Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It's THAT Time of Year Again

Yes, yes it is.  You all know what I'm talking about.

Time to change the calendars and psych ourselves up for remembering to write 2015 instead of 2014.

Time to rethink life habits and either set goals or resolutions for the upcoming year.  Many of these are the same year after year, not necessarily because we've failed but because we want to do better.

Time to look back and reflect on the past year: everything we've accomplished; everything we've lost; everything we've gained; the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And time to look forward into out hopes and dreams, even if the only hope we have is for the next year to be better than the one ending.  (This is why January is named after the god Janus; he had two faces - one looking forward, one looking back and was the god of gateways.)

Judging by some of the statuses I've seen on Facebook, a lot of us have had a rough time of it in 2014 and are not sad to see it go.  Divorces and deaths balances out the births and the other good things that happened I guess; although it honestly doesn't feel like it sometimes, does it?  But the best we can do is exactly that, our best.  Weather the worst life has to throw at us and treasure the good.

My own year was full of ups and downs, just like everyone else's.  Was it a good year or a bad year?  I don't really know if I'd say it was either way.  I know that it's ending happier than it began, and for that much I am grateful.

I am like everyone else, thinking about what changes I can make in the new year to make my life better.  Some things I have no choice about.  Like tightening up on my diet in order to better control my diabetes and lose weight.  A few months ago while I was off work, my blood sugar went all wonky and the Endocrinologist put me on a second medicine.  I was not happy about that, and it bummer me out for a few days.  Especially since I have to pay $60 for it even though it's covered by my health insurance.  But the foot doctor returned me back to work for 4 hours a day even though the tear in my tendon has not healed and he's decided that surgery is the next step.  Those few hours were enough to start my blood sugars evening out, even though my foot doesn't like it one bit.

The surgery isn't scheduled yet, but will be near the end of January or the beginning of February.  It all depends on when my husband will be able to go back to work.  He's been off because he tweaked something in his shoulder.  He now knows exactly how the cortisone shots to my foot feel as he's had one now.  Thankfully, it seems to be helping him more than they did me.

Although I have not seen stellar sales for Ring of Fire, which is 99cents for the next three days, it has been released and I have sold a few.  I'm a little nervous as I await those customer reviews as the second book isn't like the first one, even though it's the same characters.  Our characters were changed by the events surrounding Angela's kidnapping in the first novel, so it was logical to change the feel of their world.  We get to see more of Craig's family, even meet his imprisoned brother.  So of course, one of my goals for the new year is to sell more books (as always) and finish/release the third one in the series.

And of course, the best way to increase my reader base, is to be smarter on social media.  I've been very lackadaisical about it.  I don't Tweet enough, even though I like Twitter.  And I don't get on Google+ enough either, even though I like it better than Facebook.  So I do have to come up with some kind of strategy for my favorite outlets.  I know I need to write out some kind of blog posting schedule and plan, for both this blog and Broads of a Feather.  I may post only every other week, but my posts have been getting later and later each week!  I don't feel too bad because my partner has been having the same problem.

So far all I've done is think about it, and I really need to start writing things down.  It will be more 'real' that way and I'll be able to hold myself more accountable.  I've been thinking about doing an email list, but I haven't made my mind up yet.  Would any of you be interesting in receiving periodic emails from me, letting you know when I've updated my blog and updates on books?

I also have some research to be doing.  I need to read up on writing non-fiction and biographies.  I should be able to figure it out, after all I'm a smart enough girl when it comes to the written world.  I'm no Stephen King (yet) but I'm not exactly a hack either!

Whatever your plans are for ringing in the New Year. be safe and have fun!  We want to be able to hang out together in the future!  There is still so much left for us to do!

even past the bend

2014 ~ Soon to be a distant memory...

Saturday, December 6, 2014

It's a Busy Time

My poor car...some of that deer hair is still in that crack...
I have been on the busy side since I last posted.  Honest.  I'm not always sure what I was doing, but I was doing something.

First, we hit a deer with my car,  That always adds excitement to our lives.  We had just left my in-laws and were going to run some errands when a deer comes flying out of the woods.  Turns out a hunter was coming down the mountain on his four-wheeler and most likely spooked the deer.  And let me tell you, those John Deere commercials aren't kidding when they say "Nothing runs like a deer."

There's about $2000 dollars worth of damage to the car.  It could have been worse.  When we pulled over and checked the damage, we could hear a hissing noise and thought for sure our radiator had been punctured...that would have been all bad.  Instead the grill hit the air conditioning unit, which since it is winter, isn't an immediate problem.

Snow adds its own element to life...
And yes, winter is coming in with a roar.  Even though winter doesn't start until December 21 (or 1st if you go by the meteorological calendar) we had our first decent snow the day before Thanksgiving.  While we didn't get as much as the Buffalo area did the week before, my area did receive more snow that originally forecasted.  But then it was a storm known as a nor'easter, which means anything can happen.  They're difficult to predict.  So our few inches turned into almost a foot, over in some places.

I accompanied my husband to his physical therapy that day, and it was only just started when we left.  Since we were already out, we decided to run a few errands before going home.  Big mistake.  Once we were done, my hubby was tired of dealing with town traffic and decided to take a short cut around.  It would have been alright if we hadn't met an oncoming car when and where we did.  Both of us moved over trying to make sure the other vehicle had enough room, and the road on our side was too steep and we slid right off and over a bank.  So our pretty truck has a boo-boo too.  :(

And they're predicting another big storm for next week.  Oh yay.

Somewhere in the midst of that, I was able to finish the proofing of my second novel and release it for publication.  I released the Kindle version first, then changed some formatting for the paperback version...and while I was working on the needed online proofing for that...I discovered and embarrassing mistake in the chapter numbering...it went from 38 to 40!!!  Oops!  So I changed that and uploaded a new file for Kindle.  But not until after 4 people had bought it :/

work - not for the faint of heart lol
And then - yes there's more - I returned to work part time this week.  Only four hours a day.  It's been interesting.  I had won a job bid shortly before I was put on medical leave, and since my supervisor hasn't gotten back to me, I'm going to guess that I lost it.  But they haven't put me back on my old job either.  One day I was sent to pick meat...which is exactly what it sounds like.  I stood at a conveyor belt and picked out three different types of meat and put them in bins.  The next  I got stuck doing dry ice.  Walked from one side of the room scooping dry ice into bins of meat as I went, then walked back to turn around and start all over.  And of course, no matter how hard I tried, I managed to get some whiffs of the dangerous fumes.  I haven't breathed right since.  I'd like to blame my current cold or whatever it is on going back to working in 40 degree F weather, but I was already battling something before I started back,  I can't seem to shake this soar throat.

