Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scrubs--Not Just for Nurses

Of course, hospital personel are the most likely to use scrubs, but I've long known how comfortable they are and what a good addition to my home wardrobe they can be. The biggest drawback was tht they didn't come in many colors. And it used to be hard to get them. You had to go to medical supply companies, or know someone in the industry. Since my husband worked in the medical field I had a little better access, in fact that's how I found out how great they were. Now though, you can get thebest print scrub tops, and scrubs in all different colors right online. That makes it easy to get them and even expands their use from just pjs or lounging cloths to tops and pants you can wear as a part of any casual outfit.

Star Wars Spoof

This started out as just a simple test of particles for the smoke and flames... and ended up sparking its own little short spoof.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dancing to MJ

Well, animated dancing anyway. Here's one of my latest animations created to Michael Jackson's 2Bad. I'm still new at it, but I am pretty happy with how I am doing with it in just a few weeks.

Golden Christmas Present

My hubby has needed a new wedding band for several years now. He has lost weight and hadn't worn his old one in years, and then it got lost in the move. I have been scoping out mens diamond wedding bands to replace it with a nice one for Christmas this year. We will have been married 30 years in a few months, so it seems like a fitting time to get it for him.

Motion Test

I put an old Ford truck together with icar workshop on iclone. Here is a test I did that included exhaust, dust and a break away building in the sideground.

Little Things Make Big Things Possible

There are a lot of things I've used pad foam for over the years. Everything from making furniture (yeah, I like doing stuff like that), fixing boat seats and even making saddle blanket filling way back when I had horses. It's the simple things that make doing all of the big things possible. Pad has so many uses, but you rarely think about it. For people who do not get involved with the making of furniture or other things, they may never even think about how useful and important the "behind the scenes" items like foam padding or batting are.

New Horizons

You might have noticed my new flash fun animation in the header above here. I'm getting into animation very heavily and enjoying the fun of not only doing the animation, but learning how to create the 3d figures and props. The figure in the above animation was created with Monster Workshop from Reallusion, not my own creation, but I've begun sculpting and learning how to mesh my own so hopefully really soon I'll be able to use my own figures for the animations.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Strong Melody Maker

I've played several Les Paul guitars in my time, one that I never got to experience in person however was the. I've seen them, and heard them. They are a beautiful guitar with simple, clean style and rich tones, but never had my hands on one. Melody Maker has been around for decades. I know someone who has had one since 1959 and it still hums beautifully. Besides beautiful tone and attractive styling, one thing you can count on Les Paul guitars for is long-lasting durability. The design of the Melody Maker reminds me of the Les Paul Gibson I learned on. I loved that guitar. It remains my favorite of them all even after all these years.


I was so pleased to find out I won the teaser round 2 of the iClone 5 dance animation contest with my Smooth Criminal on the Moon creation. I'm posting it here for you to watch. Round 3 should be announced tomorrow. I have a clip entered in that one too.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sound Effects

An important part of making the movies I'm doing is the sound. Whether it is just a sound effect (foley work) or an actual sound track, getting original music and background is sometimes difficult and often expensive. If you can create your own it's the best of both worlds. Having quite a bit of musical training in my past, I've been tempted to gather up the supplies and begin scoring my own work. There's a lot that goes into that, however. It's not just a matter of picking up a new guitar, or a keyboard. You need a quality system that includes amplifiers, microphones, and the best recording equipment.


I've gotten really heavy into animation lately. I didn't really mean to. I bought a program thinking I'd do some story boards or maybe make some logos with it. I've done all that but have also really gotten into just the fun of animation. I'm also thinking about going the animation route with some of my stories instead of live action. It's cheaper and I can work on my own time rather than worrying about actors and such.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Keeping it Running

I am not mechanically inclined, so when my husband needs me to order something for him to keep one of our cars or another household machine running, I just have to accept that I'm somewhat limited in knowledge, and look for exactly what he asked for at a decent price. So looking for a pillow block gets easier in some ways under those limitations. It does help that mechanical items are not often subject to much variation between manufacturers, so simply looking for the best price or easiest way to get them--online in my case--works out well. I order, they ship, he can have them for when he is ready to do the project he is working on. We all save time and I save a little money.
I've been having a lot of fun creating animated videos with my new iclone5 program. Here's a funny (remember, 1st attempt) rock band clip I made yesterday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Keeping it Hot

Well, maybe at least warm. I have a feature film that will be starting principle production soon--with winter coming on! Keeping warm may be difficult. I've thought about pushing the start to spring when it's warmer, but that will cause a delay that could lose some of my lead actors, and they have experience and talent I am not anxious to lose out on. So, maybe bundling up in some down winter coats and drinking lots of coffee and hot chocolate will do the trick. If we can get it all together and start before the snow falls, it shouldn't be too difficult.

Scattered and Exhausted

I may be exhausted but it's a fun way to be tired. I've been doing so much, in so many different directions lately that I may be spreading myself too thin. I have taken a day today to step back a bit and clarify my thinking. One thing has come into focus: it may be hectic but I'm learning a lot and having a great time doing it, so how bad can it be? One of the things I have been pushing forward on while still keeping up with all my other professional and paid endeavors is filmmaking. In the past week I completed two short films: one animated and one live with effects. Both were a lot of fun. Here's the live action short:

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Being Heard

Does it matter how well you play the guitar or sing if no one can hear you? Not really. That's why a good amp is so important. For anyone who moves around and travels to gigs, having a solid amp that is easily portable is also important. A great amp that you can't manage to move won't help you much, and we all know how hard it can be to find enough help as it is without having to hire extra muscle to move massive equipment.

