Does WordPress Make You Crazy?

Every time they make a change, I am scrambling to catch up. Posts disappear. And I spend hours trying to recreate what I wrote earlier. It’s enough to make me wonder how medieval people communicated.

So, what else could I do? I went on a little research trip.

At,  author Emma Mason shares in A Brief History of How People Communicated in the Middle Ages  some of the ways this was carried out.

Monk BorderAh yes, the church officials, namely the priests, delivered the news by reading aloud to the masses. They would present the news of a battle well fought and help to raise funds needed to continue the war.


According to the author of the article above, the royals had an intricate netwMedieval knights of St. John (Hospitallers)ork of messengers, who rode their horses for weeks on end, carrying messages over the countryside.

What people wore also told a great deal about themselves and the political conditions of the day. The color, material of the clothing, and symbols told of their station.  Their armor, banners, coats of arms and royal standards marked whether they were of noble rank. When in battle, it also marked who was worthy of a ransom. Even those from the guilds wore badges to mark that they were members and could be trusted.

In my Knights of the Swan series, the symbol that the knights in the brotherhood carried was a talisman in the shape of the swan. Sometimes the messenger would present the swan to prove who sent them and that the message could be trusted. Other times it is used as a cry for help.

In Signed-sealed-delivered: How Messages Were Sent in the Middle Ages the cost to hire a messenger would be too exorbitant a price to pay. They relied on word of mouth, what they heard and saw, and that would carry from person to person, from village to village.

Can you imagine the rumor mill grinding away at the truths and half-truths? It makes me wonder how accurately history was maintained. It certainly is understandable that there are many sources who saw the same scene and end up telling a different story.

Remember the game phone tag? Or was it called Grapevine or AKA Telephone or AKA Telegraph? According to, the game is also known as Russian scandal,[3] whisper down the lane, broken telephone, operator, grapevine, gossip, don’t drink the milk, secret message, the messenger game, and pass the message. I found the rules for the game, and it brought back memories.


This game is intended for a large group, kids and adults 15 or more.  The more the better.  The group sit in a large circle. The kids should be spaced about arms length apart.  The way we did it was to hold hands in a circle and gradually spread out until our arms were stretched.  Now everyone takes a seat.  The “originator”, usually the one who organized the game, or the bossiest, starts a message.  The originator whispers a short message into the ear of the person sitting to the right of them.  The message is whispered once. The new messenger then whispers the message into the ear to the one to their right, and so on and so on.  When the message reaches the person sitting to the left of the originator the message is announced out loud.  Seldom does the message arrive in its original form.  The person to the right gets to be the next originator.

A variation of the game is to start one message to the right then start a message to the left and see what happens.  Tongue twister are really fun messages to send.





Spring Cleaning

This spring has taken my usual efforts to remove the dust and clutter to a new level. The move of a household across several states requires some very deep cleaning.

It’s been ten years since I’ve moved. Recently, after shredding the fifth box of papers from the year 2000, I really began to wonder what causes us to buy and keep some of the ridiculous things that we do.

Bottles of vitamins and potions, stand shoulder-to-shoulder, bearing promises of health and vitality. Though months have gone by since their expiration date, they remain in their  little rows,  waiting to be consumed. Until now.

Sometime during the past ten years I went to the land of homemade hummus. However, after the food processor spewed masticated garbanzo and tahini over the kitchen counter I haven’t gone back. That must have been about the same time I decided I would rather go quietly to the health food store and buy it ready for my enjoyment. It appears that instead of admitting I really don’t have to make hummus from scratch, I conveniently hid the twelve cans of garbanzo beans behind the two bags of flour. And that is where they stayed.

One never knows when you need a valentine card that says I love you. But my need for keeping-things-for-the-sake-of-having-it-just-in-case reached a new low when boxes of the kid’s leftover valentine cards fell on my head. Heck, it only took eight years and a household move to make me dump them.

Even the dogs have amassed a stockpile of half-chewed toys. I have to ask. What makes us buy all the stupid stuff? Let’s admit it. Seriously? How many dogs really want a snuggie?Mercedes in her snuggie

Once the process of “move cleaning” begins I start playing the game of, if I haven’t touched it or cared about it in five years, it’s out of here.

