Sunday, May 31, 2015


Friend Jeanell, who writes steamy romances, is beginning to feel like she's  actually writing "sweets," the genre code name for love stories that stop at the bedroom door.  It bothers her that a poorly-written book justifying BDSM is a multi-million dollar best-seller, that movies vie with each other in portraying "love" scenes more and more graphically, and that a long-running reality show is based on nothing but the sex lives of the female family.  Have we become a nation of voyeurs?

Call Fiorella a prude, but she'd prefer a little more censorship.  Or maybe it's called good taste.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cell Phone Search

This afternoon, Fio and Husband will go shopping for new cell phones.  The contenders are I-phone, Sprint, Cricket, and Jitterbug.  Fiorella, a simple soul, wants a simple phone for talking,  texting, and taking pictures to transfer onto Facebook.  Husband, who is more complicated, wants a more versatile phone for talking, texting, taking pictures, reading email, and consulting the internet.

Bless us.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Duggars and Kardashians

When you come right down to it, there isn't that much difference between the Duggars and the Kardashians.  Both families are large, loyal, unemployed, woefully under-educated, governed by a control freak, and have money coming out their ears.

And both families are sexually oriented, The women are skilled with make-up, wear cute clothes, sport the latest hair styles, and aren't averse to a few nips and tucks, but the Duggars groom their girls to be as sexually submissive as FLDS Mormons, while the Kardashians groom their girls to be as lecherous as Saturday night--uh--girlfriends.

The big difference between the two families is that the Duggars try to smooth over any cracks in their facade, while the Kardashians base episodes around them.

Whatever.  The Kardashians are boring, and the Duggars give Fio sugar diabetes.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fiorella Battles Electronics . . . Again

Something semi-awful has happened.  Fiorella was trying to move her blog icon around, and it got smushed in with another icon, and the only way she can now access her blog is through a new, strange ogre-like icon that has a big B on it.  Actually, she can't see her posted blogs in all their splendor, just the pages that she composes her masterpieces on, the editorial page.

Then there are the icons which a friend kindly lined up and stabilized for her, but which are not in the order Fio wants them to be.  Yes, Fio knows how to drag icons--which is how she got in trouble with her blog icon--but each time she moves an icon, the space closes up.  Aaaargh!

The basic problem is that Fiorella always knew she'd be a writer--she always was a writer--but she didn't anticipate the advent of the electronic age.  There's always something.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Latest in Electronic News, New, News

Fiorella was trying to move desktop icons around yestrday afternoon and accidentally lost her blog icon.  She can still create a new blog, but she can't look at the posted versions of her older ones. Nothing to do but throw herself on the mercy of someone with an IT degree. Here birdie, birdie, birdie . . . .
On the other hand, Fio has learned how to check sales rankings on WHAT THE HEART WANTS, which have been going up lately.  Hoping, hoping, hoping . . . .
Oh, and Friend Claire shared her book back-up method with Fio: after she finishes for the day, she emails a copy of her manuscript to herself.  Copy, copy, copy . . . .

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reality Shows Exposed

The problem with reality shows is that, at a certain point, the facade gets ripped off and we notice things like Matt Roloff's megalomania, Mama June's careless parenting, the Duck Dynasty patriarch's prejudices, Kate Gosselin's virulent OCD, and the Duggars' misperception of godliness.

But the people portrayed on the screen were concocted out of scraps of footage by directors, cameramen, and publicity flacks.  They were never real.

Reality shows are fiction


Monday, May 25, 2015

Jigsaw Existentialim

The moment Fiorella realized she was mentally apologizing to a small piece of cardboard which looked like a starfish wearing a red hat for not find it a proper home yet was the moment that she realized she is a jigsaw puzzle nut.

Yes, it's two weeks now, and Fio's become acquainted with all the leftover pieces--and feels empathy for every one of them.  It must be hard to remain on the table when your friends are sitting smugly in their appropriate places--like being the last one chosen for an elementary school kickball team.

