Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ghostly Footprints

Footprints in the Sand Wall Hanging - 26x36"This morning as I was getting dressed I flashed back to a special moment with a special lady in my past. My Aunt Sandy, who passed away way too young, wore a sweatshirt her young teenage son had outgrown. As a teen, I didn't find the style particularly flattering.

Standing in front of my full length closet mirror, I donned my favorite jeans and my teenage son's hand-me-down black and yellow Batman logo sweatshirt. I just had to laugh. I wondered what my aunt would say. I wish I could call her up and ask her opinion. I hoped the style was a more flattering style for me. Vanity and ghostly footprints. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bookmans Does Book Dominoes

Sharing a fun video, think all those good books to read.

My kids always want to take my double twelve dominoes set and create something like this.

Does this inspire your creativity? After watching this video, maybe I will let them.

Carpe Diem,
Leann Holland

Pressman Double 12 Color Dot Dominos In A Tin

Friday, November 5, 2010

The World Is Going To The Dogs

Nature: Dogs That Changed the World
The world is changing for man's best friend. As more people include dogs as their family members our society is changing, good and bad, depending on your point of view. I am not a dog lover. (sorry!) My mom says I was born afraid of dogs. She's probably right.

Nashville's City Council voted to allow patron's to bring their dog on restaurant's outside patios. Now, the city's Health Department has to find a way to regulate it. Each restaurant has a choice of participating or not.

I personally will avoid such restaurants. People struggle enough keeping their children under control. I don't want to hear yapping dogs during my meal.(again, not a dog lover, sorry!)

However, as a writer, I feel the need to recognize and acknowledge trends. Who knows when a character comes along that a restaurant serving dogs would be the perfect setting?

What will be the next doggie take over, one wonders? They now have cemeteries, parks of their own, holiday gifts and costumes. In fact, at the Pumpkinfest in Franklin, TN, as we were driving past, we saw more dogs dressed up in Halloween costumes than kids.

Will doggiepages be the place for computer savvy socially needy dogs of the future? I can see the ad now, ' Doggiepages: Just One Paw Click Away'. (Do I hear a story calling me? It would be kid's sci-fi, right? Ha, Ha)

Keep Panting,
Leann Holland

Monday, November 1, 2010

Go Vote!

My hubby and I voted early at the same time (in separate booths.) It's probably only the second time in the last fifteen years. Our strategy has been to divide and conquer. We live several states away from family and haven't wanted to spend precious babysitting money on voting.

Voting is important. So by taking turns, we keep voting free for our family. No matter what your difficulties remember to vote. Your voice is important. Don't let the negative ads have their intended influence; to keep voters away. Go vote in the mid term elections tomorrow, November 2, 2010. Let your voice be heard!

Leann Holland

P.S. To learn more about voting in the US, check out the book below:
Vote (DK Eyewitness Books)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Red - Movie Review

RED movie 2010 Comic-Con exclusive poster

With modern technologies and busy life schedules, I don't go to see a lot of movies at the theater. When I took my daughter to see Twilight's third movie, Eclipse, I saw a clip for a movie that caught my interest, RED. (Telling my age) I remember Bruce Willis in Moonlighting (a TV series). Of course, I have seen all three Die Hard movies. (Is there a forth?)

Date night with hubby presented an opportunity to watch familiar faces in a funny action adventure for 111 minutes, we forgot the world and laughed along with the movie. It is a good simple plain action movie not pretending to be anything else and does it well.

Leann Holland

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Think I Care

What do you think of the title? I think I care. I was listening to the radio with my teenage son. They were having some sort of pledge drive to raise money. The regular host (who I don't like) asked why you were supporting the radio station. Then he said, "I think I care."

I scratched my head, he thinks he cares. Wow, what a wonderful message of hope. NOT!

How can you think you care?

 I care. Now, I don't. I care. No, I don't. I care, I really do. I think I care.

Now, that's a conversation I don't want to have. Do you care?

Leann Holland

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Son-In-Law Is Older Than I Am!

