Friday, June 29, 2012

Who Knew?

Hubby and I were lamenting the fact that we basically have no social life.  Back in California, we had lots of friends, but since moving to TN, it seems folks are so involved with family of their own, it's been hard to strike up new relationships.  Lately, we rely on ourselves for company, and quite frankly, I think we're getting sick of one another.  *lol*  Then, all of a sudden came a commercial.  Who knew?  We're driving the wrong car.  If only we'd purchased the Toyota Venza instead of a Kia, we'd be partying every night until sunrise...more popular than we'd every dreamed possible.

Yep...there's a lot you can learn from just watching TV.  I've not been feeling well lately, so I've abandoned my creativity for writing and spend much more time in my recliner, staring at the boob tube.  Now I know how it got that nickname.  If I believed a fraction of what is promised by manufacturers, my life might be so different.  I could be much more active, thin, attractive, popular, and maybe an even a better known author.   Maybe I should write a novel on this topic.  Whadda ya think?

If I just wore a Kotex Tampon every month, I could swim, play tennis, and go dancing in a snow white dress.  Sadly, I'm post-menopausal, so it seems a rather ridiculous expense to try it at this stage of my life.  Who would've guessed a simple cotton insert could let me enjoy so much that I've missed out on?

You know, I have worn a white dress, maybe even danced in one, but I only played Tennis in high school because they made me, and the same goes for swimming.  I wasn't very good at either, but seems I could have been had I only known the secret.  Shoot!

Here's another mistake I made: All these years, I've been eating Cheerios for heart health, and although it seems to have worked, I've gained weight.  If I'd only been eating Special K instead, I could shed these "mom" jeans and look stellar.  Still, I can't help wondering how that slender woman's heart is doing...missing out on her Cheerios and all.  At this stage, living longer is better than reviving my dream of being a runway model, so I guess I'll stay with my favorite cereal and try some of that stuff they advertise is guaranteed to peel off the pounds if you just shake it onto anything you eat.  I think it's called Sensa.  What a miracle.  Sensa on an Ice Cream Sundae, and no worry.

Do I see a pattern developing...Venza, Menses and Sensa?  Oh, it's probably just my imagination.  I'm amazed how important having one is now that reality TV has become all the rage.  I have made a very important decision though because of my new status as a "boob."  After watching Jerseylicious, Jersey Shores, Housewives of New Jersey, Glam Fairy, Cake Boss, and a few others filmed there...I will avoid living there like the plague. No wonder they are so in love Chris Christy.  He appears to be the only one there with common sense.

Who thought of reality TV?  Clearly everything is scripted, and poorly, in most cases.  And people thought soap operas were dumb.  On Survivor, someone is starving or being eaten alive by mosquitoes, and the cameraman can't hand them a sandwich or a can of Off?   Some how that doesn't smack of reality to me.






Thursday, June 28, 2012

quotes about writing


 “If you have a story that seems worth telling, and you think you can tell it worthily, then the thing for you to do is to tell it, regardless of whether it has to do with sex, sailors or mounted policemen.” —Dashiell Hammett, June 1924
“The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again.”
—Eudora Welty, February 1970
“You yearn to turn out a book-length, your typewriter is silently shrieking abuse, you are itching to go. First read! Read the work of top-notch writers in your field. They know how! Read first for entertainment, then reread for analysis. Soak yourself in their stuff—for atmosphere, color, technique.”
—Fred East, June 1944
“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.” —Lawrence Block, June 1981
“The trap into which all writers have, will, or should fall into, of writing The Great American Watchamacallit, is such an uncluttered and inviting one that from time to time I’m sure even the greatest have to pull themselves up short by the Shift key to remind themselves that it is story first that they should write.”
—Harlan Ellison, January 1963
“It’s like making a movie: All sorts of accidental things will happen after you’ve set up the cameras. So you get lucky. Something will happen at the edge of the set and perhaps you start to go with that; you get some footage of that. You come into it accidentally. You set the story in motion and as you’re watching this thing begin, all these opportunities will show up. So, in order to exploit one thing or another, you may have to do research. You may have to find out more about Chinese immigrants, or you may have to find out about Halley’s Comet, or whatever, where you didn’t realize that you were going to have Chinese or Halley’s Comet in the story. So you do research on that, and it implies more, and the deeper you get into the story, the more it implies, the more suggestions it makes on the plot. Toward the end, the ending becomes inevitable.” —Kurt Vonnegut, November 1985

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

There's More To Being An Author Than...

Talent!

I was told at the very beginning of my career that most people can tell a story, but far fewer can craft a novel.  Now that I've been "crafting" for nearly a dozen years, I've learned there's one element that's even harder to achieve...a tough skin.

Lately, since Kindle downloads have become so popular, and free, in a lot of cases, some pretty snarky and hurtful reviews are being posted.  When I see one of my peers lamenting the cruel and cutting words that have been posted about their release, my advice is always, "you have to be thick-skinned."  Easier said than done. 

Suppose you and your child were shopping and someone took one look at the fruit of your loins and started pointing and laughing.  What if that person made unnecessary and uncalled for cruel remarks about how your child looked so different from others, or had characteristics that made him/her stand out? How would you feel?

