Friday, February 28, 2014

Back Cover!

Here is what my wonderful editor, Michele Bidelspach,  has written for the back cover of  WHAT THE HEART WANTS

 The love he left behind . . .
Laurel Harlow was once the princess of Bosque Bend, Texas: every door was open to the only daughter of the beloved minister and his well-bred wife. Then scandal rocked their family—and those same doors slammed shut. Now preparing the family mansion for sale, Laurel wants nothing more than to put the past behind her and move on. But when Jase Redlander appears on her doorstep, ten years after he left her heartbroken, she can’t turn him away…especially when he needs her help.

. . . is the only thing worth coming home for
Jase never intended to come back to this one-horse town. But then his teenage daughter runs away, headed straight for Bosque Bend and the woman he once loved.  The moment Jase sees Laurel again, he knows he never should have left all those years ago. There’s a secret she’s keeping from him, though­—he’s certain of it.  Over the course of sunny days and sultry nights, Jase aims to find out what it is. And this time he’ll show Laurel that this bad boy can be the man of her dreams . . . if she’ll let him.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


America has long been fascinated by the antics of the ignorant. Honey Booboo, and Duck Dynasty are the just descendants of such as Ma and Pa Kettle and the Beverly Hillbillies.  And remember the three Darryls in the Bob Newhart Show?  

Why do we find them so amusing?  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Looking back, Fio doesn't understand why so few people came to her father's funeral.  He went to all of theirs.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


How well did Fiorella cover herself Thursday through Saturday? She doesn't like to let anyone know when she's distressed so she hopes nothing leaked through except her Shylock poem, which had been written earlier and shelved--its publishing date date crept up on her unaware (or maybe her subconscious took over).  Anyway, Fiorella went into a frenzy of physical activity for the aforementioned days, then collapsed on the couch Saturday afternoon.  Yeah, after two nights of sleeplessness, she bombed out.

The great thing was that when she awoke, she realized that during her walking coma, she'd packed away the rest of the Christmas decorations, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and thus allowed her brain to function again.  Onward and upward, Fiorella!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Male Cheesecake

In re those guys with tattooed biceps and nursing-mother pecs whose images have been showing up on Facebook lately, the ones with a thumb half pulling down their Jockeys to show almost everything:

What sort of desperation has forced them to prostitute their bodies to a camera?  What sort of self-loathing has caused them to hide themselves under a blanket of tattoos? Where are their mothers?

Fiorella, who writes steamy romance novels, is both repulsed and saddened.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Garage Fantasy

As of today, all of Fiorella's Christmas decorations are stored in the garage. Yes, Fio spent one month putting the decorations up, one month enjoying them, and one month taking them down.

On to bigger and better, like maybe she and Husband can get the garage itself in shape.  There's a great pile of boxes that have occupied far too much space ever since they moved in nine years ago. Who knows what wonders dwell within?

Saturday, February 22, 2014


When Fiorella was a child in Akron, she went across the street to play with Diane Woodhall or down the street to play with Barbara Tromer, or up the street to play with Bobby Duncan or further up to play with a motley gang of kids in Patty Castile's big, jungle-like yard.  In Waco, she ran across the street to play with Ellen or went next-door to visit Elaine.

When Fiorella's children were born, she assumed they also would roam freely around the neighborhood. WRONG-O!  There was a new kid on the block--playdates.  Where did these things come from? Probably from the fact that, in the meantime, mothers had entered the workforce and were not at home anymore so they had to set up appointments for their children to play together.

How sad.


Friday, February 21, 2014

. . . . do I not bleed?

Life is loss, life is gain
Life is joy, life is pain
Love and hate, sunshine and rain
All is vanity, all in vain

Thursday, February 20, 2014


During her research on cattle ranches for WHERE THE HEART LEADS, Fiorella learned that calves and cows bawl for days when they are separated so the calves can be weaned.   It's something ranchers get used to, but it touched Fiorella's heart and, for the first time in her life, she wondered if she should go vegetarian.  On the other hand, life is a circle: cattle eat grass, we eat cattle,  the earth absorbs us,  grass feeds off the earth, and cattle eat grass.  Back to square one.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Springtime Lover

What happed to you, my springtime lover?
We danced so merrily--
I played my harp, you sang your songs,
All summer by the sea

What happed to you, my springtime lover?
We needed wood and bread
When wintertime arrived due course
You sang me songs instead

What happed to you, my springtime lover?
When the baby cried?
When snow fell down to smother day  
When the fire died?

