Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Legend of the Holy Cow

 Once upon a time, not so long ago, a boy's preschool class was planning to present a live Nativity scene.  The entire class was to dress in the various parts and assemble on stage in the gym/auditorium during the Catholic Academy's annual Christmas production.  Three years ago, the boy's older brother had been chosen to be Joseph - a fact he still smugly brags about.  The boy's twin sister had been awarded the part of the Christmas Star - which suited her personality quite well.  The boy was given the part of a king, a Wise Man!  He liked the idea of wearing a gold crown and of the importance of the role.

On the day of the rehearsal, the teacher assembled all the children into their different places upon the stage.  There was a problem:  one too many kings.  The teacher, knowing the boy to be of an easy going nature, asked the boy to switch his part to that of a cow.  The boy agreed and smiled.  At home, he did not smile.  He cried to his mother over being demoted from a king to a cow.  His mother thought about approaching the teacher, but the boy didn't want her to say anything.

Instead, his mother started recalling the story of the first Christmas.  "The kings didn't even arrive until way late, like sometime in January.  By then, all the decorations are down and the tree is out on the curb.  But the cow and the animals in the stable, they were there the whole time.  In fact, when Mary and Joseph arrived and couldn't find a place to stay, it was the farm animals that stepped aside and made room. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, she didn't have anywhere to lay Baby Jesus down.  It's not like Bethlehem had a Babies 'R Us or a Target for Joseph to run out and get a crib."

The boy seemed interested in the story, so the mother continued.  "It was the cow that performed the first good deed, a true Christmas miracle.  You see, in the nativity scene, Baby Jesus lies in a manger.  A manger is actually a feeding trough for the cattle.  And the hay is the cow's food.  The cow actually stepped back and gave up his dinner so that Baby Jesus could have somewhere to rest.  And that is The Legend of the Holy Cow." 

(And, yes the cow is holy in India for completely unrelated reasons.  But, let's keep focused on one religion at a time here, people.)

At this point, his mother broke into song, an off-tune version of Away in a Manger.  The boy felt much better.

On the day of the Christmas production, the boy gladly performed his role in the Nativity scene as The Holy Cow.  And, with his twin sister shining above him as the Christmas Star...

...HOLY COW did he do a moo-valous job!

Merry Christmas!

Holy Cow!  Find me on Facebook at:!/pages/Audry-Fryer-Author/207222035989970

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Is anyone else suffering from 80's Nostalgia?

This weekend, my husband and I took our kids to see the latest Muppets Movie.  My five year old twins were all for it, but my seven year old bawked, "boring."  My husband and I argued with him that we loved the Muppets when we were growing up, so it must follow that all three of our children would love them, too.  Heck, I don't dust off the old John Denver and The Muppets Christmas album every December for nothing! 

Sometime during the first half of the movie, my oldest son stuck to his guns and whispered, "See, I told you - boring."  Kermit was reminiscing about the good old days - you know, the late 70's and 80's.  That bygone happier time, so, so, so long ago. 

Hey!  Back it up a second.  I was alive back then (albeit a child and a teen).  When did the 80's become the good old days?  At the beginning of this year, the same son muttering, "boring", had asked, "You were alive in the last century.  What was it like?"  I replied, "It was the same.  Well, minus the internet and cell phones, but mostly the same.  Now, go build with your Legos or play with your Star Wars figures or go watch The Smurfs on Boomerang or help your sister with her Easy Bake Oven." 

So, I'm asking, "Is anyone else suffering from 80's Nostalgia?"  Post here or find me on that new fangled invention of modern times: Facebook.  Oh, how did we manage in the 80's without it?!?

One last thought:  On the Muppets' Christmas album, when John Denver sang, "Merry Christmas little Zachary", I guess that Zachary's now a middle aged man with a receding hairline and a beer gut.  Oh, where did the time go?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm dreaming of a ...

... finished manuscript.    Oh, did you think I was going to say "White Christmas"?  

It's the most wonderful (a matter of opinion, if you ask me) time of the year!  And, the most distracting time!

Ding-dong, ding-dong, Christmas bells are ringing and my credit card is steaming and I can't get Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is You" out of my head and if I do, then it's replaced with my children shouting, "Come see this commercial. Now I want that!" And, I know that the product is never as good as the commercial with the kids laughing and the whole slow motion animation thing. And then, there's the wondering of what do I get for people?   And, do I like what I bought or should I return it and get something else?  And then there's the wrapping and the baking and the whole tree thing and should it snow - I won't even go there.

And then, and then, I'm reading this newsletter from a writer's organization I joined - back when my mind was free of sugar plums dancing in my head- and I see this quote:

"If you have a dream of writing, that's wishful thinking.  If you have a commitment to writing, that's the way to make dreams come true." -Nancy Pickard, novelist

I cut it out and taped it on to January.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If you're thankful and you know it...

"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?"  ~Erma Bombeck, "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 26 November 1981

On this day before Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a few odd things.  In addition to, of course, being endlessly thankful for my wonderful family and my amazing friends, I am thankful for... a timer on my coffee pot, my box of wine concealed - but oh so accessible in the cupboard, my stash of chocolate hidden in the freezer, hair color in the form of a full head of highlights, the invention of Spanx, electricity (see post from two weeks ago), video games (without them, this post wouldn't have existed this morning: Day 1 of Thanksgiving break), and one more thing...

Thank you blog readers and followers, anyone who purchased my book or wrote a review, liked me on Facebook (here's the link, if you suddenly feel compelled to do so: ) ...

... and most especially to those of you who have offered kind words of encouragement and support.  Thank you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hey Look: I'm on the Nook

The following is a post containing shameless promotion, reader discretion is advised! 

Hey look:  I'm on the Nook!

