A to Z Challenge – Y is for You’uns

Y is for You’uns and other redneck slang…

You’uns – the plural of Y’all

Young’uns – young people/children

Aim to – Plan to, as in “I aim to go to the store later.”

Fixin’ to – preparing, as in “I’m fixin’ to go to the store.”

Worsh – Wash

Crick – Creek

Holler – Hollow

Yonder – Somewhere else.

Jeet? – Did you eat?

Used ta could – Used to be able to.

Lick – a negative amount as in “I didn’t get a lick of sleep last night.”

High Cotton – wealth

Hankerin’ – Craving

Britches – pants

Sugar – affection

Hadn’t oughta – should not have, as in “She hadn’t oughta said those things.”

Gussied up – dressed up

Piddlin’ around – wasting time

Piddlin’ – a small amount

Kin – family

Reckon – suppose, as in “I reckon I’ll see you later.”

Ugly – mean, as in “Stop acting ugly.”

There are tons more. Add your own iffen yer so obliged.

A to Z Challenge – V is for Versatile Blogger Award

V is for Versatile Blogger Award

This couldn’t have come on a better day. Yay for V!


Yay!!! I love these things. Thank you so much for nominating me, Will!  Check out his blog HERE! He is a university student and an up and coming young author.

All right, seven things about me you don’t already know…

1) I hate the sound of an ironing board opening and the blinding sideways sun in the morning. Ugh.

2) Chocolate is the best part of the day.

3) I am an only child.

4) My bucket list consists of 3 things: going to Aruba, buying a grand piano, and seeing the pyramids. I’ve yet to see the pyramids.

5) I’m convinced I’m going to die in my 50s…better get to Egypt pretty soon.

6) I’ve visited 35 states.

7) I went on a snow-train trip through a canyon in Canada one winter. It was white.

In the spirit of the award, my diverse and versatile nominees are…

Mama Bear – I’m just amazed she signed up for “A Post a Day 2013” and is actually doing it. Go over and give her some encouragement.

Denise – Her blog is like going on vacation without leaving the comfort of your couch.

P.C. Zick – Fabulous author currently on a virtual book tour. Hurry over there and catch up with her. And don’t forget to pick up her new book Trails In The Sand. I’m reading it now. LOVE it!

That’s all I have time for at the moment. I may come back and add a few more folks later.

A to Z Challenge – S is for Slavery

S is for Slavery

That title may have raised a few eyebrows, and I apologize. With my recent genealogy research, I have been thinking a lot lately about slavery. Not as in bad or good, or as in a concept of the past, but as in the actual people involved in the process—the slaves and the owners and their lives and relationships.

My family hails from the south—All Of Them. We’ve been in NC, TN, MS and AL since the 1600s. I think all but one of my greats, 2nd greats, and 3rd greats were born and raised in the south. And just like the majority of southern farmers, nearly all of my family owned slaves until 1863ish. What got me thinking about the topic in depth was recently finding a 1750 will of a grandfather who owned 800 acres and left at least 40 slaves to his descendants. 40? What a major financial investment and responsibility that was.

I also have other family history:

…a 3rd great grandfather who gave his slave 80 acres following the emancipation, and his descendants still live on that land to this day, next door to the grandfather’s descendants.

…a great uncle who sold his farm in 1865 to a black man named Tom Stennis. Later I found that this was a former slave of Adam T. Stennis, who bought my 4th great grandfather’s land in 1869.

…that same 4th great grandfather had $8000 of wealth in land and farming equipment in 1860—and had 13 slaves. Generally, a slave would sell for $1000 or more at an auction, so this was not a cheap or frivolous purchase. He was well-to-do with $8000 of land and livestock, but he had most of his wealth tied up in $13,000+ worth of slaves. Those are 1860 prices. I looked it up on http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/ and found the relative value of $13,000 in 1860 is up to $45 MILLION today. Holy Cow!

