Saturday, August 24, 2013

You Never Know What You're Going to Find

Rumor has it that we each get 15 minutes of fame in our lives. Well, more or less. The Internet has given that concept new life in several ways, not the least of which was impressed upon me one evening a couple years ago.

I was doing that double-edged sword activity called ego-surfing. In reality, I was searching to see what articles of mine remain out there in E-space, so that I could retrieve them for a profile. I did not expect to find my name and my work mentioned in someone else's blog, especially not someone I don't know.

However, that is what happened.

In 1987, as young mom in Nashville, Tennessee, I entered a contest that was "the search for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie". It was sponsored by Chocolatier Magazine and The Orchards Inn in New England. I heard about it on a local TV show, and since our chocolate chip cookies already had a good reputation, decided to enter. I was one of the lucky finalists. I even still have the terrycloth robe the Inn sent me as a prize. And my recipe was published in a cookbook of the top 50 recipes from the contest.
Cook from the Book is a blog site about the "tests and trials of baking and cooking moments".  It features recipes endorsed by the blogger, along with comments on the usefulness of the recipes. Apparently, a couple years before, Cook from the Book featured my recipe for Joyous Chocolate Chips along with a short intro about how it came to be.

I was flabbergasted. Dumbfounded. Gobsmacked even. 

I loved creating the recipe and was thrilled to place among the top finalists. I loved my robe. When I won, I even contacted the TV show I'd heard about the contest from, and they invited me on the show to demo my recipe. Then there was the cookbook. I figured I'd milked that 15 minutes for all it was worth. But the recipe, with my name associated with it, lives on. And that's pretty cool. 

I love the Internet.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cover for Sweet Corn, Fields, Forever

About the book:

“Sometimes a new beginning is someone else's end,
a circular relationship where time begins to blend,
You have to ask the question: where have we come, and how?
'Cause the end's in the beginning,
And the beginning's in us now”

-- from “The End’s in the Beginning” by Tyler McCloud

Jason Fields is opening his new research and design facility with a grand Open House. Before the event begins, he gives Dr. Mackenzie Wilder a personal tour -- which puts an early end to the festivities. They discover the body of country musician Tyler McCloud, strangled in a first floor conference room.

They're sure they didn't have anything to do with his death, but Jason's past involvement with country music and this particular family lead authorities to think otherwise. It takes Mackenzie Wilder's faith in her friend and the staunch support of Tyler's sister Tory to uncover "what Tyler did to get hisself killed." From upstate New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, from Las Vegas to Nashville, the deaths and confusion mount.

Could Tory be at the center of it all? This may be one song she can't sing or write her way out of. It will take their combined resources to stop the killing, at a cost far higher than the diamonds on a country singer's costume.

This is going to be quick. And it's obvious I haven't had much time to blog this year. Since I was last on, I've become the wife of a jazz drummer and freelance photographer (without getting remarried or anything; hubby simply got busy), taken on new freelance work, graduated 2 young women from college (well, they graduated themselves, but you  know what I mean), been to some celebrations and evenings out I hadn't been before, and gotten some stuff done around the house. ALSO: my new book, second in the Mackenzie Wilder/Classic Boat mysteries, is now available at www.smashwords. com .    It will soon also be available at Kobo and the Apple Bookstore, with other sites to follow. If you decide to buy it and enjoy it, please feel free to pass the word along, or even write a review!

You'll  hear more about life at Blackwater soon,

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Playing with Matches

I was playing Mahjong the other day and reflecting on the word ‘match’ . For anyone who doesn’t already know, mahjong relies on the matching up of tiles picked off of tiered stacks laid out in a design, in my case, planned by my computer.

There are all sorts of matches. There’re shoes that match. Colors that match.  And uniforms that match. These all set an expectation that two or more things will be exactly alike in appearance. Kind of like our twin daughters.

But, in point of fact, our twins are not complete matches. They have their differences. They started out pretty much a match, but as they’ve grown they’ve become more like coordinates, not exactly alike, but going well together.

Another kind of match can be found in fundraising. Publicly supported media is well-known for their matching funds challenges during their seasonal campaigns. Sometimes employers match funds that their employees donate to other organizations. Our church here is seeking to raise funds through a grant that requires we match whatever the grant provides. These are generally 1 to 1, dollar for dollar matches that essentially double the funds the organization raises.

Then there’s the kind of matching, or matching up, that some people like to do. Matchmakers, for instance, put together people they think will do well together in a marriage. Employment agencies match people and their skills to jobs that require filling. Some people work with ‘skill banks’ to match up people who have a certain skill with someone who needs that skill, either to provide a service to them or teach them the skill so they can provide it for themselves. Basically, matching a solution to a need. I like to do that. So does the priest I work with. We refer to it as connecting the dots, putting the right people together with others to solve problems. Networking.
A man I knew back in Nashville actually was one of those matches. He volunteered with children in the schools to teach them fundamental values. He taught them to understand and undertake values such as Art, Athletics, Academics, Attitude, Altruism, Creativity, Character, Music, and Perseverance. He let them know someone cared about them. At the school year’s end, he always held an assembly at which he placed a group of people on the stage, heroes he called them, role models to hold up to the children to emulate. Often these were everyday people who worked hard to contribute to the community in their own way, and it was these people’s example he wanted the children to follow. The song everyone sang at these events was called “Celebrate (You and Me)”. This man taught several generations of children not only to “Celebrate” but to say, with meaning and sincerity, “I Am Somebody”.

This man, Don McGehee, was an ordinary man with an extraordinary capacity to love by action. He was the match for the need in these children to value themselves and to live into being someone of value. 

It seems there is more than one way to match or be part of a match. Do you match someone? Is there a need you can match up to fill? Do you have a need that requires matching? Or is there some way we can all work together to match up and fill the many needs life presents?