Fribble's Blend

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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

Published by: Hard Shell Word Factory ( and Awe-Struck E-Books (

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Blogging Through the Blahs!

My best friend gave me her crud Monday when she was over for a sewing day. (At least, that's who I'm blaming!) It hit me yesterday -- achy, coughing, dripping nose. I won't go into it any worse than that, but you know what I'm talking about.

I don't get sick often, but when I do, I do a good job of it. I'm out of bed to check my emails, write this blog and find a sufficiently flavorful cup of tea. Then it's back to bed and see you Monday! Achy heads just don't come up with clever lines.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Rush Never Ends

I thought over my schedule for today and realized that it is really busy -- and I don't even intend to leave the house.

First, I am making a dress for a baby. No, not my own, not a grandbaby, just a little girl I've met and who has tugged my heart. I think I might make the pinafore that goes over it, too.

Yesterday a neighbor came by and dropped off three pairs of jeans for me to shorten. He tried to do one pair himself and says he lost about a gallon of blood by poking himself with the needle.

I have a blouse for myself started, but other things come up to push that project aside.

Then I have to work on transcribing BUILDING PASSION from the book to the computer, because it was written before computers and I want to have it republished in the next year or so. Of course, you can buy it on Amazon, but it would have a much wider audience if it could zip over the Internet. And I'd get paid for it again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Taking a Flyer

Last night I finally did it! I booked my flights to California for the EPIC Conference in Long Beach -- on the Queen Mary, no less!

I went into real stress over the process, after the mess that the airline industry went through this past holiday weekend. That was really ugly and gave the whole industry a black eye in my estimation. I really wanted to forget the whole thing. But that wasn't an option. See, I'm the President of EPIC. I have to be there!

It didn't help any that the discount sites I looked at were discouraging. The night before, I had picked out an itineray I thought would work -- only to find out last night that the price had gone up over $100! So my son got to work on the problem and found me an itinerary that was all on one airline, with fewer connections and was only about $50 more than the one I'd seen before. The disadvantages and advantages even out.

Now all I have to worry about it wardrobe -- and security!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Post-Christmas Let-down

Our Christmas was very quiet. Yesterday's church service was sparsely attended, deserving of the nickname "Low Sunday." Not in the least unexpected.

But today has been wonderful so far. One of my closest friends brought her mother over to enjoy a "sewing day." We do these, but we never accomplish as much as we plan. For instance, I didn't plan to accomplish anything today -- and I wasn't disappointed.

While my friend's mother cut pieces for a block using a rotary cutter, cutting board and clear plastic ruler, my friend and I visited, giggled, and teased. I dug into my stash and found fabric for them to take home, pleased to give them lengths I knew they would be able to use.

No quilter who has done more than a little work has any illusions about doing everything she wants to do. There are always UFOs -- unfinished projects. Some outright failures. Some projects that lose their appeal.

But the friendships I've gained are much more valuable than any of the quilts I've made.

Friday, December 24, 2004

There's Something To Be Said...

I worked hard the last few weeks -- well, as hard as I ever work now that I'm old and retired, -- at to get things done by last night. The 23rd of December is always the Christmas Program at church. It's not Broadway, but we can usually get a laugh out of it, and a sniff and a shadow of a tear.

Then this morning, we took some goodie bags to people, got the car gassed up and came home through almost deserted streets and roads. At home, we made a batch of chili for dinner tonight.

Now there isn't a blessed thing to do! Nothing! Just sit around, listen to the radio and watch the fireplace -- maybe take a nap. No company coming. Nothing to wrap. No place to go.

Hm...taking a nap seems like an attractive option.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Getting Close to Christmas

It's a dark, cold and damp day, but there are things that have to get done. I was awakened by a harsh wind blowing against the house, harder and harder, but nothing seems to have been shaken loose.

It was our day to get groceries, and everyone seemed cheerful and ready to visit a minute with us. The people who work there are generally friendly anyway, but today seemed to be special.

When we were almost finished with putting the groceries away a home, a girl who used to live across the road brought us a basket of tangelos. I haven't seen her for a couple of years. It was good to get caught up on her family.

