Exciting Announcement–As Promised!!!!

This announcement really belongs more to Hieu Tran than to me. He and I are collaborating on his memoir. Hieu  escaped Vietnam, alone, when he was twelve and came to live in the United States. His book is about his life, especially his experience getting to the United States and what happened after he got to the United States. It is also motivational as Hieu  has learned valuable life lessons we can use in our lives. Stay tuned for updates.

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I have a big announcement to make about a project. I will be posting about it on Monday.

Contest Entries

I just entered two stories in the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition.  I will know on or before February 28, 2017, if either of my entries place. I worked on setting and character development with these two, so they should stand a better chance than last time. I will keep you posted.

Beyonders: A World Without Heroes

I am hooked on this book series. It has really dark humor. I have laughed out loud a few times while reading the first book–and I don’t generally laugh out loud when I am reading. It is a great adventure story for kids 6th grade and up.

Contest Results

I did not win the contest, or even place in one of the categories. I hypothesize three reasons:

  1.  I did not establish the setting well enough.
  2. I did not describe the characters well enough.
  3. I do not have a big enough audience to win a prize of this size.

What do we do when we lose a contest?

Fix the story and enter it into another contest. I LOVE this story.

Contest Results

I entered a short story in the Writer’s Digest short story competition.  The winners will be announced “on or before December 31.” Needless to say, I have been keeping my phone close and checking my email at least once a day.  I LOVE the story I entered, so I have my hopes up. I will let you know either way.

On Rejection

I just received a rejection of a story I knew was just PERFECT for this one magazine. It is super disappointing. This is my third rejection since July. Which means:  I haven’t submitted nearly enough stories to nearly enough magazines! I should be on rejection Number 20 by now! I need to get going!

I Want to be An Author

When I graduated high school, I wanted, more than anything, to be an author. I had a writing college on the east coast picked out. My parents, however, didn’t see any money in writing. They convinced me to go to a four year university to study. They said I could write on the side. I am glad that they did that because my life has turned out alright.

However, if you are a young adult, look into all of the careers associated with writing before you make your final decision. Editors for magazines and publishing companies make a lot of money. Self-employed editors can also make a decent income if they can generate enough clients. Freelance writing can bring in some cash. There are all kinds of writing careers besides writing books. And, one of these careers can bring you connections and experiences that will help you get that book published and marketed so that more people will take a look at your work.

I am a self-published author. I would like to have an agent and be published by a publishing company some day.  If you have any questions about my experiences so far, leave a comment below.

Beat the Christmas Rush

I wasn’t sure if the egg was real or not.

A friend’s post on Facebook caught my eye. Actually, what caught my eye was the picture. It was of a large egg with something obviously pecking its way out. Although the egg looked too large to be a natural egg, the woman’s post said something about waiting for it to hatch, so I wasn’t sure.

I “commented” a question, “What is it?”

Her reply, “An ‘Owlicorn,’ a cross between an owl and a unicorn.”

Well, that is something to see. I must admit I still wasn’t sure if I was watching a special species of bird hatching or if it was a toy. I waiting in breathless anticipation for the next post.

Something was obviously pecking its way out of the shell.
Something was obviously pecking its way out of the shell.

My friend said her daughter was determined that the egg would hatch soon. In my experience, an egg hatches when an egg hatches, and nothing can be done to hurry it along.

Finally, the Owlicorn hatched!

It Hatched!
It Hatched!

My friend told me that this is an interactive toy. Cool! I want one!

These toys are called “Hatchimals®.” You can purchase an egg at Toys R Us®.

Having perused the Toys R Us® website, I found that many species are available. In addition to the Owlicorn, there is a Draggle and a Penguala. All of them are super cute!

How does it work? When the child gets the egg, s/he plays with it. The playing stimulates the creature inside to begin pecking at the shell. Once the egg is hatched, the Hatchimal goes through three different maturity stages: Baby, Toddler, and Kid. It can learn walking and many other skills from your child.*

This sounds like a fun pet for any child, especially for a child who cannot have a live animal due to allergies, rental regulations, etc. My friend’s kids love theirs.

If you decide to get one for your kid, or for yourself, please post your experience below. Post a pic if you like. I would love to see what hatches out of everyone’s eggs.


*Information taken from the  Toys R Us® website. Toys R Us® does not endorse, recommend, or otherwise advertise on this blog. The opinions expressed here are solely the opinions of the author.