By the third day, and multiple trips to the donation bags and the trash can, I realized I should have invested in more trash bags.  I itch to head to the computer to look up the cost of a mega dumpster.

By the fifth day, the rules of the game have changed. I justify my tossing tactics, judging by the layers of dust that no one will miss the statue of an eagle Nana gave us  the last time we saw her. This majestic eagle, covered in stars and stripes, will never grace the inside of our home. Why do I keep it? Because it was a gift?

Once the tossing machine has started rolling that ball cannot be stopped. Everything can go! Even the patriotic eagle. Because the moving van will eventually be on its way and I don’t want to touch another item by myself.

I have a few more weeks of this cleaning thing. My next step is figuring out what I don’t need for six months.

Oddly enough, the tossing gets easier. Almost too easy. It boggles the mind when I stop to think on the amount of money spent on obtaining. Now I must spend more to rid myself of the baggage and clutter.

I can’t help wondering how the economy is in a weakened state. I did my fair share of supporting it!

Never Give Up, Even When Everything Else is Pointing You to the Exit Door

I haven’t really been able to sit down and write like I used to for, ‘Oh, at least a fricken year.’ And even now, this post comes about because I thought I should update my blog. Good grief! Time really took off without me. And it happened while I was looking.

I know we are supposed to treat writing as a job, a career, accepting that our dream requires effort. I know we are to apply our seat to the chair, glue our fingers to the keyboard. Even though our lives are flying apart like so much shrapnel, we are to harness our creative brains like little hamsters on an exercise wheel.

This hamster loss her momentum. The harness broke. I don’t know. Maybe I should have used duct tape instead of Elmer’s glue. Nothing stuck. Not even my seat. Definitely not my brain.

Sometimes it might seem like it would be easier to give up on a dream, instead of fighting for it. At least that’s what I tell myself while I’m licking my wounds. But deep down, I know that there will always be that voice that whispers, “What if?”

My DH always talks about when he was a kid they could call out a do-over during a game of baseball. How cool would that be?

So, today, I forgive myself for not writing as I should have. I allow myself to grieve. I look to today and tomorrow, taking the steps, moving forward in hope. One step at a time. I think I’m ready to call out for a do-over. How about you?

Parents Say the Darndest Things

On my most recent visit my parents took me to their favorite Chinese restaurant. We sat around the table, our stomachs ready to pop from all the food, and eyed the requisite fortune cookies. Who would be the first? See, with my family, there are rules for just about everything. Even when eating Chinese food.

Rule Number One: Each person must read their fortune aloud.

Okay, it’s been a while since I was home, but I’ll play along. I read mine. “Sing everyday and chase the mean blues away.” Little Mom pipes up, “In bed.” I glance at her. She smiles serenely. My sister reads hers. “Keep your eyes open. You never know what you might see.” My family says, “In bed.” The giggles start. Then Little Mom reads hers. “You will achieve all your desires and pleasures…in bed.” By this time I think my concerns for their sanity must be showing on my face. Finally my dad has his in hand, glances at me and announces that surely I must remember the other rule. Um, no, but I’m really wondering if my family members have lost it. Then I’m swiftly reminded of the second rule.

Rule Number Two: When reading the fortune we must always add the words ‘In Bed’ to the end.

My parents, who have celebrated over fifty years of marriage, hold hands, share a secret smile and giggle. They then asked for more fortune cookies to demonstrate their point.

Soon, a visitor shall delight you…in bed.
You will be rewarded for your patience and understanding…in bed.
It’s kind of fun to do the impossible…in bed.
You will be successful in your work…in bed.
You are a person of strong sense of duty…in bed.
It’s never too late to learn…in bed.
You will be happy with your spouse…in bed.
You will have a good fast car…in bed.
Good fortune is never late as long as it comes…in bed.

I’m sure you get the picture and can finish this one for yourself.

Whoosh! And here I thought I’d have to skirt around the hot scenes in my novel KNIGHT DREAMS.

