Tag Archives: All-Age fiction

Mash-Up: Hug an Author, Hitchhiking ala 1930s & A Creepy Story


spooky forest with silhouettes of treesI’m inviting you to  take a tiny trip with into the Nothing Burger World of Whatever.

Why?

Why not?

Why Mash-Ups? Because we are inundated with billions of information every week. We have to sometimes stop and smell the roses, or at least read a Mash-Up. It’s fast. It’s silly. It will make you a rock star. You believe me, don’t you?

Hug an author

How many of you know that authors NOT working with the Mighty Big Six publishers have meager marketing budgets?

Uh-huh. I understand. You never really thought about it.

That’s okay. You’re still cool.

What if someone figured out a few simple ways to support your fav author, and

  •     it didn’t hurt,
  •     it didn’t cost,
  •     it didn’t force you to wear a scarlet letter on your chest?

Check out Fabio Bueno’s fabulous blog about supporting authors.

It’s vintage!  It’s 2012, but it’s still true! Try it!

Okay, that’s enough exuberance. it’s giving me a headache.

Before reading the next paragraphs,  *go here first to get in the proper mood*. Leave it on while you read and reminisce. 

Hitchhiking ala 1930s

Has the world really changed? Read this little excerpt from an old mag, Reminisce, May/June 2005 and decide:

“Back in the 30s, we four children lived in the country. Most of the time, we didn’t have a car that ran so we would hitchhike to town. Eventually, Mom and I became tourists in this manner, hitchhiking from Ohio to Washington, D.C., and then to California. For the D.C. trip, we had $3 for three days, staying in a YWCA dormitory for 25-cents each. We went to California with $37, sleeping out on the ground with the blankets we carried with us. Once in the Los Angeles area, we stayed in cabins for 75-cents a night. It was a different world!” ~ Leila Williams, Ohio

I’m speechless. You talk. I can’t.

Here’s your creepy story

A two-sentence “story” by justAnotherMuffledVo.

Lock the door. Check the windows before you read it.

“I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, ‘Daddy check for monsters under my bed.’ I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, ‘Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.’”

Aghhhh! Creepy!

And how was your week?

Just for fun . . .

 

Please be careful, Cary! Your unauthorized media borrowing is so reckless!

Please be careful, Cary. Your unauthorized media borrowing is so reckless!

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Grow Your Own Jewelry


My childhood as the only girl on an Arizona ranch could get downright lonesome.

Television and radio reception were nonexistent, and all the wonderful gadgets of today weren’t yet invented.

Friends were far away, so play dates and overnighters were as scarce as green grass, which is plenty scarce in the high deserts of the Southwest.

One day, probably as a result of my mournful expressions and heavy sighs, my mother – shrouded in mystery – beckoned me to follow her to the garden. There, between a peach tree and the rock house that supported our water tank filled with well water, she poured several tear-shaped seeds about the size of corn kernels into her hand from a packet.

What were they?

Job’s Tears, she said, and I was immediately beguiled.

What a name! I could barely breathe as I asked her what we were going to do with them.

Plant them, was her reply.

And we did.

What exactly are Job’s Tears?

Jobs TearsFor starters, Job’s tears are nature’s jewelry.

The plants grow a pre-drilled, polished bead that can be used to make an endless assortment of necklaces, bracelets, and other baubles. The male flower grows up through the center of the bead. When removed, it leaves a hollow core just right for stringing.

People have grown Job’s Tears for thousands of years. In western India, a bead-making shop circa 2000 B.C. was uncovered. They found beads made from soapstone *man-made beads* and Job’s Tears *nature’s beads.*

Different cultures have used the beads in creative ways. In Africa, shaker gourds enclosed with a loose net and covered with hundreds of Job’s tears are said to produce a lovely musical sound. Here’s what Wayne’s Word said about it: As the beads slap against the gourd, a loud shaker sound is produced – as good as any modern instrument for this purpose. Using the neck of the gourd as a handle, the sound of the bead net is amplified by the hollow gourd.

Why are they called ‘Tears?’