Exciting, right?  Last winter, when I put Going Barefoot in Greener Grass up for sale on Amazon's Kindle, I checked into self-publishing on other e-readers.  Only Kindle, at that time, provided no fee for uploading my novel.  Fortunately, as of recently, I was tipped off about Pub-It through Barnes and Noble which also uploads for free.  As I am new to the world of self-publishing and self-promotion, I didn't want to spend more than I would potentially make.  So, "free" works!

And now, for more shameless promotion, here's my new and improved summary:

Be careful when you tread barefoot in greener grass ... you might get stung.

For best friends, Olivia and Bethany, life looks a whole lot better on the other side of the picket fence. Olivia had the big Italian wedding - a boisterous affair including her pizza shop owner parents, her superstitious Nonna, her three rowdy older brothers and one quirky photographer's assistant. Now, Olivia lives in a cute suburban home with her husband and three children. Bethany, pushed by an ultimatum to choose between her love life and her budding career, broke off her engagement the night before Olivia's wedding and has been single and free ever since.

In her mid thirties, Olivia longs for a life beyond the threshold of her front door, for an identity other than "wife" and "stay-at-home mom". Bethany, too, has a void in her life, one that she can never seem to fill, no matter how many places she has traveled or how accomplished she has become in her career with a popular food and wine magazine.

On a girls get-away to the Jersey Shore, tensions reach their breaking point as each woman realizes she desires what the other one takes for granted. Can Olivia's and Bethany's friendship survive as each woman dares to have it all?

In her debut novel, Audry Fryer takes the reader on a fun ride with relatable characters, humor and unexpected plot twists. Going Barefoot in Greener Grass is a warm story of friendship weaved into a satisfying tale about never giving up on your dreams.

Don't walk, run through the greener grass (barefoot if you like) to get your copy today!

Okay, enough shameless self-promotion.  We will soon return to your regularly scheduled blog posts!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mother Nature is on Crack!

I'm serious, Mother Nature needs rehab.
  Bizarre weather has been happening all across the planet, with no exception in my corner of the world.
We went from this: 

to (in a matter of a couple weeks) this:

That's eleven inches of snow three days before Halloween, countless trees down including our treasured maple that shaded our picnic table and no power for four days (some of my neighbors were out for more than a week)!  Oh, and no post for last Wednesday, due to the lack of electricity. 

Well, I'm happy to say the electric company hung the wires right back up amongst the weakened tree branches, thus restoring power ... for now.  Also, I'd like to say that my children demonstrated that they learned much from Fire Prevention Month.  When I lit every candle in my house (because it was seriously dark), all three simultaneously stopped, dropped and rolled.  I thought about telling them that you do that only when your clothes are on fire, but I let them go.  What else was there to do without t.v. or video games?!?

And, finally, in this month of thankfulness, I'm going to strive to be grateful everyday for our utilities while really trying to remember to give back to those less fortunate.  Perhaps I'll donate my candles my children refuse to allow me to light! (Of course, along with can goods and gently used winter coats.)

On a quick side note, as I've decided to incorporate this October snowstorm into novel #2.  Hopefully, by the time I finish, Mother Nature will have been released from rehab and living substance-free!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gotta Ghost Story?

That's me, comically acting scared with what I'm told is a "ghost orb" or two hovering beside my left ear taken on a Ghost Tour of Phoenixville, PA - which is I'm told the most haunted borough in the state (next to Gettysburg) due to its proximity to Valley Forge and its history dating back to Revolutionary, Civil War and Underground Railroad times. 

While on the ghost walk, we were told to take pictures in order to catch paranormal activity.  I guess the ghosts aren't as gung ho about scaring people as the actors at a horror attraction. So, I placed my camera on flash mode and there were orbs all over the place!  Look at this haunted library and how the orbs abound:

And then, I remembered something:  I had taken my camera off flash mode because for years it would produce these very same transparent circles ... in my house!  Totally freaking out, I went home and snapped more pictures using the flash and (Boo!) there were the orbs! Orbs in the kitchen!  Orbs in the bedroom!  Help I'm being attacked by invisible circles! 

In a panic, I recalled last winter when the five of us were sitting down to dinner on a dark and windy evening.  The light above the table slowly dimmed off.  We thought we lost electricity ... but all the other lights in the house we're on!  When the light above the table came back on, my husband and I teased my children saying it was a ghost.  I said, "If this is a ghost do it again."  It did!!!!

Knowing that I would be writing about ghost orbs, I did an Internet research of the topic.  In summary, here's what the president of the Paranormal Research Society had to say about the subject:  Ghost Orbs are nothing more than cheap, old digital cameras (I have one of those) picking up specks of dust or debris in the air and reflecting it back onto the image.  He went on to say that he would like people to stop sending him ghost orb pictures and to go out buy a better camera.

What a relief!  But that still doesn't explain the light over the table last winter ... Spooky!

Since it's "Hallo-week" and soon to be "Hallo-weekend", share your ghost stories if you got 'em.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turning Over a New Leaf

A fabulous friend of mine mentioned to me that she was turning over a new leaf (with a wry expression on her face considering the season we're in).  She went on to say something about early Christmas shopping and a few other things.  Honestly, I checked out mentally at the Christmas shopping part (be on the look out for a December post rant about gift giving).  But the new leaf part of our conversation stuck with me. 

So, here's my "new leaf":  I'm going to have confidence with this whole "I'm a writer" thing.  Allow me to explain.  I was at one of those home demonstrations selling jewelry the other weekend and the party hostess cornered me.  She didn't want me to simply be a buyer.  She wanted me to "join the team" and sell it.  Word somehow leaked out of my stay-at-home mom status.  Here was my response:

"I  ... uh ... well, yes, I do stay at home, but ... you know ... I was a teacher ... and then I quit to have the twins ... and I could back to teaching Pre-K ... but, I do sort of write, too ... I mean I wrote this one little novel ... I put it up on Kindle ... it was getting rejected all over the place ... so, one quick click and there it is for people to buy ... so easy, anyone could do it ... oh, and I have a blog ... a couple people read it, I guess ... so, yeah ... that."

