Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sick dog

Got another sick doggie on my hands.  I just posted him not eating out of a bowl and I'm back again with sad news.  Actually I should be being optimistic so let me try.  My Malese, Cody, is almost eight years old and I know he's not going to be around forever and all that but when he's not his normal bouncing self, it makes me sad and it makes me sadder when he's in pain.  I don't know what's wrong with him.  The vet mentioned something about pancreatitis (I know I have misspelled that terribly) the last time we were in there and suggested blood tests but I wanted to see if the reason why he all of a sudden goes into pain was because of the burr they pulled from his foot.  He's wimpy so that made sense but the pain isn't going away.  Here's what he looked like last night:

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Well tonight he's worse.  I gave him a pain killer but this whatever it is isn't going away.  So tomorrow it's off to the vet to get those blood tests.  Wish us luck?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Silly dog

Am I the only one with a dog who won't eat anything from a bowl?  I have to put it on his bed for him to eat.  I've tried everything. He'd rather let it sit in the bowl for days than not eat it from the comfort of his bed.  It takes eating in bed to a new level you think?

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Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Create a Fixed Format eBook if You Dare

Sorry I'm not going to be the one to tell you because I have no idea how to do it and don't have the time to study this, but Sabrina Ricci has written a great series of articles about doing this

I can't decide whether I have the full mental capacity to handle this and I may just pay someone to do it for me, but this is one of the things - probably the only thing - that self-publishing your own books scares the bejeebies out of me.  My brain is working on tour overload so I really can't sit down and study this but for crimey's sakes it can't be rocket science.  You know how you can do things so much better than anyone else and yet some things your brain just won't comprehend?

Reminds me of school.  I could spell anything you threw at me.  Write a short story.  Five minutes and it's there.  But get me to solve an algebra problem and my brain literally shuts down.  What causes your brain to do that?

They say people either are left or right brained and I believe this is the reason.  When they start talking a language I can't understand even though it's supposed to be English, my eyes glaze over.  I may look like I'm in a trance but it's actually my body's break down mechanism when things get too overwhelming for me. 

In one ear and out the other.

Anyway, check out the article if you're braver than me. ;o)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Thoughts on Ferguson Missouri, Racial Tension and Police Brutality

I've been watching a lot of media lately, mostly about Ferguson, Missouri.  A black teenager was gunned down by a white cop which probably isn't that extraordinary as it happens most any day in the U.S. but this case was different.  And the reason I believe it was different is that people didn't stand by and accept it.  They protested.  And protested and protested until justice is served.

Robin Williams had just died and that's why I was glued to CNN the last week or so but right after that, we hear about Michael Brown being shot by police and the whole town of Ferguson went on a rampage for revenge claiming he had his hands up in surrender and the cop still plummeted him with six bullets.  I'd be pissed too.  But then it became a race thing turning violent against the police mainly because the blacks were sick of not being respected and they were also sick of the police using physical force in dealing with them when they got arrested.  Now...here's my thought on that.  I grew up during the sixties so I'm a child of protest.  I'm also very much against police brutality.  Of course.  Isn't anyone but Facebook has been bombarded (this is even before Ferguson) with police beating up people when arresting them.  And I'm wondering if there is lots of this out there and we just never heard about it.

We need police.  Without police, there would be chaos. And I know they are in the line of harm themselves but I'm thinking a lot of this is that they let their adrenalin get to the best of them and before you know it bam an unarmed teenager is gunned down in broad daylight.  There were extenuating circumstances.  The cop had just gotten a report of a local robbery and the teenager and his friend matched the description.  So the cop is already on an adrenalin high.  Add to that the teenager is combative, punches the cop in the face and tries to take the gun.  Then flees.  The teenager is ordered to freeze and according to the cop's account, the teenager charges toward him despite the fact he has been shot several times.  For anyone to remain standing even after one shot to me signifies this teenager is pretty darn strong.  There are so many accounts on what happened I can't judge right now.  On one side you have the officer acting in self-defense and the other side the kid was trying to surrender and the cop shot him regardless.