The tear-shaped beads sometimes refer to Job of the Old Testament, a man who endured great suffering. They are also called David’s Tears, Saint Mary’s Tears, Christ’s Tears and Tear Drops.

jobs_tears_gardenMore than a pretty bead

  • Coix lacryma-jobi – Job’s Tears’ scientific name – is a close relative to corn. The plants strongly resemble corn but are skinnier. It is considered one of the earliest domesticated plants.
  • The beads have been used all over the world as a source of food and medicine.
  • They can be ground into meal, or used as a coffee substitute.
  • They are common in products sold in Asia. When supplies of rice were low during the Vietnam War, Job’s Tears became a staple substitute.
  • In Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Vietnam, Job’s Tears are available as flakes or powder. They are often added to other grains, liquors, candy, bath products, vinegar, and tea.
  • Hatomugi, the Japanese word for Job’s Tears, is used in traditional Japanese Kampo herbal medicine. The grain is valued as a nutritious food and has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support hair, skin, nails, and as a digestive aide.
  • Here’s what Amazon says about them: This plant’s seeds are used in soups and broths, and can be used in any way that rice is used. They can also be ground into flour which is used to make bread. The seeds are popular for making decorations and have herbal and medicinal uses. 

Growing Job’s Tears

Job’s Tears are easy to grow. The plants don’t need a lot of water and are quite hardy. Here’s a link telling you exactly how to do it, but I promise, it’s easy!

Growing Job’s Tears and stringing the beads into necklaces remains one of my fondest childhood memories. My mother learned about Job’s Tears from her mother. Why not make some passed down memories for your special girls and guys?

They’ll never forget it. Amazon has the seeds for sale right now. And don’t forget to come back and tell us about it, okay?

 

I always love to hear from you.

 

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Why are Metaphors Both Awesome and Terrible?


Miss Metaphor! Image from Wikipedia Commons.

Miss Metaphor! Image from Wikipedia Commons.

One dreadful  inspiring morning at a writing seminar long ago, I emerged from a face-to-face editor session feeling as though I were stepping out the door and onto a parade float. For a few minutes, I could have sworn I was wearing a pageant gown, a tiara, and a ribbon sash proclaiming I was Miss Metaphor, and not in a good way.

Said editor had reviewed the first pages of my first novel and practically stamped that lofty title *Miss Metaphor* on my chest.

I emerged from the room fluttering a weak little Miss America wave at the other terrified aspiring writers awaiting their turns at the chopping block.

That experience caused me to

  • Greatly revise my manuscript, and
  • Wonder why metaphors are both awesome and terrible

With a little research, I found a true Metaphor Devotee — Italian semiotician, literary critic, and novelist Emberto Eco, who said, “…metaphor gives birth to pleasure (in writing).”

He claims that knowing how to conceive metaphors is an art.

I agree.

Metaphors, and their cousins – simile, hyperbole, allegory – add punch to pallid writing. They enlighten and freshen dull manuscripts.

Too Many Metaphors

Some writers (Jodi Lea Stewart in the past, for example) are addicted to figurative language. Consider the following paragraph, and yes, I wrote it myself, and furthermore, it was easy because I could almost live inside a metaphor but that’s another story, n’est-ce pas?

The female fire hazard blazed her way into the board meeting – bull nostrils flaring, poblano pepper eyes glowing – and roared at the Sovereign Power himself, “Give me back my job or I’ll torch your underwear from the inside out!”

Thirty-nine words, twenty-one of which indicate some kind of metaphor.

That’s overkill.

Writers who use metaphors to that extent might want to hook up with a 12-step Metaphors Anonymous program sooner versus later. Over metaphorizing *I made that up to add interest* dulls out the reader almost as much as the writer who doesn’t use figurative language at all.

Too Few Metaphors

If Elements of Style by Strunk & White makes you salivate,

If you love stringent grammar rules and feel it is a crime to alter them,

If you use symbolic language ultra-sparingly, or not at all,

If you wallow in strict English correctness,

Stop reading this blog.

Grab your Elements of Style and repertoire of grammar books and take a nap with them because you’re boring us all to death  with your writing. Sleep. Just sleep.

However, if you are boring even yourself, and you are often told by readers, agents, or editors that your writing lacks color, excitement, or imagination, then I have a suggestion for you.

