Friday, August 31, 2012

Calling In Sick

I had a very interesting post in mind today, but unfortunately, age and health issues have kept me from my computer.  I hate that I am totally disoriented by new medication and have been away from my computer for days.  Other than reading on my iphone while I veg in my recliner, I've done very little.  So, please be entertained by Rita while I take a little respite.  I hope to keep growing older, but I sure pray I can correct some of the issues thaat come with aging.  :)

In the meantime, please check out Books We Love for some stellar, non-expensive reads from some award-winning and experienced authors.  BWL is an invite-only publisher who deals with authors who have demonstrated their ability to captivate their readers.  I was more than honored to be includedf in this exclusive group.  Oh, and make sure to keep up with my partner Rita as she continues to blog about some amazing advice and tidbits.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

INTERESTING MONTANA FACTS


     The moose, now numbering over 8,000 in Montana, was thought to be extinct in the Rockies south of Canada in the 1900s.
      At Egg Mountain near Choteau, dinosaur eggs have been discovered supporting the theory some dinosaurs were more like mammals and birds than like reptiles.
      In Whitehall, Montana it is illegal to operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels.
     In 1884, the citizens of Montana Territory were fed up with lawlessness and forming a large-scale vigilante force, they executed thirty-five horse and cattle thieves that year.
     The Continental Divide runs along the crests of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico, literally dividing the waters of the North American Continent. Montana is known as the headwaters state because much of the water which flows to the rest of the nation comes from the mountains of Montana.
     No state has as many different species of mammals as Montana.
     In Deer Lodge, Montana, in the Old West days, a cowboy evangelist angered over a snoring parishioner once fired a bullet over the head of the dozing man.
    The Battle of the Little Bighorn also known as Custer's Last Stand took place on June 25, 1876. Lieutenant Colonel Custer's forces—including more than 200 of his men were wiped out in less than 20 minutes.
     It is a felony for a wife to open her husband's mail.
     In Fort Benton, Montana a cowboy once insisted on riding his horse to his room in the Grand Union Hotel. When the manager objected, they exchanged gunfire. The horseman was killed before reaching the top of the stairs; fourteen .44 slugs were later dug out of his body.
     Flathead Lake in northwest Montana contains over 200 square miles of water and 185 miles of shoreline. It is considered the largest natural freshwater lake in the west.
     Miles City is known as the Cowboy Capitol.
     Buffalo in the wild can still be viewed at the National Bison Range in Moiese, south of Flathead Lake and west of the Mission Mountains.
     Montana is the fourth largest state with the forty-fourth largest population.
     Montana has 43 state parks and 25 scenic byways
     Yellowstone National Park in southern Montana and northern Wyoming was the first national park in the nation.
     Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.
     In Montana, it is illegal for married women to go fishing alone on Sundays, and illegal for unmarried women to fish alone at all.
     Montana mountain goats will butt heads so hard their hooves fall off.
     Montana is nicknamed the Treasure State. 
     Virginia City was founded in 1863 and is considered to be the most complete original town of its kind in the United States.
     It is a felony for a wife to open her husband's mail.
     Three bandits who robbed the Adams Express car in a passenger train near Bannack, Montana were rounded up by vigilantes and promptly hanged, a fate that became all too familiar in the lawless West when citizens, angered over vacillating courts, meted out their own brand of swift and self-satisfying justice.
     The highest point in the state is Granite Peak at 12,799 feet.
     The most visited place in Montana is Glacier National Park, known as the crown jewel of the continent. It lies along Montana's northern border and adjoins Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, forming the world's first International Peace Park.
     In Montana the elk, deer and antelope populations outnumber the humans.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TIMELESS QUOTES ABOUT WRITING