So it's going to be that kind of Christmas; no matter what is going wrong, there will be good moments.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

When Bad News Hits

Last week, we found out that our grandson, a lively little seven-year-old boy, has Asperger's Syndrom. It was not much of a surprise, as we suspect our son, his uncle, has it too. It's that hard-to-manage thing -- the Asperger child is bright but often thought to be ADHD. And they're not. They can spend an afternoon reading something they are interested in and hardly move an inch. It's the upper end of autism, but then, too, that doesn't quite fit.

I wonder how many people have had Asperger's through the years and, even though they made great contributions to society, were misunderstood and miserable at heart. Maybe Albert Einstein? Howard Hughes? Sigmund Freud? Winston Churchill? Alexander the Great? We'll never know...

We'll never know how many people have been inappropriately pigeon-holed, never allowed to reach their full potential, or worse -- institutionalized -- for being that little bit different, when they had so much to give -- if we had only accepted them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It Gets Better From Here

This is the Winter Solstice. People used to celebrate it, because this is where the hardship of the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer stops. At least for this year. Things start to get better. Maybe.

So now we have hot water again. We have lots of Christmas cards. The Christmas program at church is Thursday evening, so we have that to look forward to.

The sunsets this time of year are so beautiful with a clear blue sky and a rim of gold, just a touch of orange and red. I'm glad I can see that sunset.

Take a deep breath! Things get better from here.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Living Without (Hot) Water

We live in a very old house, and it gets cold even here in Tennessee, so when it got cold last night, we left water drips. But it didn't do much good. We woke up to frozen water lines. We have cold water at the kitchen sink, for which we are thankful. We've been known to go for a week without that much.

The house is still chilly, even though in the years we have lived here, we have tried to cut down on the draftiness and other weather-related inconveniences. Why did we buy this house? Because it was the best we could afford.

Would we leave easily? I don't think so.

But would I take the same no-hot-water inconveniences in other places? Anybody have a hut on Maui I could try for comparisons?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Computer Game Addiction

My name is Fribble and I'm addicted to -- sigh -- computer games.

Back before we even had a computer for me to write on, a high school girl was living at our house for a few months and she had a game computer...I learned to play Megabug. It was truly a guilty pleasure. I neglected housework to play it. Oh, the first step on a slippery slope.

Then I got my first computer, a TRS-80. The kid who taught me to use that computer supplied me with Burger and 13 Ghosts. I turned into an enabler -- I bought my sons a book that told them how to construct their own games. They made one for me that set up premises for romance books.

But when my second TRS-80 died, I had to move on. I tried not to back slide, but over the years, I have had to acknowledge the power of computer games. I've played so many of them, I can't remember them all. Each time I had to upgrade my computer, I sought out new games to waste my time.

I can't start my morning without doing the daily puzzle on JigZone. I've gotta have my Gem Drop and Jewel Quest, Text Twist and Bookworm...I'm a sorry mess.

Someday I'll be in an old-folks home, begging someone to let me play Addiction Solitaire on their cell phone.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Make Money with a Blog?

I just read part of an article about advertising and making money writing a blog. Ha! Sounds like an impossibility to me, but then, what do I know? I never thought I'd ever make any money writing novels -- and I didn't make very much. Not that the money didn't come in handy, but it wasn't enough to live the high life. Living the high life when you have three kids of college age is an illusion, anyway.

But I'm just wondering (1) if anyone reads my blog, (2) if anyone is curious about my ebooks and print books that are available on the Net, and (3) if anyone would actually go to any of the sites, buy one of my books and read it. All because they read my blog.

I write romances, sweet romances -- the ones that have a happy-ever-after ending. Not the ones you'd be afraid of your kids catching you reading. I've tackled some tough subjects, too. One heroine was in the ending stages of recovering from a cripplng accident. Another is a princess is exile who is called to lead an Eastern European country after the fall of Communism in 1991 -- okay, so no such thing happened, but writers each have their own universes.

So--would you go looking for THE HARDEST STEP or ONCE AGAIN A PRINCESS?

