Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone many blessings in the new year. I'm thankful to be published with a terrific company, Medallion Press, who has amazing cover artists. Here is the new cover for my next book:


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Why Men Don't Write Advice Columns (author unknown)

Dear Bob:

I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't gone more than a few hundred yards down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help. When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was parading in front of the wardrobe mirror dressed in my underwear and high-heel shoes, and he was wearing my make up. I am 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for twelve years. When I confronted him, he tried to make out that he had dressed in my lingerie because he couldn't find his own underwear. But when I asked him about the make up, he broke down and admitted that he'd been wearing my clothes for six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. I don't feel I can get through to him anymore. Can you please help?

Sincerely, Mrs. Sheila Usk

Dear Sheila:
A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the f uel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber. I hope this helps.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Camper Cheryl Sounds Off

October 15 is Blog Action Day. Bloggers everywhere are asked to blog about anything pertaining to the environment. This is my opportunity to stand on my soapbox, so humor me.

I'm sensitive to the environment. I'm not wasteful or destructive. I save aluminum cans, newspapers, and egg cartons for recycling. But I'm tired of being put on the defensive about RVing by folks I call hypocritics. (Hypocritical critics) You know the type who love to berate you for ruining the environment when they don't practice what they preach, the type who criticize me for driving a comfortable Buick that gets 32 mpg on the road when their ugly hybrid import gets no better.

I love traveling and I love camping. Yes, our mini-motor home gets 10-11 mpg, which makes it a gas hog. But that doesn't make me an enemy to the earth. RVers are by far the most conservation-minded folks in the USA. We drive around 60 MPH on the interstates while others whiz past us going 80.

I'll bet few people know how to conserve water as well as we do. A motto of the Good Sam Club is to leave a campsite better than you found it. That means not only picking up after ourselves and our pet but others, too.

We have to conserve power, even when hooked up to shore power. I keep a Volt-meter in my kitchen and manage my power usage, which means I identify and turn off power-hungry appliances. Do the hypocritics have any conception how much electricity they use at any given time? Do they capture dish water and reuse it for flushing the toilet? Do they know about treating holding tanks with environmental-friendly chemicals that won't harm septic systems? Do they understand Gross Vehicle Weight and managing their loads to maximize fuel economy? Do they understand stack-cooking to conserve LP?

RVers do.

So please don't suggest that because we own an RV, we're anti-environment. We were conservationists from the beginning.

Camper Cheryl

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

High School Class Reunion

I just returned from my high school reunion. Yes, forty years is a long time, and I'd been feeling old and fat in anticipation. I've gained fifty pounds since my skinny high school years, along with wrinkles and sags. I tried dieting this summer in preparation for the reunion, but lost about nine pounds, total. Oh, well, I wasn't deterred. After all, many I'd be seeing were life-long friends. Surely they wouldn't comment on the deteriorated state of my body, right?

My concerns were unfounded, as it turns out. I arrived, handsome husband in tow, and picked up my name badge (You know, the ones with your name, your maiden name, and a tiny copy of your senior picture on the side) at the registration table, where I was greeted by three familiar faces. (The volunteers who organized our reunion did a terrific job. We had a nice dinner and a dee-jay who played music from the sixties, and a nice area in which to mingle and talk.)

I squinted at name badges then at faces, trying to reconcile the two and jump-start my memory in a millisecond before the other person caught me *LOL * I stopped worrying after I noticed a dozen or so of my classmates squinting at MY name badge and MY face. Since I've spent half of my life in the deep south, I had a decidedly more southern accent than I'd had as a teen, too, which may have thrown off a few from immediately recognizing me.

Then an amazing thing happened. Soon we had reacquainted ourselves with our older versions and forgot all about how we'd changed physically. We talked and looked at baby pictures of kids and grandkids. And dogs, too! We reminisced some of our high school high jinks, and talked about where we'd lived (all over the U.S., as it turns out!), and what our current passions are. One couple follows the rodeo circuit and watches professional bull riding. Another is involved in archaeological and historical preservation. Another share our enthusiasm for old classic cars. Many of us are retired and / or involved in a second career. Nobody at my reunion lives a boring or inactive life!

A good friend commented that it was surprising how we'd turned out to be productive citizens. Our high school alumni include judges, lawyers, dentists, pilots, educators, Secret Service agents, public servants, entrepreneurs, and authors (Me!).

Dozens, unfortunately, have passed away. Every reunion we lose more of our classmates. I wonder how many of us will be around ten years from now?

[View Photo Album]

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Not only is September my wedding anniversary month, but it's also the anniversary of my first published book FULL MOON HONEYMOON. Come reminisce with me at the Wings Authors blog!


Monday, September 03, 2007

My, time flies ...

The month of September has me waxing sentimental. First, hard as it is to believe, my wonderful (Yes, the best guy in the world!) husband and I are celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary. (The photo is from our honeymoon, as you can tell by the hair styles *LOL*) My, time flies when you're having fun.

September, 2007, is also the month in which I'll attend my high school reunion. And it's not my tenth or twenty-fifth. Nope. I won't say which one, but my! Time flies when you're having fun.

There are a number of birthdays this month, too. My baby nephew who's no baby anymore has a birthday the day after his wife's. My twin nieces (OK, technically I'm not their aunt but they call me Aunt Cheri) turn **gasp** the big something-O (I won't tell) on our anniversary. My best friend from junior high and high school also has a birthday that day. Happy Birthday, Carolyne, wherever you are, friend.

So how am I spending most of September? Writing my book (with its looming Dec. 1 deadline) with the Weather Channel on in the background. I live in Florida, and September is, unfortunately, the peak of hurricane season. I'm praying for calm weather even as a category 5 churns in the Caribbean (Felix).

Happy Labor Day, everyone! Now, back to writing. (My, time flies when you're on deadline!!!!)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Plotting: How do you pace your story?

I sold another book! If you've read Restore My Heart, you'll know that one of the hero's siblings is at loose ends at the end of the book. In the ensuing two years, a lot happens and ... well, you'll see. The new book's working title is Reclaim My Life and is a Witness Security Program story. The manuscript is due Dec. 1, and the tentative release date is 2009.
This is one that I haven't actually written yet, so I'll be very busy the next four months. I try to write in a 3-act method, like a stage play. I hope to have act one finished by the end of August. I absolutely must be at the mid-point at the end of September, which is that event in Act II when everything shifts.
Any of you writers use this method? It seems to help my pacing, although it's really just another version of the story arc. If you aren't too busy meeting your own deadline, comment on what tricks you use to write toward your deadline, whether it's a contractual one or self-imposed.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cinema Deja Vu

How does one keep up with blogging? We have website blogs, MySpace blogs, Yahoo 360° blogs, bebo, and so on. Even though I post the same message on all of these, I struggle for something interesting to discuss.

Today being no exception, I've chosen to talk about remakes of movies. We've been watching an updated JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, comparing it to the one 45 or so years ago that starred Pat Boone (among others). The new version has convincing special effects and costumes, but it's just not as much fun as the older film. In its favor are Treat Williams and Bryan Brown, but the plot is darker and edgier. Maybe some films weren't meant for remakes.
Some that come to mind are THE TIME MACHINE (Guy Pierce is great, but the remake was just too serious for me.), THE PARENT TRAP (Again, great casting but just didn't feel as cute and fun as the Haley Mills version, which was a remake of TWICE BLESSED, an old 40s film), and JACKAL (Not bad for an action flick, but DAY OF THE JACKAL was more of an intrigue and a superior story IMO. Having said that, JACKAL has an outstanding performance by Richard Gere).

Others are improved, or at least freshened up. For instance, ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD. Loved the original from the 50s, but also loved the re-make with Danny Glover in the 90s. Both have their charm. PLANET OF THE APES was just as good IMO with Mark Wahlberg (Hey, he's my "friend" on MySpace!) as it was with Roddy McDowell. And Rat Pack fans will disagree, but the remake of OCEAN'S ELEVEN far outshone the original. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt...hell-o! Another remake that far outshined the original (which was a mini-series) is THE BOURNE IDENTITY.

Going back a few years, BODY HEAT, a remake of DOUBLE INDEMNITY (which has since been re-made again!), was an excellent movie. Barbara Stanwyck was a strong actress, but Kathleen Turner (in one of her first roles) turned out a stellar performace in the newer version.

I'm sure you can think of other films that should or shouldn't have been remade. Let me hear from you!


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dressing with Paul Newman?!

Got your attention, I hope!

OK, so Paul the doll is 80, but to me he is still the handsomest and nicest guy in Hollywood. I so love the movie CARS because he's the voice of Doc Hudson, the Hudson Hornet.

Now to the topic at hand. Paul the doll has stayed young and active thanks to the attention he gives his health, particularly in areas of nutrition. I recently hopped on his bandwagon and cleared my kitchen of products with unhealthy additives, especially trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. I'm no health nut, but I do like to eat figure-friendly. Those two ingredients are neither healthy nor figure-friendly.

Yesterday I was at Publix browsing their salad dressings in search of something light but healthy. What a minefield! All the store brands and big name brands were sweetened with you-know-what. The fat free varieties were the worst, listing high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient. Nasty.

Then I saw Paul, winking at me from a lower shelf. I selected a bottle of Lite Ginger Soy and read the label. What a delightful surprise! Nothing but healthful oils and natural sweeteners, weighing in at a mere 35 calories per serving. And, just like the man himself, it's delicious.

I swear this is an unsolicited testimonial. To learn more about Paul's own line of products, visit his website:


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Greetings From Smoky Florida!

Marvelous! I finally figured out how to access the new, improved Blogger! So I'm back. To catch up on what I've been up to lately, visit my redesigned website and check out the Events page for pictures. It's been a very busy year for Cheryl Norman.

Right now I'm voluntarily evacuating the smoke from the fires in north Florida/south Georgia, so I'll catch you later.