Don’t Wear a V-Neck and Other Valuable Tips

small used target

Bang! The handgun was so much lighter than I anticipated, I expected one of those cartoon flags to pop out instead of real bullets. Instead, I nearly cried because the explosion was so acute it started me out of my britches. And the first empty casing that popped out, landed on my head. My instructor laughed and said I only needed to worry if it got down in my shirt because they are very hot. And why wasn’t I warned of this before I wore a loose-fitting v-neck (and sleeveless!) blouse for my lesson on handguns?

Obviously, I wasn’t so concerned about burning my hooters that I missed the target.  That is actually my target in the photo above. I am a freaking natural! So how weird is it to feel proud of my shooting prowess while simultaneously despising guns? I believe I will write that into my character’s experience. You see it was all a training exercise so that I wouldn’t be basing my novel’s gunplay on movie depictions and other crime novels. Some things you can experience yourself and write about more realistically.  I’m pretty sure I already knew what gunpowder smelled like but almost everything else I learned about the Glock 38 was different to what I expected. For example, Glocks don’t have external safeties.  Nope. Less safe than I even imagined.

The instructor and all the other guys at the shooting range were very professional and super informed. They couldn’t have been nicer even when it became clear that I was not in the market for a gun. Of course they told me that every home should have one. “Seconds count and the police might be minutes away.” But if I was against owning a gun before, I feel even more strongly about it now. Holding death in your hands is frightening, even when your an ace shooter like me.

So don’t wear a v-neck, don’t close your eyes when you pull the trigger, and clean up the brass when you’re done as a courtesy to the next guy using the lane. Those little casings get everywhere!

small glock 38



rubiks cube

By the time I finished high school, everyone I know had received a Rubik’s Cube for Christmas or their birthday. We all had those clunky things in our backpacks and got them out on breaks. Eventually they became paper weights, or projectiles if you had brothers like mine. I didn’t have one friend who could solve the thing.

So now you can guess that I attended high school in the 80’s. Part of my novel-in-progress is set in the 1980’s so I very cleverly mention a Rubik’s Cube to give the reader a sense of the time because after all, nobody has Rubik’s Cubes these days, right?  Wrong.

My high school age daughter (now, in 2014) just attended a fun summer session for her high school in California (Stanford U. Online High School) and one of the things she learned was how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. They gave her a Cube and she says it’s kind of a middle speed cube, implying all kinds of things that I didn’t know. They come in different sizes and turn speeds. One of her classmates brought a suitcase full of different cubes and offered to oil hers so it would turn better. Cube oil? He’d brought Cube oil?

You see, Speedcubers are at thing. They take apart and oil their cubes. They have special timers. There is a World Cube Association that keeps records and organizes competitions. I’m sure it’s all very cool but their existence means I might as well take my Rubik’s Cube reference right out of my book. I thought that we 80’s kids owned Rubik’s Cubes, just like we owned Pet Rocks in the 70’s. Wow, so wrong.

There’s no big message hidden here or any lesson learned except that I should have kept my original Rubik’s Cube and sold it as a collector’s item.  And maybe I’ve learned that I don’t know everything.  Oh, and Cube Oil is a thing.

pet rockMy mom never let me have one.



Well, it is Florida

StoryBucks' Frog

Even though a frog prince features prominently in the logo for, my website for writers and readers, I’m not actually too fond of real amphibians.  I’m kind of a puppy and kitty girl.  We recently gave my daughter’s two alien frogs to the little boys across the street.  Years ago my sister sent Sophie (my daughter) a coupon to get a tadpole (although I totally prefer the word “pollywog”).  Sophie sent away for it and long story short, we ended up with two lab-created aquatic frogs that could clap their hands when excited.  Their eyes looked like little laser orbs and their toes looked like claws.  Freakiest things ever.  Good riddance.  I’m still plotting my revenge through my sister’s kids.  Sea Monkeys?

We’ve recently moved to Delray Beach, FL, just north of where we used to live.  We’ve had a super rainy summer and so guess what’s hopping all over the place?  Yep.  Frogs.  There are tiny little ones that we call popcorn frogs.  I’ve even seen a duck eating them.  (Did you know that ducks are omnivorous?).  We also have these really large toads, about softball sized.  They are everywhere at night.  And during the day they hide in dark places, like my hose reel housing as it turns out.  I pulled out the hose yesterday and one toad hopped out and I could just see another inside the reel as he spun by.  Yikes!  He looked really big.  When I immediately stopped pulling, a large toad hand (do they call them hands?) was hanging out through a crack.  Limp.

I of course called out the cavalry.  He doesn’t ride a horse but my husband can be counted on to deal with dead animals.  He took apart the hose reel housing and surprise!  The toad was alive and determined not to be removed.  He squeezed his body into a spot that was so tight I thought that once again, he was doomed.  We removed the hose and left the housing on the patio and within a few minutes the toad had left.

Half an hour to save a gross toad.  I suppose it brings good karma.  But here is the other thing one has to consider during this frog and toad boom time.  What eats frogs and toads?

Every manner of snake.

Be careful out their my friends, if you have popcorn frogs bouncing into your garage, Kaa is not far behind.




Brand New Blog

I am currently finishing up a mystery novel manuscript and I want to share the process with myself, and anyone else who might be interested.  By keeping these notes on a blog – I can document my process.

Obviously I have to polish off the novel first.  Okay, I still have about half of it to write.  But don’t tell that to the editors and agents I’ve signed up to meet at the Atlanta Writers Conference in late October.  I’ve been working on the character development and story for months and it’s all mapped out.  By committing to making pitches in October, I’ve forced myself to be more disciplined about getting the text down on paper (well, in my computer program anyway).  Progress is moving along quickly at no less than 3,000 words a day.

My most interesting next step will take place on Thursday.  I’m visiting a gun range for a one hour lesson on handguns.  I’m going to pick the kind I think my main character would favor and then fire away.  I have only shot a handgun once in my life and that was a lifetime ago.  Chalk it up to research.  I have NO interest in owning a gun myself.  I’d just shoot myself or my dogs or my husband by accident.  Messy.

Thanks for stopping by my website.  See you again soon.


Mysterious Things Happen Here