I am not negating the abuse of slaves at the time nor the emotional attachment people of today have to this issue. This is not a debate on whether slavery was good or bad. As intelligent human beings, we can all agree it was/is bad. I am, however, finding more and more evidence that the white plantation owners took good care of their slaves following the emancipation. So, that’s what got me thinking about it…on a human level.

If you own livestock, you probably don’t love them, but you do recognize your responsibility to feed them and take care of them. If you own something rare and valuable like a sports car, you would take very good care of it. If you are from the south, you have a greater sense of responsibility toward your neighbors and community than anywhere I’ve seen on this planet. Everyone knows the kindness and compassion of southerners is unsurpassed.

Now, if the government takes away your ability to make a living, as it did to plantation owners by taking the slaves away, what are you going to do? Easy, you get another job. But what if that action involves 40 people who work for you and depend on you? These were not employees who you hand a pink slip and send on their way. They are your property. Don’t you have a moral obligation to take care of the people in your charge, whether they were birthed or bought? When the slaves were legally freed, where could they go? What could they do?

The most logical idea I thought of was to give them 40 acres in exchange for them still working on your farm. That would help you maintain your income, while at the same time, helping them become free.

I’m wondering if Alex Haley’s “Roots” dug so deep in our collective conscious, that it created in us a mindset that all slave owners were evil, abusive tyrants. Perhaps they were, but I’m finding a lot of evidence to the contrary. This whole issue is swimming around in my head, so please comment if you have thoughts.

A to Z Challenge – O is for Origami Owl

Blogging from A to Z April 2013 Challenge

O is for Origami Owl – I should get double points for that.

This is my new favorite thing. It’s jewelry. Guys! Don’t turn away here. It’s cute, it’s inexpensive, it’s online, she’ll love it.


You must purchase a locket. You may also want to purchase a chain, an inside disc for the locket, and a charm to hang off the chain. But here’s the best part. The charms that go inside the locket are generally $5. You can’t beat that price. It’s so affordable, you can change charms and styles on a whim.

I wanted one for myself but couldn’t decide on charms, so I bought one for my daughter instead. I know what she likes. I got a T for her boyfriend’s name, a dog for her puppy, an apple because she’s a teacher, a D and Z for her Delta Zeta sorority, and a few other cute things. I also got a heart-shaped charm to hang off the chain. That’s for her momma’s love. Awwww.

Sooooo cute!!

Click here to check out their site.

A to Z Challenge – E is for eBook

Blogging from A to Z April 2013 Challenge 

E is for eBook

The invention of Nooks and Kindles has transformed my little universe. First, I don’t have boxes and boxes and shelves and shelves of books that I don’t really want anymore but can’t seem to part with. My books are now in a handy and convenient electronic device. I really think digital print is one of the best inventions ever. I do however miss thumbing through the pages of a real book on occasion, but not very often. Second, the cost of books has come way down since ePublishing. Third, I can obtain a book instantly through my computer from the comfort of my couch. Fourth, the ease of publishing an eBook has opened up the market to a plethora of talented writers, instead of the handful the big publishers tell us we are supposed to read. Fifth, you don’t even need to buy a Nook or Kindle. The apps are available for FREE for just about every electronic device. Not too many downsides there.

Fast forward twenty years.

Do you think the children of today will ever thumb through a real paper book? The possibilities of multi-media integration are endless, and I’m really disappointed it has not already come into fruition. Imagine sitting in 5th-grade biology and reading about the human heart. You could click on the picture and the whole circulatory system would come to life, showing you how the blood pumps, where it goes, and what happens when arteries get clogged. How about sitting in history class and clicking on a link that takes you to History Channel-esque story about the pyramids or the Aztecs? You could actually watch a CGI version of Washington crossing the Delaware. If I had half the technology savvy of my imagination, I would have already turned this idea into a living creature, but alas, I do not. In my imaginary world, schools, career training, and the text books that go with them, would all be amazingly different. There are a few companies putting out books resembling this idea, but they are in their infancy, and are light-years away from the future I imagine.

Here’s to the eBook and to the future!