But the time will come when the pieces will all be appropriately situated, and when Fio will cease to regard them as individuals, but dump them in a baggie for donation to The Caring Place.  Such is the death and cosmic rebirth of a jigsaw puzzle

Sunday, May 24, 2015


When Fiorella was a little girl in Ohio, she would stand on the back porch with her nose pressed against the screen and chant "Rain, rain, go away.  Come again some other day."  And right now, even in drought-stricken Central Texas, part of her is thinking the same thing.

But the other part of her is saying "Thank you for the rain, God.  Keep everyone safe, but please fill our lakes because the long, hot summer is to come."


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Duggar Scandal

Fiorella is not a fan of the Duggar family, but she finds no joy in their current situation.  These are people, real people, and the explosion of their world is sad for everyone involved, but something was bound to blow sooner or later.  There were too many children in--at the outset--too small a house, with too little access to the outside world, and far too little adult supervision.

And there will be more to come.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fiorella Fights the Computer, Husband Wins

Sorry to be running late, but Fiorella had an adventure this morning.  Let's call it, in line with all those cutely-titled elementary-school textbooks, "Fun with the Computer."

Some background here:  Fiorella is computer-challenged.  Her mind does not compute computerese. Nice, helpful people have often explained to Fio what they are doing as they move their fingers like Chopin across the keys, but Fio's eyes glaze over and her brain moves on to more graspable things--like gathering together all her short stories into a book, like refreshing her Russian, like rearranging furniture and landscaping the yard, like working out the family finances, like what the heck she'll write on Fiorella tomorrow.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, Fiorella tried to drag a desktop picture onto this blog for your edification and enjoyment, but she ended up pushing both you and the internet half off the page, then couldn't either back on again.

Finally she invoked Husband, the family computer guru, and he galloped over to the couch on his white horse and rescued her.

And we lived happily every after.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Up to Date

Fiorella used to be a news hound, but no more.  Actually, she's bored with daily reports--they're always the same.  Politicians are misbehaving, movie stars are misbehaving, Jennifer Aniston is pregnant, Angelina Jolie is having another body part removed, another Duggar is having another baby, people are killing other people, athletes are being signed for obscene amounts of money, the universe is different than previously thought, food that was bad one day is good the next and vice versa.

So Fio reads the comics and works the anagrams and occasionally the scrabblegrams, then settles down to create her own world, in which everything ends happily.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interconnected Endeavors

Fio is one-third through with her jigsaw puzzle, which is quite exhilarating.  One at a time, the pieces are finding their designated homes--even though Fiorella has yet to locate two straight-edged pieces that make up the outside edge.

And, one sentence at a time, Phillipa' story is coming together too--although Fio has a fair number of XXXXs, which represent missing words, to supply.  To bring you up to date, the hero and heroine have had a couple of near misses and should be hitting the jackpot in the chapter Fio is working on now.

When Fiorella finishes the jigsaw, she will admire it for a couple of days, then put all the pieces in a bag to donate to The Caring Place.  When Fiorella finishes the novella, she will admire it for a couple of days, then ship it off to her agent for consideration.  Or maybe she'll keep it at home and publish it herself.

We'll see.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sense vs. Santorum

Ah, the political season--Fiorella's favorite fodder.

According to columnist George Will, Rick Santorum perceives himself as appealing to "the approximately seventy percent of Americans who don't have a college degree and are competing with the unskilled workers who are coming into this country," which is why Santorum proposes cutting legal immigration by twenty-five percent.

First of all, is Santorum is so stinkin' rich that he thinks seventy percent of Americans are competing to cleans sewers?

Second, how obtuse, simplistic, and out of touch can you get?  A college degree is no longer--if it ever was--a sine qua non to financial success.  In fact, with the way college loans are oppressing current-day graduates, the degree-holders may NEVER get out of debt.

Third, how insulting can you get?  Anyone who's wise in the ways of computers, even if he/she hasn't graduated from high school, can make a mint. Then there are all sorts of occupations--writing, the trades, entrepreneurship, the arts--that can at least pay the bills, and sometimes a lot more.  And Fiorella doubts that any of these people so employed feel threatened by "unskilled workers."

Fourth, Santorum's solution to this non-problem--cutting legal immigration by twenty-five percent--is laughable.  Why does he think legal immigrants are all aiming at low-level jobs? Those jobs are going to illegal immigrants, who are grateful for every opportunity they can get and  work hard to earn their places in the land of opportunity.

More power to them.  They're a lot brighter than Rick Santorun.



Monday, May 18, 2015


For the sake of Husband and Son, Fiorella made reservations for the Georgetown Palace's presentation of SPAMALOT, but she was the one who ended up laughing her head off. The show was great, from the British-isms of the pre-curtain announcer to the extravagant full-cast finale.

 SPAMALOT is a crazy quilt of Monty Python scenes that starts with a fast-moving Finnish number (blond wigs and salmon) which has nothing to do with the plot, then moves on to the horseless King Arthur and a stunning Lady of the Lake, then develops a somewhat cliche theme of bring true to oneself. The puns, double talk, and distractive references come fast and furious.  WARNING: Monty Python is equal-opportunity irreverent.  The Arthur legend, Broadway, religion (both Christianity and Judaism)--they all take hits.

The sets were terrific, the costumes were great, the music right-on.  The accents--French, Irish, and various British dialects--were believable to an American ear, but understandable.  Fio salutes the twenty-one cast members who had to handle as many as four roles apiece as well as countless dance scenes--all of which called for lightning-quick costume changes.  Arthur (Rick Felkins), Lady of the Lake (Emily Niswonger), and Voice of God (Dale Schultz) filled the other three roles.   Felkins and Niswonger ruled the stage.  Other special stand-outs were Craig D. McKerley, David Sray, high school student Aaron Crowley, and, as always, Phil Rodriguez.

SPAMALOT is basically a male show and sexist as hell, but it's still funny.

second act too long

Theme--be true to yourself

Sunday, May 17, 2015

RWA Roommate

Has Fiorella told you that she's scored a roommate for Romance Writers of America's national conference in New York this summer?  Her name is Shiloh Walker, and she's multi-published.  Not only that, but Fiorella has started reading one of her books, and it gave Fio just the boost she needed to get over that middle-of-book hump in her novella-in-progess.

Times Square, here's to ya!

Saturday, May 16, 2015


The light was too bright
Each sound was too loud--
A touch was too much
Now that the headache's gone away
Fio knows
Just how bad she felt yesterday.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Literary Research

Fiorella will tell you that the reason she writes contemporary romances is because she doesn't want to bother with research, but don't believe her.  She might not have to research petticoats and bloomers, but she does have to learn about such things as the places her characters live, what they do for a living, what cars are  appropriate for them, and their supposed backgrounds and life experiences.

For Where the Heart Leads, which will come out on November 11, Fio peppered five rancher friends with endless lists  of questions about life among the cows.  She also consulted an architect, a nurse, a firearms expert, two friends with Master's degrees in theater,  a high school principal, a foodie, an expert on Britishisms, a fire builder, and a wine expert.

And tomorrow, for Phillipa's unnamed novella, she's going to sally forth and visit a place that sells landscaping materials, drop by Dairy Queen to check out how a Blizzard and a small ice cream cone would be eaten, and stop at Walgreens to pick up a home pregnancy test.

Don't ask.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Joy with Jigaws

Oink, oink! Fiorella is in hog heaven.  Every time she hits a brick wall in her novella, she rushes into the dining room and works on the five-hundred piece jigsaw puzzle spread out on the long table which is otherwise only used at Christmas and Easter. And every time she hits a brick wall in the jigsaw puzzle, she rushes back into her "office" and discovers the brick wall has miraculously disappeared, a la Diagon Alley.

But, back to the jigsaw.  "Fiorella," you say--"just five-hundred pieces?"

Well, Fio actually prefers thousand-piece puzzles, and she occasionally amped up to fifteen hundred in her pre-RWA days, but now she's aiming for diversion rather than absorption.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Tapping the Fifty Shades keg, a woman named Virginia Roberts has accused Britain's Prince Andrew and retired Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz of carting her underage bod off to a series of exotic locations for three years for their own--uh--use.  In the twenty-four pages of her supposed diary, she throws around terms like "sex slave,"  "servitude," and "statutory rape," but never turns down the money, the gifts, the trips, or the lifestyle.

