A Barking Cat? Men in Shorts? Spring is Here.

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf- Column from the March 31 edition of the Albert Lea Tribune.

I know it is a sure sign of spring when my cat Natasha starts barking.natasha3

Yes, you heard me right, my cat started barking. I didn’t know she had that ability until recently.

Natasha has always been a little on the unusual side. She is part Siamese so that may explain it. My other cat Boris is big, lunky and lovable, too, but he does not have Natasha’s technique. When Boris decides to investigate something or sneak somewhere, it doesn’t usually work out without my knowing about it.

He weighs 15 pounds and is very large and tall. He isn’t overweight, just big. Boris is like a bull in a china shop when he is snooping. He is not graceful. Things fall when Boris investigates.

Natasha on the other hand, lives up to her name as she is named after Natasha in the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoons. She is slinky and graceful and cunning. She slips into a closet or through a cupboard door with grace and quietness. You do not realize the trouble she is in until you look for her. She doesn’t realize she is in trouble because she is having too much fun being in trouble.

However, as I was sitting at the desk in my office the other morning with the inside door open so you could see out the glass door to the outdoors, I started hearing soft barking. I was puzzled. I didn’t have a dog. I thought perhaps it was coming from outside since it was a quiet bark. I decided I needed to investigate. I walked around a filing cabinet to the door and there was Natasha watching a red ribbon blowing in the wind that was on the wreath outside my door. I still had not taken my fake Christmas wreath off of the side of my house.

I was worried that she had swallowed something and was choking, but, no, she was barking. She is very quiet, doesn’t meow or make her presence known by making sounds, but there she was barking. I picked her up, took her outside so she could see the wreath. She promptly started meowing. I took her back inside and set her down by the door. Again she was watching the wreath and barking. Finally I closed the inside door so she would settle down.

It definitely was a strange occurrence. Since she was adopted at a young age perhaps she had puppies or dogs where she was. Maybe she was the only cat so she thought she was a dog and now she was remembering her past. Who knows?

I decided to believe that this was the first time she saw the wreath without it being laden down in snow. Or perhaps she was protesting the fact that the sun was shining, the weather was warmer and I still have a wreath in my house.

I do know since the weather has changed she has more perk to her perkiness and so does my loveable lunky Borris.

We are waking up to the signs of spring. The sun is higher in the sky and it stays light out longer.  Smiles seem to come easier to people with the weather warming up. My grandchildren have taken to their roller skates and their rip sticks. People have started jogging by my house. Golf clubs are being cleaned, fishing poles are ready and spring decorations are showing up on houses and in yards.

Facebook is alive with pictures of birds people are seeing at their feeders and the garden stores are starting to be busy. At our house we are busy planning our summer home improvements. The hope of spring is on people’s minds and hearts. They are ever hopeful that the winter is behind us although there are no leaves on the trees yet and snow is still on the ground in places.

There must be people like me who walk past my flower beds and dream of the moments when I see the first little sprinkles of plants sprouting up through the ground.

I must admit my plants in my house are still a little confused by  the weather. My poinsettia is blooming and blooming. It too is hopeful but I suspect it is hopeful that the winter weather stays since Christmas is long past. It may be longing for the season with the reason.

We put a lot of spin on New Year’s resolutions, but I have heard more resolutions now  being made because hopes of spring are in people’s hearts.

“I am going to walk more.”

“I am going to take time to smell the flowers.”

“I am going to learn to golf.”

“I am going fishing more often.”

These are a few of the comments I have heard.

Yet, I don’t recall hearing the words, “I can’t wait to mow the lawn.” Most of what I hear is the fun stuff that revives us after a long hard winter.

Is it time to find out if my last year’s summer clothes fit me? Is it time to dig out the shorts? Is it time to get out my flip flops and flip flop outside? I have to wait for a sign. That sign usually walks up my sidewalk.

I won’t believe spring is here until I see my letter carrier and my UPS driver in their shorts. For me that is the true sign spring is coming.

When they walk up the steps in their spring and summer attire I will know it’s time, time to wake up from hibernation, get out my flip-flops, think about wearing shorts this summer (I usually don’t) and put my dreams about warmer weather into action. How about you?

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” — Doug Larson

It’s Easier To Promote Someone Else!

It is time to start promoting my new book Granny Skewers A Scoundrel while still promoting my first book in the Fuchsia, Minnesota Series, Granny Hooks A Crook. It is possible that if you  ask any writer they might tell you that promoting themselves is the hardest part of having a book published.

I am a new author so I might be too self conscious about this. Maybe it gets easier as the years go on.

As for me, I like to engage with my readers but I feel funny always talking about me and my books. Here I am again doing just that.

I love to promote causes and people that I believe in. It is easy for me to sing someone’s praises. It is easy for me to get the word out about an event or a cause for someone or something. Recently I was involved with a Food Shelf Fundraiser. I loved visiting the radio station and having a conversation on air about the need for donations in my rural area. Hunger in rural areas is hidden and we may fool ourselves into thinking it doesn’t exist because poverty seems to be more hidden in rural areas.

It is easy to promote my friend that has started a photography group. It is easy to promote the other authors for Cozy Cat Press. It is easy for me to write my newspaper articles about people that fit silently in the background making a difference in people’s lives. It may surprise people for me to  tell you that it is hard for me to promote myself and I hear that from my writer friends too. They want to write and they don’t like to talk about themselves. Writers promote themselves because it is part of the business.

Because I write a weekly column and I have this blog and I have my author Facebook page called Sprinkled Notes, I feel I am yakking about myself all the time. I get tired of it and I am sure my friends do too. It is hard to find the balance to promote books, because as writers we are the creativity in that book so that means we must be front and center too.

I remember in grade school the chatter back and forth between the girls’ in the 50’s when we were jealous of someone else or didn’t like someone else. The words were “You just think you’re so smart.” or “You just think you’re so good.” Thinking back those words hurt if our egos weren’t big enough to handle it. Thinking back to those words I suspect they were also aimed at people who were shy and had a hard time joining a crowd. “Those words were “She’s so stuck up.”

We also do that as grown ups when we see someone in the media all the time, voicing their opinion or hawking their wares or leading a community. We might not hear the words, “They’re so stuck up.” We might hear the words, “Oh, they think they are better than everyone else.” We make that judgment if someone is in the limelight or in a leadership position. We make that judgment if someone has more money than us or appears to have more money than us. We can’t know that it may be hard for them to be where they are. They may have to do the things they do for their job or their families or for whatever reason we do not know. If we feel challenged, jealous, uncomfortable with what the person is doing, we may judge.

What does that have to do with writers and authors? I write a column every week for the Albert Lea Tribune called Something About Nothing. I have been writing this column for seven years. Every week when I sit down at my computer to put words to paper I wonder what I can say that I haven’t said in the seven years. There is a feeling inside of me that my readers must be tired of reading what I must repeat over the years. I feel they must be tired of those words. Having said that, people read my column. That voice inside of me that whispers those words of reader tiredness, may be more about me being tired of me writing about me. So the thought goes that if I am tired of me writing about me, what must they feel like. I don’t know if other columnists feel the same way.

As an author, we have to sell books. Our publishing company promotes us but we also have to promote ourselves. That means we write and talk about our writing so we can get the word out about our books. We try to find creative ways to do this by going on blog tours, having book signings, being a guest on radio shows, handing out business cards, visiting bookstores and encouraging our friends to promote us. That promotion is our survival much the same way as someone has a 9 – 5 job and does what they have to do to keep that job. We want our publishing company to keep publishing our books. In reality, most writers want to spend their time writing, at least that is my perception from the ones I know.

I’d like to hear from other writers on this and even readers.

So, if you are tired of me, talking about me, I understand, I am too. It isn’t because I think I am better than you or that I think too highly of myself. It is because I am now trying to eke out a living in a tough market and to do that I have to promote me and my craft. It is what it is. Even dream jobs have their downside.

My books, Granny Hooks A Crook, Granny Skewers A Scoundrel and Whatchamacallit? Thingamajig? are out there for a little fun and mystery. There are links at the side of this page if you are interested in purchasing. By the way, I make mistakes in my writing when it comes to blogs etc. I have an editor that makes me look good in the paper and in my books, so if my page isn’t perfect it is like me, not better, not smarter than those who read this blog.

Writers mean more than they say and say more than they mean. Mason Cooley





Granny’s (Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestat) At It Again!

It is official, my new book is out. Granny Skewers A Scoundrel is on Amazon as a paperback and an e book. Here is a little tidbit from the book.  GrannySkewers

Granny has a new addition to her arsenal of crime fighting weapons as Fuchsia, Minnesota’s most colorful detective. Now, along with her famous crook-hooking umbrella, she’s acquired a scoundrel-skewering knitting needle. And just in time! Residents of Fuchsia seem to be dropping dead like flies! First, it’s Granny’s neighbor Sally (who gives up the ghost in her weed-filled front yard), followed by Esmeralda Periwinkle (the squirrel lover on Main Street), and then, Mr. Nail, owner of the local hardware store (who is squashed when dozens of bags of fertilizer fall on top of him). Granny is baffled. Who is behind this murder spree?Granny enlists the help of her sort of boyfriend franklin Gatsby, the town’s police chief Cornelius Stricknine (or “The Big Guy”), her reality-show loving neighbor Mavis, and her own son Thor. And, of course, the special assistance of her menagerie of pets — including Mr. Bleaty, the goat. Soon Granny is hot on the trail of this dastardly murderer. Unfortunately, when Granny herself is poisoned, everyone insists that she cool her crime solving ways and stay indoors and out of harms way. Of course, that’s never going to happen! Not when Granny knows all the secret passageways and tunnels that run underneath Fuchsia. Out she goes–and watch out, you evil doers! Granny will solve this mystery–you can bet your pink undies, she will!
It is the second book in my Fuchsia, Minnesota Series. Granny is silly, loveable, will give you a laugh and hopefully at times will touch your heart. My Fuchsia, Minnesota series is a little satire about the communities that we live in today. It is not meant to be believable although as we get older I believe there is a little bit of Granny in all of us but we have lost touch with that part of us or we don’t want to admit it exists because as we age we are supposed to act a certain way to fit into society and if we don’t we are labeled forgetful, and other names I choose not to address.
I am also including what my editor said about me at the end. It will explain a little about why I write what I do.
About the Author: Me


Julie Seedorf believes that if you believe it, you can do it. Julie retired from her computer business in 2014 to journey into writing full time. Putting her creativity to work, she is the author of the fictional Fuchsia, Minnesota Mystery series. Her first book Granny Hooks A Crook weaves a story about a fictional town in Minnesota that doesn’t conform to the conventional rules and regulations of the communities that we live in today. Granny herself is unconventional and many say unbelievable. Perhaps she is only unbelievable because we have stereotypes of the way older people are supposed to age. Julie’s books in the Fuchsia, Minnesota series are meant to poke fun at those ideas.

Adding to her career as an author, Julie also writes freelance human interest stories for Minnesota area newspapers, the Albert Lea Tribune and the Courier Sentinel. She hopes to expand her freelance career in the future. Seven years ago Julie started her career as a columnist. Her column Something About Nothing can be found in the Albert Lea Tribune, the Courier Sentinel and online at her blog http://www.sprinklednotes.com.

Having lived in small communities all her life Julie knows the richness that a small community can have in bringing up a family. Julie raised her children in small communities and takes the time to make sure her grandchildren learn the importance of the saying, it takes a village to raise a child.

The experiences of grandchildren learning who a grandparent was when they were young, is the subject of the Granny’s In Trouble series that Julie writes with her grandchildren. The first book in the Granny’s in Trouble series, “Whatchamacallit? Thingamajig?” was published in 2012. The next book in the series will be out soon.

You can find Julie on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sprinklednotes, on her blog sprinklednotes, on twitter at @julieseedorf or on her website at julieseedorf.com. Her books are available on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes and Noble and other independent bookstores.

There is a giveaway going on for the next two weeks on Goodreads if you are member. I am giving away three paperbacks.

Let you little shine shine this week, no matter how old you.