My darling parents, non-digital readers, waited to read KNIGHT DREAMS. Finally! The print release came out this August. Granted, I don’t write Erotica, but I have to admit that I was a little skittish for my parents to read the hotter scenes. My anxiety levels increased when they proudly mentioned that several of their church friends are excited to read the book. Little Mom sat down and raced through it from cover to cover. She looked up at me and with that smile of hers, said, “Darling, we were young once. And besides, where do you thing you came from?” My dad hollers from his chair where he has been reading his own copy, “We had a good time practicing too. Still do.” Without missing a beat they say together, “Rule Two: Always add ‘In Bed’ at the end of your fortune. You’ll be glad you did.”

Oh lord, did they really say that? Judging by their Cheshire grins, I’d say yes, yes they did.

Each Breath, Each Moment

I’ve been thinking about the phrase ‘being in the moment.’ Recently, I spent a few days in Orlando, Florida and believe it or not, I didn’t chase after Mickey and Minnie. Seriously. Two mice, love and the power of the imagination.In Orlando. Sounds intriguing. But that wasn’t my focus.

Oh yes, I admit, I did go to Downtown Disney and play a bit at the House of Blues, but that wasn’t the reason for my trek across the United States. No, my adventure was for the love of romance.  Hmm. Now that I think about it, how many couples have a great relationship like Mickey and Minnie.

Mickey and Minnie

Mickey and Minnie

They worked through their issues and love each other no matter the distractions. So that brings me  back to why I’m learning about romance in Orlando. Why Orlando? Because Romance Writers of America had their 30th Anniversary Conference at Walt Disney’s beautiful Swan & Dolphin in Orlando.

And there, we talked about romance and finding the right words to portray each character’s story. How perfect. The conference was held at a place that celebrates one of the greatest partnerships known to modern man. Mickey & Minnie. It was the perfect unity of hope, love, passion, and adventure. Perfect.

And then those devilish, demanding thoughts arrived. They perched on my shoulder. What are you doing? Why did you do this? Why haven’t you done that? Who do you think you are?  Did you check your Blackberry? How about those emails. Do it. Do it while the speaker is talking. Do it. Do it, whether you are exhausted or not. Do it so that you look savvy, smart, with it, connected. Tweet it. Facebook it. Be the first to announce. Be the first to know…

Know what? I stopped my hand from stroking the Blackberry keys. I didn’t connect to Facebook or Twitter. I sat in the meetings and absorbed all that I could. I felt rejuvenated. Relief. My thinking cleared.  In all that extraneous chatter I just might have missed the beauty of the sunsets. I might have missed the honest words of the speakers. We are here to help each other. We share. We grow. We are. And there is balance. When we scatter our thoughts, our focus is dispersed, our light does not shine as brightly and we do not appreciate every glorious nuance that has been gifted to us in that moment.

I realized the panic of not doing was hampering the doing. I was not living in the moment. I was only surviving. I turned off my  Blackberry. I shut down the laptop in my room. Emails and networking were put on the back-burner. Afterall, isn’t the broth better after a day of stewing?

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
— Buddha

I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one fighting to maintain balance. What do you do? Do you fight it? Do you follow Buddha’s advice?

I’ve Been Thinking…

Where was I when I got THE E-MAIL for the sale of KNIGHT DREAMS? Hmmm…

Actually, I have two points of celebration. In the fall of 2008, a little over a year ago, I was in Indiana visiting my parents when I received the first e-mail from Samhain Publishing editor, Deborah Nemeth. That message was a blessing and brought joy into a rough, rollercoaster year. 

Reports of tumors, cancer, surgeries, and damaged relationships had arrived back to back in 2008. In fact, cancer was what brought me from California and to my mom’s side. The preliminary report said the surgeons had removed all of the cancer from my mom. This allowed us to break from the deep valleys, catch our breath, and wonder if chemotherapy and radiation was needed. While we waited, we remembered to add laughter to our tears and faith to our prayers.

It was during this valley that Deborah’s e-mail came. She loved my story! I squealed as I read those few words and did a happy dance. Breathless, I ran down the stairs to share the news with my parents. They knew how long I’d been writing. This was the third manuscript I had completed. They wanted their little girl to succeed and live her dream.