Brides (1-year auto-renewal)

Fifty percent of all marriages will fail. This is one of the biggest decisions we will ever make. It effects every facet of our lives and reaches to the depths of our souls.

A friend recently became a mother-in-law against her wishes and another will be by the end of year. The two women are in different seasons with their children. One has a distant, remote relationship. The other is over involved in the relationship, pretending to support the couple. Neither are happy. Which right? Which will work? I don't know.

Where is that magic bullet? (I know I set it down somewhere. Probably beside the perfect weight magic bullet.) The bullet that guarantees the newlyweds success. The one that guarantees all the in-law (mothers, fathers, daughter, son) are happy.

In the above situations, there are legitimate concerns. One relationship is dealing with alcoholism and abuse in the past. In the second situation, I keep hearing my friend's cry, "My son-in-law is older than I am!"

There's just got to be a story in there somewhere.

Leann Holland

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nosy Driver

   Do you ever notice vanity license plates? For me the answer is sometimes. I don't do a lot of driving. When I do, I have places to be and things to do. In other words, I'm focused.
   Today, however, I had relatively few errands. On my way home, the white foreign car in front of me had one of those vanity plates. This one was easy to read, YES JOHN.
  Call me crazy, creative, curious or even a nosy neighbor, all fit. But YES JOHN to what? I'll marry you. I'll live with you. I'll have your baby. I'll drive you anywhere you want. See my delemna? What is she, I assumed a female, saying yes to? A mystery that in my city of ten thousand will never be solved by me. 
   The vanity license plates invite us into the driver's life, usually with a boast or joke. The state considers them a self imposed tax. Taxpayers paying extra for the right of self expression in our abbreviated world. What do you think of vanity license plates? Do you have one? I don't. I need more space for my self expressions.
   How funny would it be if a ninety eight pound, ninety eight year old man crawled out from behind the steering wheel? I imagine a conversation like YES JOHN you're in my will.
   Share your thoughts on why the the driver is saying YES JOHN. Keep comments to PG-13 please.

Leann Holland

LP-2059 Tennessee State Background License Plates - Titans

Friday, October 15, 2010

Free Audio Download

Each month Christian Audio has a monthly free download. October's audio book is Love Is A Verb by Gary Chapman. They post a free audio sample of the title, as well. A Christian Audio account is required but is also free.



Leann Holland

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Help Requested - Critique Needed

Writer's Digest, a website and magazine, offers an online flash fiction contest called Your Story. I never seem to remember until the last minute to check out the prompt. (This month I remembered two days late, Your Story #29.) Last month for Your Story #28, I got the story written but life did not allow me time to edit and get it entered into the contest.

I have decided to share it here on my blog and request honest if gentle feedback.

The Bet
Tidying up the beige damask pillows on the overstuffed couch, my hand touch something cold and hard. Afraid I let my hand close around the object and pull it out, a silver and black cell phone. What the? It wasn't my husband's or mine. We haven't had anyone over since those boorish Tinnins last month. The phone began to play a ringtone I didn't recognize.

I slid the phone open. I had never seen one like it even in commercials. "Hello."



"You don't know me."

Well, duh, I was holding an unknown phone in my hand. How did he know my name? "What's going on here?" I demanded. "Who are you?"

Laughter was the reply I received.

"I'm going to hang up if you don't answer my questions."

"I'm glad to see you haven't lost your humor." A unknown male voice said. "Melissa. Melissa, have patience I'll tell you everything in time."

"Who are you?" I whispered. Then stronger, "Well, get on with it. I don't have all day." I gathered my cell phone on the way to our home phone.

"Melissa, there's no need for that." he said.

My eyes scanned the room. How could he see me? The sage drapes were pulled closed. What should I do now? Play it cool, "No need for what?"

"Go turn on your computer." he ordered.

"Why?" I stood there frozen as dozens of scenarios ran through my thoughts. Then I laughed.

"What's so funny?"

"Okay, where's the camera?" I asked.

"What are you talking about?"