My foot isn't liking it.  But I'm able to tolerate the increase in pain so far.  It hasn't skyrocketed all the way back to what it used to be.  So that much is good; it must mean the tear has mended somewhat.  I have another week before I see the doctor again, but I might call him just to give him a mid-appointment update.  Maybe on Monday.  Maybe it'll even out.  But if he thinks I'm still headed for surgery, I think I ought to tell him we'd best be getting it done before the end of the year when the insurance deductions reset.

Next week, I have three days I have to be in the Valley for doctor's appointments.  One for mom, and two for me.  One is a regular check up for my diabetes and thyroid.  The other one is with the Ear, Nose, Throat doctor to find out what is going on with my sore throat.  Mom's is with the kidney specialist, routine checkup stuff.  My Mom has stage three kidney disease, but at the least it's holding at that stage and not getting any worse.

I plan on enjoying the rest of my weekend by hanging with my hubby and maybe puttering with my third novel.  It can be hard to write with him home, especially if he's on the Xbox because he can be loud.  Sometimes I'll take the laptop into the bedroom, but sometimes I like being with him and just sit there and do something else.  Like write this blog.  Mildly easier, but I've been working on it for a few days.  Any typos are completely his fault ;)

Everyone have a good weekend.  :)

2014 - Winding down with a bang

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mother's Day In November

First off, I have to say that I absolutely loved Carol's latest post at Broads of a Feather, and not just because she referenced two of my favorite things: Zombies and House MD!  Her post tied into my feelings this week about appreciating our parents because we never now how long we're going to have them around.

It all started when Carol shared a sad news story about a mother who ended her own child's life.  The child was autistic, her husband had health problems and she was at the end of her ropes.  She made a terrible choice and will probably never forgive herself.  It caused me to reflect on my own childhood and I was overwhelmed with gratitude that my mother never cracked like this woman did.

Glenn and Rosemary Slater
November 1979
And really, she could have.

I know the stories don't compare.  No two stories ever will.  There will always be differences in background, in upbringing, in personality and temperament.  None of us kids were autistic.  But my mom had five of us to raise while she tended her sick husband.  We weren't always a good help to her.

I have a lot of memories that I won't go into, because they involve more than just myself and it wouldn't be fair to go telling tales.  We weren't any worse or any better than any other kids, I imagine.  We could have been better behaved, but we could have been worse too.  When I spoke to Mom about this earlier this week, I told her to never feel like she was a failure at being a parent even when us kids fight amongst ourselves...because through it all she never cracked and she managed to get us all to adulthood and "normal" enough.

In a lot of ways, she almost had 6 kids.  I forget exactly what year it was, I was either 12 or 13, my father had to have surgery to untangle his bowels from the scar tissue that had formed after his appendectomy about a year and a half before.  I don't even remember which surgery it was, as he had several in a short amount of time, but during one he had a stroke either on the operating table or just before.

It changed all our lives, because he never recovered 100%.  It always seemed to be one complication after another.  I don't know if it was because he was diabetic or that his body was just as cantankerous as he was.  He never forgave the doctor that removed the respirator over a week after that fateful surgery and gave him a tracheotomy - because he never got rid of it.  I remember they tried once, but once again his body produced too much scar tissue and it began closing off his windpipe completely.

He ended up having to go to a hospital in Philadelphia to have laser surgery and have 2 inches of his trachea removed.  If memory serves, he was there for six weeks.  Mom only got to go down and see him once.

He died when I was 18, almost 19.  From complications of a second stroke.

I miss him this time of year, even though he wasn't always easy to get along with and really kind of had a tendency to be abusive especially after his stroke.  No matter what, he was my Dad.  I don't really remember much of the man he used to be before his stroke.  That part is like fading mist.  My favorite memory of him was when I was maybe 4, and hounding him for a peanut butter cake.  Even though I was interrupting the grown ups, he stopped what he was doing and pulled out his recipe books and started searching for a recipe for peanut butter cake.  In the end I think I got a chocolate mayonnaise cake with peanut butter frosting.  I remember how we used to go for rides during the Christmas season just to look at the lights and decorations.

I'm not sure how Mom dealt with her stress.  I know she had friends she talked to, and her sister.  I don't remember her ever getting a break, unless you count the times Dad was in the hospital, but I don't because I know how hard it was for her then too.  Dad expected her to visit him everyday.  I have more than a few memories of us 5 younger kids spending our evenings playing in the hospital parking lot and yard while she was in seeing him.

I know when I called and told her all this, how much I appreciated her not cracking under the pressure, that she was a little taken aback.  I mean, it was all out of the blue for her.  So I explained about the article and how it made me appreciate her more.  I told her how I had thought about tagging her in the Facebook comments, but I decided to call her and tell her instead.  Kind of a Mother's Day sentiment in November.

And that's kind of the point.  Life is short and we need to let people now that we love them and appreciate them, even if we don't agree with the choices they've made with their lives, even if we can't always get along with them.  Because all too soon, someone isn't going to be there anymore and we'll regret all the things we never said.  While I regret how many years lapsed between the last time I saw my oldest brother Glenn and the day of his funeral, I don't regret the last time we did see each other.  It was a family picnic and as we were packing up to leave, we gave each other a hug and said 'I love you'.

So, take a moment of your time and give someone a call and let them know you love them.  Because you never know when there isn't going to be a 'next' time.  Especially your parents.  They might not have been the best, they probably made mistakes and failed you or judged you.  But if you survived to adulthood, relatively sane enough, they didn't completely mess up.

And to all my readers, I appreciate you as well.  Without you, I might as well be sending words into empty space.  I am working hard at proofing my second novel (I might have to increase the font size for the paperback.)

Leaving you with a picture of one of the few times all of us kids were home.  It was for our Dad's 60th birthday, which also happened to be Thanksgiving that year (Mom - correct me if I'm wrong, it's too late to call to check lol)  Mom is of course behind the camera.

November 23, 1989
Glenn Slater and his ten kids :)

2014 ~ No regrets...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MRI's and Country Music

Nothing to do with the post, just some pretty flowers from early fall...
I was at the hospital 4 hours Monday, just trying to get an MRI done on my foot.  Although I arrived a few minutes late, I had no doubts about it being a short wait.  It usually is and there was only one other person waiting with me.

