My Wish for 2011: A Smile, Freely Given

Well, hi! Long time no chat! I'm still in the midst of my online vacation, but a little birdie told me I have a new article up on AOL Opinion that I wanted to share with you. It's about what I wish for 2011. And yes, the title is a dead giveaway.

I was inspired by the following quote by  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I hope it inspires you as well.

"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de- humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming."

Many thanks to AOL and Red Room for giving me the opportunity to smile at you from afar.


And here's wishing you the most spectacular of New Year's Eves. Have fun and be safe!



SWEET LITTLE LIES: a short (short) story collection, is on sale now!

“Sharp. Witty. Shocking. The stories in Sweet Little Lies start with a deadly whisper and end in a high-frequency scream. Ellison takes the tedious banality of our tidy little lives and twists it just so—revealing the terrifying truth inside us all.”           —Laura Benedict, author of Isabella Moon

I've published a number of shorts over the past several years. Four have been anthologized, two appeared in magazines. Some were flash pieces from our dearly departed Flashing in the Gutters and other great ezines and online sites. 

I thought it might be nice to pull all the pieces together into one small collection. And now it's ready for you, in all its digital glory. You can purchase SWEET LITTLE LIES from the following e-tailers:


Barnes and Noble


And at $2.99, it's a bargain. Less than a cappuchino!

Wishing you a joyous Happy New Year! And remember not to lie...

*Sweet Little Lies will be coming to the iBookstore and Kobe shortly.

A Warm and Spicy Christmas Break

I received an unexpected gift from my editor yesterday. Time. A whole week of it, as a matter of fact.

I've spent the past four years doing edits over Christmas. It's just the way my schedule works. I've come to accept it, like the sun rising in the east. It's what happens in December. But this year, my editor got slammed with four books at once (granted, this was partially my fault, because I had a two-week extension.) So my edits won't be coming until next week.

Great rejoicing was had by all. This unexpected gift of time means I can actually take my Christmas break. I've spent the past 36 hours aligning the world so I can shut off my computer - I mean really shut it off. No blogs, no Facebook, no Twitter. Just me and my family, celebrating Christmas with some real together time.

I have space in my head to do my goal planning now too, which is lovely. No rushing through the lists this year.

And all that said, there is one post that will come during the break, but it's being pre-scheduled. A short announcement of sorts.

I hope that you will take a few hours off this Christmas too. As my critique partner/wonder twin/sister always says: Read a Book. It's good for you.

Merry, Merry Christmas to all of you, and best wishes for a joyous New Year!!!!!!!



P.S.  A little something to warm your cockles: Hot Spiced Christmas Wine


  • 2 oranges
  • 2 (750 milliliter) bottles red wine
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle white wine
  • 1 (3 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup brandy (optional)
  1. Use a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the oranges in strips, being careful to remove only the orange part, leaving the pith behind. Then, juice the oranges into a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
  2. Pour the red wine and white wine into the pot with the orange juice. Place the strips of orange zest, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and brown sugar into the pot with the wine mixture; stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Cover and heat over medium-high until heated through, but not boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and heat for an hour or longer to bring all of the flavors together. Adjust the sweetness by adding more brown sugar, as necessary. Strain and serve hot with a splash of brandy, if desired.
  • Fa-la-la-la-la

    Finally. All the Christmas shopping is done. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. The cards, presents and overseas packages have been mailed. All that's left to do is buy cookies for my friends at the post office and bask in the spirit of the holidays.

    And what spirit it is. I sometimes think people forget that this is supposed to be a joyous time. For many, it's just a hassle. Things to buy, budgets to stretch. Travel nightmares. Awkward family situations. I count myself among the lucky that I don't have any issues along those lines. My own wackiness aside, that is.

    As for me, I can't wait. There will be movies. And cookies. And golf. Maybe a little Internet break. I finished Hamlet's Blackberry this morning, and I'm looking forward to setting some new goals for myself when it comes to my screen time. Nooks don't count, right?

    Who am I kidding? There will be work as well. Tons of it, I'm sure. Revisions will be coming out my ears.  

    After reading this, I promptly went to the drugstore and bought myself a red lipstick. I've been using lip stain for years, sometimes a little gloss. More often than not, Carmex, or Burt's Bees in Pomegranate, or Yes to Carrots in Melon. But this morning, before I headed out for the great unknown situation at the Post Office on the heaviest mailing day of the year, I thought of Deanna. I threw my hair in a ponytail, put on my dark glasses, and swiped on that red lipstick. And made sure I smiled at everyone I saw.

    The line at the post office stretched out the doors.

    I didn't care.

    Amazing what a little red lipstick will do for you.

    Closed Doors. Open Windows

    It is 36 degrees out. I have several windows open.

    It began out of necessity this morning, after a slight issue with the morning's bacon. If you use the wrong pan to cook bacon, bad things happen. Our stove has a tendency to overheat things as well, so if you're cooking with pans that are neither cast-iron nor non-stick, things burn. The smoke from bacon grease is especially thick and noxious, so we opened the kitchen window. And the one in the eat-in. And one in the dining room, to create a draft.

    The smoke cleared. We ate our breakfast. The bacon was salvageable - I like it crispy, and HO sauce masks a lot of sins. Randy set off to get "measured" for a new set of golf clubs, his not so secret Christmas present. I tossed in a load of laundry and settled in to read more of HAMLET'S BLACKBERRY, by William Powell.

    I left the windows open.

    Powell's book is hugely insightful, and very entertaining. I've read almost everything out there on the problems of being overconnected in this digital age, searching for an answer that will help me disconnect without guilt, but none have affected me the way Powell's book has. Perhaps it's because it's much more existential, more philosophical. I do like my Plato. Perhaps it's because, despite the philosophical bent, the concepts are much more accessible than anything I've read on the subject before.

    I'm always trying to find ways to disconnect. And yes, there is great irony in the fact that I'm reading Powell's book on a screen (my Nook) and have interrupted that journey to visit my screen (my Mac) and talk about the experience. But sometimes you need to get your thoughts down before they disappear.

    The windows have been open for three hours. Yes, it's a little chilly in here. But the sun is shining. The air is crisp and clear. I like the way winter smells, all chilly and brisk, like licking an ice cube. I like that I'm letting a little of it inside. It makes me wonder, what else am I missing because I don't want to be uncomfortable? Is the little bit of disconnectedness I'm searching for, and often failing to achieve, tied to not wanting to be uncomfortable? Is being tied into the grid solace in some form? I've never felt lonely. I like being alone. Perhaps, without realizing it, I'm looking for something and I don't know what it is.

    Huh. We don't like to be uncomfortable. No question. Neither do I. Randy just got home and made me a fire.

    The windows are still open.

    I'm going back to Hamlet's Blackberry now. I recommend you getting it for yourself. And I do hope William Powell is planning to write more books. I stopped reading to get online, look him up and find out more about him. He's had a very interesting career, one that I will now be following. And a lovely by-product - I see that he's married to Martha Sherrill, who wrote a book called THE BUDDHA FROM BROOKLYN. 2011 is the year I throw myself into the study of Buddhism, Taoism and yoga, so her book has risen to the top of my must get pile.

    Odd, how the connectedness and the disconnect overlap and help me find my way. Sometimes, you have to be open to let the universe in, whether it's through a window, or your soul.

    Food for thought.