Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This Weeks Thursday's Tourist

Tomorrow, I'm rolling out the red carpet for a good friend and fellow author, Margaret Tanner. People don't believe how tangible Internet relationships can be, but I have a bond and affection for Margaret despite the fact we've never met personally. I enjoy her work immensely, and so do others as evidenced by her recognition as the 2008 Australian author of the year.

Margaret like me, has grown sons and one grandchild. I'll let her tell you more about herself and her work, but I couldn't miss an opportunity to boast about her being my friend. *smile*

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday's Tidbits

When is pirating ebooks okay? Reselling books has always been a big industry. I know my mother utilizes used book stores to earn credits for future reads. But...when you find huge sites on the Internet that offer readers a place to put in a request for a free Ebook download and realize that people are bypassing the publishing, author and printer to share your copyrighted work...isn't that a major infringement?

I'm no lawyer, and I'm not certain any of my books appear on AstalaVista's Underground Forum, but I certainly recognize many of my fellow authors among the 17 pages of requests I was able to scan without joining. A friend is currently scanning the 260 pages of available books and I'm shocked to see the entire backlist of many authors available for free.

I've have mixed emotions. On one hand, I feel slighted that no one has requested my work, and on the other, I suppose, relieved that no one is stealing my stuff for free. *lol* Honestly...people just keep finding ways to insult one another.

Thought I'd share this link today in case anyone wants to take action. I hear through the grapevine that one publisher has already initiated a law suit.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Mania


Sometime ago, I was scheduled to be interviewed on a podcast. As usual, any time I plan anything in advance, something screws it up. So, since I wasted a entire afternoon thinking of, and then answering questions about myself, I decided to share my interview of me with you.

So without further ado...Stepping up to the microphone...Ginger Simpson, the author: *Thundering applause*

1. What prompted you to become an author?
Years and years of reading historical romance and wondering if I could write a story myself.

2. Assuming you succeeded, how did you go about finding a publisher?
The same way every author does...endless hours of query letters, a good synopsis and a blurb that hooked the submission editor into wanting to read more.

3. Once you found a publisher, what presented the most difficult challenge?
Knowing there were a million things I need to ask but now knowing how to form questions to get the right answers. I blogged about this very thing sometime back because I know there are tons of new authors out there who feel just as lost as I did.

4. How did you get the answers? I joined the author's loop for my publishing company and I lurked, hoping someone would stimulate a conversation that helped me. From there, I branched to otheer,m and now I'm on so many I can't manage them all. It's a vicious but necessary circle.

5. Do you have a blog? Of course... (sorta obvious). Blogging is a valuable tool for promotion, plus it gives readers and fans good insight into me as a person. Maintaining a blog provides me with immediate interaction to those leaving comments. Of course, I've recently become a ranting idiot over issues best not mixed with my writing side, so now I have two blogs.

6. Have you suffered any major disappointments since you began? Who hasn't? If you don't have a tough skin, you really need to cultivate one before you begin this journey. I've been luckier than most, though, only receiving two rejections at this publishing level. I'm finding it much more difficult to break into mainstream, but then competition is tough and the numbers vying for the same honor grows every single day. And then there are book review to death with.

7. Reviews? Tell us about them.
Book reviews play a major part in promoting ones work. Once is book is signed, the author sets about sending out PDF copies to review sites to request someone read and comment on the novel. The response time has greatly increased since I first started, but even then, it was a nerve-wracking ordeal. You sit and chew your nails to the nubs while waiting to read one person's opinion. We all know how varying those can be, so you learn to glean the good from the bad if someone didn't quite love your baby as much as you do. It's amazing what reviewers pick up on to nitpick or glow about. I've been so fortunate to have reviews on the higher end of the scale. I've read some that weren't and I really felt horrible for the authors. Unfavorable reviews are another reason to grow that tough skin I talked about earlier.

8. Has it all been worth it?
Of course. I've now published eight novels and five novellas, and have five in the works. My final goal is to see at least one book in Walmart next to Nora Roberts, but that may never happen. Still, it never hurts to dream. The friends and colleagues I've met on this journey have made my life so much richer, so there's the true reward. It's hard to explain how one can develop such a fondness for people I've never seen, but my internet friendships are every bit as real and tangible as those I've established face-to-face. Of course, if I'm being honest, you meet a few people best avoided.

9. If hear you've been nominated for an EPPIE? What is that exactly?
Why funny you should mention that. The nomination came as a pleasant surprise. EPIC, an organization for internet-published authors, has done a tremendous amount of work in helping establish the industry as a legitimate business and recognized achievement. Each year, a competition is held for books published during that period. Embezzled Love finaled in its category, and although I didn't win, the nomination in itself is quite an honor given the competition.

10. Any words of advice to those contemplating publication?
Write from your heart. Use your own voice and don't let anyone change it. Be open to advice, but take what enhances your story and leave the rest. Of course...remember the skin hint.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hi Honey, I'm Home

Disregard the date. I dropped the battery pack and didn't bother to reset it. These were taken on the 4/25/09. The scenery from our campsite was awesome. It was really nice to relax and get away. I actually spent some time READING instead of writing, and I read something besides Romantic Fiction. I tried out a couple of true crime stories and I was surprised at the difference in style. I may have to give it a whirl. :)




Hubby tried his hand at fishing, and as you can see, he had a "little" luck. Of course, he threw it back as soon as we snapped evidence that he hadn't sacrificed a worm for naught.

My sis and her son came up to enjoy dinner by the lake. They decided to snap a picture of themselves. Yep...that's the infamous Dimes McDropperson. He just dropped in from Iraq on his way to Afghanistan, and his Mom was sure glad to see him. He makes us laugh. In fact, we've all laughed so much we're sore.

I absolutely hate having my picture taken, so this was Gwenn and I wrestling to see who had to be in front. She was determined to hide behind me and I was determined she wasn't going to. I think we both lost.



All good things have to end, so here we are...well you can't actually see us, but we're loading up to go home. All in all the weekend was relaxing and uneventful. I actually walked around the park with Kelly and we got invited to be in a "Cornhole" tournament. In California, if someone asked me, I would have run in the other direction, but a bunch of people were having fun tossing 'cornbags' onto a ramp with a hole in it. I was amazed there is actually a Cornhole Association dot com that tells you the rules of the game, how to build the equipment, and even set up tournaments. For first-timers, we did really well...I came home and ordered a set from Ebay so we can practice. Hey, Kelly's going to be on unemployment for a while, so until he finds a job, we have to find something to do so we don't kill each other.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gone Camping

I'm still alive...just a brief respite for a relaxing (or at least I hope so) camping trip. Back Monday. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday's Tidbits

Still more to add to your list of things to avoid as an author. For you readers out there...how many of these "faux pas" do you notice in the books you buy?

A fellow author and friend from my historical critique group, Jen Black, posted a very informative blog, making reference to another site where she found the original post. If you'd like to read the entire post, then visit Pat Holt's blog. I'm so glad Jen shared this.

In the interim, I'm going to borrow her "headers" and see how many I can apply to myself. I invite you to do the same is you're an author:

1. Repeats:
We all have favorite phrases we use in our writing, the secret is to avoid over-using them. Word echoes, especially when you use the same word within one paragraph warn of redundancy and are best avoided. Here's a silly example: John placed his glass on the table and gazed at Vanessa. Tipping her glass, Vanessa smiled over the rim and sipped her drink. When finished, she lifted her glass in a toast. John hoisted his glass into the air. Are we sick of 'glass?' I think this is one habit I've learned, but still slip into occasionally. Luckily, I have my critique group to help. Ask them and they'll tell you that I drive them crazy in my critiques of their work with highlighting echoes.

