Harming an Animal…No Big Deal?

“Bang bang.”

During a late afternoon walk around the neighborhood, I passed by a house where three or four children (in the eight to ten-year age range) were playing in their front yard.

Maybe at this point I should highlight the fact that I live in a SoCal beach town; solid middle-class, lots of healthy living, outdoor activities, and for the past thirty-plus years, it’s been relatively crime-free.

I’m still troubled by what I witnessed.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to the children until I heard one of the boys say, “The cat, do the cat!” and I saw a black and white cat running to hide in a stand of low growing bushes near the sidewalk.

I heard a popping sound at the same exact time I saw another little shit boy with a plastic gun-type thing pointing it at the cat. Whatever little plastic thingy that was…

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Moving Time Again (#607)

I found Annie aka Tin Can Traveler via Cee from https://ceenphotography.com/. Reading just one of her posts led me to reading everything in the Latest Posts section of her sidebar. She says a lot in her not very long posts which include her own beautiful photos. Nowplease excuse me while I go explore as her older posts. I’m an official Tin Can Fan!

Tin Can Traveler

In just two weeks I will be moving from Westport Beach.  It has been home since April.

Six months is a long time for me to stay in one place.  I have been learning though to be comfortable in one place but travel more in the area.  Adventures close to home are still adventures.

The ocean still surprises me every day with its gifts ~

Gift1Abalone Shell found washed ashore

oxo ~ Annie

Gift2another Heart Shaped Rock to add to my collection

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Meet Nona of Noner Says


Sometimes I wish I was a Fairy BlogMother. And if I were, I would wave my wand and give Nona her wish; to be a Stay at Home Mom slash ProBlogger.

We’ve been blog buddies since SWB’s early days, and I just love her.

She writes about her life as she lives it.

I have no doubt that you will enjoy her interview answers.

Much bloglove to all,
Frances D

1.) How long have you been blogging? How many different kinds of blogs have you had? What blogs are you currently updating?

I’ve been blogging since around 2001. I thought it was 1999, but visiting the Wayback Machine to peek at my first blog it said I joined in 2001.

I’ve had so many blogs in the 15 years between then and now that I can’t even begin to remember all of them. Many of them don’t even exist anymore.

Actually, the type of blogging that I do doesn’t really even exist anymore. Blogging now is a different creature than blogging in 2015. In a world of SEO, keywords, and affiliate marketing I’m still discussing what I had for supper the night before. And not because I’m a “food blogger” but just because I want to talk about what I had for supper.

I’ve been bouncing from one PPV and PPC blog to another, riding each one to earn a few cents until it goes under.

The ones I am active on right now would be my personal blog Noner Says, my book review blog Noner’s Bookmarks and my craft blog A DIY Day but none of them are as active as I WANT them to be.

2.) You are a full-time Mom with a full-time job. Tell us something about your average day. How you manage to fit in blogging and your art projects?

On an average day I usually set my alarm for 6, but I never crawl out of bed until 7 because I usually have to get up 3 or 4 times a night with my toddler who never sleeps through.

Then its a flurry of feeding. One dog eats inside. One dog eats outside. One son won’t eat anything but pop-tarts. The other one wants a hot breakfast. But before I fix his hot breakfast I have to get dressed (no hanging out in jammies even on my days off) because I have to go outside and carry the Labrador inside. No small feat since he’s almost 80 pounds and uncooperative.

Then I have to convince the older boy to take his vitamin and brush his teeth and get dressed. I have to convince my toddler to give his brothers underwear back and to come to HIS room so I can get HIM dressed.

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Next thing I know its already 9am, my coffee is cold and I’ve not even had breakfast yet but I have to get ready for work. Depending on the day I have to leave home at 9:30 or 12:30 to get to my job.

On a 9:30 day I get home around 7pm and have to cook myself supper while I wash the dishes that piled up all day. I usually eat while giving my sons their baths. Depending on whether he had a nap or not the youngest goes to bed at 8:30 or 9 and the oldest goes to bed at 9
during the school year. So I get to see them about 4 hours. After both of the kids are in bed I take my bath, and by then it usually bedtime,unless I have enough energy to try to write.

On a 12:30 day I get home around 10pm. The boys will already be in bed so I don’t have to bathe them, but I still have to wash a days worth of dishes while trying to find something to eat. And I will have gotten to see my kids almost 5 hours! I don’t usually take a bath on those nights either so if I ever smell a little off when you see me you can guarantee I didn’t get home till late the night before.

So any blogging that I do happens after 10pm. And that is if I have the energy for it. Some nights, specially the ones where I don’t even get home until 10pm, I just don’t have what it takes to form coherent sentences.

As for crafting…. I’ve almost forgotten the meaning of the word. I think that is why my craft blog is suffering the most. I never get to finish any projects.