Ugh!  If only I could have an edit button for my mouth, I would have sounded like this: (actually I'd never say anything like this, but oh the fun of thinking I could ...well, maybe I could after a few drinks.)

"Listen, Bitch, just because I'm a stay-at-home mom doesn't mean I don't have a life.  I don't have time to be pimping your jewerly all over town when I'm in middle of writing my second novel.  Do you own a Kindle?  I'm on there.  You should check it out.  Plus, I have a blog, too.  I might mention you in next week's post."

What's your new leaf?

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Don't Worry About a Ping

There she is:  "Mom's Mini Van Shuttle", a no longer in production Saturn Relay bought in 2006 off the show-room floor when my pregnant-with-twins girth made me look like I was hiding a large pumpkin under my sweater.  Five years later, she's still shuffling back and forth, but now with a new "ping" in her step.  

Three days into October, the month in which I declared I would have a positive attitude about absolutely every little thing, the pinging began.  Apparently the automatic rear passenger door isn't so automatic anymore and the pinging is the alarm sounding that door is still open ... when it's closed!!!  We pinged to Pre-K one day only to have it mysteriously stop.  It was my positive attitude.  I was so sure ... until it started again and would not stop.

On our travels until we arrived at the mechanic, the kids and I tried to drown out the pinging with loud music.  We found a successful remedy when I happened upon Bob Marley's, "Three Little Birds".

Here's our new version of the song:

"Don't worry about  a ping.  'Cause every little ping gonna be alright. Pinging, "Don't worry about a ping, cause every little ping gonna be alright."

ping ... ping ... ping ...
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This weekend, the mere flip of a calendar page produced a reaction in me so exuberant that I can only describe it in one word, "October!"

I want to do it all ...  everything and anything associated with the fine month of October, I want to do it!  And, I know I'm not alone in this sentiment.  Judging by the parking lot at our local orchard, October fever has struck big time!  All it takes is one chilly breeze plus a flutter of leaves sweeping across the road and it's go time!

The minute I tacked up the new calendar page, the excitement was unleashed in a series of must dos.  I want to pick pumpkins and apples ...

bake a pie, drink apple cider, drink pumpkin ale or anything labeled with word "fest", visit a pumpkin patch, ride a hayride, make a scarecrow ...

.... climb a giant hay stack ...

... eat pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, eat a pumpkin pie, eat anything orange in color, eat candy corn, go on a nature walk, wear cozy clothes, collect leaves, rake up piles of leaves and jump into them ....

... oh the leave peeping!  ...  (Did I mention my birthday?  Maybe that's why I'm so biased.  Mark your calendars with a big orange circle around the 15th :-)

And, don't get me started about Halloween.  Candy!  Chocolate candy!  I want to wear orange and black, wear silly Halloween shirts, watch Celebrity Ghost Stories, watch scary movies, visit a haunted house, buy costumes, carve a jack-o-lantern ...

Well, I'd better get started on everything here plus few I may have forgotten to mention before these short 31 days are a mere memory.  Not to mention that my next novel is set partially at an apple orchard in the Fall.  I better take notes and get back to writing. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Swarms of Bees and Other Excuses

So, I believe that I signed off well over a month ago with the statement, "See ya in two weeks!"

"Liar!" You say.  "It's been more like five weeks!"

Okay, okay, okay.  Well, you see, uh ... there was an earthquake while I was at the beach which I briefly blamed on the rum I had been drinking ... and that was followed by evacuating the Jersey Shore because of a hurricane ... actually, there were two hurricanes, one blew out the electricity and one flooded so bad, the schools were closed.  Yeah and speaking of school, the paperwork to be filled out in triplicate caused massive hand cramps for days.  And, my twin son needed glasses and possibly his adenoids out ... but then, he didn't need an operation after all ... instead we came home with a ninety dollar x-ray thanks to something called co-pay. And what else?

"Excuses, excuses," you say.

Oh, yeah .  Look at this:

Here we are in Cape May, NJ on the actual vacation.  Please note my husband and his facial features before scrolling to the next picture.

I took this picture after a swarm of yellow jackets (yes, he's allergic) took out their anger issues on my husband and his riding mower.  (The mower fared much better ... not even a flat tire.)

So, first, as a man who fears shots like Indiana Jones fears snakes, (honestly, Epi-pen equals kryptonite in my husband's world), he thought he'd ice his inflating face down with a beer.  When that didn't work, he defiantly left for the nearby medical clinic.  An hour later, I get a phone call from an aggravated, out-of-breath nurse.  "Mrs. Fryer, come pick up your husband.  We gave him two shots in either arm.  And then, he passed out on top of me.  We called 911 (that would be 3 ambulances and a fire truck) and he refused to go to the hospital.  He's all yours now!"

Well, I did recover from this whole incident after several strong drinks.  Thanks for asking.  Oh, my husband?  Yeah, he's fine ... all deflated and recovered.  And now, as door prizes, we own our very own Epi-pen, plus some very strong pain relievers!

So, yeah I've been away longer than I wanted.  But, really, look at the month I've had.

I know.  I know.  Excuses.  Excuses.

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See ya in a week.  No, really, I mean it this time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I want to write like that!

My apologies for a late post.  I am very aware that I have shifted into full summer mode.  It's like I'm on "island time" (minus the island).  I wake an hour later than I should.  My family eats dinner way later than in the cooler, darker months.  And, now on Thursday, here's Wednesday's post.  In less than two weeks, school will resume and with it, mornings that must begin much, much earlier.   There will be the inevitable shift of our mental time zones.  No more island time and no more kids literally climbing on me as I attempt to write anything from this blog to a simple e-mail.  And, forget about that next novel!  The outline is patiently sitting on my desk waiting for September.

Next week, my blog and I and, oh yeah, the three kids and the husband are off for a little rest and relaxation.  I hope to return ready to face another school year and even more ready to take advantage of a quiet house by focusing on writing.  When I do go to climb the mountain that is the first draft of novel #2, I'll be sure to keep in mind these thoughts posted by Daily Literary Quote on my Google home page this morning.  It has me saying, "I want to write like that!"