     Don’t expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood.”—Leslie Gordon Barnard, May 1923
     “If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!”—Fred East, June 1944
     “We writers are apt to forget that, as the gunsmoke fogs and the hero rides wildly to the rescue, although the background of this furious action is fixed indelibly in our own minds, it is not fixed in the mind of the reader. He won’t see or feel it unless you make him—bearing always in mind that you can’t stop the gunfight or the racing horse to do the job.”  —Gunnison Steele, March 1944
“Plot, or evolution, is life responding to environment; and not only is this response always in terms of conflict, but the really great struggle, the epic struggle of creation, is the inner fight of the individual whereby the soul builds up character.”—William Wallace Cook, July 1923
     “Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.”
—Leigh Brackett, July 1943
     “You can’t write a novel all at once, any more than you can swallow a whale in one gulp. You do have to break it up into smaller chunks. But those smaller chunks aren’t good old familiar short stories. Novels aren’t built out of short stories. They are built out of scenes.”—Orson Scott Card, September 1980
     “Don’t leave your hero alone very long. Have at least two characters on stage whenever possible and let the conflict spark between them. There can be conflict with nature and your hero can struggle against storm or flood, but use discretion. … You could write a gripping story about a struggle between a lone trapper and a huge, clever wolf. But the wolf is practically humanized in such a story and fills every role of villain. The wolf too wants something and does something about it. A storm doesn’t want anything and that’s why its conflict with man is generally unsatisfactory. It doesn’t produce the rivalry which is the basis of good conflict.”—Samuel Mines, March 1944
     “The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written.” —Joyce Carol Oates, April 1986
     “The writing of a mystery story is more of a sport than a fine art. It is a game between the writer and the reader. If, once in a while, a really fine book comes out of this contest, that is good; but the game’s the thing. If, on Page 4, the reader knows that the soda cracker is spread with butter mixed with arsenic, and later on this is proven to be true, then the reader has won the game. If, however, when the reader finishes the book, he says, ‘I didn’t get it—all the clues were there, plain as who killed Cock-Robin, but I didn’t get it,’ then the author has won the game. The author has to play fair, though. He has to arrange his clues in an orderly manner, so that the reader can see them if he looks hard enough.”—Polly Simpson Macmanus, January 1962
     “Authors of so-called ‘literary’ fiction insist that action, like plot, is vulgar and unworthy of a true artist. Don’t pay any attention to misguided advice of that sort. If you do, you will very likely starve trying to live on your writing income. Besides, the only writers who survive the ages are those who understand the need for action in a novel.”
—Dean R. Koontz, August 1981

Monday, August 27, 2012

Some great people to checkout!


Thank you for allowing me to share my presentation with you.  I know it was very long . . . but I hope you enjoyed it ... or at least got a bit of encouragement from it. I do appreciate your comments . . . wish me luck in September at the Montana RWA Writer's Conference.
     Let me close with the very first ever blonde GUY joke… it’s about time!

     An Irishman, a Mexican and a Blonde guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building.
    They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, “Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch, I’m going to jump off this building.”
     The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, “Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I’m going to jump off, too.”
     The blonde opened his lunch and said, “Bologna again! If I get one more time I’m jumping, too.”
      The next day, the Irishman opened his lunch box, and saw corned beef and cabbage, and jumped to his death.
      The Mexican opened his lunch box, and saw a burrito, and jumped too.
      The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.
      At the funeral, the Irishman’s wife was weeping. She said, “If I’d known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage, I never would have given it to him again!”
      The Mexican’s wife also wept and said, “I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn’t realize he hate burritos so much.”
      Everyone turned and stared at the blonde’s wife. The blonde’s wife said,
      “Don’t look at me.  He makes his own lunch.”

      I would like to share with you some great people to checkout!
        The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
 •       Michael has a free newsletter called, THE PEP LETTER, By Michael A. Verdicchio
                       Motivation123's Weekly QuickTips by Jason Gracia  http://www.motivation123.com
                       Check out Karen Keller, Ph.D. / www.karen-keller.com
                       Claude Bristol, author of The Magic of Believing                 
 •       Doran Andry, in Gateway to Greatness

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ginger's Sunday Sampler

I've been given a wonderful opportunity to review a Band of Sisters by award-winning author, Cathy Gohlke, but health and life keep getting in my way.  While she waits for my review, I offered her the opportunity to share a little about her wonderful story with us.
  I hope you enjoy the interview and will check out her book.  I know, reading her answers has motivated me to dig in.  :)

So, without further ado, here's the scoop:  (Or as I prefer to say...Dish...as in Dishin' It Out. :)

1. What motivated you to write Band of Sisters?
I’ve always been fascinated by the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement.  But I was horrified to learn that there are more than twice as many men, women and children enslaved today than at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  This book was born of a passion to end modern-day slavery, and most of all, to ask, “What can I do to help in a need so desperate?”