At least with my reading I can do that on my lunch break at work, or a couple of chapters when when I’m in the tub, but I can’t really cross stitch in a bubble bath.

Just this week I did get a spurt of energy and as midnight turned into1am I was sitting at my tiny little desk with a 16″x20″ canvas and several tubes of craft paint doing a paint along with an artist on youtube. She was using artist grade paints and fancy paint brushes, and I had my 50 cent bottles of paint and I’m pretty sure one of my brushes came out of a kids color by number set.

But when I finished that painting I felt rather accomplished. Like, I did it! I CREATED SOMETHING.

I was going to blog about it, but…it was 1am and I needed to sleep a little before my youngest woke up again.

3.) Do you share your blog with family, friends, and co-workers?

Yes and No. I don’t go to any of them and say, “Hey, I wrote this thing last night that I think you should read. BUT I don’t exactly keep it a secret. Most of them are connected to me on facebook and I’m always sharing my blog links on Facebook.

Honestly, most of the people I know in real life don’t give two shakes about my blogs. Which is apparent by the way none of them click my links.

I have tried many times to talk to my husband about my blogging. How I would really like to make it professionally, and what that would take. I don’t think he even listens. If you asked my husband what my blogs name was he couldn’t even tell you. I lost him completely when I
muttered the phrase, “I could work part time to have more time to write.”

4.) You love animals. How many pets do you have? What are their names? Can you tell us something about them?

Well, you know all lovers of fur children love to talk about their pets!

Having lost our cat at the beginning of the year (She was murdered by a stray dog) we currently have 2 dogs and my fishies.

Boomer is a chocolate lab and he is ancient at 13 years old. He is full blooded and has been a pain in our backsides since the day we brought him home. Soooo many medical problems.

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Right now he looks like a science experiment gone wrong, missing most of the fur on his back half due to a skin problem he’s had most of his life. We just had to have a mass removed from his back
that was the size of a hamburger. It started out life as a skin tag. Parts of his spine are fused together and he can hardly walk. Carrying him up the ramp is part of my every morning. I’m starting to think it might be a mercy to ease him out of life, so to speak, but hubby won’t
hear of it.

Meanwhile there is the mutt, Rusty, who is only about half a year younger than Boomer, but looks and acts as if he were a decade younger! Proof that full blooded dogs are often not as healthy as the mutts.

We found Rusty in the parking lot of a store I used to work at. We were only going to foster him until we found his owners (he seemed well-fed and was housebroken even though he was covered in ticks!). Then we were going to foster him until we found a forever home. Then somehow we BECAME the forever home.

The vet said he’s part chow and part golden retriever (Best guess). And he’s pretty much a hair machine. There are dust bunnies of that dogs fur in the hallway big enough to be another dog.

Oh, did I mention they both live inside with us?

I have a betta fish named Bowie. He’s new. He only has one pectoral fin but seems to get along just fine. I have the urge to sing “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” every time I see him flapping his remaining fin for all he’s worth.

Then I have an aquarium with a big goldfish in it. His names George. He used to be one of a pair. Fred and George. But there was a horrible incident involving SpongeBob’s pineapple house. Lets just say that neither Fred nor the pineapple are still in the aquarium.

There are also 2 cory catfish in there. They don’t have names but moved in at the same time George did. And snails. Lots of snails.

If I didn’t have to work full time outside of the home I would have rats too. For many years this house was never without a pair of rats living in the breakfast nook. I miss them, but after child #2 was born I had to choose one thing that I was taking care of to give up and
since my husband won’t part with either of the human kids it had to be the rats.

(just kidding about giving away the kids, though I’m sometimes tempted to sell the husband)

5.) I know you would love to be a stay at home Mom. Describe your typical day and what you would do if you were.

I would sleep in. No more hitting the snooze button for an hour. Because I won’t have a job to be at I can sleep all the way to 8!

I’m sure my mornings would be just as hectic because…4 different mouths to feed…that’s always gonna be crazy.

After breakfast instead of having to run out to work for the next 9 hours I’ll get to stay at home with kids.

I see mornings being outdoor playtime. Then after lunch the little one would go down for a nap and the older one will start his homeschooling with his dad, which gives me a good 3 hours of mid-day writing time.

Then it would be some family time before supper. Maybe video games or board games. Maybe a movie. Then supper time, and all the baths, and cleaning the kitchen.

The evenings could be my social networking or simple internet goofing off time.

With some alterations though. I know eventually I’ll have to forgo some afternoon writing time for deeper house cleaning but….I’d have time to spare not having to be out of the house for 9 hours a day.

6.) Have you met any of your fellow bloggers off-line?

I have not. There are a couple of them who live in my state, but we never manage to be in the same place at the same time. I don’t travel much.