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.  If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer."  Ernest Hemingway

See ya in two weeks!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lucky 13

Lucky 13?  You may be asking.  Isn't it unlucky?  Well, I certainly hope not!

The number 13 has bounced around my family in the form of addresses, birthdays, times of birth and even as the Route # next to my last place of employment.  This past Monday has marked my 13th wedding anniversary ... so it darn well better be lucky.

So, no, I do not suffer from Triskaidekaphobia.  Although, it is fun to say.  On a quick Internet search, I discovered that I need not fear this number.  For as many examples of bad luck associated with 13, there were equally as many fortunate beliefs.  The problem humanity seems to have with the number dates all the way back to ancient times.  As the lunar cycles were counted in relation to the solar calendar, there were supposed to be 12.  But it wasn't exact.  Every four years, there would be a 13th full moon.   In biblical times, Jesus plus the 12 apostles at the last supper equals 13.  It has been said Judas who betrayed Jesus was the 13th to arrive.  In modern times, the number 13 has been worn on the uniforms and jerseys of an impressive group including Wilt Chamberlain, Dan Marino and Alex Rodriguez.  Taylor Swift born on December 13th often is seen wearing the number on her hand in concerts.  There's no doubt this number has a certain mystique about it.  After all, the age of 13 officially, for better or worse, begins the teenage years.

So, is 13 lucky or unlucky?  Like everything else in life, it's all a matter of perspective.  Having a choice in the matter, I'll bet on the side of lucky.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Three Sisters Garden

Every year we plant a vegetable garden in our backyard.  Everyone, even the kids, gets involved in its care from planting it in Mid-May through picking the produce in the summer months.  This year's yield has been less than stellar.  Blame it on the weather.  Blame it on all of us being more on the go than ever before.  But, for whatever reason, the result has been disappointing. 

On the drive home from my daughter's preschool themed dance class (see what I mean about being "on-the-go"), I noticed a garden worth envying.  At this house, the corn stood tall and impressive as opposed to our shriveled brown versions.  There were pumpkins vined at the corn's base.  Our pumpkin seeds had remained in the packet.  It had reminded me of a type of garden I had once learned about while teaching Pre-K:  a Three Sisters Garden.

What is it? You ask.  A three sisters garden is an ancient method of gardening I believe (but don't hold me to it) used by the Native Americans.  While the three sisters are not all that unusual - corn, squash and beans, the way these three plants work together is amazing.  Corn is the tall sister and the support system for the beans, the third sister, to vine up and around.  The bean plant in turn binds the three sisters together while keeping the soil fertile.  Squash, the second sister, covers and protects the ground, maintaining much needed moisture. 

In my garden, the corn stands off on its own.  Five yards away, we have sugar snap peas and two rows of zucchini squash.  All the plants were growing just fine until the stress of the extreme heat took its toll.  Next year, I'd like to try a three sisters garden and see if it indeed works as I have read.  I can't help thinking that my garden as compared to the three sisters garden are somehow a metaphor for life.  Something about the support of others helping with the stresses of life. 

If you'd like to learn more about growing a Three Sisters Garden, check out this site:

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Age-Old Question

The "27 Club" sadly has a new member.  Up until this week and the news of Amy Winehouse's untimely passing, I had not been aware of such a coincidence of age.  Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all were 27 when their lives were cut short.  What is it about 27?

As I've mentioned here before, I do enjoy checking to see what my astrological sign has in store for me each day.  On one of my favorite daily horoscope websites (I'll post the link below), I learned an interesting fact about the age of 27.  Apparently, it is one year shy of an important astrological event.  At the age of 28 or 29 depending on one's charts, a phenomena known as the Saturn Return creates a sobering, long-term thinking influence.

Lately, having experienced my own Saturn Return nearly ten years ago, I have been musing about how my age has affected my own perceptions.  One thing's for sure, it has been sobering because hang-overs now last nearly a week!  But while I miss my much-more-fit, what-was-I-complaining-about-back-then body from my twenties, I much prefer my mind at this age.  There's a reason I didn't attempt to write a novel in my twenties.  In fact, come to think of it, most successful novelists are past a certain age - and not because it takes so long to write one!

Here's the link about Amy Winehouse and her missed Saturn Return:

And, remember that comments are always welcome on my Facebook page:!/pages/Audry-Fryer-Author/207222035989970

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What a - Rose-Colored Glasses, Beer Goggles - World

 In response to last week's post, my head is out of the clouds and, for the last few days, wishing for a pillow.   Four out of five of my family members including myself participated in a gorgeous wedding followed by my twins turning five the very next day. 

The bride, my beautiful friend, walked down the aisle to "What a Wonderful World".  And you know what?  It can be a wonderful world ... with a little altering of perception.  Yes, this past weekend as with any other day of the week had its fair share of stressful moments.  And, I'm not delusional (that would be fun, though).  There's plenty of un-wonderful things about this world.  But still ... Sometimes it simply feels good to throw on a pair of rose colored glasses or beer goggles if you prefer. 

Junior Groomsman

Ring Bearer

flower girl

"I think to myself, 'What a Wonderful World'."

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Got my Head in the Clouds

Summer is really heating up now.  With a big wedding and twins turning five (5!) this weekend, my thoughts are all over the place.  So I'll keep this post short and sweet:

"Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been."  Jimmy Buffet

After this summer, I'll most likely have earned a few more wrinkles ... either from the smiles or from too much sun exposure!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wanted: Your input on Novel #2

It's been said, "Love is in the details."  And yet, as I venture further into writing my second novel, I'm not loving the details!

So, I'm turning to you, my blog friends, for a little direction.  Just think, if ... I mean, when ... I make it big, you can say, "I was a part of the writing process!" 

