Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Lie of Cats in the Cradle

"Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash

“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you, Dad
You know I'm gonna be like you…”
* * *

This song, released at the end of 1974, has touched the hearts of millions. I first heard Cats in the Cradle at the tender age of fourteen. Being a young girl, I wondered about the Mom. She would be the ‘usual way’ referenced so dismissively in the second line. That the mother is there during the father’s disconnection is implied, right? I mean, the boy didn’t learn to walk and talk from apes.

Later in life I married, had two sons, divorced, and then married again. You know, “the usual way” in today’s terms. Rather than whine about the now-divorced relationship, I’ll sum it up with a quick (quasi-funny) story from before the divorce.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Animaniacs Return!

Animaniacs Return!
A review/recap of Episode One

The first thing I do at six in the morning (when I usually get up), is check out my news feeds. There were the regular reports of murder, mayhem, and of course the general buffoonery of politicians. But then, lo, and behold, I learned the Animaniacs were given a new home on Netflix! All ninety-nine episodes have been picked up. Be still my heart.

If you don’t know who or what I’m referring to, go to this link, Animaniacs, and when you’ve finished catching up, come back to this article.

Now, there are two basic types of fans of these three Warner siblings. The first group are the children who enjoyed the zany humor and lessons offered from Tom Ruegger’s group of animators. The second being the parents who sat with them. 

That’s the group I fall in. The ‘rents.

I loved the show. The more subtle adult jokes went right over the heads of my two young sons, I was certain. Of course, in later years, I found that wasn’t necessarily the case. I was much younger then, and confident in my knowledge of what children might perceive.

Then, I watched the first episode of the first season, more than twenty years later. You live, you learn.
The opening song is a catchy little ditty. Throughout the seasons, the lyrics would be slightly altered to fit the current events. One line of lyrics from the opening goes “Wakko packs away the snacks/While Bill Clinton plays the sax.” If you’re unfamiliar with the reference, you can check out old episodes of a talk show called Arsenio Hall. No, Hillary did not appear with her husband.

The entire show comprised of short skits, original music, and silliness. Steven Spielberg had a thirty-five piece orchestra play an original score for every episode. The music is still with me to this day.

The first episode feature was titled “Zanitized” and it offered a flavor of what was to come. Dr. Otto Scratchansniff was explaining to Dot Warner the Rorschach test he wanted her to take. In the explanation, he told her she should tell him what she saw. This is a still of the scene during the exact point in the conversation.


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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hillary loves Donald. A conspiracy theory.

I cannot be the only one who has thought of this. However, I’ve not found anything in writing as of yet, so as a registered Independent, I’ll say it.
Hillary Loves Donald.
There. I've now seen it  in writing.
Why do I say such a thing? Is it because I have no notion of politics? Is it because I’m a little naive? Is it because I’m stark raving mad?
Or is it a little of each? Hmm, could be...
Anyway, here’s my “Vast Left Wing Conspiracy” theory (double points if you get the reference).
There are very few people I know personally that are supporters of The Donald for President. Okay, I’ll be honest. There is only one that I know myself. Even that person, though a good heart, kind, yadda, yadda, yadda… that person is misguided. Always has been. Should his world view ever be expanded beyond his back door, I’m certain he would be a much more rounded person. Read that as you will.
On the left hand, we have Hillary. She has a world view beyond compare. How she’s chosen to interpret the input is in her own doing. Through the years, accusations have been made against her, though never proven (she's not stupid), that would tighten the most hardened stomach. Everyone knows she has wanted to be President from the beginning. You cannot have forgotten her quote, “We are the President!” have you? If you claim to have never heard that, you’re cute. Now, go check Snapchat while the grownups talk.
On the right hand, we have The Donald. This guy has been talking about running for President since the 1980’s. This is the first time it’s gotten so far. Which begs the question: Why?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Lost Phone Chase

Another Short Story of Life
Lost Phone Cover2
Last night my husband and I went downtown to join some friends and see Carly Jo Jackson, a local singer, perform on an outdoor stage. The night fell into one of those categories that can only be described as perfect. The air was cool, the laughter infectious, and the drinks strong. We took pictures with our cell phones as we sang along, and applauded our girl’s performance.
After a while, I excused myself and headed to the ladies room. On my way back, I stopped at the bar and got another round. When I returned to my husband, he pointed out something picture-worthy, and I reached into my pocket to pull out my phone, and it wasn’t there.
My Phone Was Gone. Time froze. My eyes wide, my breath held, I frantically searched my other pockets.
Of course not.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

A Writer's Frustration


If you've ever written more than one thousand words for a project, you should appreciate this...

