A to Z Challenge 2016: Z is for Zilch

ZWell, here we are on the last day of this year’s challenge, and I’ve got zilch. That’s right, for the letter Z,  I have nothing, zero, zip, nada, nix, rien, nil, the big goose egg, empty handed, drawn a blank–I could go on, but you get the picture. Zilch is just another word for nothing, but it seems so much more final than many of its synonyms.

I thought about many other Z words, but seriously when I considered zoo,  zoology, Zeke, zero, zip, or zinnia, I got zilch. I couldn’t think of a single interesting thing to say that hasn’t been said before.  Zoom-zoom was out of the question because I HATE that commercial. Enough said. So, for my last post, I’ll speak of nothing.

Banner for Kindle ScoutFor the last few days, I’ve been  dwelling on disappointment, and I’ve come to realize I have nothing to be disappointed about. Zilch! While it’s true that my latest novel, Hello Again, didn’t garner enough nominations to be published by Kindle Press, it will still be published by me, and hopefully will sell well. If you haven’t had a chance to read the excerpt and nominate it, May 1 is the very last day. You can check it out here.


In my life, I’ve spent way too much time on regret, and that’s done zilch for my career, my self-esteem, or my long-range plans. Dwelling on the past does nothing for you. People are supposed to learn from their mistakes, but we don’t. Who remembers the first time they had too much alcohol and spent the night “dying” next to the great white telephone? My hand is up; is yours? Do you remember begging God to let you live and you’d never do it again? Uh-huh, and did you? Yup. All those prayers did zilch for  you when fraced with peer pressure and alcohol, although, truth be told, I don’t overdo the way I did in my early twenties when I was young and carefree. Recoovery takes SO much longer now.

hyperlinkedSo, for today, I’ve got zilch–No regrets. I enjoyed the A to Z Challenge and hope to see you all again next year. This isn’t my last post–I’ll be around at least twice a week if you care to keep visiting, but now, for the last time, please hop over to the A to Z Challenge List to check out other incredible blogs.


A to Z Challenge 2016 Y is for Youth

YWelcome to the second last post in the A to Z Challenge for 2016. It’s been an incredible experience, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

Today, the letter of the day is Y, incidentally, the only one I ever got right when dancing to the song YMCA. I could manage to get my hands up in time for that, but the others were always hit ot miss.

There is an adage that says “youth is wated on the young.” It was attributed to George Benard Shaw, but what he actually said was a bit different.

“Youth,” he replied, “is the most beautiful thing in this world—and what a pity that it has to be wasted on children!”

In some ways, he’s correct, but in others, he’s missed the mark. It’s true that children may not always appreciate everything around them, but it takes those experiences to help those children become adults.

Only a fool would say all children have it well. I had a great childhood, but I didn’t live in poverty, in a war-torn country. I wasn’t abused, beaten, starved because I was female. No, I grew up in Canada, and while my family was by no means rich, I had everything I could possibly need–clothes to wear, a roof over my head, loving parents with me still, food to eat, and the chance at the education I wanted–things people often take for granted, and I suppose I did, too, at the time.

As I aged and my world grew to include the man I loved and the children I bore, I was still young enough to enjoy the wonder of being a mother. I became a teacher when I had the energy to keep up with the children I taught.

I don’t agree with Shaw. Youth isn’t wasted on the children. It’s the groundwork that got me where I am today. Physically, I may not be able to do what I could years ago, but I can appreciate the memories and understand that in may ways, youth is a state of mind. I’m still young at heart.

So, today, I give you Frank Sinatra and Young at Heart.

Now, please hop over to the A to Z Challenge List to check out other incredible blogs.


A to Z Challenge 2016 X is for Xanadu

XWelcome to Living the Dream. As we count down the last few letters of the alphabet, today belongs to the letter X. Now, that letter is a lot like a cuckoo bird. Instead of looking for words of its own to start, it puts in sound in the nest of other letters, especially the letter E, which let’s face it, is a word hog anyway. Words like execute, excitement, and even ecstacy, sound like they should start with X but don’t.

So when I was thinking of X words, the first few lines of Samuel taylor Coolridges’ poem, Kunbla Hkahn, came to mind. Back in the Stone Age, when I was in high school, we used to have to memorize poerty–not just to recite it, but to write it down. The first five lines always stayed with me.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.


Xanada was supposed to be China, but to me, it seemed to be a magical place. Imagine my surprise when back in 1980, there was a movie entitled Xanadu, starring Olivia Newton-John, and Xanadu became Mount Olympus. Take a few minutes to listen to the title track from the movie.



Don’t forget to hop over to the A to Z Challenge List to check out other incredible blogs.

Midweek Tease: Forever and Always

Good morning. If you are looking for the A to Z Challenge for the letter W, just scroll down! You’re welcome to read this post, too!

MWTease15As April draws to a close, I am amazed at how quickly time is passing. I know it doesn’t move any faster than it did, but now that I’m in my so-called golden years, it sure seems to have picked up speed.

For those of you here for the first time, the Midweek Tease is a weekly blog maintained by Angelica Dawson where a variety of authors share their work with you.

This week, I have a special treat for you. Today only, April 27, 2016, my novella, Forever and Always, is free to download from  most Amazon sites. Please download a copy and enjoy. No strings attached. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Always-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B01CEVSEFA

Here is this week’s tease:


She raised her glass to her lips and sipped.

“You know, they always had champagne at the after parties, but it never tasted like this.”

“It should have. You deserve nothing but the best. So, is tonight as bad as you thought it would be?”

“Out here, it’s beautiful. In there, not so much.” She turned and looked at him. “I really can’t blame Hope for opening old wounds. She’s just a child and doesn’t understand how painful this is for me, but some of the others… I appreciate you sticking by me tonight. I don’t know how to thank you. You fixed my house, brought me flowers and rescued me from the crazed masses….”

“No thanks necessary. Maybe I’m just making up for lost time. I’ve waited more than ten years to get you alone,” he said, quietly.

“That sounds almost ominous,” she said, and smiled weakly. “I’ve been watching a lot of television. When someone says that, it usually means someone else is in trouble.”

“Not in trouble, never in trouble. I’m not trying to creep you out, so relax.”

She nodded.

He let out the breath he’d been holding. The last thing he wanted to do was scare her.

“Most of high school’s a blur to me,” she said, wistfully. “I barely remember those people, some not at all. I was always on the run, but I’m sure I’d have noticed if you approached me—said anything—I didn’t even think you liked me.”

“Liked you? I had the biggest crush on you, and a lot of the guys knew it, but what was I going to do? You never had a spare minute. I still can’t figure out where you found the time to eat, sleep, and study. I used to watch you race across the quad to the bus, too stressed and in a hurry to even notice me. Do you know I attended every performance you gave here before they whisked you away to Toronto? You were so dainty. It looked as if your feet didn’t even touch the ground.”

“I’m not so dainty now,” she said, sadly. “More like a bull in a china shop, constantly in danger of knocking something over or falling down.”

“From where I sit, you’ll always be the fairy princess flitting off to another world. I was just about ready to make my move when you made yours. I know you didn’t want this, but knowing I can catch up with you now isn’t such a bad thing for me. It sounds selfish—and it is—but I can finally talk to you, be with you, touch you, and even hold you in my arms like this.” He put his arm around her, pleased when she didn’t pull away.

Now, stop by and visit the rest of this week’s teasers.


A to Z Challenge 2016: W is for Welcome to Monstrovia

WWelcome! Today, April 27, 2016 as a thank you for dropping by, you can download an e-copy of my novella, Forever and Always FREE! No strings attached. http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Always-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B01CEVSEFA

Thank you for dropping by Living the Dream. We are down to the last four letters of the alphabet. Today,  for the letter W, I want to talk about the importance of encouraging the love of books in children and teenagers. The stories I loved as a child may not appeal to the youth of today. As an English teacher, I often had to teach novels and short stories the kids didn’t want to read. I’d hear them complain all the time about how boring the books were. We have to make sure that at some point they get to choose their own reading material, so that they can learn to enjoy reading and books. I’d like to introduce you to Mark Newhouse, an author who writes books for today’s preteens and teens.


In this Silver Medal Benjamin Franklin Book Awards first book of a comedy-mystery series, Brodie Adkins is thrown into the wacky world of Monstrovia, where he encounters flying serpents, deadly giants, and a monstrous murder mystery only he and his lawyer uncle, Jasper Doofinch, can solve! Kids of all ages won’t be able to put it down until the hilarious surprising ending.
From the Author
Monstrovia with badge

WELCOME TO MONSTROVIA was great fun to write. I just loved the laughs and twists in this crazy mystery, modeled after my boyhood idols, Perry Mason and Sherlock Holmes. Imagine finding out your uncle is the famous Doofinch the Defender, lawyer for mythical monsters and fictional folk, and you must assist him in a baffling case of murder involving a brave, but stubborn teenage girl and a bunch of crazy witnesses and dangerous encounters with monsters, giants and more. I knew kids would get a lot of laughs and surprises as they tried to solve this funny mystery. My hope is that this special series will give kids positive role models and introduce them to the fascinating world of lawyers and the courtroom with a lot of fun twists.

I want kids to feel they can solve problems, and as a teacher, I loved using humor to help them learn. In WELCOME TO MONSTROVIA, the page-turner adventure introduces fascinating things about law while kids laugh. I loved when one mom reported, “Now I may have a future attorney in the family.”

Please, don’t give away the surprise ending!!! I know you’ll want to come back for Book 2, The Case of the Disastrous Dragon, out soon. And thank you for your kind reviews.

headshot V1Bio: Mark H. Newhouse

Comical monsters and underdog heroes have won him many awards for his books and stories, but his favorite reward is hearing children laugh at his humorous adventures such as those in WELCOME TO MONSTROVIA, winner of the Benjamin Franklin Book Award Silver Medal. Book 2 The Case of the Disastrous Dragon will be out soon.

Mark won the Teacher’s Choice Award (Learning Magazine) for THE ROCKHOUND SCIENCE MYSTERIES, where kids catch crazy crooks by fun experiments like making ice pops. He won First Prize in the Florida Writers’ Association competition for his comical YA horror, THE MIDNIGHT DIET CLUB, now also a great audio book. His picture book, ALICE IN BATSYLVANIA, another 1st Prize RPLA winner is loaded with fantastic illustrations by Dan Traynor.

Mark contributed stories and was editor-in-chief for HOLIDAY HELPINGS, THE STORY SHOP, and CRITTER CAPERS, filled with funny stories for children and families. His suspenseful adult books are published by Solstice Publishing. He has won many honors for short stories which appear in a number of anthologies. For a complete list and updates, visit www.markhnewhouse.com.

Mark thanks you for your support and a special thank you for those kind enough to add their reviews. “A few years ago, I got the greatest fan letter from a little boy thanking me for my ROCKHOUND detective series and ending with: “I know all authors are rich. Can I swim in your pool?” If I had one, you’d all be invited, but watch out for funny monsters!


Amazon Mark H. Newhouse  link  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K8Z7YU

Welcome to Monstrovia   http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692518959

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/mark.newhouse.904

Twitter https://twitter.com/MarkhNewhouse

Website  http://www.markhnewhouse.com


Now, please hop over to the A to Z Challenge List to check out other incredible blogs.A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

A to Z Challenge 2016: V is for Vision

VHello again. Thanks for dropping by Living the Dream today. The A to Z  Challenge is winding down and in some ways, I’ll be sorry to see it end. I’ve enjoyed reading new blogs and meeting new bloggers.

Today, the day belongs to the letter V. I’ve decided to blog about vision. There are different kinds of visions, but I want to concentrate on eyesight, the sense which to me is the most important ones.  I wear eyeglasses and have for most of my life. I have an underdeveloped optic nerve, which essentially means I’m blind in one eye. I have peripheral vision only. That means the other eye does all of the work.

My greatest fear has always been that I would damage my good eye. A few years ago, a friend suggested I consider laser eye surgery and get rid of those unattractive glasses. I declined, terrified that if something went wrong, I’d be blind. I’m a visuallearner. I learn by seeing–not listening, not necessarily doing.

As I age, I appreciate the need to take good care of my vision. At the moment, I have three different pairs of glasses with my latest prescription as well as contact lenses which I wear when I get all dressed up. I have prescription sunglasses for sunny days. I have progressive lenses which transition–my “good glasses” for everyday wear, and I have computer glasses, an intermediate prescrition desgned to ease eye strain when I work on the computer. Sound excessive? Not really. If you depend on glasses to see, you know a back-up pair is essential for driving. Have your lens fall out when you’re on the highway and you’ll understand.

Vision, to me is the most important of the five senses. A cold has often robbed me of the sense of smell and taste. While I can’t imagine not being able to hear or feel, not being able to see would be too painful to consider.

Now, please hop over to the A to Z Challenge List to check out other incredible blogs.


A to Z Challenge 2016: U as in Uncomfortable

UHello and welcome to the last week of the A to Z Challenge, the one featuring all the difficult letters of the alphabet. Today, we give the stage to the letter U. I’ve decided to  do a personal post on what makes me uncomfortable.

I’ll start by confessing that I am not, and never have been, a real “people” person. I’m uncomfortable in crowds, especially when I’m sober and everyone else has had more alcohol than they should have. I’m a first class introvert and just because I live with an extrovert doesn’t mean I’ve adapted to his preferences.

Crowds inevitably lead to my next uncomfortable point, people invading my personal space. I’m not a touchy-feely person. I don’t appreciate strangers kissing me as it that’s perfectly fine. We used to go out each year to New Year’s Eve parties. The worst part  was always midnight when anyone and everyone decided it was okay to swap spit with me. No matter how often I tried to offer a cheek, I inevitably got stranger drool on me. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem kissing my friends and family, I just dislike having strangers get overly friendly that way, and by strangers I mean everyone I don’t consider a close friend. Just because you know my husband, my kids, my parents, or the neighbors doesn’t make you my friend.

Another thing that makes me uncomfortable is small talk. Why? Because I suck at it. I’m terrified my opinions on religion, politics, someone’s size ot wardrobe, food choices, child-rearing preferences,  or whatever will offend someone. The only good thing about being at a party in a bar is that the loud music makes that kind of situation difficult–but house parties? Shoot me now. Do you want to talk about my books, my writing or my grandkids, fine. I can go on for hours, but anything else … not so much.

So, what makes me uncomfortable? Many things that others enjoy, but the bottom line, everyone is uncomfortable about something.

Now, please hop over to the A to Z Challenge List to check out other incredible blogs.A2Z-BADGE_[2016]