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.