Well, I pose this question, because as authors, our books are the fruit of our labors.  We pour our hearts and souls into these works, creating within strict publishing guidelines, trying to confine the words inside the box popularity demands, all the while trying to create within our works of "fiction," the element of "non-fiction" that connects the readers with the story.  So, when someone attacks, our first instinct is to become defensive and fight back.  Since we can't confront the person face-to-face, that usually means we leave comments that undoubtedly make no difference at all to the person who felt the need to be hurtful.  Misery loves company, you know.

Bear in mind, speaking for myself and others, I'm sure, I appreciate constructive feedback, because that's how I learn to make my next novel better.  What I can't deal with is the nastiness and obvious need to be hurtful I've seen in so many reviews left for my friends.  I've been fortunate to only have a few.  Is it hard to walk away and not want to challenge the person?  You bet. 

My mother taught me, "if you can't say anything kind or helpful, then don't say anything at all."  If you must leave a poor review, at least recognize something good, because books wouldn't be published unless someone thought they had merit.  I've read tons of books I didn't personally enjoy, but tearing them apart on a public venue only makes me look like the idiot.  What I see as a mediocre book, someone else might consider their favorite read.  Taste's differ--one person's steak is bologna to another.

I've written this post today as a reminder to myself that no matter what an author writes, there is always going to be someone out there to find fault.   It's human nature when a person is unhappy to try and drag someone else down to that level. The only thing we can do as authors...refuse to acknowledge the BULLYS who cry out for attention by being unkind to others.  Yes, reviews posted without constructive criticism are just another form of bullying.  Rule number one:  Refuse to participate.  Yep...I'm pointing at myself.

SIX WAYS TO OUTSMART PROCRASTINATION


Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.

We all procrastinate. Whatever the task, whatever the excuse, the tips below will help you do today what most people put off to next month.

1. Ask yourself, What's the holdup? People procrastinate for many reasons. Some fear failure. Some avoid boring jobs. Others shy away from getting tangled in a complicated mess. Knowing the cause of the problem may open your eyes to an obvious solution.

2. Do you need to do it? Simple question, but it's a good one. Sometimes we put something off because it's not important. If you don't really need to do it, free yourself of the mental burden and drop the task from your to-do list.

3. Ask for help. There are times we all should ask for help. Why is it we like to help others, but find it so difficult to accept help?  If something needs to be finished – put your pride away – and ask for help.

4. Commit just five minutes. That's it--just 300 seconds. Telling yourself you only have to do something for a sliver of time does two things.
 
It transforms a big job into a tiny matter: Five minutes? I can do that. And because getting started is the hardest part, once your five minutes is up you'll often drive right on through to the finish.

5. Focus on the end. Thinking about how you'll feel when you've done whatever needs to be done may motivate you to make it happen.
  
6. Just do it. Quit stalling. Quit rationalizing. Stand up, walk to the danger zone, and get to work.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Creating Your Next-Up List




So what's a next-up list? It's the small actions or goals that are up next on your list of things to do and accomplish. Not a major dream or ambition, but something you can do within the next few days to improve the quality of your life.

With a pencil in hand and a pad of paper close by, write down your answers to the questions below. When finished, your next-up list will be ready to go!

Your Identity - 
What one small thing could you do to change or improve your character or personality? Would you like to be a bit more outgoing? Patient? Accepting? When you have it in mind, what step can you take within the next three to five days to put it into action?

Your Health - What one small thing could you do to change or improve your health? Is there particular food you should do without? An extra day of exercise you could throw in the routine? Perhaps you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor for a checkup? Write down your next-up health goal along with the action you'll take.

Your Career - What one small thing could you do to change or improve your career? Is there a project you'd love to get your hands on? Do you need to complete one that is already in the works? Whatever it is, write it down and match it with a specific action you can take within a few days to make it happen.

Your Finances - What one small thing could you do to change or improve your finances? Do you need to balance your checkbook? Schedule a meeting with a financial planner? Create or edit your monthly budget? When you've chosen the direction in which you want to head, write down the first step you'll take to put the plan into action.

Your Relationships - What one small thing could you do to change or improve your relationships? Is there a friend or family member you've been meaning to call but haven't? Someone close to you that needs more of your time and attention? A letter to write that would make someone's day? Add it to your goals and your next-up list is ready for action!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Sampler

Hi, and welcome to my second Sunday Sampler where you're invited to leave a sample of your work and buy link in the comments.  I hope you will.  All those Kindle owners are always looking for good reads.

I'm a bit late getting my post up today, but being retired and half-senile...the days run together and I forget where I am in the week.  *smile*

Anyhow...I'm happy to announce the release of Time Invested, a World War II novella, available on Amazon now.  Books We Love was gracious enough to re-publish this work, after it spent three non-eventful years on a very problematic site.  I really liked writing this story patterned after memories of my mother and father's courting days, and I'm proud of the end result.