2. Flat Writing:
I'm not so sure I've fallen into this habit, but Ms. Holt warns "it's a sign you've lost interest." I've seen this in books I've read, and often wonder the purpose of phrases that do nothing to propel the story and really add nothing to the plot. I suspect they may not really indicate a lost interest, rather are the author's attempt to reach a mandated word count. *smile*

3. Empty Adverbs:
Boy, I'm trying to break this habit, and it isn't easy. Examples: actually, totally, absolutely, completely, continually, constantly, literally, really..) The list goes on and on, and for story telling, they seem appropriate, but replacing 'ly' words with stronger verbs is the answer in fiction writing. Of course, 'ly' words have a place. If you eliminate all, your writing will become too stiff. There's a secret here and I'm trying to uncover it. I think I've made progress.

4. Phony Dialogue:
What I gleaned from Ms. Holt is the need to make your characters unique. We all have distinct voices and habits, so try to convey those to the reader rather than have everyone sound alike. Speak with a unique voice for each character by not using the same phrasing, and make the dialogue realistic. Stop and think....would my character really say that?

5. Suffixes:
As with 'ly' and 'ing' words, some 'ness' words sprinkled into the story have a place, but adding so many that a reader has to stop and absorb them or re-read is not a good sign. Examples: mindlessness, courageousness. Another habit we slip into is often adding 'ly' to 'ing' words in our descriptive tags...often described as "Tom Swiftees.: Poor example, but the best I can come up with: "That was a refreshing dip," the boy said, swimingly. If I do this, I'm certainly not aware of it.

6. To Be Words:
This has been a toughie for me. 'To be' words slow the pace of your writing and often move it to passive rather than unveiling the story in the present. 'Am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been...' are common examples, but of course cannot all be eliminated. The secret is finding a happy medium.

7. Lists:
I don't believe I fall into his habit anymore, but I sure have read the work of several authors, especially newbies who have. An example would be trying to 'list' everything on a buffet table. Before you name everything, the reader is yawning and may have tossed the book aside. "Cecile's stomach rumbled as she gazed at the eggs, potatoes, hot rolls, oatmeal, toast, jelly, butter, bananas, apples, pears,plums, and pots of hot coffee and tea on the table." Listing a little to give the reader is a much better idea...maybe her mouth watered at the hot baked bread, and then let the reader smell it by describing the smell of yeast.


8. Show Don't Tell:
Oh, Lord, have I come a long way on this one. I actually 'get' the concept. When I completed and submitted my first manuscript, my editor said, "You've written a beautiful story. Now we have to make it into a novel." I wondered at her meaning, but until you weave in the smells, emotions, actions by drawing the reader in and allowing them the experience, you really have only TOLD a story. The secret is SHOWING so when your heroine cries, so does the reader. Let the wind caress the reader's face, let them smell the flowers, feel the slap. If you aren't there yet, believe me, some editor will help you along. *big grin*

9. Awkward Phrasing:
I think the best rule of thumb is KISS (keep it simple, stupid.) If you are writing a sentence so long and so strangely worded that it requires more than one reading, you've failed this test. I believe I used to do this, but now I've learned from many editorial whippings to shorten sentences for emphasis and ease of comprehension. No reader likes to get to the end of a long drawn out sentence and scratch their head. Unless of course they have dandruff. *lol*

10. Commas:
Speaking of scratching one's head... this one has me stumped. Just when I think I understand and follow the written rules of good punctuation, a publishing house decides to try to eliminate commas. I guess you have to follow your publishing guidelines, but my belief is: If you have two sentences joined together with 'and or but' you need a comma, and if there is a natural pause, a comma is called for. Commas also clarify things for the reader when one word follows another and doesn't make sense if read together without a pause. My mind is too numb from all these rules to give you an example, but I think you understand.

So...I encourage you to go back to the link and read Ms. Holt's full post, and Jen's too. The examples are all helpful and encourage continued learning. I know I benefited from reading them and I'm happy to pass along the wisdom.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Manic Mondays

This was me at the computer this weekend. I'm trying to decide which of the stories I have in progress I want to finish, and for some reason, my characters who usually are the defining factor aren't yelling loud enough to win the contest. My choices at the moment are:

First Degree Innocence - Women's Fiction/Suspense
Odessa - Western Historical Romance
Shortcomings - YA
On a Wing and a Prayer - Contemporary Romance (Novella)
The Locket - Mystery
Revelation - Not sure of Genre -

So...you can see I have plenty of work to do, I just can't decide which one to work on at the moment. I'm leaning toward "The Locket" because it's such a different stretch for me...but then so is First Degree Innocence, and maybe that's why I can't wrap my head around it. Anyone else have this problem?

In the meantime, I did get a wonderful review that brightened my day. Morna at Red Roses for Authors gave me 4.5 Red Roses for Hope Springs Eternal, my latest release. I really enjoyed writing this 'medical romance' and I identified with my heroine on so many levels. *lol*

Here's an excerpt from the review:
"Another brilliant story from the author of Sarah's Journey... This is a lovely sympathetic book about an older woman. A book to pick up when you are down, from a well-loved author."

How nice is that? Thank you, Morna. I appreciate being described as brilliant and well-loved. I haven't felt that way for a while.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Blog

Evidently, expressing my political opinions on a site I started to discuss writing, books, and such has become a problem to some I value as friends and peers. Because of yesterday's post, I had someone I considered a dear friend cancel her appearance on my blog, unsubscribe to my loop and leave me wondering if this is the end of a friendship. I should have realized I was getting into murky waters when the same thing happened earlier on. When President Obama was campaigning, I shared an email I'd received. A friend of over fifteen years wrote me off for that one because she was offended. Never my intention but I see if I continue down this street, I'm bound to lose readers and that's never a good thing.

Clearly, political views are too much for some to handle. Trust me...this is the first time in my sixty-plus years that I've felt this strongly about anything in Washington DC...and it is not a racist or personal vendetta against our president. It's about what's right and what's wrong for America. Judging by the 1/4 million who attended the Tea Parties across the nation, I'm not alone.

BUT...I've decided to start another blog specifically for discussions aside from writing. If anyone is interested, I'll post the url once I've established my new "political" viewpoint site.

Thank you for staying with me despite differing opinions, and we'll now resume regularly scheduled programming.

Ginger

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday's Simperings

Sorry I missed Friday's Fiction, but it was more like Black Friday. Hubby worked his last day and now we face the unemployment lines with millions of others. I dare say we are in better shape than some, and that's a sad statement. :)

Anyhow, I would like to share with you the identities of two people I believe should super glue their vicious lips together unless they speak about something they actually understand.

Miss Garafolo's (and I use the title with little respect) attack on Tea Party attendees was totally uncalled for and insulting. How does labeling people you have never met as rednecks and racists make her worthy of voicing an opinion on Keith Olbermann's show. And how dare that idiot agree with her. Had either attended one of the many local gatherings across the nation, they might have realized no one asked for party affiliation identification and this was not a partisan concern. I'm sure just as many democrats and republicans were in attendance, along with liberals, conservatives, independents, and people who have had very little interest in politics before. The brewing problems are going to affect us all in the long run.

The people I saw at the Tea Party in Nashville were peaceful, respectful and very concerned with their futures and that of their children. They have the right to let their fears be known. How else do you get the attention of an administration who has gone hog (pork) wild? Can you blame the people in California who are already on the bring of financial collapse for not wanting to share in the expense of exploring pig smells or any of the other ridiculous earmarks in the Omnibus bill? I sure can't because I feel the same way. There is a time to finance extravagances and it's not when you open your wallet and moths fly out. Honestly, I know it isn't only the President, so we need a real "Spring Cleaning" in Washington.