2. Why did you choose NYC 1910-1911 to tell this story?  And how does human trafficking in that era compare to human trafficking today?
I was inspired by an article I’d read about Alma Mathews.  Alma was a small but determined woman who, armed with her umbrella and a hefty douse of fury, stood against dangerous men bent on exploiting immigrant women as they entered the U.S. through Castle Gardens, in old New York City.  Alma ushered young women to her home, prepared them for employment, and helped them begin a safe new life in the city.  It became a full time ministry involving many—all in the early days of the settlement house movement. 
But my editor suggested that I set the story later, when immigrants entered the U.S. through Ellis Island.  As I researched that possibility, I found that the problem of exploitation and human trafficking had not only grown during those years, but that the strikes of NYC shirtwaist factory workers had made public the desperate need for women to make a living wage in safe circumstances.  Necessary elements for the story and high drama were all a matter of public record—everything from the passing of the Mann Act to address the fear of white slavery to the Triangle Waist Factory fire.
            Even though our technology, transportation, communication, etc., is different from the story’s era, many countries today are no further in providing rights and safeguards for women than the U.S. was in 1910.  Some are further behind.
            Many of the same ruses are used by traffickers to lure women into their snare now as they were then:  better paying jobs for themselves and/or money for their families, flirtation, pretense of emotional caring and support, marriage, offers specifically for modeling jobs, offers for education, appeals for help of various kinds, plays on sympathies, etc. 
In some cases, after having sex with someone they trusted, or after being drugged and forced into having sex, women or children are/were blackmailed.  Fearful that their families will not believe them or will accuse them of promiscuity and reject them, they are afraid and feel compelled to sneak out and “service” men when called.  Some are sold to traffickers or users by members of their own family, or by someone they trust.
            Once trapped—sometimes after being unwittingly drugged and/or blackmailed—women are often transported far from their home (crossing borders to other states or                        countries).  Held against their will through abuse, enforced poverty, lack of ID, lack of language skills, lack of visas or passports, they may simply not know who to trust or where to go for help in the country in which they find themselves.  Isolation, threats to their person or their family, repeated brain washing that they are dirty, worthless, unwanted, unloved, and good for nothing but sex with paying customers are all tools that traffickers use to intimidate and control their victims.
            Fear of what will happen if they try to escape, fear that they have ruined their lives and will have no other way to live, fear for themselves and loved ones, resulting health problems, feelings of hopelessness and a constantly reinforced sense of self-worthlessness all form formidable prisons for victims of trafficking.  Even if it seems they can physically escape, they may not be able to break the emotional or mental chains that bind them.
All those things happened then, and they continue to happen to victims today.

3. What research did you do?
            My research began with human trafficking today and the fight to abolish modern-day slavery through books, the internet, and through organizations and individuals that are helping in various ways—raising awareness, rescuing, restoring and healing victims, tracking down and prosecuting predators, education of men and boys re. the human rights and intrinsic worth of women, safe houses, etc., and those who fundraise to assist organizations or individuals who are already doing these things. 
For historical background I watched documentaries and read (books, old newspapers, archives) about the growth of old New York, the social conditions and desperation of the poor and of immigrants in particular, the disadvantages to those who did not speak English, the unique problems of women and children—the opportunities for and difficulties of making a living wage outside of prostitution, the threats made to women and their families to coerce them into sexual service, of their economic desperation without a male provider, of their few legal rights, and of the unfair treatment women received in court.  Those studies led me to the development of the sweatshops, the growth, expansion and revisions of the settlement house movement, the work of Jacob Riis in making the abject poverty of thousands known to the public. 
Learning of those conditions led to a special interest in Irish immigrants—their cultural and social strengths and weaknesses, their views of family, their aptitude for and reception in different types of employment in America.
            My husband and I made two trips to NYC.  From there we conducted research at Ellis Island, took several tours in the Tenement Museum, and bought more research books and maps, including more on the Triangle Waist Factory fire.
 Once I knew my storyline, I mapped out locations of the story and trekked through Manhattan, exploring old sites, especially between Mid-town Manhattan, through Washington Square and the surrounding NYU area (including the site of the Triangle fire), the Bowery and the Lower East Side.  As I walked, photographed the city, explored, and talked with residents, the voices of my characters erupted.  I gladly followed their lead.