Let me back up.  When I was a young child, the first encounter with someone not of my own color was Rosie Zimmerman.  Rosie was my mother and aunt's best friend and back in the early sixties, having a black woman as your best friend was kinda hushed.  There was incredible racial tension back then.  If you were friends with someone not of your color, you were automatically labeled.  That's what whites have been fighting against and are still fighting against all these years.  Blacks don't understand that.  They just think that white people don't like them because of their color but it's not about the color of the skin; it's about society. 

Fast forward to the present time and there's still racial tension going on which to me is incredible to believe.

But I think we can all deal with that.  It just might take more time but my point is that - now this is my perspective and probably isn't the same perspective some others might have - but for one thing, police brutality has to stop.  Just because they wear a badge, they have to have some decency.  If a person is combative, okay I can understand using some kind of force, but don't display big bad boy crap when it only makes people like you less and of course the people at the other end are going to be combative themselves.  On the other hand, Afro-Americans think whites are always out to get them and the reason why they think that is that they have gone through having their family or friends shot by white policemen and there are other incidences which makes them believe the only way they can change that it to let their voices heard which they have been doing the last 11 days since the Michael Brown shooting.  But here's something else going on here which we have been battling for decades.  While there has been improvement I feel, they still feel they have to prove themselves.  A black teenager walking down your street at night, what are you going to think?  If that black teenager was dressed in a suit, would you not think he was out to start trouble?  So is it a matter of how you carry yourself?  Yes.  I'm not saying all black men should wear suits but that's the general attitude.  If I were on the street at night, if I didn't get raped or killed being a woman, but I was dressed say in a mini skirt and high heels, the cops would pull me over in a minute.  So is it the way you carry yourself?  Sure.

The bottom line is these people want justice.  I don't want to see the guy go to jail for self-defense but I have a funny feeling that if he's not convicted or charged with something that meets the expectations of the other side, something is going to go down and it won't be good.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Robin Williams Dies at 63

It's been a few days since the headlines screamed this awful message.  I'm still at a loss for words.  Every day they find out more and more about what might have pushed Robin Williams over the edge to not only take his own life but leave behind family and friends who are in a state of shock.

The very first time I saw Robin Williams was when he was playing a wild and zany outer space guy named Mork.  Nanu Nanu.  If memory serves me right, Mork and Mindy aired the same year my daughter was born (1978) and continued to air for 4 years.  I loved that show.  It's something about Robin Williams that makes you want to roll over in hysterics and I eagerly anticipated watching it week after week. 

I've been watching a lot of CNN lately.  Off the computer for awhile to see what the world is up to kind of thing and it's not a pretty sight.  What with Robin Williams passing, Lauren Bacall's passing, unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after an unarmed young black man gets gunned down senselessly, and unrest in the mideast, I'm afraid for the future.  But I know we can't be like that.  We have to remain optimistic.  There will always be heartache, but with the heartache there must be joy out there somewhere.

So the last two days my son and I went on a bike ride on the island.  First one trail and the next day the other trail.  It was good for the soul.

I close with this video and may peace come to the Williams family as they try to make sense of their tragic loss.  RIP Robin.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Me & Cody at Jockey Ridge State Park

Don't kill me for not updating.  It's been crazy work-wise but I just got back from the Outer Banks of North Carolina and there's a picture up there with me and Cody (aka Cooder).  Three glorious days of nothing to do but sit on the beach.  Here we are at the Jockey Ridge State Park on one of the dunes and it was hotter than hell.  I used to be able to climb these with no problem but I can tell as I get older, it's quite the journey that's for sure, lol.  I don't want to see summer come to an end. ;o(

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day to a Daddy I Never Knew

I never met him.  I wasn't allowed to speak of him and if I heard others speak of him, it was in not so good language.  I never got a chance to call him Daddy and I never got to see what it was like to be a Daddy's girl.  I never got the chance to pitch ball, catch fireflies, make snow angels with him.  I never got a chance to hear his voice, watch him shave, hold his hand.  I never got a chance to sit in his lap or have him hoist me onto his shoulders.  I never got to ride piggy back or cry in his arms when a boy hit me.  I never got a chance to call someone 'Daddy.'