The Tea Parties were never an issue of race, and I detest being lumped into those who see skin color and judge others. May I remind Janine G. that Mr. Obama is only half black, so I suppose she should alter her opinion to say we are partial racists. Had this been about party affiliations, I'm sure she would have been invited to represent the ASS because she sure made one of herself on the news this week. I think we should hold a contest between her and the CNN reporter who did such a 'fine' job of reporting the news at one of the Tea Parties. Who stuck a stick up her butt?

AND...Hey Keith, how about getting someone on your show with a real opinion, and not just a personal judgmental viewpoint...or that's right, you can't attract anyone other than out-of-work actors, commedians, and people who like to kiss your butt. I just can't see the attraction myself.

Oh...and good going Nancy Pelosi,for referring to attendees as 'astroturf.' That's a real positive way to approach the American public you're supposed to represent...oh, and how kind of Janet Napolitano for putting out an alert that lumped Tea Party goers in with terrorists and other threats to our nation. What has our nation become? If you're not frightened, you should be. There are powers brewing in the Middle East who see the discord here and are bound to swoop down and strike when we are at our weakest. Maybe cuts where the military is concerned is a really bad idea. You think?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who Needs Spring When You Have The Vampire Family?

I'm sure some of naughty little fiends (!) are familiar with Eternal Press and my novel with them, The Vampire Family. We came out last year in ebook formats and last month, we became available in paperback! Hip, Hip! So, I'll just get right to the good stuff. I know that's what you want. Horror, dark fantasy, historical, urban, paranormal, romance, these greedy little vampires do it all!

Here's Our blurb from our Eternal Press Page:

Sadistic? Check. Domination? Check. Happiness? Not for all.

Antonio Welshire accepts the mysterious Mestiphles' offer for vampiric power, but fails to consider that not all in his family desires evil. Daughter Victoria revels in the debauchery, but eldest daughter Samantha loathes the darkness. Enemies are in no short supply when the family turns to darkness. Charismatic rebel Gaston turns up to rival for Antonio's power; the vampire lover Jean can destroy them once and for all, and henchwoman Lilith seeks to supplant Antonio as Mestiphles' favorite. Who will be declared the victor? And in the end, though they've survived coven wars and persecutions since the 12th century, can The Vampire Family survive each other? Killing his abusive parents isn't enough for Antonio Welshire. Rape and death follow him through his youth in the 12th Century-until a stranger named Mestiphles give Antonio unimaginable vampire powers. Fearful yet captivated by his allure, Antonio's adopted sisters Ann and Elizabeth share this gift with him and their children-Victoria, James, Samantha, and Stephen. Antonio is a cruel ruler , and after his defeat of the young rebel Gaston, Antonio struggles with Lilith-another magical pet also created by Mestiphles. Antonio's vampire family grows over the centuries, each vampire loving and losing vampire fledglings over time. Wars, persecutions come adn go, but the family's troubles always stem from within. Elizabeth may be his wife, but Ann supplants her as Antonio's mistress. By the 20th century, Elizabeth has found love again-unfortunately her fledgling Jean share's Samantha's disdain for the vampire life. Will The Vampire Family self destruct before the 21st Century?

We're also available at Fictionwise/Barnes and Noble-at a discount if you're a member!


The Vampire Family is meant to be a parallel examination into the high and lows, loves and losses, darkness and light of one twisted group of immortals through the centuries. Here's a more detailed breakdown of our storylines and characters. For more infor, you can check out my official website For Flying Servants Only.......

Book 1: Conflict

Antonio Welshire’s downfall begins as a young man in the British Isles almost 1,000 years ago. Caught between abuse and poverty, Antonio's ambition leads him to power, and a unique stranger named Mestiphles. Antonio's tyranny, however, is contested by Gaston-Antonio’s shrewd and charismatic young rival. Will Antonio be victorious against the unruly Gaston and gain Mestiphles’ favor? Or will the battle destroy Antonio and his family?

Book 2: Pinnacle

Elizabeth’s new fledgling Jean romances the weary Samantha, and the lovers plan to upset the already shaky 1,000 years of Antonio’s reign. Mestiphles wants The Masquerade-an annual party held by Antonio to attract unsuspecting guests-to go off smoothly, but Ann and Elizabeth’s escalating tensions also threatened to destroy the family's decadent lifestyle. Will Samantha finally be free of her father's rule? Can Antonio keep his vampire coven on top or will Mestiphles take it all away?


Book 3: Hunted

Victoria returns to upset Samantha’s not so perfect life. The remaining Welshire vampires must form an uneasy alliance to defeat Lilith, an avenger sent by Mestiphles to finish the dysfunctioning Welshire coven once and for all. Lilith failed Mestiphles in the past and is determined to hunt down the fallen coven one by one to impress him. Will the Welshires prevail? Can Lilith complete Mestiphles’ plans and destroy the Welshires? Which coven will gain Mestiphles’ favor?


Now, now, you probably want an excerpt for those juicy little appetites! I've got a short one ready here-I can't hog up all of Ginger's Space, now, can I? ;0) For a lengthy dash of free samples, Check our our Vampfam Blog.

http://vampfam.blogspot.com

You can also read more about The Vampire Family and keep up to date with our appearances by subscribing to our blog or friending and following us. If you prefer groups, you can come on over and hang out at the Kristin Battestella Yahoo Group. We're due for a Summer contest in a few months!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kristinbattestella/

And of course, you can get all the latest information about our paperback edition by visiting our page on Amazon. The look inside feature is now available!


Alright so here's the naughty little excerpt!



“Catherine?” Antonio’s shadowy figure stood at her door. The tiny flame shortened in a clump of wax as the maid looked up.
“Yes, sir?” She set down her quill. “You sound different, sir. Are you ill?”
“Yes.” He stepped toward her. “I need your help.”
The dim light shined in his face. He couldn’t see. His eyes felt bloodshot, and his hands seemed pale as the candle flickered. He put his hands on Catherine’s arms. She felt warm to his cold touch. Sharp teeth cut the inside of his lips.
Antonio’s voice trembled. His hands shook. “I need your help.”
“Of course, sir.” She put her arms on his, but Antonio shook and felt the muscles of his forearm clench. “What can I do? Here, sit down.”
His arms came around her waist. Antonio heard her blood rush and saw her face flush. He put his head down on her chest. She trembled, but held Antonio’s head.
“Such overwhelming!” He spoke more to himself than Catherine. His words and hot breath were muffled against her. “Now I know what Mestiphles meant. I know what to do. I need to do it. I have to have it!”
“I’ll get some water.” Catherine was about to get up, but Antonio clenched his hands tighter around her.
“No,” he said hoarsely. His nails dug into her sides, and she winced. Antonio relaxed his grip, and she allowed his hands to roam. He unlaced her dressing gown. His hands stopped shaking, and bewitched, Catherine gave him total control. He pulled the loosened gown off her shoulders and swept Catherine to her feet in one swift motion. Yes, he knew she was captivated and paralyzed. He could be so frightening, yet masculine and desirable. Antonio put his head to her neck and bit the pumping jugular.
She flinched, but her blood flowed into Antonio’s mouth. The short life drain was ecstatic, but soon grew empty. Her life was now in him.
Antonio let Catherine’s limp body fall to the bed. He had her, and now he wanted more.


Bless Ginger's little heart for having us today! You can catch me, Ginger, and the rest of the Eternal Press Gang next when we hang out with the Talking Two Lips Group Saturday April 18. I'll also be chatting live 9 p.m. Tuesday April 21 at Coffee Time Romance. If you've got a few moments that night, stop on by!