Do Over Intro

Hey, here's a clip of the intro for my new short film "Do Over". I've been working hard on it. It will be a total of about 10 minutes long, and have a lot of fun special effects in it.

Adding it All Up

Being a self-employed writer has a lot of perks. It also has a lot of headaches, and keeping track of the accounting is one of them. I would advise any writer with a lot of work to find a good CPA. It can save you so much at tax time, and keep your head above water. It's not nearly as expensive as you might think. I would be lost without mine. Keeping track of the tax code even if it never changed would be a full time job, but it does change and that makes it nearly impossible to navigate unless you do it all the time. Many writers won't need someone like  until they have many sales and multiple projects. You may be able to get away with doing your own taxes in the beginning, but once you have a lot of expenses and many income streams, it's time to sit down with a pro and make sure you're not paying more than you have to. It's hard enough to make a living as a writer, and self-employment taxes can be quite shocking for new writers at first. Self-employment tax is far higher than the taxes you might be used to paying when working for someone else. That's where a good CPA will save you money, making sure you are taking all of the deductions you are entitled too--and maybe more importantly, not taking the ones you aren't supposed to. No one wants the dreaded "A" word (audit in case you aren't familiar with that nasty initial).

How Do You Get Thousands of Followers

My husband asked me the other day, quite perplexed, how do you get so many followers on Twitter. He has a fair number for an average person who just tweets for fun. His list is about 800 strong, and I remember those days well. Once you are into Tweeting as a form of exposure and to keep in touch with fans your list will grow--it has to. I simply don't have an easy "how to" answer for accumulating thousands of followers. I don't do anything specific, I just Tweet, follow those that interest me, and follow back those that are truly pertinent. I do not follow back or initially follow anyone that doesn't have a shared interest of any type of who I don't find interesting. In other words, I don't just follow to get numbers. I never use "follow back" services. Those are just like junk mail. A really good follow list is made up of people who are interested in what you have to say. Of course, there's a responsibility there too. While some of my posts are definitely promotional, there has to be a fair number of what I would call "connection posts". If possible, more than any number of promotional posts. I can tell you that even if someone who follows me would be who I considered of the same interest, if their feed is 100% promo or links, I'm not biting. Who wants that? Keep it real and make your followers count.

Dressing for the Occassion

My husband has a job where uniforms are the dress code. He is a paramedic and has a closet full of the same shirt and pants outfits. In a lot of ways it makes things so much more simple. You never have to worry about what you're going to wear that day. Of course, in most professions that require uniforms there's a very good reason--recognizability. You know at a glance who you're dealing with. It's important in professions where people are walking into strangers homes and into difficult accident scenes, people know right away who you are and why you are there.

Short Film Intro

I have been really busy working on my short film "Do Over" the last few weeks. There are a lot of special FX in it and I have begun to realize why those guys get so much money for their work. It's hard. It's been a lot of fun though and a real learning experience. Here's a short blip from the film so far that has one of the FX features in it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Shining Qualities

I love wearing jewelry. I have several sterling silver necklace and earring sets that I wear a lot. Jewelry can be a challenge in shooting film however. Whether it is a still shot or a motion picture shot, jewelry can cast quite a glare. I'm going to be testing a few techniques in the next short I'm doing. There is only one female role and it is a very small part. I'm going to let them wear a nice piece of jewelry and see if I can't get it to work out. I'm kind of tired of stripping all my leading ladies and anyone in fact, of any and all accessories that shine.

Script Ready for "Do Over" Now On to Fun Things

Getting really excited. The script is finished for what is now called "Do Over" (was originally Wishful Thinking). I have the copy. I have to go to Kinkos and make some additional copies so I can create the shooting script. I hope to start principle photography by Oct 1st. Possibly even earlier. I have almost everything I need, and a few additional supplies ordered and hopefully arriving this week. One of the things I ordered I would like to have in time for shooting, but don't think I will. It's a mini-flexible tripod. Would be really handy for low or tight shots, but it is coming from Japan and just shipped a few days ago (Thursday I think it was). So not likely that I'll have it for the first shooting days outside. May have it in time for the greenscreening that I'll do later after all of the outdoor work is done. I need to get the outdoor work done before the weather turns bad.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Theater Seating

I got a great surprise when I went to the theater today. Our old outdated theater (surprisingly because it is in the city not a rural theater) has been way behind the times. They were stuck in the 80s with old, uncomfortable seating when other theaters up North and in the city were outfitted with recliners. Well, we are now up-to-date and wow was it comfortable. Big, plush recliners made watching the movie so much more fun. I started to think about how wonderful it would be to have that type of theater seating at home. Lots of places sell theater seating for homes. They are usually in an area all their own in the accessories section, but you'll sometimes find double recliners, dual recliner couches or actual recliner theater seats in the furniture sections. Yep, I think it's about time to redecorate the living room.

More Than Writing

Today was an easy day work wise. I got a lot done, but it was easy work that went quickly. These kinds of days are great because I can do so many other things. I went to the movies, nice relaxing afternoon, and in a little bit I'm going to go out and mow the lawn. I wish I could avoid that last part, but its starting to look like a jungle out there. We've had so much rain that the grass has grown really quick over the past few days.

Internet Dangers

If you're online as much as I am, and today most people are, there's a lot to worry about. Virus' and trojans are everywhere and they are sneaky. I'm pretty good at avoiding them, and for the times I wander onto a site that is infected my virus program alerts me, but there's still always the chance I'll click on a bad link or end up with a problem. It's important to have somewhere to turn when you're worried about your computer's health, like online virus scanner at where you can check for virus' and other problems easily. It's quick and gives you a great deal of peace of mind. I know that besides all of my work, which I try to remember to back up, but there's so much every day that sometimes it takes awhile to get around to doing it, there's also hundreds of pictures and bookmarks, and other files that would be painful to lose. I know what that pain is like too, because I've had it happen. Now I do everything in my power to prevent sudden death from virus'.


I've started something I've always wanted to do, but always put aside. I am going to produce a short film based on a screenplay I wrote years ago about a true event that occurred between me and my half-sister. I have always wanted to direct, and this will be a great experience even if I can't do it exactly the way I see it due to finances. I have put up a project campaign on indiegogo for it though, and hope to raise enough money to really do it well and have something I am proud enough of to take to the big festivals. That would really be something. Look for "Paranoia Film" in the film section and check out the quick trailer I made for the video as a teaser. That was fun too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Missed Signals

Being a writer and a freelance contractor, it's very important that I get all of my messages. Missing a call or a note can mean a lost assignment and lost dollars. Text messages are good for communication, but I've found a lot of clients are more likely to call rather than write. They want that intimate contact. At the same time, those clients are not as likely to leave a message with a voice mail box. That's where using answering services can really come in handy. The client feels like they're talking to a real person, and I don't know about you, but I have trouble hearing and understanding some voice mails. With an answering service I can ask them to repeat and clarify what they are saying. It's a lot better than a machine.

Scripting the Story

I don't know what computer blew up a few years ago that took all of the digital copies of my screenplays with it, but I finally decided to re-type them from the old yellow paper copies and publish them as screenplays. I don't know if they'll sell, but it's better than having them sit idly deteriorating.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Unique and Beautiful

If you've read any of my posts at all you'll know I have a long history with and love of guitars. One type I find truly enticing is the combination acoustic/electric guitar like the Beneditto guitars. What an awesome sound. They are so versatile, and can fit into any style of music, and add an unusual quality that will make you unique. Me, personally, I like to stand out from the crowd and that kind of guitar helps create a new sound even when you're playing old songs. Of course, unique is only good if it sounds good, and it really is a beautiful unique sound that will captivate all who listen.

Forex Tools

I just added lots of cool Forex tools over on my Forex blog. You can find it at if you're interested in learning how to invest in the money market. It's a lot of fun, and hey, if you're into strategy games, why not play and make money at the same time?

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Pooling Around

I had a pool a few years ago and it was a royal pain to take care of. I would like a pool again though. I love to swim. There have been so many advances in pool filter technology. You can even have a 'salt water' pool which is less chemically damaging. They use salt cell filters to clean the water. These are easier to control too. If I ever do get a pool again I'm going to make sure it is a salt water pool.

Writer's and Contributions to Society

I just finished a landing page for a client with a diabetes cookbook. I love when a project is related to something important to me. With my husband's family history of diabetes it is always an important subject around my house. Not only do I get paid for those types of projects, but I feel good about contributing to a great cause.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Here Comes the Bride

The bride should always be the prettiest in the party. Bridesmaids should be second, and no one should work to outshine them. You see it a lot though at weddings. You'd think it was a fashion show sometimes. I've seen a lot of people attending weddings, just as guests, with outfits that look like bari jay gowns. Give the bridal party a rest. They should be wearing such beautiful dresses. Everyone else, pull something nice out of the closet and be content to look good, but let the principle players be the stunning ones. My daughter is planning a wedding soon, and I can't wait to see her in her beautiful gown.

Sales Sales Sales

I've been promoting my books a lot lately on Twitter. You can really tell when you do that. The sales go up by 50 to 60 percent. You wouldn't think it would make that much of an impact, but sales does work. No one likes it. Everyone complains about seeing it. But still, it makes sales. I guess... they can complain all they want. If it works... do it!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ringing Memories

If you're a high school graduate, you probably know all about class rings high school. I still have mine, and it brings back fond memories whenever I wear it. It's all about the sense of camaraderie and a simpler life when I wear mine. I think about friends and a time when life was all about classes and friends. After high school, and then college, life just gets a lot more complicated. Wearing my high school class ring brings me back to a time when I enjoyed life and had little to worry about beyond passing a test or who I was going to go out with on the weekend.

Bloodier and Bloodier

True Blood has been a can't miss show for me from the early years. Just about every time you think they can't go any further with it, they find a way to twist it. I have to say this season so far, it's only been a few weeks, has been the most twisted and turned around season yet. It's great. Every episode is a cliff-hanger and keeps you coming back for more blood!

Learn New Things

With about 30 years of home owning experience behind me, all in older houses, I've learned a lot about taking care of them and doing things. I never stop learning though. I've thought about hanging a mid-size flat screen on the wall in the bedroom to free up space on the floor, but have always been afraid to hang heavy stuff (not to mention expensive stuff) on a simple dry wall surface. That's where drywall anchors come in handy. They spread the weight off the object over a much larger surface, but you can't see it. The anchors spread out behind the wall to secure it. It's still a good idea to be careful about how much you put on them, and buy the appropriate size anchor for the job you are doing, but now I have a nice hanging flat screen, and lots and lots of floor space.