But I was told I needed blood work since I hadn't had any done in the past three months.  Ugh.  I had nowhere else I needed to be so I told them I would be fine waiting for them to get in contact with my doctor so he could order the needed test.  Which wasn't working out because apparently the office was closed on this particular Monday (I've had appointments there before on Monday afternoons, so I didn't think anything of it).  So they ended up calling my general doctor and getting the order from her - but it still took almost 2 hours for all this to happen.

But, it did end up happening and I think I spent close to another hour in the machine.  I don't know if this is usual in all facilities, but here we are given headphones and asked what our music preference is.  Now, despite the title of my series, I like a lot of different music styles.  On my iTunes list, I have country songs side by side with rock, pop, and 'Christian' songs.  Alan Jackson, Newsboys, Bryan Adams, James Blunt and The Rolling Stones peacefully coexist.  I decided a few years ago to listen to whatever I liked, whether it was considered 'godly' by the Church or not.  I have learned a lot by listening to...shall we say...more colorful music.

That truly is a subject for another time.  Because in this instance, I chose to listen to Country music.  And right off the bat the first two were on my favorites list (I have a long list of "favorites").  God Gave Me You by Dave Barnes and We Owned the Night by Lady Antebellum.  I was like..."Yeah, here we go..."  Of course, I had to listen to songs that rubbed me the wrong way.  After all, it wasn't like being in the car and flipping the radio channels whenever the song irritated or bored me.  And even still. they helped distract me from the pain of trying to lay still for so long in a cold room on a slab that made my achy breaky back ache.

"You called me...to take a picture???" Yes, I petted her for her trouble!
I've got my iTunes playing now, trying to dispel the gloom of the day.  The sky is cloudy and unsure of whether it wants to rain or not.  Every so often I'll flip to the other screen and add songs to the "up next" list (Alan Jackson is playing at the moment and Mumford & Sons is up next).  It's just me and the dog trying not to think too much on Carol's latest blog over at Broads of a Feather and the ghostly dreams I had this morning...well, the dog isn't too worried about that.  Jaclyn's more concerned about any cats that might be walking by outside.

But the gloom makes for a good writing and reading day.  While I'm waiting for my paperback proof to arrive in the mail, I'm glancing through my free-write of my third novel to see how much of it I can still use (a good bit, but some will need to be changed) and reading The White Princess by Philippa Gregory.  I'm liking it so far, even though it's written in 1st person perspective, which is not my favorite.

I hope everyone is having a good enough week, with time to read, and staying warm as the seasons change.

2014 - Fading as the fall colors

Friday, October 17, 2014

As Time Goes By...

Bare among the clothed
Man oh man.

I haven't been ignoring this site, honest.  There are about 6 posts sitting in drafts...where I got started and then something distracted me (either the phone rang, or it was time to go to therapy or the neighbors were fighting.) and when I came back to the post...all the inspiration had drained out of me and I'd just sit there looking at the screen thinking "Meh".

I feel kind of like the tree in the picture I posted to the left.  Dry and colorless even though I am surrounded by beauty.  Like words are at the end of my leafless tips and I can't quite grasp them.  No matter how I reach and stretch towards the sky, my fingers come back empty.

I seem to be doing ok right now, to which I'll credit the wine I'm drinking.  Maybe about 10 ounces worth.  Although my hubby just mentioned getting of Halo Wars and watching movies so I'm bound to be interrupted soon.  Keeping my fingers crossed. (Update, I started this one two weeks ago and am only now getting back to finishing it!)

I was even late posting at my shared blog the past two weeks, and I'm usually right on top of that.  But it does give me an idea how to get back on track here.

One thing we all notice as we age, is how much smaller the world around us looks.  Some of it is a natural change in size.  As we grow in stature, the world just doesn't look as big as it used to.  It hasn't changed in size, we have.

But sometimes it shrinks just because we've realized that our corner of the world it exactly that - a corner.  Last November I stood in the middle of New York City and it is pretty big compared to the little acre I grew up on.  I mean, my height hasn't changed in years.  I've been almost 5' 7" for years.  This stretch of road I've posted, has pretty much remained unchanged over the years as well.  It's always been this dirt road; it even retained its name when the county did it's 911 address update.  The leaves change color each year, and I usually take a picture now that picture taking has become easier with digital cameras being common on cellphones.  As I stood in the middle of the road taking various shots, I once again realized how small everything has come to look.  Not insignificant, just not huge or all encompassing.  My world is no longer limited to the home of my childhood.

Which brings to mind my reoccurring nightmare from when I was a child.  I would dream that I lost my home...I would take a short walk somewhere, like to the bend in the road in the middle of the picture where home couldn't be seen through the trees anymore and then I would turn around and run back, suddenly filled with terror only to find that our house and everything we had was simply...gone.  Nothing but an empty clearing to meet my frightened child eyes.  This was of course, many years ago and I no longer have the dream, or even think of it often.
Not the "Big" Hole I remember...

Of course, other times the change doesn't have anything to do with our perspective but is due to a change in the environment.  Case in point, the Big Hole.

A small crick runs by my mother's property and goes under the road via a sluice pipe, and the resulting spill creates a "hole".  Well, back in the flood of 2011, the water became high enough that this small crick ran over the road and was washed out enough that it was impassable.  As if the flood alone wasn't enough to change the "face" of the environment, the township dropped all these huge rocks around the new pipe, I assume for reinforcement.  Of course, the Big Hole I had growing up wasn't even the same one that my older siblings had when they were young.  Time and nature changes us all.

Photo 1
2nd Photo of the same sunset
And sometimes, it all depends on where you stand...because a few feet one way or the other can drastically change your perspective.  Not even the sunset will look the same.  Although in the case of the sunset, it was a bit more than a few feet.  The first photo (creatively captioned "Photo 1") I took at the bottom of mother's driveway.  The second photo, was taken maybe 10-15 minutes later probably about 2 miles away.  Because of the different angles, there's more light and color in the second photo.  At least I think so.

I haven't been slacking while I've been off here, not completely.  I have finished the first phase of proofing my second novel.  I have even revised the ending, which for some reason always unlocks new creativity in me.  Which is cool.  I've ordered the paperback proof from CreaeSpace and should have it in about a week.  I'll probably take some selfies with it like I did with the first novel, cuz that's just how I roll!  LOL

Once I get read through it and hopefully catch the last of the typos and OMG's, I'll be releasing it for purchase.  It's frustrating work, but worth it.

