Friday, July 31, 2015

NYC in a Nutshell

HELLO!  Fiorella is back from durance vile, aka New York City. It was a hard trip and a hard time, but now she's home, sleeping in her own bed, and unloading her suitcase--not at the same time.

In many ways, New York is not a nice place to live.  Besides, we all know it will be under water as soon as all the icebergs melt.  However, there's one big reason Fio would have wanted to grow up in the Big Apple--because she heard more non-English being spoken there than English. Her ears perked with pleasure and curiosity to every foreign sound. The only people who in New York who spoke English were behind the hotel registration desk.

Yes, Fiorella is a language nut.  LANGUAGE NUTS RULE!

Thursday, July 30, 2015


The. First. Time. That. Fiorella saw the words of an emphatic statement being separated by periods, she thought it was clever.  The second time, she was cool with it.  The third time, she thought, "Oh, this again," and the fourth time, it was old hat.  And tiresome.

Fio doesn't know who first used the stratagem, but it now seems to be de rigueur for romance writers.  Com'on folks, we can come up with ways of expressing emotional reactions other than clever punctuation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Only Once

Fiorella was on a sailboat only once in her life, and she loved it.  The silence was total and complete. She was at peace.

Fiorella tried skiing only once in her life, but that was enough.  She had a horrible time trying to fit into the ski shoes, she nearly banged into the lodge when she was skiing down the bunny hill, and it took a couple of people to get the skis off of her because they were so tight.

Fiorella has had just one facelift, and that's the limit.  A perky young face on top of a decrepit old body would look sort of freakish.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dexter Is Darling

Jeff Lindsay, who writes the Dexter series, is one of Fiorella's favorite authors,  It's not the blood and guts that attract her, but the smooth, almost poetic writing style.  Here's an excerpt from "Double Dexter:"

So are you, we say, and we push the tape into place over his mouth and go back to work, winding into well-earned bliss as the climax of our sharp symphony blares up out of the cheerful growing moonlight, and the music takes us higher and higher, until finally, slowly, carefully, joyfully, it comes to its triumphant chord and releases everything into the warm, wet night: everything.

Monday, July 27, 2015

That's Fit to Print

Television news bit into newspaper news, and internet news bit into television news.  What's next?

Time marches on.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Yellow Brick Road

Note to all job seekers:

Your talents and skills are nice, but all too many other people have the same talents and skills. What you need to do is give the impression that you'll be a pleasant person to be around for five days a week, twelve months a year.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Here, There, Everywhere

Fiorella lives in a house of cords--the lamp cords, the computer cords, the printer cord, the thousand and one cords Husband uses which Fio fathoms not.  There are even cords in the garage--on hooks, in baskets, in drawers.

Oddly enough, Fio's great-grandmother, according to an old family picture, also lived in a house of cords.  Cords that were strung across the wall from (wonder of wonders!) electric light to electric light.

So maybe in the future, the electronic plug-ins will disappear like the the ones controlling the electric lights did.  Maybe charging will be done through the wifi.

Not that Fio knows what she's talking about, but you get the idea.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fear of the Dark

Following up on yesterday's post, Fiorella wonders if fear of the dark is part and parcel of the human genome, and if our wayback ancestors  countered it by gathering around a warm, protective fire and telling each other stories with happy endings.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Eating Chocolate

Aha!  Fiorella has figured something out. She is a stress eater, just like Sonia Dog.

Whenever Fio takes the leash off its hooks, Sonia gets excited and runs to her feeding station and starts gobbling down food and lapping up water like it's going out of style.  And whenever Fiorella is excited, or angry, or distressed, she picks up an extra treat at the grocery store or turns out the cupboards and refrigerator for something soothing to eat--preferably chocolate, but anything will do.

But grabbing for the Dove bar never really solves any problems.  Maybe it's that Fiorella isn't eating enough of them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Today's the day--
Up, up and away!

Your Fiorella is flying off to the big Romance Writers of America conference New York this morning.  Wish her well.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Story Source

Before Fiorella wrote stories, she told them--to herself while she lay in bed at night.

Fio was afraid of the dark, or, more correctly, of what might lurk in the dark.  Her family had just moved from Ohio to Texas and everything was new and strange--and scary.  Instead of having a cozy little room next to her parents' bedroom,  Fio had a large room at the front of the house, and the filmy curtains would blow in the evening breeze, reaching out toward her on the bed like ghostly hands.  And, unlike the house in Ohio, this one had just one story, which meant someone--or something--could leap in on Fio at any minute.

Fio couldn't sleep, but she needed to sleep, so she calmed herself by making up happy stories.  As she grew older, the stories were based on her mother's Book-of-the-Month selections, then on her own reading.  And every story had a happy ending.