This Particular Old House

I've only been here a year but I've done so much to this old house. It seems like it's a never-ending to do list though. I still have the bathroom to do. Now I need to re-do the kitchen floor. It's going to need a new roof soon, but that's just way beyond my "handy man" capabilities. I did buy a new electric lawnmower this week though. The old gas one is just too hard for me to start. Electric mowers can be a bit of a pain with the long cord, but if you don't have the arm power to pull-start, or the money to buy an automatic start lawnmower, electric is the way to go.

New Life for Old Cars

If you have an old car you have to get rid of, in this economy you probably will have a hard time selling it. However, you can do good with it and still get benefits from the results. You can use an old car to make a donation. These car donation can be written off on taxes as a charitable donation for you, and charities profit from them in one of two ways. The first way a charity can profit from a donation of a car is to use it, or give it to someone in need. The second way charities often profit from large donations such as cars is to auction them off. The money is then used by the charities instead of the car. It's a great way to make use of something valuable that is hard to sell.

Drop Dead Diva

Okay, I've often said I'm a day late and a dollar short when it comes to watching movies. That's because I don't care to go to the theater much, and prefer to watch them on DVD or when they are on cable. However, that isn't the case with "Drop Dead Diva." That's a regular show on regular cable. I've seen it often and just ignored it. The title sounded like one of those crazy reality shows and I wasn't interested. I just happened to see the beginning of it today and was mesmerized. I had to watch it, and now it's set on my DVR, hoping to catch all of the back episodes, but I will probably end up buying the sets of seasons since it's been on since 2009. That's right 2009! This isn't a reality show. It's a hilarious comedy about a diva aspiring actress who dies... but not quite. She ends up coming back to life, just not in her old body. She's trapped in the body of a slightly heavy, very savvy female lawyer. For anyone who loved Harry's Law, this is a definite win. It's sort of like Harry's Law in its ensemble, except "Harry" in this case is a younger woman. It's funny, witty and at the same time relevant and powerful. Just goes to show: you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, or a TV show by its title.

Safety First

I see a lot of posts on Facebook and other places reminding drivers to watch out for bikers on the road. Of course all drivers should take care when there are smaller vehicles present. Motorcycle riders should also be careful not to take advantage of their size and dart between cars or out in front of oncoming traffic. No matter how safe both sides are, there are always going to be accidents. After all, the reason they are called accidents and not 'on purposes' is because they aren't something you can always control. So make sure you always wear a good, strong helmet and proper clothing when you ride. Every time I see a biker in shorts, sleeveless shirts and no helmet is just scares me. Sure, leather is hot, and helmets aren't always as comfortable as you'd like them to be on a really hot day, but they both beat road rash and head injuries. Make safety first and have fun the safest way possible.

The Big Year - Review

Watched "The Big Year" on HBO last night (had it DVRd). This was a really sweet movie. I expected a lot more comedy than it had considering the stars were Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. Plus there were lots of other big name actors and actresses with small parts such as Angelica Houston playing a very funny, kind of curmudgeonly fishing / sightseeing expedition ship. Of course, it was funny in lots of places, but no big guffaws, just lots of cute giggles. Most of the story was more heart-tugging than funny. Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson all play characters with wildly different backgrounds all brought together with thousands of other people on a wild chase around the globe in search of "The Big Year". The big year is an National Audubon Society convention where people set out to see as many unique species of birds in one year, and it is a competition with the top ranking birders listed in their magazine. It's worth a watch for sure, and I enjoyed it. I especially like that the three main characters all got a lot more out of their "big year" than just the bird-watching.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kitchen Revamp

I have just about decided to get new cabinets in my kitchen in the new house. The ones that are here are okay, but the drawers in the lower cabinets, and two of the shelves are showing obvious wear and threatening to fall apart. I've been looking into many different styles, but being a dedicated do-it-yourselfer, I really like espresso kitchen cabinets. They're beautiful, come ready to assemble and are very affordable. Perfect for me, and will look great in my kitchen.

Demon Covers

Thanks to a great friend I met on Twitter, I have a "vision" for Alexander in the demon series. Kevin Rau made me several poses of my idea of Alex and I have recreated the Hell's Own cover as well as made the cover for the next in the series Damned if you Do

Here they are. The Hell's Own cover:

and the sequel
Damned if You Do

Have a Backup

We all know how important it is to back up files. If you don't know that, as a writer, you will at some point learn a painful lesson that drives home how important it is to constantly back up your work--just in case. However, something we don't always think about is having a backup to our computer. I have a laptop that I work all the time on. I confess that I no longer go for the most expensive, top of the line computers regardless of the style I choose. Things change so fast, and upgrading is easier if you buy cheap laptops.

Make sure you get one with enough power to do what you need, and that's enough. If you do go for a big, powerful and expensive computer, having a backup is still important. Too much can happen, and when it does, it happens fast. Anyone who has ever "refurbished" a computer that had a virus knows that it will never again be as good as it was when it was new. I've had several wiped and they never were as good. A few have been almost as good. I still always have a cheap backup. Even if you send your "good" computer (or your main computer, even if it is just a cheapie) in to be cleaned, you're going to be without the ability to work unless you have a backup.

Dark Side of the Moon for 50% off

Get your copy of Dark Side of the Moon for 50% off for 1 week only with the coupon code JE75L (expires 6/24) only at Smashwords.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Versatile Webpage Builders

Making your own website is a lot easier now than it was when I first started doing it back in the "stone ages" of the Inet. Now there are great new programs that can do everything for you, show you exactly how your site will look as you build it and upload it easily to your host. This kind of website builder makes it a joy to have a website, and lets you make changes quickly and easily with all of the hair-pulling HTML hassles of the past. You can do so much more now, too with the improvement of web-building languages. I love my website builder, and I'll even tell you a secret. I use it to help me make my book covers too! That's right. The versatility that you can get to build your webpage you can use to create great book covers.

Dark Side of the Moon

Awesome and fun new book trailer for Dark Side of the Moon

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Outdoor Comfort Indoors

This is so interesting. I LOVE chaise lounges and have always wanted one inside. Of course, I didn't want my indoor chaise to look like patio furniture. These unique designs on the indoor chaises are perfect! The same comfortable style with couch-like padding and beauty. It's perfect for my portable computer stand too. The bottom is high enough off the floor to allow the base of the stand to go under it, so I can do my writing from the comfort of my chaise. Gotta have it!

New Website

Don't forget to check out my new website I had that name once (okay, I've had the name itself all my life, lol, but I lost the domain name a few years ago). I let it drop and couldn't get it back until a few months ago. It's good to have my name back.

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

I'm always teasing my husband about his big cigars. He loves them though. He doesn't smoke cigarettes, just those. He buys cigars sampler packs so he can try out different tastes. Then he picks the ones he likes and buys those. It's interesting to see the differences between cigar and cigarette smokers. I'm a cigarette smoker, and I don't think about trying different brands. There aren't a lot of differences to choose from in cigarettes, but cigars have amazingly different varieties, flavors and styles. There doesn't seem to be an end to the choices he has, and it isn't unusual for him to switch back and forth between them.

Hell's Own -- FREE tomorrow

As the beginning of book two's pitch begins, Hell's Own (book one in the demon series) will be free tomorrow -- May 27th, 2012. Please remember to leave a review after you have read it. That helps authors, and also helps you.

Making Music

I recently listened to a Twitter friend's music clip. It was just awesome, but it really made me think about how much there is to creating music. As a writer, I know how much goes into the creation of a book that goes far beyond just putting the words on paper. Musicians too have to do a lot more than just come up with the right notes, sing and/or play them well. They have to put it all together and then produce it in a format that you can use when listening. That's where programs such as . There are many different kinds of sound production software programs out there, but true professionals need a really professional and powerful program. There is a distinct learning curve required to operate such complex software, but once you get it down, you can create amazing things.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Death and Taxes

As a writer, I'm an independent contractor. That's true whether I'm writing fiction or non-fiction. Whether I'm writing books for my own publication or writing web-content for other people's marketing campaigns. No matter what I'm writing, I am my own boss, and when I work for someone else, it's a business-to-business relationship, not employer-employee relationship. There's a lot of good points to that, but one of the big problems with it is that no one is withholding taxes for me, so at the end of the year I better have enough saved up to pay Uncle Sam. There's also no one conducting a group insurance plan for me for medical or life insurance. For some writers, that's okay. They have a spouse that works in the "real world" who has those things. But for others, it is a real hardship. It's not impossible to get insurance though. You have to find a contractor liability insurance company that can help you get the coverage you need. Of course, that won't help much with taxes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My author's blog has moved to my new website. Check it out here for more information on my newest works and past and future books to come.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Silver and Other Established Rules

Can vampires wear silver jewelry? Probably not, but I love the look, and prefer silver to gold. I think my new characters would look good in silver, but... well they're vampires and that kind of kills the idea. Unless I bend the rules. I mean if Twilight vampires can shimmer instead of burn, maybe my vamps can wear silver as long as it is just jewelry. It makes me wonder how far we can bend the established "rules" for certain types of characters. If you do it, of course you have to explain it so readers aren't thrown off by it. But is there a limit to how far you can go before even an explanation won't work?
I have a short story up on Amazon Kindle now and am remembering all of the excitement, fun and frustration of being an author with a book for sale.
It would be great if authors didn't have to be salesmen and marketing gurus along with writers, but it's not a perfect world.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Saving Grace

There's nothing worse than losing all of your writing in a crash. It's happened to me more than I'd like to mention. All of that is in the past since I use backup systems now. Actually I am rather anal about backing up, saving multiple copies of work in various formats. I am always looking at new systems and methods for backup and saving files. In this backblaze review I'd like to point out a very easy to use system that works on both Windows and Mac and is totally web-based. I like that because when I have backed up to hard disc type storage such as my external hard drives I'm always worried something will happen to them. When it's all online, it is available no matter what computer you are using, where you are, and it is never outdated and incompatible with new computers or devices.

GoodReads Great Site

Found "Goodreads" online yesterday. What a fantastic resource! I am waiting for my "author" approval, but in the meantime, having fun reviewing books I've read in the past and am currently reading as well as meeting lots of great readers and writers from that community. If anyone knows of other websites like Goodreads please let me know about them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Better Mattress

I have a great bed. It is a king-size mattress with pillow top, but after three years of use it is beginning to have worn spots. One of the biggest problems with pillow tops is you can't flip them to keep them rotated. You can only turn them around and exchange sides every so often. That isn't really a great way to go if someone uses the other side and creates dips and dents too. Then you're both sleeping in those divots trying to make your own. All in all it's a great recipe for a backache. My back has been acting up badly lately, and I'm pretty sure it's due to the bed. I've looked into several options and I think getting a to put on top of my pillow top will solve the problem nicely. It will recreate a comfortable and supportive mattress, and get rid of the divots while allowing for flipping as well as turning to keep it in good shape.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Business as Usual

Wow, it was a lot closer to finished than I thought it was. I got it cleaned up, polished up and loaded up and Business as Usual is now available on Amazon!!! It's on Kindle and in the book section as well. For Amazon Prime members it is in the loan area too so readers can get it free as their monthly library book.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Knowing the Side Effects of Adipotrol

Losing weight takes a little help sometimes. I know that for a fact. I'm working on it again myself. Nothing new there. As a woman it seems like I am always working on that. Using appetite control pills or fat blockers can really make things go faster. Fat burners like Adipotrol are especially helpful. Before you take anything, including Adipotrol you should understand how it works, what ingredients it has, and if there are any side effects. You can find sites like that will help you choose the best products for your needs. One of the things I like best about Adipotrol is that there are no side effects, unlike some prescription diet aids that require constant monitoring by a physician due to the severity of the most common side effects, you can take Adipotrol over the counter without a prescription. For someone like me, over 50 and needing a little help in the metabolism department, a fat burner is the best type of diet aid. I can control my appetite fairly well, but my body doesn't use the food it does get as efficiently as it did when I was younger.

Excited Re-Start

I'm kind of excited. I decided to dig out my old non-fiction manuscript that was about 1/2 finished when I last worked on it. I've been so busy working for other people that I never felt much like writing for my own purposes. Now is the time to start again. Actually it was a fiction impulse that got me started on this again. Last night, right before bed, and after I turned the computer off, I had the budding idea for a novel hit me. Then I got a great idea for a first line hook that is one of the best I've ever written. As I lay in bed the plot began to unfold. It was kind of wild and will need to be tamed (maybe with a whip and chains), but it was exciting anyway. This morning I still remember the idea, and I had texted myself that wonderful opening line so I wouldn't forget it. I saved that and made some notes on my idea for later, but decided that before I went off on that, I really needed to get the non-fiction book finished. So I hooked up my external hard drive and dug it up from the cyber dust it was collecting. I've almost finished my "work" work for the day today, and I hope to get several pages in on the book too. I even put it on my schedule like I am my own client. Okay, so I won't get paid from myself. Hopefully eventually it will pay off.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Swimming in Private

Up where I live now, if you have a pool, or any type of open water area it must be surrounded by pool fencing. It makes sense in order to keep anyone from climbing in and drowning even if you have an above ground pool. A good fence around a pool is also attractive and gives you extra privacy in urban areas. Pool enclosures come in many different styles and setups. I prefer wood look fencing and you can even get a traditional fence look on an above ground pool. Another extra advantage of the wood look fencing is that the posts are bigger than iron fencing so you can attach lights on top for those late night swims. You don't even need electricity for the lights if you use solar lights. They aren't as strong as electric lights, but they give the pool area a nice warm glow and plenty of light for taking a midnight swim.

Taking a Break

Okay, everybody needs a little break from writing now and then (or whatever their job is). For me, especially when the weather is as beautiful as it has been, my break is gardening. Last year I stripped a couple of ugly, overgrown evergreens that were blocking the path of the house I'm in now. I didn't take a picture of the evergreens themselves before I started, but over the winter, the ugly bare branches that were too big to just cut off were left like a sinister silhouette on either side of the path. Here is a picture of one side of the path this spring before I got the chain saw out and cleared it up.

And here is a picture of what I did to cover the stump on the other side I had cut down already. The brick is only half-way done. I will do the same to the other side. When I'm totally finished I'll post a picture of the finished product with flowers planted in the containers.

Friday, March 30, 2012

My daughter's friend is about to have a baby. I'm always looking for great baby gifts to give at showers. I've decided that baby keepsake gifts are something special, and a little better than clothes or other things that mom's to be are bound to get tons of. Giving a keepsake is something that the baby can have when they grow up, and remember. They're special mementos. Since my daughter's friend knows she's having a boy, it will be easier to buy a really great keepsake. It's a lot harder when you don't know if it is a boy or girl, but then, buying any baby gift is more challenging that way. Thank heavens for modern medicine that lets mothers know far ahead of time what their new little bundle is going to be.

Getting the Spark

Getting a spark for writing is not usually my problem, but getting a spark for losing weight is. Even at times like this with beautiful weather starting and winter over, I still have a hard time sticking to a diet. SparkPeople is a great way to get that spark and keep yourself on track. I use it all the time.

A Real Headache

Migraines are in a class all by themselves when it comes to a headache. Nothing seems to work, and I know when I get a migraine, I just want to cut my head off and get it over with. It helps to know how you can get a Migraine drug free. Some headaches just mirror a migraine. Sometimes I get what seems like a migraine from working too long and staring at the computer too much. When a real migraine hits though, you'll never be wondering if its the real thing. You know those headaches when they happen.

Before and After

Ever wonder how those before and after shots happen in diet ads? Talk about creative advertising. Take a look at this.

Phoning It In

Doing business online means holding meetings with clients in various ways. teleconferencing is also a great option. Teleconferencing is not as confusing as it may sound. It's actually a great way to get everybody on the same page. Using teleconferencing also cuts down on the confusion of texting or PMing several people at once on a single project. For people who don't type quite as fast as writers do, it makes things go smoother than PM, text or even IM conferences. Most of the time, I deal one on one with a single client, and while phone calls are good then too, it isn't as necessary, and other means of communication work, but when there are more than one client on a single project, or the job requires more than just me as a creative source, teleconferencing is the only way to go.

Exercise Fail

This is hilarious. I was thinking that I should get up and get moving, and start exercising instead of spending so much time sitting and typing. Now I think sitting and typing is much safer.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Life Insurance for when You Need It

Hubby let his life insurance lapse earlier this year. It was an accident. He missed making a payment by one day and now he has to re-apply for insurance. The problem is, the life insurance policy he had was purchased when he was in his early 20s, and in great health. Now, in his mid-56s and not so great health, he is going to have to look for high risk term life insurance. It's hard to find life insurance when you have pre-existing conditions, but everyone needs some form of life insurance. No one likes to think about needing it, but its pretty much a fact of life, everyone is going to face that need at some point. Life insurance isn't like... car insurance... for example, where you buy it hoping you never have to use it. Or home owners insurance, where you pay monthly for something that it really is possible you won't need, but it's good to know it's there when you do. Life insurance, well, you're going to need it someday. We all hope it isn't soon, but it is going to come.

Weekend Getaway

I have been in Lake Geneva, WI all weekend enjoying the beautiful surroundings and gorgeous weather.
But what does a writer do when they find themselves in a luxury hotel room with a beautiful patio and lots of things to do?
They write. LOL

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Health Check Blood Tests

Why is it that the one thing guys worry most about, is the one thing they are least likely to have checked out. It is so important to get a regular Prostate Test, but as much as we've talked about it, my husband drags his feet on actually getting it. I get it. It's uncomfortable, and embarrassing. Us women have to deal with that constantly all through out lives.

I've recently read that there are new blood tests that can do the job without the discomfort and embarrassment. That is such a great advance! I'm so happy to hear about that, and happy that hubby will be able to go and get his prostate checked out without excuses now.


There are many ways you can treat your hypothyroidism without harsh, sometimes dangerous chemicals. Before you undergo more traditional drugs, it can be very beneficial to try and get your thyroid under control using these methods. Some include taking supplements that include kelp, others use diet, and eating special hypothyroidism foods or even less traditional treatments such as acupuncture to adjust the thyroid, and make it work more efficiently.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Personal Music Space

I love music. I listen to my MP3 player every night before bed, I wear a waterproof MP3 player at the pool when I swim several times a week, I play my music in the car, and when I am out shopping... Hi, my name is Tami and I'm a musicaholic. One thing I can assure you, is that with the exception of the pool MP3 player where it is necessary I NEVER use the itty bitty little ear buds that normally come with my music devices. I hate them. They are the most uncomfortable things in the world and the sound is usually muted by outside noises. In the car, I plug directly into the MP3 port so the music comes through the speakers, but at home, or when I'm walking, shopping or doing other errands, I need the best headphones to really enjoy the music.

I love padded, full ear headphones . They are far more comfortable than those little annoying buds, and they are also noise-cancelling, so you don't get all the interference from outside sounds. Listening to music on MP3s takes a lot of hits from professional musicians because of the quality, but I really believe that much of the quality is lost by choosing the wrong type of headphones. When you use a great set of headphones, the quality is equal to that of any stereo anywhere.

Somewhere: Worse Movie Ever

I don't say this lightly. I try to find something good to say about most of the movies I've invested 1 to 2 hours in watching, but I just can't really say anything much about this one:


2010 Director: Sophia Coppola (the name should mean quality, but sadly--not)
Staring: Stephen Dorff

The premise of this movie should be something I would LOVE. From IMBD:

A hard-living Hollywood actor re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit.

I kept watching, and kept waiting for it to live up to what it could have been, but it never did. The WORST part was the ending. I have been left with a feeling of emptiness from bad endings before, but this one just left me with  my mouth open wanting to scream... what? What is this? There has to be something more than this... sadly, that's about what it was like through the entire film.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Furniture Situation

Having just moved into a new house, this year has been full of melding old furniture from the former house with new furniture that fits with the decor of the new house. It's a bit of a challenge. The internet helps a lot. I've found that plugging in a local with a quest for furniture brings up local opportunities. Using this method, for instance,dining room furniture los angeles is easy, and works like a charm. Since I've lived in LA, I know that works there too. It works anywhere, and takes a lot of the hassle out of shopping around for just the right piece. You can do it all from the comfort of your own home. I don't mind traveling to a store if I know they will have a selection that I can pick from to get what I want. I do not want to waste my time going store hoping, only to find none of the places I've visited have anything near what I am looking for.

I've also found that buying online and having pieces shipped to me is a much smarter move than hunting around for just the right sofa, chair or table. I don't have to wrangle big pieces of furniture into my car, or wait for my hubby to be around with the truck, and then wrestle with big furniture to get it from the vehicle to the house. The shippers bring it in, and all I have to do is decide where I want it to go. Much nicer.
I'm on week 4 of quitting smoking. The e-cigarette has helped a lot. I have to confess that this week was the hardest. Not for cravings, that the e-cigarette has really solved. My problem, that I hoped to avoid was what I call "brain fog." Last time I quit (for 1 1/2 years) that brain fog, lethargy and concentration difficulty was what finally made me give in. It just wouldn't go away! I had hoped that the e-cigarette would help me avoid the brain fog, but no luck on that. I guess it isn't the nicotine withdrawal that causes that. Perhaps the withdrawal of all the other toxins, but if it lasts the way it did last time, I don't know what I'll end up doing.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Other Woman