You can even read an excerpt before you decide. I'd really like to know if you go to my publishers' websites and if you like what you see there, not just of my books, but other authors'.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Christmas Shopping

This morning, my husband and I did our Christmas shopping. We left the house a little after ten. He'd already gassed up the car, so we didn't have to do that. But on the road, the odometer went over 150,000 miles! That counts as a thrilling moment around here.

We headed for a store between Sevierville and Pigeon Forge that he likes. There was almost no traffic since the kids aren't out of school yet. We zoomed over the road until we got almost to our destination, where we were held up by an accident for a short time, but not long.

We got to the store, bought everybody what we thought they needed, spent less than $80 and were home about a quarter past noon.

I am definitely not stressed this year. Hoooray!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

First Snow of the Winter!

I don't really like snow. It's cold. It's wet. I've seen enough to last a lifetime. I was raised in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania. There we had ten months of winter and two months of lousy sledding.

There is only one reason I left Florida -- it's cheaper to live in Tennessee.

But as my son observed earlier today, it's better to get the first snowfall in the middle of December than in late October. Late January would be good -- you'd only have to get through February and March then.

There is maybe one good thing about snow -- it's easier to see the birds feeding of the lawn if there is snow on the ground.

I guess we're done with our fall gardening, whether we want to be or not.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Dog Ate My Blog!

Actually, I wanted to save my Friday blog in the Draft file -- then I had no idea where to look for the drafts...ah, well, as if it were deathless prose.

Last week was very busy, yesterday was very busy. I almost had the little girls' dresses done and tragedy struck! When I was cutting the hole in a buttonhole, my seamripper slipped and cut into the bodice. I fretted, I fumed I tried to patch, didn't like the patch, redid it. I still wasn't happy, but maybe it won't matter.

Last night was the church's Christmas dinner. We have it early so that it won't interfere with other eating events. ow, imagine a small country church that seats maybe 100 worshipers tops. We have an active membership of 50, and when the dinnerbell rings, a lot of them show up.

They figure they each need to feed the other 49 people from what they bring. It's not just one dish for each member of the family that is coming--it's two. And a dessert. It takes a separate 8-foot table for the desserts! The ten-foot table in one room was packed with three rows of the general food. A benefit for a near relative of some of our members was held the night before, and what food wasn't consumed at the benefit -- you guessed it!

So, yes, it will be Christmas before we're hungry again.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Flood Warnings

Tennessee is getting rain. Not that that is anything new -- we're 8 inches above our annual average as it is. But the rain in filling up the ponds, the streams, the lawns.

We went for groceries this morning and when we got home, all the low places that had been ponds on the way to town were now lakes. The little rill at our friends house was over its banks with muddy water. The house across the street is in the middle of a pond. The bottom of our hayfield is a lake.

It could be worse. It could be two or three feet of snow.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Ever Read an e-Book?

I am so proud of one of my "children" that I've sent out into the world. My book, TIME OF POSSESSION, is number 11 on the Romances list of my publisher Hard Shell Word Factory.

The thing is, that poor (in fortune only) little book has had a rough life. I wrote it in the early '80s, putting a lot of my heart and soul into it. But the publishers at the time had a bias against sports figures as heros and writers as heroines. They wanted books set in LA or NYC or the mountain states, and this book was set in Pittsburgh. They wanted books set in warm months. This book is set in December, the Christmas season (which was out of style at the time, too).

Mary Z. Wolf at Hard Shell Word Factory liked it, though, and brought it out in 1998 so I could go to Pittsburgh, have a KDKA radio interview, sell books in Kaufmann's department store and get some good buzz. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton chose the day before to bomb Iraq and my interview was preempted by Sen. Santorum. The signing was a bust. It was too soon for people to have any idea what an e-book is.

One dear, librarian-looking woman asked if the title meant that the book dealt in the occult.... That gave me pause.