Run, don’t walk, to buy Arthur Plotnik’s Spunk & Bite. Read it under the covers with a flashlight if you must, but read it without delay.

Plotnik, a self-defined, writing-rule-rebel said,”Both Strunk and White knew well that bending the rules…can give writing its distinction, its edge, its very style. Bending the rules can spring writers from ruts – get them out of themselves, out of the ordinary, and into prose that comes alive, gets noticed, and gets published.”

Strike the Balance

A sassy blend of metaphor mixed with essential writing rules will let you stand proud on that Miss *Mr?* Metaphor float, or anywhere else. Just as a superb pageant contestant is lovely, well-rounded, and interesting, so is the kind of writing that stands out from the crowd.

“Metaphor is the supreme figure of all…connecting notions and finding similitude in things dissimilar.” – Umberto Eco

What about you? Have you been guilty of too much flowery writing? Did anybody ever tell you to stop? Maybe you abhor metaphors, simile, hyperbole and the like. Tell us about it. We love to hear from you!

When writers share, we just get better.


That dame saw me borrow unauthorized social media. Maybe I can dart under the table...

That dame saw me use unauthorized social media. Maybe I can duck under the table before she calls the coppers.

Pssst! – All media used in my blogs are either acquired by payment for their use, or don’t require licensing for public use. Often, I use my own personal photos. Please play it safe and don’t recycle images, okay? (P.S. This one of Henry Fonda is free for all. Borrow like crazy if you want!)


Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

The Story Behind: Made Just Right…MAID-RITES!


 

Mom's MAID-RITE...made right!

Mom’s MAID-RITE…made right!

1939. The year my mom first tasted a MAID-RITE hamburger. She and a couple of her girlfriends were coming home from their swimming lesson at the YMCA in Muscatine, Iowa. Enticing aromas tempted the girls’ nostrils as they passed a walk-up window restaurant. One of the girls had a bit of pocket change, so she paid a dime each for the girls to enjoy their first MAID-RITE.

Mom remembers the “juice” running down their arms as they giggled and devoured the delicious hamburgers invented by Fred Angell in1926.

Thus began a 75-year love affair between my mother and the loose-meat sandwiches smothered in a cabbage, onion, and pickle sauce.

I grew up eating those sandwiches; but I have to admit, I didn’t know their actual name was misspelled. Mom called them “MADE RIGHTS”, and that was all I knew about it until I traveled through Iowa as an adult.

“Maid-rite? What? The whole franchise is misspelled?”

I couldn’t believe it. It hurt my author/editor soul, let me tell you.

Since then, I’ve come to terms with the fact that Mr. Angell was, to quote the MAID-RITE website, “quite a sandwich maker but not much of a speller.” Apparently, Mr. Angell invented the sandwiches and named them after a deliveryman’s comment that the sandwich was made right. Hmm.

That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

A Disappointment

2008. Mom and I marched into one of the franchises in an Iowa mall grinning from ear to ear. We couldn’t wait to order a MAID-RITE. Passing up every other eating opportunity as we traveled across the country that day, we were starved and anticipatory.

After all, this was to be the first store-bought maid-rites Mom had eaten since 1939. I’d never eaten any but my mom’s.

Honest. I have to be honest and say that something drastic happened to those maid-rites since Mr. Angell first cranked them onto the streets via his four franchises by the end of the 1920s. Dry. No cabbage in the topping. Tasteless. Disappointing.

I still see mom shaking her head as she sat across the table from me. We took a few bites and shoved the sandwiches to the side.

You’re About to Get Lucky

Since 1939, Mom has served us MAID-RITES like the ones she first tasted – just like the ones Mr. Angell used to sell. Since she also happens to be a fabulous cook, I have to believe her method and her recipe are PURE.

The other evening, Mom made MAID-RITES. I took a picture of my plate and put it at the top of this blog. Now that’s a MAID-RITE made right! So right, that Mr. Angell would rise up and give my mom a high-five if he could only taste one!

The only thing we’ve added to the mix over the years is a sprinkle of cheddar for the top. It’s a great addition and really adds flavor. If you want to make these easy but incredibly yummy loose-meat sandwiches, cruise on over to the Chuckwagons and Campfires section of my blog for the authentic recipe.