What happed to you, my springtime lover?
Why did you go away?
Mayhap you’ve found another love
For your springtime play

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fiorella Ponders

Part and parcel of being an artist is that appearances are very important.  Fiorella can't walk through a  room without tweaking a pillow and can't walk into the garage without sighing in sorrow.
Fiorella figures our atoms are recycles, but that there's something more--a spirit, a soul--that lives forever
Your Fio was born with her skin on inside out, a vulnerability which makes for a very good poet, but a troubled psyche.  She has her ups and downs.
Fiorella forgives those who trespass against her, but she does not forget.  It's a matter of self-protection.
The only realities are life, death, and dinner.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Me and My Aura

Fiorella never had migraines till she reached her mid-forties--which is amazing because, as she's often told you, she is now in her early forties.  Anyway, Fio was teaching at UT back then and, whenever she had a wiggly, squiggly, utterly beautiful electrical display going on, she had to ask students to read for her.  As time went on, the mind-numbing headaches died out, but the auras still pop up.  They usually last twenty minutes.

On to Valentine's day, 2014,  Despite a good night's sleep, Fio woke up drowsy and stayed that way till noon, at which point she made herself a cup of hot chocolate.  As she sat down on the couch with her steaming cup of indulgence, a magnificent aura near-blinded her. Because chocolate is reputed to be a causative factor in regard to migraines, Fio considered dumping her cup, but didn't.  She drank it all down.

Miracle of  miracles, the aura started abating.  In seven minutes it was gone. And, of course, there was no migraine,


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sins of the Classroom

Fiorella should have been born Catholic because she is so determined to confess her sins.  It's the only way she can clear her brain of running and rerunning them.

Which brings us to the fact that she mis-taught the spelling of "harass" as "harrass" while she was in the classroom,not realizing her mistake when Google corrected her.  Also, she misspelled "renown" as "reknown," and she incorrectly insisted that "iota"--which she did spell correctly--existed only in the singular.

Fio's mother, the spelling champion of Summit Township, must have been twirling in her grave.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cruz Control

Now that the Senate Republicans have turned on their Cruz control, can we get on with real government instead of political posturing?  Fiorella believes in a two-party system and she thinks everyone should have his say, but she doesn't like it when the drain gets clogged and the plumbing stops working for harrowing days on end.

Thank you, Boehner and Cornyn, for flushing out the tubes.

Friday, February 14, 2014


When Husband gets out of bed while Fiorella is still drowsing, he makes sure her covers are straight, lowers the dark shades against the sun, and takes the dog downstairs so she won't whine Fio awake.  That is how Fiorella knows he loves her.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love Lauren

Happy birthday to the newest member of Fiorella's family, Daughter-in-Law Lauren.  We love her because she loves Austin Son and we love her for herself.  What a great preamble to Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How Fio's Writerly Mind Works

After working four days solid on the final(?) edit of WHAT THE HEART WANTS, Fiorella emailed it to Michele Bidelspach on Monday.  Now Fio writhes in agony, imagining what Michele might ask her to change, which would be hard because Fio falls in love with her characters and thinks of them as real people.  And she thinks of her stories as real too, and doesn't want to change them because that's what "really happened."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Aging Ambition

Years ago, Fiorella saw an older woman with snow-white hair being wheeled through the Austin airport.  She was wearing bright red lipstick, had a big smile on her face, and was talking and laughing with the airport employee assigned to helping her navigate.  The woman sparkled, and Fio decided she wanted to be just like her when she grew older.  

White hair is out of the running for Fio genetically, and Fio's still on her feet, but the lipstick's a slam-dunk and she's been working on the smile lately.

See you at the airport.          

Monday, February 10, 2014

Miracle by the Side of the Road

The day is sunny and bicycle riders are blooming on the side of US 183. OMG--look!  Quick!  Call the newspaper!  Get a TV crew out here!  Something must be wrong--a bicyclist stopped for a traffic light!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Have you noticed Fio's on an upswing?  It's all because of that ninety-year-old woman front-ending her in the Walgreen's parking lot.  Fio wasn't injured, and it turned out that Baby Car wasn't hurt either, but Fio was very angry about the woman's refusal to acknowledge she'd hit Fio or that Fiorella had honked the life out of Baby's horn beforehand.

In fact, Fiorella's mind flamed with anger all the rest of the day and the next day too, and the immediate anger overcame the recurring depression caused by rerunning the mental tape of last summer.   Now Fiorella has to  find other things to blow up at.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fio's Theory of Afterlife

Recent research has suggested that some children are born with genetic tendencies toward violence, and, of course, we know that bad nurturing can also cause children to develop negative patterns of behavior. Children can also be born with diseases that cause them to act out.  In short, we are all the products of nature, nurture, and happenstance.  Why then, would a caring God condemn those who have three strikes against them from the outset?

