathed in the cool, moist air this morning as she walked Sonia Dog, and her stride lengthened and her heart sang.

Sixty-five degrees--the ideal temperature.  Eden.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Friend Jeanell has a copy of her book in her hands at last. The UPS driver, ever sensitive to the importance of the delivery, put the box on top of Jeanell's trash can, which is what happens when one lives out in the country and one's house is a good city block from the road. Jeanell is lucky he didn't suspend it from a tree, as often happens.

Back at the house, Jeanell paused in reverence and exaltation for several minutes before slicing the tape, then slowly opening the box and lifting one of the precious books out of it.  It was so beautiful. The covers were so bright and shiny, with Jeanell's name across the top of the front cover in blue letters, and the blurb on the back cover was perfectly displayed.  As she ran her hand across the smooth surface, she could feel the life within. er knees went weak, and there was a song in her heart.

Yes, it had been a long time coming, but it happened.  Jeanell is now a published novelist.  And she has twelve beautiful print books to prove it.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Fio's all about economy and security.  She turns off lights and locks doors.
Fiorella read an article about how grandmothers are opting for being called anything but Granny or Grandma nowadays.  Since Fio's grandmothers died before she was five and her own kids have yet to propagate, she has no opinion in the matter.  Although she would like to be a grandmother some day.
Growing older means trying to make sense out of an increasingly senseless world.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Prayer of the Newly Published

Give me the strength, O God,
Not to read another review
Not to tie myself in knots
For what I didn't think to do
Or even what I did.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Emily Wins

With a romance novel out, Fio considered closing up her blog shop, but decided she needs to keep it going. The blog is Fiorella's outlet for all the thoughts and theories her strange brain throws at her.  It is her letter to the world, that never wrote to her, which is a restatement of Emily Dickinson, which is ironic because  What the Heart Wants is from Emily also.

Friend Jeanell writes fiction, but Fiorella writes facts

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Of Brain and Beauty

What deer make up for in grace and beauty, they lack in intelligence. The brains within those big-eyed, delicate little heads are truly minuscule.

Fio and Sonia Dog had barely left the front porch for their morning walk when doggie froze and pointed. About forty yards away, a deer was standing at the edge of the cedar thicket on the other side of the driveway.  As it walked slowly across the drive into the far west yard, Fiorella stuffed treat into Sonia's mouth and convinced her to turn around.  Looking back, Fio saw another deer come out of the cedar thicket.  Then a third one, then a fourth one, then a fifth one.

Yes, five deer in plain view with a mastiff under tenuous control.

Not very bright.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mind Control

Fiorella is not one to jump on bandwagons, especially when someone is trying to control her mind.  Especially when someone is trying to sell her something. Which brings her around to a meeting she attended last week, a meeting in which the speaker talked about meditation and hawked her books.

It was standard con-man technique: talk in a slow, hypnotic voice, smile the whole time, tell a few humorous anecdotes about your initial disbelief in the product, lull people into relaxation, ask for comments or answers, then validate each and every one of them, even if they're contradictory.  Let the suckers sell themselves on your value.

Bxxch that she is, Fio didn't cooperate.  The emperor had no clothes.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


As dinosaurs once did mammals eat
We now dine on chicken meat.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Squeaky Wheels Get Clobbered

Remember Chicken Little--the one who erroneously believed the sky was falling?  In re, Fiorella was asked "What if it really were falling?"

Fio's answer was that the state of the sky would be irrelevant because the chicken had already doomed itself by attracting the wolf's attention.  Which brings up Fiorella's mother, who taught a mixed message of "Keep your head down" and "Stand out from the crowd." It's all according to the situation, of course, which can be very hard to judge.

Not that any of it matters because if the sky were falling, we'd all be moot.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Let's make one thing clear: Fio has been published since she was five, when her art appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal.  Later, she wrote for school publications--her elementary school newspaper, her high school literary booklet, Latin booklets.  She put in a stint as editor of the state Latin publication, had some poetry published, and wrote a doctoral dissertation. She self-pubbed more  little booklets, wrote for the American-Statesman, for her own neighborhood newspaper, and for local magazines.  She had more poetry published, plus a short story.

But she's never had a full-length novel published till now.

WHAT THE HEART WANTS--on Amazon, published by Forever Yours, Hachette Book Group.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Fiorella got caught in a horrible traffic jam yesterday.  It took her an hour and a half to travel the ten miles between Pflugerville and Round Rock.  The day was hot--100 degrees hot--and she didn't have any Ozarka in the car.  Most of the time was spent sitting with her motor running.  When she got home, she was in such bad shape that Husband had to help her out of the car and into the house, where she gulped down great amounts of water and collapsed on the couch.

Fio had a hard time of it, but the people in the pile-up that caused the traffic jam--a semi and seven cars--had it even worse.