4. Your characters are strongly influenced by the question asked in Charles Sheldon’s classic, “In His Steps”—“what would Jesus do?” Why did you choose that book to help tell your story?
After all my research I knew I had the historical elements needed.  What I didn’t know was the inner conflict of each character, or the answer to the all-important question:  “what can I do to help in a need so desperate?” 
I found my answer by confronting the question Sheldon posed in his very popular  book of the time, “what would Jesus do?”
If we all truly do what Jesus would do, slavery will end.  Jesus never exploited men or women—He uplifted them and showed them a path of hope, a new way of thinking and living.  He never used children, or child labor for ease or gain—He blessed little ones, demonstrating their great worth.  He never bought or sold babies to fulfill the bride “needs” of a one-child culture.  He never bought or sold human organs, or fetuses, or body parts.  He never lied to immigrants, never enslaved them, never threatened their families or loved ones or lives if they did not comply with His demands, never coerced or forced, never shamed or punished a single person into submission to His will.  But in every way He set a moral compass, employed Divine compassion to the broken hearted and broken bodied, and held to account any and all who victimized others.


5. In Band of Sisters your characters maintain that the answer to human trafficking is found in the question, “What would Jesus do?”  What do you mean by that and how does that question impact this modern-day crisis?
In recounting the things Jesus taught, and in thinking about the life He modeled, I realized that He has already given us the answers.  It is only for us to employ them.
Jesus would:
·                    Open His hand and His heart to those society spurns—not only to receive those who come to Him, but He would go out and search for and engage them, as when He ate with publicans and sinners, as when He called Zacchaeus from the tree.
·                    He would provide medical help, as when He healed the woman with the issue of blood, the man born blind, the paraplegic let down through a roof, and countless others.
·                    He would not hesitate to confront the darkest of the dark in order to free victims—the things and people and forces we’d rather not see or deal with, as when He drove demons from the young man, and from Mary Magdalene.
·                    He would open His purse strings, even His home to the needy as when He commanded us to provide for widows and orphans, as when hounded by Herod, he personally demonstrated the helpless plight and needed solutions for refugees.
·                    He would expect that those who could provide financially for this ministry and need would do so, just as He accepted gifts from those able to finance His ministry. 
·                    He would protect lives and argue for victims legally—even those who’d made mistakes society deems unforgivable, as He did for the woman taken in adultery—the woman in danger of being stoned.
·                    He would accept the thanks of and stand for those who looked to Him for answers.  He would maintain relationship with them, even when they were misunderstood by society, as He did for the woman who anointed His feet.
·                    He would hold to account those who victimize others, as He did when He declared that for anyone who makes one of His little ones to stumble it would be better if a millstone were hung around their neck and they were drowned in the depths of the sea.
·                    He would raise awareness and educate society to be on guard against this evil as much as any evil, to be vigilant, to accept responsibility to change, to train children to love God and care for and respect one another, just as He taught them everyday of His life.
·                    He would advocate for the human dignity and worth of all people, women included, as He did when He breached society’s laws by allowing the unclean woman, desperately hoping for healing, to touch Him, when He reached out to the Samaritan woman, who lived with a man not her husband, and when He died on a cross in our place.