Anyway, if you want to try an e-book, like sports heroes and heroines who have a lot of angst to deal with, and need that Christmas feeling, please check out TIME OF POSSESSION. You can even read a chapter of it on the site -- free.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I wanted my heroine in FINISHING TOUCH to be singing those words at the top of the first chapter, but Silhouette didn't even want me to try to get them cleared for inclusion. Ah, well, it was the point of the book, that you might not get what you want, but if you try real hard, sometimes you'll get what you need.

I've mentioned my church before. We just fed 300 people for Thanksgiving. Now we are making Christmas for two families, each of which have three children. And we are packing 13 Sunshine Boxes for members or family of members who are in need.

The minister tells us every Sunday to give what we can afford, and no more, and to give "as we can." There are three little girls who, God willing, will have new dresses made just for them. A friend of mind died a few months about an left me yards of fabric and scads of patterns. All I have to do is provide the skill to sew dresses together.

If you have someone in the service in Afghanistan, they need hard candy--chocolate doesn't make the trip. And they like to give away cheap Bic pens (bought in quantity at an office supply). Kids beg for them. They can't go to school unless they have a pen. They tell of a guy who gave a little boy a crayon, and the boy said, in English, "I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

You can't always get what you want, but if you give to other people, you'll get what you need.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I Can Get Passionate!

As I said before, I'm retyping my first book, BUILDING PASSION so that it can be released electronically.

Now, anytime anyone thinks about books these days, they think Amazon or e-bay. I've looked up my books on Amazon before. You can get any of my books there -- print, electronic, and Linda Dano's tape of A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE.

So I went looking for BUILDING PASSION. You can get it for $0.01 -- which is probably a bargain. On the other end of the scale there was a copy for $350! Yes, you saw that right -- no decimal point! And I'm not getting a penny out of the deal, if one is made. I got a stinking $0.08 for that book, maybe $0.09 after I hit the 100,000-copies-sold mark.

Hey, I've got a couple of pretty good copies of BUILDING PASSION on my shelf. If you'd pay me $350, I'd come to your house and hand-deliver it!


Friday, December 03, 2004

Am I Allowed to Take Friday Off?

I promise I'll write in my blog tomorrow. Well, maybe I should just expound on what has me in a dither. My husband made apple bread yesterday -- oh, it smells great when it's baking. His recipe makes two loaves. He planned to send one to my second cousin, who was stationed in Mosul, and one to my publisher's son, who is stationed in Afghanistan.

Well, my husband noticed that my second cousin was expected to be rotated home in November. So through a round-about way, I called my cousin, his aunt, to verify the address, etc. Well, he is "home" in Washington state and will be "home" in Pennsylvania in two weeks. He was hurt on his tour of duty, will have to have surgery, but I am so happy he will be home during Christmas time.

Now, to check up on the other young man...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Writing is Hard Work

And copying an old project is worse yet. You know what I would rather do than tackle Chapter Two of BUILDING PASSION? I'd rather clean out and organize my quilting stash cupboard. Now, that is a comparison for you -- a real eye-opener.

I'd rather lift plastic boxes of fabric, cram loose pieces where they might or might not logically fit and cramp as much stuff into the cupboard as it will hold.

I'd rather sort through unfinished projects than copy my book...not that I have any motivation to finish the projects. At last count I think I had ten quilt tops that need to be finished. At least. Then there are a lot of little things that need attention.

The ultimate in depths I have sunk to -- I'd rather make a pot of stew for dinner. And I hatehatehate to cook.

But that's how it is.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Last night it rained. The wind blew! Things went bump!

We live in an old house. We have no reliable information about when the center of the house was built, but the "new" part was built in 1900. Usually it is pleasant to lie in bed under three quilts and listen to the gentle rain on the tin roof.

Last night, it was bumpy. We have two large maple trees that stand about twenty feet from the end of the porch. Over the years they have grown together so if one falls, they both will, and the prevailing wind will probably encourage them to crush the porch, the two bedrooms and maybe more. It gives one pause.

What maintained my sanity through the onslaught of rain, wind and flying objects? I have a new, very nice set of wind chimes hanging on the porch, and they played merrily through the storm, encouraging me to believe that everything would be all right.

And it is. I look at the winds of winter as God's way of pruning the trees.