You can’t go wrong when you go rite!

Ever had a MAID-RITE? We’d love to hear about it!

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

The Recipe: Made Just Right . . . MAID-RITES!


Mom's MAID-RITE...made right!

Mom’s MAID-RITE…made right!

  • High-quality 80/20 hamburger meat
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • Potato Chips, optional

Maid-Rite Special Sauce

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Dill pickles, chopped
  • Mustard and mayonnaise

Heat oven for lightly toasting the hamburger buns. Brown loose meat and season with salt and pepper. Drain off nearly all fat. Add a small amount of water to keep meat “juicy.” Prepare sauce by mixing all ingredients in a bowl. The amount of mustard and/or mayo to make the sauce is a matter of preference.

Each person prepares his/her own MAID-RITE. Spoon loose meat with a slotted spoon onto warmed hamburger buns. Top with special sauce and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. Serve with potato chips. Enjoy!

Comment:  This is the original MAID-RITE recipe according to my mom. She has been making these hamburgers since 1939 and had the honor of eating her first ones in Muscatine, Iowa *home of the MAID-RITE sandwiches*. Go here to read more about Mom’s 1939 experience…

Comment:  You can trust that this non-steamed recipe tastes eerily like the first constructed MAID-RITES!


Pssst! – All media used in my blogs are either acquired by payment for their use, or don’t require licensing for public use. Often, I use my own personal photos. Please play it safe and don’t recycle images, okay? (P.S. This one of Joanna Barnes from “War Wagon” is free for all. Borrow like crazy if you want!)

"I wouldn't be a saloon girl if I hadn't borrowed all those media images without asking." ~ Wikipedia Commons image “I wouldn’t be a saloon girl if I hadn’t borrowed all those media images without asking.” ~ Wikipedia Commons image


Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

s!

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

HEROES: Military Working Dogs (MWDs)


Military Working Dogs

Starting with: The saga of STUBBY.

No slouch, Stubby was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and respected his superiors with a famous one-paw-over-the-eye salute.

Private Robert Convoy found the stray Bull Terrier Mix in 1917 at the training camp of the 102nd Infantry at Yale University. He and his buddies kept Stubby with them throughout their training. When their ship deployed to France, Stubby was smuggled aboard. He went through additional training before participating in seventeen war engagements in four WWI offensives. Once, he roused a sleeping sergeant to warn him of a gas attack, giving the soldiers time to don masks. Many lives were saved that night.

The fiesty little stray didn’t disappoint. He performed numerous other heroic deeds and  served as an icon of hope. Later, he was awarded the NCO rank of Sergeant. The most decorated dog from WWI became a post-war celebrity who hobnobbed with Presidents, Generals and Hollywood actors.

Dogs and the Military

Dogs aren’t new to the military. From ancient war camps to now, canines have played an important part. Since the Revolutionary War, dogs served the U.S. military as  companions, helpers, morale boosters and mascots.

In WWII, more than 10,000 MWDs were deployed to both Europe and the Pacific to act as sentries, scouts, and mine detectors.

The Vietnam War elevated MWD duties to serving with their handlers and units as co-fighters and expert danger sensors, as well as mine detectors.

Unfortunately, a great travesty of justice occurred after WWII and the Vietnam War. The military classified the MWDs as “disposable.” When our troops went home, the dogs were euthanized, or left behind to fend for themselves.

Not cool.

Hideous.

No way to treat a war hero.

NEMO was One of the Few Vietnam War Dogs to Make it Back to the U.S.

Nemo returns homeNemo and his handler, Airman Second Class Robert Thorneburg, were patrolling an old Vietnamese graveyard when they were attacked. Nemo and Thorneburg  killed two Vietcong before Thorneburg was shot twice in the shoulder. A bullet entered under Nemo’s right eye and exited through his mouth. The injury didn’t stop Nemo. He threw himself on four Vietcong guerrillas as they opened fire. Despite his injuries and being blinded in one eye, Nemo crawled back to his handler and draped himself over him, guarding him, until medical help came. The residing vet had to be called in to coax Nemo off Thorneburg. Both survived.