What Fiorella hopes happens is that we will all be cleansed in the fire, then dwell in peace and love forevermore.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Fiorella spent a restful half hour last night untangling Christmas tree lights and wrapping them into coils to pack away for next year.  It was nice to know she still has the touch, that the cords would still  fall apart in her hands as, weaving and shaking, she worked her way through the massive snarl-ups..

Untangling is a talent Fiorella has had since she was a child.  She discovered it when she separated several intertwined jewelry chains she and Friend Ellen were using for dress-up,and since then has applied it to other tangles in her life.

The physical ones, not the psychological ones.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sue Halter, Fio's Siccing the Law on You

Fiorella drove to Austin yesterday and fulfilled a tight schedule, then dropped by Walgreen's on University Avenue in Georgetown.  In the parking lot, despite her honking madly, she was front-ended by the solid rear end of a Toyota driven by a ninety-year old woman backing out of a parking space.  Instead of taking responsibility and apologizing, the woman was confrontational, wanting Fio to move her car so she could leave.  When told she had rammed into Fio's car, which was hard to do because her hearing was so bad that Fio had to shout, the woman glanced at Fio's baby car and said, "No harm done."  Her traveling companion, a short, stout woman of about the same age, got out, looked at Baby, and said, "Where's the dent?" When Fio tried to explain that her friend had rammed into her, she said, "I'm deaf. I can't hear you."

Fiorella doesn't know what internal damage may have been done to her car--or herself--but she'll find out. And she'll also do everything within her power to get Sue Halter's driving license revoked--if she has one.

Come to think of it, she probably doesn't. That's probably why Sue and her cohort were so anxious to flee the scene.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Fiorella promises never more to nitpick about minor typos and errors in books she's reading.

You guessed it--she's spent the last four days making final edits on What the Heart Wants before sending it off to Editor Michele again, and she's appalled at what her English-teacher eye overlooked.

Perfection, thy name is Futile.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


If I bury my hurt and anger deep
Where no one else can see
Will it simmer like a pot of fire
And ultimately murder me?

Monday, February 3, 2014


Fio has paintings, prints, and sketehes in almost every room in the house.  Walk into the front room, and you are hit with two of Austin Son's pieces, an inherited maritime, a pair of Chinese prints, and five of Fio's family portraits. Move into the dining room and you get Son's premier digital painting, an inherited floral, and two more family portraits (only one by Fio).  The den sports a black-and-white, a fantasy,and an O'Keefe-type charcoal, all by Son, plus a charming pencil sketch by Sister-in-Law.  The kitchen has four works by Son above the cabinets. The guest room has four framed molas and one of Son's pics. Three of Fio's paintings hang on the bathroom wall

Moving up, the stairwell displays eight portraits (one being of Wendy Dog), four landscapes, one nude, one abstract, and four Chinese prints.  Going down the hall, you are surrounded by Husband's photo display, four guinea pig oils, three of Fio's childhood paintings, and a door poster.  Husband's office features four of Fiorella's oils, and another of Son's larger works, and Fio has a pencil sketch of Son in her study.  The available walls and cupboard doors in the workroom/laundry are covered with art.  One upstairs bathroom displays three nudes. and the other one has two landscape paintings affixed to a cupboard door and one sitting on the counter.

On to the master bedroom. Where is the art?  Out of all the eighty-plus works of art on the premises, the most powerful are . . . the patterns of bare tree branches through the window glass.


Sunday, February 2, 2014


The new popcorn popper arrived yesterday.  Fiorella and Husband hadn't been able to indulge in their usual Saturday night sit-on-the-couch-and-eat-popcorn-together fest for about a month, ever since the plastic dome on top of their old popper cracked, but Fio found an identical machine on line and it is now sitting in glory on her kitchen island.

Mmm-mmm!  Nothing like sharing a plastic dome full of popcorn with your sweetie on Saturday night!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Told Ya So!

Fiorella never bought into the idea that Homo Sapiens killed off the Neanderthals.  Instead she theorized they died off because of problems with crossbreeding, that the maturity or birthweight of the mixed-breed babies killed off both the mother and the child--or something like that. It turns out Fio was wrong in the particulars, but, according to the latest DNA studies, was headed in the right directions: a Harvard Medical School report suggests that the male offspring of a Neanderthal-Homo Sapiens had a reduced fertility rate.  Get enough of that going, and--well--nothing gets going.

Any other scientific inquiries you'd like Fio to ponder on?