Then I read the rest of Deborah’s email. There was a BUT… ‘Would you be willing to make some changes?’ My stomach twisted. This story holds a special place in my heart. I wrote it while I was in the midst of my own personal heartache. It carried me away from my grief and brought me hope. It helped me dig my heels in and not give up.

Would I make some changes? I looked at Deborah’s edit notes and gulped. The first few pages were a sea of red! Are you kidding me? With some trepidation, I said, “Of course!” The next e-mails came with rapid fire and the task was set. I turned to my parents. Hope and pride burned in their gaze. It was time to celebrate!

This joy was just the beginning of my stay in Indiana. Word soon came that my mom did not need to have chemotherapy or radiation. And that celebration continues.

The second celebration came in the spring of 2009. After a few rewrite requests, I finally received the contract offer! This time, I was home…alone…when I saw THE E-MAIL in my Inbox. SQUEE! I dropped to my knees. I read the e-mail again and again and again! I laughed and cried and danced around the house. I called my husband, tearing him away from a meeting, and sobbed my news into the phone. I called my parents. Once again, their pride and love filled my heart. I called my writing friend and left an indiscernible message on her answering machine. (She soon returned my call, worried I had had an emergency and needed help.) I sent out e-mails to my children and friends. It was my writing group night and as I drove to the meeting, I cried and laughed. The joyful energy brought shivers through my body. I swear, if had been stopped by the police they would have thought I was high. And I was. I was high on persevering.

In October, 2009, KNIGHT DREAMS was released as an eBook by Samhain Publishing. Before I know it, August 2010 will arrive and KNIGHT DREAMS will be printed as a trade paperback. The view is beautiful from here. It’s also inspiring and intimidating at the same time. There is so much to do and learn. Although setbacks might come, it’s an exhilarating ride and I’m grateful I didn’t give up.

Look out 2010! I’m just getting started.

The Dog Daze of Summer

Harley (Smaller) (2)The summer of ’09 will live in infamy as the summer where lives were held on a razor’s edge. Jobs were lost, savings and lives were altered. Then hopes and dreams began to rise from the ashes and in the midst of it all, I sold my first book KNIGHT DREAMS to Samhain Publishing. I had a deadline to meet.  I vowed no one would keep me from my appointed mission.

Then our daughter and her fiancé came home from college and brought two dogs to add to our already thriving four-dog-pack. Okay, I’ll back up here. Yes, we have four permanent dogs that reside in our home. All but one is a rescue. Our daughter has taken up the charge with fervor and both of her companions are rescue dogs. Of course, she had to bring them with her. 

As I struggled to fit editing into an already teeming schedule, I came to enjoy the many different characteristics portrayed in each dog. I began to study them as I would characters in a medieval story. 

Mercedes, the matriarch and once beautiful queen, still tries to rule over her inner circle, if not her world. Though nearly blind and deaf, she sits and dreams of the power she once held in her paws and wonders where it went.

Ben, the jester, grows old and feeble. His antics, once funny, no longer works for one so toothless. Yet, his sweet demeanor cannot be ignored. He balances on arthritic hind legs. His chocolate eyes reveal secrets, tales untold.

Harley, the knight, is strong, powerful and has a heart of gold. Though nearly beaten by the dragon-beast cancer, he rises from the battle, a zenith in each day, soaring higher than the day before. He stands down for no one but his master king.

Pepper, the impish princess, flits, bounces, swoops and pounces. Adoration enfolds her character. She, who turns not from confrontation, stands her ground until called down. Then she sleeps, her power exhausted.

Life was peaceful in their little castle. It was a canine Camelot. Then the dogs from another land arrived, challenging their gate. Woof! Outsiders threaten to overthrow the castle hierarchy. All stood guard as one by one the strangers came. Peace would reign or blood would be spent. 

Roscoe, the medieval sheriff of the land, brought sanity in his lengthy body and short stride. Never deterred by his long ears and drooping eyes, he kept close watch on his young charge. Then he ate and slept, belly content. 

Dexter, the young squire, filled with passion, energy and fire, trotted out. This land was his! He brought battles over balls and grass. Certain each shoe and bit of leather his, he soon discovered he was wrong and earned his place as dog in training within the castle walls.

Then peace did reign that long hot summer, The Pack of Six, for evermore.