6. Band of Sisters takes place in NYC.  Do you think human trafficking is limited to large cities?
No.  That is why raising awareness of the crime and education re. the methods used by traffickers is so important.  Small, rural, isolated or poor communities are targets just as vulnerable as big cities.  Traffickers often enter such communities with bogus offers of better jobs, modeling opportunities for young people, and offers for education.  But those dreams are crushed when willing applicants are unwittingly sold as sex slaves or used for pornography, with no way to get back to their homes and families.  In some cultures, once a girl has been so abused, she is no longer welcome to return to her family, thereby compounding the problem and sense of hopelessness.  Education and understanding is desperately needed on all parts.

7. Issues of sex slavery and human trafficking are foreign to most of us and uncomfortable to discuss.  How can Christians respond? 
            By speaking for those who have no voice.  These are among the poor and needy of our day, in many cases the orphans that Jesus commanded us to care for. 
We must remember that the discomfort is ours, and the desperate need is theirs.  Being a Christian, a Christ follower, isn’t easy in a fallen world.  Doing what Jesus did wasn’t easy or comfortable.  He confronted demons and hypocrites.  He stood against people who cared more about the monetary value of their livestock than they did about freeing one human being from demonic possession. 
Jesus ate with “publicans and sinners” to the ruin of His reputation.  Just as He is our example in loving one another and in protecting innocent young children, so He is our example in setting captives free, in loosening cords that bind, in rescuing women and children from prostitution, men from slavery.
            In many countries of the world Christians pay with their lives for standing up for their faith and/or for protecting others.  I’ve heard it said that only in America do we expect it to be easy to be a Christian.  Talking about things that are uncomfortable to our sensibilities don’t seem so hard in comparison to the challenges our brothers and sisters in Christ face the world over.


8. Human trafficking and the abolition of slavery is such a huge problem, let alone rescuing and restoring its victims.  What can I do to help?
*First, learn all you can through reading and talking with individuals and organizations who have already joined the fight:
-- Google “human trafficking” to learn what is happening in the world.
--Contact your local library, social services, churches or police force and ask what is being done in your community to raise awareness and prevent human trafficking.  They can help you find books, organizations, and on-line information to educate yourself about:
The crime (what is human trafficking and where in the world it occurs—you will be astonished)
                         The people at risk
                        The methods traffickers use to capture and enslave
The tracking down, arrest and prosecution of predators
The rescue, restoration, and healing of victims
The fight to abolish slavery through legal means
The education of men and boys re. the dignity and worth of women and girls
Organizations and/or Individuals that are already working to do the above-**See my website at  www.cathygohlke.com for a growing list of these sites.  If you find more, please let me know so I can add them. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
*Once you understand what organizations and opportunities are already in place, determine what you are able and equipped to do.  That might include:
Work directly with one of these organizations, either in this country or in a foreign country
Validate, affirm, encourage and engage girls or women who are at risk or in the process of healing
            Welcome strangers into your church as part of the church family
            Take a rescued victim into your home or provide housing
            Mentor a victim, or a girl or woman at risk
            Help a woman find safe and gainful employment and/or child care
            Help a woman applying for a job find appropriate clothing
            Provide childcare and/or transportation when needed
            Tutor a student, young or not so young and encourage hopeful options
Invite women or girls for a meal in your home or take them out for a meal or event, using the opportunity to reaffirm their worth
Provide assistance for medical care—practical or financial
Speak up when others make slurring or disrespectful comments re. women, immigrants, homeless, etc.—attitudes must change to make change last
Do not patronize stores, hotels, sporting events or other venues where you believe women or children are trafficked
Provide legal counsel, assistance or finances for same for victims
Write or speak out against trafficking

Hold public figures and men within your circle of acquaintance accountable for their actions toward women and children
Be vocal and proactive about the need to raise a generation of men who will not exploit women and children
Be vocal that the only way trafficking will stop is to eliminate the demand for supply
Support legislation to stop trafficking, to prosecute and to re-educate predators
            Write letters of support and concern to elected officials re. human trafficking
Contribute financial support to one of the organizations that is already in place and helping
Create and/or support films, documentaries, plays, or various art forms that raise awareness or needed funds
Fundraise for organizations that are helping
            Help to educate publicly or privately those you know re. all of the above
            Work with others to create new possibilities
            Pray—continually
*Most importantly, realize that while you can’t do everything, we can each do something.  Together we will raise a symphony that must be heard.