Have a great weekend everyone.  :)

2014 - Drawing Closer to its End

Friday, September 12, 2014

Reading and Funks

I've been in such a funk recently.  Not even sure how to describe it really.  Some of it surely is my health, my foot not healing properly and my sugar being out of whack.

One thing that has resulted from this has been my reading jag...I can't read enough!  I finally finished reading The Shadow Rising.  I say 'finally' because I took a break twice when other books stole my attention - I've also read Shadow Rising a few times, so I knew it wasn't going anywhere.  What is also amazing about this, is both books were written in the First Person Perspective.  I tend to avoid those kind of books, they're just not my cup of tea.

BUT  I am so glad I read them.

At the moment, it's FREE on Kindle!
The first one was Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes.  It's the first in the Rose Gardner Mystery series and I love Rose!  She's believably naive, tired of being abused by her mother and starts living her own life at the worst possible time...when her mother is murdered in their home shortly after they argued.

A suspect right off the bat, Rose continues to spread her wings.  From getting her hair cut to trying to wear heals for the first time, this girl is up for anything new.  Including the cute guy living next door.

I won't go into a lot of details.  Some of the plot points are obvious to the reader, but not to naive Rose.  It's alternately amusing and frustrating to watch her discover all the connections to the murder, and the calamity that follows.  And the comedy!  I don't think I've ever had a mystery amuse me so much in my life!

Seriously, I put everything to the side while I tried to get to the end of this book. Because Swank is good at doling out a bread crumb trail to what's really going on!  You can connect this dot and that dot...but there's this gap in the middle that you're just not sure about!

I tried going back to Shadow Rising after this, but made the same mistake and tried doubling up my reading again.

Also available on Kindle
I believe in supporting my fellow Indie Authors. I'll share blog posts, share links, etc.  But sometimes I hop all over the place in my reading and fail to actually read their work.  I have several of C.P. Stringham's books on my Kindle, and this is actually the second one of her books I've read.

Like All The Rest is a tale of a marriage in trouble and at first it seems like the protagonist is the only one aware of it.

There were several times I had to put the book down because of the emotions is triggered.  Like Natalie, I struggle with infertility.  I'm two years older than this fictional character, but it struck hard.

It's also well written in that there were several times I wanted to reach in and smack Natalie because she was being a bonehead!  But it's so very realistic, because we all make assumptions without hearing the other half of the story and since we've already made up our minds about what the 'truth' is we don't even want to hear it.

Another thing I liked, is that this story was similar to the first in that both women were in the process of discovering themselves.  For Rose, it was for the first time.  For Natalie, it was more of a reinvention.  We got to see more than just the romance issues of the women's life, but the other parts as well.  Their jobs, their friends, their families.

I haven't started the second book in either series yet, because as usual I've gotten sidetracked.  I have to get the second Rose Gardner book before I can read it and that won't be this paycheck.  I do have the second Ellis Spring novel, but I wanted to get Shadow Rising done and out of the way first.  I can pick that series up anytime and any spot in it without breaking stride.  But then I found a new In Death book at the library and had to check it out so I'm working on that one now.

All this reading kind of put me off schedule with proofing my own book - and my blogging! - so I'm gonna have to take a break here soon and get back to that.  Reading other's work always makes me more critical of my own.  Can it begin to live up to and match these fine ladies' work?  I don't know, but it doesn't stop me from trying!

Until next time, read a good book and tell us about it!

2014 ~ so many books, so little time...

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Week of...Slacking!

I cannot lie...I love big books...
On Chapter 39, lots left to go...
Like I admitted over on my Broads of a Feather post late Wednesday night, I've been slacking an awful lot this week.

Some of it was the three day weekend.  Some of it was just me feeling...blah.

Some of it was 'I just want to read!'  Like I detailed in the other blog post, I am up to my ears in books to read.  And that is a delicious feeling.  Not that there is ever any shortage on books to read.  Libraries are full of them.  So is my Kindle.  I don't know about you, but I love it when a book pulls me in.  Especially when it's one I've read before; some books never lose that magic.

Some of it was honestly being busy.  Ok, one afternoon when my mom and I went to my orthopedic doctor visit in Johnson City, New York.  And let me tell you, this country girl did not like driving in that rush hour traffic on the way back out.  I'm not even sure if I actually got in the 'city' limits, but it was close enough.  Too close!  Hopefully when I go back for my shoe inserts in three weeks, it won't be as bad.  A girl can hope can't she?

The past two nights I've taken dinner to my husband for his lunch break.  It's been nice getting to meet some of his coworkers.  Any time with my husband is a treat.  The funny part is today he asked me not to bring as much as I did yesterday...what?  Apparently his age is catching up to him and he can't eat like he used to.  Ha!  Who can?

And no matter how hard I try, I've been falling behind in the game we've been playing!  I blame that on having to go the physical therapy early enough while he's on the computer still playing!

Right now, I've gotten caught up in Pinterest recipes all because of a recipe my cousin shared in her Facebook group!  It looks really yummy, you can look at it here.

So because this is more of an apology post (sorry I've been slacking at posting), I'm going to keep it short so I can get back to Pinning...it's really too late to be getting back into proofing Ring of Fire.  Maybe tomorrow.

2014 ~ where is it going?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Women in Film

This is where it can get tough.

My last post was about my favorite women in books.  I only wrote about two for times sake.  Lord knows I could go on about this woman or that woman (Jo March, Ayla, Kivrin to name just a few more.)  Today's post is about women in film.

Do not get in her way!
I suppose I could go for the obvious.  Like Black Widow in The Avengers.  LOVE her.  Even tied to a chair, she is in complete control of her situation.  She doesn't have superpowers, she's just an ordinary (enough) woman with highly specialized skills.  She's confident in her ability to handle whatever situation she's in, except maybe when fellow Avenger Bruce Banner transformed into the Hulk; she was a bit unnerved then.  Her character hints at a tragic past in the movie, which from what I've read on the sequel for the movie, we'll see more of.  It's always interesting to see what events helped create these strong women.

Often times, they have no other choice but to be strong.  Life is hard, no matter who you are.