As do her stories now.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe

Fiorella likes reading the Precious Ramotswe books by Alexander McCall Smith.  Yes, the stories about the founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana are charming, but what really makes the books is the way the author writes--in long, almost poetic sentences.  For example:

"She woke up at more or less the same time Each morning, thought for a while about getting up, and then rose, leaving Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni still deeply asleep on his side of the bed, dreaming about the sort of things that mechanics, and men in general, dream about."  (From THE HANDSOME MAN'S DE LUXE CAFE)

Try it.  You'll like it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


It was THEIR fault!

Friday evening, Husband spent an hour on the phone, working his way up through the chain of command till he got someone who could authorize a Verizon repairmen to come to the house on Saturday morning instead of waiting till next Thursday.  The repairman checked us out and the problem was not with our phone, not with the line, not with the jack.  IT WAS WITH VERIZON. Yes, one of their people had hit the wrong switch and turned us into a dial phone instead of a touch phone, knocking us off the grid.

Now about those TV channels that aren't coming in . . . .

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Near Tragedy.

Sonia Dog has forgiven Fiorella, but Fiorella has not forgiven herself.  She nearly killed Sonia through sheer negligence.

You all too often read about people who, with tragic results, forget they have children with them and leave the little ones in a hot car, but Fio forgot she had Sonia with her and left doggie in the car--in the garage.  It wasn't till a couple of hours later that Husband, the hero of the story, found baby dog and brought her inside, hot and panting. And luckily, the car's sun roof was open so Sonia did have access to fresh air, although the garage was stuffy.

This story could have had a bad ending.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hail to the Queen!

Fiorella is queen of the mosquitoes!  They adore her, swarm her, suck her blood, especially in the early twilight when she is helping Husband push the riding mower into the woods after their attempts at hauling it down the driveway didn't work out.

Eighteen bites in twenty minutes--top that!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Communication Deprivation

It's official.  The land line is off till Thursday--THURSDAY WEEK--when the Verizon repairman appears.  Supposedly.  And it will be fixed.  Supposedly.

But Fio, you ask.  You and Husband surely have cellphones, don't you?  Well, yes, Fiorella answers.  But we live in a cellphone dead area and can only use our phones when we're leaning off the second floor balcony or are up at the mailbox beside the road.  Or, of course, when we are driving.

So--no incoming calls, no outgoing calls for a week and a half.

In a way, it's rather freeing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Birthday Greetings

Happy birthday to Fio!

Yes, today's the day, and she wants you to celebrate along with her.  Eat a piece of cake, sit back and read a good book, relax and enjoy yourself, think happy thoughts, and smile at everyone you meet.

And wish Fio well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Quick Snippets

Fiorella is in a tizzy trying to prepare for the Romance Writers of America conference in New York. First off, she has to find a nice dress for the Saturday night awards ceremony.  Yes, we all dress up like we're attending Cinderella's ball.  It's our own fantasy because we spend our real lives in jeans and T-shirts.
Several people have explained various electronic gadgets to Fio, but she has to work with then herself to understand them.  Yes, this monkey can't just see--she has to do.  Daughter would label her a kinesthetic learner.
Fio decided to check back through the revisions she'd made and nearly died. She'll have to revise the revisions.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Verizon Is a Loser!

Casa Fiorella is incommunicado.  The handsets won't work and neither Fio nor her husband were able to contact Verizon to report the matter (a pox upon their house).  Then the electricity went off.  And yes, Fio and Husband pay their bills.

Fio drove down to Target and  bought a cord phone, but it wouldn't work either.  Maybe it's the phone jack.  Maybe Fio and Husband will end up having to communicate with smoke signals.

Oh, the electricity did come back on.  Apparently the new neighbors across the street had something to do with the outage.

Maybe they killed the handsets too

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Finally Figured It Out

Fiorella feels thing far too deeply--anger, grief, disappointment--even joy--but knows that expressing these emotions is not socially acceptable. So she swallows everything--everything--and gains weight.

Of course, Fio can only stomach so much, and every now and then, she vomits it all out in an emotional rampage.  The emotions, not the food.  The food stays around.

OMG!  That is the reason she writes too!

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Motivational speakers are not for Fio.  In fact, she's rather cynical about them.  Maybe she heard way too many of them back in the days when her husband was in the insurance industry--a regular refueling helps a guy who's getting rejected every time he turns around.  Or maybe it's that she's the type who runs cold and logical when other people run hot and enthusiastic. Or that she's too good at turning on the charisma herself to fall for someone else's.  Or that she wonders what the speaker's angle is and what he's being paid.

Buyer beware.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Forensic Files is Fio's favorite nighttime lullaby.  She watches episode after episode to calm herself before she goes to bed,  The narrator's voice is smooth and soothing, the cases are always solved, and there's no drama.

She also likes House Hunters, and various home renovation shows, especially Income Property.  Scott makes her feel like all is right with the world, which she needs to hear when she' wants to fall asleep.

And then there are the really boring commercials for hair transplants . . . .

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Writer LIfe

Writers don't sit around and talk about writing.  They don't put off writing until they've made a thorough study of the process. They write.
When Fio was growing up, she would immerse herself in reading and not realize hours and hours had passed.  Now she immerses herself in writing and has the same experience.
Ulterior motives lurk in Fiorella's novels.  She's told you before--she wants to uplift people, to inspire them to find their better selves.  (With a good helping of sizzle mixed in, of course, because that's what makes the world go 'round.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stressed, You Say?

This has been a hard week for Fiorella,  That engine light was still on so Fio had to take the car to the dealer for a $400 repair, she was diagnosed with GERD (good-bye, chocolate), attacked by a herd of mosquitoes, hit the concrete face-first again, is still recovering from having her false vocal chords shot up with botox, is agonizing over revisions of her new book, and is preparing not only for the NY writers' conference, but for her birthday,

The good thing is that she's lost two pounds.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

And Jill Came Tumbling After

Fiorella took another tumble
Visiting Friend Jamie, who was graciously helping Fio set up a promotional dealie, your intrepid blogger misestimated the distance between the flagstone steps and the concrete porch floor and landed the right side of her face on said floor. No broken bones, and, so far, no bruising, but we'll see what Fio looks like tomorrow.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Imperfect Parents

Fiorella's parents wanted their children to strive for the best, but they also wanted them not to be big-headed.

Thus, when Fio came home elated because she'd made 98.5 on one of Miss Osborn's quite challenging Latin tests and Miss O had written  "YOU ARE GOOD!" across the top of the page, Fio's father looked at her, smiled, and said "Why didn't you make 100?" And when he and her mother visited newly-wed Fio and Husband in their little duplex that Fio had spent days cleaning and decorating, all he noticed was the dust on the rungs of the rocker.  And when Husband made a room-to-room narrated video of Fiorella's lavish Christmas decorations, Dad let her know, with a smile, that Husband did a better job of narrating than she did.  What the heck!  She was the one who'd done all the work, who'd invested a whole month to hanging wreaths, bells, birds, swags, and ornaments!!

Why do these things still sting?  Fio knows her father loved her.

More to the point, what sort of dumb, unthinking, or mistaken things did Fio do to her own kids?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Fiorella and Husband hosted Austin Son and his wife for July Fourth yesterday.  After everyone had finished off the grilled sausage and the fireworks, Husband and Son drove over to the Verizon store to finish off the month-long travail involved with moving Son off the family account.  In the meantime, Fio and Daughter-in-Law stayed at the house to exchange life stories. D-in-L also fixed a couple of problems Fio has been having with her laptop.  Thus Fio's icons are all straightened out now, she's learned how to move a document onto her desktop, and her margins on Virgin Vampire are exactly as they should be.

Virgin Vampire, you say?  Fiorella, don't you know that the paranormal genre is dead, that everyone is writing contemporary novels now?

Yes, Fiorella knows. But she has the sort of nature that likes to go against the tide.  Why else was she writing contemporary novels when everyone else was writing paranormals?

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Whenever Fiorella is down, she consults her laptop, going through the icons--Chrome, Facebook, Fio, Documents, ARWA, Email--one by one, as if consulting an oracle.  Surely there will be a news story or a comment, or a message that will apply directly to her, that will give her hope.

But there isn't.  Fiorella has to find her own hope, as do we all. Eight-balls have no magic powers, horoscopes are frauds, fortune tellers are scammers.

But Fio still looks.

Friday, July 3, 2015


Fiorella is having to lay off water, one of her favorite drinks, and indulge herself in milk, her other favorite drink.  There may even be a few milkshakes along the line.  And it's all medically prescribed--Fio had some shots in her neck that affect the swallowing mechanism and thus she needs to drink thicker liquids for a while. The procedure is to make sure her voice is in the best of shape for the National Romance Writers of America conference this summer.

More than two thousand women will be there, and Fio wants to be heard.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


To my dear children:

If you ever have children yourselves, please tell them how, for Christmas, your mother would decorate every nook and cranny of the house with wreaths and bells and swags and Chinese birds and everything else she could think of.  And also tell them that she did it from love because she was that kind of person.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blessed Silence

Fiorella needs her quiet time, when she's all alone with herself and can rush around the house doing whatever needs to be done or can sit on the sofa and write--or just contemplate the world.  She needs to have a mental rest time, when she doesn't have to talk or respond to an interlocutor.  She likes socializing, but sometimes the madding crowd gets to be too much.