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Tuesday, June 25, 2013


My life has been bereft of indulgences and bathed in them at various times. I most certainly have been indulged and have indulged others. Sometimes it is just an expression of love or appreciation for another or sometimes it is just something you feel like doing for someone simply because it makes you feel good to do so.

This will be one of my indulgences; one that I am going to give to me simply because it feels good to do so. I am going to share it with you because that is also self-indulgent.

I have written for many, many years. I wrote poems and stories in high school and then didn’t write for a few years and then had children and took up writing again. At that point, I wrote a few stories for Redbook magazine and they actually published a few of them. I had a poem published in Reader’s Digest once about new babies. I have my original copies of nearly everything I ever wrote, but I recently discovered the box I had the published copies in, has been lost in one move or another or during a mad purge. It bothered me for a time, but really, who cares? I saw them. I enjoyed seeing my words in professional print and now I don’t care. I have all the newspaper articles I have had published, I think.

There were many years of writing poetry to clear my head, to celebrate something, to mourn someone and those are in my office. Most have not been read by anyone, but me. That is just fine. I wrote those things for me.

Then in May of 2011 I joined this writing group when it was being formed because Gary Smith kept showing me Elizabeth Grace posts. I loved her work. I wanted to know her and I wanted to write on her fun and sometimes challenging topics. I asked if I could join. She just let me! She didn’t know if I could write my name, but she let me in.  I have enjoyed being in this group as much for the friendships as for the writing. I have met and formed real relationships with so many wonderful people and I am proud of the work we do. I am proud to be part of such a talented and amazingly diverse group of writers. One topic can bring out dozens of interpretations and I am often blown away by some of those. Reading blogs has definitely caused me to hone my skills. I am not the same writer who joined this group 2 years ago. I am not the same writer, but I am just an older version of the same person with more knowledge and experience. Thank you all for being such good examples to me. I appreciate and admire so many of you and to be honest, some of the less talented writers have some of the most unusual points of view and I have learned from them that a poorly written blog MIGHT carry weight on it’s idea, if not it’s skillfully crafted design. I have also learned I prefer to read a well edited and well thought out blog to one which is just thrown out there. But I read them all and I learn something from most.  Thank you all, again.

I write for the same reasons today that took me to the typewriter and notepads way back in the 60’s. I write because my mind is a continuous jumble of thoughts and without a keyboard or a notepad, I would just get lost in my busy mind, my mind which wanders in all directions at any given moment. Focus comes to me by writing. Focus is what I lack without writing. I wander from one thing to another and if I need to figure something out, I need to write it down. If I have a story brewing, (IF?) no, when I have a story brewing in my mind, I must find paper or keyboard and get the idea or the first line or something down to clear my head.  Writing is not a hobby for me; it is my mental health program. It keeps me semi-sane. That is the best I can hope to achieve. I am productive in my life because I write.

Now, what I want to indulge in here is this part:  I have explained why I write and what I write about is as varied as when I write, I would love to know and would ask you to be brutally honest, why do you read me?  Do you always read what I post? Do you only read when you post, as a return favor because you know I will read and likely comment on you?  If you are not a blogger, will you please comment below as anonymous and then sign your name or initials so I can hear from you the answers to these questions? Friends and family, who read and never tell me that you have read, please tell me this time.

I have removed all filters to allow all comments…please do this for me.

I am here to learn from you and indulge myself in some self-examination as well as, some possible harsh criticism.  I want the truth and I can handle the truth. So, indulge me, please?

Thanks in advance and I may not reply to the comments, I may just read and digest.  We’ll see.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013


GBE2 prompt for this week is "Siblings" and at first I thought about how I do have one of each type and I could write about us or I could write about my blended family, the steps and the birthed by me kids. But hey, I've done enough stories about my amazing children and their amazing babies and this time, yes, my siblings will be my subject.  They'll either love it or not read it or yell at me. Let's see how this goes, shall we?

My parents had a daughter and two years later had a son. Done! Family complete with Mom, Dad and one of each sex.  Oops! Two years later, along comes number three! What? How? Well, they knew how, but still, What?

A Christmas

My older sister is 5 years older than I and was my bedroom roommate until she married and moved out. We were not exactly friends. I wanted to hang with her and her friends, but being five years younger, they weren't interested in having me around. I totally didn't understand why not. I would sit on the top step and sorta pretend I was with them because I could hear most of what they talked about and I could pretend to be adding to the conversation. Until I got caught, by the sister, it was fun. After she told Mom and she made me move or there was a time or two that she just pushed me on down the stairs to rid herself of my intrusive behavior. Did she get in trouble for that? Probably, because although I don't remember, I'm sure I tattled on her. I was very skilled at tattling without adding any blame upon my innocent self.