Ready to kick some zombie butt...
Another good example of this is Alice from the Resident Evil movies.  There is no way to take these movies seriously, but that doesn't diminish the character of Alice.  Dealing with amnesia at the beginning of the first movie, Alice handles things with far more spunk than I would.  As the movie progresses and she discovers her own set of highly specialized skills, she gets over her shock and quickly dispatches whichever set of zombies is plaguing her.   I hated that the movie turned dogs into zombies...it's disturbing, but this virus doesn't discriminate between species.  Alice was one of the few rare individuals able to adapt to the virus.  Alice was even able to defeat the Umbrella Corporation's attempt at mind control.

Another female character I like, isn't exactly one of the 'good guys'.  Isn't that how it goes sometimes?

Mirror, Mirror on the wall...
Charlize Theron's portrayal of Ravenna, the evil Queen from Snow White and the Huntsman is riveting (at least in my opinion). In this version of the fairy tale, Ravenna's mother cast a spell over her so that the girl would remain young and beautiful. Because that's the only way that a woman has value and power, right?  Ravenna fell prey to this lie, and magically sucked the youth and beauty from younger woman.  Her obsession to remain youthful and beautiful (and therefore powerful) drove her to cruelty and murder. Personally I felt her character had more depth than that of Snow White.  She walks with confidence, with her head held high, knowing that none can outshine her.  Even though her insecurity is that someone will come along someday and do exactly that.  This particular Queen had nothing to fear in this movie, but of course that's not how the story 'had' to go.  I was quite disappointed that the movie ended with her death.

Of course, these are all fantasy/sci-fi flicks and the scenario's aren't always realistic.  It's no surprise as my taste tends to lean towards that genre.  But I don't think that takes anything away from these complex women and their roles.

I do have other favorites.

Keeping Frank Moses on his toes...
One is Sarah Ross in the movie Red.  It's possible that an everyday customer service agent could end up kidnapped and fall into all sorts of adventures with a retired spy, right?  Especially one who fantasizes about that very thing happening because her real life is, well, boring.  After the initial shock and fear wear off, Sarah adapts to the excitement.  Even though her kidnapper didn't live up to her imaginary expectation of him (she thought he'd have hair) and their first meeting wasn't exactly a stellar first date (she's had worse) she does fall in love with him.  That doesn't take away anything from her independence or adventurous spirit though, because in the second movie she is frustrating her love interest (Frank Moses) with those very things.

Holding her ground...
Another favorite comes from the same movie.  Helen Mirren's ex-spy Victoria kicks some serious tail.  She is as calm and collected firing a machine gun as she is doing a flower arrangement.  To keep her retirement from becoming stale, she takes the 'occasional odd job'...after all, one can only do so many slower arrangements. She's not one bit phased that another ex-spy shows up at her home needing to be stitched up.  Although that's a bit of a stereotype, they make up for it by having the characters originally afraid to got to her for fear of being shot.  We learn that back when she was as spy, her loyalty was questioned because of her love affair with a Russian spy.  To prove her loyalty, she had to kill him.  She shot him three times in the chest, and we later learn that he did survive.  She is gutsy, efficient with her firearms, and at ease with her male counterparts.  Even though she has to drop back from the action because of a gunshot wound, she doesn't just curl up in a corner.  Yes, her Russian spy meets her at a locked gate and rescues her...but hearing Helen Mirren called bunny in Russian is well worth it in my opinion.

Sadly with the exception of Alice, the women I've listed are all side characters.  There is a rumor that Scarlet Johansson's Black Widow will be getting her own solo movie.   That would be pretty cool, even if she is dressed in her skintight black leather.  Whether this is an accurate representation of women in film, I can't even begin to say.

Do you have a favorite movie character you'd like to share?

2014 ~ year of changes

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Women in Books

I made my last blog post about Robin Williams unfortunate death over at Broads of a Feather's blog.  I do not have it in me to continue writing about him, not any time soon.  And I would not want to add to his family's suffering in any way (as if any of them will ever stumble upon my posts!)  So back to my planned posts.

I've been giving this a lot of thought the past week, and to continue my small series on how women are portrayed in entertainment, I'm going to break it into two different posts.  Women in Books, and Film.

In general, I tend to stick with what I like to read.  Occasionally I'll venture out and try a new author or genre.  I ventured out of my norm and read Phoenix Island by John Dixon recently.  It was enjoyable enough; I had no problem finishing it, even though in my opinion it is "Lord of the Flies meets Hunger Games".  And unfortunately, it fails the Bechtel Test.  One conversation between the female First Sergeant and the female love interest about an incident "happening a certain way" isn't exactly stellar.  But onto two of my favorite chicks to read.
Nynaeve al'Meara

Although I've read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books to death, I still reread them.  I like to visit the universe.  Largely because it is one of the epic fantasy universes in which women are on equal standing with men.  There is the usual gender griping: the men thinking the women don't know anything and vice versa, but hey - that's pretty normal even in our universe.

In some cases in Jordan's imagined world, the women are in positions of leadership even above men.  More respected even.  Perhaps because it was the men who Broke the World.  (It can be argued that the world was Broken because the women refused to help the men, but hindsight is always 20/20)

Most of the nations in the world are monarchies.  With as many queens as there are kings.  Villages are ruled by both a Village Council (male) and a Women's Circle.  The two councils battle it out in such a way that each think they hold more sway. Typically the Village Council is led by the Mayor and the Women's Circle by the Wisdom.  The Wisdom is the village healer/weather forecaster/wise woman.  You can go to her to have your illnesses healed, or have her settle an argument you're having with a friend.  The most notable Wisdom in the Wheel of Time series is Nynaeve al'Meara.

At least, that's how her character starts out.  By the time the books end, Nynaeve has progressed from Village Wisdom to being an Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah and Queen of Malkier.  For those of you unfamiliar with these stories, think of an Aes Sedai as Jedi. They are the series' magician servants of the known world.  Nynaeve is not only one of the most powerful Aes Sedai since the Breaking of the World, but she's gone head to head with one the Forsaken from the Age of Legends and matched that woman in the Power.

Nynaeve is head-strong, and confident (even over confident).  Her inclination to heal people of wounds and illnesses drives her to discovering not only new ways to heal, but also discovering ways to heal what was once thought incurable.  From the severing of a person from the One Power to the madness caused by the taint on the male side of the Power.  She has a soft spot for children.  She is brave enough to hunt the Black Ajah (evil), brave enough to walk in the World of Dreams, brave even though she thinks of herself as a coward.  She is also short-tempered, arrogant, prideful and in the beginning she was something of a bully.