"You know those old TV programs that catch you doing something silly or dumb." I stifled a giggle.

"Wrong show!"

"Which show then?" I asked. Laughter again, but was there more than one voice this time? Spinning around, I demanded, "Where are you? Whose with you?" Dizzy, I fell into our chocolate brown recliner, breathing hard.

The laughter subsided, "Are you okay?"

He definitely could see me. I rubbed my arms as chills assailed me. "Like you care!" I said.

"Just do this favor for me and I'll tell you everything."

"Who are you and what do you want?" I cried. Why am I doing this? I thought. I simply closed the phone, cutting the connection. I tumbled the phone over and over in my sweaty palms.

It sang at me again. I shrugged stetting the cell phone down and walked away. Pulling the drapes open, were there any unfamiliar vehicles out there?

Yes? Yes, there was a small red car. What was the make so I could tell 911? The plate number? There were two dark haired men sitting in the front seat. What were they hunched over? That man in the passenger seat looked familiar. Should I approach the vehicle? I debated.

My husband got out of the car smiling, waving a wad of cash at me. He slapped the roof of the car. It drove off. He was suppose to be golfing with a buddy.

As he entered the house, he said, "Good job, baby." He kissed me on the cheek.

I pulled away. "Someone's watching." I whispered.

He held up a small screen thingy. He walk to the computer desk in the attached dining room. He held up a tiny camera. "All gone! You did great. I won," he cleared his throat, "I mean, we won a thousand dollars."Spy Pinhole Nanny Mini Camera System Wireless FULL SET!

"You bet on me?" I whispered, my voice gained strength, "You bet on me!" I reached over and grabbed the money. "Thanks, I can have fun shopping."

"But, baby. . . " He stopped at my glare. "Have fun."
The End
Leave feedback in the comments, please remember to be gentle. Don't forget to check out other free short stories available at Writer's Digest. They post the winning entry for your reading enjoyment.
Leann Holland

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quick Feet, Soft Hands -- Movie Review

Last week late one night flipping through the TV stations, I stopped on a short independent film, Quick Feet, Soft Hands on my local PBS station. I was intrigued with the TV description of a movie that was only half an hour. It fit the time frame I had available.

Quick Feet, Soft Hands is a movie about dreams. A young couple is following his dream of being a professional baseball player. He's currently playing minor league ball. He is struggling with his quality of life and the real cost of chasing rainbows.

I liken this short movie to a short story and it's very different from a typical Hollywood flick (a.k.a. a happy ending and rose colored glasses.) I enjoyed this movie's real life grit.

Leann Holland

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bug Hysteria

The Bugs Are Back!

By Leann Holland

Bugs, bugs and more bugs
dominate the TV airways.
We thought we were
the dominate species.
Ignoring the old adage,
bugs will inherit the world.
Have we learned nothing
from elementary science classes?
The circle of Life,
the food chain,
ring any bells?
We’ve spent decades
studying the gaps
created by extinction.
Bugs, bugs and more bugs!
Everyone including me
freaked out by the little buggers.
How now brown cow,
do we protect ourselves?
We’ve lost solutions
handed down
from generation to generation.
The bugs are back!

Being a single income family, we’ve purchase a lot of our items used. The reports by all the major news outlets of the returning bedbugs and super bug Lice has me scratching, quite literally. Just thinking about bugs makes my skin crawl thereby making me itch. What about you? Is itching like yawning, contagious?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Summer's Finally Over

Here in the Tennessee, this summer was hot. Last week to this week our average high temps took a twenty degree drop, in this case it was wonderful. We went from average of 92 degrees to the mid 70's, which is beautiful considering we had 82 days at 90 or above this summer.

What I have loved most about this change in the weather has been hearing the neighborhood children outside playing. After dark last night, they played tag. I have great memories of playing these kinds of childhood games with my sister and cousins.

Take time and let the kid inside you enjoy this season.