Okay, so here goes:  The working title of novel #2 is "Secrets, Lies and Apple Pies".  And here's a one sentence synopsis (notice that I haven't named the main character):  After a devastating car accident on the day she learned of her husband's affair with a close family friend, the main character, broken and defeated, returns to live with her mother on a far removed apple orchard seeking solace yet searching for answers.

You guessed it:  Help me name the main character.  Should I name her after an apple, such as Braeburn or Cortland?  Or should she have a more common name like Meredith or Candace?  Or something a little spicy like Scarlet?

And I need your input on one more matter.  The love triangle in the novel begins with a friendship forged during their college years.  Where would you enjoy reading about?  Here's the choices:  Ivy League like Cornell in Ithaca, NY or my alma mater, Elizabethtown College, PA or maybe a more urban setting, such as Georgetown University, Washington D.C. ?

I appreciate your input.  And, I can't wait to hear your thoughts!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wild like the Ponies of Assateague Island

There they were, an usual and amazing sight: wild ponies simply hanging out on a beach like nobody's business.  I had been down to the bustling seaside destination of Ocean City, Maryland, many times.  In my visits, I had learned about Assateague Island directly to the South and the wild ponies that inhabit its quiet stretch of shores.  I had read brochures featuring nature tours and sight seeing excursions of the over 300 ponies roaming wild there since the early 1600's.  I had found it interesting to learn of the theory that a Spanish galleon ship containing a cargo of ponies had shipwrecked offshore.  I had considered someday making the long voyage down to Chincoteague, Virginia, to see the Annual Pony Swim where, in order to control the population, some 150 ponies are rounded up and herded across the narrow channel to be sold for auction.  And yet, for one reason or another, be it the Ocean City boardwalk or the draw of cocktails on the bayside, I had never ventured to see the ponies.

You would think on a bachelorette beach getaway weekend, the ponies would be the last thing I'd be seeing.  And yet, on a boating outing intended for more of a bayside bar tour, we ventured across the inlet to Assateague ... and there were the ponies!

What struck me is that when I think of ponies, the image isn't anywhere near of them roaming wild.  Rather, I recall buying tickets for my children to ride a pony around a ring at a local fair.  In the same way, when I think of the fine ladies partaking in last weekend's bachelorette beach getaway, the word "wild" doesn't necessarily come to mind.  Many of us are wives, many of us are mothers, many of us are professionals, spending our days caring for the needs of others in some capacity. 

Today, we're all back to the lives we temporarily left behind.  But for one weekend, we were a pack of wild ponies hanging out on the beach like nobody's business.  And, besides feeling mildly hungover, I think we're all better for the experience.

Share your getaway stories and destinations. 

Having trouble leaving a comment because you don't have a Google account?  Click on the link below to my own Facebook Author Fan Page.!/pages/Audry-Fryer-Author/207222035989970?v=wall

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

School's Out For Summer

Good-bye school bus for the next three months!  No more hectic mornings of packing lunches and repeating the words, "Get dressed.  Put your shoes on."  School's out for summer!  Hooray!

Oh, how I remember the lazy days of summer.  I remember sleeping in, running through the sprinkler, riding my bike, eating corn on the cob and fresh picked strawberries, country fairs and catching lightning bugs.  It was all so relaxing.

Only, now I'm the mom.  And now, I've got three sets of eyes fixed on me asking, "What are we going to do today?"  Hmm, the word, "relaxing", just melted like a sticky popsicle in the sun.  Now, I'm repeating a new phrase for summer, "Come here so I can put sun block on you!"  What is it about sunblock that so repells children?  It's like I could threaten them with, "Clean up your room or I'm spraying you with sunblock," and they'd clean their room.

Anyway, unlike the Phineas and Ferb song that states, "There's a 104 days of summer vacation," there's actually somewhere around 75 days to do it all.  So, I better enjoy all this summertime insanity while I can. 

Here's the hot topic:  What are your memories of summer vacation?  If you have children, do you have a secret countdown until the first day of school?

At least I won't be as busy as these guys:  (Phineas and Ferb Theme Song)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Roasting a Weiner on a Hot Topic Fire

This summer as the temperatures heat up, I thought I'd post a hot topic for discussion each week.  I invite your comments and look forward to your opinions.

This week's hot topic:  Liars, Cheaters and Semi-Happy Marriages

Once again, another high profile scandal takes over the news.  Anthony Weiner's sexting debacle has everyone talking.  And it's all pretty much the same old story, except for one fact.  Weiner's wife was missing from the press conference.  Good for her, I say.  What are your thoughts?

Interestingly, this week has included coverage of a thought-provoking new book, "Marriage Confidential" (the shortened title) by Pamela Haag.  The book takes a look modern marriages from children to cheaters to the semi-happy.  The term semi-happy caught my attention.  I think everyone can feel semi-happy about pretty much any part of life, not limited to marriage. 

Perhaps Anthony Weiner was only semi-happy with his marriage, so he sexted rather than actually have a full affair.  Got an opinion?  Let the discussion begin ....

Here's the link for more info about "Marriage Confidential":

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Very Mysterious

Very mysterious!  Everything appears a bit different!
Okay, mystery solved:  I confess.  I changed the blog's background and template. And, I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for those meddling kids.  (See what happens when I write with Scooby Doo playing in the background!)    

Soooo, how do you like the new look? 

With summer around the corner, old schedules and routines have seen better days.  My once quiet Tuesday mornings set aside for posting are no longer quiet.  But, never fear, the blog will go on.  There'll still be amusing anecdotes of my family life, random interesting facts, updates on my adventures in self-publishing and, as in this week's post,  featured authors.

In this month's edition of "Help a Writer Sister (pronouced  sis-tah) Out", I present you with a mystery.  Who is Patricia Rockwell?  Hmm.  Very mysterious.   

