Catching Up and Talking Turkey

Hey Everyone,

Can y’all believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday?! Time really has been flying at Casa James this fall!

It’s been a hot minute since I last wrote, so let me catch y’all up on a little bit of what’s been going on — then let’s talk turkey, ‘k?

The book

Daughter Lauren finished beta reading for me! Yay! And she’s amazing! I’ve made all the necessary re-writes and changes she suggested, so that’s done.

Now I’m hoping to get at least one more person to beta read for me before I send it to an agent and then pray, pray and pray some more that it’s good enough to warrant a kind and encouraging response of, OH MY GOSH! YES, OF COURSE I WANT TO REPRESENT YOU!

A Call for Potential Beta Readers

If anyone’s interested in beta reading for me [sorry, I can’t pay, but would adore you forever!], please contact me at

My manuscript is close to 100,000 words in length, so it’s a healthy-size! Or maybe you could read a mere hundred pages of it? Whatever you could do, I would be ever so grateful and truly appreciate it! What I’m looking for is someone who will tell me:

  • if you like it or not;
  • if it holds your attention;
  • if you have any problems with it and if so, what those issues might be;
  • anything you absolutely hate;
  • redundancies you encounter;
  • whether it flows;
  • anything that you absolutely love (fingers crossed there’s something in there); and
  • whatever else you think I might need to know in order to make this a successful book! 🙂

It’s humor-based if that helps.

Querying Minds

I was talking with a writer friend about writing a query letter and a synopsis — and if I wasn’t terrified before, well, I am now. That is a whole thing unto itself! This is probably going to be as difficult and almost as long as writing the book! What have I done, y’all?!!!!!

Also, I’d written what I thought was a forward for my book. Well, it turns out I can’t write a forward for my book. No one can write a forward for their own book. Who knew that only someone different from the author can write a forward or — it’s not a forward! How embarrassed am I that I didn’t already know that?! So my forward has now become either a preface or an introduction. Considering it has elements of both, I’m now calling it a prefa-duction.  Or do you think an intro-face sounds better?

Wayward Sparkles

As y’all know, my blog’s been giving me major trouble since last June-ish. After a short and bittersweet uhm…”snafu” with the former tech guy, Eric is now at the helm and is keeping “the old girl” up and going. The best news is that people who haven’t been able to leave comments in a very long time are able to again. Yay!

My concern at present is whether or not my readers are even aware that stuff has been fixed. I fear that some have just moved on because of all of the issues WWS has had over the last several months. And if that’s the case, I’m incredibly sad about it. 🙁

Also, David started getting notifications of new Wayward Sparkle posts from Mailchimp — as he should have (yay), but they ended up in his spam folder (boo!) So, if you haven’t been getting notifications from me recently — you might check your spam folder.


One blogger friend emailed me and said that she’d been blocked from my site! Holy Toledo, y’all! I feel awful that some BS from my site made my blogger friend feel awful! If you get a message that you’ve been blocked from my site EVER, please let me know immediately so I can let Eric know so he can fix this right away. And please know I would never block you!

Doing the Two-Step

Recently, Eric had me sign up for a Two-Step Verification log-in process which, thankfully, won’t impact any of y’all! Have you done this with your own site? It makes it much more difficult to be hacked, which is great. But it makes it almost impossible for me to get into my own site. Ha! Speaking of not being able to get into things —

Social Media Presence

Remember when I had my cataract problem and couldn’t see worth a damn for about six months? I think that’s when something happened to my Twitter/X account. I noticed last spring when I got my vision back, I wasn’t able to access it. So, now the time has come to deal with it and I don’t even know where to begin.

The last I saw, I had close to 10,000 followers on Twitter/X. It was once over 12,000. Anyway, close to 10,000 followers is a lot to lose if I have to start over. Do people even follow X anymore or is that pretty much obsolete? What about Face Book and Instagram? They’re still relevant, aren’t they? Anything else y’all think I need to do to strengthen my online presence? Or know of a good site I could visit to find out this info?

I’ve been remiss (hanging my head in shame) about keeping up a good social media presence because — well, it really doesn’t matter why. I’m gonna have to get with the program and remedy that.

Scary Stuff

About a week ago, we received a text from my ex that he now has cancer (declined to say what kind), but he stated he was disabled, unemployed and won’t be able to work again. He’s only 61. He’s always provided Ry with health insurance (per court order) but has stated he is no longer going to do so.

Of course, I wished him well and hope he’s able to overcome his health issues. Still, what that means in practical terms for me is I’m now having to figure out Ry’s insurance. Dealing with Social Security has been quite the eye-opener.

Also, the best way I know to keep the “fun” in dysfunctional is to invite government agencies and my ex into our family’s life during the holidays. Yay.

Chris’s post at Freethinker’s Anonymous mentions doing something that scares you on a daily basis. If I do nothing except deal with insurance for Ry and peddle my book to agents, that should take care of every day for the rest of the year. Even though it’s scary, though, it’s still a blessing!

Talkin’ Turkey Day

So, we’re heading over to David’s side of the family for Thanksgiving this year. The last time we did this, things did not go well, which you can read about here.

For whatever it’s worth, the person that things did not go well with won’t be joining us (may she rest in peace.) I’m sure her presence will be felt, though. (Also, I swear I had nothing to do with her dying!)

The thing is, other complicated family stuff has been brewing. So there’s that. David tells me that I may have more fodder to write about.


Also, I promised to bring a side dish that I’ve never made before. What the hell is wrong with me, y’all?! Now I’m totally stressed out about Thanksgiving!

Lauren’s Boyfriend

The best news is that we’re finally going to meet Lauren’s boyfriend! He’s joining us for Thanksgiving and is meeting the entire family (mostly) all at once. Since the hosts are making ham, pea salad and macaroni and cheese for Thanksgiving this year (were any of these at the original Thanksgiving?), Lauren’s boyfriend has suggested he may bring an entire roasted turkey! I think that would be both hilarious and brave! He will always have a special place in my heart for at least thinking about doing this, y’all! I’ll update what happens the Sunday after — if he actually follows through! Along with other fodder.

Because, apparently, for some, it’s just not Thanksgiving without the turkey! Gobble, gobble.


So, what are your plans for Thanksgiving? What food or traditions makes it Thanksgiving for you? What are you most thankful for this year?

Also, any encouraging words or thoughts about, ya know, the book thing or the online presence thing would be most appreciated, too.

Personally, I appreciate and am thankful for each and every one of you! Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

With that Wayward Friends, I’ll leave you with a few of our favorite traditions — listening to “Alice’s Restaurant”, watching the WKRP in Cincinnati Turkey Drop episode and watching the little boy helping his mom with the turkey!





30 thoughts on “Catching Up and Talking Turkey”

  1. Mona! Congratulations on your manuscript…sending all sorts of love and good wishes to you! And I love that you posted about WKRP and the ‘turkey drop’ this morning. Great minds thinking alike. I couldn’t help myself. xo! 🥰

    • Aw, thanks, Vicki! I’m so glad you stopped by! No matter how many times we watch, the WKRP episode always has me (and the fam) giggling. Have an awesome week! Mona

  2. Hey, I’d love to beta read for you but not sure that I would have any time until after Thanksgiving, at least.

    I have never liked Twitter and like it even less now. I use Facebook a LOT. Instagram not so much. Facebook allows me to keep in touch with friends and family but at the same time I can follow business, cooking, political, science, pet, history, etc. pages. Basically, Facebook to me, is an all-in-one social media platform. It works. Except when it doesn’t. Lol.

    Sorry to hear about your ex. My ex passed away a couple of years ago. He smoked 2 packs a day and drank like a fish (whatever that means because fish don’t actually drink, do they?! Lol.) Anyway, he never helped me voluntarily with the kids and when the state caught up to him, it wasn’t long before he was unemployed and unable to send child support at all.

    I despise the two-step verification process! It drives me insane. I just want to log in to this site or that with a password and get on with it. Ugh.

    For Thanksgiving this year, I will toss a ham in the instant pot, whip up some mashed potatoes and gravy and my son and his wife are bringing sweet potatoes, rolls, and green bean casserole. I bought pre-made frozen pies because my oven is dead. (And physically, I am in no shape to do much.) Turkey used to be so good when I was a kid but I actually hate it now. I hope you have a super Thanksgiving!

    • Hey Deb,
      I’d love for you to beta read for me. Whenever it’s convenient for you after Thanksgiving, send me an email at and we’ll go from there.