7.) Recommend five blogs that you read regularly.

Mrs. Happy Homemaker – We were actually BFF back in middle school. Then her family moved away. She started out on blogger some years ago and now she’s Pro and earns her family’s income through blogging. I DROOL over all the amazing things she cooks. But, I’m not a cook so it never goes far past the drooling

Someone else told me about The Bloggess and told me to check her out as a blogger who just randomly writes about her life without a niche (when I was bemoaning never being able to go pro because I’m nicheless).

Oh, and she’s also written a couple of books. She’s basically living the life I see for myself in the head. Also, she’s very entertaining.

Other blogs that I read regularly I bloggers who, like me, are not in the pro range, and write about their life as they are living it.

Rusty2Rusty’s Chatter covers a lot of subjects. She does blog about food a lot. And animals. She also does a lot of product reviews.

Learning to Live Free is a lovely lady who is trying to get off the grid. Ultimately she wants to run her home off of solar power and feed herself primarily through a garden that she grows. I started reading it when I was going through an intense “I want to homestead” phase.

Becky’s Homestead is another one that I started reading while in my “I want to homestead” phase. She updates pretty reguarly and also puts out a video on youtube every week.

8.) What are your five favorite blog posts on your personal blog?

I like my Ghostbusters Review because I feel like I found a little bit of my old blogging self in writing it again.

My Imiginary She Shed – because it is really fun to imagine what all I could do if I had an
office of my own.

A Motivational Letter to Myself –  I was in a good (mental) place when I wrote that one.

The “Game” of Life – While researching this one (if you can call it research) I got into a conversation with people I don’t normally talk to often, so that was good.

I’m having trouble picking a 5th favorite. I’d have to say pretty much any of my Wordless Wednesday posts. Probably because most of the feature my boys. I love my boys.

But there is “I Long for Adventure” which is simple, but still holds true whenever I’m reading a good adventure story.

9.) Is your first blog post ever still accessible online?

It’s not. That was on Xanga, which is still there, but not there. It seems to be in an endless reboot to Xanga 2.0, whatever that is. Go to the Wayback Machine and search for xanga.com/winona and you’ll get to see peeks of what it looked like here and there, but not the very
first post.

10.) You have a book review blog – Noner’s Bookmarks – would you like to do that professionally? Why or why not?

Funny, some co-workers and I were discussing this just recently.

I would LOVE to review books professionally, but ONLY if I get to pick the books I read.

I’m a lover of horror and thrillers and mystery. I like some contemporary fiction. But, if I had to sit and read book after book after book and all of them were Harlequin romance novels with Fabio on the cover then it would be just as bad as keeping my current day job.

Maybe worse! (not to offend any romance lovers out there. Its just not my genre.)

11.) If a friend wanted to start a blog what would be your top five do’s and don’ts.


1. Write about something you love. If you pick your topic based solely on earning potential but you don’t love it, you’ll struggle to come up a minimum of 52 posts.

2. Visit other blogs. Leave comments! This can help you forge friendships with the bloggers you love, and the other people who read them.

3. Social Networking. Facebook. Twitter. G+. All those other places. You have friends there, right? Share your stuff, sure. But you know those other blogs you’ve been reading? Share THEIR stuff too!

4. Join blogging groups. Not only is this another way to share your content, and find other comment, but it puts you with other people doing the same thing you are doing. They might be able to answers questions for you. You might be able to answer questions for them.

5. Grow. Expand. Change if you want to. Don’t niche yourself in a corner. Sure, you might lose a few readers along the way, but you are sure to find others.


1. Give up. It will be tempting as you put hard work into something that nobody seems to read. Just keep it up. Your audience will come.

2. Sit and wait for people to find you. Its not going to magically happen. You gotta act like an internet version of a sign twirler. Draw some attention to yourself.

3. Let your blog sit without being updated. I can’t give you exact numbers, but I know you lose a lot of readers if you don’t update on a regular basis. (at least once a week)

4. Give up your personality. Let all of yourself show in your writing.
Having a unique voice can make all the difference.

5. Quit your day job. At least not at first. People can and do earn their entire income from blogs. But chances are really good that its not going to happen overnight.

12.) Name five women you admire and tell us why you do. They can be anyone you know or someone from the media.

This one is actually hard for me to answer. You would think names would just pop into my head, but nope. I don’t really keep up with celebrities, and being raised by my dad and two brothers I tend to lean towards the masculine but…There is my Aunt Lavin. Sadly we lost her a few years back but it seems like yesterday. She hardly had a harsh word about anyone. She would go out of her way to help EVERYONE. She was the kind of person who would sit by a deathbed and hold hands to help ease a person over. She was amazingly kind, amazingly beautiful and amazingly talented. She would go from hobby to hobby, mastering a craft and moving on to another. As a child and an adult I loved sleep overs at her house. I aspire to be half the woman she was, but could only ever be HALF
because there is no way I’d ever reach her level of awesome.