That was many years ago.  I did find him through a cousin I didn't even know I had but his health turned for the worse and we never met.

But even though I have never met him, I do have a picture of him.  I will accept what life has thrown at me and remember that life doesn't always happen the way you want it to.  If you have a daddy, shower him with love and consider yourself blessed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ocean City, Godzilla & Camp Onawana

I didn't get a chance to blog about this (bad me) but after the long and very cold winter, I'm sure a lot of people will agree - summer is here and I'm going to take advantage of this beautiful weather!

My daughter is so cute.  When she and my son get together and do an all day thing of nothing but nonstop fun, she calls it Camp Onawana days.  Well I had a Camp Onawana weekend.

BF and I were going to go across the bay and visit The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk until we heard Harborfest was that weekend so instead we headed for Ocean City, Maryland.  It couldn't have been a better day.  Here are a few pics:

And did I eat?  Omg, there is a stand that has fried chicken which is out of this world.  I ordered a breast, then walked down the boardwalk and grabbed some Thrasher french fries and loaded it with vinegar.  O.m.g.  Freaking fabulous.

Got home late, woke up to another gorgeous day (see below):

Absolutely beautiful.  Hopped on my bike, rode all the way to town and back, then went to see Godzilla at the theater.  Now I don't know if it was the theater or the movie, but that movie experience wasn't all that.  I know the island renovated the place but you just can't get the smell out.  After so many storms, that smell is baked right into the wood.  And the picture was smaller than what I was used to at the movie theater in Salisbury where we usually go.

Back to Godzilla, I don't know if anyone has seen it, but they might get a better experience out of the movie but it just seemed there was a disconnection with the characters.  If one died, there wouldn't be any tears because you hadn't connected with them and the same can be said with writing books.  I watched a wonderful Google Hangout today and I'll blog about that shortly but you have to get the readers to connect with those characters or they won't have a very good experience with your book just like I didn't have a very good experience with Godzilla.  It just seems like they played the same special effect over and over just in different locations.  Anyway, no thumbs up for Godzilla but two thumbs up for a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Graduation, Pinning & Making Memories

I have been so busy I haven't even had a chance to talk about this past weekend when my daughter, Melissa Thompson, graduated and got her RN pin.  You know how some things you just know are going to be lifelong memories?  This was one of them.  The whole weekend was jam packed.  She graduated on Friday and had her pinning on Saturday. Here are some pictures of that joyful moment it took almost two years of hard work, sweat and tears to achieve:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother and Her Wheels on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is here.  There's a hint of summer in the air; yet, a faint cool breeze blows by reminding you winter wasn't that long ago.  The birds are out and stealing the stray cats' food and boats whiz by through the channel out my front door reminding me that soon tourists will be filling the condos and we won't get a bit of rest.  Ah, but it's Mother's Day and the sea gulls are especially loud this morning.

I have the door to the deck open and the wind from the channel makes the wind chimes dance and create beautiful music to an extraordinarily beautiful day.

My daughter surprised me last night.  She and her father did their regular "going out to eat Chinese lunch thing on Saturday afternoon" thing and after she pulled up, she asked me to help her take the Christmas tree out of the back of the truck.  The "truck" is actually a Jeep Cherokee and the best damn vehicle they ever made on the face of this planet.  Almost 200,000 miles and with a few minor replacements, that truck is still going strong and gets me to where I need to go.  The Christmas tree was put in the back because they were repairing the heating system and they needed to get into the little room downstairs.  The little room is the only real storage  room we have here.  Once the tree came out and everything was put back in, there was no room left for the tree (in a huge box) so I decided to put it in the back of the truck until I could get back into the storage room and make room for my tree.