The McShane manuscript for book four moved along nicely. The first two chapters barely saw a difference between the first draft and the third. Then came chapter three. Almost five hundred words in and I knew it wasn't working.

At All.

I tried to edit by moving the text from the back to the front, deleting a paragraph, rewriting a scene, to no avail. I had to admit. The draft sucked. So, I deleted the whole thing and started from scratch.

The end result of chapter three speaks for itself, although I'll tell you anyway. Fantastic. It moved the plot along nicely. The problem, however, is that it moved the plot in the wrong direction from the original outline. *sigh*

So, I started chapter four with a new direction that either had to be brought to heel and conform to the outline, or rethink where these characters are taking me.

Two thousand one hundred and fourteen words into the fourth chapter and I knew it couldn't be saved. The whole chapter was one long conversation between two characters. While funny in places, and intriguing for the plot line in others, it would not work. If this weren't a novella, and I had to find words to fill space, this might have been an award winner.

But it's not.

So, not only did my time frame get busted, so did my plotline. I really like where I ended with three, but I have to go back and rewrite my outline to conform. Chapter four now has five hundred forty-eight words toward that goal.

With uninterrupted time, I still should have a new draft written in the next few days. But who in the world ever gets uninterrupted?

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

McShane Mini-Mystery - "The Mushroom Murderer"

Chapter One
Party of the Season

Jaw clenched, a fake smile frozen on her face, Summer Autumn Malone McShane fought the scream trying to burst out. The older gentleman before her, whom Mother claimed was a distant cousin, droned on about his life, love, philosophies, travels and travails. She’d tried to reply or add to this one-sided conversation, with little success. She’d walked away once, only to have him follow her. The smile she held was beginning to make her cheeks ache.
Her mother’s voice sang out. “Tod! There you are!” She embraced the old man’s shoulder. Mona Malone had the ability to make everyone feel at ease as if you were family. Even if you really were.

“Tod,” her mother said. “You cannot manipulate all of Summer’s time like this. She has a party beginning in less than an hour and a world of things that need her attention.” Mona turned to her daughter. “Summer dear, Mrs. Lorenzo is looking for you. She said something about Chef Walters being annoyed or some such. You should go.”
The rescue brought a genuine smile, replacing the fake, plastered-on one that Sam had held. She reached out and grasped her mother’s hand. “Thank you so much. If you’ll excuse me?”
Cousin Tod bobbed his head, said, “Bye, Sam!”

She didn’t mind ‘Cousin Tod’ calling her Sam. Everyone did. Except her mother.
“Now, Mona,” Sam heard him say as she walked away. “Tell me what you’ve been doing all these years.”

Sam smirked. Mona Malone had run from the family estate on her eighteenth birthday. She and Richard Malone, high school sweethearts, married the moment the law would allow, much to their parents’ chagrin. After Sam was born, they spent her entire childhood traveling on mission trips, so she never knew many of the extended family members. After this encounter, she understood her mother’s motivation.

Mrs. Lorenzo, the head of household, interrupted her thoughts. “Ms. McShane, you must come to the kitchen with me. Chef Walters is furious over the mushrooms.”

“What’s wrong with the mushrooms?”


Book Four has been taken down for edits, etc. Please subscribe to the JL Mo website so you won't miss a notification on publication dates!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Mushroom Murderer is coming

I'm working on the finer points of the opening chapter for McShane Mini-Mystery, Book 4, The Mushroom Murderer. This has been fun to write. I hope you enjoy the first chapter,  posted here on January 1, 2016.

Happy New Year, everyone!