Tag Archives: books

Toni’s Extrovert Diaries Day 9:) My Book Will Be Published! YAY!!!!

2 Apr

“Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can.”

― Douglas Pagels


It’s been a long time in the making. I’ve kept a daily journal for almost forty years now, and I’ve always dreamed that someday I’d be a famous author. It wasn’t until I became good friends with my neighbor Alicia last year, that I realized that I had an important story to share with the world.

Alicia has written over thirty best-selling novels, has been on countless talk shows and interviews, and has lectured to and hosted many writing workshops. When she heard my story, she said, “Girl, you need to share this with the world. I’ll get you in touch with my publisher when it’s ready. It’s really good!”

Well, it’s ready and the publisher loved it. I received my contract in the mail today! The printed books and e-version will be available in May. Yay!

This all seems like a waking dream. I knew my story was good when I shared it with my retreat sisters at St. Gabriel two years ago. Everyone cried and laughed and gathered round to hug me when I finished reading the final excerpt. Because, through all the heartbreak, pain, lies, and betrayal, God turned my darkest days into beautiful blessings. “Only God could do that!”

This is a “tell-all” account and journal of what really goes on behind the scenes at an exclusive Texas country club. I like to call it “The good ol’ boy network.” Anything goes, and it’s always going on. I’ll walk you through all the lies, e-mails, texts, cover-ups, call girls, sex, and slutty waitresses waiting to pounce on wealthy men. It was all a big game to them, and they tried to get all their buddies to join in on the action.

Because this is a true story, I changed the names and places “to protect the guilty.” You noticed, I said the “guilty,” not to protect the innocent. There was nothing innocent going on there.


I know I’m not the first woman in the world who was lied to, cheated on, and thrown away like a piece of trash. But, I thought he was the last person on earth capable of such atrocities.


This all seems like a waking dream because it is. And, because it’s APRIL FOOL’S DAY, I thought I’d try to fool you with yet another story that really never happened. Well, all the details are true except for the fact that I don’t have a publisher or a book deal. YET…. But, who knows? Maybe someday, I’ll have that book published after all.

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Your Comfort Zone

6 Mar

“When you stay in your comfort zone and don’t venture out, you don’t get anywhere or experience anything new.” ( or something to that effect.)
~ JoAnn Armenta
Yes, JoAnn, I quoted you today. JoAnn is my sister, a couple years older and wiser, and full of words of wisdom. I often tell her, “You’re full of it!” Just kidding.

This evening, I was telling her that I had been invited to join a small neighborhood book club, and I wasn’t sure if I should should join. I know all the ladies and I adore them, but, my problem is, I’m not much of a reader. Hmmm…? You are probably wondering how I ever hope to be a world famous novelist and author if I don’t like to read. Good question. Here’s the answer…I won’t!

When Jo mentioned that she regrets staying in her comfort zone and not venturing out, I immediately thought, first of all, that’s a great quote and I’m going to steal it, then I realized that I do the same thing.

After I hung up the phone, I replied to the email that invited me to join the book club with a resounding, “Yes, I’d be honored.” Now, I have to go find the book, “Beautiful Ruins,” by Jess Walter. My library has it on disks, but 11 disks! I’m one of those people that can’t listen to audio books because I can’t sit still, so twelve hours of someone talking at me ain’t gonna work.

So, if you’ve read the book already, let me know if you liked it. (Also, if I could borrow it. Ha, ha!) And, if you didn’t like it, just keep that to yourself. I’m easily desuaded. Thanks!



Theme Song Thursday: Books

1 Aug

You cannot open a book without learning something.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/book.html#d3CROEeqBxUlmiwV.99

So many books, so little time. I was inspired to go through a ton of paperbacks and old VCR tapes that have been sitting around collecting dust for years. Does anyone even have a VCR anymore? So, I packed up a box and four big shopping bags full of afore mentioned material and drove over to Half Price Books. I already knew that paid next to nothing for books to resell, but I figured it was better than dropping them off somewhere else.

After over an hour of glancing at the shelves and sitting in a chair, waiting for my name to be called, my huge stash in the shopping cart was worth a total of $9. My closest guesstimate was an average of ten cents an item. Sacrilege, you might ask? Actually, I was half expecting $4, so I was pleasantly surprised. You see, I buy a lot of books there and I know that I appreciate a bargain and the fact that people want to share their books, music and videos with others.

Here’s a fun song to get you in the mood.


Monday Memories: Meeting People that Change Your Life

6 May

( If you want to cut to the chase…visit http://www.stancrader.com )

A few years back, I was asked to write a brief summary about a couple of local businesses for McKinney Magazine. Well, I was fairly new to the writing for a magazine game, so they turned out to be more like “Gone With the Wind” stories about the fascinating folks who made it all work. What I loved, actually adored about writing these stories, was all the friends I made along the way. There are so many, but I’d like to share just one today.

In the fall of 2010, I drove over to Blue Mountain Equipment over by the McKinney Airport to take a few pictures of the brand new facility and get a few quotes for my assignment. To my surprise, the president of the company, who lives in Missouri, happened to be there that day. I was escorted to a beautiful boardroom with a long wooden table and several distinguished gentlemen seated on both sides, all waiting to meet with… ME? My heart was pounding so hard, I thought a 747 was landing across the street.

It only took a few minutes for my trembling hands to relax and jot down a few names and quotes. I was immediately in awe of the group of men, who were more like family and friends. They took turns recounting how the business started or how they became part of the ‘family’. At the end of the meeting, the president, Stan Crader, told me that he had recently written a book and presented me with a signed copy of “The Bridge”. Then Mr. Crader and his son Justin gave me a personal tour of the huge state-of-the-art building. I took more photos and notes, and thought I’d died and gone to journalism heaven.

Again, to make a long story even longer, as I tend to do, Stan and I kept in touch via Facebook and email. I told him that I was reading one chapter a week to my senior art group and they loved his book. A few months later, he surprised us with a visit and more signed copies of “The Bridge”. He stops in and visits us when he is in town and has some extra time. Since that first meeting, he has written an additional two books.

You may be wondering why this is all so interesting. Well, Stan Crader may be a very successful businessman, but his passion for writing has allowed him to share his talent and generosity to help the less fortunate. Stan has donated all the profits from his books to various local charities. He is even offering a free download of his first book, “The Bridge,” at his website http://www.stancrader.com But, perhaps you’d like to buy a copy, and support some needy veterans with your purchase.

Mr. Crader’s books are amazing glimpses into the lives of hard working families and a group of youngsters growing up in rural Missouri back in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s like reading “Tom Sawyer” with a modern twist. These books would be great to read with your kids or your grandma. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry, and you’ll be supporting a worthy charity. Let me know if you read any of the series, because you’ll find out why I love these books and why I adore Stan Crader. He has taught me what it means to be a great humanitarian and hopefully a better writer.



My prized autographed copy of THE BRIDGE.

Monday Memories and Music

9 Apr

The setting was the early 1960’s in Chicago. A young Catholic school girl dreamed of being a concert pianist, traveling the world, performing for kings and queens, maybe even the Pope. So, somewhere around the fifth grade, the girl pleaded with her mother to take piano lessons after school. The good news was, the loving mother agreed to pay for the lessons. The bad news was, Sister Mary Corporal Punishment was not the most nurturing and loving piano teacher. (Qualifier: not all the nuns were terrible and mean. Most were devoted, loving and spiritual role models. Yes, I also wanted to be a nun when I was seven, but I grew out of it.)

After no more than three or four painful ruler smacking sessions, the lessons ceased, as did the dreams of touring the world. But not to worry, the little girl had plenty of other dreams.

Fast forward about fifty years, give or take a few years. Here I am, back to the old dream and longing to learn to play the piano. The concert tours and world travel no longer a possibility, but you have to start somewhere. My wonderful husband bought me a beautiful piano. I tinkered a little here and there, just playing by ear, (actually with one finger…no ears involved).

I was too embarrassed to take piano lessons so late in life, being closer to Medicare than middle school. So, I drove over to Half Price Books to get a piano book for beginners. I was never great at following written directions. I’m more of a visual kinda gal. What better book to try than “Piano for Dummies?”


There were some very nice diagrams and easy basic tunes to play, but then the book progressed to using more than one finger, and some complicated things called chords, with all kinds of symbols called flats, sharps, and major and minor thingies. It all sounded very military school. TMI once again. I started with page one and was way beyond confused by page ten.

Several weeks of tinkering and more confusion found me back at the book store. I scoured all the piano books until I found a possible solution and hopefully an easier book. I plunked the new book on the counter and told the cashier, “Piano for Dummies was too hard. Hopefully this book will be easier. I think I’m more of an idiot than a dummy!”


The jury is still out. Is there anything easier than a book for idiots? I’m still playing with one arthritic finger and an old crusty ear.