Category Archives: Creative Writing Comments

Parenting Your Child, Parenting Yourself–Children’s Schedules

With the school year approaching, and my writing becoming more prolific, my husband and I need schedules, not only for ourselves, but also for our children. This post presupposes  a couple of things: first, you, as the parent, have established appropriate authority over your child, and two, that you have already trained your child to do whatever jobs which you schedule them to do.

At the beginning of the summer, my husband and I agreed on a schedule for our children–one adult daughter who just graduated from college and is living at home temporarily, and one teen daughter who will be a senior in high school. Since then, we have been working with our daughters, and each other, to make the schedule fit our needs.

Notice, first and foremost, the schedules for our daughters fit the needs of my husband and me, not the needs of our children. That is important. The parents have to be the first and foremost consideration in the schedule. Of course, you will see that your children’s needs are met, but too often, parents make their schedules revolve around their children, neglecting their own needs.

The schedule is in the form of a chart. Each daughter has her own chart with a rotating schedule of jobs. Here is a sample:

Daughter One
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Morning Jobs Finish Before Leaving House


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash
Afternoon Jobs Finish Before 8:00 p.m. Unless Otherwise Noted
Make Supper: Must Be Done By 6:00 p.m. Wash/Dry/Put Away One Load Towels Clean Downstairs Bathroom Vacuum Living Area


Daughter Two
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Morning Jobs Finish Before Leaving House
Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Clean Cat Litter Boxes/Empty Trash Clear/Load


Afternoon Jobs Finish Before 8:00 p.m. Unless Otherwise Noted
Vacuum Living Area Make Supper: Must Be Done by 6:00 p.m. Clean Upstairs Bathroom Wash/Dry/Put Away One Load Towels

Note: The schedule is flexible. If one daughter has a commitment on the night she is scheduled to make supper, she can change to a different night–as long as she works that out with my husband and me ahead of time.

Once the younger daughter starts extra-curricular activities, the schedule can work around her homework and activities. The older daughter’s schedule can work around her part-time job.

The above schedule assumes a few things. First, my daughters do all of their own laundry. They also clean up their own kitchen messes. They don’t leave books, papers, etc., lying around the house. They also have jobs feeding the animals, etc., which I didn’t list on the chore chart simply because they have been doing those for so long that they are assumed.

If you want to establish a schedule/routine, for your family, I suggest starting now, before school starts, or as soon after school starts as possible. Watch for my next post, “What are age appropriate expectations for children?”





Sh**in’ Bricks–OOPS!–Sh**in’ Rocks

So, I have Hieu Tran’s paperwork–Yep! The original documents–the very papers he brought from Vietnam when he was twelve, the papers from when he was adopted, from when he became an American citizen–THE ORIGINAL PAPERS!

Am I nervous to be in possession of such valuable documents?

For the answer, please play the above “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” clip.

I went to a professional place to have copies made, impressing upon them the value of the documents. They came back to me unharmed.

If something does happen to the papers, I do have contingency plans:

This pic actually goes with #2, but I don’t have a pic for #1, so I put it here.
  1. I keep the papers with me in a fire-proof lock-box at all times. If the house catches fire, I will throw the box with the papers out the window and yell to the firemen, “If I don’t make it, give this to Hieu Tran!”


2. If my dog, or my friend’s dog (See pic.), gets the papers and destroys them, I will blame my brother John. Here is the story. We were at a birthday party.  When the candles were lit, my brother decided to do his version of St. Elmo’s Fire. He shot hairspray across the flames. The resulting fireball caught Hieu’s papers on fire, and they burned.


3. I can always use the classic “Alien Abduction” excuse. I was abducted. Space Aliens took the papers. Now, they are coming after Hieu.

I am in the process of arranging a hand-off of the papers at an undisclosed location. Until then, just refer to the “Christmas Vacation” video–that about sums it up.

Thank you for reading! Please “Like” my Facebook author page by clicking on the link in the margin. Please also visit Hieu Tran’s memoir page, , and join Hieu Tran’s Facebook memoir group.