What is it about certain women that their fevered imaginations provide them with secret, glamorous lives in they are adored and--uh--used by famous, powerful men?  The most extreme example Fio ever heard of--on a local TV channel years ago--was a woman who detailed fifteen years of being mailed around from place to place to service the "Illuminati"--which Alex Jones, another delusionist, will tell you is headed by George H. W. Bush.

Maybe, aside from trying to clean up with a lawsuit or the threat of one, some women need to feel they are so highly valued because of their sexuality that great and powerful men will want to enslave them.  It probably has something to do with self-worth being tied in with body image.

That's as close as Fiorella can come to figuring it out

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Love, Fio

Congratulate Fiorella.  She's almost halfway through her novella.  Of course, that's a week behind the schedule she set, but she didn't allow for that day spent cleaning up the house for Mother's Day, the sugar high from the Mother's Day cake (YUM!) and the sugar withdrawal hangover the next day.   But novellas come and go.  Mother's Day memories are forever.

Thank you to my darlings.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Fiorella is not interested in food per se.  She does not like to read about it, to talk about it, or to cook it.  She does like to eat it, though.

In re, she refuses to accept the weight that the stupid scales credit her with.  It's just that gravity has a stronger pull on her than on other people.

After all, everyone knows that chocolate calories don't count.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother Love

Happy Mother's Day to me.  Becoming a mother was a long, expensive process, but I treasure the results--three wonderful children.

Thank you for coming into my life.  Thank you for accepting my love and responding with your own.  Thank you for every minute of your existence, bad as well as good, because you have survived and are the stronger for it.  Thank you for trusting me, for confiding in me, for keeping in touch with me.

Thank you for all you are and will be.  You are my legacy to the world, and I love you.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


According to the a cardiologist that Fio consulted about the discomfort she's been experiencing in the vicinity of her pacemaker, she has shingles--the invisible kind that appears one evening--that's one evening only--as a light rash and disappears the next morning after Fio smears Neosporin on it.

Through the years, Fio has been diagnosed with such baddies as histoplasmosis, multiple sclerosis,  diabetes, and sleep apnea, none of which panned out.

Shingles, welcome to the club.

Friday, May 8, 2015

On the Run

Buckle your seat belts because Fiorella is about to take you on a harrowing ride--her own.

She woke up a little late and hurried to get herself ready to drive into Austin and have brunch with Friend Evelyn at 10:00, then lunch with Friend Paula at 11:00.  But halfway down the road, she realized that although she had her laptop and list-for-the-day with her, she'd left her purse at home. Her purse--the little clutch that contains a small Kleenex packet, her drivers' license, her credit card, her insurance cards, several pens, and extra cash.

But, pressed for time, she didn't turn back. Instead, Fio drove very carefully and prayed a lot and reached Starbucks at 10:05.  But where was Friend Evelyn?  Come to think of it, had they actually set that date and time?

Fifteen uncomfortable minutes later--remember, Fio couldn't buy anything--she departed Starbucks. Where to go?  Maybe Half Price Books.  She'd sit in one of their plushy chairs and read.

But the plushy chairs were no more.  In their place were long tables.  Fiorella sat down at one of them  and opened her laptop--which a nice Japanese man hooked into wi-fi for her--and started working on her novella. During a pause, she read the fine print on a placard on the table and learned that the tables were for customers to sit down and read at, for book clubs to meet at, and book signings to be held at.

BOOK SIGNINGS!  Maybe God had driven Fiorella to Half Price for a purpose!

PS:  Although Fio ran twenty minutes late because she got involved in her novella, she did make it to lunch with Friend Paula.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Outdoor Update

