Saturday, May 31, 2014

Southside Meat Market in Elgin

Fiorella and Husband drove over to Elgin yesterday afternoon. Elgin, the home of Southside Meat Market.  Southside Meat Market, the home of the best beef sausage in all of Texas.

And Fiorella gobbled down a LOT of it.

Yes, when it comes to sausage, Fio's a glutton.  Thank goodness Elgin is far enough away that Fio and Husband can only make it over there once a year.  Otherwise Fio wouldn't need a car--she'd just roll herself all the way to Southside.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Educational TV

If you are parents who want to bring up kids to be sweet and caring, check out The Little Couple.

If you are a guy who wants to break into television, court a Duggar daughter from Nineteen and Counting.

If you doubt Americans are the most blessed people in the world, watch House Hunters.

If you can't go to sleep, turn on late night television.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Years ago Fiorella wrote a sweet little horror story that she set in an imaginative era of driverless cars.  Now, according to what she's reading, driverless cars are upon us, courtesy of . . . Google.

Hmm, what about that other futuristic stuff Fio has thought up, like all babies being cloned because medical advances allowing people to live forever in prime physical shape?

Of course, there's more to that story.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Modern Times

Being as that Fiorella's book will be coming out digital, she's been trying to acquaint herself with  Kindle and Amazon.  But she doesn't like the way light reflects off her screen when she's trying to read, and she isn't accustomed to this one-page-at-a-time business, and her hand still has problems "turning" pages.  But one thing she really does like is being able to check out a whole first chapter to see if she's interested in reading the rest of the book.

Beats the heck out of standing beside a bookshelf in Barnes and Noble and trying to judge the book by its back cover and first page.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Printer Winner

It's an electronic miracle--and just what Fio has been calling for all this time!  The new printer, the one Husband bought for her when the old one turned terminally eccentric, is TOTALLY wireless and can be accessed from anywhere in the house!  No more cords trailing across the floor like Indiana Jones snakes!  No more tense moments, waiting to hear the rumble of the printer gearing up! No more unnerving stops and starts! No more nail-biting about the deadline Fio has hovering over her while waiting for Husband to come home to fix the dang thing!

Fio is ecstatic!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Joan and Tina

Writing acknowledgments at 9:00 at night is a risky business.  Fiorella thought she'd covered the waterfront, then woke up this morning realizing she'd left out two key players, Joan Barton and Tina Bolick.  When the galleys arrive, she'll add in their names.

God only knows who else she has left out, but, when the time comes, let Fiorella know, and she'll give you a shout-out in the next book.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

On the Treadmill

Fiorella really got industrious yesterday and put the kitchen back in shape, picked up the den, went upstairs and took care of the workroom/utility room, neatened the master bedroom, and did a thorough job on the master closet.  Today she'll go after her office.  WHERE THE HEART LEADS is breathing down her neck.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rollin' Along

Fiorella's life is always on the move because she always has a project in the works--or two or three--or half a million.  Now that WHAT THE HEART WANTS is finished, finished, finished, she'll turn her attention to the house and yard, which have yet to be conquered.  And throw herself into WHERE THE HEART LEADS, which needs to be finished, finished, finished by the end of September in order to be published, published, published in January.

Along the way, there's the art Fio wants to get back to.  And the music.  And the little books she plans to have made to display her constant poetry.  And the languages. The list goes on and on and on.  Fio needs a clone.

Friday, May 23, 2014

At Last!

Fiorella is going a little crazy right now--her editor has okayed her final revisions, which means Fio's good to go in September.

She dedicated the book to the memory of her mother, but here is a copy of her acknowledgments:

It takes a village to write a book.

A big thank you to the Austin, Texas, chapter of Romance Writers of America, especially Janece Hudson, Jane Myers Perrine, April Kihlstrom, Louisa Edwards, and Jessica Scott.  And a special shout-out to my RWA guardian angels, Liana Lefey and Colleen Thompson.

I also appreciate the encouragement of beta readers Sharon Kite, Suzy Millar Miller, Ashley Vining, and Linda Wiles, as well as the enthusiasm of literary friends Paula Mitchell Marks, Carol Fox, and Suzy Gregory. 

Thank you also to my fabulous literary agent, Liza Dawson, who believed in me, and my ever-patient editor, Michele Bidelspach, who made my dream come true.

