Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When Pigs Fly

I know many of you have read the works of John Steinbeck, either in high school or college.  Maybe some of you even teach his works.  Years ago when I read East of Eden, a book I love, btw, I came across this quote about Steinbeck:  "Throughout his life Steinbeck signed his letters with his personal 'Pigasus' logo, symbolizing himself 'a lumbering soul but trying to fly.'  The Latin motto Ad Astra Per Alia Porci translates 'To the stars on the wings of a pig.'"

Just after I found this quote, a friend sent me this little guy.

You're definitely gonna think this is weird, but this pig made me cry.  Yep, seriously, I cried over a pig.  Before you think I'm completely crazy, I'll explain my reaction in a nutshell.

1.  I had been trying to write novels for teenagers for a number of years.

2.  I had succeeded at writing the novels, but failed miserably at getting them published.

3.  My mother died.  I was 40.  She was 64.  I cried over everything.

4.  I took the discovery of this Steinbeck quote and the arrival of said pig (almost simultaneously) as a hopeful sign.  Maybe it wasn't the time to give in to sadness and grief.  Instead, perhaps I should, as Dory from Nemo says, "Just keep swimming."  Or, in my case, writing.

Not too long after the winged pig's arrival, I got not one book contract, but TWO.  Yes, T-W-O.  I
half-expected to look out my window and see flying pigs all over the place.  And then I got another book contract and still another.  Before you go thinking I'm all la-ti-da, miss published author, please, please stop.  I am not la-ti-da.  Most published authors aren't la-ti-da.  Most of us are scared little pigs shouting wee-wee-wee all the way home, trust me.

This was my first baby, a series novel.  It's called When Irish Guys Are Smiling.

I love this book for a number of reasons.  For starters, it takes place in Ireland.  Secondly, it's about a girl who has just lost her mother.  Rather than stay home in Nashville during the season of debutantes (and lots of mother-daughter activities), Delk escapes to Ireland for a semester of study.  It's part of a larger series called Students Across the Seven Seas.  Each book takes place in a different location.

Baby number two, Artichoke's Heart, was released just a few months later.

What's not to love about a book with chocolate on the front?  Oh, how I love this cover!  Rosemary Goode, my protagonist, works in her mother's Tennessee beauty shop.  Unfortunately for Rosie, she is surrounded by mirrors and not at all happy with her reflection.

Two years later Somebody Everybody Listens To arrived, and Dolly Parton blurbed it.  Oh, the pigs were really flying high then, let me tell you.  Dolly is one of my personal heroes for a number of reasons.

A year later when the paperback was released, my publisher gave Somebody a cute new cover!

Dolly said, "Reading about Retta Lee Jones's journey to Nashville was a lot like reading my own diary, except she had prettier boots.  It's a story about dreams and determination that reminds us all to squeeze the most out of every single day."  Yes, Dolly said that!  I still get a thrill every time I think about it.

And here they are—my little pigs with wings…

When I started this blog, I swore I was gonna keep it separate from my book stuff.  Books are fun and all, but they are work sometimes.  I wanted this blog to be FFO, for fun only.  I guess I'm posting about this because it's who I am.  And if you blogger buddies are reading about my rugs and curtains and pigs, you might as well know about my books, too.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good Morning, Sunshine

It's a beautiful Sunday morning.  Nobody else is up yet.  Coffee is brewing.  Biscuits (not homemade) are in the oven.

The living room is bathed in morning light.

As soon as the biscuits are ready, I have to get ready myself.  It's church day.

There are tiny rainbows in my living room—a promising sign.

I hope wherever you are, there are rainbows and coffee and biscuits.  May there be rest, too.

I'm linking with Sunlit Sunday at My Little Home and Garden.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


If this blog appears incoherent, that's because it is.  I went to bed at 10 PM.  At 1:00 AM I was still awake. Rather than lie in bed and worry about lesson plans and emails, etc., I decided to get up and tackle them.  Currently, it's 3:11 AM, and I am writing this blog.  Tomorrow should be fun, right?

Last weekend I decided to tackle something else that was bugging me—this lamp.

I bought this a couple of years ago at Home Goods.  I loved the design and the shade.  Plus, it was very reasonable.  If memory serves around $40.00.  Can't be that.

Initially, this room was a very neutral beige-ish/cream-ish color.  It's since been painted Old Navy, a Ben Moore paint.

There isn't much contrast between the lamp and the wall.  Note the planter.  I love the way this stands out against the blue.  Soooo…

Yep.  Out came the A.S.C.P.

I also tried adding a stencil to the front.  That didn't go as expected.  I would go into detail, but I'm too tired.

 I love the texture.  Please disregard the paint on the cord.  I honestly don't notice it.

I was liking this much better.  New lamp for no money.  The shade wasn't quite working for me, though.  Too bland.  

Not awful.  Just not right.

Texture!  That's what this little lamp needed.  Some texture.  Off to the store I went.

Of course, once I've dragged out all the paint supplies, I can't stop there.

These babies had been bugging me, too.  This room has lots of color.  What I needed was to tone down some of the accessories.

These glass jars went from green to…

Of course, then I had to move them because they looked so great in the kitchen.

Here's a view of the lamp from outside.

It's 3:30 AM, and I am going to TRY and get some sleep.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Peeping Tom

I confess it here:  I love looking in windows.  Before y'all start closing your blinds and shades or "unfollowing" me, I'll explain.

 Sometimes, I put on my coat and boots and take a walk outside at night.  I love observing where I live from afar, especially when I know the people/critters I love most are safely tucked inside.

The yellow glow of lamplight looks inviting, doesn't it?

The table is set, and dinner is on the stove.  In winter, there are always candles in the window.

During these walks I remind myself that I am blessed in so many ways.

Inside it's warm, and there are loved ones waiting.  

At least one of them is sneaking a snack before dinner.

That's middle daughter's "busted" face.

There's water boiling for pasta.  And spaghetti sauce simmering.

The table is set.  Chocolate milk is poured.

There's dessert for later.

The house is mostly clean, and I've rearranged a few things (as always!).  I moved this lamp from the piano to the table.

The Pottery Barn piece has been refilled with shells, the lemons relocated.

The last of the paper whites…

We work so hard on our homes.  Sometimes, it's nice to take a walk around and soak it all in.

Hope you'll all come back again and again!  

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