Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fishy Subject

Here are some of the new fish that I got to restock the tanks that I lost in the deep freeze--

New goldfish tank (replaces a previous 'warm' tropical tank because now I don't have to worry about a heater going out)

There's a black moor goldfish in there too just above the 'ship' but he's really hard to see. He's SOOOOOO tiny it's too cute. They're cure when they get bigger too but he's only the size of my pinky first joint right now.

And here is a pic of the 2 new blue goriami I got for the one remaining warm tropical tank I kept. I had thought to disband all tropicals but I really don't want to have no warm water tanks.

It's All About the Details

You can paint, buy new furniture, and scrub until you are blue but redecorating a home takes attention to the details to really get that professional, polished look that gives it finish. Instead of spending hours driving from hardware store to hardware store to find just the right piece of woodwork, lighting, or tile you can do it all online at Inviting Home.

One of the hardest things to get right can be home lighting. It is a challenge but if you have plenty of options to choose from to get just the right look for each room your lighting will set off all of your decorating efforts.

One of my downfalls has often been the molding and woodwork. Inviting Home has a massive selection of molding from crown molding to door frames and floor molding. I have made the determination to be more diligent in getting the perfect woodwork for all the rooms this time. Shopping online makes it so much easier and a site like Inviting Homes where professionals get their materials makes it great because the prices are fantastic and the selection is endless.

I also love all the helpful articles on their site that give tips and ideas about how to make your home decorating a success. That can help you keep from making costly mistakes, and make sure you get the results you desire the first time. I wish I had found this site a long time ago. I would have made a lot of different choices and saved myself time and money in the long run.

After Work

After a nearly two month slow down (holidays always slow my work down) things are starting to pick up again. I've been busy with other things too though. Cleaning the house, playing with the animals, and with several big power outtages this month (and a loss of two of our fish tanks) replacing filter systems, and restarting tanks and stocking them.

I got a few pics of the birds last night. Here is Goober just hanging out in my office.

And here is the budgies new cage (budgies are more commonly - but mistakenly - known as parakeets):

That cage isn't really new, I've had it but had put off using it because the bar spacing is a little large but they needed a bigger cage than they were in. They seem to really like it and haven't had a problem with the wider spaces in the bars yet. I still have their old cage if I need it.

I really want to get them a flight cage like I have for my conure but with the slow work for the last two months I haven't been able to. Maybe next month.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Let There Be Light

Having been involved in several long term power outages in the last 10 days the lighting in our home is at the forefront of my thoughts all the time now. Things like that tend to go pretty much without notice after awhile but when you start to look at it after living in a place for 15 years you begin to see the wear and need for replacement when you have your eyes opened so to speak. Quoizel lighting is elegant and comes in a wide variety of styles. Since every room in our house has a different feel they each need a different type of lighting. One thing I found on their site besides the beautiful light fixtures are FOUNTAINS. I love them. There is one wall fountain that is a cascading sheet of water I am simply in love with. I am definitely getting that. What's even better is it, and most of the items at the Quoizel Store come with FREE SHIPPING. Those are two of my favorite words.

Rolling With The Changes

I have to laugh at the quote for today. Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. Wow. Life is all about change for me so I guess that puts me right in the center of 'average' intelligence. I guess though that saying makes some sense. Stupid people don't change even when they see the need for it, and wise men don't change what works since they've already figured it out.

Really though I think the only way to get through life with your sanity is to be flexible and ready to change with the needs. If you can't adapt to the changing atmopshere around you, and life has a way of being very good at throwing curves at you, you can't survive.

Bigger and Better

I went looking at engagement rings yesterday with my husband. After all this time it is about time to get a new one. A new set in fact. When we were first starting out we couldn't afford a really great ring. I think a lot of new couples are like that. Since it is the only jewelry I wear as a rule I've wanted to get an attractive set that I really like for a long time. They say you should spend about 3 months salary on an engagement ring but I wonder if that scale still works. Even back when I first got married that scale barely applied. We did that and it still wasn't as nice as it could be and my fiance made a decent salary.

Perhaps as a general guide the 3 month salary thing works okay but overall I think the rings we were looking at came closer to a year (and after all this time my hubby makes a lot more now than he did 25 years ago). These weren't gaudy crazy rings either. Just very nice but larger than chips size. Of course, there's other options if you want big without the cost but you probably won't be married long if your intended finds out you bought them.


Hubby and Son were listening to some new CDs last night at ear popping, pulse pounding levels and I have to say I'm getting old. Obviously hubby is not because he still likes new music but I feel like my parents (and grandparents) screaming turn that stuff off! Today's music is such garbage. Of course that's not true all across the board but today's music is lacking in my opinion. New artists lack originality, and, well... singing ability. It's a lot of screaming and cussing. It's either that or they are imitating older artists who set the pace for good music in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. I've seen more Michael Jackson imitators than I can count in the last 10 years. While imitation may be the highest form of flattery, it can be overdone. Use some, but come on, develop your own style.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Room Appeal

I would love to have wood flooring in my living room and family room. I think it is so beautiful and classy. Whenever I want to write a scene in a room that is serious, or classy, I give it a wood floor. Not ceramic tile, which is also 'rich' and classy, but a wood floor is more than just rich feeling, it is warm, and inviting, serious, bold, it has a completely different aura than tile. If I want a fuzzy feeling I give it a plush carpet, if I want bold I'll go for wood or tile, but for strong and or warm I go with wood all the way. I've talked a lot about what to do about my own house and since we removed the rugs to the tile that was beneath them we've wanted to change it. I don't want rugs again. I want wood flooring. I think that will be our spring project.

Goin' Batty

We watched 'The Dark Knight' last night. I loved it. I thought I wouldn't. I already liked the Batman movie with Jack Nicholson's Joker in it and thought no way could this be as good, but it really was. Totally different, but absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed the first of 'this' Batman series 'Batman Begins' but thought it was more of a prequel to the other Batman movies that were currently out there. Obviously though they decided to start at the beginning with this Batman series and make it its own entity. It left off kind of finished on this last one. I do hope they just left it that way to make it look like that and are really going to continue this series because it is so good. Unlike the 'campier' Batmans (the television series, and the 90's movies) this one is a real dramatic dark, drama noir and it could be so good. Especially if they keep the current Batman.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Standing Strong Like Paul Offit

It is sad anytime that someone can't feel they have the right to free speech. Perhaps even more-so when it is a doctor who works so hard to provide health care for the public. Paul Offit has worked hard his entire career to make vaccines for people. Now he has to have a bodyguard anytime he wants to speak in public about his work. If it weren't for vaccines we would still have rampant spread of holocaust type diseases that wiped out entire continents in the past.

Medical science is still just a science and no one or nothing is perfect but without the work done by doctors such as Paul Offit we would still be in the dark ages. It should never be necessary to worry about having the right to speak in a country where free speech is guarded so righteously.

I think the bravery of visionaries such as Paul Offit should be applauded. They continue to work toward the betterment of their fellow man in the face of appalling adversity even in this modern age. It is a lesson to learn. Never let the small-mindedness of others stop you from doing what you know is important.

In the Spotlight with Mohammed Babangida

Mohammed Babangida has provides several highlights of the social world with a huge wedding that was covered by much of the media, and several businesses that are newsworthy in their own rights. Being in the public eye isn't always easy for anyone. No matter whether you are a politician or a musician, or other figure.

It helps if the media coverage is positive but even then it can be trying. Mohammed Babangida handles it with grace and is a great example of how someone in a position of power should deal with the media.

I suppose it could be said that is easy if everything being said about you is nice but think about how it would be if your actions are always followed. Walking down a street in private is hard to do, and even the wife of Mohammed Babangida has to always be ready to be seen. I don't think I could handle that. I like to just run out to the store without worrying if I am picture ready. People who live in the media light have to always be ready for the world to see them.

The Origins of Music Kept Intact with Serious Media Journalists like Joseph Odindo

Kenya is the birthplace of all that is musical. The African continent is synonymous with the pulse beat of music. Keeping a country as important to culture as Kenya pure from media destruction is the job of journalists like Joseph Odindo who works for the largest private media institution in Kenya, the Nation Media Group.

Nothing kills musical inspiration faster than a media that is irresponsible. Joseph Odindo believes in his country's heritage and the Nation Media Group works hard to preserve that which makes Kenya the amazing country it is.

You can hear the influence of African music in all of the modern music today. Not just because of the African/American culture and the influx of popular black artists today but because of their infusion of music as far back as can be remembered. Definitely rock and roll has been directly influenced by the great black artists that came before it. The pounding rhythms are a call back to the culture that Joseph Odindo and his fellow journalists protect so adamantly today.
The music industry is in such a slump. The internet has made things even more difficult for artists. As a writer I completely understand the impact that it has had. People want things free and fast, they don't want to have to pay for entertainment anymore. I think it has plagued the music industry even more than any other media group, but movies and books have suffered too. Coupled with the internet the news media has played a large factor in music's slump. When artists like Michael Jackson who have been exposed to the media from the time they were in diapers practically say that they don't want to perform anymore because the media has trashed them so badly they don't want to be seen it is a sad day in the music world. Regardless of what anyone thinks about Mr. Jackson personally as an artist there is simply no comparison. He is the one so many emulate now. Look at 90% of the current acts and you will see him mirrored in their music and movements. To know that he himself does not want to perform because of what the media has made him out to be is truly tragic.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Luggage Blues

I travel a lot and go through luggage
like water it seems like. I buy new luggage every year or two. Travel can be tough on luggage especially flying. I have sat at the airport terminal and watched the luggage cars go by and sometimes see them when they're loading planes and they are supposed to be careful... supposed to be. If you travel enough you know that they're not all that careful and those luggage carriers and belts are tough on them too. I am going to have to buy some new bags soon. I don't travel as much in the winter so I can wait until spring but I am on the road a lot during the summer. Just a few days ago I spent the weekend flying around the country. That's it for the next few months though. I'm flown out. I'm almost glad when winter comes (almost) because it means I can ground myself and wait out the bad weather in my house. By spring I'll be itching to go again. Since none of it is really vacation as a rule, I'm ready for a vacation. Maybe I'll get myself out of the house this winter and actually travel for a vacation.

What Life Is

I love this quote

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.
Lou Holtz

It was at the top of my blog on the sidebar today. It is a famous quote but it is so true. I've always said it as, it isn't the punches life throws but how you roll with the blows. Same thought. Life is always throwing punches at you, everyone has the same issues no matter where they are, how much money they make, or what they look like, and it is how you deal with it that makes your life what it is or isn't.

Back on Track

I am back on my diet again and it is making me feel good. I don't know how it happens but when I am into it I feel good about it and feel like it is no problem at all, but for awhile I was having such a hard time with everything going on around me, and depressed a bit, and eating--and I just couldn't remember how it was to be happy on a diet, I couldn't fathom it. I tried taking a diet pill each day, but even then it wasn't as useful as it could have been. It was something I couldn't get my mind around. Now I think diet pills are helpful when you research them, get the best prices as some of them are very expensive, and use them appropriately as a tool to help with your diet and exercise. I also think if you aren't in the right frame of mind just about nothing you do will help. I'm still having the same stresses and issues but I've managed to get my mind around it and am back on track, at least for now.

Burn Notice!

It's coming back! My favorite series of all time - Burn Notice is coming back in January. I love that show. Big Love is coming back on HBO and I love that too, but Burn Notice is the one show I would trip over my own tongue to make sure I don't miss. I just think it is the perfect combination of everything. Suspense, drama, comedy, everything. I grew up loving the old show 'MacGyver' and this is so much like that only better, and more modern. There is also a very heated love interest conflict that was largely missing in the MacGyver series although Richard Dean Anderson who played MacGyver was handsome and had plenty of lady fans falling over themselves to watch him do his thing each week. I can't wait to see how the new season works out for the characters. I like that they've kept the main characters all the way through so far. Unlike with Weeds where they branched out away from a couple of the main characters which I didn't like, so far Burn Notice has kept theirs. I hope they can keep that up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Too Real?

You know what I think would be a really interesting romance storyline. One that makes the father of a new baby that so many of them center around take a tests. Now that's realism for you. Maybe the reason things like that do not happen in romance novels is that it's too real. How far do you go in order to make a character, or story line feel real, without going over the line? I mean reading romance novels has always been a form of escapism. Who really wants the real nitty gritty involved? It could make for a great rom/com though.
I have got to get back on track and schedule time to do some fiction writing. I really miss it. I even had some stuff 'playing in my head' yesterday. The problem for me is my non-fiction (actually paying) work is so busy now that by the end of the day I can barely comprehend the idea of typing some more. I had played around with the voice recognition aspect of the Vista computers I've had recently but after awhile it isn't that much fun anymore. It's cool at first. It makes a lot of mistakes though, and is actually slower than I type. It is supposed to be as fast as you can talk. I guess I can talk pretty fast.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Creating Real Characters in Your Sub Characters

Living with my mother in law who was sick with cancer and going through chemotherapy really drove home the ads you see for incontinence supplies. There are a lot of reasons people need such things and when they do it sure is a good thing that they're available. These are just a few of the everyday things that can be used to build characters, not that most people would put their main character in an adult diaper or anything, but sub-characters who need to be given a special characteristic, or attitude can benefit from many elements we take for granted.

Character Building

Here's a good video that is a part of a video series on creating characters. That is always the most important part of developing a storyline and can be more difficult than it seems it should be.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Houses with Character

I miss the pantry in my old house. My old house was a falling down 100 year old farm house (maybe older) and had been built by addition after addition over the years rather than in one fell (solid) swoop. It was old and used but it had a great deal of character. The pantry that was bigger than a walk-in closet was one of those little bits of character. It was also a source of insect trouble in the summers and even in the winter with moths. I'd love a house with a big pantry again. A house I am considering at the moment has a massive pantry that is as big as a regular room and even has a sink in it... I'm not sure what that is for really, but I like it. I am definately going to protect it with methods of bug control like pantry moth trap devices, although this house is not old, not delapidated and I'm not sure how the bug situation in California is anyway. Better safe than sorry.

Beautiful Blood Suckers

Vampire books are still one of the most popular types of fiction. I don't know how something that started out as such a gruesome character (the original Dracula was pretty gory and nasty) and turned into such a sexy immortal being. You rarely see vampires portrayed as ugly, twisted, ghoulish creatures now. Zombies and demons remain largely un-glamourized (well for the most part, I had a sexy 'sweet' demon in one of my novels). What was it that made a blood-sucking character like the vampire so 'beautiful' in our minds? I wonder about that a lot even though some of my favorite fictional characters past and present are vampire characters.

Flesh and Blood

Why is it that our characters in fiction really do not ever deal with the hum drum things in life such as affordable term life insurance quotes? I mean wouldn't that make them more human? Avoid the cardboard character syndrome? Maybe not. Some things might be left to the background of every day life but really I think some of the hallmarks of really great character building is to make put them in situations that occassionally require them to at least glance at over due bills, or a desk full of un-reconciled bank statments. Answering the phone and having it be a sales call, doesn't that happen to all of us at least a hundred times a day? Maybe that's just my life and I need a new phone number.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Distraction alert

Working at home has many benefits. It has many pitfalls too. Most people end up being unsuccessful working from home for one reason--they can't handle the distractions. It is so easy to get side-tracked. TV, chores, friends, even family who can't seem to understand that just because you are home does not mean you are available to run errands, talk on the phone, or have coffee all work hard to interrupt your work time.

Well, I'm pretty good at handling distractions and have never had any qualms about telling friends and family to 'beat it' because I'm working. However, I have a new distraction. His name is Simon.

No he's not a boyfriend, lol, he's a bird. He's so cuddly he is very distracting.

Consolidated Resorts Deals

Traveling can be either a pleasure or a nightmare. When you book a vacation with a full-service company like Consolidated Resorts you take all the worry out of your vacation experience. Consolidated Resorts makes your happiness and satisfaction their top priority at all times so that your vacation is fun from start to finish.

Consolidated Resorts has plenty of employment opprotunities too. Working for a company that has expierenced such great success and made so many people happy is truly a pleasure. Consolidated Resorts has locations in the most sought after vacation spots in the U.S. including Hawaii, LasVegas, and Orlando. Choose where you want to work and make your living in some of the most exciting and beautiful places in the country.

Our next vacation is going to be completely enjoyable. No more trying to juggle flights, hotels, and sightseeing, we can let Consolodated Resorts plan our vacation and actually have fun for a change instead of needing a vacation from our vacation.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't Tell

This truly is a helpful video. Telling is one of my biggest peeves and it is such a common trap. Sometimes even for very experienced writers.

Tired of Writing?

When I have bad days working at home, or writer's block I begin to think about my alternatives should I get really tired of the hassles. What would I be doing if I weren't doing this? I'd probably look for jobs in retail since that is where my former experience is. It usually helps to get rid of writer's block in a hurry, and makes any hassles associated with working from home go away fast. It is great to know that finding jobs now is easier thanks to the Internet though. Someday I just might do it.

That Easy?

Don't you wish it really was this easy?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reality Bites

As a writer I hate thinking of the humdrum things like paying bills, home insurance, paying taxes and the like. I'd rather think about my next plot line, opinion piece, or how to piece. It's more fun but unfortunately all those little nagging things keep interrupting my train of thought. Those are the things that can really kill the mood at times. Okay, sometimes that's an excuse and the real block is over-thinking, but there are a lot of times when I'm on a real roll and someone plops the mail on my desk. I just want to cringe because my mind wants to continue on its path and I know I have to pay attention to 'reality'. Reality bites sometimes.

A Whale of a Time

You know how they always say artists are never famous until after they're dead--that includes writers too and it's sure not a new concept. I guess those lucky few who are famous now don't know how lucky they are.

Zen State of Mind

I think I'm going to plant some Pomegranate trees next spring. Okay, I bet you're asking what that has to do with writing. Everything. I actually get a lot of my thoughts together, and my inspiration when I'm digging in the dirt outside. When I get blocked, I go out and work the garden, prune trees, even muck stalls... everything comes undone at those times. Maybe it's the relaxing, maybe it's the fact that I'm not thinking about writing, or in most cases just not thinking about anything. It's sort of a zen state of mind, and when that happens everything just comes into focus. Since I can't really do too much in the garden at this time of year, and there really are only so many stalls to muck, when I get blocked sometimes I just sit back and let my mind wander about what I want to do next year... besides my birds just love pomegranate so it's a win-win.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ups and Boos

Everyone I know is writing about Halloween on their blogs. I guess I'm getting a little old. Maybe just old in 'spirit' (how appropriate). It would be a good time to brush off a little paranormal fun though. Sadly, I just haven't had time to write fiction lately. It's good in the financial sense because my other writing has been keeping me so busy and that actually pays off. On and up-note though two of my novels were accepted to publicbookshelf and I was offered payment for non-exclusive rights to put them up for electronic viewing on their site. They have 90 days from when I signed the contract to put them up. They pay when the stories go live. I'm excited about that.

Losing Track of My Office

I have been doing so much lately that I forgot to check on my actual supplies and found myself searching for something as simple as a rubber band this morning. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I don't work 'in' my office very often anymore. It seems hard to believe because I used to spend all day in there. Now I spend all day in the living room on my laptop. It's time to head on over to the office supplies center. Luckily for me that's a 'short trip' too. I can do it right from my living room too. Convenient and much cheaper.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Depression is Funny?

This is hilarious. Now I know why I have trouble writing comedy--I'm always in a good mood. Apparently the more depressed you are the funnier you are. LOL Erma Bombeck must have always beend depressed because she was funny as heck.

Old fashioned mail

Even in this electronic age there are times when writers have to rely on postal mail to get manuscripts, scripts, and other writing work to their destination. It does surprise me when some places still insist on paper submissions. For those times it helps to have ways to manage supplies. I have a cabinet full of various sizes of cardboard and paper bubble packaging. I used to go through an entire cabinet full of packing materials every six or seven months and had to refill the cabinet. Thanks to electronic submissions of most things now the last time I had to refill that cabinet now was four years ago. I did notice last week when I had to dig through it for a bubble wrap envelop big enough to send a script out that is starting to get a little low and it is probably time to think about re-supplying it. I guess some companies like to have a foot in the past. Really I think some of them are just too cheap to print out various things that come by email. I can understand that for unsolicited submissions but when things are requested you would think they would prefer email and opt to spend the few extra dollars to print the material out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Modern Romance

Getting a modern facelift to an old genre

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Toys with a Purpose

With a new baby coming I feel even more compelled to kind of spoil my current grandkids than I usually do. It's easy for them to get a little overlooked when mom is preganant. With them so far away I have to content myself now with just sending them things but I still do it. I prefer learning types of toys whenever I get them things so that they can have fun but it is still productive. Even when I was a kid I prefered toys that had a purpose, or did something. I can't wait until they're old enough for really big learning toys like the radio controlled airplanes I used to build.

New Baby New Things

New babies are wonderful. My daughter is expecting .. again. There are so many things that have been improved even just since my last grandchild was born. I get excited researching new things like the Stokke Tripp Trapp which is actually a new type of baby highchair made egronomically and so that their feet don't dangle it is very unusual looking at first but the idea of it really makes sense. I wish Nicole wasn't as far away as she is. I was with her for all of her childbirths as a coach (her hubby was there too but she wanted me and it was amazing) and I won't get to be there for this one. Unless... road trip maybe? Long road trip, but worth it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Guy Can't Catch A Break

Can the average guy compete with romance novel men?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wangethi Mwangi Provides The Facts and Only The Facts in Kenya

Newspapers shape the opinions of their readers so media outlets that are governed by political interests or parties often bias their views and influence their readers in a way that is loaded with propaganda.

That is what makes independent media companies such the National Media Group and its Daily Nation newspaper so vital to the social health of Kenya. The editorial director Wangethi Mwangi is an independent thinker who supports no particular agendas. It is truth first and that is the way it should be.

Along with fellow paper staff Joseph Odindo and Linus Gitahi Mr. Mwangi and the National Media Group help keep things open and real for the people of Kenya.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Before They're too Old

I always wanted to take my kids on one of the Disney vacations you see in commercials. Even way back when my kids were little they had those commercials but there was never the money. Now that I have grandkids and money I would really like to plan a trip with the entire family to Disney World. The GK are old enough now to really enjoy it too. I think this winter we're going to make a trip down to Orlando and have a ball before they grow up and its too late. That sure happens fast. I blinked and my kids were grown.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Writing From Home

Paperback writer had a post on her blog about virtual writing. It really is out there and there really are many legitimate companies to work for. I do it all day long and make decent money at it. I write about everything from diet pills to motorcycles. In fact I've had hundreds of motorcycle articles in this past month and made thousands of dollars. You think you need to be an expert? I didn't know a thing about motorcycles, but I knew how to do the research about each one and how to make them sound cool, and even point out any shortcomings they had with a bit of a flair and viola... expert. The real reason to point this out is that so many writers think it is all a scam. There are plenty, believe me. Learning how to spot a scam is an important part of learning how to work online, but the opprotunities really are there and truthfully they are rather abundant. If you want to make money writing and working from home, it can be done. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sitting on a Widening Butt

I broke down the other day and bought some diet pills. Sitting on my butt all day working accompanied by having to care for my mother-in-law has created havoc on my diet. I was doing so well too. Even with working I forced myself to take exercise breaks before but when my husband's mother came here and needed round the clock care that flew out the window. I decided to give my metabolism a boost and do seem to be back on track again, thankfully. I think it is extremely important to be careful about the types of diet aides you choose, however. There are a lot of mysteries surrounding such items as Phentermine pills, fat blockers and other diet aides. It's a good idea to get a balanced opinion on all of them and also to check for the best prices because a lot of diet pills and other diet aides are so expensive now. Thankfully being online all day makes it easier to check for any information avialble. When I was younger and took diet pills all you had was the local store to do your research in. Now you have the whole world at your finger tips to make an informed decision.

Secondary Characters

When you write romances often times you have to 'go there' and have a baby pop up. The baby factor is almost a niche of its own in the romance genre. So how do you create an ambiance for that character? Do you bother? Is the baby just a crutch, or tool so to speak to move the story forward? I think that's cheating a bit. At the least it is necessary to treat them as a secondary character and give them the same types of backgrounds. Even down to their 'space'. Especially now with all of the delux nursery options from beautiful stylized baby bedding to wall coverings it is possible to give the baby character a real character of his/her own.

I almost prefer baby characters to be in the toddler age at least because they you can give them lines. We all know children can say the darndest things and using those types of things can really help explore the situations in a fun way.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cookbook for Food Lovers

Hector Kabande--restaurateur, entrepreneur, and now... cookbook author. When they say write what you know they were talking about Hector and his new book. Mr. Kabande has compiled recipes from years of family secrets and even more time running restaurants. He worked in various restaurants in Tijuana before becoming a leading force in the family hotel business.

From developing new hotels to overseeing the quality and service of the existing ones Mr. Kabande observed first hand the best in cuisine and now he brings to you his very favorite recipes.

Hector's new book is called "Kabande es Caliente" and it will show you how to use his favorite 'secret ingredient'--hot delicious chile peppers to give your cooking a flavor you will never forget.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Packing it In... or at least Packing it Up

I've been working really hard. Admittedly I haven't gotten much done on my new book that should be finishing up right about now. I've been getting so much freelance work I haven't had time, or more accurately any desire to write more after I'm done for the day with all that. I need a vacation more than ever and I am ALWAYS telling hubby I want to go to Vegas. Just last night he suggested maybe something a little more relaxing and laid back but still 'Vegas' styled. There are other places in that general area that offer the same temperate weather but prettier scenery. He asked me to choose from a couple of laughlin hotels and I found one right on the Colorado river that looks awesome. I love beach front type vacations and this combines that with the thrills of a casino in the resort hotel and if I get really desperate to see Vegas it's only 90 miles away! So, love my new laptop guess what I'm packing up to do?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Simple Life?

I was talking with a friend last night about how amazing technology is today when it suddenly hit me how far I've come even in my writing technology. I've gone on and on about how much I love my new laptop and the flexibility it gives me. How I used to hate laptops but this one is easy to type on and doesn't hurt my wrists like past machines have. Even just yesterday I got a new 'gadget' in the mail. I received a set of wireless headphones/microphone. Just a small sample of the many things I use on a daily and constant basis and I remembered how in the 80's my husband had to practically twist my arm to get a computer in the first place. My friend was laughing as I told him about it. He said even he didn't usually stop to think about the things that seemed commonplace now that 10, 20 and more years ago would have seemed very 'Buck Rogers' like. He chuckled about the things he owned like talking watches, of course his 'smart' phone, and things like them that as a child would have seemed like science fiction.

It's just amazing to think of how much things have changed. Most of it just since the 80's. That's really only less than 30 years. Can you imagine what life will be like in another 30? Read any good sci-fi lately? You might be living it in 30 years.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Five Words (From Mark)

Okay, Mark did it again. On his blog he pointed out a post Erica did about an assignment her daughter had from school asking her to pick 5 words that best described her and he did it for himself as well. Then he laid out the challenge asking what we would pick for ourselves. I picked:

Anal – Even though it sometimes doesn't show (okay, all the time) in my blog posts because I'm usually just writing off the hip on here, I am quite anal. I would say I'm 'selectively' anal though. I'm anal in doing my job and anything I consider extremely important, however, other areas that most normal people would be anal about, such as housekeeping, forget it, I am as un-anal (is that even near a word?) as can be.

Optimistic – I am an extreme optimist. While I can have my down periods like anyone, for the most part anyone who knows me well knows that I am basically a cheerful person with a good outlook on things no matter how bleak they may seem either personally or in the world as a whole.

Reliable – Unlike my anal tendencies, I am always reliable. When I say I am going to do something, be somewhere, be a certain way, I am. I live by the motto: say what you mean and mean what you say.

Witty – I am often witty bordering on sarcastic (and most times crossing that border willingly). I think it is why the statement in that little fun quiz I did a few days ago that said people find it better to take you in small doses is really true.

Realist – For some being an optimist and a realist seem to clash but I am a realist as well as an optimist. I don't believe in seeing things through 'rose colored glasses', that type of optimism is foolishness. Seeing things as they are and then finding the good and positive is the true optimism.

What do you think are your 5 words?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

What a Difference...

A new chair makes. Ever since I hurt my back I have had a hard time sitting in my office at my main computer. I've missed it much. I love my new laptop and the freedom it gives me, don't get me wrong and I will use it a lot everyday. I spend upwards of 15 hours a day at my computer so I can easily spend 8 hours at each. Since I hurt my back I had been relegated to the couch or bed with my laptop even now when overall my back is much better but today I got a new office chair. My old exec chair broke a few months ago and I had been making do with a hardbacked kitchen chair--no way, I wasn't making do at all, I just wasn't using it. It was murder on my back even now... today went to the store and finally broke down and spent the couple hundred bucks (thank you payday!) on a new chair and wow, I'm at my desk, no pain, happy and content at my main desktop.

A good chair makes a big big difference when you spend entire days working in it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Bringing Your Work To Life

Mark Terry had some interesting points on interviewing subjects for both fiction and non-fiction on his blog the other day and it got me to thinking about some of the other things writer's do in order to flesh out the story for themselves either in factual information, background, or other ways. I know for myself some of the things I do for fiction are pretty standard. If I'm writing a new character that I feel I need to know a little about I 'interview them'. I know that's not what Mark meant when he was talking about interviewing for research, and it isn't what I was talking about in my response to him on his blog either. This is a completely different type of interview. Some might say it's a bit psychotic... I mean, who exactly do you interview when you question a 'character'? You got it, you are talking to yourself... but strangely enough, it works.

If I am writing about an area I don't know very well I will look up pictures online and plaster them all over the place in my office. If I can find the area I'm writing about near me, or can afford to travel to it I pack up my digital cameras and all the gear used with them, along with my laptop that has the downloading programs in it and take my own shots. Those are even better because I get personal experience of the area with pictures to remind me of it when I get back home.

Of course I've also interviewed people who work in professions my characters have, or that the background of the story needs and that is actually a lot of fun at times. As I mentioned on Mark's blog I prefer to do my interviewing over messengers/email/or phone rather than in person as face-to-face interviews make me... well, nervous would be an understatment. However, even when forced into person to person interviews once I have gotten there and the interview starts it ends up being fun and all the fear was usually for nothing.

What kinds of things do you do to make your work, both fiction and non-fiction come to life for you?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Biggest Loser Coming Back

The new season of 'The Biggest Loser' is starting up again on September 16, on NBC. I'm not a huge reality show fan but this one I have been hooked on for several seasons. I missed the original airing of the first season but after seeing 2 I watched reruns of the 1st season and even a marathon showing of 'The Biggest Loser Australia'. They had an English version of it but I didn't care for that one and didn't end up watching it.

Anyway, there is a new gym for the new season, here is a sneak peek of it with Bob and Jillian.

Well, maybe not, it looks like the embed link didn't work, so here is a direct link if you want to watch it and the video never shows up.

Can't Get Fiction Out of My System

I've been working off and on with a non-fiction project due by the end of September and really enjoying the work. There is a massive difference between writing fiction than non-fic but I enjoy both. I have found myself lately really thinking about my fiction work though and everytime I sit down to work on my non-fic title I have story lines popping in my head for fiction. It won't die. There's more money in non-fiction but it is hard to fight the desire to write a story that can take you out of everyday life. Last night while I was working I kept having an image of a tall muscular cowboy transplanted to the city walking in a store to buy Harley parts and falling for a woman behind the counter that looked like a lean blonde mustang ready to be tamed. Okay, it's fairly standard, but it's all in the individual telling and vision. It was a fun little diversion anyway. Maybe I'll make a short out of it just to get it out of my system.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Working Smarter

I have been working so hard, and been so swamped with freelance work lately that I've hardly had the time to write on my blogs, and I appologize for that. I've had web content to write, reviews to write, articles on everything from acne products to car seats. It is really wonderful because I've come to understand how much I'd been holding myself back in the past by not seeking extra work. It is easy to get stagnant when you have a good thing going and feel like you don't need extra work, but when that dries up you are left with nothing. Sure, if you actively look while you have a lot of work to do you can get overrun with work, but the thing is, in that case you have the options to be CHOOSEY. Take my word for it--it's much nicer to be able to pick and chose the work you want to do that will pay you the best, than it is to be desperate and taking anything that comes your way.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Really flying

Having to write about a variety of subjects today and one of them a very pertinent a/c compressor post makes me really stop to think about the heat today. I'm glad we had out compressor fixed this spring other wise my computer wouldn't be the only thing overheating here.

Speaking of computers I got my new laptop today! I ordered it two weeks ago and it was build on Monday, shipped on Tuesday, and arrived TODAY. Now that may not seem so unusual except that I found out it was being shipped from China... two days from China! Wow, go FedEx!

I had to laugh because I was outside when they came and they were going so fast they flew right by my house. The driver had to turn around at the next farm and come back. Okay, so that's how they got here that fast.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Perfect Quiz For A Writer

I don't take a lot of these things, but every once in awhile a quiz pops up online that I just have to take... I like this one, not only is it short and sweet, it's fun and pretty accurate in a cute little way---and, it's a perfect one for a writer to take.

You Are Comic Sans

You are a nothing but a big goofball. You're quite playful and fun!

You're widely known for your zany personality and your vivacious attitude.

To say that you stand out in a crowd would be a definite understatement.

Remember that you are overwhelming at times and that people appreciate you best in small doses.

This is so so true (especially that last part!)

Right in my Own Backyard

This is an interview with a comedy writer at Authorfest from the 'GottaWriteNetwork' which I used to belong to. What bums me out is it was held in Schaumburg which is only a few hours from me. I could have gone to this convention myself! I've been kind of bummed out that I've been missing so many conventions and here was one in my own backyard!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shout Out To Wordpreneur

I really love the Wordpreneur blog for several reasons. One, it got me back on track earlier this year when I had let myself slide a bit on seeking new work and had begun to moan about how hard it was to make a living as a writer online. It's not (well it is, but it is out there if you look for it). Two, because there are always great posts with some sort of information I can walk away with that is useful for me as a writer... but today, for even more reasons...FREE reasons. I joined the subscription list over there. Not really that I had to, I go there all the time anyway and I do not really need email reminders that there are new posts up on there it's in my sidebar here... but because for joining you get two free ebook downloads on making money as a writer online! Joined, got them, they are VERY useful and well done. Thanks guys!

I love my job!

I'm always saying I need a vacation and how I should get a Las Vegas travel agent because that's where I want to go, although perhaps not right now in this heat. Really though, I love my job. There aren't many people who have the flexibility I do.

Here's a case in point. My mother-in-law who is going through cancer treatments is living with us and I am her primary care-giver most of the time. Yesterday she had a meltdown and had to go to the emergency room. I spent from 2 in the afternoon until 3 in the morning at Riverside hospital with her from the 9 hours in the er to the following 4 hours up in the 2nd floor ICU where they graciously let me stay with her until she finally fell asleep because she was so scared. Did that stop me? Nope, me and my trusty laptop still got several assignments written and turned in as well as a chapter of my current non-fic wip completed.

Not that I wasn't paying attention to my mother-in-law I was sitting right next to her, talking her, holding her hand whenever she needed, but if you have ever had to sit at a hospital bedside that long you know there is plenty of 'downtime' and I really don't need a whole lot of time to do that type of thing. So... yes, I love my job even when the circumstances of life still make me want to say 'I need a vacation!'

Monday, August 11, 2008

What Do You Write With?

I can't remember the last time I wrote with a pen and paper. I think I was in my 20's and that's a long time ago. Even then I usually used a typewriter, but after graduating to a computer I never looked back. Good thing now since I have carpel tunnel, which, surprisingly isn't too aggravated by typing like most, but will turn my penmanship into unreadable scrawl by the second line. Usually I am sitting at my desk in my office and using my big, powerful desktop computer. As a general rule I have shied away from laptops because they do aggravate my wrists with their funky keyboards, but now I've found a stand that I can use that makes typing on a laptop easy... so... I bought a laptop and now I'm laying in bed (because my back is out) and still able to work!

I still have my big desktop computer and would never get rid of it. Partly because of its huge 20 inch screen, even though the new laptop has a 17" so it's no slouch in that department either, but still... 20 beats 17, but also because I just couldn't completely bear to be without an actual 'office, desk, and big computer' even if typing from bed is nice once in awhile.

One thing that probably will be done away with now that I have the laptop is my Alphasmart Neo. That is a great product and I've used it a lot in the past when I had to travel but still wanted to be able to write. It's more limited than an actual laptop though so since I have this now it doesn't make much sense to use it.

What do you use to write?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

So Funny it is Sad

I have always loved the song 'Paperback Writer' by the Beetles. It is the perfect example of a HORRIBLE query letter. It's the stuff that agents are always saying DON'T DO THIS. What makes it funny is it is really easy to see someone saying all of these things, in fact, painfully it may even be possible to remember having said some or all of the stuff in the song.

Here it is for those of you who haven't (somehow) heard it before... and for those of us who love it, it is always fun to listen to again.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Keeping it Real

Having to write about NC health insurance and even the needs for other types of insurance in some articles, and then reading Bernita's blog about how to give diversity to characters with hobbies makes me wonder how much of a 'life' we give our characters. I like to use quirks, and habits to define the way my characters act but even that's not enough. They have to have everyday things in their lives, even mundane things, to make them real. After all, there isn't a single one of us that doesn't have that type of thing going on all the time. No we really don't need to read about it in volumes, but little mentions here and there, even bringing it into play in a story, perhaps during a particularly 'black moment' your character can realize their insurance has lapsed-oh come on, we've all been there--hopefully not when it was really necessary to have it though. It's just one of the things that happens. Having them 'happen' to your characters is a pretty unique way to make them more human.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Miss Giggles!!! New Review

For those of you who are aware of who Mrs. Giggles is, it will come as no surprise that I was quite flattered, as well as worried when she wrote to me a few months back asking to review 'Married to a Rock Star'. I've held my breath and checked her website often but realized she is a very busy reviewer. I hoped and prayed she would enjoy my novel, but never dared to hope she would give it a great review.

For those of you who do not know who Mrs.Giggles is, she, on her review website offers very blunt, honest appraisals of current romance work from big publishing houses to POD authors and ebooks.

I have been so busy with my freelancing for the last two weeks, I'd actually slacked off checking the site for the review and then tonight, I decided I needed a break.

I am supposed to be working on a non-fiction book (for my own publishing) but I'm afraid I am too excited to continue that tonight!!!

Here are parts of Mrs. Giggles' review of 'Married to a Rock Star':
"Here is why you shouldn't dismiss outright self-published efforts: this is one of the most enjoyable celebrity-dates-ordinary-gal romances that I've read in quite a while. Well-written, featuring a pretty smart heroine, and very entertaining: what's not to love?"

"Married To A Rock Star is an interesting contemporary romance in that the heroine for once behaves like a sensible woman instead of a typical romance heroine cliché in "celebrity hunk meets ordinary gal" stories of this kind. Which is to say, Karen isn't some weird woman who will behave as if dating a cute guy, even a hot and famous one, will turn her into the harlot of the century. Karen tries her best to keep herself afloat in Izzy's world and I like that Ms Parrington manages to portray Karen as a smart and sensible woman. Of course, Karen is somewhat out of her depths in Izzy's world, hence when the usually predictable conflicts arise, these conflicts seem like a natural progression of the storyline rather than the result of the author faithfully following the script. As for Izzy, he's a pretty realistic fellow in that he has his strengths and weaknesses and... well, he is a rock star. I have to say that I think Karen deals with him just fine."

"While this may be a self-published effort, I have to say that it is pretty professionally written and therefore very easy to read. I have a great time reading this story, especially when it doesn't follow the same old route for stories of its kind and it also features some pretty intelligent drama taking place within its pages."

Now these are just excerpts and you can read the entire review here. I can't tell you how happy I am at this very moment!

More Space

I just received some really happy news in my email box. Amazon's Create Space is extending it's offer to allow you to upgrade your submissions to their pro-plan for free until the end of the year! This is great news for me because I still have a couple of books that have gone out of print that I want to get up online again and the pro-plan version of create space's book publishing offers such a great value. Even when it costs money to convert to it it is a fantastic value, but with re-prints it's hard to justify spending even 39 dollars because they really don't sell that well. Mostly I just like to have past work available for the few that may find my work after all these years and still want to read past novels--or maybe it is just ego, lol. Either way, I'm excited that it isn't going to cost me anything to put them and even new work up until the end of the year. That's plenty of time to get my act in gear and finish preparing them all... maybe.

Friday, August 01, 2008

A Time for All Seasons

I just saw on the Pub Rants blog that the RWA convention is in full swing. I suppose those days are past for me. I used to enjoy doing writing conventions. I would still like to but my days are pretty busy now with the freelancing I do, taking care of my mother-in-law, and picking out things like a new table lamp to replace the one the five week old kittens in the house knocked over.

Maybe my life has become more hum-drum lately than it was a scant five or so years ago, but there's a cycle to everything. Seasons to live and experience each thing. I can at least say I once did that. Perhaps someday the pendulum will shift and I'll once again be jetting around to conventions and such... maybe not. Come what may, I'll be doing what I'm meant to do at the time I'm meant to do it I suppose.

Diversity is the Spice of Life, and a Freelancers Sustenance

Freelancing is a great way to make a living online. There are as many forms of freelancing as their are people who do it. I have probably done most of them at one time or another, often all at once. Of course, there's paid blogging which I do all the time, it's great side money. There's ghost-writing which I've done off and on, and actually done quite a bit of in the last few weeks. I've written ebooks on gambling on horses, selling on Amazon, and even healing through divine belief as well as others. It's always interesting to say the least, and you actually learn a lot as you go.

I love the diversity of freelancing. There are days when I'll write a few articles on Leptovox reviews and then turn around and write a couple of articles on cat pregnancies, and cat behavior. In fact, that was my day today along with an article on SEO development, Golden Retrievers, and some web content for a used car company.

I always get a kick out of it when I get to write about things I know a lot about like cats, dogs and other animals, but even then there are times I learn a lot such as seventy five articles on Sugar Gliders last week. Actually really cool animals and although I'd heard of them, I really didn't know much about them--boy I do now.

Yes, there is money to make online. Sometimes LOTS of money to be made, but the really great thing about freelancing is the amazing diversity involved, and the knowledge you accumulate. I was watching 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' on TV tonight with my mother-in-law and, well quite frankly, amazing her with my abilities, and I simply said 'yep, I'm a font of useless information', but the thing is, you really develop quite a diverse knowledge base when you write about such varied and diverse things.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The New Sci-Fi Thriller

I have to laugh when I see the commercials for moving pods on TV. I mean they are a GREAT idea. I certainly plan on using that way of packing and moving when we finally do move from here, which I hope is soon, but still... those commercials make me think of a Sci-Fi movie moving 'pods'. Like some sort of Steven Spielberg classic come to a neighborhood near you. I don't write sci-fi, but it sure makes me want to give it a try. Wouldn't that be a great premise for a novel?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why Writer's Need Agents

This is an hilarious movie put together by Candy Gourley that every writer can empathize with (and it's great for a laugh--these kids are real hams) I smell Oscar material here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Emoticon Expressions

What is the world coming to really? We have people who speak in 'chat speak' and walk around using phrases from cell phone text messaging as if it were a part of the English language, and I've even seen people responding to posts on forums ENTIRELY using emoticons to convey their point.

I like those little emoticon dudes. I really do. I use them--sparingly. The thought of creating an entire response, even if it is just a one-liner, completely comprised of little round faces with different aspects of motion or expression is just a little beyond--no, make that a lot beyond the scope of my comprehension.

Have we really forgotten how to comunicate in full sentences using real words?

I can see Webster's Dictionary in another ten years comprised entirely of BFF and LOL expressions... oh, and don't forget the little rolling happy face laughing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

All Up on the BIG A

Amazon finally has all of my current releases up! It takes them a little while. The prices are so much better than other publishers I've been with for print copies! That makes me really happy too.

Check it out, Hell's Own
Big Money
Married to a Rock Star

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Cure for Cardboard

I was rummaging through my medicine cabinet last night to make more room for my mother-in-law's prescriptions (running out of space in the bathroom for that) and found all kinds of things I should have cleaned out ages ago. My medicine cabinet is sort of like my closets. When I need them I think of cleaning them, otherwise they're on their own. I found old stuff I hadn't used in years like an old tube of preparation-H. No, never had hemroids. I got a tattoo several years ago (not saying how long because then you will know how REALLY long it has been since I cleaned that out) and I misunderstood when the tattoo person said what to apply over the fresh tattoo. Luckily someone stopped me before I spread that all over it. I also found a bunch of old diet pills, and some hair dye that was long dried up and gunky in the bottle. I'm surprised that didn't explode.

All that got me thinking about what my characters might be like. Do you ever do that? Wonder what your characters are like beyond what they do in your stories? That is something that could be quite useful. It makes for rounder, fuller characterisations. It could even provide some little 'quirks' you could give your characters to make them more 'human'.

One of the biggest drawbacks most new writers have is 'cardboard' characters. Getting to know them goes a long way to correcting that problem.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Vista's cool new toy!

I'm sitting here tonight doing something really, really cool! I'm not even typing this. I'm sitting here talking to my computer. I just found out today Vista has a really cool new feature. I'm sitting here trying to think of what it was called now, oh yeah voice recognition.

It's a little funky--oh look it recognized that word. It takes a little getting used to. But all in a whispery front--believe it or not that is nothing like what I said that.

It really is good though. My speech is not really clear. I had to concentrate really hard at speaking clearly. For the most part it's doing pretty well.

I haven't touched my keyboard the whole time I have written this. The tutorial said it would actually get better as it learns my speech patterns.

I pity the sport than--no I didn't say that what I said is oh never mind it is not funny now.

What I've come to realize is you really can't laugh while you talking and doing this because it will make you laugh harder.

It does everything though, really, and all things considered it is really a super addition to Vista.

Have I said before how much I really love Vista?

I can even open and close programs and files, pictures, and even cruise the Internet all by voice command.

I feel like Scottie in Star Trek's the Voyage Home.

What exactly Does Pre-approved mean?

I am always amazed at the number of credit card offers I get in the mail. I get a lot of them in email too. Cards offering 0 balance transfer. Maybe I should take them up on that. I could free up my other credit card. Have you noticed though that they all say pre-approved, or approval gauranteed or something like that but they're really not? I guess you're just pre-approved to apply for the loan. Really though I have good enough credit. My problem is I'm self-employeed. It seems they're not too crazy about that unless you have massive six-figure incomes or along those lines. I guess that should tell you I do not.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Excellent Article on How To Attract Freelance Offers

The other day Wordprenuer had a good post on getting out there and pitching your services to web clients even if they're not looking actively to make changes. In this article however, the folks at Wordprenuer went the distance with a great write up of how exactly to give your pitch to prospective clients (those not actively seeking work, AND those that are, don't be lazy in your pitch--ever) a selling pitch that will earn you work.

I'm Not Dead Yet

I just got the biggest laugh from a little saying I saw on another site

Everything will be okay
in the end...
...if it's not okay,
it's not the end.
~author unknown

It reminded me of the Monty Python movie where the British people were collecting the dead during one of the plauges of the 18th century and one of the victims they were trying to throw on the cart kept saying 'I'm not dead yet'.

... Whenever you're feeling down, and you think others are trying to throw you on with the dead... just keep screaming 'I'm not dead yet!'

Where Do You Buy Your Books?

Do you still prefer the brick and mortar type stores, or do you shop more online now that it's so available? I feel sorry for some of the smaller bookstores. They seem to be closing their doors at an ever increasing rate. Not only are they unable to compete with the 'big boys' on the street, they have to compete now with stores of all sizes online. I can't say I'm much help to them, I do most of my shopping online. I do feel for them though. It's hard to compete even in the 'real world' since big stores that are dedicated to books have so much more variety than most small independant stores can manage. I remember when I was doing a lot of signings (I don't so much anymore for a variety of reasons) the small indies were wonderful to work with, and really WANTED to be a part of your program, where you had to practically beg and kiss the big stores to look at you.

I remember too, though, the selection restrictions they had due to space. It's no wonder they can't compete really. Customers, like me, may care very much about the indies, but when it comes right down to it, we choose what is best for us first. For me buying books online is just easier. I buy almost everything online since I am so far away from stores of any kind. It would cost me more in gas not too mention time to drive to the stores, even the big ones.

How do you shop for books?

Playing Games

I've never been a great big fan of computer games other than my tried and true Spyder Solitare which has been sorely neglected now that I have high-speed internet. If that doesn't make sense I'll explain: I used to play one or two (or more) games of Spyder Solitare while waiting for each page to load when I cruised online. Yeah, that bad. Boy is high-speed great. As for other games, I never got into them. My son is a huge PS2 afficianado though. Lately hubby has been getting in on the act and listening to them whooping and hollering down in my son's room kind of makes me want to check it out and see if I'm missing something. Lots may have changed in the million or so years since I last tried playing one of those types of games. His favorite is 'Grand Theft Auto'. The way he describes it does sound kind of fun, especially if you're in the mood to shoot someone, or run them over. Every once in awhile when work gets particularly frustrating I have those moods... On second thought, maybe PS2 wouldn't be such a bad thing to get into.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Jury Still Out On Kindle, but Leaning

I wasn't sure if having my releases put on Amazon's new Kindle reader store site was such a big deal, or worth the effort to do it, but it appears it was. I've actually sold a few copies of Hell's Own through there. It's not a lot, but every couple is a couple more readers which is always cool. I guess over the long haul the jury is still out if Kindle will end up being an advantage for authors to get their works out as eBooks as well as print through Amazon... but it's starting to look like it's a good deal.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fall Apart and Relax--finally

Okay, I've released my newest novel, and spent countless hours promoting it. My mother-in-law even took the copy she is reading (yes, she reads all my books, lol) along with her to her chemo-therapy appointment yesterday and doctor's office today--talk about tireless promotion helpers. Wow. I've been diligently working on my new-found, and very active freelancing assignments... finally last night I just needed to rest. I kicked back on the sofa and watched some movies and the entire time thought how lovely it would be to have classy plush home theater seating to go along with all the video equipment, big screen tv, oh, and maybe a popcorn maker too. If you work hard it would be really nice to play hard--or at least fall apart and relax hard.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Way, Way Cool!

No I mean this is way cool. This is awesome. This is mind-blowing...

okay, only for me, but it is. I was surfing on Blog Explosion this morning which I really love because it really boosts my blog rankings by getting a ton of page visits, and I ran across a blog from a guy in WATSEKA! Yes, someone who lives only about 15 minutes from me. It's like the big wide world of web life shrunk and I could hear 'it's a small world after all...' playing in my head.

I've been online in various aspects for over 10 years and I'm on A LOT and I swear I have NEVER seen anyone from a local area on here--at least that I know of anyway, but pretty much I'm sure I haven't.

That is so cool. I feel so cozy and warm right now. LOL

Monday, June 30, 2008

Persistance Pays

It was just the other day I was complaining, moaning, hum.. I'm not sure which, about not generating enough income from my freelancing. I admitted it was my fault and vowed to ramp up my efforts to find new work on a daily basis. Found it. IN SPADES. Two new clients, one of which kept me very busy all last night and all day today. I'm absoltely not complaining though. I will say, a little effort pays off in a big way. I'm pretty close to the daily mark I used to make all last year. I had to work a few more hours today to do it, but I'm hoping that will improve a bit as well.

The only problem is I'm too tired today to do anything else. I keep sitting here thinking about all the things I could be doing, and vegging out while staring at the screen. LOL

I think I'm going to take the night off.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Do You Yuwie?

Do you Yuwie? I've found lately that there's a limit to how much social networking one person can do. LOL I gave up on the Twitter thing, it was fun for a day or two, but it was pretty limited.

Facebook gives me hives. I registered, but it was just too hard to figure out quickly, and I don't have an army of people I'm interested in inviting.

MySpace never did like me. I tried. I have a MySpace blog too... somewhere.

I just found Yuwie and hey, I like it! I like that they pay you to do it too. :o Yeah they do. Makes sense when you listen to their intro video as to why as well. Places like MySpace and Facebook make a KILLING on advertising, and you do all the actual work. Yuwie does it too, but they share... now isn't that nice? Same features, (acutally BETTER features because it's so easy to use their templates and frameworks), and they pay you.

You can blog, share videos, pictures, and probably a lot more I haven't investigated yet, those are just the parts I've done already. It's really cool. Check it out. It's completely free to use.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

SHAKEDOWN -- the video

... trailer that is. Here's my new video trailer for my latest release SHAKEDOWN

I Need a Vacation

Wow, it's been a heck of a week. I've begun to really take to heart the post below on working everyday to seek new freelance work. It's worked too. I got a couple of new accounts--great. I think what I hate about it most is that for every 100 bids, or applications you put in, you get 1 job. Those are fair enough odds all around I suppose, but that's the part I don't like.

I FINISHED Shakedown! Yay! I have my first really new release in over a year. The others were re-released from being previously published, or previously under contract with a publisher that went under, so while two were new, they didn't really feel new. Shakedown is completely new.

I updated my website, and made a new video trailer for Shakedown, and also sent it off to its various destinations... I'm just beat.

Now, after doing all the research I've done online over the past week for jobs, for information for assignments, I need to start looking for some hotel deals. I need a vacation.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Opinion Desired

I have a question. I've had a few people say the dark covers I tend to like using on my novels should be lightened up. I do so love a black background. I'm not sure what that says about me, but it's true.

Do you think it matters? Do you think it fits one type of story more than another? Here are three of my covers... one young adult, one romance, and the last an almost finished thriller with a bit of a humorous twist.

Do you think the genre matters? Do you think the romance cover is too dark for a romance? Does it matter?

Three out of five covers of mine are black backgrounds... it's obviously a penchant I have. I don't do that to coverart that I create covers for others--unless specifically asked for it. Maybe it's some sort of darkness inside me trying to assert itself--or maybe I just like black.

Awesome New Blog

Dennis Cass wants you to maximize your potential as an author, and minimize your suffering. Well so he says, and I'm sure he's sincere because he's created a cool new blog to give you tips and pointers on getting the most out of your experience as a writer. Check it out. It's really interesting, and a very nice thing indeed for a successful author to do for his fellow cohorts.

You can find it here at Dennis Cass Wants You... (lol, okay it was just fun shortening it).

Identity Crisis

Okay, I have a problem--maybe not a big problem, at least according to the emails I get telling me I can increase my penis size, but it's a problem none-the-less. Perhaps it's becasue one of my pen names is more 'masculine' in style T. L. Parrington. I use that name for my dark fantasy work, and for more male oriented types of genres like the comedic thriller I'm working on now 'Shakedown'.

Now my email informs me that I can look more attractive as a man. ??? Okay. Well that wasn't really my goal so far as I remember.

Come to think of it, spam email is everybody's common headache. I should just avoid looking in that 'spam' folder, but sometimes real emails get shoved in there so I try to remember to peek at it once a day, just to be sure.

I'll tell you though, you can get some real revelations when you do that. Looking in the mirror, I don't think I'm a guy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Character Front and Center

Even though I don't wear jewelry as a routine--it's just not possible, or practical on a farm. Writer or not, I have to do some grimy things during the day. I do have a simple gold chain though. I wear it mostly to remind me that not everyone is like me. Okay, heck, very few people are like me in the 'no jewelry' respect. It does serve to remind me to pay attention to what kinds of things my characters might wear.

I was telling someone the other day that in some way, big or small, all of my characters come from inside me. Surely I'm not as evil as any villian I've ever written. I'm no demon like Alexander. I'm not a hooker, or a cop... I've written about all of those in one form or another. Still, deep, deep inside the emotional connection is there to them.

In the same way, somehow I have to connect to their style, their personality, and general outlook on life even if it is totally foreign to my own. I have to be able to understand them, and remember what each of the characters is like all the way through the story, even as they evolve and change.

You can't afford to distance yourself even from the most evil of characters, and that can be challenging. None of it is more challenging to me than fashion though. It's just not my normal thing... so, the chain reminds me.

Do you have any reminders? Things tha trigger you to keep a certain element, or character at the forefront of your mind as you write?

Procrastination--Your Enemy

If you're a freelancer like I am, you really have to go read the article on Wordpreneur's blog that gives you a little dig on procrastinating about seeking work. It's a hustle and bustle game, doing work online as a writer. There's money to be had, but it's not for the faint of heart--or the lazy.

I have to admit, as I read the first two paragraphs of the post there, I squirmed a bit. I love writing. I like (notice the change there, lol, it IS still work) doing freelance writing. I HATE searching and applying for the work--so, I put it off until all of my current work is about all dried up, and then I cry about how hard it is to make money online, even if the time just prior to that I was making very good money at it.

My fault.

My fault entirely.