Previously, I've taken The Vampire Family out for some live fun with Fallen Angels Reviews and Night Owl Romance. We've had several reviews and interviews as well, most recently with Raine Delight's Spotlight:

http://authorrainedelight.com/2009/03/author-blog-spotlight-is-on-kristin-battestella/

http://www.fallenangelreviews.com/Interviews/2007/Nov07-LindaL-KristinBattestella.htm

http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/interviews/kristinbattestella.asp

http://redrosesforauthors.blogspot.com/2008/10/interview-with-kristin-battestella.html

http://eternalpressauthors.blogspot.com/2008/05/interview-with-kristin-battestella.html

Whew! There's plently more Vampy press at my home page, jsnouff.com/kristin. You can read up on severl of my horror short stories as well or taste a bit of my non fiction and reviews at I Think, Therefore I Review.

Up next writing wise is a horror short story I've been going back and forth on called The Haberdasher. Samples of this and other short stories are available at Yahoo Group. I've also done some editing work on my pal Leigh Wood's sf erotica On The Way To New Isosceles, which I am happy to say was recently contracted with Eternal Press! For seriously naughty samples of that one, check out Leigh's blog:

http://leighwood.blogspot.com

On a final note, I have to mention that one of the first questions I'm always asked is, "Is there a sequel to The Vampire Family?" My answer? Maybe...

Welcome, Kristin


Today, I'm putting out the welcome mat for my guest, Kristin Battestella. I hope you'll join me in making her feel at home. Kristin has some pretty pasty-faced friends and I guarantee you'll find them interesting.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Tisket, A Tasket Day

Today is my day for the A Tisket, A Tasket, Put Romance in Your Basket contest. You're traveling to find one of those four treasured easter eggs hidden on some of the sites you'll visit. I'm supposed to entertain you and offer a prize, and I apologize for not posting sooner. The internet wouldn't let me on earlier and I spent my afternoon at Nashville's Tax Day Tea Party, I'm going to share some pictures with you and tell you what a wonderful time I had.

Other than getting tired from standing and feeling like my fingers were going to freeze off,the outing did me good. I never realized so many other people share my feelings. It was actually refreshing to stop griping at the TV and get out of the house and involve myself in something positive. Despite Homeland Security issuing warnings about these Tea Parties, the gathering was peaceful, respectful and inspiring.

Okay...so my sign might have been a tad disrespectful, but I'm very angry with our President for making us look weak and stupid during his recent tour. But the nice thing...in America I'm entitled to voice my opinion. Actually, I stole my sister's sign because mine looked like I wrote it with my left foot and I was humiliated to carry it. *lol*

The crowd kept growing and growing, with driver passing by and honking horns in support. The creative signs were the hit of the day and Gwenn and I spent a great deal of time reading them. We would have stayed till the finish if we hadn't turned to ice cubes. I'm happy I went.

So, with that said, I would like to offer a prize to anyone else who went to a Tea Party Today...or if you couldn't make one, send me an email and tell me why you wish you could have gone. A free download of any one of my novels to the first person who sends me a picture you took. You can email me at MizGing.

So, I guess it's time to give you the next url for tomorrow's website and contest. You're next stop is: Dayana Knight's Blog.

Remember, when you've visited the last site, make a list of where you found the eggs by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to Happyendings by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced March 2nd at Skhye Moncrief's Blog.

Thanks for stopping by today, but I'm sorry to tell you that I have no egg for you... just a free download of a book of your choice (authored by me) if you send me a picture of the Tea Party you attended or tell me why you wish you could have gone to one.

It's time to stand up for change...and I can say I actually did. I joined millions of others today in trying to make a difference. Three cheers for me...the couch potato. *lol*

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday's Trivial Points

There are just something that don't make sense to me. I keep asking, but no one seems to know the answers. Here's some questions to ponder:

1. Why do people continue to hire Billy Mays to do commercials?

2. Do people really care what kind of dog the Obamas get?

3. What tests were done to prove the effectiveness of the "eighteen-hour bra."

4. Is Alex Trebek any smarter after all these years on Jeopardy or does he just act like a big know-it-all because of his cue cards?

5. Does America really need to be concerned with TV ads about impotence?

6. If you wash a "Sham-Wow" in the washer, will it soak up all the water?

7. If all these "weight-reducing" pills that claim you don't have to change your daily habits work, why are there still so many fat people waddling around?

8. Does an apple a day really keep the Doctor away? Away from what? They haven't made house calls for ages.

9. If the saying, "Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long you'll have good luck is true," then why did I hurt my back when I bent over?

10. Why do indentions stay on your legs for hours after you've removed your socks?

11. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

12. If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

Monday, April 13, 2009

It Wasn't such A GOOD FRIDAY in TN

As I sat on Good Friday and watched the weather reports which pre-empted all regular programming on local network channels, and worried about the tornado watches and warnings, I relived the fear of not so long ago huddling in a closet, listening to what sounded like a freight train roaring by. Luckily, our family and home remained unscathed while homes less than 1/4 mile away were destroyed. The picture I've shown here was borrowed from a TN new's site and was taken on Friday after a series of twisters touched down in Murphreesboro.

My joy, while watching radar and seeing the bad weather skirt by our town was soured by the report of lives lost elsewhere. I was particularly saddened to learn that the two casualties were a new mother and her nine-week-old daughter. It somehow struck me as terribly unfair that a woman who waited for nine months to bring a precious little girl into the world should have such a short time to enjoy being a parent. People always say things happen for a reason, but it's things like this that make me wonder what possible reason would suffice. I guess we'll never know.

Today, I wanted to pay special tribute to Baby Olivia, pictured here. Her time on earth was short, and perhaps heaven was missing an angel. There is little one can say to add comfort to the heart of a husband missing his family, but I pray that he'll find peace of mind and the will to carry on. Somehow saying his wife and child are in a better place just doesn't seem comforting in this case.


Here is the report from WKRN News in Nashville about what happened. After you read this, hold someone you love close and tell them how much they mean to you.

MURFRESBORO, Tenn. - A mother and her nine-week-old daughter were killed Friday afternoon when a tornado destroyed their home.

Murfreesboro police said the woman, indentified as Kori Bryant and the baby were inside the home on Sulpher Springs Road.

The Bryant family home was completely ripped off its foundation and scattered all over the street.

Friends said Kori and husband John Bryant were madly in love and thrilled with their newfound jobs as parents.

"She was more than excited about being a mom," said co-worker Terry Womack. "I think it was a life-long dream for her."

Womack has worked with Kori for the last seven years at the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department.

She said Kori was always smiling, "very bubbly, energetic, would light up a room."

Lanny Goodwin is the director of the department and also knew Kori very well.

"She was really happy about coming back to work. She'd been out on maternity leave and had come into the office Thursday to pick up her schedule. She was going to start back on Monday," she said.

Womack said Kori and Olivia were at home Friday afternoon.

She said when the weather turned severe, Kori called John, who was working at a job site as a contractor.

Womack said John decided to come home but he never made it inside the house. The tornado hit as he was getting out of his car.

"It blew the baby, it blew Kori and it blew John," Womack said.

Neighbors said they found Kori in the middle of the road, covered in debris.

Baby Olivia was strapped to a car seat, which had blown all the way into a tree.

Womack has known John Bryant since he was four years old.

"I think he knows his family is gone, but hasn't quite grasped it, because he's in so much pain," she said.

Womack said she has been to visit John in the hospital. He has a punctured lung and a broken back.

Friends and family have set up a memorial fund at Bank of America for the Bryant's.

Chuck Mullins worked with John and said their family needs the help now more than ever..

"His business is totally gone. They have several funerals to plan and taking care of John, he's in pretty bad shape," he said.

To donate to the Bryant Memorial Fund, visit any Bank of America location.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

While Easter is recognized by Christians all over the world as the day that Christ rose from the dead, I often wondered how the Easter Bunny and colored eggs tied into the celebration. Many of our holidays, it seems have somehow mixed with pagan beliefs and today is a good example.