Back at the base, Nemo had a tracheotomy and skin grafts. He lost his right eye. He returned to the U.S. as a war hero, making personal appearances and spending his retirement at the dog training facility at Lackland AFB.

Changing hearts is a big job. It takes time. I believe Nemo was instrumental in starting to change the heart of the military about MWD classification.

Have Times Changed?

Here’s what one Animal Care Sergeant of the U.S. Army said: “I just wanted you to hear this from someone who’s right in the thick of everything with these MWDs about just how much these dogs are loved while they’re working. They really do get royal treatment that most people don’t have the opportunity to see . . . they really aren’t treated like property . . . ”

Today, MWDs are considered valuable assets in supporting the war on terror. They safeguard military bases and sniff out explosives. Approximately 2,000+ working dogs are trained and cared for at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas – the center for the Defense Department’s Military Working Dog Program. The trained dog and handler teams are deployed worldwide.

The military, as well as private organizations, have also stepped up to the plate sponsoring adoption of brave dogs who served our country in the Armed Forces.

Five Courageous MWDs

Ninety acres of mine-contaminated land were declared safe for building a College of Agriculture in Iraq because of five selfless canines. It took the MWDs eight years to complete this task. Now, thanks to the help of many caring organizations, BLEK, MALYSH, MISO, NERO and ROCKY were put up for adoption by American families.

More Heroes

RAGS – a Cairn Terrier (France, WWI) ran a message through falling bombs though he was gassed and partially blinded (he survived!).

CHIPS – a German shepherd/husky/collie mix (France, Germany, Italy and North Africa; WWII) was the most decorated K9 who served in WWII.

KAISER  – a German shepherd who completed more than 30 combat patrols and became the first dog killed in action during the Vietnam War.

Lex – a hero for our times

During a rocket attack in Iraq in 2007, handler Corporal Dustin Lee was fatally injured. His MWD, Lex, sustained multiple shrapnel wounds but steadfastly remained with his team partner until other Marines arrived to provide medical attention.

The broken-hearted Lee family wanted to adopt their deceased son’s dog. While Lex was in intensive treatment for his wounds, they began appealing to the Marine Corps for the adoption. After months of prayers, letters and phone calls, the Lees won their battle to adopt Lex, who had returned to active duty.

For five years, Lex worked as a certified therapy dog with Paws 4 Hearts, visited wounded veterans in hospitals, went to veteran dedications and helped to bring awareness to the U.S. War Dogs Memorial. He, along with the Lees, worked tirelessly to change how people look at MWDs.

After an heroic life superbly lived, including winning an honorary Purple Heart, twelve-year-old Lex passed away March 25, 2012. Rachel Lee says the battle is not over yet. She continues her fight for federal support for families who adopt animals that served in the military.

RIP, dear Lex.

 

Military Working Dogs Monument, San Antonio, Texas

Military Working Dogs Monument, San Antonio, Texas

Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, is the home of the Military Working Dog Teams Monument.

A quote from their official page: “There is no way we can put a number on all those American Servicemen’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that are here today because America gave her sons and daughters a dog to serve with during times of war. And the dogs had names like CHIPS (WWI) , YORK  (Korean War), NEMO (Vietnam War), COOPER (Iraq War), HUNTER (Afghanistan War) and the list of names goes into the tens of thousands . . . ”

From Wikipedia:

The Military Working Dog Teams National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. It was founded by John C. Burnam, published author and Vietnam Veteran Infantryman and German Shepherd Scout Dog Handler (1966-1968). The monument was designed by the John Burnam Monument Foundation. It represents all wars since WWII and all five U.S. Armed Services (Army, Marines, Navy Air Force, and Coast Guard). The monument grounds encompass a 3,000 square feet granite plaza, granite pedestals, granite history wall, and granite benches. The granite pedestals have large bronze statues of dogs and handlers.”

What about you? Would you and your family be a good fit for a retired Military Working Dog, a national hero on four legs?

The “Not Forgotten Fountain” is part of the U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, in San Antonio. By: Paula Slater

The “Not Forgotten Fountain” is part of the U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, in San Antonio. By: Paula Slater

Think about it.

It’s not a light decision.

A Dog’s View

Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam, a novel by Cynthia Kadohata, is one-dog’s first-hand account (yes, it’s told from Cracker’s perspective) of serving in the military in Vietnam. I listened to the audio book on a road trip, and it was riveting. Take it on your next trip. You and everyone in the car will be mesmerized! Here’s a link to more books and videos about military war dogs: http://olive-drab.com/od_wardogs.php

One more thing: A Dedication to Joshua

This blog about Military Working Dogs is lovingly dedicated to Joshua Ben Stewart Selah, my beloved companion for fourteen years, who went to heaven on March 28, 2012. May he rest in peace until we are together again. I love you, my sweet boy – Jodi Lea Stewart

Joshua

 

 

 

 

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Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Homemade Chicken & Biscuits


 

Homemade Chicken & Biscuits

Homemade Chicken & Biscuits

I found this recipe online, Jodi-ized it, and now I want to share it.

Once you make it, you’ll probably add it to your family favorites. It’s fast, easy, and my family loves it.

I don’t make homemade biscuits anymore because the flour seems to be different, and they don’t taste as great as they once did. A great replacement for homemade is Pillsbury FROZEN biscuits. My favorite is the buttermilk. They’re so good, everyone wants the recipe. Sometimes I tell them, and sometimes I don’t!

If you were to make a yeast biscuit (like Denver Biscuits) for the topping, they would be flatter and perhaps preferable for some. Personally, we didn’t mind the big fat biscuits on top.

  • 2 large chicken breasts with skin and bone (to make 3 cups chopped)
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • Coarse-ground pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 12 frozen Pillsbury country or buttermilk biscuits *or make your own*
  • 3-4 Tbls. butter
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1 large rib celery with a few leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbls. all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. ground thyme
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1- ½ cups frozen peas
  • 1 egg + 1 tsp. water

Boil two large chicken breasts in water in a heavy pot with a large bay leaf, coarse-ground pepper, and 1 tsp salt. When chicken is nearly done, take frozen biscuits from the sack and place on waxed paper or a plate to partially thaw. When chicken is thoroughly cooked, pull it off the bone and cut into ½-inch pieces. Save broth in a bowl and set aside.

Heat oven to 375-degrees. Butter or grease a 9×13 casserole dish or glass pan. The higher the sides, the better.

Add chopped onion and celery, including leaves, to 3-4 Tbls. butter in the heavy pot or a deep skillet. Cook a few minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir, cooking about one minute or until thickened. Add chicken broth if needed to keep it bubbling for about a minute.

Stir in the broth, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and coarse-ground pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and frozen peas. Taste to see if it needs more salt.

Pour into the casserole dish and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Homemade Chicken & Biscuits servedRemove the dish from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425-degrees. Add biscuits to the top of the chicken mixture. Use a fork to whip the egg and water. Brush on top of biscuits. Add foil under casserole dish if desired. The weight of the biscuits can make the mixture overflow if the dish or pan is too shallow.

Bake 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Adjust time and temperature accordingly.

*I made this dish in high altitude.

 

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Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com, and more. For your convenience, they're also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches summer/fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Train Ride of Shame


The place was London – spooky, thrilling, pompous, historic, charming, expensive, wonderful London with its razzle-dazzle intertwine of ancient and pop-cultural life.

Hubby and I walked trillions of miles through downpours, sprinkles and blazing sun to see the Royal Palace, Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Square, remains of the infamous 19th-century prison Charles Dickens described in Great Expectations and, naturally, the original Hard Rock Café.

We were sooty, damp and delirious with wanderlust when we arrived back at the London train station to return to Rochester, our nesting place for the two weeks Mark was on a business assignment.

Wrestling through thick crowds inside the train, we couldn’t believe our luck when we spotted two empty seats facing one another inside a nice enclosure. We went inside, chatting happily as we nestled noisily among the seated passengers and arranged our numerous shopping bags.

A tomb-like silence soon settled inside our senses.

Taking a better look at our seatmates, we realized that all four men were wearing expensive three-piece suits, perfectly unscuffed shoes, buffed nails, and meticulously groomed hair. They were the English versions of the perfectly turned out GQ gentlemen.

Each man had an open newspaper in front of his face and appeared deeply engrossed in it.

No other signs of life were manifest in the “GQ gentlemen.”