Jessica Stewart is a woman who used to work where I work. I think of her as Sunshine because she really is a ray of sunshine. Her spirit just GLOWS. She radiates happiness. She does yoga, works with an animal rescue and is quick with a kind word when A kind word is needed. I regret that we are only connected through Facebook now instead of getting to see her in person every day!

And honestly those are the only two people who comes to mine as being real inspirations in my life. Two people I would love to emulate. I could make up 3 more I guess, but after thinking on it for a couple of days I think I’m gonna leave it at two and be a rebel.

13.) Have you read and/or reviewed any books on blogging?

I’ve read a book or two on blogging, but I’ve never reviewed one. The first one was something by Darren Rowse. I have found that blogging info is usually not that useful to me. Mostly because I’m not a niche blogger. I understand the concept of things like SEO, I just can’t seem to make them work.

Some days I feel like I need to pick up a copy of Blogging for Dummies and go back to basics.

14.) You use Blogger – can you tell us why it’s your choice?

For me, Blogger offers the most personalization with the best price. I mean, its free and I can make it look however I want it to look with minimal coding knowledge.

I’m a sidebar junkie. I like to be able to have sidebars and put things in them other than my blog archive.

I know WordPress is preferred by many professional bloggers, but the free WordPress doesn’t let you decide what to put in your sidebars! And a self-hosted WordPress site is out of the question because its out of the budget.

I also like that Blogger doesn’t care if I have adsense or throw in some amazon affiliate links. Other free hosts can be picky about letting their bloggers have advertising that is not THEIR advertising.

Which is another think I like about Blogger. Its free, and its not full of ads. So what if I have to have the blogger bar up top. I’m okay with that!

Two Questions I Wish I Had Been Asked

1. What do you want to be when you grow up?

My first dream for my grown up life was for me to be a vet, but when I hit third grade I decided I wanted to be an author when I grew up.

I’m all grown up now, bout to turn the corner onto “You’re Getting Old Avenue” and I still want to be a writer when I grow up.

But, I want to write fictional books. So, if my scribbles could turn into the next Harry Potter series, yeah…that’d be great.

So, to be ale to earn a living from my imagination, while staying at home with my boys. THAT’S what I want to do when I grow up.

2. If you had to live your life over, what would you change?

EVERYTHING. Well, almost everything.

I would want to be harder, not to wear my hart on my sleeve all the time. I would want to not be afraid of EVERYTHING (and I mean that literally, due to many anxieties.) I would want to spend more time with my family who I have lost, less time worrying about fitting in. I
would want to be better at voicing my thoughts and opinions. I would want to study harder, have gone to college, opened my own business.

I would somehow want to have my same two amazing children without having to have left my family and friends behind.


I would want to keep my creativity (but maybe have a little more talent to go with it).

And I would still want to write…but I would be internet famous by now.

The world according to Noner Says…

Fiona McVie – The Mistress of Interviews Interviewed


Fiona McVie is the force behind authorsinterviews. Her blog’s simple tagline; My interviews with many authors;  the perfect mission statement. Since beginning the blog in May, 2013 Fiona has interviewed over 3,350 authors, and she promises many more to come.

I discovered Fiona and her blog some months ago during a Google search for one book or another. Interviews are a passion of mine; printed, spoken, radio, TV, electronic. I read many of them that evening, and became a follower so new ones would appear in my reader. And they did – a lot of them.

When I decided to bring SWB back I made a wishlist of bloggers I wanted to interview. Fiona had a high place on that list, and I hoped she would say yes. She did.

Fiona is a single Mum working as a caregiver. She is also poet, but does not publish her own work, nor does she keep a personal blog. Fiona writes for her four children and four grandchildren, but you can read two of her poems: First Kiss & Hero, can be found at Four Foxes, One Hound.

Her father was in the British army. She was born in Germany, and lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, Cyprus and Malaysia, before her family settled in Scotland when she was twelve. All the moving made it hard for her to make friends, so books became her friends.

She has no favorite genre or author, and is open to reading any well-written book. Fiona does have a favorite poet: Robert Burns. And she credits one book, More by Rachel DeLune, for changing her life by showing her that her past relationships were boring. You can read her interview with DeLune here, and about the book here.

Her hobbies include walks with her dog Fly, photography, cross-stitching, and baking cakes.

Fiona answered two sets of interview questions via email which you can read at Fiona McVie – The Mistress of Interviews Interviewed Q&A.

I did want to include one of the questions here on the first page of the article. I asked Fiona to write and answer two questions she wished I had asked.

What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I’ll be back lol.