Easter coincides with the arrival of spring, a time when nature typically awakens from winter and comes back to life. At the same time, we enjoy more daylight. Easter is named for a Saxon goddess, Eastre, who by chance, is also a goddess of fertility. The rabbit, because of its rapid reproduction, is considered her sacred animal.

Eggs, too are a symbol of fertility, and dyed eggs are given in many other cultures as gifts symbolizing hope for prosperity in the coming years. The hunting of eggs is believed to have originated in Europe during the rise of Christianity. Rather than present the eggs as gifts, adults hid and encouraged the children to find them. I never knew there was so much about Easter Eggs on the Web. Check out this link for Wikipedia and be prepared to be amazed.

So, even though some believe the addition of Chocolate rabbits, colored eggs, and candies in various shapes and sizes contribute only to the commercial aspect of the holiday, in truth, if you tie them all together as they are on this day, no matter your belief, we all have something to celebrate--Light, life, birth, rebirth, nature and renewal. So...regardless of what you choose to celebrate...Happy Easter My Friends.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Simperings

On Wednesday, April 15th, Tax Day, Tea parties are being held across the nation. This map shows the number orchestrated as of last week, I'm sure the numbers have grown.

I never expected to become a sign-toting attendant, but I'll be in Nashville on that day, letting the government know that I've had enough. I'm going to stand up and be counted as someone who unburied my head, took notice, and did something positive. I can't say anything will come of it, but I do know that the more people who take part, the more attention we can garner.

President Obama promised change and hope, but the changes he's making are not promising positive outcomes for us or our children and grandchildren. In my opinion, he's shamed us before the world by apologizing for us without even knowing our own personal feelings. I've never been dismissive, derisive, or arrogant about others living anywhere, and I resent his implication that I have. How about you?

I've had enough of his inability to present himself as an educated and knowing leader of our country. As someone recently said...this is the USA, not an OBAMA-nation. Those who lead America should not bow down to Saudi Arabian kings, nor should they insult leaders of other nations which ridiculous gifts. When the people of your own country are suffering, worried, and killing one another because they've reached the end of their ropes, you don't point fingers on your predecessor, nor do you hand out billions to Pakistan, Mexico, or the Palestinians. You take care of your own first, then do what you can for the rest. Am I wrong? Someone must agree because "Charity begins at home," has been a saying for as long as I've been alive.

As to the bow...I borrowed this from "Atlas Shrugs" a blog I follow. It's really eye-opening, and scary at the same time.

The bow wasn't a "mistake". If it had been merely protocol, he would have bowed to the Queen of a country that is our staunchest ally. Instead, he bowed to the Muslim king of the most violent, misogynistic strain of Islam. That's no accident.

Obama was born a Muslim. Period. His father was a Muslim, and according to Islamic law, if your daddy is a Muslim, you are a Muslim. He claims to have converted to Christianity, but there is no record. No baptism - he admits to that. He joined a Nation of Islam-inspired church of black liberation theology.


Ladies and Gents...this has nothing to do with color, but everything about Islamic power seeping into our nation and their dastardly habits being overlooked because they are protected by sharia law. Just google how many incidents take place in the United States everyday and you'll be appalled. Children are tortured, women are maimed...take into the account the recent beheading of a woman by her husband over her wanting a divorce. It's not so much that he DID it, but the he considered he was ENTITLED to DO it. Is this what we want for our country? Not me. Women fought too hard and too long for equal rights in this country to ignore these atrocities.

I've always been of a mind there is little one person can do, but Tea Parties give us a voice louder than just our own. So, I've decided the sign I'll carry will say, "Obama promised HOPE and CHANGE, but I didn't expect I'd be HOPING to find enough spare CHANGE in my purse to buy food."

Yes, my husband is being laid off along with the millions already unemployed. My son lost his job too, but by the grace of God, found another. For some it isn't that easy. My sister has been searching, and willing to take pretty much anything that she can physically do, since October--nothing found! The fact that 170 people showed up to apply for a janitorial job here in TN is a sad forecast of our future. Now he's bringing troops home to flounder in this sea of lost jobs and cutting their lifelines in the process.

I don't blame the President alone. Congress if filled with people who are in the pockets of special interest groups. They've become greedy and need to be replaced. The pork in the Omnibus bill didn't just walk in and jump on the pages...they were purposely placed there so someone in Congress could fatten their own wallet. It's time to get out the broom and clean house. These people have made this a career for long enough. There's a mandatory retirement age for most jobs...why not for those in government who have become old and ineffectual? Check out the records of some of these political warhorses and be amazed at how long they've been around. When you point at the current administration...make it a wide sweep.

So, yes, I'm encouraging you to find a Tea Party in your area and let yourself be counted as those who find our current situation appalling. It isn't going to improve anytime soon unless we do something, and do it NOW! Tea anyone???

Fridays Fiction Postponed

I apologize for not continuing our journey through the endless sea of rules and regulations set upon authors by editorial and publishing preferences, but yesterday was a scary day of tornado watches and warnings, along with thunder and lightning which made using the computer a little too risky.

Luckily, this time our area didn't take the hit, but sadly, a tornado(s) did touch down in Murphreesboro, not all that far from here. The twister did massive damage and took some precious lives. Among those lost, a new mother and her nine-week-old baby girl. For some reason, when children are involved, it tugs more at my heartstrings. My prayers are with those lost and those who lost them.

Baring bad weather or anything other obstacles, next Friday I'll explore more writing "faux pas" and "must do's" so I hope you'll join me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Sexy, Nasty Erotica with a Touch of Magic Realism


The Golden Hour
By Eliza Crowe

eBook ISBN: 978-1-926647- 68-5
Print ISBN: 978-1-926647- 76-0 (coming soon)

Publication date: April 2009
Publisher: Eternal Press
Length: Novella 97 pages
Heat level: Rated 3 flames

The Golden Hour is an erotica, but not really a romance. Instead, it is an exploration of how sex defines us, particularly in those first years of sexual burgeoning, when it is intoxicating and empowering. It is also a reminiscence. First loves never really go away. Let just get relegated to dreams…or nightmares.

Setting the scene: Malek and Sarah had a passionate and destructive relationship. When they broke up, they promised to meet twenty years later in that exact hour at their favorite restaurant in Nice. Each chapter begins with Sarah waiting for Malek to show up for their date. She imagines all different scenarios for their reunion.

The first of such imaginings is pure romance and is posted on my site at www.elizacrowe.com

This is Sarah’s second imagining of her impending reunion with Malek. It's not quite so rosy.

Excerpt:

August 31, 2025, 5:00pm

Sarah orders another glass of wine. The waiter believes she has been stood up, but she decides to wait a little longer. She thinks about the waiter that was here twenty years ago. He was an old man then, most likely dead now.

Malek might be dead too. She followed his career for a few years but lost track of him after a while. Perhaps he was killed while covering a war. Maybe cancer got him. The thought comforts her. She can go home alone, having kept up her end of the bargain.
She won’t have to risk his rejection again or tell him her terrible secret.

And she won’t feel her gut lurch when he looks in her eyes.

I’m too old for these games.

She pulls a compact mirror out of her bag and checks her makeup. She smiles briefly at herself, looking for lipstick on her teeth.

Not bad. Mature. No, levelheaded, but still pretty.

Not long after, she hears his footsteps on the cobbled street but can scarcely believe they are his. Instead of his loose dancer-like gait, she hears a shuffling clop as if he can’t put his full weight down on one leg.

Sarah watches him approach. He’s a caricature of his former self. His upper lip is swollen and puckered with scars. His hair is cut short and when he takes off the hat--as if wanting Sarah to confront the enormity of his disfigurement--she sees bald patches where his hair has been torn out by the roots. His eyes have no eyelashes. He’s missing an arm.

