"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


Blog Contest!

Ooh, here's another one! You can win a darling Simply Memzelle Haunts Haven ghost apron by visiting For some reason, I'm picturing Katie Bodell in this. It must be all the Facebook statuses about getting her house clean!



Koan 15 -- Tozan's Sixty Blows

Tozan came to study with Ummon. Ummon asked, "Where are you from?" "From Sato," Tozan replied. "Where were you during the summer?" "Well, I was at the monastery of Hozu, south of the lake." "When did you leave there?" Ummon asked. "On August 25," was Tozan's reply. "I spare you sixty blows," Ummon said.

The next day Tozan came to Ummon and said, "Yesterday you said you spared me sixty blows. I beg to ask you, where was I at fault?" "Oh, you rice bag!" shouted Ummon. "What makes you wander about, now west of the river, now south of the lake?" Tozan thereupon came to a mighty enlightenment experience.

Ummon (d.949) was the founder of one of the five major schools of Zen. Tozan (910-990) was one of the four most distinguished disciples of Ummon. To spare blows to a disciple is a great insult. The disciple is not even worth the punishment of the master. When Ummon asks Tozan what good his wandering from one monastery to another is, the master is revealing that what the disciple is seeking he already possesses. He should concentrate upon bringing it to the surface, rather than wandering here, there, and everywhere. At this realization Tozan attained enlightenment.


Calling All Critics!


Death was of no consequence to Elizabeth. She was a woman of faith and therefore had no doubt that she would be crowned with glory in the hereafter. And if she was wrong, and existence simply came to a sudden, screeching halt – there was a certain appeal to this idea, as well. Far more frightening to her was the aging process, that winding, descending path that ultimately led to death's door.

She had watched time ravage her mother's life, precipitously it seemed. As the oldest child of seven, Elizabeth could not remember a time when her mother did not look tired and gray. Her father, with so many mouths to feed, never seemed to find that level of financial success that equated security. Lines of worry etched into her mother's face, along her forehead, around her eyes, and deeply into the corners of her mouth, drawing it into an eternal frown.

Her mother carried the cumulative pounds of seven pregnancies and uninhibited indulgences like a burden that slowed her step and impeded her from the natural enjoyments of life. She developed arthritis early, followed by diabetes, and then osteoporosis that bent her forward like an elderly Atlas carrying the weight of the world. The death of her husband was the final blow. When she began showing signs of dementia, it was almost like a voluntary withdrawal from a painful life that was too much.

Her mother's life therefore became a template of opposites for Elizabeth's life. Living by the maxim, “You can fall in love with a rich man as easily as a poor one,” Elizabeth was very selective in her dating choices. Only those young men who were clearly ambitious and exceptional were allowed to compete for her hand. The man she chose to marry became a very successful lawyer. She had just two children, two lovely, mild girls who rarely ruffled her sufficiently to cause a hair to stray, let alone turn gray.

Elizabeth's body was a temple. She ate lean meats and low carbs and plenty of leafy vegetables. She allowed herself one … just one … single glass of red wine with her dinner. She took her vitamins and various supplements and antioxidants as they came en vogue. She was active and athletic, visiting the gym often and insisting her husband install tennis courts and a covered, heated pool on their estate.

She shouldn't have been surprised when the call came from the doctor, and in hindsight, perhaps she wasn't. She struggled nonetheless to grasp the full magnitude of his words. Her mother had slipped in the shower and broken her hip. It was unlikely that she would regain mobility again. She would require round the clock assistance. Her insurance would cover a few days' stay in the hospital, during which time arrangements would need to be made for her care. It would be unreasonable to expect she could remain alone in her home. He left her with the suggestion that she discuss the situation with her family.

She hung up the phone. She grabbed her heavy coat from the closet and stepped outside, as if by escaping the house she could escape her responsibilities. She took the well worn path that rambled through the woods and across property lines, connecting otherwise distant neighbors. The crisp autumn air and her racing thoughts caused her to walk briskly. The trees swayed in the breeze, birds chattered, and a brook gurgled nearby, but today they all went unnoticed. She replayed the conversation over and over in her mind, looking for a way out.

Her mother would come live with her, of course. It was the only logical option. She and Steven were by far the most financially stable. They had a large house with plenty of room. She no longer had little ones to care for at home; Stephanie was already at college, and Jessica was a senior this year. . She didn't have to work. She had a part time position as editor for the weekly magazine that came with the local Sunday paper, but that was more of a hobby than a career. She grimaced as she realized she couldn't possibly ask her siblings to take on this much of a burden when she was so uniquely equipped.