In spite of all that kind of behavior we did grow up. When she married and moved out, I enjoyed going to her apartment and visiting her. She seemed much nicer after she moved out of MY bedroom. I had my own room, my own space and I was nearly 16, (14 is nearly 16, right?) would be driving very soon. Her living in her own apartment with her second-shift working husband who just happened to be my boyfriend's brother, was pretty awesome. I visited mostly evenings. It was enhanced by an immeasurable  amount when she gave birth to my first niece. I was 16 by then and it was as if she had done this for me. Seriously! She had a very difficult breech birth and I was there day in and day out (July birth, no school) and many nights to cuddle, feed, change and love this little bundle of baby girl love. I had none of the parental responsibility and all of the aunty responsibility. Perfection in a baby blanket! Love her, bathe her, feed her, rock her, sing to her, (poor baby) and mostly thank her mommy for sharing her so unselfishly. We bonded over this baby in a friendship that still exists today. Oh, and our love for macaroni and cheese with grilled cheese sandwich dinners!

She is married now to a man much more her style. He is silly and organized and always doing something. They are retired and live nearby so we are still close. She is my "go-to" guy for all things that need talked out or vented out. I love my brother-in-law and I love that he adores my sister. I understand why.

My sister is my friend. She is a loving and kind woman and without question,  the best sister anyone could ask to be given. Thanks Mom and Dad, you did a good job. I love you, Pat.

Now the boy child. The middle child. He was a major thorn in my side for most of my growing up years.(I think I was kind of an only child because neither of them saw any need for another child.)  He teased. He taunted. I was a bed wetter. My mother handled that with dignity. She assured me, over and over, that it would pass. She reminded me not to drink after supper. She took me to the doctor to make sure it wasn't physical. I know now, looking back, it was that I slept the sleep of the dead. I would dream I was sitting on a toilet somewhere and then, naturally, I would pee. Did I mention that my sister and I shared a bed for about 6 years?  Yeah. Bless her dampened heart. The boy child often teased me about bed-wetting in front of others and often as we all were in our beds and from his room he would make comments about the soggy side of the bed or scare me by making a "call" which sounds a little like "mitcheekaboooola"! He was a boy.

It was not really until he had an accident at work that I realized how much I really did love him. He was working for a construction company and a ditch he was standing in collapsed on him. His pelvis was crushed and he was hospitalized for what seemed like a very long time. I honestly don't know how many weeks it actually was, but he was in traction and in a lot of pain each time I was able to visit him. Mom was there every day and Dad every evening. I was 15 and tried to make dinner and keep calm and do the best I could at home so Mom wasn't overwhelmed with work. It was hard for everyone, but I was so afraid my brother would never really recover. I knew he wasn't going to die, but I couldn't imagine he would ever walk again seeing him in that bed in traction. It was awful.

When he finally came home, we had one of our twin beds (my room had two and Pat had already married and moved out) in the living room because he could barely get around with crutches and steps were out of the question. So in order to cheer him up, I would swing back and forth toward his bed on the crutches acting like I was going to land on him. Sounds kinda stupid now, but it always made him laugh, so I continued to do that and anything else I could think of to make him laugh. I believed he would heal faster if he laughed. His pain seemed to ease when I messed with him. I wanted him to heal. I even told him a time or two that I loved him. Might have been the first time.

He did recover with only a damaged leg which resulted in one thinner leg and a slight limp. He has managed to live a very productive life since and has only recently retired to enjoy his life of working hard to earn a nice retirement nest egg. He lives out of state and we don't see him often, maybe 3 to 4 times a year. He is married to a wonderful woman who keeps him in check. Bless her heart. If there was no other reason in the world to love her, it would be enough that she loves him.  But there are many reasons to love her and I do.

When he read my first book he raved about my talent. Raved, I tell you. Nagged me to get it published. Nagged me to finish another so he could read it. Shared it with everyone who might be interested in reading it and gave me support and praise for maybe the first time since I married Roomy. He thinks I did good with this one. In all my life, the praise from this man for my own work, from my own head and hands, made a tremendous and profound difference in my writing. It made me want to be better. It made me want more.
I thanked him over and over for his kind words, but he insisted that he wasn't being kind, he was being honest. What a wonderful gift.

As adults we have lived in different states and his life and mine are not very entangled, but I know he is always there if I need him and visa-verse. I know that being the person Momma depends on most for her needs and wants both my brother and my sister have my back. That matters. I love you, Mike and as brothers go, mine ain't so bad.

In my life it is not a matter of spending hours and days in the company of either of my siblings that makes our relationships work, it is knowing that no one will ever be alone; unless they choose to be. It is knowing that all things family matter to all of us. It is loving unconditionally even when you don't like what someone has done and mostly it is knowing love exists through your entire life. The bond I share with my siblings is unbreakable. Unshakeable. Forever.

I have friends who feel like family and I am very grateful for that. I am even more grateful that my family feels like friends. 

Maybe another time I will write about the brothers and sisters I inherited when I married Roomy. He is one of 7 children and I have a whole slew of fabulous in-laws from his side to write about, but that will be another day.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


The GBE2 topic for this week, "What if..." and I am going to play for the second week in a row!  I never used to miss a topic and then, I lost my passion. Writing has been a requirement for me for years now and all of a sudden, it's not.  The retirement of Roomy had a lot to do with it. Does that sound silly to you?  He was here all day most every day and my writing time was gone. My alone with my thoughts time was gone. My need to write felt alive and well, I wanted to write, but I had no passion. I didn't even go into the office except to pay a bill or make calls or maybe watch the TV on my desk while browsing FB.

Nothing has changed except that I really want to write again and have decided that it's all about just doing it.  Summer chores and the love of the outdoors cut into my favorite writing time slot, but I have also always enjoyed late night writing and I still have that time to myself.  I'm taking this bull by the horns. I have a rewrite that I want done and I am going to get to that beginning tonight.  But right now, I'm blogging!

What if...

My first novel had been picked up by one of the twenty or thirty publishers I sent it to?  It would now be out there in hard or paperback in some bookstores across the country. What if a lot of people really liked it?  What if no one liked it?  What if the publisher had asked for book number 2, my personal favorite?  This one I am sure would have sold well with proper marketing and editing. I love this book and I have wanted it published in affordable paperback ever since the day I finished the rough draft.  It's still on sale at Kindle and B&N Nook, but the sales have slowed.  I get notes from readers and it is borrowed quite often among friends; that speaks well of Beautiful Betsy. It makes me very happy.  But, you know IF any of my books had been picked up, I would be out on tour and working under deadlines and trying to outsell my last GIANT hit and really, that's not me.  I'm a very casual writer who writes much more for myself and a little bit for the love I get from readers who like my style of casual and conversational story telling.  It's fun and it's completely at my leisure.  So IF Betsy had been published, I wouldn't have the choice of writing or not writing. I wouldn't have the option of rewriting The Island Princess. I'd be far too busy to enjoy procrastinating.  It's better that I self-published on Kindle and Nook.

What if...yeah, well, as usual, everything worked out as it was meant to work out. I am getting back to the office tonight and I am going to stick to my newly decided writing schedule because as one of my dearest friends in the world told me years ago, "Writers Write. The good ones, they write everyday if only for a few minutes, they write."

If you think you might like my books, the two still at Amazon and Barnes and Noble can be found by searching Jo Heroux, Author.  Both Beautiful Betsy and Summer in Martinstown are stories of people just like some people you may know.  I created lives and they wrote their stories through my keyboard. Lots of twists and turns and unexpected events will hopefully keep your interest.  Oh, and let me know if you read one and like it or if you read one and have no intention of ever reading another Jo Heroux piece.  Either way, I love hearing from my readers.

What if you're  missing out on a really good read?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Half My Life

So what are the odds of this being the topic this particular time?

 I am 63 years old and have been married to my Roomy for 31.5 years. Yep, that's half my life. So for half my life I have been Jo Heroux. For the first 17 years I was Jo Settle. Then for 10 years I was Jo Ballard. Then for 2 years I was Jo Haueisen.

Each of those women were different. As I look back at who I was and why I became her, I realize the life I was living created the woman I became. I liked Jo Settle, but I like Jo Heroux much more. She is a nicer person. A less selfish woman. A woman who gives without expectation. A woman who knows the blessings bestowed in her life and is grateful and has not forgotten the heartaches and pain of the younger woman she once was.

Half of my life I have shared with the man who made the most horrendous move in the history of moves on the night that we officially met. I have raised my own children with him and helped to raise a couple of his. I have opened my heart to his children as if they had come from my body because they came from his. He has fathered my children because he was the only father they knew who didn't go away and forget to come back. He was the only father who would never get so mad at them that they couldn't be forgiven. Oh, he got mad at them, but never forever. He always remembered who the adult was. His heart has never closed to anyone who once lived in it. He loves forever.

Half of my life I have been the wife of someone I like. That is so much more important than I ever knew. Lust and hotness are lessened with age, but like is capable of simply growing. He's my buddy and he's my Roomy and he's the love I have never for a second doubted. He's the man who still warms my heart when he smiles at me. Still makes me want to be my best self because he thinks I am much better than I really am. I am the best wife I know how to be. I see my shortcomings, but I also know that he is happy so, I think I'm doing okay.

This was September 2010

The first half of my life I was finding my way. I was getting ready and growing into the woman who would be right for Roomy. This half of my life I am learning and becoming his other half.

Starting very soon, I will have been with my husband for longer than I was without him. That is how life is suppose to unfold, I think. You are supposed to be with your other half, your better half most of your life.

Marriage is not easy for anyone long term, but with the right one, it's so doable. It's also so worth it. The effort of the early years have paid high dividends for me. I hope he feels the same. The most he has really every verbalized to me about this was during an anniversary celebration when he said, "I have no complaints. I'd do this thing again."

Smooth talkers always get me!

Half my life was climbing and now half my life has been relaxing on the top of the hill.