Sunday, December 27, 2009
I hope everyone had a great Christmas. We had a winter wonderland here and the kids in the neighborhood have been out sleighing in our driveway. lol Remember doing that as a kid. Brrr! No way could you get me out there now. lol
This will be one of shortest blogs, but I wanted to wish all of you a healthy and Happy New Year.
For some good news, my book, Addiction, received a wonderful review from BK Books, and I'm absolutely thrilled with the five stars they gave me.
Review by BK Walker - Addiction by Sandra K. Marshall is one of the best books I've come across this year! A must read for those that love a true murder and mystery.
If you wish to read more of the review you may go to this link:
Thank you to all who have visited my blog this year. Even to those who didn't leave a comment. Wink! I know you are there. Smile.
Happy New Year! Stay safe and may there be peace even if it's just in our little corner of the world.
Next week, I'll post the winners of my contests.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Today, I'm going to tell you about my favorite childhood Christmas traditions. On Christmas Eve, I loved going to church because all of the children enacted the nativity scene that night to celebrate the birth of Christ. At the end of the services as we streamed out of the church wishing everyone a Merry Christmas we were handed a string bag with candy and nuts in it before we walked out into a winter wonderland to see snow falling and the glow of streetlights.
That wasn't the end of the evening. After church, we drove just a few blocks to Grandma and Grandpa's house. The Christmas tree sitting in front of their picture window brightly lit welcomed us and the excitement built in my cousins, sister, brother and me knowing what was inside. Grandma had hot chocolate and cookies ready for us when we went through the door. One look at all the gloriously wrapped gifts and the ones that weren't wrapped drove that from our minds.
Of course, we always got to unwrap gifts first, then we had the hot chocolate and cookies before leaving sleepily to go to our own homes. It was a lovely tradition and one I have missed. It was a time when families were close no matter what issues they might have with one another.
There were other Christmas traditions that I liked very much. We opened gifts at home on Christmas Day, and then we went to Grandma and Grandpa's to open more and for dinner. The whole day was spent cooking, eating, playing games, laughing and talking. I usually found time to sit in a corner reading the latest Trixie Belden or Nancy Drew book I had gotten for Christmas.
Another thing I liked about Christmas as a kid was the carolers who came to visit our house on a cold wintery night. We lived in the country and the snow was deep. Always, the carolers were invited in to warm themselves and drink a cup of chocolate while they sampled cookies. The carolers went to all the farms in our community. It was wonderful.
Remember January 1st, I'll be announcing the winners of my contest.
Thank you for visiting and feel free to tell your favorite Christmas, Hanukkah, or other religious traditions at this time of the year.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
It's Sunday, and I'm blogging. Smile. Okay, I'm doing something a bit different today. My heroine, Jolene, is going to interview the villain of my story, ADDICTION. Yay! Just beware though, that the hero might just pop in at any time. There's no stopping that man.
Jolene: Why do you kill women?
Villain: They are evil bitches.
Jolene: Huh! Why do you say that?
Villain: They are never there for you. They are supposed to protect their kids.
Hero: Humph. He's evil, not women. I should amend that, not all women.
Jolene: Why do you say women should protect their kids? Don't they usually?
Villain: The old witch who was my mother didn't. She deserved to die.
Jolene: Gasp! Did you kill your mother?
Hero: That was probably his first kill, that's where it started.
Jolene: Oh no. How horrible!
Villain: Turning to hero. You think you know it all, but you don't know me. Not at all.
Hero: I know your type. I've seen your profile. If you are not stopped, you'll continue to
kill innocent women.
Villain: Ha! None of these women are innocent.
Jolene: Why do you say that? What did they do that was so bad.
Villain: Um, uh. They allowed their children to be abused.
Jolene: Your crazy. All of the women you've killed have been single.
Villain: Sneering, I've seen their type. I saved their children from being abused in the
Jolene: You don't know that they would allow that to happen. Why do you want to kill
me? I haven't done anything to you.
Villain: You! You're the worse of all. You're an alcoholic, he said, contempt dripping
from his tone.
Jolene: I've quit, she said tearfully.
Villain: Yeah right. That's what she said.
Jolene: I want to live. Don't I deserve some happiness?
Villain: Hell no! He sprang forward, his hands reaching for her. You never showed me
any happy times.
Hero: Hey, wait just a moment. He stepped behind the man, wrapped his arm around
his chest. This chat is over.