Leann Holland

P.S. Still waiting for fall colors, I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gluten Free Irony

Gluten Free is a term that is hitting the mainstream. I learned about it several years ago when I discovered I had a wheat allergy. While wheat allergies and Celiac Disease are two different disorders, I know I am safe if I choose Gluten Free foods. So armed with this information, I share my story.

Several weekends ago, our local chamber of commerce held our local nature fest. We had a prior engagement but decided to attend the last hour or so. It was fun mingling with members of our local community. Several businesses and churches had set up displays. A local church with whom we have no affiliation, set up fun ring toss game. My family loved the competition among ourselves. If you were successful ringing the target, you put your name in for the drawing. You guessed it, the prize was a wheat filled dream, pizza. I laughed with my husband about the irony if out of all the entries our family managed to place into the drawing, my name was drawn. Twenty minutes later, as my husband took our children out to eat at gluten feast restaurant, I got the call. I had won the gift certificate to the local pizzeria.

Hope you got a good laugh I did. (I also got several safe food treats)

Leann Holland

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, September 17, 2010

Movie Review - It's Complicated

For our anniversary evening, my husband and I wanted to watch a non-family movie. We love our kids but once in a while we like to remember life before kids, a kind of preparation for when they leave us with an empty nest.

It's complicated  seemed to fit that bill. A single mother (Meryl Streep) with her youngest child's leaving for college embarked in relationships with a new love (Steven Martin) and her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin). The cast implied great potential for sensitivity and humor. Multiple times through the movie, situations would start to build but the movie kept falling just short of either humor or sensitivity. The ending was too little, too fantastical, and too late. I recommend you skip this movie. I wish I had.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Signs of The Times

I wish I could say that I was shocked at the news that the NY Times newspaper will at some date to be determined not be printed on paper any more. Okay, I guess you could say that I was shocked that they were brave enough to acknowledge that fact and announce it. The world is changing and changing fast.(See Yahoo's news article. http://news.yahoo.com/s/mashable/20100908/tc_mashable/new_york_times_will_go_out_of_print_sometime_in_the_future )

The events of my life give me an interesting point of view. My high school graduating class was the first class that had computer class in our school system. available for our senior year. I also had taken an adult education class in the neighboring county to learn about computers in my sophomore year. I feel that I have had a front row seat to these changes, always trying to catch up.

In my research to become a published fiction author, I have found two distinct and powerful camps, traditional publication and epublication (Epub). A war is being fought but like modern warfare sometimes it is hard to decide who is friend or foe. Traditional publication is now fighting for digital rights and Epub is evolving at such a dizzy pace that readers and authors are confused.

As with any major technological changes, people will be left behind. There will be hundreds, thousands and maybe even tens of thousands of people left behind when the New York Times ceases their print editions. More will accumulate as the newspapers around the United States change. I wish I had a crystal ball, well, maybe just a story idea? Who knows? 

Trying not to be left behind, I am in process of self publishing my short stories into ebooks. I'll keep you posted.

Leann Holland 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks Book Review

Last spring during my mother's biannual visit, she gave me the book to read. I have read Mr. Sparks' previous title, A Walk to Remember, and I listened to his story, The Choice on audio book. My husband and I have also seen the movie Message in a Bottle.

So I knew enough to know what I was walking into a very emotional story. It's one of the reasons why the book stayed in my to-be-read pile. It was finally time. I didn't find this book as emotionally wrenching as A Walk to Remember probably due to the fact I struggle to connect with the main character, John. By the middle of the book, I was curious and interested in the story line. The twist in the book is a surprise I didn't see coming. No spoilers, just in case you're like me and running behind on your reading list. Well written and a good read.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Bit of Fall Color

During our family hike this weekend, we saw this first sign of fall colors. But don't touch!!! Itchy, Itchy!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ice Cold, A book Review

During our recent vacation to visit family in Michigan, my husband watched cable with his widowed, elderly mother. He saw an advertisment for a new series that started in July on TNT. By the ads, I'm sure you guessed it, Rizzoli & Isles. Unfortunely, at this time we have choosen not to have satellite or cable. In July, we tried to watch it at TNT.tv and it wasn't available.

