"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, June 18, 2012


This week, the weather has been in the mid-nineties. Woo! Sizzle! Hot! Summer is here. How’s your summer going so far? Doing any fun summer reading?

This week, I’m thinking about nicknames.

I’m writing a character with a distinct nickname. It’s a pet name that she is called only by one person.

Writers - what do you think of character nicknames? Should we include them, or does it just confuse the reader?

Readers – do you like characters with nicknames?

And, I want to know - Do you or did you ever have a nickname?

Hubby calls me Pooh. The kids affectionately call me Mamoo. I love it.

Would love to hear from you!

Between you, me and the gatepost,


By the way, I’m really enjoying Jeanette Levellie’s book – Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top. Honestly, she has me laughing and crying in turns. A fun, well-written, inspirational read!

Monday, June 11, 2012

"She ranks me."

Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke
1817 - 1901


In this month’s Civil War Bivouac, I want to introduce another incredible woman of the Civil War period: Mary Anne Bickerdyke, affectionately known as "Mother" Bickerdyke by the soldiers. This woman was possibly the most resourceful Civil War nurse. Full of character, she pulled no punches when it came to the care of the wounded Union and Confederate soldiers, setting the surgeons and Federal army doctors on edge at times. During the war, she became the chief of nursing under General Grant. She pioneered the nursing core curriculum.

Widowed before the war started, Mother Bickerdyke supported herself and her two sons as a “botanic physician” in Galesburg, Illinois—so advanced for her time, don't you think? Sounds a bit like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman studying the herbal and plant remedies from the Cheyenne Indians. After the war started, a local physician wrote home to Galesburg about the deplorable and disorganized military hospitals in Cairo, Illinois. The town’s people collected nearly five hundred dollars worth of medical supplies and food, and nominated Mary Ann to deliver it to the military hospital in Cairo. She stayed on there as an “unofficial” nurse.

"I have a commission from the Lord God Almighty to do all I can for every miserable creature who comes in my way; he is always sure of two friends, God and me."
                                                                                 ---Mother Bickerdyke
Mary Ann Bickerdyke knew her mission well.

She gained the admiration of General Ulysses S. Grant. As Grant’s army moved south, down the Mississippi River, Mother Bickerdyke moved too. She set up hospitals wherever needed. It was said that Union General, William T. Sherman, was also very fond of her tireless efforts to help the wounded. It was rumored that she was the “only” woman that he ever allowed in his camp. When General Sherman’s staff came to complain about a hard-headed nurse who disregarded any military procedure, he threw up his hands and stated, “She ranks me. I can’t do a thing in the world.” I find that quite a statement from a tough general.

With the help of the U. S. Sanitary Commission, Mary Ann, also known as the "The Cyclone in Calico," built approximately 200 hospitals and assisted thousands of wounded on roughly 19 battlefields. She was one incredible woman who helped change the face of medicine and hospital care forever.

I hope you enjoyed this month's touch on history. 
I would love to hear what you think of Mother Bickerdyke.

Between you me and the gatepost,


The Mother Bickerdyke Monument
"She ranks me"
Galesburg, Illinois

Down below is a very short youtube about Mother Bickerdyke. Take a peek.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Do You Over Think Your Craft?

"Latte, please." Photo by Eric Huebner

Hi everyone! I’m back from a 3 week blog break where I was NOT on vacation, but held a captive in the revision cave. I thank all of you who sent chocolate, coffee, and blueberry scones. I have finished with the revisions, but just need to do the final read through. ANYHOO….good to be back!

Have you seen that AT&T commercial where the young woman, Alex, just got a part in a commercial as the number 4 coffee patron? I just love this commercial. It gives us a 30 second view of how we go from 0 to 55 in the matter of a few seconds, AND over think our craft.

This commercial is about Alex.

Alex is a normal every day person – waitress, dog walker, flyer hander-outer, and an aspiring actress, following her dream. “But mostly an actress.”

She lands a job in a commercial and calls her mom. “Hi mom! I got it!”

In less than 30 seconds we see Alex talking on the phone to everyone about her role. We see her dreams grow in her eyes.

Alex has one line in the commercial. “Latte, please.”

Next we see Alex wondering if she should play the role as a French woman. She speaks her line with a heavy French accent. “Latte, pleeze.

We wade through a barrage of images showing Alex excitedly talking on the phone about here new part. I’m so excited for her!

The last scene, we see Alex in bed, talking on the phone and she says, “I know I have to say, latte, but I feel my character would drink tea.”

BAM! I love this. I think at one time or another we over think our craft. Sometimes we just need to leave it and let it flow.

As a writer, I know I’m over thinking when Eric tells me to quit talking to my characters, or carrying on their conversations. Someone will think you’re crazy! Sometimes I talk about what it would be like to have a book signing…you know, dream a little. I’m not even close yet. We know it means the world to us, we get excited.

I adore Alex and root for her dream of becoming an actress to come true. There is so much truth in this 30 second commercial. I know. I’ve been there…over thinking. Do you sometimes over think your craft?

I would love to hear from you.

Between you, me and the gatepost,


If you haven’t seen this commercial, watch the YouTube of it below.

By the way, I learned a new portmanteau word –SPRICKET—Google it to see one. It’s like a cross between a spider and a cricket. Apparently, they have these all over southern Indiana. I saw one down at Indiana University in Bloomington. They are creepy! Ever seen a spricket?