9. If Band of Sisters was turned into a movie, which actors do you think would best portray what you imagined for your main characters? Can you describe a few main physical features that they have?
            Maureen is striking—tall, slim, with thick, flaming red hair (tendrils escaping), and green eyes in a thin face.  Victoria Smurfit, who played Hannah Randall in “Berkeley Square” could play Maureen’s role perfectly.
Joshua is also tall, broad shouldered, with black, thick curls, dark blue eyes, and the ruddy complexion of a man who’s worked outdoors all his life.  Perhaps Hugh Dancy could play his role.
            Olivia is lovely with dark upswept hair and brown eyes.  She’s intelligent, with a quiet and cultured but determined air about her.  I think Jessica Brown Findlay, who played Lady Sybil Crawley in Downton Abby, would be perfect.
            Curtis is tall, slim, with dark brown eyes, curling dark hair, and alabaster skin.  Perhaps Jamie Bamber could fill his role.
           
10. How does your faith impact your writing?
            My faith is part and parcel of all I do.  While writing my first novel I learned that I cannot divide the heart God knit inside me, cannot separate what I write from how I live in response to Him.
That’s when I began praying, not just that the Lord would lay on my heart a “story,” but that He would lay on my heart His “purpose,” and a story to illuminate that purpose.  Later I understood that “purpose” is what is known in writing circles as a “strong moral premise.”
All the characters must respond to that premise in some way or other.  It is what ties the story together.  Faith weaves the moral premise in my life, and as I live out that faith—as I respond to my Savior—my own life story is written.


11. Are you a plotter or a seat of the pants writer?
That’s a great question!  My wonderful agent, Natasha Kern, is convinced I’m a “pantser.”  I’ve thought of myself as a “plotter by force.”  Over time, I’ve learned to plot enough to write a synopsis—but it’s like ripping teeth from their roots.  I fear losing the passion for and organic nature of my story so am hesitant to commit or share details before writing a first draft.  I’d much rather write a story and then severely revise and edit.  But I’ve come to see that that is not always an efficient process—not for me and not for my agent or editors.  The thing that’s helped me most is Michael Hague’s Six Point Plot Structure as he describes it in the DVD, The Hero’s Two Journeys, as well as The Moral Premise, by Dr. Stanley Williams.
Now I write a long and detailed—sometimes rambling—synopsis, then put it away, and only take it out if I find myself wandering off track.  The finished product is often quite different from my original notes.

12. What spurs your writing?
Writing has become my way of making sense of the world, of putting into perspective the struggles of humanity and of my own—past and present—of trying to see the world as God sees it, as He redeems it by pursuing and claiming one heart at a time. I want to know what gives Him joy, what breaks His heart—those are the stories that matter, the stories that bring me continually closer to Him.
Frederick Buechner expressed it best, “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Finding that place spurs me on.


 Cathy's book is published by Tyndale House Publishing and can also be found on Amazon.

I'd like to thank Cathy for being so patient with me, and for sharing her inspirational historical novel with us today.

           















Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is It Really All About Blogging?

Periodically, I like to go back and revisit my posts, and it came across this one today while trying to think of something interesting to post for tomorrow.  I figure if TV can do reruns...why not bloggers?  I'm going to read through it as I go an see if everything still pertains.  Can't believe this was November 2007.  I've been blogging quite a while.  Enjoy...

 

IT ALL ABOUT BLOGGING


MySpace Comments - Friends<
I found a very interesting comment on my blog. Helen Ginger from Straight From Hel tagged me. As I understand it, this honor is described as a 'meme', but it really isn't about me, it's all about blogging. Since this is my first attempt, I simply followed the instructions, copied the five questions I found on Helen's blog and I shall answer them below. I believe my duty at the end is to tag another three people. Tomorrow, we're gonna play Red Rover, Red Rover. *lol*

1. How long have you been blogging?

Not long at all. Only since the very end of September. I began in 2004 with a monthly newsletter and my membership grew to over 550. Although I enjoyed producing a monthly rag, I hated the bounced emails, the constant changing of them, and just the general headaches. So, when blogging became all the rage, I decided to give it shot. The downside was losing all my subscribers, but I found a way to add a subscription link and I actually forced everyone to sign up. Not really, I thought I could import my addresses but found I couldn't, so I spent three nights typing in addys complete with those stupid spam guard letters and numbers. When I went to bed last night, I swore they were tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. I'm happy to say that most of the people I subscribed, confirmed and have signed on for another round of torture.