Jolene: She stared into space hoping that it could really end like it had in her
imagination. Would she live to find love? She hoped so.
Okay, folks, don't forget the contest that started December 1st. The details are on my November 29th post. Also, the contest that started December 6th is an easy one, all you have to do is leave the most comments for the month of December.
Vicki Wurgler is the winner of my Author Island contest at http://www.authorisland.com and she won a big basket full of goodies. Among them is a DVD of casino games, candles, lotion, etc.
That's all until next Sunday. Keep warm and safe.
Buy link for Addiction: http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/addiction.htm
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I have decided to have another contest before the first one is finished. lol This one is going to be for the rest of the month, and it's going to be easier. All you have to do is make the most comments for the rest of the month of December starting today. Easy. Right! We'll see.
Once again, I'm not telling you the prize. It's going to be another surprise. Wink!
Before I close today, I want to remind you of pet shelters, nursing homes, children, food banks, Salvation Army, and homeless shelters that need our help. This is the season for giving, so please help where ever you can. I know everyone is needing something and none of us can do everything, but just one present to a person in a nursing home or to a child can make a huge difference in their lives. One dollar in a Salvation Army kettle can do so much.
Thank you. Until next Sunday.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I'm having a contest for the month of December. It will start December 1st through December 31st. Won't it be fun to receive a present in the mail after Christmas? I would love it myself. lol
Here's what you have to do. There are two questions to answer: 1. Give description of young woman at the Regional Laboratory. 2. What did the tautness of Jake's arms tell Jolene?
The answers can be found at http://www.skaymarshall.com/ and at http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/ by reading both excerpts of ADDICTION.
Remember the answers can't be posted until Tuesday, December 1st. For those who want to leave an answer but don't know how just use anonymous and put your name under the comment.
See you next Sunday.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
As a child, I often wondered about people and what their lives were like. For instance, in the eighth grade, I often watched a friend of mine and wondered what she was thinking as she stared out the window. There was something about her that caused me to worry about her even though I didn’t know why. She was a cheerleader and very popular, but she was very kind and not one of the mean cheerleaders you hear about today. We moved to another town that year, and I learned a few months later that Barbara had been diagnosed with Leukemia. Had she known? I believe she had a premonition that she might not be on this earth long.
Going back to that small town for holidays, I would call Barbara to talk to her, and she would talk about her visits to the hospital for treatments. The last time I talked to her I could tell that it might be the last one, and I was right. A couple of days later she was taken to the hospital and did not come home. Her family distraught over their loss moved away a year or two later.
When I started working for an airline in 1962, after a couple of years of spreading my wings and having fun, I decided there were more important things to do than have fun. I thought about the type of volunteer work I would like to do and decided I wanted to work with orphans. Not knowing of any orphanages, I looked them up in the telephone book and found one not to far from where I was living, east of main street. I called to make an appointment to visit, and when I went there I learned it was an all black orphanage. The man who ran the orphanage asked if it made a difference to me. I said, “no” as I’d had a close black friend in high school.
I got involved with reading programs at the orphanage, took the girls on excursions to movies and museums in an attempt to show them there was more out there than what they had experienced so far. I was able to teach these kids a lot, but they knew so much more than I did in certain areas of life. Many of these kids had been abused sexually, beaten physically and mentally. These kids didn’t open up immediately; in fact they challenged me, wanting to know why a white girl would come into their lives. All I could tell them was that I was meant to be with them for a time.
It turned out to be a short time too, because not many months after that the riots started in our city. One day after they started I was at the orphanage, the guy who ran it pulled me aside to tell me, he didn’t want me to come back. He felt it was too dangerous, and he couldn’t be responsible for me. I had had a good day with the girls and didn’t want to tell them good-bye, so I told him I would be back one more time in order to explain to the girls why I wouldn’t be working with them any more. However, I never got a chance to explain because of something that happened when I left there.
At a stop sign, a few blocks from the orphanage, a group of men stood on the corner with angry faces. They started toward me and a couple of guys started pushing my car, and I hurriedly stepped on the pedal and took off. Some of them chased me, and it made me fearful to go back.
(One of these days, I'm going to blog about something pertaining to this section of my post, but it's controversial and though it's on my mind I've been putting it off. I'm sorry for being such a chicken).
None of these things have deterred me from wanting to do something to help others. Now, in my stories, I hope some day to make a difference. I will always write about topics that concern me.
Okay folks, you’ve learned a little more about what makes me tick. Have a good week, and I’ll see you next Sunday.
Remember as always, all comments are welcome even if you disagree with any of my opinions.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Today, you get to see the Trailer I intend to put on YouTube. I admit that I didn't make this video, instead a very good friend, Willie Arrowood made it for me. She doesn't know it, but I'm already thinking of another for her to make. lol Thank you, Willie, for doing this for me. Monster hug for you. Smile.
Just click on the lower left corner of the video to see the trailer. I hope all of you enjoy my video and it makes you want to read ADDICTION.
Until next Sunday, have a good week.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Welcome my good friend, guest, author, Linda LaRoque. Waving at Linda. I am glad to have you here today, and I’m loaded with questions.
Response: Hi Sandy. I’m waving back at you. Thank you for having me as your guest.
SM: Linda, how does your family and friends feel about your writing? Do they support you?
LL: They’re happy for me and very supportive. They like to tease me about knowing me before I was rich and famous. Haha. We beginning authors know we spend more money than we make. Hopefully one day the reverse will be true.
Question: When did you first start writing?
Answer: I didn’t start until the early 1990s. At the time I was suffering from depression and writing was therapeutic for me. Later, after reading a romance I said to my husband, “I think I could write a romance. It can’t be that hard.” Boy, I ate those words over and over again. Writing romance is as hard as writing any other genre and requires learning and practice.
Question: Are you writing in more than one genre?
Answer: Yes. I write contemporary western romances, time-travel romances, and am in the process of finishing a futuristic romance.
Question: Tell us a bit about your story.
Answer: Flames On The Sky is book two of The Turquoise Legacy. In book one, My Heart Will Find Yours, Texanna owns a locket containing a mystical piece of turquoise. In book two, heroine Madison Evans inherits the locket and begins having bad dreams about being chased by Indians in a past time period. To learn the stone’s origin, Madison travels to New Mexico and learns she’s part of an ancient prophecy to capture an escaped evil spirit determined on destroying the Native American heritage in the Four Corners area.
Question: Most of your stories that I have read are pretty sweet, do you plan to write something grittier or steamier?
Answer: Flames On The Sky, as are all of my The Wild Rose Press releases, is rated spicy. My western contemporaries at Champagne Books are rated sensual. I doubt I’ll write anything with hot or erotic ratings, but you never know.
Question: Do you find sex scenes hard to write?
Yes, I do. I think it’s hard to write them where they don’t read stilted or mechanical.
Linda, would you give us a blurb and an excerpt of your story?
The Anasazi whispered of this evil and of the
woman who could defeat it.
Fire, sky, and stone must unite to fulfill an ancient prophecy.
Madison Evans inherits a turquoise locket, travels to New Mexico, and discovers the stone dates back to the Chacoan Anasazi. When she's attacked, parks ranger Lonan Stone, of Chacoan ancestry, fears Madison's turquoise is a missing twin of the revered Fallen Skystone, an egg size piece of turquoise on display in Albuquerque. The mystical stone is missing two slivers – one’s in Madison’s necklace, the others whereabouts unknown, but if united by evil they can destroy.
Madison and Lonan are part of a 1000 year old prophecy to save Chaco Canyon. Thrust back in time, they meet a witch, solve a murder, fall in love, and imprison a 1000 year old evil spirit. Their mission complete, can these two people from different cultures blend their lives as the prophecy predicted?
Madison felt as if she’d traveled to the Twilight Zone. Lilly’s claims were preposterous, but, she couldn’t deny what she’d seen on the cliff face or the dreams.
“Yes, you need to tell me about the dreams. They started at the time you received the necklace, right?”
Madison nodded. “How did you know?”
“I assumed the ancient Elders would haunt you, but when Lonan called yesterday, I knew so for a fact.” Her smile was sympathetic. “Tell me about them.”
Lilly’s eyes lit with excitement as Madison talked. When she finished, the older woman leaned back and closed her eyes.
Lonan’s brow was furrowed, his mouth pinched. “What did you mean when you said, ‘You are the one.’?”
She pierced him with an intent look. “Did not Madison say you were the very image of the warrior in her dream? The prophecy requires that someone from the past, which is you, son, be chosen to be Madison’s protector.” Lilly turned to Madison.