She slowed and looked around her. She suddenly realized how far she had walked. She had crossed onto the Taylor's property and was standing before a small water well. Weeds were growing around the base and through cracks in the bottom. The crank was rusted and the bucket once attached was missing. The wood and the brick had been eroded to a uniform pale gray. It was certainly no longer in use, and possibly forgotten.

Impulsively, she fished around in her jeans pocket and pulled out a coin. She closed her eyes and held it to her lips. I wish I didn't have to take care of my mother, she thought. She threw the coin into the well and listened until she heard a tiny plop. She was immediately overcome by guilt and embarrassment at her childish gesture. She pulled the collar of her coat up more tightly around her and hurried back home.


It's Just a Fantasy

Fancy some fantasy? You might want to check out Anna del C. Dye’s The Silent Warrior Trilogy, available in paperback or ebook form directly from her website, or from or Barnes&

In book one, The Elf and the Princess, a bitter struggle of succession between brothers has left the kingdom of Menarm devastated and divided. Half of the people remain with the conquering brother, Fenil, while the other half follow the defeated brother, Renil, to the north to set up a new kingdom. Adren, the last princess of Menarm, finds herself alone in a world dominated by men. In her quest to battle her enemies and keep alive her last hope for happiness, she finds unlikely allies in a powerful prince and a defiant mercenary, only to be overcome by an ancient elf.

Trouble in the Elf City continues the tale three years later, after Adren has settled comfortably into her new life as wife to the elf, Dellin, in the kingdom of Lothia. But a mysterious enemy shatters their peace, an enemy the elves appear powerless to fight. Will Adren witness the destruction of yet another kingdom and find herself, yet again, all alone in the world? Or can the Silent Warrior come to her rescue and save them all?

Finally, in book three, Elfs in a Conquered Realm, Adren, together with King Paletin, set forth with a team led by the young strategist, Zyrthal, to find the hidden treasures of Menarm. Set upon by ruthless mercenaries who want the kingdom’s riches for themselves, the captured team is rescued by the Silent Warrior. But now he has begun to battle demons of his own and has grown unsure of his abilities as Adren’s champion. The shadows in his heart are only magnified by the disappearance of the two half-elf princes from the dead kingdom.

Front Street Reviews has praised Dye’s works as “fluid and flawless,” adding in their review of the third book, “it should come as no surprise that one will find this story as fulfilling as the first two in the trilogy. Her talent for writing fantasy will leave her name forever entrenched in our memories as we hope to read more of her stories long into the future.”

I encourage you to go to her website to learn more about these works and Anna, herself. Even better, check out Tina Scott’s interview with the author here.


He Said, She Said

Things overheard at the mall:

For you, I will do that.

I'm like, I don't really care.
But this time it was like awkward.
I don't know how else to say it.
Ewww... ewww ... on that note, see you in a bit.

You never talk about it.
I'm a little tied up right now.

We got good stuff.
Boots? You found boots? I want some boots. Because you don't know how much longer boots are in style.

I'll feed my frog, OK?
You know, we only feed them twice a week.

Ya wanna go into Nordstrom's?
(no response, just moved in that direction)

Hey, ma'am, can you help me out?

I don't have a curve in my back. Do I have a curve in my back?

I'm gonna get a calendar of cats.
Oh... I hate cats. You like them?


Blog Contest!

One of my writer friends is having a giveaway on her blog. You can enter to win a new bookcase! Click on the link to get to her blog: Of Writerly Things


Interview with Margaret Turley

Margaret grew up nursing the family’s pets and farm animals. Margaret started writing when she was in elementary school. She has published her nursing memoirs and articles in nursing magazines. Save the Child is her first published novel for adults. She enjoys writing and reading in almost every genre, music, playing violin, cooking, and spending time with family. She is the mother of one daughter and a son. She has three granddaughters.

Margaret, is your book non-fiction, or fiction?

What was your inspiration?
Upon hearing the Parker Jensen Story out of Utah in 2003 where parents were not wanting to have their child subjected to chemotherapy - I started doing more research. I was appalled to find out that here in the land of the free - parents are not allowed to choose different treatment. Every child is under the authority of the State until the age of majority. I strongly endorse that every patient including and especially pediatrics should have the choice of being able to incorporate these methods into their regimen.

What is the setting of your book?
I have set the book in Gilbert Arizona and created a fictional hospital so that I could avoid casting any dispersion against established Medical institutions and doctors.

Who are your main characters?
The Johnson family. Robert Johnson is the Father and is changing careers. He works part time in a law office and is attending ASU Law School. Nancy Johnson is the mother. Abby is 15. Sharon - the daughter with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is 8 years old, and Ben is 5. The grandmother is Phyllis Lundgren - widow of Greg Lundgren MD.

In what ways do you think you are like them?
I am a fierce Momma Bear when it comes to my children and grandchildren and patients I’ve care for – like Nancy Johnson.

In what ways are you different?
Robert is a much more understanding and supportive spouse than I have experienced. He does have his faults – because of his choice to change careers their family is financially challenged – like many families are due to the recession at this time.

What is your favorite scene in the book?
Sharon is based on my niece. The Easter Nativity Scene that I posted on Margaret’s Blog at is based on an actual event at my mother’s home.

After you wrote the book, how long did it take you to get it published?
I started writing this book in 2003. Due to illness and disability I’ve been delayed. It gives me a great sense of achievement to finally have the manuscript completed.

Have you been published before?
Yes. I’ve published three volumes of my nursing memoirs under a pen name. I’ve had articles published in magazines.

How did the publisher let you know your book was being considered for publication?
I signed up for a writing course with Pamela Goodfellow, Crafting the Character Based Novel with the goal in mind to get this work published. She is producing the book. Her mentoring, instructions and editing are wonderful. She coaches the writer all the way through the process from beginning to end and assists you prepare your marketing plan.

What did you do when you found out your book was being published?
Sighed with relief!

Please share a brief description of your book.
The Johnson’s reside in Gilbert Arizona. Nancy and Robert’s middle child Sharon develops Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Nancy wants to use alternative medicine to treat the child. She strongly opposes chemotherapy. Robert is changing careers mid-life and attending the last year of law school and works part time at law firm. They have run out of Cobra insurance and are very tight financially. Abby uses the family car to try to meet a date she makes via the internet and has a tragic accident. She ends up in a coma and is hospitalized amidst the medical and legal battle for Sharon. Phyllis is Nancy’s mother—ongoing struggles between mother and daughter heighten the drama.

Where can we purchase a copy of your book?
On my website or Pamela’s ,
at and by request to order from any local bookstore after its release at the end of next month.

Save the Child will come out the end of February 2010
I've started posting blogs on the Save the Child Website @

The Untold Scripture Stories coming later this year by Margaret Larsen with original artwork by Kali Higgins

I will soon have Ribbons and Bows: multiple births memory books ready to market DBA


In the Rain

Early evening, night is just starting to fall. There's a light rain, more than a drizzle, less than a downpour. Downtown, at an intersection. A black man, mid-30's, wearing blue jeans, work boots, a brown jacket zipped up, arrives just as the light is turning yellow. He's going to have to wait until the light cycles back through to green, but he doesn't seem agitated. He's carrying his young son on his shoulders. The little boy is about four years old. He has a big puffy jacket on. The little boy holds a large square piece of cardboard over his head, keeping the rain off him and his father. The boy is talking animatedly. The father cocks his head slightly upward, in the boy's direction, giving him his full attention.


Nom de Plume

I've decided on my pen name: Shelli Proffitt Howells

My parents named me Linda Michelle, but I've been called Shelli ever since I was three days old. It caused me embarrassment, at first. Painfully shy, I dreaded the first day of school when undoubtedly, my new teacher would call "Linda Proffitt?" I would sheepishly speak up. "Um, it's Shelli." Later, I found my dual personality quite useful. All of my legal documents, of course, were signed Linda Proffitt. I decided to go by Linda at work, to save confusion. When dating, I came up with a screening system for the boys I met. I told them I was Shelli if I thought I might be interested, Linda if I thought I wouldn't. It wasn't fail proof. My future husband called me Linda for weeks. (In my defense, he was wearing a very LOUD suit when we met.) But Shelli is the real me, the authentic me. If I'm going to be honest in my writing, it has to be Shelli.

Proffitt, as you may have deduced, is my maiden name. It ties me to the family I grew up in. And what a family it was! Two brothers and five sisters, a mom and dad who loved each other and each of us. We were loud. We were fierce. We were a mess. We were perfect, because we were so very, very imperfect.

Finally, Howells is the name I took when I married Rom. If my family made me everything I am up to adulthood, then it is because of Rom that I have become who I am since. He believes I am so much kinder, prettier, and smarter than I really am. He seems puzzled at my doubts. He sees me as infallibly capable. He honestly thinks I am talented. He believes in me, and he is absolutely certain ... certain! that I can do this. So, I think I shall.