Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cj

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A three-day weekend?

cj Sez:  Because I think this information is important and needs to be repeated often . . .
All sacrificed some; some sacrificed all.

Q. What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

A. Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty.

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.

It wasn't always called Memorial Day — it used to be known as Decoration Day. cj Sez: When I was little, we called it Poppy Day instead of Decoration Day. Whatever the name, it's a day of remembrance for all those who have died in service of the United States of America.

Born of the Civil War, Memorial Day began as a holiday honoring Union soldiers, and some states still have separate Confederate observances. Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day on Jan. 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day. (In this era of intolerance and cries to erase visible traces of our sad history, the memorials respecting Confederate soldiers who died fighting for what they believed in may not continue much longer.)

The date of the first Decoration Day, the 30th of May, 1868, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular Civil War battle.

In 1915, inspired by the rondeau poem “In Flanders Fields” (penned by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae while still at a World War I battlefront), Moina Michael conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need.

The thoughts below are from the Facebook of Janie Delchamps Zetsch of Dauphin Island, AL, a veteran and member of AL Post 250. It says everything. Janie told me it had been a repost and gave me permission to use it here. Please take a minute to read it all the way through.

“Just a reminder of what we celebrate next weekend. I am but one of millions of proud veterans, however it is not about us. It is to honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice during battle, and to honor those that served and have now gone onto their eternal rest. The following, pointed, reminders are provided for your use, knowledge and perhaps to teach a child what we celebrate and honor on Memorial Day.

Here's some ground rules for next weekend:
1. Don't wish me a Happy Memorial day. There is nothing happy about brave men and women dying.
2. It's not a holiday. It's a remembrance.
3. If you want to know the true meaning, visit Arlington or your local VA, not Disneyland.
4. Don't tell me how great any one political power is. Tell me about Chesty Puller, George Patton, John Basilone, Dakota Meyer, Kyle Carpenter, Mitchell Paige, Ira Hayes, Chris Kyle and any other heroes too numerous to name. Attend a Bell Ceremony and shed some tears.
5. Don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about. I have carried the burden all too many times for my warriors who now stand their post for God.
6. Say a prayer... and then another.
7. Remember the Fallen for all the Good they did while they were here.
8. Reach out and let a Vet know you're there, we're losing too many in "peace". God Bless those who fought and died and served this nation for our freedom.”

cj Sez:  I owe an awesome debt--one that I can never repay--to the heroes who died so that my family and I can live in freedom. I pray God’s blessings and comfort rain down on their families.

Qrtly newsletter sign-up:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The dreaded synopsis on my computer screen

cj Sez: I’ve been toiling on the dreaded synopsis for an unnamed work-in-progress. 

What is a synopsis, you may ask. The very successful publishing consultant Jane Friedman defines the synopsis this way:
“The synopsis conveys the narrative arc of your novel; it shows what happens and who changes, from beginning to end.”  (“Back to Basics: Writing a Novel Synopsis” )

  Basically, the starting sentence of my synopsis is my elevator pitch . . . twenty-five or so words that might pique the curiosity of an agent in the few seconds I have if we’re caught on an elevator together.

  The synopsis also reflects the same voice/tone as the manuscript. The document will be chronological in terms of where things happen in the manuscript and to whom. All the story threads will be neatly tied up, but it will include only major characters and major scenes. Beginning, middle, and end which means even if it’s a mystery, it will (must) reveal the ending. This is, after all, going to an agent or publisher.

  When I’m finished with the whole thing, I’ll ask another writer if s/he can make sense of what the story is about and if are there questions that need answering. Of course, that means I’ll need to get into edit cycle four, five, et al.

  Normally, I wait until the manuscript is complete to do a synopsis, but a friend of mine suggested doing a synopsis for each chapter as it’s completed. That does sound easier since everything is really fresh in my mind.

  The interesting thing for me about writing the synopsis is that it helps me identify plot holes; hopefully, all of them.

Three questions:
Ques 1: When do you write your synopsis…when the manuscript is complete or when each chapter is complete?
Ans: . . . .

Ques 2: We’re about a month out from the first day of summer so I’m asking…why are we seeing hellacious heat and humidity on the Gulf Coast already?
Ans: Okay, I know the answer to that one. It’s because Mother Nature doesn’t pay attention to humankind’s calendar.

Ques 3: Next week is Memorial Day weekend…anyone care to guess how high the national average for gas prices will be? They’re already on the way up.
Ans: And your guess is. . . .   

That’s it for this post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


A review of Deadly Star from Rebecca Barrett, author of Trouble in Paradise: "cj petterson has crafted a tale of murder, espionage, and romance which builds to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion. With a gift for well-written dialogue and a deft touch at creating suspense, Ms. petterson delivers a must-read story in Deadly Star."           
Qrtly newsletter sign-up:
Simon&Schuster Author Page =

Sunday, May 13, 2018

One hundred ten years ago, it was just a nice idea.

cj Sez:  I read someplace that love is the deepest emotion we share with one another. So, to all the Moms out there. . . I hope your Mother’s Day is filled to overflowing with love.

A bit of Mother’s Day history (from

In 1908 Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families, and it was declared a U.S. holiday in 1914. Her idea was to wear a white carnation as a badge and visit one’s mother or attend church services. She originally worked with the floral industry to help promote Mother’s Day,

That turned out to be a bad idea because by 1920, she had become so disgusted with the holiday’s commercialization, she urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies. 

In the U.S., people spend more money on Mother’s Day than on any other holiday, but we’re not alone in honoring our moms. Some version of Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world, although traditions and dates vary.

In Thailand, Mother’s Day was introduced in May 1950, but in 1976, the date was changed to August 12the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who is considered the mother of all Thai people. (cj Sez: A May 11 Facebook post that the 85-year-old monarch, who has been in and out of hospital in recent years, had died is repudiated as untrue: "However the May 2018 report has now been confirmed as a complete hoax and just the latest in a string of celebrity death reports." )

In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day this year starts on May 13 as it does in the U.S., but their celebrations of motherhood will continue for three days.
When we lived many miles apart, I sent flowers to each son on Mother’s Day, because they have always been a source of pride. And besides, I wouldn’t be a mother without them. This year, they gave me roses. They could have given me dandelion blossoms, slightly crushed and moist from a sweaty little palm, as they did when they were little, and I could not have felt more loved.

I can’t end this post without remembering my Mom, as I do most every day. I’m grateful that she was the mother who soothed my fears, dried my tears, and patted my rear when I needed it. No matter what mistakes I made, she was a non-judgmental, sweet, sweet soul who believed in me. Thank you, Mom. You are forever in my heart.

That's it for today's post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I'll try to do the same. 

PS:  No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.  — FLORIDA SCOTT-MAXWELL

Qrtly newsletter sign-up:
Simon&Schuster Author Page =

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A story tidbit...

cj Sez: Do you realize it’s May already? May is a very important month in the lives of so many people. My family is among all those happy groups celebrating graduations. CONGRATULATIONS to all the achievers. 

My youngest granddaughter, Maggie Rose, graduated from high school last week, and my oldest granddaughter, Johanna, graduates from college on Saturday.Where did the time go? When I moved to Mobile, the youngest was three and sitting on a pillow so she could reach the mouse to play games on my computer. Now, she’s about five inches taller than I am. No short jokes allowed.

With Mother’s Day coming up next Sunday, I’m wishing my mom could have known them as the beautiful and caring women they’ve become.

Before I get really maudlin, I think I’ll pick up the pace and leave you with an excerpt introducing the hero in CHOOSING CARTER. Enjoy:

Carter Danielson kicked a boot against the doorframe before the screen door opened with a squall, and he stepped through the doorway.
Bryn flopped back in her chair. “You’re just plain evil.”
“Now what’d I do?”
“Not you. This silly game,” she said and pointed to the monitor. “I’m playing hearts against the computer, and it’s cheating.”
Carter bowed low in front of her and peered at the screen, one hand behind his back. Bryn thought for the umpteenth time that he didn’t look his thirty-eight years. His face was unlined, except for that scattering of crow’s feet that crinkled in the corners of his eyes when he smiled.
While he was checking out her card game, she surveyed his lean form. The rolled-up shirtsleeves of his red-plaid cotton shirt exposed muscular, reddish-brown forearms. A skinning knife topped by an elk-horn haft rested in a hand-tooled, tanned leather sheath looped onto a black leather belt. His jeans were comfortably old, the blue on the thighs faded almost white. And even if she couldn’t see them, she knew he had on scuffed, walnut-colored work boots. In stocking feet, he stood two inches on the far side of six-feet tall, and by the time her gaze had wandered back to his face, he’d pushed his sunglasses onto his baseball cap and was watching her map his body. She looked up into turquoise-colored eyes that always caused an odd, hollow feeling, like hunger, in the pit of her stomach. Caught, she stifled a giggle.
He obviously enjoyed her appraisal because he sent her a warm smile and slowly shook his head. “You need to get a life,” he said in a voice that exactly matched low D on a piano keyboard and carried the vaguely melodic lilt of his grandmother’s Cherokee tongue.
She decided his smile and the sound of his voice dulled more of her headache than the aspirin had. “What’s behind your back?”
He brought out a thorny stalk topped by a cluster of three pink-tinged, yellow, floppy roses. He breathed in the fragrance, stripped away the thorns between thumb and forefinger, and held out the stem. “Don’t say I never give you anything.” He pointed at her hair. “I see you have a new hairstyle.”
That he had noticed pleased her, and she ran her fingers through the cut that had changed her nut-brown ponytail to short curls. “Easier to take care of. Thank you for the roses, even if you did snitch them from my garden.”
“Don’t I get credit for remembering that the Peace bushes are your favorite?”
“I’ll think about it,” she said with a smile then spun around to a rickety three-shelf bookcase. She lifted a frayed bouquet out of the gold-rimmed, old pitcher on the top shelf, tossed the dripping twigs into a trashcan, and then dropped in the fresh stem.
“Working on a job?” he asked and nodded at the computer.
“Yes and no. I just finished some ad copy for a client and added a bit to my journal before you caught me playing games.”
“You sure don’t look old enough to write a memoir.”
“Don’t be a smart-aleck. It’s a journal. Someday, maybe I’ll write my memoir, but I’m not old enough or brave enough yet.”   
His eyebrows shrugged in mock disbelief. He pointed toward the door. “I’ll bring some machine oil for that screen door the next time I come.”
“No, that’s okay. It talks to me. Tells me when you’re coming in, so you can’t sneak up on me. I like it that way.”
“Ah.” He leaned against the desk and folded his arms across his chest. “The old Squealing Door Alarm System.”
“The price is right. Besides, it works as good as any and better than some.” She tapped her watch face. “What are you doing here at this time of day on a Friday? Shouldn’t you be over in Jensen to pick up some paying customers?”
“Not today.”
“The world’s greatest Colorado outdoors guide has no clients?”
“Nope. The Knuckle-Ball Express isn’t flying. The smoke coming off Roundtop has it grounded.”
“I can’t imagine anyone wanting to fly in that aluminum tube over smoke and hellfire anyway. The thermals would be horrendous,” she said, remembering her last flight.
On a good day, the sleek eighteen-seater that made the short hop from Salt Lake City to Jensen dipped and dropped like a major league knuckleball as it surfed the wind currents over the Wasatch Mountain Range. Moans, including her own, erupted as passengers reached for barf-bags or punished the armrests with white-fingered grips.
“If you came here because you have nothing to do,” she said, “I think I can come up with a list.”
He glanced at her. “I bet you can, but I do have something to do. I’m getting ready for our date. You do remember we were going to go rafting this weekend.”
“We talked about that weeks ago. I forgot. You said ‘our date.’ Would that be like a boy-girl thing?” she asked and cocked her head.
“Nope. We made a plan to celebrate your birthday, and . . .” he looked at the calendar icon on his watch, “by my reckoning, June 13 is this weekend. You about ready to go?”
She wrinkled her nose. You’d be so easy to love. If only you’d let me. “I think I need to beg off. Got a lot of deadlines to meet. Can I get a rain check?”
“Birthdays come once a year as I remember. Want to postpone until next year?”
“There’s fresh coffee,” she said to change the subject of another birthday coming up and gain time to think.
“Smelled it,” Carter said and headed in the direction of the coffee pot. He doffed his baseball cap, hung it on one of the hooks twisted into the wall near the door. A lock of coarse hair, black as a raven’s wing was how his mother described it, escaped his ponytail tied low with a narrow, leather bootlace. He wrapped the errant strand behind an earlobe where a tiny, silver feather earring dangled. 

To read more about this hunky hero, buy CHOOSING CARTER here:

Were you drawn into the scene in the Deep Point of View places? Do you have a hint of these characters’ personalities and what’s going on between them?

That’s it for this week’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Qrtly newsletter sign-up: