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To Whom It May Concern

This week's Red Dress prompt was to write a formal letter to you or your character's greatest fear. I chose my greatest fear(s).


April 22, 2011

Terri Sonoda

1 Bone Dry Street

Las Vegas, Nevada 88888-6666

State of Nevada Varmints and Critters Division

90 Eleven Freaking Little Bugs Boulevard

Las Vegas, Nevada  88889-BUGS

Dear Sir/Madam:

Please accept this as my formal letter of complaint against the unwanted, unwashed, uninvited and unbelievably annoying inhabitants of our fair state of Nevada.   Of which do I speak, you may ask?  My distinct distaste and displeasure resides with any and every crawling, creeping, slithering, sliding, biting, stinging, hanging, hiding, hideous, and have I mentioned uninvited critter within a 10 mile radius of my person.   Gentlemen/ladies, I did not move to Nevada to find a scorpion in my bed.  I was thinking more on the lines of a showgirl.   Where, may I ask, are all the showgirls when you need one?  Hmm?  I also did not move to Nevada to hike amongst the beautiful mountains and Red Rock Canyon, alongside venomous, poisonous, sneaky, slimy, sadistic (they must be into that stuff, being the spawn of Satan!) snakes and lizards.  I don’t care if they do have a famous tortoise named Mohave Max who predicts the weather like that groundhog, only later in the season, and he’s never correct.   How would I propose to alleviate this situation, you ask?  Why, just pay your park rangers a little more than minimum wage and maybe they’ll keep those hideous hellions at a safe distance.  I don’t care if we are visiting their home!  They should learn to be polite and not send our seniors to the hospital with heart attacks.  Have your rangers look into that, will you?   I would very much appreciate any assistance you could offer with this issue.

As for the critters in and around my home, I would like my home to be patrolled 24 hours per day by a professional exterminator service.   I don’t expect to have to pay for this service, either.  I pay taxes, for crying out loud.  Snakes, spiders, lizards, roaches, ants, crickets, and rats (Chihuahuas included) should never be allowed near a human being, unless of course, that human is completely insane and is into that sort of thing.

In summary, I am most disturbed and disheartened that Nevada didn’t turn out to be the blissful oasis of gambling, drinking and women (lots of women) that I saw in the brochures and viewed on the Chamber of Commerce video mailed to me in the dead of winter to my home in Ohio.  Of course I moved.  You forgot the Memo, however, about the nightmares I would have going to bed at night wondering what is going to crawl into bed with me.   Please, effective immediately, put a restraining order on every living and breathing creature entering my bed between 10 pm and 6 am, except for those showgirls, who would probably do no harm to my person.

I trust you will take care of the above grievances in a timely manner.   I look forward to your response.

Warm regards,

Terri Sonoda

I'm in love with a bag lady

My love for bag ladies is not a recent event.  It has, in fact, been afflicting me for a few months now.  One particular bag lady, Corrine, who is strictly a fictional character, has managed to capture my heart.   I find myself dreaming of her smile, her fashion sense, her big bag, her O de’ La Pew scent and the fact that I feel compelled to write about her.  Is it possible to have a fictional character as one’s muse?  Ponderous.  But wait;  let’s back up just a sec.  I suppose I need to provide some history or some back-story, if you will, for my bag lady.

Just after Christmas this past year, I was feeling particularly writerly, as well as a bit melancholy, along with the fact that I was still pouting because I didn’t get the iPhone I wanted.  Or the iPad.  Or the Red Corvette.    Instead of continuing to wallow in my own self-pity mire, I poured myself a generous glass of merlot and sat down to write something remarkable (Like all my stuff. Goes without saying).   I invented my bag lady, unnamed in my first story, blended her in with a ‘Buy Me a Drink and Tell Me a Story’ post.  Some of you may recall reading it.  If not, please do.  The story is called ‘The Picture Window’.

I will wait.

That seemed to assuage my hunger for writing about the street world, until March rolled around and once again, my thoughts drifted to my imaginary muse.   This time I gave her a name (Corrine) and her very own post, without the intro story about my newest choice of libation.   The story is called “Smoke Break” from March 10th, and you can go ahead and read it now, if you haven’t already.   Or you can read it over again.  It’s that good.   Would I steer you wrong?

I will wait.

Back to present day and my angst/thirst/hunger/ridiculous obsession for writing about my beloved Corrine.   I have been working on a new story for Corrine, and I am stuck.  I want to bring out her wonderfully gentle, giving, and goofy qualities, but I feel like, in order to keep your interest, my story needs some action/horror/thrills/drama/or other enthralling bait.   So far, our Corrine has narrowly escaped a security officer in an old abandoned building, and exited by way of the side door, where she grabs her cart and takes off down the alley.   That’s all I have so far.

My question to you is, should my storyline include any of the following:   a mass murderer, a love interest, a bank robbery, a drive-by shooting, a lost child, a lost puppy, a lost bottle of Boones Farm wine, a choking incident, getting frisky, an obsession, a speech therapist…..or finally, the remnants of a 3-course-meal left enticingly alone atop a smoking barrel outside a local bistro.      Yes, people, I have thought about this a LOT.   Corrine could have any number of adventures.  Hell, she could even end up being my long-lost mother or die and leave me her vast fortune which has been carefully stashed under the lining of the old wool coat she wears even in the dead of summer.

Is it any wonder that I have trouble getting my school work done?

I’m just in love.  That is all.

Side Note:     It is not my intention to make light of the homeless.  Any of us could be homeless, with a couple missed paychecks, or an illness or other catastrophic event.  I write about Corrine because I see so many homeless in Las Vegas, and many Many of them are the elderly.     My heart goes out to them, and I try to help when I can.  I hope everyone does.  As for Corrine, she will be written in a good light.   That I promise.

On Writing, Depression and Other Whining

You may have noticed, or not, that I haven’t been posting as often as I used to post.  And you may also have noticed, or not, that I haven’t been posting sketches as often, either.  And thirdly, you may have noticed, or not, that when I do post, I’m torn between trying to make you all laugh through my self-analysis and deprecation and my beloved (to me) fiction.   Wow, kudos for all that noticing! (or not)

Lately, my funny bone has been tucked somewhere up under my ass and I can’t seem to find it with two hands and a flashlight.   It’s sad, really, because when I start getting too serious, life just isn’t as much fun.  I don’t know how many of you go through depression, but I fight the demon fairly regularly.  Most of the time, I win, but it can take days and sometimes weeks.  I have to have a trigger to go into depression, something such as too godamned much homework, constant frustrations of job hunting, and the fucking tax man.   When I get depressed, I don’t write unless I have to and I certainly don’t talk to people very much.  I withdraw into myself.  I heard that is not normal for an extrovert such as me.  But then, who the hell ever figured out that any kind of depression is normal?  Are those brilliant people making a lot of money, because if they are, I want to ride that gravy train?  I can make up stupid shit, too.

Back on topic (always thinking up ways to make money.  It’s my Achilles).  In just the last week, I’ve had two papers to write, 3 to 5 pages in length, about the books I read the first week in school.  I managed those, along with the massive reading and now two more books for next week.  Yea, grad school is fun, and Not Easy, but I’m such a stubborn bitch, I’m going to make it through.  Even if I pull all my hair out and have to walk the graduation platform bald.  I will strut my bald self up that aisle and ‘pretend flip’ my hair while accepting that degree and vowing Never to step foot in another fucking institution of higher learning as long as I live.   Yes, it will be a proud day for me and my family.  Well me.  My family may be hiding behind their ceremonial programs, pretending their graduate has not come forward yet.  Keep in mind, I am bald at this point, and ‘pretend hair flipping’.   ‘Nuff said.

So, I miss writing just for the pure joy of it.   I’ve decided to put yet another little morsel on my daily plate, in order to blend some balance back into my dull and boring existence.  (poor pitiful me….get out your little violins).    I read in a book called, Writing Down the Bones by Nathalie Goldberg (thanks for the referral Nancy!)  that you should set aside some time every day to write.  And by writing, the author means to write with wild abandonment, not worrying about structure or spelling or even page borders.   She says just to write.  It’s called Writing Practice.   I enjoyed her book, and am convinced that this is something I need to do, so each morning I will grab a cup of coffee and just write my little heart out for half an hour.   Then I will start my day.  What do you all think about that?  Waste of time or good idea?  Does anyone out there already do this, and if so, how’s it working for you?

As for the sketching, I don’t have a plan to sketch every day, yet.   I can’t start too many new things at once or I am doomed to fail.    Anyone wants to join me in this writing adventure, email me.

We can swap ideas or just bitch and moan.   Couldn’t hurt.   I’m hoping this extra writing every day will help in several ways, one being to stave off that demon called depression.   We shall see.

Film at eleven.

That’s a rap.

Later tater.

After while crocodile.

Rock on.


Moshi  moshi.

Arrivederci  Roma.

Yo  Momma.


You  hang up first…..

No, you hang up first….

Totally unrelatable Tiger picture, but beautiful nonetheless.

(Image from Google Images)


There was a path stretching from the edge of my aunt’s driveway in rural Tennessee, and just behind the chicken coop, about a quarter-mile through the thick woods and spilling out onto the graveled driveway to the house where my cousin and her family lived.  The path was one of many twists and turns, with uneven surfaces and slippery-sliding ridges.  I would begin the short walk on an even plane, taking in the smells and sounds of the chickens, until the rich musky odor of wet pine commanded my senses.  As the path took a downhill slope, I was forced to watch my footing, but rarely did as a girl, and instead made a game of trying to see how fast I could maneuver the challenges of the terrain.

After entering the thick forest and while making my descent down the steep hill, I made still another game of counting the huckleberry bushes.  I had to touch each one that was within my reach without leaving the trail, and made a mental count each time my fingers touched a new bush.  There were hundreds of huckleberry bushes in those woods and the summer brought many a trip off the trail for picking and filling a coffee can full of the delicious berries to sell at the local gas station up by the state line.  We kids could rake in a dollar for each can of berries picked.  Of course, we always ate more than we picked.   Tummy aches abounded, especially for us city kids who visited the mountains and their sweet treasures infrequently.

About half way along, the path dipped to its lowest level, and during the wet season, a small trickling stream ran through, which I easily hopped over and began my climb up the other side of the ravine.  The mid-way point was the darkest and deepest part of the woods, and sometimes I would become a bit frightened and nervously try to scamper myself up the other side as quickly as possible, in order to stave off any dark, impending doom that followed behind me.  Other times, however, I simply enjoyed the climb, and often continued my huckleberry bush counts along with trying to make my steps as long as I possibly could.

On the occasions I would not be alone during my trek along the path, my cousins and I would most likely make a race of it.  I came in last most of the time, as most of my cousins were boys.  However, if my sister came along, I delighted in the fact that I could outrun her every time.  Of course, she was four years younger than me.  I remember sometimes making her cry when I’d leave her behind on the trail and she became frightened.  I caught heck for it when Mom found out, too.

As the years went by, the summers came and went, and we grew into adolescence, the path took on a whole new meaning and adventure.  At 16, and the product of a dysfunctional family, I lived most of my world within myself, especially when we would visit the country relatives.  I found my boy cousins to be annoying and tedious and I grew impatient and bored with their inability to entertain me to the level I felt they should.    We were too old to play in the red mud and run and hide among the trees and bushes of the forest.  Now I would take the path by myself, and sometimes three or four times back and forth, just so I could be alone with my thoughts and dreams.  I walked that path and made plans for leaving Georgia and Tennessee and my parents and the life I was sure I had outgrown.

The years moved forward to the summer I was 28 and I walked the path with my husband and son, while visiting the country relatives for a family reunion.  That was the last time I ever walked that path and I recall it looking so much smaller and different than I had remembered.  The huckleberry bushes were still there, along with the pine trees.  Nothing about the forest had changed except for the size and thickness of the trees.  I had changed though.  I had seen many things, been many places and had experiences that altered my perception of everything.  I would never again view the path in the forest as I had in my childhood.

Now I can walk through a lovely park with big trees and be transported back to that little path in the Tennessee mountains.  I didn’t appreciate the beauty back then, as I’m sure I would now.  However, I did accomplish something much more important.  I experienced the same path as a child and later as a teenager, and then an adult, but each time I took a separate journey.  A journey that connected not only two properties, two houses and two families, but one that connected me with myself.


Knowing it All

Picture an adorable 5-year-old little girl, with a big toothy smile and long golden curly locks, giggling and chattering on and on about everything from “favoritest color in the whole wide world” to “Mom bakes the biggest, best cookies ever!” to “I bet the President’s daughters like to play Barbie’s, too”.    Cute, huh?  There’s nothing these pint-sized princesses don’t know, and if you don’t believe it, just ask them.  Little Miss Know-it-All.   You gotta love that.

However, there are some ‘Know-it-All’s that are not so cute, but rather make you want to pour cement in your ears to get a little peace and quiet.

Once upon a time, there was a very annoying woman who worked for me.  She would come into work, usually early because she knew it was important to catch all the latest information before everyone else on the shift.  That way she could be the ‘communication device’ from which such vital tidbits flowed as new candy supply in the sales department, third stall from the left had overflowing toilet, so and so had a better mouse than she did, training guy’s pants were too tight, office manager’s cleavage was showing, and even the boss was in a bad mood.   Yea she knew it all.   No need for my input.  She had it covered.    Sometimes it was laughable and sometimes I wanted to slap the ‘information’ right off her mouth.  I didn’t, though, because I was a professional, you understand.  I had to remain calm at all times.  And if you believe that……want to buy a bridge?

Another example of a conduit for all things chat worthy was a woman I had to work night shift with years ago.  Night shift in the computer room was supposed to be a time for reading, surfing the internet or leaning back in your chair while checking your eyelids for pinholes….from the inside.   Oh but Little Miss Know-it-All vocalized ad nauseam her vast knowledge-base all through the night.  I heard about the guy in accounting that scratched his ass, picked his nose and farted, and sometimes simultaneously, with apparently no remorse as to the gross meter he was tilting.  I learned how much the president and all the VPs were making.  I learned all the freaking words to every country song since the beginning of time, or the beginning of country music, whichever came first.  I learned how she invented a new type of urine-collection cup (sprinkle free if memory serves) and had it patented.   And finally, I learned that if I started both the big printers at the same time, it would almost drown out her incessant drone.   I could still see her, though.  And smell her……but that’s another story for another day.

Not wanting to leave the guys out, equally as ear-straining was a man around my age who also worked for me.   He would come into my cube (a lot) and sit down (without being invited) and start talking about all the gay people he knew.   He wasn’t gay, as he informed me on countless occasions, but “some of his best friends were gay”.  Where have I heard that before? It seemed he wanted to connect with me on a gay level.  To this day, I have no idea why.   It seemed important to him to relate to me, so I went along with it.  That is, if you call going along with it, staring at him in silence while he shared tales of visiting the different types of men’s bars in the city.  Quite admittedly, I did get a bit of an education, as I had no idea there was a bar just for guys in leather.  Wow, the odor that must permeate in such an establishment……the beer, the sweat, the leather, the bodily…….oh never mind.  I think you get the picture and you may  have vomited by now.   Sorry for that.

And finally there’s the “I’ve done that, too” and “Not only have I done that, I’ve done it better”, and “I can top that!”   kind of Know-it-All.  Don’t you just love that kind?    Everyone has a relative or a friend of a friend or a (God forbid) next door neighbor who has done it all and much better than you.   These are the kind of people you avoid like the plague, yet they find you.  You don’t want to “talk story” with these folks because you are going to lose.   For example, you very well may have been a hero and saved an 80-year-old man from drowning in the lake, but I guarantee you that Mr. Know-it-All will have saved an 80-year-old man, his 75-year-old wife and their 3 Chihuahuas from atop their old Buick that was floating away in the big flood.  You see?   You can’t win.   It’s best just to back away slowly until you reach your door, then turn and run inside and bolt the door while saying you’re not feeling well.  Of course, he would just yell through the door that his cancerous acne was acting up.  Silly you, only having a headache.  Had enough by now?  Just purchase some pepper spray.  It wouldn’t be unheard of.  Just sayin…

I love Know-it-All’s.  My Dad used to call me that when I was a kid (along with a couple other names I so deserved).   I don’t think I was ever really a Little Miss Know-it-All.  I couldn’t help it if everyone I talked to was stupid.

(Images from Google Images)

Pia voted off...What the ?

Well, I’m not happy.   I just finished watching American Idol, and thanks to America’s gazillion 11 year old girls, another talented young woman gets voted off the show.  Actually, we can’t really blame the 11 year old girls, now can we?   They carefully take their time to frantically vote over and over and over and over and over and over.  They are accustomed to all that texting and tweeting and their little thumbs can go 150 miles per hour on those cute little pinkly bedazzled phones they got for their birthdays.   We sit back all smug, pretending not to watch Idol, yet making our opinions known to anyone within yelling distance….but do we Vote?  Hell no, we are too mature for that silly stuff and we don’t “really” watch American Idol anyway.  The kids or the grandkids have the TV on is all.  We just happened to be sitting there, checking our financials on our fancy smart phones, reading or writing a thought-provoking novel, or dozing off because we had too much supper.  Meanwhile, those tweenies are just voting away.   And do you know who they are voting for?   I’ll tell you who they are Not voting for.   They are Not voting for the women.  They probably don’t even notice it’s a singing competition.  No, those hormones are raging and all they see is Dreamy Dude in his tight jeans and curly hair.  It’s just part of growing up, people.  Hormonal Hula.

American Idol is not meant for us.   It never was.  It was invented to make money.  Everyone is invited to vote, but the tweenies are actually hypnotized right through the television…. to vote for their favorite over and over and over and over and over again.   And of course, their favorite is going to be their idea of Dreamy.  It’s like a fever….a Justin Bieberish Plague, if you will.   And if you ladies don’t believe me, just take a minute to think back to when you were 11, 12 or even 13.   Not old enough to date, but you had these strange and wonderful  urges feelings about the cute guy in the back row.  You know, the one with the crooked smile and the dreamy blue eyes and the ‘just don’t care’ attitude.    Yea that guy.   Or maybe the guy that lived across the street from you who had a rock band and they practiced in the garage every night……and you probably sat out on the curb in front of your house with your best friend, and stared at him.   And then after the band went home, you sat there just a little longer, just in case he decided to come  out and ride his skateboard down the street. Because he might have noticed you and said hello.   Wouldn't want to miss that.........uh, where was I? Oh.  Yea that guy.

Lovely Pia didn’t have a chance.   She doesn’t look a thing like Justin Bieber.  Oh she’ll get a record contract and she’ll do just fine, and American Idol will go on.   I’m heartbroken, but what do they care?

American Idol belongs to the tweens, bless their little irritating hearts.   Let them vote!  Let them be young!  Let them use their thumbs voices!  Hear them roar their mighty tween roar!


You could send the little brats to bed early so the rest of us could enjoy the freaking show.

(Images from Google Images)

I Should Have Done That

Have you ever passed up an opportunity to do something and then regretted it later?  For example, did you ever turn down sex with a handsome officer when you were a young enlisted Air Force woman over in Turkey?  You both may have been on the same military plane from Germany to Istanbul, in route to your Air Force Base in Turkey. You may have landed in Istanbul, and still had a three hour ferry boat ride to your base.  But it’s too late in the day for a ferry boat ride, so you may have checked into a hotel in Istanbul, and so did he.   And while you were standing in line to check in, Major Handsome (who you knew was married but you were not) smiled at you and asked if you’d like to save a little money and just get a room together.   Of course you blushed as your thighs went up in flames, but you declined because you were a lady (or you may have been, way back whenever).  To this day, you’re probably punishing yourself, saying, “I should have DONE that…, I mean him”.   You snooze you lose, sister.  That kind of offer doesn’t come around very often.   Would I ever pass up an opportunity that involved the inflammation of my thighs? Uh…let me think…NO.  That’s just wrong.