Here's the blurb:

Previously published as Tender Return

Why won't Meagan Murphy's father allow her to date anyone in uniform? He must have reasons he hasn't shared, but contrary to Daddy's rules, Meg meets Ryan Cullen while volunteering at the USO and throws caution to the wind. Ryan only has a short time before his unit ships out, and Meagan intends to make the most of the time they have left together. His parting gift is a ring on her finger and a request that she wait for him to return. Will he make it home to ask permission for her hand. . .or are all those nightly radio newscasts about mounting casualties warning her to prepare for the worst?

First Scene:

Texas, March 1943

Meagan Murphy tapped her toe beneath the food-laden table despite the fact she’d been
hunched over it for hours, dishing out portions at the weekly USO dance. Preferring to find a partner and have a little fun, she methodically spooned mashed potatoes onto passing plates and eyed the “Jitterbuggers” on the floor.

“May I have some gravy please?” A deep voice drew her attention.

The eyes she looked into darkened, and his perfectly formed lips curved into a dimpled
smile. She cleared her throat and picked up the ladle. “Say when.”

“How about right after I polish off this chow.

“Excuse me?” She cocked a brow.

“You said, say when. I thought you were inviting me to dance.” He winked.

There was something about him—different from the other GIs. Flirting was a common
occurrence here, and she generally ignored it, but this brazen specimen piqued her interest. Still, she didn’t dare encourage him because her of her father’s presence at the dance. She rolled her eyes. “I meant tell me how much gravy you want on your potatoes.” Drizzling juice over his plate, she spoke in her best business-like tone.

“When!” He dabbed at a spot of gravy on the plate’s edge and flashed a smile. “Now,
about that dance…” He licked his finger clean.

The fellow behind him cast an impatient stare at her and thrummed his fingers on the
table.

“You’re holding up the line,” she said to the flirt, her cheeks heating. Nerves clutched at
her stomach, stealing the appeal of the mingling food aromas.

“Tell me your name, and I’ll move along.” He stood firm.

“Meagan. Now scoot! You’re going to get us both into trouble.” She glanced across the
room to where her father sat, hating when he dropped in. His presence put a giant damper on the evening. Showing anything more than polite attention to men in uniform wasn’t tolerated. Daddy’s demand proved to be a test of her resilience…especially tonight. She turned her gaze back to the fellow who hadn’t budged.

“Name’s Ryan Cullen.” He finally moved on to the breadbasket but kept his stare focused
on her. “I’ll look for you when you’re done serving.”

Managing a weak smile, she pondered how to avoid him and an embarrassing explanation, then turned her attention away and waved to her mother and younger sister, Martha, who sat next to her father along the far wall. Thomas Murphy, a local councilman, fulfilled his civic duty by visiting once a month to show his support of the USO and their mission. Why did he have to pick tonight?

Her sister fidgeted and slumped in her chair. The look on her face screamed ‘bored to
tears.’ The situation wouldn’t be any different had Martha been older, because Daddy only
supported the troops to the extent that they stayed away from his daughters.

Meagan sighed. So much for dancing with Ryan Cullen. At least tonight. Hopefully, he’d
come next week when her father stayed home and listened to his infernal radio. She nibbled her  lip and wondered if Ryan danced as good as he looked, but a fly buzzed too close to the food and interrupted her thoughts. She swatted at the annoying insect and planted her hand firmly in the remaining mashed potatoes. Hoping no one noticed, she swiped her mushy palm along her apron, gasping when she spied the dead insect within the handprint she left behind.

Luckily, her replacement showed up with a fresh bowl. “Time to take over,” Freida said.

“Thank goodness.” Megan snatched up and transferred the quarter-empty dish to the cart
behind the table. “My feet are screaming. See you next week.” She tossed her apron into a box then paused while she rubbed the small of her back and shrugged tired shoulders.

“Ready to dance?”

Ryan’s voice made her jump. “I-I can’t—”

“Can’t believe your good fortune? Can’t wait to dance with me?” He took her hand.

Her response to his arrogance dangled on her tongue, but disappeared when her sister
scurried over and elbowed her in the side. “Meg, Daddy says it’s time to go. You know you aren’t supposed to talk to strangers.” Martha twirled a braid and flashed a grin at Ryan.

Meagan withdrew her hand from Ryan’s as if a flame burned her palm then stooped until
her face was inches away from her sibling’s. “Really, why don’t you act your age? You’re
thirteen, not five,” she whispered.

Straightening, she turned her attention back to Ryan. “I’m sorry, but I have to go. Maybe
we can have that dance another time.” She lowered her lashes then yanked her sister by the arm toward where their parents waited. “Honestly,” Meagan chastised, “why do you insist on embarrassing me?”

Martha pulled free. “You liked him. I could tell. And if you don’t be nice to me, I’m
gonna tell Daddy you promised to dance with that fella.”

Meagan grabbed the brat’s hand and squeezed. “You will not say a word, got me?”


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Welcome Diane Scott Lewis


Since I've been camping all week, I welcome Diane's offer to share a bit of humor...although it might just be painfully true.  So, please welcome Diane Scott Lewis, a fabulous historical author and great friend...

