2013 in review

I want all my followers, readers, and friends to know how much you have helped me during the last year. Below is a report of the success of this blog for 2013. And it only happened because of you!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Tribute To The True James Bond: Hannibal

Today I’m going to show a side of me the readers hardly ever get to see. Today I mourn.

I’ve never seen a cat as cool, and beautiful as Hannibal. He’s…he was…a tuxedo cat with the sophistication of Bond…James Bond. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite fast enough to elude the evil villian who struck him down in the street Tuesday night.

Hannibal was a stray who literally fought his way into our home, against the six cats who already lived here and had no plans to share the love, food, warmth and fun inside. Later, I’ll share pictures of the sweet boy…well…okay, he wasn’t so sweet most of the time…and I’ll also maybe share the song we wrote for him.

But first, you need to know who he was. Here’s an example: Hannibal would walk up to any cat in the house, sit behind them quietly, watching and waiting. Eventually, the victim would realize the dreaded Hannibal was behind him…or her…and turn to take a good look…at which time Hannibal would reach out with a right hook and pop the victim in the head. He was smooth. He was a Cool Dude. He was fast as a Ninja and as well dressed as the richest of men.

When Hannibal approached the food bowl, everyone else left. When Hannibal walked through the room, everyone else ran. If someone wanted out and the doorman, or woman, opened the door, and Hannibal was on the other side, the urge to go out was suddenly quelled.

Okay, so you have a mental picture of the evil side of Hannibal. There was also the side that lay in my lap and purred, all for legs wrapped around my arm to keep my hand against his chest, scratching as he rumbled. Hannibal was about three years old when he died last Tuesday. He came to live with us when he was too small to get along in the world by himself…probably about five weeks old. The accident that killed him was ugly. I choose to remember him as the pictures below show:

Hannibal in a bib:


Hannibal in a lap:


Hannibal trying to find the warmth inside:


Hannibal in the laundry basket:


Here is his song:

Hannibal, the cannibal, He’s a little animal.

He eats fingers, he eats toes, He will even eat your nose,

Oh, yeah, he is our cannibal.

Hannibal, the cannibal, He’s a little animal.

Two white feet, Two white socks, And he even pees in a box,

Oh, yeah, he is our animal.

Hannibal, the cannibal, he’s a little animal.

He is cute, he is smart, and he’ll kill ya with just one fart,

Oh, yeah, he is our animal, that is our Hannibal!


Thought I’d add another article on Southern living, to prep my followers for the upcoming She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour. The first tour stop will be here:

 Tour Date: Wed. June 27
Blog Name: Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge–Blog Owner: Ramey Channell
Title: “Evolution AND Creationism: The Birth of a Southern Novel”
URL: http://www.sweetmusiconmoonlightridge.blogspot.com

In the meantime,  here’s one you might enjoy about Southerners and their love of college football.

Let me tell you, there aren’t many Southerners who don’t like football. And we’re willing to discuss it with anyone, any time. Parents put their kids in football as soon as there’s an age-appropriate team available.

 If you’re planning on talking football with Southern fans, be ready to talk specifics. We know our teams. We know all the players. We understand the running patterns. We know the language. We can talk about flea-flickers, Hail Marys, touchbacks, and the 3-4 zone blitz defense. We know the stats of the individual players as well as those of our team, and often, the stats of opposing teams, at least those nearby. We can describe the last game, play-by-play. And don’t mess with our mascots—we can get hostile over our mascots.

 And let’s not even get into a discussion about officials! I mean, really, I think they’re all blind. Yes, we know all their hand signs, and most of their faces. We could easily pick them out of a crowd at the mall, or one of the many parades.

 For the most part, we show good sportsmanship…unless our team loses. Ooooh, that really gets my dander up! Between the blind officials and the opposing team’s fouls, we sometimes get cheated out of a win. That’s not a good time to bad mouth the local boys. After all, it wasn’t their fault. And for the most part, we don’t care for that darned replay contraption the officials use when they don’t like our team.

