Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Day For My Keepsake Book

Saturday, December 1st, I held my first booksigning ever! That day will stay with me for the rest of my life.

From surprises to sheer thrills, the day unfolded. And many thanks goes to everyone who attended for making my debut signing for THE SCENT OF MONEY one of the greatest days in my life.

Debo, Stacie, you two knocked me off my feet when you hugged cool is it to have one of my best friends and her little sister travel all the way from DeRidder, Louisiana just to see me? I can tell you, that was one of the most endearing moments of my day. Especially when it's been years since we've seen each other!

Publishers, Linda Houle and Lisa Rene Smith stood at my side and made me feel more special than I could have dreamed possible.

Author, John Foxjohn dropped in to say hello and gave us some laughs to keep us going for the rest of the day.

Several of my best friends came to eat cake, laugh, and of course buy a copy of my book. To Lessie, Bella, Dave, and Bill--my heart is yours. (Lessie and Bella are part of my Sisters By Heart)

And what would a signing be like without my friend and Veterinarian, Dr. Karla Hilliard and her husband, Nate? She came with her husband and two gorgeous children in tow to participate and share in my debut signing. And to you Dr. Karla, I thank you! To Sheridan and Rowan, I am so glad your Mommy brought you and thank you Nate for coming to the gala.

For all the strangers I met that day, you are no longer strangers--thank you! And to a special little boy, age 8, named Caleb...thank you for bringing to us a delightful sense of where our country's future is headed. You are most definitely on the right track. Keep loving to read, Caleb. You are an inspiration to us all!

A hearty thank you goes out to Debbie, my friend in Victoria, Texas for opening a window into the world of dogs and their behaviors, strengths, and companionship! (she is also a Sister By Heart) And for running one of the greatest boarding kennels ever. Kleinen Zwinger Kennels, where they have warm hearts for cold noses.

To my niece, Jen Fletcher, for creating (in my eyes) the prettiest and best web site in the world!!! She is an amazing woman and convincing her of this is going to take a lot of doing. To Jon, her husband, my nephew, I give you my love every day--for you make me so proud! And to their baby boy, my grand-nephew, catch those kisses sweetie, they're flying your way!

Most importantly, thanks goes to the one man who has always believed in me, encouraged me and has given me every single day since we met his unconditional husband, Steven. He is my rock and my shelter. He's also very smart and makes me laugh every single day! I love you.

For my neighbors, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming and sharing in one of the most important days of my life.

And special thanks goes to Woof's Gourmet Pet Bakery for extending their generosity to me in grandest ways...Mark & Mark, you two are the best!!

If I have overlooked anyone, I am sorry--that day flew by in a flash and left me breathless, filled with complete joy, and happiness that'll stay with me for a lifetime.

Oh, and to Tanya, the cake decorator from Kroger's--you did an outstanding job on my cake, girl! Thank you!

The day went more wonderful than could be imagined, and I'm still looking like a plastic surgeon will have to remove the grin off my face -- to everyone, thank you.

Grinning, giggling, and grateful,

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Deadline Rush

With my debut signing for The Scent of Money approaching, I feel lost in a blizzard. Not a snow blizzard, LOL, not in Houston...the kind of blizzard that blinds you with your eyes wide open. The kind of blizzard that bites your nose when you blink.

This coming Saturday, December 1, 2007, I will be at Woof's Gourmet Pet Bakery in Old Town Spring, Texas. I can't wait! There will a cake with the book cover for its icing and a red, white, and blue theme in honor of my mystery series, American Service Searchers, using Search Dogs to hunt for lost and/or dead people.

Prizes are set aside and ready to go packed in a box, the cake is ordered, and my new outfit I picked up from the cleaners this morning, the little card table, table cloth, chair, napkins, plates, forks, etc., are all ready to go. I feel good about having everything in order in a timely manner and feel good about being able to donate a percentage of the proceeds to All Woof Rescue. Everything for the first time in my life has come together like clockwork. Except the one area I have zero control over...the weather! It is supposed to rain all day Saturday.

And if it does, I'm still going to be there, grinning and loving every moment getting a chance to meet new people, seeing friends I know, and let's not forget the dogs. The wonderful world of canines. Come on out, eat some cake, shake my hand, meet some wonderful folks, and pet some doggies.

Hope to see you there and bring your umbrella,

my website:

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Gonna go for it!

