Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Victorian Calling Cards

Back in the 1800s, both men and women of middle and upper classes used calling cards.  These cards had their names printed on them and were the size of today's business cards.

You would present the card to the servant who answered the door as a way of introducing yourself.  When you called on someone, you visited them in their homes, spending a large part of the day with them.  If you called and that person wasn't home, then you'd leave your calling card to show that you'd come by to see them.  Sometimes a very short note was jotted on the card in the corner or on the back.  Sometimes the calling card would list the days and times when you were available for a social visit.

A calling card tray was in the entrance and a servant would leave your card there.  It was considered polite for the absent person to return the social call within one week.  You would have had a case to hold your cards to keep them nice-looking, and it would have been made out of sterling silver or ivory or something similar.

Change "calling card" to "business card" and it sounds somewhat like what we do today.  When a businessman visits a company or meets someone, he hands out one of his business cards.  The card will list the businessman's name and contact information, and maybe even a tiny bit about the company.  While "calling" today can mean a personal visit, it often means a phone call or email or visiting a website.

Do writers need business cards?  Find out in tomorrow's post.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Good Intentions and Passionate Subjects

I really do have good intentions when it comes to blogging.  And, yes, I do know where good intentions lead.  LOL!  Edie Melson always inspires me to get back to blogging, and she's right.  It's a great way to connect with people.

Perhaps I'm trying too hard to make blogging work.

I think I'm trying to make it like writing an essay for class, instead of making it a conversation.  So I'm trying to change that.  Some of my blogs may turn out like essays, but some may be more like this one...a conversation about what's going on in my life.

I should blog about my passions, and, of course, one of my passions is writing.  That's one reason I chose "Hurt the Bunnies" as this blog's name.  I love to write, to create stories about fun and interesting characters (that grow into people I love), as well as to research and learn new facts, and then relate them in a fun and interesting way to readers.  I love to teach others how to write, to share my knowledge and see the articles and stories that my students write.  I love to edit, to help shape an article or story into something that will sell. I love to sell books, sharing my favorites with customers.  I love to read!

Another passion of mine is animals.  I love all of God's creatures...with the exception of roaches.  I absolutely can't stand cockroaches.  They have no redeeming quality that I can see, and I think it would take an almost impossible amount of convincing to change my mind.  Nope.  Nothing will change my mind about roaches.

Kids are another passion.  I really enjoy them, whether I'm teaching them, writing for them, or just playing with them.  I thoroughly enjoyed my boys when they were growing up (okay, I still enjoy them!).  But I've discovered an incredible new love...that love I have for my grandchildren.  It's so hard to explain why I have such a tremendous amount of love for them, so I won't.  I'll just enjoy them.

I have a passion for Jesus and am so thankful that He gave His life so that I can live mine, knowing that I'll have eternal life in Heaven with Him.  It's another hard to explain passion and love.  I want to learn more and more about Jesus, about God, and I want to share what I've learned with others.

Man, I have lots of passions, don't I?

What are you passionate about?

Friday, April 12, 2013


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday and Black Saturday

I didn't venture out at the crack of dawn in search of specials yesterday.  Instead, I ventured out at the crack of dawn to work at LifeWay behind the counter.  I got up at 4 a.m., got to work at 6 a.m., and we opened the doors to a hoarde of people who swarmed in, grabbing up specially marked items.

The nice thing about working in a Christian bookstore is that everyone behaved.  No one fought over copies of Jesus Today (and that was one of the "hot" items) or $10 Study Bibles.  And we did something different this year that our store didn't figure out until well into the Early Bird Specials time of 7 a.m. until Noon (it was probably around 8:30 or 9 a.m. before we figured it out).  Some of our specials weren't ringing up correctly...and that was because they were supposed to be Early Bird Specials for Black Saturday...not Black Friday.  We'd never had that before and I've been working for LifeWay for six years in Greenville and four years before that in Houston.  The ad was very confusing.  So we had to pull the signage and go around and tell all our customers in the hour-long line that what they thought were specials didn't happen until the next day.  They actually were all forgiving!

Out of the hundreds of customers I waited on, I had only one grumpy customers.  Mr. GrumpyPants didn't say anything rude, but his body language screamed "I don't want to be here!"  He drummed his fingers, stamped his feet, frowned, snorted, rolled his eyes while I checked him out at the register.  For a moment, I thought I was dealing with my sons when they were teenagers.  But Mr. GrumpyPants was probably in his late 40s or early 50s...and probably in need of a nap.  Not bad, not bad at all for Black Friday.  I have gotten much ruder customers on a regular workday.

While I don't love Black Friday because of all the craziness, I do love working in a bookstore.  I love seeing what sells and what doesn't.  I often can predict correctly.  We had a bunch of books on sale for crazy prices...$1.99 for a Karen Kingsbury double book, for example.  I usually wait all year to buy some books and movies, because I'm pretty sure they'll be offered super cheap on Black Friday.  So, after my shift was over at 3 p.m., I picked up some excellent deals on books that I've been wanting to read for a very long time.

With the busy Christmas season on us, I may have to wait until January to read them.  Now *that* is really hurting my personal bunny.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I spent today getting LifeWay ready for Black Friday and Black Saturday.  It, of course, took way longer than we expected.  After work -- even though it was late -- I went over to my son's home and we sampled the smoked ham and fried turkey that we're having for tomorrow.  It was awesome!!!

This year we decided to have both ham and turkey.  My son had voted on the smoked ham, and it definitely is incredible.  But, I just couldn't stand the thought of not having turkey.  My whole family loves turkey and everything about Thanksgiving dinner.  So we decided on having both.  Did I mention that we also love Thanksgiving dinner leftovers?  They're even better the next day.

I can't wait to have the official Thanksgiving dinner!

What are you having for Thanksgiving?

Writing Patterns

When I look back on my writing career, I noticed a pattern.  I don't know if this pattern is true with others, but it made me smile how my writing follows my life.

Before I had children, I wrote mainly nonfiction for newspapers and magazines.  I enjoyed interviewing people and doing research.  I had a Canon camera and turned my nose up at automatic settings.  Even though I was also working full-time as a technical editor for Boeing, I still found time to write.

Then I tried my hand at romance when my children were very young.  Perhaps I wanted more romance in my life because I was a stay-at-home mom with two toddlers.  It seemed to me that there was an awful lot of messes to clean up...from poop to vomit, from blood to shampoo poured out onto the carpet, from spilled milk to toys everywhere.  My husband and I were worn out from hard work and little sleep.  Romance?  Ha!  I tried writing, but I have to admit that it was very frustrating.  I'd been used to having lots of time to write, but now I wrote as soon as my two boys fell asleep for their naps.  I'd have about an hour or two at my typewriter.  I'd given up on trying to write nonfiction, because I didn't have a way to go out and interview people or spend much time at the library.  Remember, now, this was in the early 80s and before computers and internet.

As my boys got a little older, I started really looking at the books I was reading to them.  Picture books?  Yeah, those seemed pretty easy to write.  So I tried my hand at them.  By this time (late 80s), I had a computer and more time.  The internet was just starting and I joined some writing groups online.  I wrote a lot of "picture books" that didn't sell.  Then I got a wild idea and submitted some of my "picture books" to kids magazines.  And, wow!  They sold!  It turned out that my picture books were really short stories.  I sold so many that I got a nickname:  the magazine queen.

Then an editor told me that I had a good middle-grade voice and I should try writing a novel.  So I did.  My boys were in upper elementary and middle-school when I wrote my first one...which didn't sell.  Change that.  It hasn't sold yet.  So I wrote short stories and nonficiton articles for kids magazines during most of the 90s.  I sold my first middle-grade novel when my boys were in high school.  I've sold 40 children's books since then, some fiction, some nonfiction, some picture books, some middle-grade novels, and one nonficiton YA biography.

My boys grew up, went to college, and got married.  I continued writing kids stories, but a couple of years ago, I decided to try my hand at writing for adults again.  I wrote a devotion for Gary Chapman's Love is a Verb collection and a true story for James Stewart Bell's collection.  After 30 years of marriage, I'm now divorced and maybe looking for romance again, because that's what I'm reading again, and I'm trying my hand at writing it.  My queries have led to editors asking for proposals. Oh happy day!

My boys have given me grandchildren:  3 girls.  One is 3 1/2, one is almost 6 months, and one will be born in February.  I'm reading picture books again.  I've got ideas for stories.

Hmmm.  Anyone else see a pattern here?