A to Z Challenge – D is for Dog

Blogging from A to Z April 2013 Challenge 

D is for dog, for life without a dog is sorry indeed ~Lori

 A dog is not “almost human” and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. ~John Holmes

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.  ~Roger Caras

Coming home to a dog

coming home to a dog









Coming home to no dog

coming home without a dog









Snuggling with a dog

snuggling with a dog









Snuggling without a dog – rocks are not fluffy.

snuggling a rock











Playing with a dog

playing with a dog











Playing without a dog – mud is almost as fun as a dog – Not

playing without a dog










Eating with a dog

eating with a dog









Eating without a dog

eating without a dog











Sleeping with a dog

sleeping with a dog











Sleeping without a dog

sleeping without a dog








Life with a dog

love a dog









Life without a dog

life without dog

Grandpa and Google Calendar

For quite a while I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have all of my ancestor’s birthdays, death dates, and marriage dates in one place. I often find that a great great grandma’s birthday was yesterday, and I missed it. I considered a monthly paper calendar, but that wouldn’t work come next year when the days of the week change.

Also, for some time, I have been confused about what to do with my Google Calendar. I messed around with it, adding family birthdays and my work schedule, but then I never really used it, because I already know family birthdays and my work schedule.

Well, they go together like chocolate and peanut butter, don’t ya think? What a great idea!

I have run into a small problem, however. I spent an hour the other day just putting the parents and grandparents information on there. I have almost 9,000 people in my family tree dating ridiculously far back. Do you know how long this is going to take?? And, where does it stop? In laws? Friends? Ugh. Just what I need, another time-consuming project.

Coincidental Dates (cue Twilight Zone music)

For you genealogy buffs: Do you see the same dates over and over when you work on your family tree?? I always see the same four dates – the birthdays of my kids, my birthday, and my wedding anniversary. Note: I NEVER see hubby’s birthday, my mother’s birthday, or any other family date. Only Feb 5, Oct 12 and 31, and Nov 19.

Strange? Yes.

I figured since I have absolutely nothing to do (sarcasm) I will compile all the strange dates.

February 5

My son’s birthday

My aunt’s birthday, Bobbie Jean Culpepper McQueen

My cousin’s birthday, Judy McQueen

My cousin’s birthday, Carolyn Burke Goss

My mother’s wedding anniversary, Linda Faye Culpepper

October 12

My daughter’s birthday

My great great uncle’s death date, James Rodgers

My great great great grandfather’s birthday, William Henry Blanks II

My third cousin’s birthday & death date, Claude Wesley Gardiner

My great great uncle’s birthday, Thomas Culpepper

October 31

My anniversary

My grandfather’s death date, Benjamin Berry Pickett

My father’s death date, Andrew Frank “Andy” Crane Jr.

My great great grandparent’s anniversary, Martha Lettie Carpenter and William Henry Blanks III

November 19

My birthday

My great great grandmother’s birthday, Sarah Elizabeth “Betty” Brown Keene

My great uncles birthday, Howard Pickett

I’ve heard stories of people re-incarnating in groups and around dates. I find the concept curious, but I have no convictions about it either way. I do, however, find it interesting that my dad’s Grandma Pickett has all of the Oct 31 and Nov 19 dates in her family. The people listed are her mother, husband, son, grandson, and great granddaughter (me).

That’s weird that my birthday and anniversary all coincide with dates on my dad’s side of the family.

I also find it oddly curious that my mother has my kid’s (Feb 5 and Oct 12) birthdays repeated over and over in her family. Those listed are her sister, two cousins, niece, two great uncles, great great grandfather, grandson, and granddaughter.

That’s really, really weird that my kid’s dates are all on my mom’s side.

What’s even more strange is that I would think of this today – the anniversary of my grandma’s death. RIP Mamaw.

burke Ina Inez Burke headstone

And now back to my regularly scheduled life…

I’ve been working on a book since October and just clicked that fabulous little “send” button to ship the manuscript off to my editor. That is one of the two instances when an author can breathe for a moment. The other is when you click the “publish” button. Sigh.