The past two days, Fiorella and Husband have been spending time out in the invigorating spring air chainsawing fallen tree limbs into fireplace lengths.  Fio's goal is to be totally self-sufficient for firewood next winter. Okay, she'll admit that Husband bought about half the wood they now have stored in those metal hoops out front, but she wants all augmentation to be from their own forest.
Bayberriess, Fio loves you.  After YEARS of trying to screen the air conditioner system with supposedly hardy, deer-resistant bushes, Fio and Husband finally planted bayberries.  Three years in, and they're taller than the compressor units.  Another year and Fio will start trimming them so they'll fill in more.
Fio finally gave in and hired a once-a-month yard man.  The only problem is that Fernando's English is limited, but your ever-resourceful  correspondent has found a solution.  She writes out what she wants to say, uses Google to translate it into Espanol, then reads it off to Fernando in the best Spanish accent she can muster  Que?
Sonia is a serious-minded adult dog now.  No more running into the bushes when she goes outside with Fio and Husband.  She either sleeps on the porch or--well--dogs our footsteps.
The sun is shining, the trees are whipping in the breeze, and everything is glistening with last night's rain.  Who could ask for better?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Your intrepid reporter is being stonewalled.

Two years ago, her favorite cardiologist, a senior partner in his firm, disappeared into thin air.  One day he was there, and the next day he was "no longer associated with the firm," and supposedly no one knew what had happened to him.  Fiorella, being the loyal sort, decided to trace him down, but he had not opened his own office or joined another firm, was not dead, had not run off with a receptionist, and had not retired.  He was just . . . gone.

The only clue Fiorella has came from her old PCP, who told her that the only time he'd ever heard of a disappearance like that, a lawsuit had been involved.

Bingo.  It makes sense that the other partners would buy anyone out if he threatened a lawsuit, maybe about mishandling of money--and that they would present a united front of  wide-eyed ignorance.

Except it's TOO wide-eyed.  Fiorella has questioned two members of the firm, and they have both given her the friendly smiles now taught in med school, lifted their hands, and said "I wish I knew."

They know.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Of course, Bruce Jenner wants to be a woman.  He's been suffocated by estrogen, self-indulgence, and mental vacuity for decades. Fiorella remembers seeing a clip of him in the car with Kris--she was driving, needless to say--and Bruce was whining about something.  Fiorella, unfamiliar with the show, thought he was a mentally-challenged offspring.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pleasant Visit

Everyone was so friendly in HEB yesterday--the guy at the deli counter, the woman behind the cash register, the woman who stopped to admire Fio's twelve-year-old Miata in the parking lot. Maybe it was that Fiorella's good mood was permeating the atmosphere, or maybe that people feel safe talking to someone with battle wounds. Too bad Fio didn't have any author cards with her.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

In re: God

We cannot twist God's arm.  We can implore, but we cannot command by our need, our numbers, or our piety.  It is as it is.  God will not be bribed.  All we can do is acquiesce and give thanks.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Sorry,  Big Bang Theory, but the much ballyhooed Mary Cooper vs. Beverly Hofstedter slugfest didn't work, and having Leonard's mother promise unconditional  love to her son at the end was lame.

First of all, it was WAY beyond even the sit-com world that Bev would  reconsider the child-rearing tactics that so closely tied in with her professional life.  Furthermore, Leonard has always excelled, which, for some reason, she has always refused to recognize, so it's hard to think that she'd alter her world view after a five-minute confrontation with Sheldon's mother, especially since she, as a psychiatrist, knows that "genius" is genetics, not upbringing.  Also, the awkward hug, which has been used at least twice before in the series, is growing whiskers.

Perhaps it would have been better to have Amy point out the unfairness of the situation to Sheldon and then have him, with his increasing sensitivity to humanoids, tell Beverly that he credits Leonard for coming up with the idea of whatever it was they were being lauded for.

But Fiorella has some other bones to pick.  She's tired of the Howard-Bernadette stereotype of a cute little woman bullying her childish husband.  And Leonard should be able to speak up for himself in a well-reasoned argument rather than an angry outburst.  And Penny was kinda dull.

Is Big Bang Theory getting tired?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Celebrate with Fio!

OMG, Fio finally has her lists organized!

Yes, those multiple paper tablets stuffed with ideas and comments and dialogue and poems and domestic to-dos and everything else under the sun.  It took her three hours, but she now has her conglomeration down to six sets of clipped pages--Phillipa, Lolly, Leah, Leah, Carolee, marketing, and notes--plus four sets of to-do lists she's taped to one side of the mantel and a reminder for tomorrow she's taped to the other side.

Now to dive in and accomplish everything she's committed herself to.