Interviewer:  Patricia Rockwell, can you tell us about your two cozy mysteries—SOUNDS OF MURDER and FM FOR MURDER? 
Answer:  Yes, these are the first two books in my Pamela Barnes acoustic mystery series.  Pamela is a Psychology professor and acoustics expert and she is drawn into the investigation of various murders that have a “sound” component because of her knowledge and expertise in this field. 
Interviewer:   Sound?  That’s a rather strange hook for a mystery.
Answer:  Yes.  In many cozy mysteries, the amateur sleuth often has an occupation or hobby that allows the character to use their knowledge to solve a crime.  As far as I know, no other cozy mystery author has an amateur sleuth who uses acoustics to solve crimes.  Actually, one critic told me that I’d never find more than a few plot lines where sound could be a viable clue to a murder, but I’m writing my fourth Pamela Barnes’ book at the moment and I’m still imagining more plots with sound.
Interviewer:  Patricia, not only do you write cozy mysteries but you also publish cozy mysteries with your company Cozy Cat Press.  Why this fascination with cozy mysteries?
Answer:   I’ve always loved reading mysteries ever since I was a child and read every Nancy Drew I could get.  I guess I’ve always loved what are called cozy mysteries.  However, it wasn’t until the last few years when I retired from my career as a college professor and started writing, that I actually realized that the specific type of mystery I like to read—and write—had a name—cozy mystery.  I just know that I have always preferred mysteries where the emphasis is on the detecting and the solving of a puzzle—not on the main character getting out of jeopardy.  In truth, whenever I read mysteries of the thriller variety, when I come to segments that involve chase scenes or fights or a character trying to avoid some sort of catastrophe—I skip ahead to what I consider the more interesting parts of the book.  I guess that’s why I like Agatha Christie,  Sherlock Holmes, and the array of wonderful cozy mystery writers today who focus on the “figuring things out” aspect of mysteries. 
Interviewer:  So, does that mean that none of your characters ever meets an untimely end?
Answer:  Oh, no!  Murders occur in my books.  They just happen to characters whom the reader doesn’t care about much—or at least I hope they don’t care about them.  
Interviewer:  Would you say, then, that in cozy mysteries that character is more important than plot?
Answer:  No, I wouldn’t say that.  I’d say they are both equally important. 
Interviewer:   You say you are retired from a career as a teacher.  I bet you have incorporated some of your job experiences in your books, haven’t you?
Answer:  Absolutely!  My main character Pamela Barnes works at a small university in the south just as I did.  The other characters in my books all are based on various scholarly types  who I encountered during my many years in academia.  And, even though, no murder ever occurred where I worked, many of the sub-plots are drawn from my real life experiences with students, administrators, and colleagues.

Patricia Rockwell is a featured author in this weeks “E”ndependent Publishers $2.99 Ebook Club enewsletter.  
Book Cover Link(s):
Book sales page(s):

Jinkies! Another mystery solved!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mad as a Hatter

This past Saturday felt a little mad (as in bonkers).  Remember?  The world was supposed to end? Hello, still here!   While the clock trudged forward to the end of time, I was filling my tea cup with a spirited mimosa at a Mad Hatter Tea Party themed bridal shower.  As I was conspiring along with some wonderfully talented bridemaids and relatives of the bride to pull off such a fabulous event, I began to wonder about a few things: "Isn't the world supposed to end in 2012 (wink,wink)?" and "What is a Mad Hatter?" 

The King from Alice in Wonderland: "Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop."
I tried to look up how many end of the world predictions there have been throughout time or even in my own lifetime.  The answer seems to be too many to count.  However, this past failed prediction landed on a Saturday.  Now, I know it was supported by some sort of religious organization, but it was the drinking establishments that prospered.  Any reason to drink, right?  And while we're at it, crank up Britney Spears "Till the world ends".  So what about all this 2012 hype?  Well, it was easier to look up the Mayans and learn that December 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125 year cycle in the Mesamerican Long Count Calendar.  It's no surprise that Mayan historians do not equate the end of the world with the end of the calendar cycle.  I mean, imagine creating a 5,000 year plus calendar.  Sounds exhausting right?  They had to give it a rest sometime.

The Cat: "We're all mad here."
So, what is a mad hatter?  Lewis Carroll based Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter character on a common phrase of his time (mid 1800's), "Mad as a Hatter".  As hat makers in this time period would go through the prosess of curing the felt, they would be exposed to toxic levels of mercury vapors.  The mercury poisoning eventually lead to symptoms of muscular tremors, distorted vision, confused speech and hallucinations. 

With my questions answered, I leave you with this quote:
The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad?"
Alice Kingsley: "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers.  But I'll tell you a secret.  All the best people are." 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Fish Tale

Around these parts, once all of the plastic eggs have been hunted and collected, it's time to mark our calendars for the next annual event: the Trout Rodeo.  Now, for those of you unfamiliar with such a thing, allow me to interrupt your visions of studly cowboys saddled onto leaping fish.  No, you won't find any tight blue jeans at this rodeo ... more like baggy attire on middle-aged fathers.  Before I loose you, I'll set the scene:  Picture a small tranquil pond set on the side of a misty hill surrounded by verdant foliage.  Families with children large and small draped in rain gear encircle the pond where, as advertised, trout abound.  These speckled fish have been purchased and placed here after living the good life on a farm.  (I have been told that the trout were not grown in rows nor raised in an underwater pasture.)  On this day, only the youngest of anglers will try their hand at catching them.  The adults, supposedly, are to assist the children.

We have been lured here, like all the other rodeo participants, by a flyer stating one magical word, "prizes".  At precisely 8 a.m. a horn sounds and the fishing begins!  We excitedly watch our bobbers, one in the likeness of Snoopy, floating a mere ten to fifteen feet from the shore.  Our Barbie and Spiderman rods ready to burst into action.

A bite!  Oh, the fish got off.  Another bobber dips below the surface! Oh, missed again.  The pond ripples with activity.  Prizes begin to be given away as the first three fish have been caught.  We still have a chance for the largest fish prize.  An hour passses with big fish being caught left and right ... just not by us.  A small girl in long pigtails amples by us to the judges table, her arms weighed down by an astounding five trout!