Readers: be sure to visit authorsinterviews to learn more about your favorite authors, and discover new ones.

Writers: if you would like to be interviewed by Fiona please write to her at inspirationforum@hotmail.co.uk

Fiona’s Twitter, Facebook & Facebook Group


Cee & Chris in Photos & Words

Chris & Cee on a sternwheeler cruise

Every post I write is a learning experience, and every blogger I interview my teacher. Many lessons came from this project; one of the most important being: read about pages. I have happily participated in Cee’s Photo Challenges for quite a while now, but only recently read her about page. It is said that what you are seeking is seeking you; maybe that’s why the cursor just seemed to move on its own that evening. Not only did I get to know Cee and her story, but I got to meet her wife Chris and explore her blog; Chris’ Journaling Journey.

She had me from her most recent, as of this writing, post: Read Like Rory Gilmore.  I love the Gilmore Girls. But it was  Bullet Journal – grab what’s in your head  that changed how I do  things. I have gone from what passed for organized on a good day to organized in the true sense of the word. BuJos are magickal and addictive – thank you Chris.

And now on to the interviews.

Meet Cee

Cee with MaCaw

Cee with Macaw

I really enjoyed your article on whether one should flip or crop. It makes me think that I need to get a copy of Photoshop on this laptop again.
Actually you can now flip your photos in WordPress. When you insert a new photo, you can edit it. You can find the flip horizon or vertical option there.

I would LOVE IT if you each ADDED A QUESTION that you wished I had asked.
For Chris – see her answer to this in one of her responses below where she talks about her fantasy world.

I had Chris ask me what should have been asked and her response was “How do you use photography as a healing method?”

062016featherThis is actually a simple and yet complex question. The simple part, is put one of my cameras in my hand and tell me to photograph anything I see. All the stress in the world disappears and I only see what is in the view finder. Everything I see can be photographed. In fact, that is how I ended up hosting my Odd Ball Challenge. One of my favorite photos is of this small heart shaped rock with a small bird feather beside it. Just getting a camera in my hands will pull me out of depression or make me not feel the physical pain. Looking through my camera is magical and spiritual for me. It allows me to see life and all of its beauty.

The more complex part of the answer is through my blog where I get to share my photography and passion. I run my challenges because it makes me feel like I have a purpose or job in life. I can work at a pace that is comfortable to me. I like to make people smile and just be happy for a few moments. That is what makes my challenges to much fun. I have seen people find the courage to enter into a challenge for the very first time. I’ve seen people grow from being a so-so person with a camera and turn into a real good photographer. That’s the beauty of sharing my photography. I teach, I encourage and see people grow and if I am real lucky, I get to see people find their passion. That helps me feel like I am a part of the world. I could literally go to any state in the US and almost any country in the world and find a friend who would welcome me into their lives even for just a small meeting to meet each other for a couple of minutes. That fills my heart and strengthens my soul.
Frances: Add me and Cape Cod to the list.

How often do you go out with your camera on average? Do you and Chris go together? or is it strictly a solo activity?
I would say throughout the year I do a photo shoot a couple times a month, sometimes more. I consider a photo shoot consists of a planned outing and 100 or more photos. However, I continually did mini photo shoots anytime I have one of my cameras close by. So, if we just go to run errands, I’ll grab my camera. I always find something to photograph.

Most photo shoots, I go with Chris. We do a lot of what I call “drive by shooting”, which is taking photos from the car or with a quick stop somewhere. I don’t walk all that well, so she drives while I shoot. Every once in a while I’ll go by myself, especially to the dahlia fields in the summer.

Have you met any of your fellow bloggers off-line?
Yes. Earlier this year I met Annie from the Tin Can Traveler blog. She is a total sweetheart.

I used to belong to another on-line photo community, Redbubble.com, and we used to have an Oregon Meet and Greet every once in a while. It was always fun getting to meet other photographers. Maybe I should start something like that on my blog.

You have four photo challenges: fun foto, compose yourself, black & white, and odd ball, as well as the Share Your World (writing) going on at your blog – how do you keep yourself organized? On average how many hours a week do you put in?
That has got to be the question I am asked the most often. I am an extremely organized person when it comes to office work. I was an office admin for most of my life, so keeping my challenge topics and featured people organized is a matter of using spreadsheets. That’s easy and takes no time whatsoever. I am also an extremely fast typist, so writing personal replies and comments takes me seconds. What I am most blessed with is my photographic memory. I can see a photo and remember whose it was and even where it is placed on their blog. In my mind I see in pictures, so looking at other people’s photos is just like reading to most people. How much time do I spend daily? Maybe 4 hours a day. This includes running my challenges, writing my posts, playing in other challenges and answering emails and comments. Weekends, I tend not to be on line nearly as long.