Women are a bright shining beacon in the world around them
She routinely pisses me off and amuses me.  The complexity of her character is believable and seemingly well thought out.    In many ways, she is a typical woman.  More powerful than she realizes because she's so afraid of wielding her power that she's managed to block herself from using it.  I think we are all guilty of that at some point in our lives.  Nyaneve, this small town woman from the middle of nowhere ends up participating in some of the most important turning points of this society, from the cleansing of the male half of the One Power to aiding the Dragon Reborn in the Last Battle.

While the series is about the three young men from the same village being focal points and shifting the lives of everyone around them, they could not accomplish half of what they did without the women who accompanied them.  As the series progresses, we see more and more from the women's viewpoints.  And in the end, their greatest feats were won when they worked together.

Not my mental image of Eve, but she'll do
My other favorite woman to read about in fiction doesn't have an image I can share.  Although in the beginning Nora Roberts (AKA JD Robb) posed as the main character in her In Death Series, I'm not sure she counts.  There does seem to be a lot of fan art of Eve Dallas, as well as the other characters in her world.

The In Death Series is the opposite end of the spectrum from Wheel of Time.  WoT is epic fantasy, complete with swords and horseback travel.  In Death is a futuristic world where cops have traded in guns for what amounts to Tazers and vehicles can go vertical at a moments notice.

I'll be honest, I haven't read every single book in the series - yet.  But it is one of my life's goals.  I like the books, because it's easy enough to figure out what's going on that you don't necessarily have to read them in order.  The Romance/Mystery/Crime Drama novels are light and fun, though they can go deep.

Eve Dallas is a far more tragic character than Nynaeve in that her past holds far more trauma.  Determined not to be a victim for the rest of her life, Eve rises above her childhood abuse and creates a life for herself where she needs no one and depends on no one.  A lieutenant in the the New York City police force, where the rules are definitely different from what we have here in the real world, Eve investigates homicides.  However her sense of duty usually lands her in an non-murder incident at least once in a book.  Usually it's a petty pocket thief she's caught while she and her partner are taking a lunch break on the street, or a taxi/minivan accident in the traffic she loves to hate.

Due out in September
While her romance with Roarke, one of the world's richest people, is typical of the Romance genre (quick attraction/quick to bed etc.) it doesn't end there.  Because it is an ongoing series, we get to watch Eve and Roarke (who is another emotionally starved person) learn how to love each other fully.  When you have two strong personalities, both of whom are used to living independent lifestyles, there are bound to be clashes and learning curves for both sides.

Eve has a tough exterior, and an even tougher interior, that covers up a vulnerable woman.  And I like reading about her because of that.  She is proud to be labeled 'top bitch cop' and tends to be embarrassed by the press coverage of her more sensational cases (the Icove Clones) that bring her more popularity of her own.

She has her weaknesses.  Chocolate.  Coffee.  Children terrify her, even as she is driven to protect them.  The woman has more layers than an onion as something new is revealed about her complexity in each book.

Whether she'd ever admit it or not, Eve is what the series calls a sensitive.  Bordering on ESP, one of the ways Eve can solve the tough cases is she knows how to think like the criminal.  She can walk through a crime scene and almost visualize the crime.  It disturbs and awes her partner Peabody on a regular basis.  We all have our talents and this is one of Eve's.

I don't know about you, but I like reading about women who are more than a cookie cutter cutout. I know that there are stereotypical people in real life, but I deal enough with them on a daily basis.  I want to read about someone who's different from those around her.  Having never felt safe to reveal the 'secret me' to anyone, I like reading about women who have more than one facet to their personalities.  I feel that both the women I've mentioned here today exhibit those qualities.  Not everyone will agree, and that's okay.  Different characters will speak to different people.  What draws me, might not be the same that draws you.  Thankfully there are many female characters that fill this bill, these are just two I've read recently that I enjoy.

The really tough part will be picking two women in film to write about!  But I'll be tackling that next post, which given I posted at Broads this week as well, won't be until next week.

Off topic question - any comments about my background tweaks?

2014 ~ Too much sadness

Click HERE :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Dark Side of Joy

True immorality...forever in our hearts
I find that I can't resume my planned posts just yet.

Like many, I am still feeling the blow of Robin Williams' unfortunate death.  I think a large part of this isn't so much all the sharing that has been going on Facebook - - - the video clips and meme's have been a huge comfort.  Williams had such a varied career that there was something for everyone.  I think what drives the knife in deeper has been the overload of 'suicide is for cowards' opinions that have been cropping up.  Expected, perhaps, but that doesn't make it right.  Any more than "freedom of speech" makes right the harassment Zelda Williams received online.

The last thing that anyone needs when a loved one has died, regardless of the cause, is someone's opinion that your loved one is going to hell.  Because honestly, that's all it is --- your opinion.  It's not just insensitive...it is outright cruel.  Even inhuman.

I haven't read Matt Walsh's blog, discussed here and here.  And I won't, because I just can't expose myself to the negativity anymore.  I understand completely why Zelda Williams shut her social media off.

And Fox, why is that anchor still employed with you?  Any apology that has a clarify-er is not an apology.  It's his job to share the news, not pass judgement on the dead and try to get away with it by saying he was 'wondering out loud.'  He can do that on his own time!  He's made the children's experience worse by his own insensitivity.  As if it's not bad enough already without everybody and their brother putting in their two cents worth!

And given the recent revelation that Williams was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease ought to clue those people in to the fact that no matter how public a famous person's life is, there is so much about them that we don't know.  We have no idea what he struggled with in those last few hours.  And honestly, we don't need to. Tweet that nugget.

Really, America needs to get over its obsessive need to know everything. Tweet that nugget.  Because we don't.

The dark side of joy...the weeping before...
I've been thinking a lot about the boy who killed himself in high school.  He was a freshman who ate lunch with my brother and I.  That alone should have told me something, because no one sat with us.  He was a lot like Williams, always making jokes and being a bit wild.  I didn't think much of it when he told me I could keep the book he'd lent me. Just a boy being nice to a girl.  And then one day, he wasn't there.  He'd run away.  And then came the news that they'd found him in the river.  There were no signs of foul play, and they never considered that it could have been an accident.

And I was struck with the knowledge of how little I had actually known about the boy who shared the lunch table with my brother and I.  When I later learned that one of the signs that someone is contemplating suicide is the giving away of their belongings, I couldn't help but feel guilty for something I hadn't known.  I told myself I should have seen in.  Not that I would have been able to help him, I was too wrapped up in my own sorrows.