 There are lots of ‘wars’ between the states when it comes to football. I know a family from Louisiana. One of the daughters married and moved to Arkansas. You can imagine what football is like in that household. If the LSU Tigers are playing the Razorbacks in Arkansas, the family goes to the daughter’s house, so they can all go to the game. If the Razorbacks come to Shreveportto play LSU, the daughter and son-in-law come home so they can all go to the game. Never mind that the husband’s a wild boar—he’s still welcome. After all, family is more important than football. And I’m sticking to that story, no matter what you’ve heard.

My Email Was Hacked! And Other Tidbits

Just wanted all my friends to know my email was hacked, I’m not in Italy, but safe and sound at home. Well, at least, safe…

The culprit eliminated about 5000 emails as well as my entire address book, so I’m posting this here, on Facebook and twitter, as well as sending out emails to individuals, just to make sure I get everyone.

This is my normal day for guest bloggers, but no one volunteered for today, so you’ll just have to put up with me again today. But I do have a book review coming Thursday, and May promises to be an eventful month with reviews every week on new books, as well as more Memories of Me articles, and I’m hoping a few guests.

I’m enjoying The Artist’s Way class, though I can’t keep up with everyone. Today begins week nine of a twelve week email class where I can participate as I’m able, which is the only way I can take a class anymore.

I’m hoping to get back to writing soon, with 8 stories brewing. Shouldn’t take me more than 10 or 12 years to get them done. Hehehe.

Hope you all will join me regularly in May as I gather interesting writers and books for all of you to enjoy.

On My, I Am So inspired!

Besides reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I’m also reading There Is A Spiritual Answer To Every Problem by Wayne Dyer. In it he has a writing called The Final Analysis by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It lists eight things to do that will strengthen you. I know this is kinda long, but I had to share, so here it is:

The Final Analysis

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are succesful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may destroy over night;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people may often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the Finaly Analysis, it is all between you and G-d;
It was never between you and them anyway.

MEMORIES OF ME: The Bonneville Convertible

The eldest of my siblings is eleven years older than me. We call him ‘Bud.’ I think Bud was working as soon as he could walk, so when he was a teen, he bought himself a Bonneville. It wasn’t new, but it was the prettiest car I’d ever seen. When he brought it home, the white convertible top was down and the beautiful blue paint was waxed and perfect.

I asked Bud if he’d take me for a ride, and of course he did. Back then seat belts were not common. I don’t know if they were even made back then, and the front seat was a soft bench seat, allowing me to sit on m knees, arms wrapped around Bud’s neck, wind blowing in my almost white hair.

And where would a teenager with a new car go but to the A& W Root Beer stand. Bud was always a good-looking man. His hair was light brown with blond streaks, thick and straight, and the girls loved him. And of course he melted hearts when he brought his baby sister to the drive-in root beer stand and bought her a Junior Mug of Frosty Root Beer. He knew the way to my heart!

I miss that Bud. And that Bonneville. And that Root Beer! Now I live fifteen hundred miles from Bud. I drive a fuel-efficient mini-station-wagon, and rarely drink any kind of soda. But I can still taste the cold sweetness of that frosty mug. And I can still see the pride in Bud’s eyes as he drove his first car, and how pleased he was to be able to pull out his wallet and buy something with his own money.

Bud followed his dream and now owns his own construction company. He built himself a beautiful home, and has a big family. I often brag on him. I still love him, but my best memory of him is that day when he let me put my feet on the front seat of his new car and drove me through town wearing a smile. In my memory, that was his greatest success, fulfilling that first dream.

Memories of Me: The Wonder Bread RV

We traveled a lot when I was growing up. My dad was a contractor and had to go where the work was. Well, at least that’s part of the story. I’ll save the rest for later. The point is, when one travels, one needs transportation.

We needed to go toward the mid-west, from California, or Florida, or some place hot, to find work. My dad came home with an old bread truck. He gutted it, installed a bathroom and kitchen, built beds, and voile`, we had an RV. I don’t really remember RV’s back then. Without TV I had no idea what was out there in the world.