So I go to pull up the back hatch and she stops me.  "Will you go catch that piece of paper that's flying into the front yard?" she asks.  Before my hand could even reach the hatch, I run out front and this is what was waiting for me:

Ohhhh yeah.  Let me tell you.  This is the best damn bike on the market.  My daughter has the very same bike and I rode it all over hell and back.  The problem was that we could never ride together because I sort of claimed it or might I say rode it more than she did.  So this was a nice surprise and on top of that, there was a pot of daisies in the basket which I'm going to repot and put on my back steps by my "reading" chair when I'm trying to soak up the sun.

I thought that was so sweet of her.  Now we can go bike riding together!

I think one of the greatest joys in life is to be able to hop on a bike and fly like the wind.  I can't wait to hit the trail that goes through the woods and ends up on a deserted beach.  The locals know what I'm talking about because whenever I bring it up, they nod, smile and say, "Ohh yeah."

But I do want to say a little something about Mother's Day.  I'm not a big fan of Mother's Day simply because my mother left me when I was nineteen and I have never ever really gotten over her death.  That was such a long time ago but if a certain memory pops in my head, I'm blubbering all over the place.  You learn to live with painful memories and the best way to deal with them is to not think about them. But yesterday, I was on Facebook and everyone was posting pictures of their mama and I thought to myself, man wouldn't it be neat if I had a scanner and I could grab those few pictures of my mama and post them.  And then I had a lightbulb moment and grabbed my new camera and took pictures of them and you can hardly tell that's what I did.

So here's my beautiful mama...

And here's another one...

 Mom the left, then it's my aunt, Sissie, me, my grandmother, cousin and her mother and at the bottom, my other aunt, Junie. 

Ahh memories.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Mother's Day!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Are you an Amazon bestseller?

Every author dreams of getting on Amazon's bestselling book list, right?  I've had two authors who I have been promoting for two weeks get there.  Proud mama!

How to Get on Amazon Bestseller Lists (via The Writer's Life)
Writing your book is the easiest part.  Getting people to buy it is a whole other story.  I have recently had two of my authors at Pump Up Your Book get to the top of their categories at Amazon.  In other words, they are both Amazon bestsellers. …

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The greatest love affair of all

I have a very special person in my life.

This person chose time to be with me.

This person put off everything to sit with me by the fire on a cold winter day.  The children got ignored, the dogs went unfed and the bills went unpaid.  Even for just a little while.

This person followed me on a soul journey involving blood, sweat and tears into a world that they were so caught up in, nothing else mattered.  What did matter was that they followed me to the end.

They laughed with me, they cried with me and sometimes they even wanted to share me.

This person paid good money to be with me.  Just because they loved me.

This person is my reader.

Appreciate your readers.  Without them, you have nothing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple, We Will Miss Your Smile #shirleytemple

It is great sadness I hear of the news that Shirley Temple, the little girl who rocked our hearts, has died in her home at age 85.  I so can remember sitting on the floor in front of the black and white TV with rabbit ears in the back and escaping into a world of dance and theatrics.  All mothers wanted their children to grow up and be Shirley Temple, even my own mother bless her heart.  Little did she know, I didn't want to perform; I wanted to read. 

However, there were times when I'd climb to the top of the tree out back and sing from my heart, On the Good Ship Lollipop.  They were good memories watching Shirley dance across the screen.  May you find peace, Shirley, and you'll always be remembered.

Watching these videos take me back to my childhood:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Latest News in the Indie World - January 27 2014

Let's see a show of hands who is tired of all this winter crap?  I have never seen it this cold.  I would give anything for a day with above freezing temperatures. 

What's the latest news in the world of Indies?