I have read your Lyme Disease story several times, and each time when I come to the part of about your seeing a Qigong Master and your success with Traditional Chinese medicine I sigh in relief. You are on a journey to become a healer yourself – the ultimate give back – how far along are you and how is it going?

Honestly, I really don’t know. I’m still very much in the healing process myself. Am I anywhere close to being a Master at qigong? No. Am I able to help people relax and enjoy life and smile, as well as share my experiences of qigong and teach a little here and there? The answer to that is yes. And that is what healing is all about.

Meet Chris 

070416chrisHave you ever destroyed a journal because you were afraid someone else would read it?
No, but it was decades before I could free up my past enough to allow myself to write. My earliest attempts at a journal in my adult years were written in a kind of shorthand that I created myself and could only be read if you knew the “language”.

I don’t know how I would feel if someone were to read my journals without my permission. I don’t know if there is anything in there that I wouldn’t share with someone. So much of what I have written about in past years has been the healing journey that Cee and I have been on, dealing with her near-death experiences and living with chronic life-threatening illness. Someday I might even get around to writing a book about how it changes you when chronic illness is part of your daily life. It’s a massive topic, and one that is all too common in our modern age of stress and pollution.

Do you re-read your journals?
Sometimes, when I’m trying to remember an event, but not normally. I use them more for my own well-being, just to get things out. Good and bad things. I use my journal to celebrate a lot, too.

If you do are you sometimes surprised by your own stories?
I’m always surprised by my own stories. They are my teachers. You think you know yourself, until you meet yourself through your own writing. It’s amazing what will come out when you open up your heart and put it on paper.

In your  About Me you write of possibly starting a community for women who journal. Can we look forward to that any time soon?
My last blog, 61 Musings, was a wildly popular blog for and about introverts, and I got burned out writing it. It’s funny, but when you’re an introvert like I am even a lot of contact with people over the internet can put too much noise into your life.

If I could build a fantasy world, it would be one where Cee and I run a resort for thoughtful women. A beautiful and calming place where you could get away and relax. I’d teach journaling and Cee would teach photography. We’d both teach qigong. I’d like to find someone who could teach pottery and working with clay. Maybe a dance teacher. I’d like it to be built of geodesic domes nestled in the woods, some for facilities like the writing and photography studios, others for guest quarters. It would have to have a labyrinth, because I love a walking meditation. This would be a place for women to gather in small groups to share their experiences and grow. Wouldn’t that be great?
Frances: Sign me up!

Favorite Books About Journal Writing or Writing in General
Anything by Christina Baldwin. If money and time were no object, I would take her “Self as the Source of Story” class.

Favorite Non-Writing Related Books:
This can be a long list. I usually have a handful of books going at any given time. I love history, religion, the art of writing and biography. For fun, my addictions are all about cozy mysteries (a mystery story lacking violence and sex). I read electronically so I can always have a book or two with me. I have a Kindle Voyage and also read on my iPad Pro and iPhone. We used to have a houseful of physical books, but now we just have the few that are lifelong references.

Here are a couple of non-fiction favorites, authors and books:

Agar Nafisi
Bill Bryson
Karen Armstrong

The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew — Three Women Search for Understanding: Suzanne Oliver

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; by Rebecca Skloot

Coming Clean: A Memoir; by Kimberly Rae Miller

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson; by Alison Armgrim

For cozy mysteries:

Emily Brightwell’s – Mrs Jeffries series

MC Beaton’s – Hamish Macbeth

Nancy Atherton’s – Aunt Dimity

Rhett MacPherson’s – Torie O’Shea

And many, many others.

As you can see from the profile pics Chris & Cee love animals. Here’s a photo they sent me of the four-legged members of the household.

MacKensie the pug has been in residence 11 years; Charlie (white cat) 18, & Freddie (orange cat) about 17.

MacKenzie the pug has been in residence 11 years; Charlie (white tabby) 18, & Freddie (orange tabby just showing his head) about 17.

You’ll find graphic links to all of Cee’s Photo Challenges in my sidebar. If you haven’t already do try one. And if you journal or have considered starting a journal check out Chris’ Soul Writing References& Useful ( and fun) Stuff

Peace, Love, & Chocolate,
Frances D

Carol Cassara: Heart-Mind-Soul


Carol CassaraEarly on in the series of emails that led to this article Carol shared some facts she thought might be of interest:

My husband and I were divorced for 26 years and then remarried.  
I am in grad school learning past life regression.
I am in love with my dog. Riley is a 9 year old maltipoo and he is way too smart!
We travel all over the world almost all the time.
I’ve been a published writer since I was 16 years old.

Quite the opener isn’t it?

So of course, I wrote back with a few questions which led to:

We were married for almost 9 years.
We were college sweethearts.
We have been remarried for 7 years.
I had a weekly newspaper column at age 16.