If a real estate agent acted like a literary agent:
I’m in the middle of trying to sell my house in this down market, and after fourteen years of trying to place a book with an agent, I wondered what if real estate agents acted like literary agents. It might go something like below:
No, I can’t sell your house because I have too many houses just like it to sell already. Houses that look like yours are difficult to sell right now. You have too many people living in your house, and it’s on a street and built in an era I don’t like.  You have never had a house up for sale before, so I’m leery about working with you. Your house is too big and the property meanders all over the place. Buyers might get confused by the many levels and overall concept of your house. After viewing your house, I just didn’t love it enough to offer representation.
Real estate form letter:
Dear Seller: Thank you for submitting your house to our agency. Unfortunately, we will not be able to take on your property at this time. The market is competitive and your house does not look like something I could sell. Another realtor might feel different. Good luck with placing your property. Sincerely, Agent.

To learn more about Diane Scott Lewis’ writings, a free short story and information on her historical novels, please visit her website: http://www.dianescottlewis.org

Dylan Edward is here!


I just have to share I'm a new grandma!  I went to my daughter's new house to help her move in.  She was due to have her baby the 27th of this month . . . but to make things very difficult . . . 
     She was heading for the bathroom in the middle of the night . . . she stepped on their dog... he attacked her foot and tore it open.  They rushed her to the ER ... and shockingly, they did not clean it out, they just stapled it shut.  Yep, you guessed it... nine days later it became infected, her foot was purple and numb... and nearly lost the foot.. . she was rushed to a wound specialist.  They had to tear open the wounds... cut all the dead skin away.  Put her on major antibiotics... she missed almost two months of work.  Yep... plus she was in pain. Had to elevate her foot above her heart. She was on crutches for over a month and is now in a wheelchair. 
     I went to help them get their trailer ready for sale, two weeks later after it sold, I went and helped pack them up and scrub the trailer down before leaving. They left and stayed 14 days with friends, waiting for their house deal to go through.  They had to board two dogs and a cat for 14 days... to the tune of $550!!  What next, you ask?
     The house deal went through last week Wednesday... so I rushed down to scrub and unpack them.  I promised my daughter she'd be moved into her new house before Dylan arrived.  
     Three days later she started labor around 10:00-pm .... I had two C-sections, I know nothing about labor or birthing!! yikes!  There I was saying, "Breath, calm, blow it out slow."  What the heck was I saying?  I had no idea...but it sounded right???  There I was driving her to the hospital....she had intensive back labor... none I have seen the likes of.... 
     They sent us home... and no sooner got there and her water broke... hubby rushed her back to the hospital... I followed in my car.  She could barely make it to the wheelchair.... crutches were useless and her pain was unbelievable.
     Nine hours later (to make the story short-- shorter) She bravely delivered a very healthy baby boy . . . the most gorgeous, healthy grandson I could pray for.
     She just saw the wound specialist and they had to cut more dead skin away from the wound.  She is still is in a wheelchair and has to elevate the foot .... OMG... I feel so bad for her.  She can hardly wheel to the bathroom without help!  
     So . . .that is why you haven't heard much from me this past week... and you won't hear from me all this next week --I'll be helping them....hopefully her hubby's mom can come help out the following week - and then we pray she can start stepping on her foot.  
     So ... please keep us in your prayers . . . we are doing great . . . and things will only get better as time helps her heal. Thank you in advance for your prayers.  :) Rita


     

INTERESTING FACTS


26. Google is actually the common name for a number with a million zeros.
27. Switching letters is called spoonerism. For example, saying jag of Flapan, instead of flag of Japan.
28. It cost 7 million dollars to build the Titanic and 200 million to make a film about it.
29. The attachment of the human skin to muscles is what causes dimples.
30. There are 1,792 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
31. The sound you hear when you crack your knuckles is actually the sound of nitrogen gas bubbles bursting.
32. Human hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.
33. It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body.
34. The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.
35. Most soccer players run 7 miles in a game.
36. The only part of the body that has no blood supply is the cornea in the eye. It takes in oxygen directly from the air.
37. Every day 200 million couples make love, 400,000 babies are born, and 140,000 people die.
38. In most watch advertisements the time displayed on the watch is 10:10 because then the arms frame the brand of the watch (and make it look like it
is smiling).
39. Colgate faced big obstacle marketing toothpaste in Spanish speaking countries. Colgate translates into the command “go hang yourself.”
40. The only 2 animals that can see behind itself without turning its head are the rabbit and the parrot.
41. Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
42. The average person laughs 13 times a day.
43. Do you know the names of the three wise monkeys? They are:Mizaru(See no evil), Mikazaru(Hear no evil), and Mazaru(Speak no evil)
44. Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
45. German Shepherds bite humans more than any other breed of dog.
46. Large kangaroos cover more than 30 feet with each jump.
47. Whip makes a cracking sound because its tip moves faster than the speed of sound.
48. Two animal rights protesters were protesting at the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse in Bonn. Suddenly the pigs, all two thousand of them, escaped through a broken fence and stampeded, trampling the two hapless protesters to death.
49. If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural cause.
50. The human heart creates enough pressure while pumping to squirt blood 30 feet!! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ATTITUDE IS A CHOICE