I wish they had a service like the cleaning service cary nc. I even love the name--"The Other Woman." That's one time I wouldn't mind another woman being in my house. I need another woman to come in here and clean. I have to say that I do love the size of this house, compared to the one we own down south. It's so much easier to keep clean, but how nice would it be to have someone else come in and do the real dirty work? I haven't given it enough attention, but now that we are up here in the city, I bet there are places like that. I'm going to have to look into it, because I truly hate housework. Then I'll just have to bribe the "other woman" to go down south and clean that house too.
Loved that Superbowl half-time show. Madonna still doing what she does in her 50s and barely looking her age. Could have done without Ceelo Greene in there. Just don't know what the reason was for it, he didn't really add anything to it. Loved the very end, and the end cap. Good overall job Madge.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Playing the Bass Card

I grew up playing guitar. I started taking lessons when I was about 11, on an acoustic guitar, and took lessons and played until I was 18. At that time I was playing electric, and was in a garage band after school. It was such a good time of life. I know that memories can sometimes be gilded, but I really do remember those days with such happiness.

The other day I was thinking about playing again. I think it was something in a movie that got me started. I had tried a few years ago, and boy are my fingers tender now. It would take quite a bit to get them toughened up again. I still remembered the placement of the notes. However, if I did go back to it, I was thinking about looking for a bass guitar and learning to play bass. It is such a cool instrument, and one I've always loved, but never learned.

Is it too late for this old dog to learn a new trick? Maybe now that I'm living back up in the city where it's easy to find lessons, I will take a look around, and give bass guitar a try this summer.

Smoke Free?

Well, as a writer I feel like I'm in good company when I say I'm also a smoker. That doesn't make me particularly proud though. I've thought about quitting often. I did manage to quit for a year and a half, but during that time I suffered huge bouts of depression and lost a lot of clients, couldn't concentrate on anything for long, and gained a ton of weight.

I went back to smoking and things leveled out very nicely, although it took a little time. I want to quit again, but do not want to go through the above problems. So I decided to try e-cigarettes. I got one in the mail the other day, and it is okay, but not enough to relieve cravings. I've learned that there are better brands, so I am waiting for a different one to come. It should be here next week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Business or Pleasure

As a writer it is sometimes hard to think about what you do as a business. There always seems to be some unseen, unspoken line between commercialism and art, but never more than in the writing arena. It's a place where artists look down upon anyone mentioning anyone who talks about the money as a sell-out, and seems to hold aloft those that eek by as true artists.

Sometimes I think that's a myth perpetrated by the publishing houses so that they can get away with paying slave wages to the most of their writers while a few rake in millions--after all, there have to be a few to make the dreams for the many who will never achieve such heights.

The bottom line, though, is that even writers have to pay rent, mortgages, car payments, utility bills and buy food. The amount of money you make isn't really the reason you need to treat your writing like a business, however.

You may never need to get business funding, however you may need to apply for a loan on a house, new car or even in some cases cable internet. You need something that shows you are a self-employed business person.

You also have to show the IRS you are a serious business and writing isn't just a hobby. So it is important to treat your work as a business. Save receipts and keep records of submissions even when they get rejects. The act of submission is a business act that shows you are in earnest.


I was watching M*A*S*H today and thinking about how much I still love that show. It got me thinking about why there's such a connection with some shows, no matter how old they are, and how some other ones that you've seen decades ago and loved then, now were so dated. Perhaps some of it has to do with the fact that M*A*S*H was a period piece even then, but I thought that wouldn't explain some other classics such as All in the Family, Golden Girls or even I Love Lucy.

I Love Lucy is even more of a standout in that it was obviously done in the early years of TV. Sets were barely realistic, but still, it looks relevant still when watched today.

I think much of it has to do with the realism of the characters, the honesty in which they're played, but a lot has to do with the general atmosphere. There has to be something believable about the surroundings. In M*A*S*H it was evident. Even though shot in the hills of California, it LOOKED believably like an Army mobile hospital in Korea.

Even I Love Lucy on its rough sets was believable as a tenement apartment in New York.

So, how does that relate to writers? The stories you write need to be timeless to stand up when someone picks them up decades after you wrote them. Are the scenes believable? Do the characters ring true? Is the atmosphere palpable? These are the things that classics are made of. It doesn't matter what time period you write about or in, what matters is if it will still strike a cord decades down the line.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Learning New Things

It's still January, and I'm knee deep in work. I probably shouldn't be thinking of boating season already, but I can't help it. It's during this time of the year that I begin to long for the warm days of summer, the rolling water and spending the weekends on the boat. I have to plan for this year though, because the trailer we use to take the boat back and forth from the marina needs a little work before it's ready to haul 10,000 pounds. I've been looking into some miller welders, and thinking about trying my hand at doing some of the welding work myself. Actually, it would come in really handy if I could do it. There's a lot to be done both at the property and the occasional repairs to a 16 year old trailer. It would be a wise investment and something very interesting to learn. Heck, I may even be able to incorporate it into a story at some point where my heroine has to learn how to do metal work. I bet it could be funny. I'll find out when I try myself. If it's funny, or if I melt the whole trailer while I learn.

Wow, Busy January

I'm not sure what is in the water, but it seems like every single one of my regular clients woke up on January 1st and made resolutions to do an entire year's worth of work in one month. I am pretty busy on a regular basis and I sure am grateful for that. Since beginning my venture on Elance I have developed a very strong client base with excellent fees that keep me busy all the time, but I have been busier this month already to the point I am working overtime and wearing myself out. It's not all bad, of course. I've made more in 9 days than I normally do in an entire month. I guess that will make up for any occasional slow times during the year. LOL