Good grief! Mark and I conveyed to one another with saucer eyes, we’re in a PRIVATE gentleman’s car, and the men were too polite to tell us!

Our jeans and street-trollop appearance suddenly became unbearable. We’d been in rain and dirty city streets all day. Might we even be smelly?

I couldn’t bear it! I squirmed. With a man on each side of me, I was a giant toad trapped inside a tiny teacup. Everything I did seemed animated. Loud. Preposterous.

Mark and I were now agonizing and insufferably common;

wretched street characters from a Dickens novel;

a couple of low-lifes.

In desperation, I glanced at Mark sitting between the two men opposite me. Did he comfort me, quell my fears with a simple shoulder shrug or a nod of the head?

No.

Not at all.

My dear husband committed THE UNPARDONABLE SIN.

He rolled his eyes in an animated arc and puffed out his cheeks. His expression screamed at me, Sheesh! What a bunch of stuffed shirts!

He knew better than to commit this act of treason.

All my life, which he is fully aware of, I have battled a private affliction of the most humiliating kind; that is, in terribly absurd situations, I am struck with fits of uncontrollable hilarity that cannot be checked.

My PROBLEM took over.

An outrageous guffaw escaped my mouth. Vulgar snorts  emitted from my nose and throat. Soon, heaven forbid, the unthinkable happened. I started to wheeze at the end of my laughs. For me, that’s a common side effect of a fierce laugh attack. I continued to stifle loud shrieks, followed by those exasperating wheezes. Meanwhile, all around us . . .

no eyes moved from the newspapers—no faces reflected any emotion.

I couldn’t look at Mark. If I did, he made another face. I threw on my sunglasses. They immediately steamed up from the combination of damp air and my elevated body temperature. I grabbed my newly purchased Dickens paperback from my shopping bag and pretended to read, silently begging God to knock me out.

I’d like to say that I gained control on that train ride, but that wouldn’t be true. I calmed down to just the occasional giggle, though, which I managed to turn into a little dignified cough. It was comforting to know that I at least looked less stupid with my nose buried in a Charles Dickens novel.

Mark and I tumbled from the private booth and off the train as soon as rails and wheels allowed. Taking in gulps of air, I was relieved, and mad.

“Why Mark? Why did you do that to me?”

His eyes danced with orneriness. He shrugged. “Well, you know, next time, turn your book right side up. It’s a lot more effective.”

I died of mortification standing right there at the train station.

Indeed, looking back, I pray that anonymous group of Englishmen will think of me sometimes with benign humor as they puff their Cohiba Behike cigars or patiently turn at the tailor’s shop while being measured for their Gucci suits.

Perhaps one of the four gentlemen is a Shakespeare devotee who will charitably attach these words to his sanguinary memory of me:

I had rather a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad.

 

Do I dare show my face in London again? I still feel embarrassed about it, but I cherish this experience as one of the funniest of my life. It was so completely ridiculous!

Have you ever been hit with a very inappropriate laugh attack? What did you do to come out of it or to save face? Or did you?

I value your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hand

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Bah, or Ahh, for Christmas? Opposite Worlds Collide


Holiday Depression

I pondered about writing a Christmas blog with meaning.

It’s well known that the holidays are unbearable for some and joyous for others. The same can be said for any day or event of the year, yet it seems to exacerbate during the Christmas season.

Truthfully, it has always been that way.

Whether the reasons for a downcast spirit stem from past memories that darken the heart, or from personal circumstances involving health, finances, or the loss of a loved one, there have always been two holiday and two non-holiday worlds.

Never were those two worlds more obvious than during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Rockefeller Center's first Christmas tree, 1931, erected by construction workers about to get paid

One World ~ Rockefeller Center’s first Christmas tree, 1931, erected by construction workers. The tree is decorated with tin cans and cranberry garlands.

 

Another World ~

Another World ~ Fancy Lady and a Fancy Tree in the 1930s.

Because of the stock market crash, bank failures, and drought, thousands of wealthy and middle-class people became poor overnight. Consumerism slowed to a crawl. Fewer products were manufactured. Jobs were lost.