     9. If you think you have it bad  ~ When my sister was dying of throat cancer, I would have thought she would complain and say ‘why me’ etc. Instead, she talked about living life. She said when she was waiting for her treatments she realized for blessed she was, so many were worse off than her. We can spend our life complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves . . . or we can always see how blessed we are – and know there are others who are having a far greater challenge or tough time than us. My sister was such an inspiration – and still is, even though we lost her to cancer two years ago. Her attitude still remains with me . . . how great is that?
     10. The joy of life around us  ~ I think attitude fades when we get bored. We get into a rut and it pales in comparison to let’s say a vacation. We need to remind ourselves there is joy in everyday life. See the blessings we have such as a lovely home, family, friends, a job, perhaps a loving pet, and don’t forget sunshine, trees, flowers, mountains, streams, etc. See . . . how can we not feel great about life when it surrounds us with joy?
     11. We have joys to look forward to ~ Do you ever roll your eyes upward when someone says, “You have just one life to live so go for the gusto.” Well, did it occur to you they are right? Not every day is a 100% got get ‘em days. But your attitude about the day and your future show in the way you walk in the office doors. Maybe it’s not your ‘dream job’ but – listen, you are truly blessed to have a job. Humility and gratefulness goes a long way. Try a little positive attitude and apply it to today, next week, next month, and yes, even next year. Make a play for your life, and now you have direction – you just might get there with a plan!
     12. Again – attitude is a choice ~ Nothing – and I mean nothing, frustrates me more than someone saying, “ugh, I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.” Yep, sounds like they’re going to have a great day, huh? All I have to say about that is, attitude is a decision. Choose to change that negative way you feel now – so the rest of your day can be great. When you realize you’re down – or things just don’t seem to be going great – you can make a conscious effort to change it – you’re in charge of your attitude. Change it!
     13. Some need a sad or reflective day ~ Okay, I respect those people who say they need that quiet, moody time now and then. Everyone is different, but my advice her is don’t make a habit of wallowing in those dark days – choose to lighten things up and see the good, not the bad. Have an off-day – but choose the on-day! Soon you will see the difference and how it affects you and those around you.
     14. Positive attitude reminders ~ There are so many ways to remind yourself . . . affirm those positive attitude feelings. There are cards, you can make your own card. There are plaques’ for the wall or pictures with positive comments. If you want a better attitude – finds says to create it - get specific, plan your work, and work your plan… by giving it attitude that works.
     15. Share that attitude ~ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Are you always in a good mood?” I always answer, “Yes, I always choose to be in a good mood.  Attitude is a choice.” That impresses people . . . and it should. It impressed me when I met my first truly positive attitude person. I told myself, “I want to have her attitude and positive personality.” I asked her about it . . . and she shared the theory of ‘positive self-talk.’ That changed my life. If you choose – it will change your attitude and life too.
     16. Be the optimist ~ How can you see the glass half empty . . . when it’s truly half full. We need to reflect and see the positive we have in our own life. Be that example so other will ask you, ‘Are you always in a good mood?’ The first time it happened to me – I nearly cried. I am so proud that I have a great attitude. I feel even better when I can share that feeling and how to feel this way with others. I hope these tips will help you choose to have great attitude – each and every day . . . just remember ‘attitude is a choice.’

Monday, June 18, 2012

ATTITUDE IS A CHOICE


     Today and tomorrow we are going to discuss giving your attitude a boost.  Every now and then we screech to a halt and find our attitude has dived south. What can we do about that?
     Let’s start by saying attitude is everything. And I’m a firm believer that attitude is a choice.  Attitude is how we choose the way we see things around us, how we face those situations in our lives, how we deal with those situations.  Attitude is more or less how we think and deal with life around us.
      The difference between a positive and negative attitude could be the difference between a positive or negative life. Here is list that will jump-start your attitude today … and tomorrow.
     1. Good morning, sunshine! Get up early and even if it’s a small one - take a walk around the neighborhood, up the street, at the park. Just a fifteen or twenty minute walk is plenty of time to start your day with a smile on your face. It’s the best thing you can do for YOU.
     2. Its a new day ~ Yesterday might not have been your day. Not every day is. Time passes and so do your problems or troubles. So remind yourself that today is a new day. The attitude you set right now – will set it for the rest of the day.
     3. Take control ~  It’s a choice . . . and that choice is yours. If something happens right off the bat – make a conscious choice to change the direction in a better way for the rest of the day. You control your attitude – and attitude controls your day.
     4. Surround yourself with positive friends ~ There is nothing more self-defeating and frustrating than those ‘attitude stealers.’ They are miserable and seem most happy when everyone around them are cranky and dragging the attitude down with them.  The people you choose to have around you will immensely affect your attitude. A trick I used with my two break-walking friends, when they wanted to grumble the entire twenty-minutes was to give each five minutes to complain. Once the complaining time was over – we had to talk about fun things, happy things, and family things. Soon no one needed their five complaining minutes!
     5. Eat healthy and look healthy – you’ll feel healthy ~ I know – I like my treats, too. But once I started eating better, I started looking better, and soon I started acting better. See, it’s back to you are in charge of making positive choices for YOU. Fuel your body for an energetic body with an energetic positive attitude and mood.
     6. Get enough sleep ~ I used to brag that I could easily handle a day with four hours of sleep. And I did exactly that! Then I read an article in a medical magazine; ‘people who get less than seven to eight hours of sleep increase their chances of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease by 85%! WHAT? No way! But guess what, it’s true. It takes the body a good seven to eight hours to repair our brain from the day before. What I thought I was managing with four hours of sleep compares nothing to what and how I can handle the same things with a good seven to eight hours of good sleep (and I truly go for that eight hours now). I’m a different person.
    7. Work hard and play even harder ~ Do you know those people who only watch TV for a hobby.  Is that okay?  Of course it is, if that’s how they unwind and enjoy their weekend or evenings. Never judge someone else. My attitude is sparked by those fun things I do for me. Of course my most joy comes from writing. But there are other things that help me unwind and feel fulfilled; gold panning with my husband, crystal and sapphire digging, rafting, camping, etc. Family get-togethers can be a lot of work – the way I look at them – we are so blessed to get together and share … laugh … and create wonderful loving moments that will support us when the times are not so great. Hobbies shared with a loved one – are the best hobbies of all!
     8. Laugh and the world will laugh with you  ~  Have you ever noticed how grumpy and downright angry people look? Just take notice whether they are driving a car, walking down the street, or pushing a grocery cart. Next time you observe that – smile at her or him. Yep… believe it or not, 98% of them will smile right back at you.  You feel great . . . and you can be sure 100% of them feel better, too. I am a firm believer that a smile can be heard on the phone. Tell a joke (come on – a cute clean joke)  . . .  ‘laughter is the best medicine’ isn’t just a cliché’ . . . it’s a fact. Think about this – do you know someone . . . or several people . . . that you rarely have heard laugh! How sad is that. That might be something you should consider changing. Change the focus off yourself – attitude is contagious.