What are we doing wrong?  What do these people know that we don't?  Quick, change the hook, switch the bait, cast in a different direction!  (I must say that these ploys ring familiar to my own trials in the rodeo of publishing.) 

We have become as miserable as the damp, dreary weather.  My oldest son maons, "Boring."  My twin son suggests by his actions that we should take to netting the fish instead.  My daughter has the bright idea of singing to the fish.  One hour and forty minutes have passed.  "This was supposed to be fun," I declare.   Why am I always saying this phrase lately?

Lost in thought and moaning and netting and singing, no one notices that the Snoopy bobber has gone missing beaneath the water.  The Spiderman rod jerks off its stick propped in the mud where we had abandoned it. 


My oldest son grabs the rod.  We hold our collective breath as he reels.  A fight of epic proportions ensues (or something like that).  Finally, the trout makes contact with dry land.  Score one for us!  Ha little girl in pigtails with her five puny fish.  With our luck now changed, a second bobber ducks under the water and a second trout is caught by my twin son.  And, get this, our winning streak continues as immediately following, my twin son's name is announced as the raffle winner!

Shocked and amazed, I think there must be some kind of lesson here.  Some wise declaration that I could pronounce here on this post.  Is it patience? Or possibly perserverance? Hmm.  On the way home I ask my favorite question, "Did you guys have fun?"  Three yes's make the soggy morning of lows and highs all worth while. 

And the raffle prize, you might wonder, is a battery operated fishing game.  Here's the best part:  It doesn't take an hour and forty minutes to catch these plastic fellows!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Time to Fail

It's that time of year again, baseball season.  My oldest son has graduated from batting off a "T" to hitting a pitched ball.  Taking this next step forward raises the stakes tremendously.  No longer is he very nearly guaranteed a hit each time he steps up to the plate.  This year, strike outs abound for my son and his teammates.  Now, I'm not saying that his team lacks talent.  My son and the rest of the players on his team show as much potential in varying degrees as any other team in this age group.  And yet, the fact remains that striking out has taken some of the fun out of the game. 

"You haven't struck out everytime," I told him on the way to a game when he wasn't feeling up to the challenge.  "You got a hit in last week's game.  You're still learning.  It takes time and practice to improve.  Each time you get up to the plate is a fresh new chance.  Forget about the last at bat.  In fact, if you swing and miss once, you still have two more tries.  The more times you try, the more you learn what works and doesn't work, the better you'll get.  And, at the end of the season, I'm just proud you got out there and tried you're best each time."    His response:  "Can I get candy from the snack stand?"

Oh, how I seemed to know it all, so wise, so positive from the driver's seat of my mini van.  Where was all that wisdom and positive thinking the next day when I checked my less than stellar sales report on the Kindle Direct Publishing site?  "I feel defeated.  What's the use?  I don't have the time to promote my work properly. I'm just wasting my time trying to be an author.  What was I thinking?  Blah, blah, blah."  I shut down my computer and left to go fold laundry (something I do with great success several times a week).  In the jumble of clothes, I came across my son's uniform and remembered my inspired little pep talk.

I subscribe to regular e-newletters from Writer's Digest.  One of their featured bloggers is Jane Friedman.  Her posts are always very informative and thought provoking about the world of publishing.  In a recent post, she spoke of success.  In her opinion, success depends less on talent and more on determination.  Ms. Friedman explained how she allows for a "time to fail".  In essence, failure is inevitable when trying anything new.  Failure leads to learning.  Conversely, learning from failure and being determined to try again in the face of multiple failures leads to success.

If that's not inspiring enough, check out this list I found of 50 Famously Successful People who Falied at First.  Here's the link:


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Mother of all Posts

As this Sunday marks Mother's Day on the calendar, I am dedicating this post to mothers everywhere.

If there's one thing that applies to all mothers in general, it's the dreaded "Mom Guilt".  If you work, you feel guilty about not spending enough time with your children.  If you stay at home, you feel guilty about not contributing financially. Plus, forget about doing something just for yourself.  That's a one way ticket on a guilt trip. In fact, I'd venture that the mother robin that flies away from her nest (above) every time I open my front door feels guilty. 

And, it doesn't stop there.  As I mom, I try to do what I think is best for my children.  I have a background in education.  I have achieved the impossible task of having twenty children at a time listen and learn from me.  But, those twenty children weren't related to me.  Inevitably, my own children know exactly how to undermine all of those best of intentions.  Oh, the mom guilt!

Well, this Mother's Day, may all you moms out there have a guilt-free day.  From my quick Google search, I learned what I already knew but it bears repeating: "Happy moms make happy kids".  Sure they're hanging on your leg as you dash out for a little "me-time", but do it anyway.  Yes, they're crying at the door as you pull away, but they'll be so happy to make you feel guilty when you come back home!

Whether you're a mother or a daughter/son, be sure to leave a "guilty" comment ... because admitting your guilt is the first step to recovery ;)

Here's mine:  (from a daughter's perspective)  In my haste to self-publish on Kindle, I forgot one very important page.  I omitted this page because of my hang-ups that an e-book isn't a real book, but that's a whole different post.  Anyway, the page missing is the dedication page and here's what it should say:

For my mother, Thanks Ma!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Wise Ferris Once Said...

Cue Ben Stein's mundane voice:

"Blogger ..."


"Blogger ..."

Oh, hey, I'm here! Well, mostly. 

Candy Hangover, Day 2:  Yesterday's vow to lay off the sweet stuff lasted until 10 a.m.  Today, I have hidden the chocolate in freezer and sent away all other various forms of sugar placing them high and out of reach. I think the chocolate just texted me to let them out.  Uh-oh.  It's only 10:15. 