Anyway, go read the article, it's fantastic. I've added the blog to my blogroll too. There's a lot of information on that blog, and way more than any one post or topic would cover. It's well worth your time to cruise by and check it out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Cover Art

This is the new cover for my upcoming thriller 'Shakedown'. Shakedown was first written as a script prospect and is more of a comedy/thriller long the lines of 'Lethal Weapon'. I had a lot of fun with it though. Might have to follow up with a short series with these characters.

Let me know what you think of the new cover.

Wow I didn't realize it would look so bluring (the title). Going to have to fix that. Back in a minute. lol. It doesn't look like that in the large size, but it needs to be sharper even in small sizes.

Cool, hopefully you'll agree that's a bit better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sizzling Summer Reading

My short story 'Lilac Memories' is available as a free download at Prairiview Storefront. Check it out. It's part of the new 'Sizzling Shorts Series'.

Check out the trailer for the series here:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Call For Submissions -- Pink Petal Books


At Pink Petal Books we believe that love is a beautiful thing, and what’s more romantic than receiving flowers? Of course, giving flowers doesn’t have to be romantic, but isn’t it more fun when it is? Pink Petal Books seeks well-written romance stories starting with one character receiving flowers. The flowers can be received for any reason, and they don’t necessarily need to be received from the other major character(s) in the story.

Each themed anthology will contain three to four 15,000-25,000 word novellas released first as individual ebooks, then published together into one print volume. Heat levels in each story need to start at sensual and work up to erotic. On the Pink Petal Books scale these will be rose or cosmos stories, with partially or fully explored love scenes. Language may range from the occasional frank or graphic language to no holds barred.

Our first anthology will be Pink Petal Books Presents: Shifters. All stories need to contain a shifter as either the hero or heroine. Different shifters preferred. Think about animals you haven’t seen in books, or seen very rarely, and use your imagination. You can submit a wolf, but preference will be given to the different animals, so the wolf story should be exceptional and new. Deadline for stories will be July 15 with decisions made by August 1. Electronic publication will happen during our official launch month of October, with print publication to follow in February 2009.

As long as your story starts with a character receiving flowers and fits the theme and sensuality level, there are no other restrictions on genre.

Payment will be 35% royalty on sales price for ebooks (except stories sold through third party vendors, which will be 45% of net (sales price - vendor cut = net). Print books will be our standard 10% royalty split between the three or four authors in the volume.

How to submit: Please email your complete manuscript attached in RTF/Word format to Include in the body of the email a word count and brief blurb (one or two paragraphs). For more information about us, please read our complete submission guidelines.

Upcoming anthologies are:
Pink Petal Books Presents: Dragons
Submission Deadline: November 15, 2008 decisions by Dec 1
Electronic Publication: March 2009, print July 2009

Pink Petal Books Presents: Nature (think Shamans and Druids)
Submission Deadline: April 15, 2009 decisions by May 1
Electronic Publication: August 2009, print December 2009

For more information please visit Pink Petal Books –

Pink Petal Books is an imprint of Jupiter Gardens Press, a division of Jupiter Gardens, LLC. For more information about Jupiter Gardens Press, a metaphysical and sf/f publisher, please visit

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Past and Future, melding together

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away... seems like that anyway. The year was 2000. I was a beginning author with many short stories, and WIPS in progress, still at the time posting on forums and boards for opinion on my stories and writing, and beginning to develop a small following of 'fans'--that's when it happened. Super fan showed up.

I'm smiling here because that's what I'll call her I think from now on. Marie was my first 'real' fan. When I say that I mean because she went the step beyond posting responses on forums, she took the time to write to me. She was my very, very first fan mail.

The other day, I mentioned my first fan mail being from the library reader. I'd forgotten--I was wrong. She was my second. Marie was the first person to ever write to me and tell me how much she enjoyed the story she was reading at the time, and quite possibly was, at least, one of the forces that propelled me into wanting to get published.

I'd written stories from the time I could remember, but it wasn't until that year, early in 2000 that I took the initiative to post anything online. Perhaps it was because that was also shortly after gaining internet access to the 'new' world-wide-web.

In the mid-80's my hubby and I bought a pair of computers, and got 'hooked up' to the fledgling AOL that was one of the few 'internet' servers at the time, but that wasn't ANYTHING like the experience I found in 1999 when once again giving the internet a cruise.

Anyway, back to the story...

Shortly after the arrival of 'super fan' on the scene she became a faithful reader of everything I put out. Commenting, suggesting, and, of course--emailing. She was one of the first readers of Paradise (The Road To Paradise) my first novel. I sent it to her as an advance reader to be sure I'd made my mark.

I've known her ever since and she is a good friend though the years, and still a faithful reader and today, after reading the anniversary edition of Paradise, 'Married To A Rockstar' --now recovered, retitled, and with a new ending scene, she reviewed it for me, and it warmed my heart.

Here's her review she posted:

Just as incredible as the first time i read it *****

22 Jun 2008 (updated 22 Jun 2008)
by Marie Holloway
Married to a Rock Star delivers an entertaining account and perspective on the life of a rock star and all that is involved in that type of industry. This book is an excellent fictional resource to music fan enthusiasts who would enjoy having an in’s and out’s view of life on the road with a rock star and with a perfect back dropt of love and romance that enriches the story. In reviewing this book, I must say that rereading this book after I initially came across it in 2001 and I found the story to be just as fresh and exciting as all those years ago. It’s a book you can’t and won’t put down because just as you think you’ve figured out what lies ahead for our star couple Isaiah and Karen there are new twists and turns that comes your way.

The author, Tami Parrington, does a wonderful job in setting this story a part from your typical romance where you could get distracted with some syrupy love story and loose focus of what the story is conveying. Instead she writes a complete story full of love, loss, tragedy, heartbreak, and redemption and it unfolds in a way that no matter what obstacle comes along you never veer from rooting for the main characters. Even with their flaws you come to really care about these people and hope that in spite of their highs and lows that ultimately the story turns out as we all hope all stories turn out with a satisfying conclusion. If you want a story that never travels a predictable road in terms of reaching a goal then Married to a Rock Star is the book for you.


The reason I bring this up (beyond the obvious pride factor) is that the relationships you can forge as an author will sometimes span lifetimes, and create long wonderful memories. Remembering those old times of early emails makes me smile warmly, and appreciate her all the more.

Knowing how much this story still has impact on her after all this time also makes me feel so good inside. I've always enjoyed this piece and knowing it is still enjoyable to others leaves a very warm, happy feeling inside.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Everything Old Is New Again

How do you like my new cover for the re-release of The Road To Paradise (also re-titled). It was my very first novel. First contracted for publication by a house that before it went to print closed the line... figures right? Then accepted at an online house that closed shortly after--this book was batting a thousand... then I just said the heck with it all and published it myself. I was a rank amateur at that time and POD was a baby back then... so it suffered some. Amazingly enough it sold well for a POD book at that time, and with mostly on-line sales too. I cleared 400 copies soldjust online, and just under 22 full cases (26 per) by hand and it is still in circulation at 37 libraries throughout the US according to World Catalog. Most of those libraries I had no contact with either. To me that's pretty impressive for a novel that's over 10 years old, self-published, and trade paperback with an AWFUL original cover (cover art creation was a mystery to me at the time, and seemed to be inundated with hard to understand requirements. LOL I learned a lot over the years) and the title was only so-so. LOL Anyway, a little more of that in a bit, here's the brand new 'Anniversary Edition' cover, let me know what you think:

Back to my little story: When I first published the novel as The Road To Paradise, one of my first sales hits was to my own public library. They told me (as kind as they could with a bit of a snub to POD) that they usually didn't carry books that were self-published even by local authors (this is a teeny little nowhere library too. lol) BUT, the librarian said, they would accept a copy and have a reader review it. If the review was favorable they would send me a check for it and carry it--two weeks later not only was the novel accepted, but a note from the reader came along with the check from the library. I had my very own piece of fan mail for the first time ever.

Strange and wonderful memories can be created along the way, even in this wacky world of publishing. It's something I'll always treasure, as much as I do the book itself, that for all of its original troubles remains one of my favorite works. I hope you like the new cover. I even added a new ending scene to the new version. It was a great deal of fun re-visiting my old characters. It has even sparked a little desire to sequel it with what happened to them ten years down the road... hum, the road gets longer. :)