Every time I reach either moment, I am reminded of the movie, “Romancing the Stone,” where Kathleen Turner places a five-inch thick, type-writer written, finished manuscript on her kitchen table, lights a candle, and pours herself a glass of wine. Maybe that is why I’m tempted to open that bottle of Crown Royal sitting in my cabinet.


But do I relax and bask in the glow of the finished product?

No, of course not. I’ve spent the last four hours researching the Dalton Gang for my new book.

But, hey, I’ve learned a ton about the Dalton Gang today!

Dalton Gang

What I found interesting about them is they did not set out to be outlaws. They were all initially U.S. marshals. There were four brothers in the gang. One lived in California on his successful farm with his beautiful wife. His name was Bill, and he is not in the above Wanted Poster. I assume his wife wouldn’t let him go that day.

Anyhoo, he was involved in politics, and the local farmers were trying to keep the railroads from running through their farms. When his three brothers (the hotties pictured above) showed up, their manly testosterone levels escalated, and they came up with a plan to teach the railroads a thing or two. They attempted to rob a train, but being inexperienced, bumbling train robbers, the result was a total fiasco. They fled empty handed under gunfire.

Somewhere between that humiliating failure in 1890 and their terrible deaths in 1892 while trying to rob TWO banks – across the street from each other – at the same time – in broad daylight – which resulted in a shoot out – and most of the gang dying, their fine morals and upbringing obviously went astray. Boys will be boys.


The photo above is from Wikipedia. The middle two are Bob and Grat. (Emmett did not die that day, but he was shot over 20 times, survived, and spent 14 years in prison.) These boys were killed in the 1892 shoot out. Their boots were removed. They are all in handcuffs. Who took their boots?? And why are they handcuffed?? And what’s up with the gun in the photo?? So, they had a town photographer, but no town doctor to know if they were dead or not, hence the handcuffs??

Anyway, the book is not about them, it only starts with them. But I’ve had an interesting day researching them nonetheless.

Who do I have to talk to to get more hours?

Is there anyone who can arrange more hours in the day for me? I’ll pay you! No, I don’t need a “Survival Guide for Busy Folks” or a new pocket organizer. I am the Queen of Organization! I need more hours. Maybe a 28-hour day would help. 32 would be better.


My to-do list is trailing off my desk like Santa’s gift list in December.



I’m usually good under pressure. As a matter of fact, deadlines feed my soul. I admit, most of my deadlines are self-imposed, but that’s how I get things done. And I get a whole lot of things done – I think. I may have too many irons in the fire right now because I’ve apparently added a few new hats to my job closet.

1) I am a full-time musician. I work late nights and don’t sleep well because I keep changing my bedtime hours throughout the week. Sometime I crawl in bed at 8:00 p.m., and sometimes I don’t go to bed until 4:00 a.m. That job also requires daytime hours for rehearsal and scheduling. I would like an extra two hours added to the music portion of my day.


2) I write. Books. Not just any books – historical fiction books. Anyone who has ever written anything of length knows how insanely time consuming it is. Now add to that hours and hours of research to make sure the historical part of the story is legitimate. I admit I go off on tangents. I’ll hunt for information on a website, click on every link, and look up to find it’s three hours later. I love web surfing. I also have a bad habit of getting side-tracked on Ancestry.com and FindAGrave.com when I simply go there to check a wedding date or a death date. Rewrites, editing, proofreading, formatting, designing covers? Three more hours a day would help.

chapter clothes

3) I am my own publisher/publicist/agent/video trailer producer/audio book narrator/etc. I don’t even know how much time is spent doing that stuff. It’s a ridiculous amount. I don’t mind doing it, I just need about four more hours a day.

4) Blogging? Ugh. I’m a slacker. It’s true. No amount of time will fix that.

5) Wife and mother? Ha. Yeah, that cooking thing? Not so much. And you can do your own laundry. Do mine while you’re at it. And somebody pick up some milk.

Ok, rant over. I have to go brush my dog now. Poor little guy.