Reading headlines for entertainment

When I write, I’m always conscious of events in my novels not seeming contrived. You know, “that would never happen” situations that readers would find too unbelievable in a book that wasn’t SciFi or paranormal or magical realism.

In one of my breaks for research (a WIDE open term for what I do when I’m not writing), I tripped across the following headlines (in italics). I thought I’d share them as evidence that truth IS often stranger than fiction…and, in some cases, unsettling.

In no particular order:

Olympic Village stocked with 110 thousand condoms (CNN) Is there a new Olympic sport of which we’re not aware? That amounts to 37 per athlete for the seventeen days. Judicious use, I suppose? But since outdoor sex is banned, that might help….

The internet of dildos is here and it’s vulnerable as hell (Mashable) This is NOT related to the headline above, and I didn’t read the article to know if I should be upset or elated about their vulnerability.

Jeopardy contestants couldn’t answer a single football question. (SB Nation). For shame! Especially if you live in SEC Nation.

Hawaii twin accused of diving off cliff to kill sister is committed of murder (Fox News) I suspect a novel with this premise with be in  our futures.

Kid gets stuck in claw machine (SkyNews) He retrieved his stuffed football prize, so he’ll think the whole experience paid off.

Titusville, Fla., firefighters work to get boy out of a claw machine in a restaurant. (Titusville, Fla., Fire Department)

People on Instagram criticized CardiB for having body hair, but her fans clapped back (BuzzFeed) CardiB,24, sings “Bodak Yellow,” her debut which was a #1 hit in September. I’d post the meaning of “bodak” (it has to do with a cow’s tushy and #2), but I suggest you go to Urban Dictionary if you must know the exact definition. As for the song lyrics, well, if you omit the profanity and the sexual references, you’re left with about three dozen articles (as in parts of speech) and a few non-offensive nouns.

Religious leaders in Senegal say Rihanna is Illuminati (Complex) At first, I thought the headline meant to say “illuminated,” but no.

Naked robber not guilty by reason of insanity. (Fox) Duh.

Man who wed 6 women charged with marriage fraud. (AOL) Duh again. Plus, that’s a hell of a lot of alimony and/or child support.

NASA lost contact with a satellite 12 years ago. An amateur just found its signal (The Washington Post). We hope Elon Musk‘s Telsa Roadster just launched from Falcon Heavy will not be involved in a head-on collision with it.

(Photo published by CNN Tech)

If you haven’t seen the video of this launch, I encourage you to do so. It’s spectacular.

And, now, it’s back to writing for me…Writing fiction, wherein I tell plausible lies.

Seven Random Musings on Day 2 of 2016

A few random musings on this second day of 2016:

1. Yesterday, I called DirectTV to change the credit card for our automatic pay. Of course, the first voice belongs to the insistent automaton gate-keeper who no longer allows a direct connect to Customer Service without providing a reason she deems valid.

The bigger shock was that speaking to a human to make the change would cost $5.00. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Something about having to pay for human contact just strikes me as prostitutional…I’m asking for customer service, not customer servicing.

2. I’ve started a number of 30-day challenges (#planwithmechallenge, scripture writing plan, infinitepossibilitiesproject and probably others I’ve already forgotten) which are all motivational and affirming and enlightening, but with my commitments, I’m afraid it’s going to take me ninety days to finish them.

3. I’m becoming an Instagram junkie. If Facebook and Twitter are keeping attendance, I’ve been truant. I still post there, but usually by default from when I post on Insta.

4. We’ve moved, so no more Views from the Bywater Balcony (posted on Instagram). I miss my balcony, but for a number of reasons better discussed later, we’ve exchanged it for a view of a park with a duck pond.


We’re also now about two blocks away from Walmart. Walking there means buying less because it’s a beast to schlepp too much back home.

5. I’m excited about this year of writing…a book for Amazon’s Waterfall Press that’s scheduled for publication in October, finishing Digging Up Dirt781FB123-6A77-4445-A98F-DAD39ADA00CA, which has been delayed due to my contract, and several more ideas that I’m anxious to start.

6. I’ve been invited to the 2016 Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends Weekend, and it’s such great fun to be around readers and writers and the town of Nacogdoches. More to come about that!

7. Bullet Journals (see more HERE and HERE)

New Year + Old Me = Yet to be Determined


In 2015, I celebrated:

  • our son’s marriage and gaining a daughter-in-law
  • spending time at the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriends Weekend
  • meeting new writers
  • meeting new readers
  • a weekend with writer friends
  • spending time with my children
  • a contract offer from Amazon
  • my husband recovering from two surgeries (well, make that one…still working on the other one)
  • fun times with old friends
  • Instagramming
  • yoga pants
  • Pero (all natural, coffee substitute)
  • every day I woke up breathing

And you?

The Lazarus Blog Post

For some reason, the posts I’ve composed in my head for the past four months or so have not materialized on my blog. Or anywhere, for that matter…

I’m sure there are at least five or six of you who’ve been wondering where the hell I’ve been.


  • My oldest and youngest, both sons, gifted me with two beautiful daughters-in law. Our family has now expanded to ten adults (including Ken and me) and six dogs. Pictures will be coming!
  • I’m not working quite as often as I used to at the veterinary clinic, but I still tag along with Ken on emergency calls and on those occasional days when the staff is desperate.
  • We now have two vacation rentals. One is the cottage on our property that, after three years of renovation and haggling with the Historical/Hysterical Commission, is finally finished.


The other property is the apartment in the rear of our home where my brother and his partner lived. They bought their own home and, though I’m happy for them, I do miss their company, cooking and decorating skills!


So, now I’m truly a Domestic Diva…you know when you get excited about discovering the Mopnado (and, I’m not kidding, it’s AWESOME) and your BFF is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, you’ve reached a new stage in your life.

Oh, and I’m writing…yes, that author/writer thing I do…I’m working on the second book in the Magnolia Hills Garden Club series, tentatively titled Digging Up Dirt. My delightful designer, Melissa of Monark Design Services, and I are still tossing around ideas for the cover. This one is from LamarAnn’s point of view. And if you don’t know who she is, you can meet her in the first novella, All They Want for Christmas. If you have any cover ideas, pass them on!

I have other books brewing, one in particular that I’m wiggly excited about, but haven’t yet  pulled it together enough yak about it…As soon as I can, I’ll spill.

  • I’m having fun on Instagram (I’m there as cballan) with my daily View from the Balcony.(#viewfromthebywaterbalcony or #viewfromthebalcony). I re-started the photos after people shared that they missed them. Great to know that the dog and I weren’t the only ones seeing them!

I promise every photo is shot from the actual balcony of my house, and I’m surprising myself that I’ve not run out of pictures to take.

Here’s one from a few days ago. This was the first time two pigeons have ever landed on our railing when we were sitting outside. They spend almost all of their time flying into the upstairs of the house across the street through a broken window.



And, the dog…here’s a photo of Herman. Ken rescued him(my husband is the Schindler of the animal shelter), and now he’s rescuing us.Herman takes me for walks more times of the day than I want to count, sniffs  7,592 blades of grass before he pees for 3.1 seconds, and loves to sit on the balcony in the rocker and watch the world go by. And bark every time it does.


Last night I left my office to refresh my coffee, and when I returned, couldn’t find the scone from Good Eggs I’d just warmed. I was sure I’d left it on my desk. (Food, I’m sure about. The two pairs of glasses I still can’t find, not so much.). Herman looked a bit too hunkered down in his bed… because he had the entire scone in his mouth. Another lesson learned: my desk is no longer a safe spot for tempting food.

So…what’s up with you?

Until Friday (Of this month and this year)…