For the longest time, I've wanted to participate in the NaNoWriMo. This year I'm going to do it.
Time has NEVER been on my side. We are not good friends and probably never will be. So, why am I doing this? Because either I love writing so much I think I can accomplish this feat, or I'm just plain nuts. (most likely the latter)

For those of you who don't know about NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writer's Month. And is held every November. Beginning midnight-001 on November 1st, and ends midnight November 30th. The goal is to write a novel in one month and you must have at least 50,000 words to complete this task.

Am I up to the challenge?

Oh yeah! I'm gonna go for it!


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ahhh...the editing process

Ever wonder what goes through an editor's mind while they're working on your manuscript?

Well, I actually stirred up the courage to ask mine and her answers actually surprised the dickens out of me, leaving me in awe at her intelligence.

Am I sucking up to my editor? Not a chance! Not after the way she returned my manuscript sliced and diced and hashed up with enough red marks to shame a third grader's English exam in the mud. Then...I took a step back and re-read every single comment and put them in the proper perspective. She was correct--in every single case. That, my dears, is difficult for me to admit.

Recently, Lisa, my editor, gave me a few minutes of her time and let me get inside her head to see her work through her eyes. Very interesting. This is what she shared with me.

Once she gets her hands on a script that peaks her interest, she reads the story all the way through. Then she rolls up her sleeves, so to speak, and gets out her red pens, highlighters, and iced tea. Blocking out the rest of the world she starts at the beginning again, by looking for misspelled words, then run-away sentences, poor grammar, mis-used words, verb content, and over-used words, etc.

As I watched the fire in her eyes light up, her passion for her work is truly astounding and I have to say quite contagious. Lisa makes every writer she's working with feel they are the best and most important people alive. And before she's finished with you, you'll believe it as well...

This morning, as I wrap up my final changes and turn in my novel once again over to Lisa, I'm feeling pretty good about all my errors. Not because I made them... No, no, no. Because I know without any doubts, my work of art, my baby I tolled over for an entire now in the most capable hands in the world.

Feel you have a book or two inside you? Look up L & L Dreamspell Publishers and let Linda Houle and Lisa Rene Smith get to know you.

Filling in the empty lines,

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I Said Goodbye

I said goodbye to our oldest little old lady baby. Natasha Heather v. Katrina Heidelberg Vom Kleinen Zwinger (Galbiati).

Tasha came to us with an open heart filled with love, kindness, and elegance. Her nurturing disposition brought such a sense of balance to our home and now she's gone. We were greatly privileged to have her share her life with ours.

It'll be a long while before I stop feeling the life squeezing out of my heart.

I said goodbye...but not forever.

Natasha Galbiati
b. August 21, 1995 crossed over August 21, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Interruptions In Writing

Ever wished you could write at anytime, anywhere, without interruptions?

During the process of writing my first novel, I worked full time outside the home in an office, worked with two German shepherds on call for Search missions, kept up with my family, and wrote in what spare time I could find...complaining non-stop that I never had enough time to write.

Now, I am home full time, our two dogs have retired from service, and I no longer can complain about not having time to write...So why isn't my muse dancing on my eyelashes sprinkling me with writer's dust? She's busy searching out dust bunnies under my desk, looking for issues on the internet she can stick her two cents into, and listening to idle gossip while sipping coffee with the neighbors. She's become unorganized, unruly, and cranky because she isn't doing what she should be doing--keeping my thoughts flowing on paper (er-uh, on the screen).

Last night we had a little discussion and although I have no doubt that she's back to skipping on my eyelashes, she still enjoys fluttering off and playing with the dogs, the neighbors, friends, and chatting up a storm promoting my books.

This morning the phone has rang three times, I promised a friend of mine I would travel with her this afternoon to a small town near Houston to pick out some fresh veggies from the Farmer's Market and the clothes in the dryer won't fold themselves or hang themselves up, and I really need to make a quick dash to the store for some milk, eggs, butter, and chocolate syrup, and then the filters in the a/c vent needs changing, and, and, and, and...

And maybe the problem isn't with my muse at all--

And so my day begins.

Grinning from ear to ear,

Friday, July 27, 2007

Girl's Day Out

Last Wednesday, I enjoyed experiencing something I've never done before...shopped from morning till the shops closed.

A couple friends of mine, who happen to also be writers, and I took the day off and toured Old Town, Spring, Texas. What a gold mine that community holds! And what fun the three of us women had turning back our personal clocks and re-living the world through the eyes of being fifteen again. We allowed ourselves to giggle, laugh out loud with our heads thrown back, and point at things we were told never to point at.

We tried on clothes, sat in antique chairs made for royalty, and tasted every type of jam, jelly, and preserves known to mankind. We drank smoothies, ate brownies, home-made fudge, and had the most wonderful lunch at an Italian cafe called Delissimo's.