And yes, there is a memoir in the works. And yes, I will be first in line for my autographed copy.

Oh and this is Riley.


Seriously. Who wouldn’t be in love with this little fellow?

Coming up with titles for these profile/interviews  is not  easy. Especially when you  feel compelled to get everything in there. The title and opening for this one typed practically typed itself: Carol Cassara: Heart-Mind-Soul. It’s what you get Carol puts heart, mind, and soul into her inspiring mix. Just have a look at her five most recent – as of this writing:

Making Decisions with the Heart – Carol talks quite candidly about her own mind trying to dominate her intuition.
No Limits to the Soul – the most touching tribute to the late Muhammad Ali that I have read to date.
How to Identify Life Patterns – I dedicated my saving it for a something special Moleskine to this one.
Antidote to Unkindness
and the post that Carol cried her way through writing, and I cried my way through reading: Saying goodbye to our Mayor

And now on to the interview questions:

1.) Have you met any of your favorite bloggers offline? If you haven’t – which three would you like to meet and why?
The bloggers I have most in common with are those ages 50 and over, and I have met quite a few of them in person over the past five years. One of the amazing things about Facebook is that I feel that I HAVE met the bloggers I love–we have conversations same as we’d have in person, and sometimes we’ll Skype or do a phone call. After we became friends online, Ruth Curran of Cranium Crunches and I attended a conference together, at which time I met her husband, and then my husband and I visited them this year. Some of my most interesting and fun friends are those I only know via Facebook, but I hate saying “only” because sometimes I know them just as well as I know people in real life. The blog groups are also a great way to meet bloggers. A few of them have such a great vibe–such as Blog Share Learn–that it’s like going to a coffee party. Oh, I’d love to meet up with the couple who write The Plagued Parent. I know them online–exceptional writers.

2.) You have been asked to give a one day seminar to women in mid-life who are interested in starting their own personal blogs. What topics would you cover? What questions would you ask?
The best advice I could give a new midlife blogger is to know why she’s blogging. What is her objective? “I want to blog” is not enough. Does she want to make money? Express herself? Keep an online journal? There’s a lot of knee-jerk activity around making money with a blog, and to be honest, it can be a real chore. You can not write for your own pleasure, only what sponsors desire–and if you are not willing to do that, it’s hard to make a buck. But as an online journal or for self-expression, it can be a labor of love. I read a lot of blogs that give me a window into the bloggers’ lives, and I love that! Join bloggers’ groups, get to know some and most of all READ other blogs. There’s a lot of good stuff and fun stuff out there. For example, I’m a beauty product junkie and love those reviews. Guilty pleasure! Mommy blogs, not so much, since I don’t have kids or grands.

Also, bloggers need to learn the terminology. Each post is a post, not a blog. The Blog is like the TV channel and the post is like the program.

3.) I loved your article http://www.boomeon.com/posts/culling-busy-ness-to-get-to-the-real-business-of-life tell us about your favorite “quiet time” activity/ activities.

Writing. I write every day, either essays, blog posts or freelance writing. I get up at 5, sit at the computer and write for hours. That’s my favorite quiet time activity. I also read a lot, mostly memoir. I’ll drive to Big Sur and just sit. We hike a bit in the area. Oh and playing with my dog, which isn’t really “quiet time!” I hang out with my friends, go to movies, all the normal stuff. My husband and I travel a whole lot, all over the world, and while that’s not quiet time, we do at least one quiet trip to Maui a year (last year I did 3) and in 2017 we are planning a quiet time trip to Antigua on top of all our normal travel. My guiltiest quiet time pleasure is trash TV. I am addicted to the Real Housewives or Orange County, NYC and Beverly Hills. It’s kind of embarrassing, but there you have it! It’s like watching a train wreck: I can’t look away.

I’m back in grad school getting a certificate in Integrated Imagery, which is a fancy term for past-life regression. I’ve been doing a lot more with my spirituality in recent years and next year I’ll be opening a little practice to work with people who have chronic or terminal illnesses, their families, and others.

4.) Carol I would love to know your favorite/recommended tools and tricks for keeping yourself organized. You do so much I would love to add a bit about what you do to keep it all together.

Ok, here’s the truth; I am way less organized in retirement than I was when I worked full time as a corporate executive, taught at night as an adjunct professor and still did all the other things I do now. I have absolutely no idea how I did it then because I can’t do less now! If my sister-in-love, a professional organizer, saw that you’d asked me for organizing tips, she would be on the floor laughing! It seems like the days just fly by faster than they ever did–maybe no one told me that there are fewer hours in each day now?/ ;-))

I also asked Carol to list five of her own favorite posts:

5 posts
My dog is blogging

remembering my dear friend

exercise hacks for lazy people

about fear

stop explaining

and five from her favorite women who blog:

My favorite women who blog…I read at least 50 blogs a day, mostly by women, and I love so many of them. I’ll just randomly pick five among the many I love. I hate to single any out, because there are so many!

The Plagued Parent is a blog by a married couple and both are exceptional writers. I love them.

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is an out of the box thinker and a terrific writer.

I love this guy’s blog so much I’ll make him an honorary woman for the purposes of this profile: The Skipah (Gary Mathews)

Carla Birnberg is crazy in the best of ways, and unapologetically herself

My friend Walker is a midlife sex blogger. I love her take on the subject.

Carol, thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to contribute to SWB. It’s been such a positive experience re-connecting with original group members.

One day I hope your travels bring you to Cape Cod. It would be lovely to sit and listen to tales of your life and travels. A nice glass of wine and a view of the beach would be nice too.

With great respect and love to you and all who visit here,
Frances D

Saranna DeWylde: an interview with the author


I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Saranna DeWylde back in 2009. She was in New York City for a Romance Writers Conference. Her first book How to Lose a Demon in 10 days was moments from publications. Three minutes into the conversation I knew she was a writer in her soul, and a genuine person. It’s been ten years and several dozen books later since that afternoon in Bryant Park, and we’ve been in communication the whole time. When I told her SWB was back in action she was more than happy to participate in a follow-up.

Sara writes in her About Me:

Saranna De Wylde has always been fascinated by things better left in the dark. She wrote her first story after watching The Exorcist at a slumber party. Since then, she’s published horror, romance and narrative nonfiction. Like all writers, Saranna has held a variety of jobs, from operations supervisor for an airline, to an assistant for a call girl, to a corrections officer. But like Hemingway said, “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.” So she traded in her cuffs for a full-time keyboard. She loves to hear from her readers.


In 2012 Saranna awa Sara Lunsford published a memoir: Sweet Hell on Fire: a memoir of the prison I worked in and the prison I lived in. In it we join Sara during her  year as a correction officer in an all-male maximum security prison.

Sara writes:

I was a bad mother, a bad daughter, a bad wife, a bad friend. Boozed out and tired, with no dreams and no future. But I was a good officer.

Each day is start to finish fight with the dangers within the prison walls; on both sides of the bars. At night she heads straight to the bottom of a bottle. But a spark inside of her lights her way out of both the prisons within and without.


In my last email I sent Sara a few questions.

A published author of multiple works once told me that he put himself in work-mode by putting on a tie before sitting down at his typewriter.  Is there anything that you need to wear, use, or have nearby before you begin writing?
I have to have the light on as bright as it will go and my hair up in clips off my neck. I can’t write with my hair down. It distracts me. I usually have a liter of water next to me as well.
I’ve met you in person and know you would be awesome performing on-stage or screen. Have you thought about writing a one woman show or play/screenplay with you as the lead? if not yourself which actress could you see portraying you?
Oh wow. Not a chance. I mean, I was so into the stage when I was younger, but I can’t imagine what I’d even say. There’s a lot of pressure when it’s just you up there. As to what actresses who could portray me… I think maybe someone I haven’t seen yet.
FatYou love fashion. In Fat your main character is a plus-size clothing designer. Is there a sketchbook somewhere with designs of your own?
There was, but it died in the Great Purge of ’94. Even though I was kind of a goth kid, I was all about fashion and texture, and color. I loved taking Victorian looks and modernizing them.
You live in Leavenworth, KS – if you were showing me around for a day where would we go?

There’s not much to see in Leavenworth, I don’t think. I’d probably take you to Kansas City. But if I had to show you some things in Leavenworth, I’d of course take you to the USP at Leavenworth. The Big House. It really is quite the sight. I’d take you to the inmate cemetery where there are some notorious gangsters buried. So many of the things that were such a big part of my life–my youth– the things I’d show people are gone. I’d probably drag you to Atchison too, and depending on the time of year, I’d take you on the haunted trolley tour. I live about twenty minutes from the infamous Sallie House.

In Kansas City, I’d take you the River Market for gluten free beignets, I’d take you to our library which is really cool. The outside is painted to look like spines of books. I’d take you to one of the local coffee roasters for some amazing coffee and then to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. We’d have lunch at one of the fabulous BBQ joints–your choice. A lot of people love Gates, but Arthur Bryant’s is my favorite.

In the evening, we’d take a walk by the river and the carousel museum, and then we’d probably just hang out my house watching old horror movies and finishing the beignets with some peach bellinis. I think it would be a lot of fun.
Yes, Sara it would.
Upcoming Event
Saranna will be appearing at
August 12 – 14 2016 in TROY, MI
Visit Saranna’s
And check back for a SWB review of Fat.