2012 Note: I'm happy to say that I still have a faithful band of followers and I'm so thankful for each and everyone of you.  With the interesting posts from Rita Karnopp, our membership should only continue to grow.  :)



2. What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?

As an author, you have to establish a fan base and I like to know mine. I love interacting with people, and blogging makes that easier. The newsletter was fun while it lasted, but this allows people to comment back to me and let me know what they think. I can also invite other friends to come and share information on days when I'm just too lazy to blog myself. Mentors? I didn't know many people who blogged until I started myself, so I guess I'm my own mentor.


2012 Note - I can't believe how the number of bloggers have grown.  While I had more comments in 2007, I totally understand that people come, read, and don't have time to leave a comment.  That's okay, because as long as you continue to visit, we're happy.  I also think a big deterrent is the "capcha" codes which require visitors proof they aren't spam bots.  I'm removed the one for Dishin' It Out for that reason.  I tried to leave a comment on a friend's blog today and it took me five tries before I could prove myself.  It shouldn't be that hard.  :)

3. Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun?

You can make money doing this? Since I had no idea, I suppose I should be truthful and say I do this for the fun of it. I also write because that's what I love to do. If I was in it for the money, I'd have hung up my keyboard a long time ago. Despite all the promotion I do, my last royalty check barely covered a Happy Meal.

2012 Note: - Happily, since the inception of the ereaders and the growing popularity of ebooks, I'm happy to say I can actually take the family out for a real meal occasionally.  I truly believed ebooks would become the trend, but I never expected to see it in my lifetime.  What a blessing.  As someone who claimed she would never surrender the feel of a real book in my hands, I now happily claim to be a Kindle owner and frequent user.  Print books?  Remind me again what they look like?  Besides, making ten cents on each print sale was more like a slap in the face.  :)

4. What 3 things do you struggle with online?

a) The biggest struggle for me the lack of tone in email. There is none and it's hard to keep from adding my own. You know we all have those days when we're pissy and it's very easy to beat myself up with my own attitude. I think I'm insecure and I need my Mommy!

b) The next hardest thing for me is saying no when people need help. I'm not a computer geek by any means, but I seem to have a tad more expertise than some, and I find myself fixing boo boos, moderating, doing videos, and tons of other things that take time away from my writing.

c) The final struggle for me is finding time to visit all the networking sites and being able to keep my own pages current. We have BEBO, BOOKFACE, BOOKPLACE, MYSPACE, SHELFARI...just to name a very few. It's almost impossible to be visible on all of them if I want to keep up with my blogging. I've yet to find a happy medium and I'm driving myself nuts. Good thing it's a short jaunt.


2012 Note:  Happily, I've surrendered my FB gaming addiction...well most of them, and I've also switched things around a little...giving up most yahoo groups in favor of promoting myself on the Kindle Threads.  As changes come with the industry, we have to continue to go with the flow to keep our names out there.  Hope stripping never catches on, because then I'd be forced into retirement by the followers.  :)

5. What 3 things do you love about being online?

a) It takes away my feelings of solitude. Since I retired from my academic counseling job, I'm a stay-at-home "Nee Nee" to a five-year-old grandson. I hunger for adult conversation, and email and my networking sites is how I get my fix these days.

b) I'm a closet comedienne and I love to make people laugh. I have a serious side to my blog, but I also like to blend in a lot of humor. Everyone needs a chuckle now and then, and if I can brighten someone's day, I do. Blogging gives me a chance to laugh at the world and myself.