There were many things I should have done, too.  I lived in Colorado Springs for 10 years and never hiked up Pikes Peak.  I should have done that.  The first time I saw anyone bungee jumping was in San Antonio and I couldn’t take my eyes off them.  I should have done that.  Oh gosh, and the lifeguard in Hawaii!  I should have done that.  Ok, I’m lying.  There was no lifeguard in Hawaii.  There was a cute cab driver, though, who flirted with me incessantly.   And if you’re wondering (and you know you are), if I finally broke down and “done that”…. I did not.  Even if she did have an awesome collection of bobble head dolls lined up all across her dashboard. (That was not a metaphor, I swear)   It’s hard to resist someone with a good bobble head collection.  Sadly, even with all that temptation, my thighs remained flameless, so I had to pass on that opportunity.  I have to stick to certain criteria, you understand....standards, if you will.  And as I’ve said so many times before, I still have my wine.

Seriously now, this past year, I decided to begin doing things I’ve always wanted to do.  I started on my Masters and that was a big “I should have done that”  step for me.   I also began a diet and exercise program that was long overdue.  “I should have done that” years and years ago.  But I’m doing it now, so it’s all good.   I’m sketching.  I’m writing.  I’m renewing old and dear friendships.

My life has actually been pretty freaking amazing so far, but it would have been even richer and fuller if I’d only given myself permission to do more.  I’m not talking about more cab drivers or lifeguards (although…hmm), but rather about giving myself permission to be good enough to do whatever I want to do.  I’ll bet some of you go through the same thing at times.   You naturally set limits on your life that you don’t really need to set.   I’ve learned a lot the last couple years, and most of it because I opened up my mind and heart to that knowledge and to those experiences.    I may not take that hike up Pikes Peak and I most certainly will not bungee jump, but I have a few more dances in me, I can promise you that!   And this old girl Loves to Dance!

So here I am writing to you with a little wit, a little wisdom and a lot of heart.  Writing is another one of those wonderful things I gave myself permission to do.  Thanks for coming back and reading what I have to offer!

My very own John Elway Bobble Head Doll. See, No Metaphors!


I Got Nothin'

Several times over this past weekend, I sat down at the computer to write a post, and each time with the same results….which was No Results.   So finally I decided to concoct a mishmash of virtual nothingness that floats around in my brain, for your reading enjoyment.  I really have absolutely nothing to talk about, but I will forge on, albeit aimlessly, because I am stubborn.  I am amazing.  I am funny.  I am woman.   And I am a writer.  Hear me roar.

So the first thing I will touch on is the end of Spring Break.  Sadly, I didn’t make it down to Cancun for bikini watching and the drunken bash, but I did manage to get over to Wal-Mart for a couple bottles of merlot.    I had to have me a little libation while catching some riveting TV shows like I shouldn’t be Alive and Hoarders and Pawn Stars.   At one point, I thought my pleasure meter would explode, I was having such fun.  We 57 year olds are real party animals, or haven’t you heard?

Joan just gave me that look she gives me (you don’t want to know) and called me Weird…….have I been talking aloud while typing this?   Oh lordy.

Tomorrow is the first day of my 2nd semester in grad school.   My classes are ‘Change Leadership’ and ‘Innovation and Creativity’.  I was to have read two books for this week’s assignment, and I’m about half way through the 2nd book.  Why am I not reading, you ask?   Uh…..   I should be reading.   But America’s Funniest Videos are on now, and I don’t want to miss yet another Dad being hit in the balls with a baseball bat by his blindfolded kid trying to hit a piñata.  Yea, that’s some funny stuff.  Can’t miss that.  Or the dumbass who rides his skateboard down a handrail, and……..yep, lands on his balls.   Are you sensing a theme here?    Oh I like the kids with snot streaming out of their noses after they sneeze too.  Awesome.   Balls and snot.  Can’t get much better TV than that.

Funny thing is, for months I haven’t watched much TV except for my prime-time favorites.  The rest of the day, the TV is usually turned off.   But lately, I’m a TV watching freak.   I may need some medication to go along with that merlot.  Something’s wrong with me.   I think I took the whole ‘Spring Break’ concept and applied it to my common sense, or lack thereof.

I can feel my brain cells dying.   Oh lordy.

I don’t have time for Hoarders.  I don’t even like Hoarders.  I should be writing that novel that I keep talking about.    Or practicing my sketching……or reading……or anything but watching this crap.

Well, I gotta go now.  Secret Millionaire just came on and WOW, it looks interesting!

I’ll get to that novel tomorrow.

(Image from Google Images)