Writing

IWA Podcast interview

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the International Writers Association’s Robert J. Moore. In November I joined this group and met Robert, a truly kind and, I must say, the happiest guy I’ve ever met.

Stop by the podcast and follow it to get it in your inbox. Give it a review on iTunes and pass it along to friends and others you know who might like it or benefit from the great info there. Thanks for listening!

Click here to listen to the interview or click the IWA logo below.

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Serious stuff

Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee is released!

April 30, 2015

Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee is finally here!trollops

I am delighted beyond belief to be one of the lucky few authors whose essays were picked to appear in this anthology.  It’s a collection of hilarious and heartwarming stories about what we’ve learned from our mothers.

Let’s face it.  We’ve all got some story somewhere about what our mothers taught us, whether is was about shaving, parenting or dealing with bullies.  This collection is sure to make a great gift for Mother’s Day!

Be sure to run out and grab a copy or two of this book.  You can find it on Amazon here.  It’s available in paperback and Kindle.

Really love it?  Join the Facebook page for Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee!

Serious stuff

Pound Found Hound

When Jimmy was two he announced to his dad and I that he wanted a dog.  Since I was pregnant with his brother and in no hurry to have a third critter peeing all over my house, we told Jimmy he’d have to wait until he was five.

rosie
Drawing by Miranda Gargasz

So it came to be that nine years ago my husband and I made good on the promise we made our then toddler.

Jim and I can’t stand the thought of euthanizing a healthy pet just because it has the unfortunate luck to be housed the longest at a too-full pound.  We had decided years before that our pets would be rescued from said establishment, so off we went.

Jim let it be known far and wide that we were going to be getting a male dog who would guard and protect his family. (Insert muy macho gorilla grunt here, a la Tim Allen.)  Girl dogs were too timid, my canine chauvinist shared.  I just rolled my eyes.  I had a female dog growing up and she was more protective than either of the male dogs we’d had.

Walking into the pound for Jimmy was like Christmas morning, eyeballing kennel after kennel of desperate critters wanting to be freed.  He visited every cage as I stood in the corner scratching my arms like a crack addict in need of a fix.  The place was crawling with brown eyes–my personal kryptonite.  I began hatching a plan to free them all.  We’d just buy a farm with all the money we didn’t have and start our own animal sanctuary.

“We can only have ONE,” Jim said, his face about two inches from my own, a weak attempt at breaking my line of sight.

He was right, though.  I’d eventually have become the Crazy Dog Lady who was eaten by a pack of her own furry children.  Not the headline I’m looking for.

There was one dog that had my attention.  It looked like an overgrown beagle.  It was the only one not adding to the cacophony of barking going on.  My heart instantly reached out to that dog because it was the flesh and blood representation of the stuffed Pound Puppy I’d had as a girl, right down to the brown patch of fur over the eye.  Imagine my delight when that was the dog Jimmy picked.

The kids and I stayed inside to fill out paperwork while Jim took our new dog for a walk before stuffing us into our too-small Tempo.  While he was gone Jimmy picked out the name “Rosie,” a thinly veiled shout out to Caillou, the annoying cartoon I was sure was going to make my brain melt out of my ears someday.

“We can’t name a boy Rosie,” Jim said when he came back in.

“Well, unless HE is missing something vital, HE is a SHE,” I said.IMG_1540

“Miranda,” he whispered, “when boy dogs get fixed they snip their nuts.”

“I know,” I whispered back.  “This one is missing a penis.”

Jim grumbles even now about how he was tricked into buying a female dog.  But he also admits that she has shattered his dog chauvinist ideals, too.  Jehovah’s Witnesses give our yard a wide berth and the mail carrier wears diapers meant for astronauts, such is the ferocity of Rosie’s attack at the front door.  She is kind to most visitors unless they smell like a cat.  The unlucky feline owners are greeted with a throaty growl of disapproval.  She is not fond of other dogs unless they clearly accept her as the alpha.  She’s been known to draw blood to get that point across.  She is very territorial when it comes to her bed and her crate, going so far as to bark, growl or give the evil eye to anyone who should come too close to her two favored nests.