Tomorrow we’ll continue this discussion . . . 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ginger's Sunday Sampler

Today is the first installment of Sunday Sampler here at Dishin' It Out.  I've been participating in Six Sentence Sunday, but I received word that they are discontinuing the practice.  Rather than wait until the last minute, I decided to use my own blog to share samples of my work and those of my peers who have written books I've read and think are exemplary.  Of course, today, I'm going to share a short excerpt from Hattie's Heroes, my latest release... a western historical with a time-travel twist, BUT, I invite each of you to leave your own short blurb or excerpt and buy link in the comments section.  If anyone is interested in being the spotlight author on a Sunday or one of our free days, please contact me.  In the meantime...enjoy a little about Hattie.

Scene set up:  Hattie is an orphan--the oldest in the asylum, and she's made an appointment to meet Mr. Franklin, the man who posted an ad in the local mercantile, seeking someone to help his wife with their three small children when the family embarks on a wagon train bound for California.  Here's that scene:

Today Hattie was meeting with Mister Franklin, the family’s husband and father to gain his approval. Whether or not they picked her, she wasn’t going back to the orphanage. She hadn’t asked permission to leave, but her absence wouldn’t cause a stir. Someone would take her place in an instant. Unsure what she would do if she wasn’t selected, she nibbled the biscuit she smuggled out from dinner last night and resolved to deal with bad news if and when it came.

Her palms turned moist the minute she spied a dapper gentleman standing outside Cronin’s. He wore the black Coachman’s hat Mister Cronin had said he would.

Despite her churning innards, she closed the gap between them on leaden legs, and managed a weak smile. His tailored charcoal frock coat, starched white shirt and perfectly pressed trousers showed him to be a man of means. A thick moustache, broad shoulders, and angular jaw made him quite attractive, but clearly impatient if his tapping foot was any indication. A glance down at her tacky apparel brought warmth to her cheeks. If her employment rested on her looks…

She clamped the frayed handle of her valise so tightly, her nails dug into her palms. At least she’d braided her long, mousy hair and washed her face before bedtime last night. Pausing a few feet from the gentleman, she cleared her throat. “Are-are you Mister Franklin?”

“Indeed I am.” One brow lifted as his gaze started at her feet and ended with a curious stare into her eyes. “And you’re Miss Carson?” His uplifted brows showed his shock.

“Yes, sir, but please call me Hattie.” She dipped her chin and took a deep breath.

“May I ask why you carry your luggage when we haven’t even discussed what will be required of you?”

Fueled by determination, Hattie set her valise on the ground then looked up. “I hope I can convince you I’m the right person to help your missus with the children. I’ve had lots of experience dealing with young ones.”

Fishing a watch from his vest pocket, he checked the time, and then cocked his head. “You realize this won’t be an easy venture?” The timepiece’s golden chain dangled between his fingers.

“I don’t expect it will, but I’m not fearful of hard work.” A cloud of dust drifted up from a passing wagon. She sneezed—not once, twice, but three times.

“God bless you.” Mister Franklin offered his handkerchief, but she declined to use the monogrammed square. “Tell me, Miss…uh, Hattie, do you have references?”

The lump in her throat threatened to choke her. “References?” She shook her head. She hadn’t thought of seeking a recommendation, especially in her haste to leave before anyone woke. Besides, who would she ask? To most who worked in the asylum, she was nothing more than a face in the crowd.

“I assume from your dress what Mister Cronin relayed is correct. You’ve been a guest at the orphanage?”

Her heart sank, but she squared her shoulders. “Yes sir, I’ve been there for as long as I can remember. I’m turning seventeen very soon, and an orphan’s asylum is no place for a woman nearly grown. I answered your advertisement with hopes that by traveling with your family, I might make a fresh start in California, as I have no relatives to speak of.”

“That is unfortunate for you, but I hardly think those reasons qualify you for employment.”

She detected a look of pity in his eyes and lifted her chin a tad higher. “I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me, rather judge me on my merits. If you ask Mister Cronin, I’m certain he’ll tell you I’m a hard worker, and if the little ones at the orphanage could speak on my behalf, I’m sure they would tell you how much I’ve helped them. I assure you, sir, you won’t be disappointed if you hire me.”

Returning the watch to his pocket, he rolled his eyes and clicked his tongue against his teeth. “I’m not saying you have the job, but come along home with me and meet Mrs. Franklin and the children. We’ll see how you get on with them.”

You can find another sample of Hattie's Heroes listed with my other work on my Amazon Author's Page.  Hope you're enticed by my offering.  Make sure to notice my beautiful cover done by Dawne Dominique.   Love that girl!



Friday, June 15, 2012

Fact or Fiction?

Why is it that TV programs and movies that follow scripts written by "authors" can present scenes that are totally unbelievable, and those watching don't take issue?  I mean, let's talk about soap operas.  Doesn't anyone ever wake up with bad breath?  Evidently not so much that the smell keeps the two sharing a bed from rolling over and falling into a deep, passionate kiss.  My reaction is always, "yuk!"  When I wake up, no one's kissing me until we both brush our teeth unless it's a quick peck.

And why don't the women think about feminine hygiene?  I just watched a scene in General Hospital where the 'heroine' spent the day in an apartment in which the air conditioning wasn't working.  Beads of sweat formed on her forehead, her hair is wilted and she looks miserable. The first thing her 'hero' says when he comes in..."Why is it so hot in here?"  So...he's been working all day, she's been sweating all day, and although I don't want to get gross, I'm forced to ask the question... how can they fall into bed and make love when you know something else stinks besides Denmark?  *lol*  Like my Granny always advised when I was younger and taking a bath..."don't forget to wash your pootie and put on clean panties."  That advice stuck with me so I cringe when I see scenes where at the end of the day, people fall into bed.  Someone hasn't washed their pootie!

I've seen countless romance movie scenes that totally turn me off.  Before I've ever been intimate with anyone, I shower.  It's just a personal preference...and no matter how romantic you present it, there is nothing masculine about a man with B.O. or a woman who matches the odor of a fish market. Am I wrong?

I've written a few unbelievable scenes myself, using descriptive words like "musky or manly" to cloud the truth.  People seem to buy that, and I'm always surprised.  There have been times though when I've dared be truthful in my story, and those seem to be the places where people take offense and find the scene unbelievable.  I'm confused.  I can make my cowboy's sexy, but as my friend Devon posted on Cowboy Kisses this week, men who rode the range didn't have access to bathing or laundering, so it wasn't uncommon for them to wear their undergarments for weeks at a time.  How unsexy is that?   Am I the only one who notices and wonders about these things?



Thursday, June 14, 2012

INTERESTING FACTS


2. If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. For when a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.
3. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.
4. Your tongue is germ free only if it is pink. If it is white there is a thin film of bacteria on it.
5. The Mercedes-Benz motto is “Das Beste oder Nichts” meaning “the best or nothing”.
6. The Titanic was the first ship to use the SOS signal.
7. The pupil of the eye expands as much as 45 percent when a person looks at something pleasing.
8. The average person who stops smoking requires one hour less sleep a night.
9. Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day.
10. The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.
11. Dalmatians are born without spots.
12. Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.
13. The ‘v’ in the name of a court case does not stand for ‘versus’, but for ‘and’ (in civil proceedings) or ‘against’ (in criminal proceedings).
14. Men’s shirts have the buttons on the right, but women’s shirts have the buttons on the left.
15. The owl is the only bird to drop its upper eyelid to wink. All other birds raise their lower eyelids.
16. The reason honey is so easy to digest is that it’s already been digested by a bee.
17. Roosters cannot crow if they cannot extend their necks.
18. The color blue has a calming effect. It causes the brain to release calming hormones.
19. Every time you sneeze some of your brain cells die.
20. Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart.
21. The verb “cleave” is the only English word with two synonyms which are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate.
22. When you blush, the lining of your stomach also turns red.
23. When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.
24. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle was built in 1903, and used a tomato can for a carburetor.
25. The lion that roars in the MGM logo is named Volney.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hijacking

Cowboy Kisses: Cowboy Duds: "I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy." This line was forever stamped in our consciousness of the old west cowboy when it became ...

Because I'm running behind with doctor's appointments and still feeling like a limp rag, I "highjacked" a wonderful post by fellow author, Devon Matthews, to share.  For those who thought all cowboys wore "denims," you might want to read up on your history and Devon has done all the research.  I was very impressed.