God protect and preserve them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Sonia Dog has six basic needs: love and treats, food and water, to go out and to come in.  But lately she's been expressing a seventh need--language.  Yes, our doggie has been expanding her vocabulary of yelps, bark, and growls so as to communicate with us better. Will let you know when she writes a romance.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Houston, we've got lift off!  The good ship WHAT THE HEART WANTS has been launched!  Check out Amazon for your copy--$2.99 digital, $17.00 trade paperback.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Second Amendment Right to Get Killed

All of America should be appalled by the situation in which a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot a firearms instructor in the head with an Uzi, which, Fio has been told, is an entirely inappropriate weapon for a nine-year-old.  Arms enthusiasts are--uh--up in arms defending the instructor, of course, but Fiorella is more concerned about the child.

How does a fourth-grader cope with having killed someone?  How will she be treated by other children?  Her family will have to move, perhaps assume another name, and she will need extensive therapy.

Fio hopes her parents will sue the gun range and the NRA and even the estate of the stupid man who, in effect, committed suicide by putting the gun in her nine-year-old  hand.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

War and Peace

For the innocents, the casual casualties of war
For the militants, who kill and destroy on command
For their leaders, whose power is absolute
I pray God's grace and peace.

Gubernatorial Election Considerations

Fiorella is opposed to abortion, but she does not think it should be a political football. She resents both parties drawing the line, Republicans trying to round up votes by campaigning against abortion and Democrats trying to round up votes by calling it a women's issue.  Fio will vote the Democratic ticket because she wants Texas to have a strong TWO-party system, not because Wendy Davis won her over by being pro-abortion.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shameless Hustling

Fiorella's romance novel comes out on Tuesday.  As you know, it's called WHAT THE HEART WANTS, and Fio's pen name is JEANELL BOLTON.  The reason she tells you this is that there are nine--count'em, NINE--other novels on Amazon with the same title.

Anyway, she hopes you'll give her book a try.  Like most of her stories, it involves a woman living in shadow.  The digital edition of WHAT THE HEART WANTS will be available for $2.99, and the trade paperback will cost $17.00.

Wish Fio well.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Escape Artist

Sonia bolted off leash again yesterday.  The weather was a little cooler so Fiorella took her out for an evening walk.  Ten paces down the driveway, Sonia spotted a deer and raced off after it,  Fio called her several times, but Sonia didn't come back till all hope of venison was gone. Then she sped down the drive, bypassed Fio, and stood on the front porch, waiting for the door to be opened.

At least she knows where she lives.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cave Woman Problems

Fiorella has long cherished the notion that she has a heavy dose of Neanderthal in her, but right now she's feeling it more than ever.  Yes, the computer has triumphed over her yet again.  She's been trying for more than a week to send photos off to her publicist in New York, but, despite Austin Son's help and Friend Cheryl's help, it's just not a-happenin'.  Friend Cheryl thought a program called Mozilla Thunderbird would do the trick, but it didn't.  Or maybe Fiorella screwed up the works.

We Neanderthals are better suited to chisels and stone tablets.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Life of Leisure

Fio's at it again.  She's hopping in the car at 10:30 today to drop by Beleza at 11:00 and drop off some of her promotional bookmarks, then meet with Friend Paula at Dan's at 11:30, then with Friend Cheryl at Starbucks at 12:45.  After that, she'll run by the post office.  Once home, she'll write, write, write till about midnight, then sleep till eight tomorrow morning and start all over again.

She forgot to say that she'll also work in lifting five-pound weights ten times in German, will do ten plies in Russian, slip in a bit of piano practice, and oil her fingernails.

Eating and breathing are optional.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


When Fiorella was a child, she learned the name of every color in the forty-eight crayon box.  When she was older, she learned the name of every oil paint color.  That would seem to be enough, wouldn't it?  But it seems like whenever time she turns around, the names are changing and new color shades are invented.

Fiorella doesn't like meaningless change.  Well, she doesn't like change at all unless it's for the better, and she can see no benefit to changing the names of colors.  Bring back chartreuse!

Monday, August 25, 2014


It may be just wishful thinking, but more and more, Fiorella is beginning to believe in some kind of multiple lives.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if all those people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, in riots and random violence all over the world, would have another chance?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if the essential Fio could live again, but do better the next time around?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Catching up with Canine

Sonia Dog wants Fio and Husband to stay in the same room so she can keep an eye on them. In fact, she prefers to be between them, touching both of them at the same time.  When Mommy and Daddy hug each other, she growls and tries to get between them--a hug without Sonia in the middle is not complete.
The dog days of summer do not appeal to the resident mastiff.  Sonia and Fiorella have been hoofing around the 180-linear yards of the driveway twice a day for a full year now, but a couple of 100-degree days ago, doggie started balking at a second loop.  And last night she backed away when Fiorella approached her with the leash.
Sonia will be three years old in a couple of months.  How matronly.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bookmarks of Love

Fio was a little nervous about asking people to give out promotional bookmarks for WHAT THE HEART WANTS.  She couched her request in phrases like "Would you consider ..." or "Would be you be comfortable ..." because she truly didn't want to impose on anyone.