What that day taught me is that being a woman is the most precious gift we have. It wasn't about spending money (although we certainly made the shopkeepers happy), it was about camaraderie, about allowing ourselves to be young girls again, to see the laughter in the other's souls.

I love my husband and am proud to say that. I am also a strong woman who isn't ashamed to admit that either. And I am a surrounded by the greatest friends in the world, even the ones who weren't with us that day, you were there...held tight in my heart--for it is there, with you, where I find the core of my strength!

Licking on my ice cream cone,

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Announcing my book debut December 2007

Fun builds for this writer as I climb through the processes of the publishing of my debut novel, THE SCENT OF MONEY, due out this December 2007.

This past Friday, the publishers of LLDreamspell, Linda Houle and Lisa Rene Smith came over to our home to do the photo shoot for THE SCENT OF MONEY. Linda and Lisa both love animals and had on a previous meeting met all my dogs. Except last time they behaved. The dogs, not Linda and Lisa, although they behaved as well!

Our dogs are nosy rascals and could not take the laughter on the other side of the wall for a minute longer. Four German shepherds and a HUGE Great Pyrenees burst through the living room door like a plug being removed from a dam, rushing Linda and Lisa with gusto! Each one of the dogs vying for their affection and fondness. Yes, my dogs are loving creatures, very social. Maybe a little too social as they climbed on these women's laps, smothering them with kisses and squeals, the way our dogs behave when they really like someone.

After Linda and Lisa left, I knew I had been in the company of two very fine women. You see, I trust my dog's intuition of character.

Observing dog's behaviors and their antics thrills me. Writing about them in murder mysteries came easy as they provide strong characters. And having Search Dogs helped with plot and setting. Why write about them? Because these honorable dogs give to the community without expecting anything in return. They are my Cadaver Dogs.

Whistling and writing and waiting for the next step--

Monday, June 25, 2007

Walking and sore shins

Began an exercise routine a couple of weeks ago with some fellow writers. We call ourselves "The Walking Writers." It's been more than just a couple of years since I've done any kind of exercise at all and my body has greatly complained...before and currently.

A couple years ago, I developed a circulatory problem in the ankles and feet and didn't listen to my doctor's advice about walking. However, after years of sitting in front of the computer screen writing my heart away, I'm paying the price. So get up out of the chair and move around. Or better yet, come join us!

The only thing that has stopped a couple of us from completing our circuit around the race track has been lightning, which happened only once. One of the ladies carries an umbrella with her when it rains, which makes me laugh, because she doesn't sweat. No sweat, no getting wet, is her motto, while the rest of us look like soaked bunny rabbits in wet t-shirts.

The walking has improved my circulation, my disposition towards the world, and my brain seems to be picking up a little quicker than it used to. Now if I can find a great remedy for my sore shins!

From The Walking Writers, signing off for today--

Monday, June 11, 2007

Friends and Sunday Afternoons

Seems we never have enough time to spend with our closest friends and this Sunday seemed more special than usual.

For many years my friends and I have stayed in contact with each other. I'm speaking of over thirty-three years of friendship laughing, growing up together, and sharing secrets that aren't privy to the rest of the world. And yesterday graced me with the privilege to share another Sunday afternoon with one of my dearest friends and her husband. (who I might add, I couldn't have done a better job if I had found him myself for her)

Her kitchen is the heart of her home and is a true reflection of my friend. The openness of the kitchen from her table is a mirror to her kindness. The sweetness of cakes just baked, hot and flavorful; the spicy aroma of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove top; a baked chicken prepared with loving hands wafting throughout her home; and the scent of fresh brewed coffee as you walk through her door. She's not only organized and talented, but she can also speak on any subject under the sun. She keeps my mind sharp, my attention focused, and my heart filled with comfort. Like the aromas of her kitchen, her home...she is a Godsend. Thank you, Bella.

Within our tight friendship, we also have friends outside our immediate circle. And why am I writing about this? Because recently she lost one of hers. At a time when she should have shown a dimmer side to her, she didn't. Instead, her light shown more brilliant, a brightness filled with hope, with honor, with a heart filled with love. The depth of this woman's soul is more pure than any I've ever met and I thank God every day for having her in my life.

I love you, Bella,

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Running to keep up!

What a week full of being busy, submitting, editing, meeting MY PUBLISHERS in person and sharing a lunch with them.