E-Readers…the next best thing since sliced bread?

The release of my first novel, Knight Dreams, came out last week. What a grand day! It was almost…almost as exciting as the birth of my two children. Granted, having my first book published is cause for celebration.   My children, however, take the award for the celebration of life changing events.

E-ReaderAs the week went on I found myself explaining what an E-Book or even an E-Reader was and how it worked. And why would I ever choose to have my book published that way? Some of my darling family, friends, and even strangers can only imagine holding a book made of paper. I had indeed traveled to the dark side. Ah. I wonder if that is what we thought when manufacturers brought out those other silly inventions.


Do you like your car? Do you remember your very first vehicle? Heck, I was impressed with my first car that came with power steering. The cars of yesterday didn’t have the bells and whistles that they do now.   Where would some of us be without power steering and brakes, the radio, the CD-Player, GPS, and Lo-Jack? Tired, tuneless and lost.

Do you love your laptop? Do you remember your first computer? Can you imagine life without it? Or can you imagine hauling the larger versions around on your back?

How about your cell phone? Can you recall the first cell phones? They came in a bag and you plugged it into the car. Or better yet, remember the first cordless phone?  It was like holding a brick to your head.

How about your IPOD? Before it,  came the 45’s, 33’s, the 8-tracks, the cassettes, and the CD’s. And should I bring the memory of the boombox back to mind? 

Each improvement didn’t really negate the one that came before it. (Okay, I admit, I’m thankful the tangle of 8-tracks are gone.)  The inventors enhanced the product and brought more choices to the table.

 Rest assured, I don’t plan to give up my tree-books forever. They are marvelous for research and there is something wonderful about holding them in my hands. But when I’m traveling and don’t want to pay the airlines another surcharge for the weight of my many books, the E-Reader is the way to go. If I’m at the gym and I want to workout both of my arms instead of using one to hold the book and the other to move the machine, I’m going to use my E-Reader.  If I’m sitting beside my darling man and he wants the lights off to enhance the movie and I want to read, I’m going to sit beside him and read with my Sony E-Reader’s little light on.  

Ah…life is enhanced! And life is enjoyed!

 So come on over, discover the E-Reader that fits your lifestyle. I’ve attached a link to help you on your new adventure. Be sure to check out the latest Digital Book Readers.  AKA / E-Readers.,8599,1929387,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner&imw=Y,29307,1929384,00.html

You know you’re gonna want one!

KNIGHT DREAMS: Knights of the Swan, Book 1 releases TODAY!

KNIGHT DREAMS, October 6, 2009

Knight Dreams by C.C. Wiley

ISBN: 978-1-60504-674-7
Length: Novel
Price: 5.50
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
Cover art by Angela Waters

For king and country…or the love of one woman?

Knights of the Swan, Book 1

Wales, 1415

Terrwyn, the daughter of a dispossessed Welsh lord, is blessed with unusual talents. Her skill with a bow and cursed ability to dream the future, however, didn’t save her younger brother from conscription into the English army.

To honor a deathbed promise, she sets out to bring him home—and discovers that one of the king’s knights holds the key to locating her brother. Now she must stay close to her sworn enemy…and try to ignore the growing heat between them. A difficult task, when they wind up manacled together.

Sir James Frost, confidante to King Henry V, can trust no one, particularly the young Welsh maiden impersonating an archer within the ranks. With treason brewing, the last thing he needs is the secretive beauty chained to his side. The connection between them, though, becomes stronger than any links of metal.

When an assassination plot places their lives in jeopardy, James is torn between duty and the woman he loves. He must choose where his fealty lies…and Terrwyn must decide if changing Fate is worth the price.

READ MORE at  samhein_link2

Need a Moment?

PICT0001_editedThere are so many things to do in life. Some are loathsome and some are mundane. Other tasks brighten our lives with color. Lately, I’ve returned to an old love from the past. Painting. 

When I can’t get rid of the internal editor that nags and nags in my ear, I’ve learned to shift my struggles from writing and focus on what’s around me. What do I see? What details do I miss when I’m in a rush? 

What do you do when you can’t seem to write another coherent word? What creative well do you go to that brings new life?