In the midst of having every family member over to our house for a sugar fueled, egg hunting, Easter party of a good time, the most amazing thing happened.  A flash of blue caught my eye as I had been hurrying back and forth from the kitchen to the picnic table for the one hundredth time.  Easter in my corner of the world had dawned sunny and warm with only the threat of thunderstorms much, much later.  There on my neighbor's fence perched a blue bird, with the coloring of the brightest blue whistling a happy tune.  I stopped in my tracks.  

Every major holiday, it's the same: rush around cleaning, shopping, cooking/baking, preparing... I had joked, "Do it once and it becomes a tradition!" It's exhausting, yet not to do it would be too terrible to even consider.  Inevitably, I glaze over wishing for a nap or a few minutes of peace.  It's then that I remind myself, "The kids are only this little for a short while.  We're all together today, cousins, aunts, uncles, grand-parents. Enjoy it."  And so, this past Sunday thanks to the blue bird, I paused.  For a brief moment, time had stopped.  I acknowledged the memories being made right on the spot, in the same way as the million photos I had been taking all weekend.
Now back to Ferris Bueller's Day Off circa 1986.  A wise Ferris once said,  "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's a Barbie World

When Galia Slayden, a Hamilton College student, created a life-sized Barbie with insane proportions it got a lot of attention ... including mine.  In case you missed it (I have a link below), her Barbie's bodily features are way out of whack.  Slayden is displaying her attention getting Barbie in order to raise awareness about eating disorders.  Of course, a debate has ensued whether Barbie is to blame for some young girls' inaccurate body images.  However, agree or disagree, Galia Slayden is getting tons of publicity for her cause, one that is very personal to her.

As a mother of a daughter, I've been feeling a little concerned since this story broke on NBC's Today Show.  Most especially worrying is that the picture below depicts our extensive Barbie collection.  (Please disregard any unclothed Barbies that may appear in this image!)
Mattel has issued a statement basically saying that Barbie was never based on the proportions of an actual woman. They stopped short of saying, "Duh."  Well, obviously, I pretty much knew that, though I hadn't given it much thought in the past.  I do wonder if we should assume all young girls would know that.  After all, as the song, "Barbie Girl" by Aqua, states, "Life in plastic, it's fantastic."  In truth, even adults have the capability to fall prey to unrealistic and exaggerated expectations from time to time.  In this way, it is a Barbie World.  We may not be competing to match up with toys; yet, from this mom's point of view, there's plenty of self-imposed pressure ... if you so choose to buy into it. 

I've decided to try out the poll gadget here on blogger.  Here's the topic: should Barbie be held accountable for the crime of promoting poor body images.  Besides, all the major starlets seem to have spent some time in a court room. (Paris, Lindsey ... why not Barbie?)
Is Barbie innocent or should she be held accountable?  You decide! 
Place your vote on the right of this post.

Here's the link for those who missed it on the Today Show:
Here's the Barbie Girl song by Aqua

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Experts, Egg Hunts and Einstein

Ever feel so scattered that you simply can not focus on one thing?  If you're a crazed multi-tasker like me, you'll relate to knowing that as I write this post several distractions are pulling me away from time to time.  Besides, checking my e-mail, the weather, my horoscope and celebrity news, I have started a load of laundry, thought about what might work for dinner tonight and answered a phone call from school.  (I always panic when I see the caller ID indicating my oldest son's Elementary School.  At first, I thought it's the nurse.  Then, the voice announced that it was the school librarian.  I blurted out, "The book's in his backpack!" to a pre-recorded message about a school activity happening tonight.)

Anyway, back to what I was saying, scattered thoughts (see what I mean?) ...  I'm pulling from an old post in which I linked a bunch of random thoughts together by beginning each idea with the same phrase:  "I'm no expert, but ..."  It was a fun post and worth reading for a laugh (but don't go there now!).

I'm no expert, but isn't an egg hunt supposed to be fun?  Ask my oldest son and he'll tell you an enthusiastic yes.  He came away from the township run local event with a pail full of plastic eggs containing candy.  My twins, as seen in the above photo, did not fair as well.  My twin boy got off to an amazing start, only to trip some twenty-five yards away from me.  His plastic bucket cracked and his entire loot spilled forward.  For him to recoup his losses, it would have taken a group of very empathetic three to five year old's.  Only one three to five year old was concerned, his twin sister.  Everyone else snatched up the spilled eggs at a rate so fast that it left their parents' wondering why they can't clean up their toys as quickly.  "It's supposed to be fun," I told my bitter and disgruntled twins as they counted a meager five plastic eggs between them. Oh, well ... better luck next time.

I'm no expert, but that's because I haven't implemented the 10,000 hour rule.  For a book club I've recently joined, I've begun the first few chapters of Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.   Basically, among many other factors, to be a success, it takes 10,000 hours of practice on (here's where my problem comes in) the same task.  Multi-taskers and scattered thinkers everywhere are doomed to non-expert status.  Yeah, yeah.  But, I wonder, do these successful people know about the weather, check their e-mails, be informed about important events (such as the latest celebrity gossip), have clean laundry or even have any idea what to feed their kids for dinner? 

I'm no expert, but Einstein, in my opinion, was.  Einstein had a sign hanging in his office at Princeton that said, "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."   I'm not a hundred percent sure what this means, but it's motivated me to stop trying to figure out how I can accumulate 10,000 hours as a writer to be a success!  I think, in some convoluted way, I said something like this to my pouting twins on the day of the egg hunt.  "It's not how many eggs and candy you get.  It's just cool to get out here and do it!"  They weren't buying it.  Maybe if I added, "Einstein thought so!"  No, they still wouldn't have bought it.

Finally, I leave you with this photo I snapped of our resident chipmunk.  Here he is peeking out on April 1st (a.k.a. April Fool's day) after a winter of hibernation to be welcomed not by green grass and robins, but by more snow:
I'm no expert, but I think in chipmunk language, he's laying on the expletives.  "What the *#^% !"

Have any "I'm no expert, but..." thoughts?  Add your own.