His name was Jeremy.  And I have never forgotten him.  Just like Robin Williams, I never will.

2014 ~ Be kind to one another

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Sad Day for Us All

"Oh, there you are Peter!"
This is a sad day for us all, and like with Paul Walker's untimely death, I keep hoping to hear the news that the report of Robin Williams' death is nothing more than a hoax.

Shock was my first reaction. I have one friend, who is always at the top of my newsfeed when I go on my mobile Facebook app and like with Paul Walker's death, it was through my friend's top post that I learned of Robin's demise.

I was running late today with regarding my blog post, planning on finishing it and posting it once my dishes were done. However, during one of my last breaks (I can only stand so long) I happened to check Facebook and my entire world came to a screeching halt. No, I didn't know him personally...I didn't even like all his stuff...but he was an actor I loved. My favorite movies of his were Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Hook.

So, instead of going ahead with my original plan, I'm changing it. I'm posting this short piece, sharing this video from Dead Poets Society.


As well as sharing Walt Whitman's poem behind the Oh Captain My Captain quote. Very fitting I think, no matter who the original poem was meant for.

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Token Female In Entertainment and Reality

I've been thinking about this post for a while now, and have to admit that I've held off writing it and posting it partly because of pure good old fashioned fear.  I read this article about Women in Movies and decided that it was time to start writing it.

The article deals with how many roles go to women in today's movies.  Not just the good roles, but the "crappy" roles...or rather, the extras in the movies or side characters whose genders aren't vital to their character.

Anne, one of my favorite heroines...
Female representation in entertainment is something I think about as an author.  I was raised in a rather traditional mindset that the Males are dominate.  God created them first and women were an afterthought to 'help' men rule but not rule on their own.  I'm not here to split hairs about this today, although I will say that this particular teaching is a misreading and twisting of the bible.  Ever since I learned of the Bechdel test for movies, I've asked myself this question about my own work: do I have at least two female characters who talk to each other (without a man present) about something other than a man?

I try to have as many female characters as I do male.  So far, I am a traditional Romance author in that the romance is between a man and a woman.  ("Traditional" church upbringing remember).  I'm only beginning to experiment with characters who are either gay, bi, or lesbian.  As I myself am married to a man, my romances will probably stay in that arena.

Available on Amazon
In Farmer's Daughter, aside from the main female character, there is her friend Michelle.  While they are separated by distance - one lives on the East Coast, the other the West, the two talk often on the telephone about many things.  Most of it is Michelle trying to "play doctor" to her friend, which does become conversations about a man (it is a Romance).  Angela's mother Maude is always trying to push her daughter into a relationship with a man, although not necessarily the one Angela is interested in.  But the two have other conversations as well, about the farm and whether Angela is overworking herself.  Maude and her other daughter Cassandra (or Cassie) are seen talking with each other, and that conversation ranges from Angela's treatment of her younger siblings during their growing up years to the death of the family's oldest son to what kind of job Maude's husband Philip did before Cassie was born.  Grandma Pearl sticks her nose into Angela's romance, and how the past tragedy makes it hard for Angela to love, but I don't think that one can count.

The two antagonists Cori and Susan definitely count.  While their scenes may be small, they are far from unimportant.  While Susan's feelings for her distant cousin take a turn for the worse because of jealousy over the male lead Craig, Cori's motives are not the same.  Cori believes that sabotaging Angela will buy her freedom back from the local crime boss and save her own failing relationship with her live-in boyfriend.  And Susan's need to pull Angela down attracts another's attention, but we don't see that person - another woman - until the sequel Ring of Fire.  Cori will also have a larger role in the second novel, as will the female State Trooper introduced at the end of Farmer's Daughter.  How large their roles will grow, I don't know yet but I can tell you that their friendship took me by surprise so there is no telling at this point how far it will go.

Daisies are a popular flower
in my series
And one cannot forget the town gossips, Flo and her friend Lucy.  They are often seen gossiping while they tend to the bushy hedgerow between their houses.  Their conversations cover most of the other characters in the books: during the opening scene with Craig and his soon-to-be ex-employee Harry they give blow by blow comments letting us know that this isn't the first time they've seen this; Angela herself is a frequent topic, mostly about her attempt to save the family farm and her past exploits because Flo just cannot admit that she's wrong about Craig's sexuality.

In Ring of Fire, due to release later this summer or early fall, I've added a few new female characters.  Toni, who in many ways will come to replace Michelle.  We all have friendships that wax and wane over the years, some bounce back but some never do.  Angela has a housekeeper whose only given name so far is Nan.  The new antagonist Nikki is often seen alone (although she does have conversations with her girlfriend over the phone), while the other antagonist Veronica is often only seen with her male family members.  There is a scene near the beginning of the book where Angela is in the farmhouse kitchen with her mother and grandmothers - seen through Cassie's viewpoint.  That conversation has nothing to do with a man as it is by and large about Angela: whether she's eating right, whether she's on birth control or not, and why she needs a housekeeper.  Cassie intervenes to take the focus off of her sister and whole new subjects are introduced, mainly Cassie new tongue ring and her sexual exploits at college.  My favorite comment in that scene is when Maude's mother makes a comment to Maude about how her daughters are just like she was growing up.  Maude is still embarrassed about the way she lived when the children were very young and often does not allow mention of it and it will be interesting to see how her character will develop in later novels.  At least for me.  The character of Sherry has never been seen without her husband Kevin, but I can promise you that changes in the third book.

I think part of the reason why we see so few females in important roles, or even crappy roles in both movies and novels is because of how things are in real life. Movies have what I call the "Token Female" just like workplaces will have the Token Female supervisors.  I can't talk about generalities, I can only talk about what I have seen in my own workplaces.  And that is where the aforementioned fear comes in.  I dare not tell tales on any of my work places, past or present.  Not and get away with it.

Unless I don't name them.

One place I have worked, in my department there was only one female supervisor.  One.  There were two supervisor assistants roles filled by women, and there are at least twice as many of those positions as there are supervisors.  I can't begin to tell you the male/female ratio of workers in the whole department, but in my particular section we were mostly women.  I noticed how in promotional videos that the company made these Token Females in leadership positions were always featured, like it was common in our plant.  When the truth is the opposite.  What you saw in the video is it.  None of the upper leadership were women, except for the HR Director. While I am in no way deeming her position, as Human Resources is an important part of any company, she is only one woman.  All the other decision making positions are filled by men.  What the hierarchy looks outside of that plant, I can't tell you as there is very little contact with the front line employees from Corporate.  Their flyers they mailed looked equal, but I know how those kind of things go.