But no one has turned her down. Minnesota Son and wife, Austin Son and wife, Daughter, Brother and wife, Fio's cousins in Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia, old friends, new friends--everyone has leapt on the bandwagon.

Fiorella is humbled and grateful. Thank you.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dreams of Eternity

Daughter had a dream in which Fio's mother appeared and told her to tell Fiorella she loved her.  She also had a dream in which Fio's father appeared, and he was happy.  Fiorella doesn't know much about the reality of dreams, but it warmed her to hear Daughter's reports.  She always knew her mother loved her, and her father always was a happy kind of person so she hopes they are eternal.

It gives her hope for her own ultimate future, and everyone else's.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Welcome to the dog days of August.  The temps have been running over 100 degrees in Central Texas, and Fiorella is totally innervated, even inside the house.  No matter what the air conditioning reads, her body tells her it is way too hot.

But we should bless August, because that means all the months that follow will be cooler.  Well--except that September sometimes gives us a run for our money.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day off

Please, children, go out and play
Fio needs a rest today

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One of Fio's Short Shorts

 Only the names were changed, to protect the author.

What Everyone Knows 

I turn right at Joe Bob’s pool hall, left at God’s Lighthouse, and right again at Della’s Quality Wigs, then proceed down the road through the low water crossing and turn right at the dead end.  This puts me in the faculty parking lot of Little Whitetail High School, where I’ll be teaching a dual credit college class this fall. The weather is nasty, but I’m in luck: there’s an empty space in the first row, near the back door to the school.
I ease into the space, half open my door, and turn to gather my necesaries from the seat beside me—purse, umbrella, satchel of books and hand-outs.
What sounds like the voice of God booms from above my half-open door.
I jerk around, only to have my vision blocked by a large male torso.  The head and shoulders are above my view.
            The voice continues in slow, measured syllables. “Ma’am, you’ve parked in my secretary’s place.  These two spaces are for the principal and the secretary,”
My head bobs like it is on a spring as I look around to check if there is something I missed.  “There isn’t any sign.”
“Everyone knows.”
I glance out of my back window to see where else I might park, but I must not be moving fast enough because the sepulcheral voice addresses me again. “Can I help you, ma’am?”
“I’m just trying to figure out what spots are open.”  What other local dignitaries would I inadvertently offend?  Who else has invisible dubs on choice parking spots?
“They’re all open, ma’am.”
If they're ALL open, why can’t I stay where I am? runs through my mind, but instead I just say “Oh,” close my door, and back out of the parking space.  I end up one row back, in Lord only knows who else’s spot.
A gray-haired woman pulls up next to me, glares at me, and dings my door when she gets out.
When I reclaim my car at the end of the day, I notice, hanging from shiny new metals, are two laminated paper signs designating the principal’s and secretary’s parking places.  Their flap-flap-flapping holds up through several perfunctory autumn storms, but the signs finally blow away in a truly magnificent Thanksgiving gale. The next week they are replaced with metal signs. 
“Those signs are totally unnecessary,” I tell one of the teachers I’ve become friendly with.  “I’m the only one who didn’t know the local customs, and I don’t park in those two spaces any more.  I’m not even parked out back today.  I couldn’t get through the low water crossing so I parked in one of those yellow-striped spaces out front.”
My friend’s eyes bug out in horror. “Out front?  Those spaces are reserved for the coaches!”
"But there weren’t any signs.”  
“Everyone knows.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weighing Options

Sonia Dog lunged forward and barked ferociously as the neighbor's dogmobile--a golf cart with a dog leashed on  either side of it--putt-putted toward us, but relented when Fiorella jerked back on her nose collar, yelled "LEAVE IT, and offered her PupPeroni.

Yes, a treat in the hand is worth two dogs on the road.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Evening News

Fiorella likes to live in her own little bubble.  She wants all of her friends and family in there too--in fact, their happiness is essential to her happiness.  Thus  when world events rip open her protective membrane, she is devastated.

Husband turned on the evening news yesterday and Fiorella started crying.  The riots in Missouri, the problems in Iraq--why can't people be kind to each other?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pass the Pen and Papyrus!

Your girl is having problems with her computer again.  It refuses to send photos by email.  In fact, the six photos she tried to send on Tuesday gummed up the machine so badly that, even after she called her server to try to find out what the problems was, the laptop wouldn't allow her to send mail out till yesterday when Husband--AKA Fiorella's Help Desk--was finally able to clear out the clog.  But Fio still can't transmit photos, which irritates the heck out of her.  Fio does not like to be stymied!

And, while she's at it, she also doesn't like the way her laptop makes strange maneuvers just because she's accidentally hit a few keys wrong!