Theresa Ragan, author of Taming the Mad Max, was interviewed at GoodBooksToday.com about how she sold over 800,000 books. What I find interesting about this interview - several things actually - is the fact that she tells us not to put a lot into promotional efforts until you have 3 other books published.  I was on the fence about that until I reread what she said and the key phrase is "a lot" of promotional effort.  I'm not sure what she means by a lot and I figure she means money-wise figuring it'll take three or four books out until you see some decent sales.  What I also find interesting is the reasoning behind this.  If you have more than one book out there, the promotions going into the recent book will help those on the back list so that makes sense.

If you are self-pubbed, do you still need a professional editor?  Let me tell you, I have the best editor ever.  Her name is Cheryl Malandrinos and if ever you are in the market for an editor, let me know and I will put you in touch with her because she is the cream of the crop.  I would send her chapters after I had done my best going over it and over it and still she sent me back a pageful of edits.  And have I learned anything from the experience?  Omg I wish I could count the ways.  Grammar, character development, you name it.  I found a video that explains the value of a professional editor.

Now this last one talks about the illusions of traditional publishing and goes into briefly about hybrid publishing.  Hybrid publishing is where you are not only published traditional, but self-published as well.  Gotta love Bob Mayer.  In this article, he tells it like it is. "Where does all this lead?  To a place in the middle.  With small, agile, hybrid publishers that focus on the content producer (writers) and the content consumers (readers), while working with the distribution channels and focusing on discoverability. Most importantly, where the creator of product and the consumer of the product are placed foremost, not the middle-men."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales Come To Life

Playing in the woods behind my grandmother's house was a special treat.  It was a paradise where I made up stories as I played with my cousins, darting from one tree to the other, discovering treasures and escaping.  The woods behind my grandmother's house wasn't very big, but it was the one spot the bulldozers didn't swipe out making way for the new Highway 13 which was going to be built behind us.  The cousins and I played all sorts of games in our forest hideaway, but I imagine nothing could compare to playing in a forest or near a house in a forest like this:

Cologne, Germany-based photographer Kilian Schönberger's work has been showcased today at Huffington Post.  All you have to do is sit and stare at these pictures and stories will pop right into your head.  See them here.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Latest News in the Indie World - January 13 2013

I like to keep updated with the latest trends in self-publishing for two reasons - one it helps me help Indie authors and two - I will become one any day now.  I'm late in joining the self-publishing circus having prior responsibilities to my business, but little do people know I self-published back in the day - before the Kindle store - using ebooks which at the time not too many people were aware of (What's an ebook? How do you read an e-book?).

I published ebooks myself and sold them on my website.  This is just what we trail-blazing entrepreneurs did back then.  Since Amazon came up with the terrific idea of adding the Kindle store to their empire, this has given a whole new meaning to self-publishing, ebooks and what have you as you know.  It's a whole new ball game now making it much easier for Indie authors and publishers as well to sell ebooks which incidentally is selling faster than paperback right now.

So here you go - the latest news in the self-publishing world:

There's an interesting interview with Melissa Foster at Alli, the Self-Publishing Advice blog.  I've seen her around the 'net a lot and I truly admire her.  In this interview, Melissa shares her top self-publishing tips.

Self-Publishing 101: Using the Right Search Words is an interesting article for those who are self-publishing for the first time.  Did you know Amazon asks you for seven search words for their store?  Do you know the right ones to choose?  Do you know the ones to avoid?

And we get a formal apology to self-published authors from Natalie Whipple.  I've seen this around the net lately, haven't really had time to figure out why she needed to apologize so I did so now.  You have to pat her on her back.  She had the courage to admit that self-publishing isn't so darn bad.  Back in the day, she, along with most authors, stayed far far away from being classed into the self-publishing cell block.  Oh no we had too much class for that.  Even if we waited until the sun don't shine or hell froze over.  We forgive you, Natalie, because we're all doing the same darn thing.

Friday, January 10, 2014

I feel downright special