“Jerusalem,” he says as if it’s a question he has answered many times before. Twenty-eighteen, she thinks. That’s about the last time Sarah remembers his byline appearing in Atlas Magazine.

She doesn’t know what to say. Illness upsets her. She still can’t bring herself to tell people that her husband died with his face in a bowl of pasta. Some things should just not happen.

This should not have happened. She thinks about the vibrant man she knew and can hardly reconcile him to the monster in front of her. He reminds her of an early digital image, when the technology was still young and gross pixelization distorted photos.

“Not what you were expecting, is it?”

“No,” she admits. So many times she played out this reunion in her head. Not once had she imagined this.

“You have a son,” she blurts, not knowing what else to say.

He smiles at her. He's missing several teeth.

Watch the trailer and read another excerpt at Blazing Trailers.

Leave a comment to this post to be entered to win "The Golden Hour" ebook! Winners will be chosen 9pm EST, Friday April 10th, 2009.

How do you extinguish a sentient forest fire? And should you?


Caul Shroud and Veil
By Kim McDougall

Book I of the FireRaisers Trilogy


ISBN-10: 1-55404-635-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-55404-635-5
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 369 pages
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing

Canaan, a broken god, and Maia, a young FireRaiser, face the horrors behind a sentient forest fire razing the continent of Gnoss. Gnoss' divine king, Alred, is too wrapped up in his own fears to believe that his kingdom is truly threatened by a power greater than his own. These three characters collide in a battle of wills. Each is dependent on the other. Each believes he is alone to battle the demons that come from inside as well as those hiding in the darkest forests.

———
Excerpt:

I have said it before, and I’ll repeat it again, for those who chose not to hear. Prophecies are meaningless. Though a prophet’s words may conceal a grain of truth, only the gods have true sight. Man’s limited faculties twist the prophecy, submitting it to emotion and bias until it could mean anything or nothing.

That said, there are some prophecies, those which come from Ohd’s own breath, that even the gods must heed.
Lectures from a God: Canaan FireRaiser


I fell in love with Maia the moment she turned her true eyes on me, eyes that knew me not as a beggar, but as a god. I had delighted in the spark of her laughter and the rumble of her loosened anger for many years already. Had I only kept track of her for Ohd’s purpose, or a bit of my own as well? Had it been necessary to invade her most private moments? To see her caress fire like a lover? To watch her lust after the mythical Demonbane?

When I say in that moment, I loved her—at least as much as a creature several eons old can love—it was with that kind of love which could turn traitor or champion.

I had easily spied her in the crowd. Her red hair blazed like lava around her shoulders, a flame among the ashes of a civilization. As I grabbed her, I realized I had been aching to do so. My hand covered her mouth and I imagined I could feel her lips through my steel bands. When she struggled, her hair beat against me like the wings of a thousand fireflies. By the time I had secured her hands, her struggles had left me weak with desire, and loathing. My old, broken body felt young again. Young and hot, and I despised her for it.

When she agreed not to scream—and how I ached to hear her scream—I let her go.

“Would you believe me if I told you that I was older than Gnoss?” I asked.

Maia nodded slowly. Her gaze was wide and fixed on my own. She was afraid, but drawn to me like a moth to a candle. She would not run away.

“There is a prophecy,” I continued urgently, as if we might be interrupted before I could finish. “Your mother knew of it. It is her family’s legacy.

“There will come a time of war when the Son of Gnoss will make the wrong choices, and send his people into a spiral of starvation and poverty. The wind in the trees sings that only the love of a woman can sway his choices and lead him down the right path.”

I took her fine pink hands in my own ragged one. She flinched slightly, expecting my fingers to burn her, but I willed my touch to be a caress instead. The only heat she felt was that of my false sincerity.

“That time is now, Maia, and you are that woman.”

Had I been mortal, I would have held my breath. Would she believe? Would she see through my half truths and doubts? Was she still young and mutable enough to trust in the power of prophecies?

She tried to back away from me, but I held on tighter.

“You see fire, don’t you?” I asked. “You see flames around people’s heads. Those are veil flames, the breath of Ohd in each of us. You see them because you are a FireRaiser.”

Maia shook her head.

“No, no, no!” She denied her sight or the existence of the flames or even this whole conversation.

“Listen to that,” I said. We could hear the mob busy with their lynching in the distance. “Someone must stop that madness. All over the world people like yourself, who don’t believe in the mechanism of modern thought, are organizing to rise against the reigning governments. You can be part of that. You are part of that.”

“Against the government. You mean my father?” she asked.

“I mean all governors, even the Glory…”

“The Glory!”

Now she really did back away from me, pulling her hands out of my grasp. I spoke faster, hoping to sway her before learned convictions shut her mind from the truth.

“The Glory is just a man. Only Ohd holds the key to our future. Only Ohd can grant forgiveness.”

Her eyes blazed at me in anger.

“You speak in lies,” she said, “but it doesn’t matter. I have no part in it.”

“But you do, Maia.” I played my trump card. “Your mother would have wanted it so.”

“I don’t believe you!” She pushed past me. “My mother was not demonborn! You are the demon!”

“Maia, please listen.” I grabbed at her again, but our previous struggle had left me weak and she ran down the street away from my grasp and my influence, already forgetting my existence.

I watched her wind through the crowd, her red head bobbing like a candle flame in a drafty room. I would go to her again and again, each time breaking down her defenses until finally she accepted and remembered me. Only then could she come into the Circle of Five.


Watch the trailer and read another excerpt at Blazing Trailers.


Leave a comment for this post and be entered to win "Caul Shroud and Veil" in ebook. Winners will be chosen 9pm EST, Friday April 10th, 2009.

Evil Step-parents Beware: Your 15 minutes of Fame are Over!


I know good step-parents exist. I’m one of them. I have always had fun with my stepsons. I never tried to replace their mother. They talk to me about stuff. When we are together, we’re a family.

With divorce rates what they are, many children face the prospect of dealing with a new parent in their lives. So why do movie-makers and story-tellers try to freak them out with stories about evil step-moms or over-bearing parents? It seems you can’t turn on an afternoon special without running to one of these three themes:

There’s the bad step-parent theme, the football player who want to be a singer and feels pressured by his father the coach (this one comes in many variations), and of course, the absentee father who works too much to spend time with his family.

The Snow-White retellings really started to bother me, when I watched them with my young stepsons. They left me feeling guilty, like I should apologize to the boys for something I hadn’t even done. My husband works long hours, and doesn’t always spend as much time with our daughter as any of us would like, but does that mean he’s a bad parent? We have a family to feed, clothe and send to horse-camp. I don’t think he deserves to be vilified by yet another Disney movie.

I’m not saying there aren’t bad step-parents out there. There are bad people in every human role imaginable. But it seems to me that there are very few themes in mainstream children’s and YA fiction. Yes, it’s important to teach kids to express their emotions and some kids do face such obstacles. But I’m bored with these limited themes, and I suspect kids are too. Why can’t we have a story about a good step-mother? Or a father who goes to a high stress job, takes night classes, and still finds time for an afternoon of baseball with his son?

Perhaps these stories are not exciting enough for cable TV or mass paperback. Still, I think they should have a place in children’s fiction. These thoughts were on my mind when I wrote "A Talent for Quiet." Here’s a review by Susan Stephenson of the Book Chook:


I've reviewed Kim Chatel's books before, and was eager to get my hands on her latest, A Talent for Quiet, (Guardian Angel Publishing.) What a truly lovely book!

While I would classify A Talent For Quiet as a picture book, it's not for the under 6's. I think kids from 6-12 would enjoy it. I know that sounds like a big range for a picture book, but stay with me on this.