Jim laughs at me, often remarking that we bought a dog for Jimmy that became mine the minute we came home.  I vehemently deny that I’m her preferred human, even in the face of absolute proof.  I will admit to loving her every bit as much as my children.  She’s my daughter who happens to wear a fur coat.

It’s been a rough year for Rosie.  She’s had three surgeries in the last ten months to battle abscesses she had on her back and neck, the most recent being this past week.  The vet told us that this is it.  If this doesn’t work, there isn’t anything more he can do.

When Jim brought our ten-year-old, seventy-five pound hound home from this latest surgery, I sobbed harder than the last two times.  The first two surgeries involved shaving and stitches and drains.  This last one:  staples.  She looks like they cut her in half and stapled her back together.  She’s wearing a brace on her neck that makes her look like a whiplash victim.  She laid on her bed and moaned even though she’s on two pain meds.

Rosie is tough, though.  Two days after surgery she was back to her spunky self, escaping her brace twice now and growling and barking at the mail carrier, though with markedly less zeal.  She sleeps a lot more than usual and looks so very pitiful.

For now, I wake every morning at 5 a.m., wrap a pain pill in a slice of cheese, and give it to my snack crazy, pound found hound.  I look into those sad, brown eyes and whisper, “That’s my girl.”

 

 

Writing

Blog Hop: What drives this writer?

Author-friend Julie Frayn invited me to a blog hop.  Among her books are It Isn’t Cheating If He’s Dead, Suicide City and the recently released Mazie Baby.  She’s a hard-working accountant by day and an author by night.  Did I mention she’s won awards for her work?  Yeah.  She’s tearing up the writing world as an indie author.  Keep an eye on her.  You’ll want to say you knew her when….julie

So, the rules.  There are questions to answer and a “torch” to pass on.

1.  What are you working on?

Currently, I’m working on raising two boys, one of which is a teen, so, you know, that should be enough.  But it’s not.  I spend what little free time I have writing essays about the above mentioned boys, my husband, my dog, and pretty much any other innocent person who should cross my path and get my attention.  Back in November I suffered from a pretty heinous case of writer’s block because of a butt load of issues.  My writer’s group suggested that I try my hand at writing something outside my comfort zone.  By January I followed their advice.  In addition to two blogs (this one and my weight loss journey at Plus Size Mama), I write essays (some of which you can read in my book Lemonade and Holy Stuff) and am trying my hand at fiction, penning a paranormal mystery.

2.  How does my work differ from others in its genre?

When it comes to my essays, honesty is key.  The essay is, by nature, a piece of non-fiction.  However, mine aren’t just run-of-the-mill.  I’m not afraid to explore the stuff that really hurts, the stuff many moms, wives, and daughters think but never lend a voice to.  I don’t shy away from admitting that mothering isn’t this wonderful, lazy walk through a flower filled field.  It sucks.  A lot.  And the field has a few cow pies along the way.  However, there are still flowers and we should do more than notice them.  We should treasure them.

My paranormal mystery deals with murder, so you’d think it is a pretty weighty subject.  There’s a lot of humor infused in it, also.  I haven’t read many murder mysteries that were funny, but mine is.  Go figure.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

Why do you breathe?  Same answer.  Because my brain says I have to.  I’ve written since I was young and it’s not something I can turn on and off at will.  An idea gets stuck in my brain and it won’t leave me be until I process it through writing.  It’s that simple.

4.  How does my writing process work?

There’s supposed to be a process?  News to me.  What I need to say comes when it comes. Not until recent years have I taken my writing seriously.  I used to just scribble things into a journal and that was it.  I’ve always thought of stories but never written them down.  I guess now that’s my process.  Actually writing them down.

 

Now for the fun part.  Passing the torch.

sarahThe lucky hopper is Sarah Cottrell. She’s a blogger for The Bangor Daily News.  You can check out her humorous posts at Housewife Plus.  She is a member of the Stay-At-Home-Mom Club and proud herder of two loud boys. She earned her MFA in 2012 and then accidentally washed it in a load of laundry. Sarah’s work can be found on popular websites like Mamalode, BlogHer, and Scary Mommy. Her work will appear in two new parenting anthologies in 2015.  You can find her at:

Blog:  http://housewifeplus.bangordailynews.com

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/housewife_plus

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/housewifeplus