L&L Dreamspell are two dynamic women, who I am convinced don't sleep. Linda Houle and Lisa Rene Smith pulled me into their web of well spun, organized tethers that connect to impossible dreams made true. (of course, accomplished with some good old fashioned elbow grease!) They are intelligent, brilliant in this business, and give unprecedented opportunities to their writers. And now, I am happy to announce that I am one. Officially, we signed my contract yesterday over lunch.

And also, officially, the title of my debut American Service Searchers mystery series will be:
The Scent of Money.

Yes, Lisa, I'm not blogging---I'm working on the editing!

Running to keep up,

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I didn't know I could feel this way!

"The End" are the two most beautiful words to me right now. I didn't know I could feel this way! My novel is completed, and at 1:35 on this great Sunday morning...I've experienced something I didn't know existed! Through months and months, and months of laughter, tears, sweat, arguments, and the never ending research, typing the words "The End" happened for me. My editor has been waiting forever and now she can sigh with relief.

Now what? Heck if I know, I've already danced out under the moonlight, skipped through my home waking my husband (who did not see the humor), and hugged all my dogs till they squealed!

LOL, I don't know what to do with myself...too hyped up to go to sleep!

For Pete's Sake, I can't stop saying the words---I'm a writer...I'm a writer...I'm a writer!!

Good feelings are being thrown out your way, whether I know you or not,

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lost In Thought

This morning I spent time reflecting on a childhood skipping in mix-matched outfits, running barefooted through the woods, playing hide-n-seek, Keepers, and getting into general trouble just for being kids. I am the baby in the family, we had nine kids in our house...three are direct siblings, and the older five were cousins who lived with us, due to the loss of their parents.

"Never a dull moment," left my Mother's lips more than once. I was a brat because I was taught to be one. However, when I raked the older kid's nerves to the point where they could kill me, they would carry me out and put me in a huge chinquapin tree, which has long thorns, and leave me there to get down on my own, then they'd disappear and poof! Long gone.

So, yesterday when my husband brought home a tree (yep, you guessed it-a chinquapin) to plant in our back yard, I had to grab hold of the side of the house to keep my knees from buckling underneath me. After pitching the greatest temper-tantrum I've pulled in years, that tree will not ever see a sunny patch in our yard, instead my husband gave it to our neighbors, who by the way, has nine kids!

Have a good Sunday and great memories,


Monday, May 14, 2007

Tick, Tick, Ticking Away--

Time is not on my side. I've gotten caught up in life's interferences and although not one particular incident is major, it is still an inconvenience.

We had a critter pass away in our attic a few days ago and didn't know it until yesterday morning when the odor ran us out of our home. Honey removed it and we've been airing the house out ever since, open windows and open doors with the air conditioner running non-stop. I've gotten zip writing done, but at least the critter is the ground, not the attic.

What reason the critter found to make its home in our attic? Well it involves my husband REMOVING the sky lights out of the game room because of an itty-bitty leak. And now a BIG blue tarp and some plywood covers the backside of our house.

One day last November, I pulled into our driveway to see my Honey on the roof holding a circular saw in one hand, waving to me with the other, and a chain saw sitting next to him. Goggles covered his sweet face, wearing a grin to die for. After the wave of panic passed, hoping he wouldn't fall off the roof, my senses snapped back into place and I realized the man was up on the roof with a CHAINSAW!! Yes, cutting holes in the roof, removing the sky lights. He had bought more tools, which is an on-going issue in our home. He's not a carpenter, but loves power tools, hand tools, tools in general. (And in his defense, I will say this: He is very good at repairs and can fix almost anything...the operative word here is "almost.") The itty-bitty leak is now Niagra Falls when it rains.

And over the past several months I've danced with mean thoughts about Honey falling off the roof, especially when it rains as I'm pulling out all the buckets, pots, and pans. Ma and Pa Kettle, here we are!

The critters had an open invitation to live in the attic--be it uninvited--and made themselves a nice nest up there. In the meantime, I've been slowly losing my mind over the critter situation. It ended yesterday, not by my choice for its demise, but I can't say I'm not glad.

Anyways, after yesterday's fiasco of carting out a dead, stinking, critter out of the 400 degree attic, Honey called a roofer yesterday evening and we got an estimate. I accepted the estimate not caring if they overcharged us or not, wanting, no make that NEEDING a new roof so badly, I could spit.

I told my niece about the new roof and she immediately reminded me about all the loose nails and to be careful. Actually, I'm embracing the loose nails and all. This roof will be the end of my six month headache.

Construction on the new roof begins in two weeks!! (by professional roofers, not my husband).