Another place I worked, the night shift supervisor position had a high turnover rate.  When I was hired, there was one man on his way out and other set to take over.  That man lasted in the position about a year.  The woman that took over for him did not last that long.  She gave it up herself.  From there we had another man, and then we went without for awhile just having a "supervisor assistant".  Last I heard the female supervisor they had when I stopped working there is still in charge - which I credit to the change in the leadership above her.  (He often lamented that he could never keep a supervisor for more than a year.)  The biggest reason why we had such a high turnover in that position, and even with the general employees, was because of the attitude of the Night Shift Production Manager.  I think that was his title.  He was unsupportive of all his supervisors, male or female; although he favored the female employees in general - and not always in a good way.  Again, the higher up in the hierarchy you went, the fewer females in leadership there were.

When I worked at the library, the head librarian was male.  The rest of us were all women.  He has since left to another job and his place was taken by a female.  That was after I decided to give the job up as it was too much to deal with at the time as I was trying to work night shift.  It is the job I missed the most.  I was treated the best there, and the job itself made me happy.  This is just one library in the system though. The females tend to outnumber the males, but last I knew the head librarian of that system is now a man.  It is of course a completely different dynamic than the factories I've worked at.  Like night and day.

Strong and courageous
Image downloaded from morgueFile
So once again, I think one of the reasons why females have such a low profile in many novels and movies, is because we are often overlooked in reality. We are passed over for jobs and routinely slighted in our abilities and talents. Things are changing, but never as fast as we'd like them to.

Next time I'll cover a few of my favorite books and movies series that give women their just due.  Series that show woman as equal to men, whether they are good or bad, strong or weak.  Women who are as complex as real women are.

And that's not a bad thing because we are complex.  Many of us play different roles in our daily lives.  Wife, mother, mistress, teacher, friend, doggy walker...the list goes on. We are strong and courageous.  We are weak and cowardly.  We give into temptations.  We deny ourselves our deepest desires.  Why should we expect anything less in the characters we love on screen and on the pages of the books we read.

Until next time, keep reading!

2014 ~ Keeping on  keeping on...because that's what we do

Monday, August 4, 2014

Impulse Blogging: Not For Every Post!

In some things, I am a perfectionist.

You'd never know this by how I keep house, I have spiderwebs in the corners and dust on my figurines.  But then, the spiders and I do have this agreement - as long as they stay out of my reach, they get to live!

But when it comes to writing, I pull out the magnifying glass.  It doesn't matter whether it's a novel, a poem or a blog post...deep down I never feel like it's finished or good enough.

While I've been blogging in one form or another since 2005, I am still learning. Especially since I began to blog as part of my online platform as an Indie Author. There are a lot of things I am still trying to "define" or consciously remember as I type.  Like writing for my target audience instead of everyone.

Rebekah Radice, my favorite social media guru, shared some of her advice from her own blogging experience in this GooglePlus Hangout recently.  I've heard and read a lot of it before, but that doesn't always mean I've actually thought about the topic.  You can watch it here if you're a fellow blogger just getting started, or if like me you've been blogging for years and need to make changes.

One thing I've never given too much thought about has been the color of my blog.  I have the color scheme that I do pretty much just because I like it.  I like purple.  It's says "pretty" to me.  I may end up looking into color psychology, but whether I'll ever change the color - I don't know.  It depends on whether that's the message I decide I want to send!  I do wonder what a yellow based blog would look like, because yellow says Happy!! to me.  We'll have to see about that one.

The list never really ends, does it?  lol :)
Another thing that came up in the video was which blogging platform was best.  +Rebekah Radice is a WordPress fan, because it gives you ownership of your own content.  Which apparently not true of Blogger.  Say What???  I've used Blogger since day one.  Never gave much thought to who 'owned' what I post.  I may have to look into that.  But there's no hurry at this moment.  Just one more thing on my To Do List!

I started out with a pretty frilly font, but I like what I have now better.  There weren't any complaints, but since I kept wondering if anyone had any trouble reading it, I decided I'd better change it.  Because if it was frilly enough that I was wondering, odds are there were people out there going, "I wish she'd write in a different font."

One thing I really need to get cracking on is formulating some kind of blog schedule.  Most of the time I have no idea what I'm going to be writing about.  Even this post came as a surprise to me, after I watched the video interview.  Even if I end up breaking it, I ought to plan ahead a bit better.  Especially since I went a few looooooooong weeks without internet in my home and wasn't able to get into my account on outside computers (thanks to two-step verification!!)  If I had been smart, I would have had posts written and scheduled for publication.  I mean, I knew it was going to happen!

There is nothing wrong with being spontaneous and blogging about something off the cuff.  Or even looking at your scheduled topics and changing your mind.  But if you don't have that list to look at, each time you...uhm, I...sit down to write a post - you're starting from scratch and sometimes you...uhm, I...just draw this blank.  All too often I am an Impulse Blogger - and while that can be a strength, like today's post, it's not something I should rely on for every post!  Tweet it!

Now if I will just be able to decipher all my shorthand...
Likewise, there's nothing wrong with just writing a short post updating readers on what's going on in your life.  My life.  I say YOU, when I really mean ME because it's easier to preach if I can pretend I'm not talking to myself!  All too often recently there hasn't been anything interesting to report!  "Yup, another blah day - did physical therapy, got hubby to work, hung out with friends."  People will get tired of those kind of posts pretty darn quick!  I know I do!

Now, I do have a great story to relate about an awesome anniversary gift from my in-laws...but I have to take pictures first.  Trust me on that one!

I did take notes while I watched the video, of things I know I need to pay attention to.  A lot of great things to ponder and consider.  I even hit pause a time or two because my fingers just weren't cooperating and I couldn't write fast enough!  Because this isn't even the only blog I have to think about!  I have to apply this to the blog I co-author with C.P. Stringham, Broads of a Feather.  At least when it comes to my own posts.

Speaking of which, I need to switch gears.  This week is my week to post...and well, yeah I need a schedule of some kind for that blog too because...I don't know what I'm writing about yet!  I'd better do some brain storming!  (And some laundry...)

2014 ~ A year of more changes...