My sister was pregnant with her first child and, if I remember correctly, her husband was in the military, so she was living with us. So, Mom and Dad, brother and sister and me, headed out on the road in our home-made RV, ending up in Indiana.

We parked fifty yards or so from a river, and there we stayed. My dad and brother went to town in the mornings, after a few hours of fishing of course, to find work. I chased butterflies and June bugs, played in the dirt, and the water, and sucked the sweetness out of honeysuckle and enjoyed the shade of the big willows at the river’s edge.

I mentioned my sister’s pregnancy for a particular reason. Actually of couple of reasons. The first is that she was craving sweet corn. And we were in Indiana. And poor. But my brother was swift of feet, and not afraid of the dark. We ate a lot of corn that summer.

The other reason for the mention of pregnancy was the fact that months later, when Sis had the baby, in Florida I think, we still had the Wonder Bread RV. Mom had a laundry basket, a chrome frame on wheels, with a canvas bag hanging from it. The bag had three sections, divided by canvas panels. I remember Mom taking the scissors and cutting out the dividers, then putting in a piece of wood, a pillow, and the baby. I don’t know how they managed to lock the wheels so the basket-cum-cradle didn’t roll, but I do remember that the motion of the truck rocked the canvas bag, and the little baby girl slept like…well, much better than a baby.

When we camped, we usually had a fire pit outside, even if there was a stove inside, because of the heat. I remember grandma’s skillet, handed down to my dad when she died, a deep thin, iron skillet, filled with Crisco for deep-frying the fish, and potatoes rolled in aluminum foil on rocks inside the pit. We all loved fish, which was a good thing since work was not so reliable. A thirty-nine cent loaf of bread, and a mess of fresh fish, and we were happy as hogs at the dump.

That old iron skillet was handed down to me when my dad died. It had been in the family since my grandma married around 1900. It was stolen from me during hard times as an adult. But I never forgot how well it cooked. Food just tasted better from that skillet.

You’ll hear about the Wonder Bread RV again, no doubt, for other things happened that summer in Indiana, and across the country. But no matter where I’ve lived, or what wonderful foods I’ve been blessed with, I can still feel the sticky air of the mid-west, and the taste of some of the best corn I ever had, roasted over a fire beside the skillet where the fish fried.

Ryder’s Journal–Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I’m nothing if not a planner. So I’m planning on posting a book review every Wednesday this year, except possibly during my blog tour in the last twl weeks of this month.

It shouldn’t be too hard, since I’ve read hundreds of books, old and new, and plan to review them even if they were written in the 1800’s. So, tomorrow, my first review of the year will be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

And I think the blog tour will start January 16th and run through the end of the month.

Wish me luck!

#Ryder’s Journal–Wednesday December 14, 2011

2011 has been a long year. Yes, my book was published, which was wonderful. And yes, it’s getting great reviews. But personally, life has been hard. I was diagnosed with a third invisible disease this year. My husband’s decline has worsened. But my faith has increased and I feel blessed every day to have a home, and family and friends, and to know where my next meal is coming from–things that a lot of Americans don’t have these days.

The plan for 2012 is to finish book two of the Trey Fontaine Mystery series and get it published while promoting book one. I have been close to bed ridden for a while now, able to get up, but without energy or strength. So my health is going to have to come first. My plan for that is to increase my supplements, eat better, and move a little more. And I’m hoping to finally find a solution to the pain issue.

For now, I still want to add to my journal daily and will try again to do that. Please bear with me as I push forward.

#Ryder’s Journal–Wednesday November 2, 2011

The theme of this journal is the dilemma that authors face after we are published. Our job doubles. Now we have to write and we have to promote.

I’m planning a blog tour and looking for authors who write mystery/thriller/suspense/police procedurals and would be willing to interview me on their blog or let me guest blog regarding my book. I’d love to hear from anyone who is interested. Your blog will be posted on every blog where I’m interviewed or where I guest blog, including mine. I’d also consider a review posted on your blog.