Chatel is not just an excellent and versatile writer, she's a creative artist too. Her photography provides the illustrations for the book, and in back, there's a guide to encourage kids to develop their own camera skills. Of course it's not a definitive guide, there isn't the space. But these tips from an experienced photographer help kids get the most out of what may well become a fascinating hobby. Thus the book does double duty as a story to enjoy, and a resource for budding photographers.

The story is about Reanie. Reanie isn't one of those in-your-face, bounce-a-ball, exuberant kids. She's quiet, shy, and not too sure how she feels about her new step-father, Bill. When Bill takes Reanie on a photo safari one morning, he asks her if she can be quiet enough not to scare birds away. While Reanie doubts her own abilities, she's pretty sure she has a talent for quiet. And so she does. Reanie leads the reader along the river's edge, spying geese, frogs, crawfish and the elusive grey heron, while exploring her new-found talent.

A Talent For Quiet isn't a noisy, in your face book. It's a gentle story about a very real child coming to terms with her new life. If you have a quiet child, you'll certainly appreciate the message I perceived: noisy or quiet, we all have talents, and they can be found in unexpected places. If your son or daughter is looking for a hobby, this book could be a great introduction to the wonderful world of photography. If you're looking for a story that explores real relationships, and the caring dynamic between a step-parent and a child, seek this one out.

To me, the book is a celebration of natural beauty, and the art form that captures it with a camera. Chatel's writing is skilled, understated, and expertly leads the reader on a special journey - toward the discovery of a unique talent, in a quiet place.


You can read more about “A Talent for Quiet” in Chatel Village. Share it with a shy child in your life.

Watch the trailer a Blazing Trailers.

Leave a comment for this post and be entered to win "A Talent for Quiet" ebook. Winners will be chosen 9pm EST, Friday April 10th, 2009.

Good Morning from Kim McDougall


Hi everyone!

Ginger was kind enough to let me mooch off her blog today. I thought I'd introduce myself before I make a few posts.

I'm an author, fiber artist and photographer. I write children's and YA fiction under my married name, Kim Chatel. My evil twin, Kim McDougall, writes dark (sometimes erotic) fantasy fiction. I have two separate websites so that I don't mix these genres up. That would be bad.

I recently took up a third pen name, Eliza Crowe for my erotic magic-realism novel, The Golden Hour. Not to confuse everyone, my legal name is Kim McDougall. You can call me Kim. Or Hey You. : ) I'm originally from Montreal, Canada, but I now live in Pennsylvania with DH, one daughter and several critters.

I have several titles that I’d like to share with you today. I brand my style as Between the Cracks Fiction. If you’d like to know why visit BTC 101 on my site at www.kimmcdougall.com

My children's site Chatel Village has the cutest homepage on the web. Every week, I add new recipes, craft ideas and book reviews.

Finally, I make book trailers. Lots and lots of book trailers. I founded Blazing Trailers to showcase this unique new promotional tool. We now have over 300 trailers listed and growing every day. Check it out at www.blazingtrailers.com

I'm going to share some excerpts from my three new releases, one under each name. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. I'd love to hear from you, so if you stop by, please leave a comment.

Leave a comment on any of my posts and you'll be entered to win one of my books! Winners will be chosen 9pm EST, Friday April 10th, 2009.

Thursday's Tourist

Today, I'm rolling out the red carpet for my guest, Kim McDougall. I know she'll entertain you, because I consider her somewhat of a creative genius. She's somewhat of a split personality. *lol* Welcome Kim, and enjoy your stay at Dishin' It Out.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday's Wisdom



My friend Val emailed me this joke, and included this warning: "OK, make sure you aren't drinking anything while you read this!" I'd seen it before but it still made me laugh until I cried. Nothing wrong with laughter in the world. We need more of it. A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Tazer for their anniversary
submitted this:


Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse- sized tazer. The effects of the tazer were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety....?? WAY TOO COOL!

Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing!
I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button and pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. AWESOME!!!

Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave. Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, right? There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it... She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and tazer in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.

All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and (loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries) thinking to myself, 'no possible way!' What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best.. .? I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, 'don't do it dipshit,' reasoning that a one second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad.

I decided to give myself a one second burst just for heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and .... HOLY MOTHER OF GOD . . WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION . . WHAT THE HELL!!! I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs? The cat was making meowing sounds I had never heard before, clinging to a picture frame hanging above the fireplace, obviously in an attempt to avoid getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room.

Note: If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a tazer, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself! You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor.. A three second burst would be considered conservative? IT HURT LIKE HELL!!! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. M y bent reading glasses were on the
mantel of the fireplace. The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it originally was. My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I had no control over the drooling. Apparently I pooped on myself, but was too numb to know for sure and my sense of smell was gone. I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head which I believe came from my hair. I'm still looking for my nuts and I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return!

Kudos to the person who created this hilarious piece. I'd thank you personally if I knew your name...and I hope you found those missing treasures. *lol*

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday's Tooting


I grew tired of trivia. Too much work for not much participation, so I've decided to devote Tuesdays to something else. Actually, whatever comes to mind for me. Today, I'm going to share my interview that was published on All Romance Ebooks. It wasn't very well publicized, since I couldn't even find it until tonight, so without further ado...more about ME, courtesy of Julie from All Romance: Make sure to scroll down to the bottom to see what else I'm undertaking. *lol*

Julie: How long have you been writing? What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create characters that capture the imagination?

Ginger: I think I've written most of my life. I even took delight in English class when we focused on writing business letters. J I've always been the person in the office who people called on to create silly poems and write scripts for plays, and after years of reading every historical novel I could find with "savage" in the title, I decided to write my own. So, in 2002, I sat down at the computer, cracked my knuckles and started Prairie Peace.

Julie: What influenced you to get published? How long did it take for your first book to get published?

Ginger: Once I finished Prairie Peace, the next obvious step was trying to find someone to publish it. Knowing I didn't have an agent to try to get a foot in bigger doors, I started querying Internet publishers. I was lucky. My first query resulted in an acceptance. It took less than two months. Oh, if only it was so easy today. All those people who were 'readers' when I started, now have their own books published. The arena is getting crowded.

Julie: What makes your characters so vulnerable yet strong? Can you describe them to us? What do you do when characters stop talking to you when writing?

Ginger: My characters are vulnerable because I am, and they're strong because I give them the power I wish I possessed. I think somewhere you'll find a trace of every author in their characters. I never worry when my characters stop talking. I have so many of them roaming around in my head, one is always screaming for my attention. The question for me: how do I make them shut up? I already have so many projects started, the last thing I need is another hero or heroine showing up with yet another great idea.

Julie: What about the heroines for these determined heroes? What makes them strong enough capture the heroes' heart?

Ginger: Unless someone is a 'pantser' rather than a 'plotter,' my answer probably won't make much sense. I'm just own the fingers who do the typing. Writing a book is like telling myself a story. I can't wait to see how it plays out. When a character comes to me, they already have a hero or heroine in tow, totally devoted to them and ready to capture the heart of the readers. Oh, I have to add a word here or there, but mainly, it's my characters who unveil the essence of the story to me.

Julie: When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?

Ginger: Of course. Every book is a labor of love. Mother's everywhere understand. Debuting a newly-released book is like taking your baby out in public. You certainly never want anyone to chuck the child's cheek and tell you how ugly it is. *lol*

Julie: Who are you favorite authors to read?

Ginger: Like everyone else, I appreciate a ton of mainstream authors, but this year, I'm devoting my attention solely to my e-pubbed peers. Mainstream authors have so many avenues of promotion open to them, they don't need my help. My fav list grows everyday, but I'll mention some of my very favorites: Anita Davison, Ciara Gold, Phyllis Cummings, Margaret Tanner, Tricia McGill, Jaydyn Chelcee…the list just continues on and on. If only everyone knew the wealth of talent they are missing by not checking the Internet.

Julie: What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?