c) One of greatest thing about being online is learning new things. Of course then this takes me back to one the struggles of being on line...saying no to people. I've learned to do video trailers, even started a little side business called, TrailMix, Videos. Setting up a Myspace page wasn't a daunting task, but you'd be surprised how many people can't figure it out. I've mastered moderating yahoo groups and setting up my own, and it seems that either people are playing dumb or they really find it a challenge. Nonetheless, I guess I'm destined to be a patsy for anyone in need. There's a lot of satisfaction in it. Makes an old gal feel smarter than she really is. :)

Note for 2012:  I still find great delight in my friendships established on the Internet.  All of my best friends are virtual.  Rather than viewing "no" as a word in my vocabulary, if what is asked is helpful to one of my peers, I'm happy to offer a helping hand.  I have learned that I do have limits, and exceeding them is not always a productive way to accomplishment.

I guess now, what I need to do is tag three more people for you to meet. Hmmm, let me see:

Yvonne Perry is is a wonder. She's one of the busiest people I know but manages to organize and involve people in great blog chains that connect one to another. I've met some great people and drifted to spaces I would never have found on my own.

Vicki Gaia is a good friend and fellow author I met on a critique group. I admire her positive attitude and spirit, and she's been a tremendous help in honing my work for submission to publishers.

Anne Whitfield is another good friend and fellow author who started a Historical Fiction critique group and invited me to participate. I've made great progress, good friends, and turned out some pretty decent books thanks to Anne and her group. I owe her a lot.

So there you go. This was fun. Thanks to Helen Ginger for recognizing my site and awarding me the 'meme'. I titled this "All About Blogging" but it really was all about ME! Hope you enjoy visiting the other sites and learning about how other people blog. Probably not as crazily as I do, but as entertaining I'll bet.

Note for 2012:  I left the three original names, although time and changes have caused me to drift away from them.  Anne and Yvonne are still around, but I haven't heard or seen from Vicki in a long time.  I hope she's still writing and doing well.  I could add a ton of others to this list because every day I find such an abundance of talent in the Amazon Kindle Direct Program.  I'm happy to have the opportunity to for the first time since I began to actually feel like a full-fledged author.  Course, now I have to deal with the IRS this year.  *lol*

Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.  :)

I I want to share with you . . . how they catch monkeys


     Imagine a wooden box 12” x 12” and the top opens because it has hinges. Imagine opening the box and setting a big, red juicy apply in the bottom of the box. Then imagine closing and locking it. Then, around to the side is a hole and it is big enough for the monkey to look inside and see the red, juicy apple. But the hole is small enough so the only way for the monkey to get inside the box is to squeeze his fingers inside the hole. Now imagine the monkey reaching inside the box and grabbing the red, juicy apple. Now the apple is in the palm of the monkey’s hand.
     However, there is a problem. As the monkey tries to pull his hand out of the box, he finds it doesn’t fit through the hole. The reason is because the apple is in the palm of the monkey’s hand. Now the monkey won’t let go of that apple for anything. As a result, the poacher comes in and kills the monkey. Now realize, all the monkey would have to do is let go of the apple and he’d be free, but he won’t let go. Soon he’s a dead monkey. 
       This is a metaphor for authors who just don’t discipline themselves to write. Usually there is something in your life that you need to let go. But, as a result of not letting it go, it remains a roadblock to your success. Ultimately it ends up hurting you. 
     Talk with your writing group or friend and ask, ‘what am I not letting go of?’ Meaning; is it your fear, is it the insecurity of knowing you can’t finish your book, you don’t have to worry about what to do next – once the book is finished or is it because you’re just lazy? Whatever the challenge is, for most people, they don’t open themselves up to themselves or their writing partners, to learn what is not allowing them to ‘let go of the apple.’ Ultimately, it leads to the death of your writing career.
     So let me reiterate - write down your goals – make sure you have a plan for success.  And do it all with a great attitude. "Choose to have a great day." There will certainly be days with circumstances that we are not able to change. There may be people we deal with that act like jerks. But, regardless of what we are faced with each day, we can choose to let it affect our attitude, or we can choose to not let it affect our attitude.
     Attitude is a choice . . . Choose to have a great day!  

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