Speaking of my husband, let's just say he won't be doing any handy work on the roof least not for awhile!

I'm counting down the days--

Friday, May 4, 2007

Getting Personal

Spent some time setting up a myspace area on the web this week and got lost in the fun of connecting with others. (my url is There are so many people who are reaching out to others in the most unique ways. Impressed? You bet ya! It seems our lives have become somewhere between 'hectic and whoa! wait a minute,' and few have time for anyone anymore, simply because our schedules are so tight. So, this week, I slowed down a bit, perused people who live such interesting lives in some of the most positive manners one could imagine. In a world where day to day tragedies seem to hog the news, it is very refreshing to read about so many who are strong, giving of themselves, and living in the affirmative.

Okay, I've been asked to share some personal points about myself that really isn't known. Here goes: I was a Bluebird/Campfire Girl as a child.
My favorite food in all the world is a cheeseburger.
I still make wishes on stars on a clear night.
I'm still drawn to clover patches every Spring in search of four leaf clovers and have done so for many decades.
To my ears the most precious sound in the world is child's giggle.
I have never fallen asleep at night before saying my prayers.
And finally, I believe with all my heart that Good overcomes Evil, every single time!

Well, there you have a small idea of what makes me tick. I'm a simple person who loves life.

Keep your head held high...even if your keister is dragging the sand,
Cherri (original post 4/28/07

Procrastinating Writing

Writing can be a lonely path to navigate and so to entertain my muse, I have developed patterns of involuntary habits. For instance, this morning I went straight to computer, remembered the load of laundry sitting in the washer from the night before. Took care of it. Back to the keyboard, thought how nice my desk would look with scented candles. After searching two hours for the candles, took care of it. Comfortable once again in front of the screen, heard the garbage truck beeping up the street and dashed out with the garbage bags, running in my jammies. Took care of that little problem. Flexing my fingers in front of me, once again sitting at the computer, my tummy grumbled for lunch. Ignored it because I hadn't written anything and it was already past noon, but did manage to find a couple of Ritz crackers behind my desk calendar. Took care of that. Back again with hands poised over the keyboard, the phone rings and it's my husband wanting me to look up an article he had stashed in his office. An hour later, paper found and took care of it. Slouching in my chair, my mind crammed with ideas to put down on paper, fingers burning to let fly, when I smell eau-du-poop. Our puppy, who has re-written all the doggie rules, has done the good deed behind my chair. She looks for praise when she does her business and doesn't care whether it's done inside or out, just knows it's a good thing to long as she gets praised. Cleaned it up, set the fan on hi, went and watched a movie on TV while my office aired out. Yep, took care of that.

Back in my office with a renewed sense of writing, finally hoping for that thread in my brain to wind into a spool, not wanting to back down, the hubby came home early from work and asked me if I accomplished what I set out to do for the day and would I mind frying him some chicken tonight. Since we haven't eaten FRIED chicken in, oh say a decade, I let my eyes wander over to the little baggie of poop and thought, "Not a problem, I can take care of it."

In the back room of our house, sits my office, where I have glued my fingertips to the keyboard and have written for two straight hours,uninterrupted. Of course, this is after serving my husband a gourmet meal delighting his taste buds with tuna fish sandwiches and milk.

So for now, I must say goodnight. You see, I have plans to rise early so I can get into the writing mode right away... after folding those clothes in the morning that have been sitting in the dryer all day...I can take care of that!
On a wing and a prayer-
Cherri (originally written 4/3/07

Building a Website

I've got to tell y'all, I don't profess to being an expert at the computer. Yes, I can manage to look up nearly anything on the web I desire, and in some cases more than I wanted to see. But for those who design web pages, my hat is off to you!!

Friends and family coaxed me into getting my own web site. I did. What they didn't tell me about has stressed me out to the point where I'm beginning to ask if there is one. I enjoy looking at all the interesting sites and blogs of other writers. Mine is pretty "naked" compared to theirs, so let's don', that is.

One day I hope to look back at this block and think maybe I've progressed just a tiny bit. But in the meantime, the nice folks at the Tech Center are there. Matter of fact, yesterday, on the young men called me by my first name, before I gave him my identification. He said he recognized my sweet southern voice. I'm going bold and saying that was a compliment, because God knows there will be many more calls to be made before I'm comfortable with dallying up, "previewing," and "publishing," sending my nakedness out there for all the world to see without a hitch!

For now, I'm returning to my writing about the body in the wood chipper--WAIT till you read my book!

Happy Trails to All-
Cherri (originally posted 3/4/07.)