Ginger: As I mentioned above, I'm purely a 'pantser.' I've tried plotting and it doesn't work for me, because my characters tell the story, not me.

Julie: What do you feel is the most important thing that first-time authors should know?

Ginger: Grow a tough skin. The industry is growing in leaps and bounds, and even publishing on the Internet level has become competitive and harder to achieve. The saying that best fits is, "If you can't stand the heat, then stay out of the kitchen." As much as you want everyone to love your work and tell you how wonderful you are, you're bound to find someone who will find fault. The secret is gleaning helpful hints from the negative and turning them into positive.

Julie: What's next for you?

Ginger: Finishing any ONE of the projects I have going. After the re-release of Sisters in Time by Eternal Press in July, I'm going to be dead in the water unless I get my butt in gear.

Julie: What are you working on now?

Ginger: I currently am dividing my time between First Degree Innocence, The Locket, Odessa, Shortcomings, and all the other tasks that come with being an author.

Julie: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Ginger: I'm very proud of my accomplishments, but I've always wanted to climb just one step higher in whatever I did in life. When I started this, I set goals for myself, and the final is seeing at least ONE book published by a company that places them in an actual brick and mortar store. It's never been the amount money for me, and I'm glad because I would have been sorely disappointed. I just want to be able to tell my friends they can waltz into Walmart or Borders and find my book.

Julie: What books are currently on your nightstand?

Ginger: It's very hard to find time to read anything these days outside my critique group. When I do read, it's only internet books, so there is nothing on my nightstand except a lamp, my white noise machine and a little dust. I keep hoping for a Kindle2, but I just don't see it happening until they fall into the same price range as a McDonald's Happy Meal. *lol*


After taking an early retirement, Ginger lives in Tennessee with her husband Kelly. When she's not quelling the screams of the characters in her head, she's babysitting her 6-year-old grandson, Spencer. He suffers from autism, and the true goal she wants to achieve in life is seeing him mainstream into an independent, happy and healthy young man. Writing is her passion, but Spencer is her life./span>

Backlist:
Prairie Peace, Eternal Press
White Heart, Lakota Spirit, Wings Press
Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Clean Them, Publish America
Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Feel Flush, Publish America
Beside Myself, Writer's Exchange
Embezzled Love, LBF Books
Paging Dr. Jones, Eternal Press
Chastity's Charms, Eternal Press
Forever Faith, Eternal Press
Amazing Grace, Eternal Press
Sparta Rose, Eternal Press
Sarah's Journey, Eternal Press

Coming soon:
Hope Springs Eternal, Eternal Press
Sisters in Time, Eternal Press

Just a little note: Hope Springs Eternal is releasing today from Eternal Press. I hope you'll join me at The EP Reader's Group for the all-day launch party. Woo Hoo! My Stages of Love Series is now complete and available in download at EP and print at Amazon.com

Oh...and in my spare time, I'm practicing some of the tricks shown in the following video...make sure to watch past the first 45 seconds...there's so much more going on. :) I'm trying to get my leg...ouch...ugh... oh never mind.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Okay, So I Lied


My April fools day wasn't nearly as exciting as my post reported it to be. Actually, I spent a few hours in the emergency room because I had a nose bleed that wouldn't stop. You see, I've just started taking blood thinners...and...well, you get the picture. As you see by the fact that I'm here typing...I didn't bleed out. *smile*

Later in the day, Spencer, my sis and I were visiting our new neighbors, when Kelly came home with the groceries. I thought it might be nice to come put them away, since he did the shopping, but I did ask him to go back next door and keep an eye on Spencer. I had no idea Kelly would get lured into a race between himself and two little boys. What you see is the result of someone who runs without stretching...especially when they are old and out of shape. After two days of being unable to walk and almost becoming the target of gunfire to cease his incessant moaning and groaning, I saw this and felt really, really guilty for not being more compassionate. In case you can't tell, these are the backs of his legs. I'm ashamed to admit his are more shapely and less hairy than mine. *lol*

Tip of the day. Don't run!

Monday Mania

Received via email:

SHERIFF JOE IS AT IT AGAIN!
You all remember Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona , who painted the jail cells pink and made the inmates wear pink prison garb.. Well.........

Maricopa County was spending approx. $18 million dollars a year on stray animals, like cats and dogs. Sheriff Joe offered to take the department over, and the County Supervisors said okay.

The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. They feed and care for the strays.. Every animal in his care is taken out and walked twice daily. He now has prisoners who are experts in animal nutrition and behavior. They give great classes for anyone who'd like to adopt an animal. He has literally taken stray dogs off the street, given them to the care of prisoners, and had them place in dog shows.

THIS CAVEAT FROM SNOPES.COM:
Although Sheriff Joe Arpaio did not (as implied above) take over the operations of the entire Maricopa County Animal Care & Control (MCACC) department, he was instrumental in the opening of the Maricopa Animal Safe Hospice (MASH), a no-kill animal shelter operated by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) in what was formerly Phoenix's First Avenue Jail. The MASH is a facility dedicated to caring for rescued animals that have been abused or neglected (as well as temporarily caring for the pets of owners who have checked into domestic violence shelters):
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's no-kill animal shelter, MASH, was created to house and care for animals that have been abused or neglected by their caretakers and rescued by the Animal Cruelty Investigative Unit. The purpose of the shelter is to provide a safe, healthy and healing shelter for these tragic animals, who must necessarily await the outcome of their owners' cruelty cases in court. Hopefully, their ultimate outcome will be adoption into loving, permanent homes.

The first shelter opened by Sheriff Arpaio is in the First Avenue Jail, located at First Avenue and Madison Street, Phoenix, Arizona. This 30-year-old jail previously held inmates, but was closed for repairs to plumbing in December 1999. Though no longer suitable for housing inmates, the jail looks like paradise to the four-footed victims now housed and recovering there.

The MASH location in the First Avenue Jail is air-conditioned, and the cells have been reconditioned to comfortably house animals.


The best part? His budget for the entire department is now under $3 million. The prisoners get the benefit of about $0.28 an hour for working, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day.. Most of his budget is for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals.

Sheriff A runs a huge farm, donated to the county years ago, where inmates can work, and grow most of their own fresh vegetables and food, doing all the work and harvesting by hand.

He has a pretty good sized hog farm, which provides meat, and fertilizer. It fertilizes the Christmas tree nursery, where prisoners work, and you can buy a living Christmas tree for $6 - $8 for the Holidays, and plant it later.

Yup, he was reelected last year with 83% of the vote. Now he's in trouble with the ACLU again. He painted all his buses and vehicles with a mural, that has a special hotline phone number painted on it, where you can call and report suspected illegal aliens. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wasn't doing enough in his eyes, so he had 40 deputies trained specifically for enforcing immigration laws, started up his hotline, and bought 4 new buses just for hauling folks back to the border. He's kind of a 'Git-R Dun' kind of Sheriff.

If you're not familiar with Joe Arpaio, he's the Maricopa Arizona County Sheriff, and he keeps getting elected over and over. At least some voters have good sense.

Sheriff Joe created the 'Tent City Jail':
He has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them..

He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails. Took away their weights Cut off all but 'G' movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.

Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was A Federal court order that required Cable TV for jails so he hooked up the cable again, only letting in the Disney and Weather channels.

When asked why the weather channel He Replied, "So they will know how hot it's gonna be while they're working on my chain gangs."

He no longer serves coffee since it has zero nutritional value.

When the inmates complained, he told them, "this isn't the Ritz/Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back."

Joe Arpaio is not one bit sympathetic. He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates, "It's 120 degrees in Iraq, and our soldiers are living in tents and have to wear full battle gear. They didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths!"

Way To Go, Sheriff!

Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished - not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

Long live pink boxers and tent cities! Thanks to the originator of this message whoever you are. Most interesting!

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