See Ya!

I Love A Mystery–First Post on Hieu’s Website

Plot Holes

This post is linked to my first post on Hieu Tran’s Website. It involves plot holes and solving the Great Mysteries of Hieu’s Past.

Click on the following link, or copy and paste it into your browser.


As always, please “Like” my Facebook page and subscribe to this blog. Please do the same for Hieu when you visit his site.

Thank you for reading!

See ya!


What is the Theme of Your Story? A Guide for Authors

If you click on the words above^, they will take you to an article and quiz on “Theme.” Since Hieu’s memoir has multiple themes, sharing this post is quite appropriate. Plus, I hired the editor for my Old Testament Romance through Reedsy, (  so if you need professional editing, check it out.

The Secrets

This contains spoilers, so please watch the film before reading this if you don’t want to know what happens.

I am working on an Old Testament romance. In researching this story, I am hoping to watch some Jewish movies to learn more about the Jewish culture. The Secrets is a movie I hoped would help me. It is entirely in Hebrew with English subtitles.

Although I watched the entire movie, I am disappointed in this film for several reasons.

1. It never tells how the woman killed the man.

2. It portrays the Jewish religion as a cold and uncaring society run by harsh, unmerciful men.  When the murderess approaches the rabbi to ask him to help her seek God’s forgiveness, we see him hollering at her and driving her away. Later, when the girls try to help this woman, they are threatened with expulsion.

What we don’t see, but find out later in the movie, is that the woman is not truly sorry for sinning against God, even though at the beginning she says she is. Some people may argue that what she did wasn’t sinful. If a person does something and believes it is sinful, then it is sinful because the person is deliberately going against what s/he believes God does not want. The woman thought what she did was sinful because she talks about it and says she cannot regret it. Also, earlier in the movie, the woman states that the very same things were sinful.

In our society, we may have difficulty understanding that the girls face expulsion, not for trying to help the woman, but for doing what the Jewish religion specifically states (in the movie) to be a man’s job. “Well, that’s not right,” our society might say. That is truly not ours to judge unless we are Jewish.

3.  The girl who “snitches” on the other girls, is actually in the right, not for snitching, but for telling the girls that their ceremony is blasphemy and for trying to stop the ceremony. This girl is portrayed as a cruel, tattling hypocrite who does not care for the woman or for the girls. She actually cares a lot and wants to prevent all of them from sinning against God. And, she is right, a person cannot be forgiven if s/he isn’t sorry for what s/he did.

On a separate note, I do admire the courage of the main characters. They risked expulsion to give the woman some measure of peace before she died. I feel the lady in charge of the girls’ school would have been more lenient toward the girls, and even approved of the girls’ actions, if the rabbi had not become so angry and threatened to shut down the school.

For updates on my progress on the OldTestament romance, please “Like” my Facebook page and/or subscribe to my website.

I welcome any positive or negative feedback on the above review as long as it is stated in a respectful way, so let me know what you think.

Thank you for reading, and See Ya!

Project Memoir: Interviews

Hieu and Me Working on the Memoir Over Coffee

Hieu and I get together regularly to do interviews for his memoir. This generally includes me turning on a digital recorder to record his answers to my prepared questions.

Hieu has also given me a list of people to interview. I also include them.

So far, I have interviewed his former teacher, Mike. (I am only using first names unless the person is a public figure.)

One of the first teachers to have Hieu in class when Hieu started school after being adopted.

One of his best friends, David.

David and Hieu became friends when Hieu first started school, and they are still friends today.

And another former teacher/guidance counselor, Mayor Brenda Stadholt.

Mayor Brenda Stadsholt was Hieu’s guidance counselor and teacher.

Some people remember a lot about Hieu, some don’t remember as much. Sometimes one sentence, one memory, opens doors to topics which HIeu and I have not considered.

When I interview these people, I set the recorder on the table, turn it on, and say, “Tell me about Hieu.” Inevitably, all of the people touch on the themes of Hieu’s book, which, according to them, he lives out in his everyday life. They talk about these themes without me mentioning them, which tells me Hieu is the genuine article.

After the interview, I transcribe the person’s dialogue into my computer. Later, I will weave them into Hieu’s memoir: a story everyone will benefit from reading.

Please “Like” my Facebook page by clicking on the link in the margin. Also, please visit Hieu’s website: and join his Facebook group for the latest news about the memoir.

Thank you for reading, and See Ya!

Three Shades of Midnight by Hargrove Perth

Three Shades of Midnight by Hargrove Perth

My author/friend Hargrove Perth has a new book out called “Three Shades of Midnight.” If you have some time, please go to the following link to vote for her book to be chosen by kindlescout.





I spent about an hour and a half yesterday reading two books:  This Must Be My Brother  by Leann Thieman and Carol Dey  and The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975–1992
by Nghia M. Vo .  I vaguely remember the first story, so I either read the book when I was younger or watched a show on television about it. The story takes place over the course of two days and is a fast, easy read. The second book is more in-depth. I am probably going to have to read it two or three times to really understand what it is saying.

Writing a book takes a lot more than just sitting down and putting words on paper. Any book, even a fiction book, takes time, research, planning, and time. If you are writing a book, give yourself time to make it the best it possibly can be before publishing it. Taking the time and necessary steps will be worth it, to you, and to your readers.

We Were Soldiers

As part of writing Hieu’s memoir, I have been researching Vietnam’s history, especially the Vietnam war because those events shaped Hieu’s life directly until he was twelve and indirectly after that.

Yesterday, a friend and I watched “We Were Soldiers.” My friend commented that the hardest part of watching it was knowing that the men were giving their lives for such a senseless war. She admired the soldiers for fighting; she said that their sacrifice means something important. My friend didn’t say exactly what she thinks it means. I think it means that we are a brave, courageous people. I admire every person who is or who has ever been an American soldier. They are undertaking one of the bravest, most selfless jobs a person can do.

One of the people this movie portrays is journalist Joseph L. Galloway, who was present at la Drang Valley, the first major American-Viet Cong battle of Vietnam.  Even though he was not a soldier, he earned a Bronze Star for Valor for rescuing a wounded soldier during the battle. ( Editor, From the front lines of Ia Drang Valley: ‘Killing, dying and suffering indelibly marked us all’, Stripes.comNovember 10, 2015.)

Galloway and Lt Col Hal G. Moore went on to write the book “We Were Soldiers Once and Young.”

(My computer won’t let me continue the above paragraph, so I am starting a new one.) I fully intend to purchase and read his book. I also hope to find his collected Vietnam journalist’s works.

Until I started researching, I had always thought of the Viet Cong as heartless, cruel animals without human feelings. The more I study the war, the more I am realizing that they were real people with real feelings. They loved their families and cared about their children and wanted basically the same things most people want. The movie shows this in one poignant scene.

I highly recommend watching this movie.

Meeting Cassondra Coulter

Last night I traveled to the Carlin-Ingersoll Public Library, Canton, IL, to hear breakout novelist Cassondra Coulter talk about her experiences publishing her first book: Broken Silence: Book I.

In spite of the fact that I am not into witchcraft, her reading of the first page drew me in and left me wanting to explore all that this book has to offer.

Main character Anna Shaw”s first words to us are not about witchcraft, not about personal tragedy, not about love lost. Her first words are about something almost every woman wants from the moment of birth: a mother’s love. She speaks of a deep desire for her mother’s love and to be a source of pride to her mother. Anna shares her secret fear, one that resonates with many women: that she has not become the daughter her mother had hoped to have.

Author Cassondra Coulter’s settings are so accurately portrayed, that one reader actually recognized one of the places in the book as a local point of interest. That is one of the greatest compliments an author can receive.

A huge bonus to this talk is that Cassondra has the speech and mannerisms of Jennifer Lawrence. Her voice is musically warm, and her delivery added humor and spice.

I plan to reserve an afternoon to savor this, the first in a series of books, by Cassondra Coulter.

Her book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Also, request it at your local library.

In case you are interested, here is the link: