Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Other Finals Are In

This blog congratulates the finalists in the 2012 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards, sponsored by Romance Writers of America® (RWA). For those unfamiliar with these terms, the RITA category is for published romantic fiction. The Golden Heart is for unpublished romance manuscripts. It's the biggest writing contest of the year for what is the largest genre of the book buying market. A complete list of finalists can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


You would never know it to talk with him, but my 10-year old son has a shyness problem.

The reason you wouldn’t know it is that he is into drama. Sometimes, he will fake being mad in order to try to get his way with his mother and me.

Our reaction?

We applaud his performance.

However, there are certain times when the little guy disappears into his shell…when he’s around somebody famous that he wants to meet.

We first noticed this year a few years ago. His favorite Atlanta Brave, Brian McCann, was doing an autograph signing at a company downtown.

We took both our boys to meet him. My older son had no problem introducing himself.

My younger son hid behind me and refused to show himself.

We’ve given him a hard time ever since, but we never thought we’d see again.

Until last week.

One of my son’s favorite movies is “The Blind Side.” He’s watched it many times.

However, last Friday, we went over to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center to see my aunt, Jeanne Robertson, give a performance. My aunt is a popular humorist and can be heard often on Sirius XM on Blue Collar Comedy. She has a number of clips on YouTube and one of them, Don’t Send a Man to the Grocery Store, has millions of hits.

There was a table set up in the lobby where fans could buy DVDs and CDs of my aunt’s performances. Next to the table was a table for my aunt’s sponsor. The spokesperson for the sponsor was an Atlanta-based actress named Ashley LeConte Campbell.

Among her film credits, Ms. Campbell had a small role in The Blind Side. (She’s one of the women Sandra Bullock eats lunch with. Click here for a clip.)

Once my younger son found out, he wanted to meet Ms. Campbell. When I took him over, he hid behind me and refused to say “Hi,” instead keeping his hands over his face but moving his fingers so he could peer out from behind them. Try as I might, I couldn’t pull him out of his shell.

However, a few minutes later, Ms. Campbell realized she needed a pen. With six boys (my two along with cousins and their friends) running around, Ms. Campbell announced that she would give a dollar to the first child that brought her a pen.

I handed my 10-year old my pen and he rushed over to claim his prize.

On Saturday night, for family movie night, we pulled out our DVD of the Blind Side and watched it again.

The little guy enjoyed every minute of it.

Maybe one day my son will get over his shyness.

If only Brian McCann had offered a dollar for a pen.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Second Helping Anyone?

My wife is a much better cook than I am. In this house, she is the head chef and I am the sous chef. My wife looks at things we have in the fridge and pantry, thinks of a way to put them together, and makes a great dinner.

Me, I need a recipe to go by. When I try to come up with something on my own, my wife usually asks, “What made you think those things would go together?”

Mo has concocted a number of wonderful dishes over the years. She has also perfected several Japanese ones taught to her by her mother, dishes that are the personal favorites of the boys and I. She judges each of her cooking efforts by one criterion….how much I eat. The conversation usually begins with her saying:

“You didn’t like it, did you? Did it taste funny?”

“No, nothing was wrong.”

“You only had one helping.”

“I just wasn’t hungry.”

Sometimes I replace the last sentence with, “I had a late lunch,” but nothing assuages her.
When I went on a diet, I was able to change this perception and my wife accepted that I wouldn’t have a second helping, but it didn’t ease the tension.

That may be due to pride. Cooking delicious meals is important to her. Any suggestion that she failed hurts.

I know the feeling.

When I cook for her, I take a lot of pride in what I make. However, Mo sometimes doesn’t ask for a second helping.

“You don’t like it?” I ask.

“No, it’s great. I’ll eat more tomorrow or you can take it to work.”

“Are you sure? You only had one helping.”

“It’s not that,” she says. “I had a late lunch.”

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Double Cup of Love

“Daddy, can I make you mocha?”

My ten-year old son likes to make coffee for my wife and me. I don’t know why. It’s not that he grinds the beans or anything. It’s just that he likes adding sugar and milk to the coffee and bringing it to us. If it’s the evening and all we have is cold brew left over from the morning, he’ll ding that in the microwave.

However, what he really enjoys is making me his own personal mocha.

He’ll put cocoa or a piece of a chocolate bar in the coffee. He’ll heat it up, add the extras, and then top it with his special ingredient, whipped cream. Then he’ll bring it over and sit with me as I drink it. It’s a nice feeling.

However, last week, when he made me mocha, he used a Dave & Buster’s coffee mug. (Dave & Buster’s is a family-style restaurant and game facility.) I had to smile. The mug was new in our house. My older son went on a band trip recently and they had stopped at Dave & Buster’s for dinner. My son won lots of tickets and brought home gifts for everyone.

My gift was the coffee mug.

So, when I looked at my younger son bringing the mocha, I noted the mug and realized I was looking at a double portion of love.

What a lucky dad I am.