And, as always, thank you to my long-suffering husband, because he has been unfailingly supportive of my writing career, and my three wonderful children, because they have allowed me to use my own name.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Fiorella sent in her revisions yesterday and her editor wants her to send in the dedication and acknowledgments today.  Eek--Fiorella wasn't expecting that!  Now she has to hustle, especially since the editor asked to see the first two chapters of her second book.

Guess Husband's gonna have to keep on doing the grocery shopping for a while.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Morning Poetry

Another of Fiorella's favorites, by one of her favorite poets, Robert Browning:

        Pippa Passes

The year's at the spring,
The day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his heaven--
All's right with the world!

Fio especially enjoys the rhyme pattern: a-b-c-d-a-b-c-d

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

To Subscribe or Not to Subscribe

Should Fiorella continue subscribing to the newspaper or not?  She isn't interested in sports, never reads the entertainment section, and ignores ads.  And she could get the comics and her fix of national and international news on Google.

On the other hand, Fio likes reading stuff on paper, and she'd miss out on the screwball vicissitudes of Texas politics.  And she'd  miss the anagrams too--which are more decipherable than the politics.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Luann, Don't Leave Me!

Luann's writer is running old strips as she and her pals graduate from high school, which puts Fiorella on edge because that's what Gary Trudeau did when he wound down Doonesbury.  If Luann is jerked, that would leave Fio with just five reliably good comics--Edge City, Candorville,  Baby Blues, Pooch Cafe, and Pickles.  Oh, and Pearls before Swine--when it features the crocodiles

Fiorella's world is closing in on her.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

World Affairs

There's trouble in Eastern Europe and there's trouble between the Arab states and there's trouble in Africa, but then, there's always trouble in Eastern Europe, the Arab states, and Africa.  That's why people immigrate to the United States.  Dangers here are random acts, not pitched warfare.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Romance Pigeonholes

Once upon a time, a romance was just a romance, the story of a relationship between a male and a female that ended happily.  Now romances are categorized.  You can read about male-female relationships, female-female relationships, and male-male relationships.  Or you can read sweets and inspirationals.  Or you can read about threesomes and foursomes--even BDSMers.

Another dividing line is age, of readers and characters.  The ages of the readers are categorized into "young adult" (ages twelve to eighteen), "new adult" (ages eighteen through twenty-four), and adult (default).  Also, authors are expected to make their main characters' ages match up appropriately: a love story involving a forty-plus man and a nineteen-year-old girl such as  Georgette Heyer set up in her classic These Old Shades could not get published today.

But Fiorella isn't sure readers care about categorization.  A good story is still a good story.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Twice-given Bone

Sonia Dog likes to play a little game with Mommy.

As soon as Mommy presents Doggie with her daily rawhide retriever bone, Sonia makes a great show of hiding it, then approaches Mommy and whines piteously.  Mommy responds by searching out the usual  places--between the couch cushions, under a pillow or the bathroom rug, behind the waste basket-- finds the bone, holds it aloft and and exclaims dramatically  "Look what I found!"

A grateful Sonia trots forward and retrieves her retriever bone, then settles down in the center of the den to chew it to shreds.  Such is life in La Casa Fiorella.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Fiorella, being as empathetic as they come, is the natural prey of sociopaths, and she's attracted her share of the beasts. All of them have all been totally charming and wickedly funny, and they've made Fio feel special by singling her out to be their friend--their BEST friend.  Of course, when a better prospect comes along, they drop Fio like the proverbial hot potato, and Fio's heart breaks.

Al she can do is pray that someday they will find their better selves.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Second Verse Tells the Tale

In regard to the recent discovery that the Veterans' Administration has been manipulating records of the length of time veterans have had to wait before receiving medical care, Fiorella proffers the second verse of that old, old song, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home:"

When Johnny comes marching home again, hurrah, hurrah
We'll give him a hearty welcome then, hurrah, hurrah
He hasn't an arm, he hasn't a leg
He'll have to be put with a bowl to beg
But we'll all feel gay when
Johnny comes marching home

If you'd like, contact Fio and she'll sing it to you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Fio loves paying the bills each month.  It's like fending the wolf off from the door, and there have been times during Fiorella's life when the wolf has had its paw inside the door, which is no fun.

Let me reword:  Fio loves being able to pay the bills each month.

Monday, May 12, 2014

No Ear

Why curse the clock?  It cannot hear
Same for the car that's parked too near
Same for the door that won't unlock,
The vagrant shoe, the missing sock,
The battery run down, the rain,
Night and day, hurt and pain--
They do not care if you  swear
It's all in vain, all in vain

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Reflection

Happy Mother's Day to Fiorella.

Motherhood was not easy for Fio to come by, which means she values her three children all the more.   Thank you, Minnesota son.  Thank you, Austin son.  Thank you, daughter.

Thank you, my darlings, for making Fiorella a mother.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Way to Go

If you have have to die, Mother did it right. She gave us a couple of months' warning, ran Dad through a few dress rehearsals, and had enough time to get the house in order, including destroying anything she didn't want us to see. 

Fio plans to stick around a while yet, but Mother's type of prompt and gracious exit is certainly preferable to the years of decay that Dad endured.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Odd Girl Out

Thinking outside the box is Fiorella's specialty.  Maybe because she's never been able to find her way inside the box.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Political Questions

Why is Monica Lewinsky whining in the news again?  She's so yesterday. If she really wants to get a new start, how about staying under the radar? How about adjusting her name to Monica Lewis, or using her middle name, whatever it is?  How about separating the saucy skank she was from the supposedly mature woman she has become?  How about not raining on Hillary's parade?

Which brings up another thought: was she paid to drag up that old scandal in order to throw a shadow on Hillary's possible presidential run?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Official News

Husband is retired now so yesterday afternoon he and Fio spent a couple of hours working on his home office.  Fiorella put together a wall design of his various awards and commendations--mixed in with some of Son's artwork--and Husband did the grunt work.  Today we'll look at rearranging and organizing.  Who knows what will turn up?

Fiorella's office--notice how now that she has a publisher, she's calling it an office rather than a study--is still uninhabitable, but there's hope.  There better be, because she's just received a second round of revisions from her editor.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

False Values

Fiorella is both fascinated and horrified by Antiques Road Show.  Fascinated because of all the interesting and weird stuff people bring in, and horrified by how much it is supposedly worth.  It is WRONG for fake jewelry to be valued at thousands of dollars just because an actress wore it in a movie.  It is WRONG that a stupid-looking piece of "art" that looks like a preschooler composed it would sell for more than $100,000.  It WRONG that people fork over fortunes for useless junk, stuff with implied value rather than real value, when they could be aiding the needy or supporting medical research.

What a sad, desperate way to live.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Springtime in the Hill Country

The wildflowers pave the fields
The whitetail does are fat with fawn
The birds pipe cheerful melodies
And armadillos plow my lawn

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Family histories are only half true, at least as far as Fio's family goes.  Where memory fails us, imagination takes over--yes, we are a creative bunch.  We embellish and alter, and we don't even realize it. Fio bets other families do the same.  And countries do too.

The truth is many-layered and obscure--another example of alternate universes.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


What is it about Registered Nurses that so many of them can't handle an IV--or even draw blood?  Time after time, Fiorella has had to sit on a gurney gritting her teeth as the hospital nurse poked around in her arm for a good vein or dug around after inserting the needle. In her most recent hospital visit, after the nurse had had several goes at Fio's hand to get the IV going, then punctured her left arm twice in search of a productive vein, Fio got bitchy and pointed at the exact center of her folded elbow and said, "The phlebotomist always sticks it here."

Voila--it worked.

 Fio's going to have to draw Xs on herself with a Magic Marker the next time she goes to a hospital.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gurney Evidence

Regarding the gurney, further research lends credibility to the circumstantial evidence: due to the baby boom back then, new mothers were being raced out of the hospital in droves to make room for women in labor.  To compensate for the untimely send-off, hospitals supplied all sorts of services.

Mom probably left the same day she delivered and while Dad was at work so the hospital whisked her home in style.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Posing a Question

Why are American historical romance writers so hung up on the British nobility?  Every book seems to feature a member of the House of Lords--and their titled ladies. In fact, enough dukes and earls and counts and viscounts lounge around in romances to people a small--maybe a large--nation.

Why?  Is it faithfulness to the Georgette Heyer tradition? Is it the long dresses and swash-buckling heroes?  Is it the the long-ago and far-away princess movie aspect?

Fio doesn't know the answer. After, all she writes dark contemporaries.