People were starving, out of work, and homeless. Churches, missions, private organizations, and the government set up soup kitchens and bread lines in the cities to feed the multitudes. Cardboard boxes became home to some, while others meandered aimlessly in shock and emotional illness.

Christmas bread line in Manhattan 1931

One World ~ Christmas bread line in Manhattan 1931.

 

 

Other World ~

Another World ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back then, some folks had such a polished sense of pride *the good kind,* they found it

Another world ~

Another world ~

tremendously difficult to “beg” food by standing in food lines. Yet the alternative might mean starvation for themselves and their families. Certain ones found it unbearably embarrassing and moved to rural areas to live off the land.

Was that any better? Usually not. The poverty of the people who made their living from the earth was sometimes unfathomable.

One World ~

One World ~

Another World ~

Another World ~

Conversely, there were entertainers and athletes who prospered greatly during the Depression.

 

 

 

Another World ~

Another World ~ James Cagney

James Cagney, for instance, earned the equivalent of $40,000 a week in 1933.

With hits like “In the Mood,” “String Of Pearls,” and “Moonlight Serenade,” Glenn Miller and his band had high-dollar success on the radio and in the movies. His salary of nearly $20,000 a week is indicative that big money was “out there,” during the 1930s.

Likewise, the Great Depression didn’t harm legendary Babe Ruth. His $80,000 a year salary (more than a million dollars today) was $5,000 more than that of the President of the United States.

Many of the established American super-rich families didn’t lose their wealth during those perilous times, families like the Getty’s, Rockefeller’s and Kennedy’s.

The survivalist entrepreneurs arose to surf the dire circumstances and grow rich – people like Howard Hughes, Michael J. Cullen and the Hess Brothers, to name a few.

The two worlds of Christmas in the 1930s were physical polar opposites, but what about in spirit and truth? Did depression, anxiety, and a sad life envelope only the poor and disadvantaged? Would people, as Victor Hugo espoused, rise to great moral and emotional heights if given enough opportunity and money?

Perhaps the best example of NO to that question is Barbara Woolworth Hutton. Though she was given a lavish debutante ball in 1930 and was one of the wealthiest women in the world, she was married seven times. None of her marriages lasted more than three years, and her only son was the victim of a bitter custody battle. Envied by all who encountered her, this wealthy beauty took refuge in alcohol, drugs and playboys. Her son died before her, and she died of a heart attack at age 66.

The woman who had everything had nothing.

Contrariwise, many who had nothing had everything.

A paradox of opposite worlds…

…often coming down to choices.

I’m choosing to be happy this holiday season.

How about you?

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Fractured Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Watching the TV show Dance Moms


Dance MomsCan crow’s feet wrinkles kill you? Probably not, but watching Lifetime’s reality show, Dance Moms, might put you in the hospital.

That is, if you take the examples on the show and actually apply them to real life and real people.

Recently sucked in persuaded to watch an entire back season of this audacious show, I was under contract to my intellect to take something from the experience. What could I do but create a list of life lessons?

Disclaimer: My list is created exclusively from the television show, Dance Moms, and is not intended to apply to dance moms the world over. Surely *please God!* there are exceptions to the war and destruction lively antics of that show.

This is what the show “teaches” young Dancers

  • Everyone is replaceable.
  • If you freeze on stage, thaw quickly…or die.
  • Second-place winners are losers.
  • If you are injured, don’t bleed.
  • Learn dance routines until you blather like an idiot. Like your mom.
  • Dance until something in your foot breaks. Then dance some more.
  • The crash from the top of Abby’s pyramid can be heard around the world.

This is what the show “teaches” Moms

  • Gossiping is a religion and must be practiced daily.
  • Live through your children or remain an empty shell. Your choice.
  • Argue violently with the dance teacher in front of your kids. That shows them you care. Violently.
  • Tell secrets, get mad, take sides, whisper, giggle and pass notes until you turn sixty years old. Then stop.
  • Take no responsibility for your actions so you won’t be blamed for anything. Ever. Make Sense?
  • With the precision of Chef Gordon Ramsey, learn to slice, dice and sell each other on toothpicks to any passing troll.

Have you ever been forced swayed to watch Dance Moms? What did you take away from the experience? We’d love to know! In fact, we must know!

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.