      I’m actually making sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows on top (this is the first time my son has requested this) and green bean casserole today for dinner, along with a couple of different ways of making Brussel sprouts, which is what I’m bringing to Thanksgiving. So one version has a lemon dressing with capers and parm and the other has pecans, bacon, onions, mushrooms and pomegranate with a glaze of balsamic. I’ll try both recipes and see which we like best. Anyway, that’s what’s for dinner today. By the time Thanksgiving actually gets here, I’ll just want a salad.

      I’m going to look into Threads, keep Face Book and Instagram and skip X altogether. I think.

      I recently heard that as quickly as things are changing with AI, it won’t be long before we won’t be able to keep anything safe from hackers. 🙁 The two-step process is annoying, but at least it’s one more level of security. According to the former tech guy, my site had been hacked at one point over the last five years. Not sure how he knows that, but he said that the hacker hadn’t actually used it for whatever nefarious schemes s/he had planned. So glad he was able to get rid of “whatever” before it did any damage. I do want to keep the site secure! Anyway, we’ll see how that goes! Thanks for stopping by! And you, also, have a super Thanksgiving! Mona

  3. Hoping this comment goes through…

    You said it about two-step verification: “But it makes it almost impossible for me to get into my own site.” And therein is the rub.

    I’m on Threads now, having abandoned Twitter. It’s a nice social media, nice people, much calmer than Twitter. If you join, look for me there.

    • Ally,
      Yay — your comment came through! Glad you’re here. Thanks for mentioning Threads. I’m going to check that out, especially since Twitter seems to have abandoned me. *sigh* I will definitely look you up! M

  4. Mona, reading this post made me so happy! I am going to exit Twitter soon and start a Threads account. Mr. None of the Above is a fan of Threads and I think it’ll be a good place for me to start fresh and work out what it is I want to say and how I want to say it publicly. I very rarely post anything on Twitter and find myself going down so many political rabbit holes when I look at it and this is not good for my mental health. It’s important for me to stay current on national and world news but Twitter has become largely a downer for me. Plus Elon and his b.s., especially with the anti-semitism, is really the last straw for me. Hope to see you on Threads! I’m all in for being a beta-reader too btw 🙂

    • Rhonda,
      We’re definitely going to have to find each other on Threads. And I’m glad this post made you happy! Ooh, and please get with me at I would love to have you beta read for me! You gave me so much great input before you moved back to Wisconsin. Have an awesome Thanksgiving! Mona

  5. Hi Mona. I can’t post comments on your essays via the WordPress Reader. It’s not a big deal, though it would be easier to do it that way rather than through your actual website. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving! Neil

    • Thanks for letting me know, Neil. I’ll run this by Eric. I’m glad you’re still coming by and commenting, though. Hope your Thanksgiving hits a high note with you as well! Mona

  6. Hello Mona. As you said, “It’s been a “hot minute,” so I was happy to hear from you again. Congratulations on your manuscript. I can totally relate to the panic of realizing how complex the querying process is. Best of luck to you with this endeavor. I suspect that there will be a learning curve, but that you’ll ultimately conquer it. As for Thanksgiving, my husband and I are having dinner with his sister and her husband. It won’t be our usual large family affair, but I am looking forward to what I expect will be a peaceful, enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

  7. Christie,
    Thank you! I suspect my learning will be very curvy. Glad to hear you and your husband are having a peaceful Thanksgiving this year. Everyone deserves this at least once in their lifetime. Blessings to you and yours! Mona

  8. Fingers crossed that this works—if it doesn’t I’ll think it’s because I did something wrong.
    Anyway you’ve really done some catching up! When it rains the salt really pours, doesn’t it? Painful as it can be salt in a wound can be healing, though. And I hope I can help by being another reader for you—look for my email.
    It’s funny but we don’t have any real Thanksgiving traditions. The family gets together but we do that so regularly it’s only the size of the meal that seems different. And I always take a couple of carrots to my sister-in-law’s horse. It’s the only time the horse pays any attention to me.

    • Thanks, Chris! I’d love if you would beta read for me. I’ll be looking for your email. Also, I think that giving carrots to your sister-in-law’s horse is a mighty fine tradition. I bet her horse would agree! Have a peaceful and amazing week ahead, my friend! Hugs, Mona

  9. Alice’s Restaurant and the 8×10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows, FTW!!

    “prefaduction”?? How about Preface or Intro?

    2-step verification is sooo irritating! Esp if, like me, you don’t let your devices save passwords. The state Disability system sometimes requires 2-steps (password, email code, AND txt code).

    Fb is virtually dead. Insta and twitter seem to be hanging on (I don’t use either but people link to them a lot).

    No TDay plans here… I quite enjoy watching everyone else spaz out. I miss the nightclub that was popular on Thu nights. TDay night was always a blast… everyone escaping their family drama!!

    Like the BF, I’d volunteer to bring a turkey… but I’d order it from HoneyBaked!!

    I don’t have info handy but you might want to look up Byrn Greenwood and see if she can offer any publishing advice. She had 2 books released by a smaller publisher, then her 3rd was picked up by a much larger group.

  10. LeendaDLL,
    So glad you stopped by. I hope you enjoy this coming Thursday, no matter what you do! And thanks for your insight and thoughts on everything else. I will definitely look up Byrn Greenwood! Hugs, Mona 🙂

  11. Oh no, Mistermuse! I’m thankful you were at least able to comment and expect that issue will remain fixed. But,
    I’ll pass what you wrote on to my tech guy and maybe he can do something about that because I don’t like that you can’t like either! Thanks for letting me know and thanks for stopping by! Hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving! Mona

  12. Congratulations on writing a book! That is such an accomplishment! And 100000 words is no small task!
    I dropped Twitter in 2021, I think. It was just…not fun. And it was strange to just delete the account I’d had for so long, but I enjoy IG so much more. I like FB too, but it’s more private for me.

    • Thanks Nicole! It seems like a lot of people have left Twitter for various reasons. Twitter seems to have left me, so I’m not going to waste my time! Onwards to Threads next week! Mona

  13. Best of luck on the book stuff! That is a huge step and sending you all the best on this journey.
    Such a bummer about Ry’s insurance. I hope it goes easier than you expect.
    We are in the midst of Turkey Day prep…took a break for minute and saw your post.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    Oh, I hope you like Lauren’s boyfriend—he’s a brave soul meeting you all at once. 🙂

  14. Suz,
    I hope you’re having fun with preparing for Thanksgiving Day! That was really sweet of you to stop by for a minute and leave a comment! And while I’ve talked to Lauren’s boyfriend over the phone (and I like him), I think it’s really brave that he’s cooking a fully turkey to take! That’s … well, I’m not sure what that is yet. Can’t wait to give him a hug though! You and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow! Mona

  15. Mona! Congrats on finishing your manuscript!!!!! Such an accomplishment!

    Sounds like there is a LOT going on family wise. Hoping you are having a lovely and drama -lite Thanksgiving.

    • Happy weekend, Suzanne!💕 I really appreciate your kind words and wishes! There always seems to be something going on, but at the moment, everyone in our house are in food comas, which gives me a chance to get shit done! 😏Have a lovely weekend! Mona

    • Mistermuse,
      Thank you so much for your kind wishes! We had a relatively uneventful one. I so appreciate that! I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving as well! Haven’t gotten with my tech guy yet, though. I’m letting him enjoy Thanksgiving weekend before I contact him early next week. I had a small heart attack (figuratively) because my site was acting up about a week ago and wouldn’t let me save a draft post (this one.) Needless to say, he definitely heard about it when I had to re-write it. So, at least he got things figured out there. I figure I owe this man a breather before he hears from me again.😬 Anyway, wish I knew why some were able to “like” my posts and others aren’t. I’m going to assume if this happening to you, it’s happening to others. Have a great weekend! Mona

  16. 100,000 words! That is a long novel. Many many congrats. Sounds like so much is going on in your life. Thanksgiving was no drama. My closest relatives ran or walked or trotted with me at a turkey trot at 8:30 in the morning and then we all stuffed our stomachs in the afternoon. Not too much guilt. Ha ha.

    • Hey Pam!
      Thanks so much! It’s more a book of narrative essays instead of a novel, but maybe it’s a novel take on personal essays?! 😊 Life is very high energy of late, but A TURKEY TROT?! How fun! Glad your Thanksgiving was drama-free and guilt-free! Those are the best kind of family gatherings! Have a wonderful rest of your week! Mona🤩

  17. Hey Mona, I “checked into” WordPress today and made it a point to stop by your blog since you were so kind to reach out to me recently. All is well here. Mrs. Chess and I had a great T-Giving and have started to ramp up for Christmas!

  18. Bruce,
    It’s great to hear from you! Glad y’all are doing well! Tis the holiday season! Have the merriest and the brightest all December long! Mona


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