Guns, Drugs and Dinero, Writer Calls For Help

Next time a writer calls for help, I’ll be ready with a set answer, “Can I check my schedule and get back with you?”  Especially if the request involves guns, drugs and dinero. How It All Started Let me start at the beginning.  A few weeks ago, my friend, Julie, had cornea and lens replacement right before she was set to release her novel, PILZ. After weeks of working on a cover design with a prior designer, deadlines and obligations got in the way and forced her to search for someone new. That someone was me. I received her email at midnight in Times Roman size 20 font.  Dear God, the surgery made her blind.  But, I think she used this as a way to trick me into helping.  I was just an … [Read more...]

Stacey Gustafson Published NYMB…On Travel!

I am thrilled to announce that my story, “War in the Skies,” will be published March 26, 2013 in the anthology series, Not Your Mother’s Book…On Travel. This is my second story in the Not Your Mother’s Book series. Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel is an anthology filled with true, first-person travel adventure stories. From the jungles of Central America to the highlands of Africa, from the charms of Europe to the mysteries of North America, from the sacred sites of Asia to the high seas of the Caribbean, these stories will delight and entertain you. Whether you are an armchair traveler or an on-the-road-again adventurer, we invite you to vicariously journey around the world with us. … [Read more...]

Beware of Free Coupons, Stranger Bearing Gifts

I know one thing about life:  free coupons are not worth it.   Let me explain. In my kitchen, my mother-in-law and I caught up on the lastest gossip.  At the same time, I shuffled through piles of paper in our junk drawer and deep-sixed a stack of coupons.  She jumped up, stunned, and saved them from the recycling bin. Woman, keep your hands out of my trash. “Don’t worry.  It’s just a bunch of free coupons, not worth it,” I said, wiggling my head in disbelief. “I have never found that to be the case,” she said, hands on hips.  “Free is free.” Maybe I should have prefaced my statement. Last summer, neighbor’s family was visiting and she expressed her concerns to me.  “I … [Read more...]

Men Speak 7000 Words Per Day?

Do men speak 7000 words per day and women use 20,000?  Need proof?  Check out my guy’s typical text messages. Let me set the mood.  It’s around 6 p.m. on a Tuesday and I’m getting hungry. Texting “Are you coming home for dinner?” I texted, carefully spelling out each word with my thumbs. “Ya,” he texted back in a microsecond. “What do you want to eat?” “Anything.” “Okay, see you tonight.” “:)” See what I mean? Actual Words And when it came to using actual words in a live conversation, it was more of the same.  But the moment I turned on a blender, dust buster, hair dryer or hand mixer, he became a human magpie. After breakfast, I asked, “What do you want to do … [Read more...]

I Hate Brussels Sprouts

I hate Brussels sprouts.  My aversion to “The Sprouts” goes back to elementary school days when my parents and grandparents insisted I follow the Clean Plate Club and eat every bite of food placed in front of me and that included Brussels sprouts. As a kid, I wasn’t considered a picky eater.  I choked down chicken liver with onions, Vienna sausages, overcooked vegetables, tuna noodle casserole, fried bologna, and canned ham.  I ate it all.  But disgusting tiny, green, soggy, lettuce balls?  Barf! Even the name alone irked me, “Brussels sprouts. “  What’s with the capital B and the extra ‘s’ at the end?  No other vegetable gets the right to have a capital.  It’s so uppity. For … [Read more...]

Grandparents Return Gifts, Even Plants

My grandparents return gifts, even plants.  Their excuses for returning our gifts ranged from too large, too tight, wrong color, useless, costly, confusing or purchased under the wrong zodiac sign. All our presents had been returned for 40 years. It was good etiquette to accept a gift graciously but my grandparents were the exception.  “Return it, dear.  We don’t need it,” Grandmother said in her girlish voice.  “Save your money.  You keep it,” growled Grandpa, tugging up his baggy trousers. Each year, my mother continued to be disappointed and surprised by their insensitivity.  “Mom, they do this every time,” I said.  “They hate everything we give them.  Stop buying them stuff.  Give gift … [Read more...]

Going Back to My Childhood Home

Nothing was more frustrating than going back to my childhood home and discovering that no matter how much I’ve changed, everything there remained the same.  Floorboards creaked.  Front door squeaked.  Kitchen sink leaked.  And my mother was not bothered in the least. Sleepover Gone Bad Traveling to the Midwest in the winter usually results in flight cancellations and delays.  This trip was no different.  Three schedule changes later, I arrived at my mother’s front door.  She grabbed me by the shoulders and smothered me with hugs and kisses.  After talking with her for hours, I needed to break away and get rid of the airplane grime. “I’m gonna take a fast shower,” I told my … [Read more...]

Waste Not, Want Not

Growing up during the Great Depression, my late grandparents were the original recyclers and frugal beyond measure.  They believed absolutely everything deserved a second chance at a new life, from a piece of string to an old pair of shoes. Perhaps it’s time to learn from an old saying, “waste not, want not.”  Our grandparent’s penny-pinching philosophy may be worth another look in today’s throwaway society. Below is a list of “How To” tips from a booklet I found among my grandmother’s possessions, Household Hints, dated 1950.  Some of the suggestions are worthy of a second look even in 2013.  Others are a funny glimpse into the past.  You decide. How to Be a Wise Housewife Fluff … [Read more...]