On another note...since I've discovered that Six Sentence Sunday is coming to an end, I've decided to concentrate my efforts here by sharing my work and some of the best reads I've had.  Starting on Sunday, I'm doing "Sunday Sampler," and you are all invited to leave a sample (blurb, short excerpt, tag line) plus your buy link the comments section.  I hope you'll all take advantage of the free promo since this blog gets pretty good coverage and is tweeted by many, many friends.  :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DO YOU UNDERLINE BOOK TITLES?


Here is an article I found interesting enough to share. :) Rita

  How do I handle book titles in my work? Do I underline them? Italicize them? Put them in quotes? This is one of those pesky questions that come up all the time: Should I underline or italicize book titles in my writing? And it comes up for good reason: You can look at several different books, newspapers or magazine articles and see it handled several different ways. So which one is right?
The answer is: Probably all of them.
     How you handle book titles in your work is a style choice not governed by grammarian law. The issue is addressed by the top stylebooks, but the answers vary.
     According to the Chicago Manual of Style and the Modern Language Association, titles of books (and other complete works, such as newspapers and magazines), should be italicized. So if abiding by either of those guides, you’d italicize Stephen King’s The Shining, just as you would Vanity Fair and The Miami Herald.
     On the flip side, the AP Stylebook suggests that you use quotation marks around the names of books (with the exceptions of the Bible and catalogs of reference material, such as dictionaries and almanacs, which should not be styled in any way). So if you’re writing for a publication that adheres to AP guidelines,  reference books with friendly quotation marks: “Eat, Pray, Love,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” and “Bossypants” 
     Some publications also follow their own style guides. 
      So what does this mean for you? It means: Don’t worry about it too much. Just pick one way and stick with it for consistency purposes (for example, if you italicize the name of the book your character is reading on page one of your novel, make sure you italicize it on page 214, too). All publishers have their own style, so if you’re fortunate enough to get the work in question published, an editor will edit your story to fit her style preferences anyway. Your goal is to turn in a professional-looking manuscript, and consistency in your style is one key way to do that.    - From Brian Klems

Monday, June 11, 2012

WE ALL PROCRASTINATE!


     Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. What a great line for all those people who say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” And as we know, most times tomorrow never comes.
     Why is it there are so many things we need to do or get done and we just don’t have the time to do it all?  Or are we just procrastinating? 
     We are busy – yes! But we also delay . . . put-off . . . dawdle . . . and just plain feel lazy sometimes. It seems easier to get busy and so something else because the project we are facing just seems too mammoth to tackle.
     Let’s be honest – whatever the project –we all could use some helpful tips on how to stop making excuses – and get those tasks done today!
1.           Stop for a moment and ask - Why are you putting this project off?  You know there has to be a reason. Is it boring? Is it too big a job and just the thought of starting is enough to make you run in the other direction? Maybe the project will surface emotions you don’t wish to face?  People procrastinate for various reasons. Do you know your reasons?  Understanding why – just might create the solution and stop you from procrastinating.
2.           Some people never tackle a project because it’s truly not that big of a deal. Maybe you really don’t need to tackle a project – because it’s not import to finish. Then you might ask yourself, instead of stressing over the incomplete project – should it be done in the first place. Get rid of it and cross it off your to-do list.
3.           Did you ever think of asking for help?  You love helping others when they need help – right? Don’t you think others might like to help you, too?  If a project on your list is just too big to handle alone ask a family member or a good friend to help. It’ll be a lot of fun to share the time with someone – and you’re making good memories. A comment here and there and you’ll be laughing up a storm together - plus the project will be done before you know it.
4.           I call it baby steps. When a large project needs just your attention – starting can be daunting . . . or let’s face it downright frightening. Consider this, begin using baby steps. Don’t think you have to tackle every part of your project all at once.  Heck I’d be running in the other direction, too. Give yourself thirty minutes at the end of Monday through Friday. (Reward yourself with the weekend off.)
     Give yourself a good direction what you will want to finish in that thirty minutes. Getting started is the hardest decision of any to-do project. There will be days when you’ll feel like doing even more than the thirty minutes because it’s going so well. It’s getting started and committing the time to do it that counts.
5.      Now comes the hard part for so many of us. Focus that commitment to the end. Visualize what it will look like when you’re done. How will you feel? Think of a reward to give yourself when the project is completed – that will motivate you! Just know that when you are done – you will be so proud of yourself.
           We’re done talking about it. You have a plan. You’ve made the commitment. Remember, getting started will take will take the most effort.
a.       Ask why you are putting the project off – and decide if your project needs doing.
b.      Schedule your starting time.
c.       Make a commitment.
d.      Start with baby steps.
e.       Visualize the completed project
f.       Ask for help if you need it.
g.      Focus until the end.
h.      Reward yourself for a job well done!

     There’s nothing to it. After you tackle the first item on your ‘to-do list’ . . . head straight to the list and enjoy a rewarding check-mark in the ‘completed’ box.  Now you’re ready to start all over and tackle the next item on the list.  Procrastination?  What’s that??

Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Manic Readers

Manic Readers

She Writes

Historical Fiction Books

Readers and Writers of Distinctive Fiction