So, I put the book series on my to-read list. Unfornately, I didn't do my homework well. I started with Ice Cold, the latest in the series. Late last night or early this morning depending on your defination of four a.m., I finished Ice Cold. It is a fast paced enjoyable read of a horrific crime mystery. Maura Isles leaves her Boston home to travel to a medical conference. She becomes missing, dead, missing again and a fugitive to an exciting climax. Even reading this book out of series order, I never felt confused by references to previous cases (books). Check out Ice Cold, if you like murder mysteries.

In my research for this blog entry, I checked out TNT's website about the series. At this time, they have the first episodes of Rizzoli & Isles available to watch on line at their website http://www.tnt.tv/series/rizzoliandisles/ . They have games and an online story available, as well. According to several websites, TNT has also pickup the series for an additional thirteen episodes. We will definately be checking out the TV series soon.


Leann Holland

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Anniversaries are an important marker of time. We can have anniversaries for all kinds of events in our lives. Some are good and some are bad or painful. This week, my husband and I will celebrate a happy event in our lives, 19 years of marriage.

We had several years where our marriage was in danger of not surviving. Ten years ago, we started to rebuild our marriage. Young children, at least for us, put a great strain on our relationship. I started and completed three pregnancies in less than five years. We love our kids and are very proud of them. We wouldn't change anything. We learned a lot about ourselves and each other during those difficult years.

Work, a word no one really wants to hear about marriage and love. It's supposed to be like movies and books, a fairy tale. Every day filled with flowers and romance not budgets, chores and work. Marriage is both romance and work. Finding the balance will allow marriages to flourish. Different seasons in life demand ratios to change. Don't take your marriage or mate for granted. Chins up! Keep working!

Happy Anniversary, Honey!!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trying To Soar

I've heard writers talk about how hard it is to send your writing out there into the unknown world of magazines, newspapers, and book publishing. Several have compared it to sending their babies to Kindergarten. As we decided to homeschool our children when our first was just two and half years old, I don't have the experience to compare to that analogy.

Today, I submitted my first story to True Experience. I have submitted a couple of stories to it sister publications without any success. I am taking a class "Airing Dirty Laundry" by Marilyn Puett through Heart of Dixie RWA. Using the information gained so far, this weekend I rewrote and edited a story for the submission call by True Romance and True Experience for fall stories.

Thanks to my class, I have more confidence that my writing will have a better chance at publication. But it's still hard letting my baby fly.

Reaching for the stars,


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kindle Giveway - Hurray 6/14/2010

Through one of my coupon bloggers I found a giveaway for the Kindle. I don't know a writer or reader out there who wouldn't like a chance to use one of these babies.

So, hurry over to http://www.momsneedtoknow.com/2010/06/08/dads-rock-giveaway-bash-kindle-dx/

Good Luck,


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Struggling with Emotions

Last Rose of Summer - Class Reunion of '85 book series. The idea was filled with potential. Potential time bombs, I realized. Why do we like to torture ourselves with the past?

Unresolved issues with people we will never see again, unless you are a facebook fan. Two decades ago, my DH and I moved seven hundred miles away from our hometown leaving all those ghost and emotions behind. Or so we thought. Now with facebook, they can find you. Do you hear that eerie music?

LOL! No, not those creeps. Just the friends who didn't like your boyfriend during your senior year. The friends of friends who didn't want to share their friends. The list goes on and on.

Then there are the family members who made bad choices. They have made peace with the family in the hometown. But I'm stuck in a time machine where this all seems surreal.

Great stuff for writing if I can get my emotions channeled into the characters.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wild Rose Press New Series

I have finished one rough draft for a story I planned on sending to Wild Rose Press. I was ready to work on another WIP (work in progress) when I saw a email request for writing submission to a new series.

Class Reunion Class of '85 for the Last Rose of Summer line. As a graduate of the Class of '85, (now, I am giving a lot way) I found this intriguing. My class reunion is scheduled for August. Oh, the possibilities!!!