Stranger Things

Stranger Reeper
Stranger Reepicheep

If you haven’t seen Stranger Things on Netflix, stop reading this, go get yourself some popcorn and some soda pop and watch it. You might as well schedule some pizza delivery and prepare to sit in front of the tele for the next 8 hours because once you start, you will not want to stop. (There are 8 episodes which average 42 to 52 minutes each; however, eight hours will allow time for bathroom breaks, Snapchat updates, and Instagram posts.)

If you grew up in the ’80’s, watch out because the show will bring back memory after memory about how life was back in the day. If you didn’t grow up in the ’80’s, this post will answer some questions you may have about the show.


  1.  You may wonder about the authorities incessantly searching for and calling for Will Byers instead of putting his face on a milk carton. In the ’80’s, people stealing kids just wasn’t that common. Although the milk carton campaign started in 1984 and a lot of kids did go missing due to abduction, people still thought of a child being kidnapped as something that “happened to somebody else.” People felt safe in small town neighborhoods. The natural assumption was that Will had run away or had gotten lost.
  2. Nancy is really too skinny to correctly represent an ’80’s girl. Girls, for the most part, weighed more and were curvier. If you don’t believe me, watch the original Elisbeth Shue in The Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio, also see Mollie Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, and Mia Sara in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
  3. Nancy’s clothes, and everybody else’s, are spot-on. Girls actually wore dresses on a day to day basis and liked it. We wore blouses and tied thin ribbons around the neck with a bow, then layered a thin sweater over it.
  4. Barb’s glasses are the best. As you can see, I had a pair of those, or two or three. It was what everybody word: round and half as big as your face.
My brother and me in our '80's hair and glasses.
My brother and me in our ’80’s hair and glasses.
  1. If a teen girl in the ’80’s returned home super late, the mom wouldn’t have said, “You can talk to me.” A mom would have said, “I don’t care where you were, you are late. You are grounded for a week.” And after finding out the girl had been with a boy, the mom would have said, “I am making an appointment to get you a pregnancy test. You are grounded for life, and you will never see that boy again.” (One slight deviation from reality and how the show portrays reality.) By the way, the show is not really clear on whether or not the teen couple actually have sex. I like that as a viewer–not to watch a teen sex scene and not to know how far they actually went.
  2. Speaking of which, back then, if memory serves, Victoria’s Secret was for grown women with extra spending money for fancy lingerie. It was not for the everyday woman. Women wore plain (mostly white) bras and pretty much plain underwear, although some of the panties were colored or had little designs on them. The girl’s bra in the show is fairly representative of the choice we women had back them.
  3. Although we did not have colored bras, we did have colored toilet paper. Blue, Pink, Yellow (?) I don’t remember all of the colors available. People had toilet paper to coordinate with the color schemes of their bathrooms.
  4. I don’t remember boys having hair like Steve’s hair–except in the movie Sixteen Candles. It was either the crew cut or the bowl haircut as demonstrated by Jonathan Byers, Will Byers, Mike Wheeler, and Dustin Henderson. The rest of the hair is spot-on, especially Barbara’s “Dorothy Hamill” hair and Nancy’s mom’s “Feathered” hair (Again, see picture above.)
  5. Dungeons and Dragons was huge. It was also considered evil. Many parents forbid their kids to play it. I wish I had had access to a group so I could have played. I would have been into the cosplay and the whole bit.
  6. We didn’t say, “Seriously.” We would say, “Are you for real?” We also said, “Well, duh,” instead of “obviously.” If someone was running fast, he (she) was bookin’. Good looking guys were foxes and stud muffins and hunks. Pretty girls were foxes and babes.
  7. I don’t know where Mrs. Byers and the pre-schooler go all day. Back then, most moms didn’t work. The show never says where they go off to. I don’t think Mrs. Byers has a job because she comes home with groceries in the middle of the day in one episode. Moms, by the way, really did bake all of those goodies for Christmas.

Stranger Things has two sexual situations that I can think of, but it doesn’t really show much. Violence is minimal although there is some.  It is a show that holds appeal for all ages.

Two aspects of this show really stand out to me.

Number One is that the teens are portrayed as teens really are: conflicted, immature, caring, curious, intelligent, and too brave for their own good. Not perfect people, but not bad people.

Number Two is that the adults and kids eventually work together. The adults are not the enemy.

If you have any memories of how things were in the ’80’s, or if you have something you would like to share about this show, please write it in the “comments” below.

(I couldn’t get my numbers to go to 5 after the picture. My daughters are sleeping, so it is going to have to stay the way it is.)

And, yes, I did that pic of Reepicheep myself. Pretty gnarly, huh?