Oh, no. I don’t think I want to hear this. She held up her hands and shook her head. “No—”
“Yes, Madison, with hair of fire, whether you like it or not, the Gods chose you, someone from the future, to find the third stone and reunite the twins with the mother stone. Together, you two will find a way to consign the evil one to the pit below mother earth where he belongs.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tghS1kr6TnY Flames on The Sky
Question: How did you come up with the idea for this story, Linda?
Answer: The piece of turquoise in Texanna’s locket had mystical abilities. I decided one of her ancestors would inherit the locket and need to discover where the turquoise originated. In my research I learned much of the turquoise in the United States came from a region of New Mexico, and that the Anasazi in Chaco Canyon had a monopoly on its trade. From these facts the story evolved.
I remember Texanna's story and loved it. Flames on the Sky sounds just as good. I'm eager to read it.
Question: Do you write at the same time every day, or do you just fit writing in when you can? What is your schedule like?
Answer: I spend time in the morning checking emails, loops, and blogs. Then I begin writing. I write until around 3:00. Sometimes I write in the evenings and am often at my most creative late at night.
Question: Do you make an outline before you begin writing or do you just come up with an idea and get started?
Answer: I usually get an idea and start writing but at some point I write a short outline to check for story elements, conflict, etc. Character profiles also help me to flesh out the hero and heroine.
Linda, tell everyone when your book will be released and where it can be found.
Flames On The Sky is out now with The Wild Rose Press.
And at Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Flames-Sky-Linda-LaRoque/dp/1601545827/ref=pd_nr_b_21?ie=UTF8&s=books in paperback.
Linda, it's been great having you here today, but I know you're eager to get back to writing your next story. I wish you much success with your career.
Response: Thank you for having me, Sandy. I appreciate the opportunity to share Flames On The Sky with you and your readers. Good luck with your new release Addiction. Happy Sales! You know I’ll be getting my copy.
Linda LaRoque ~Western Romance with a Twist in Time~ A Law of Her Own, Desires of the Heart, My Heart Will Find Yours, Flames on the Sky10-9, Forever Faithful, Investment of the Heart, When the Ocotillo Bloom
Have a great week everyone. I’ll be back next Sunday.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
That's right! Today is the release date for ADDICTION. You can buy it at http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/ as an ebook.
If you would like to read an excerpt go to my website http://www.skaymarshall.com/ or go to my publisher's site for their excerpt.
To help celebrate my day, I'm having a contest with a surprise prize to the lucky person who can answer this question.
At the shooting range, how many shots did Jolene fire? Now, of course, it's in one of those excerpts I told you about. lol
Sandra K. Marshall, Author
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Halloween’s origins are believed to date back 2000 years ago when the Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st. On October 31st, they celebrated Samhain, a night that they believed the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. These ghosts were believed to cause havoc upon the land during this night. Supposedly, these spirits made it easier for Celtic priests to make predictions about the future. They would build bonfires to offer sacrifices of crops and the weaker animals that might not survive the winter. During the ceremony, the Celts wore costumes consisting of animal heads and skins, and told each other their fortunes. They may have used people as sacrifices, but I don’t believe this is confirmed. I will add that this is a very simplified version of what may have happened.
(Article by Diana Windgassen: The History of Halloween)
Some people believe that Halloween evolved out of the Catholic holiday called All Hallows Eve, which occurs before All Saints Day, a general celebration of the saints on November 1st. However, All Saints Day was originally celebrated on May 13, and in the Orthodox Church it continues that tradition. Pope Gregory III is credited with moving it in the 9th century to November 1st. Many Christians who are against Halloween celebrations believe that All Saints Day was moved to co-opt a Celtic Irish celebration call Samhain. The connection between these two celebrations is that Samhain placated or honored the dead and All Saints Day celebrates dead saints. This is the cause of much debate. (Is Halloween Christian, Pagan or Secular by Catherine Beyer)
Many Christians believe that we embrace and evil day of Satan when we celebrate Halloween. There are quotes from the Bible that testify to this. I could give you way more history on this, and I admit the topic of Halloween is a complicated one.
My question to all of you is do you think Halloween is evil or fun innocence?
Here is my take on Halloween: This holiday has been diluted regardless of whether its intent was to be evil or good. It has become a hodge-podge of traditions, and I believe we have made Halloween a different tradition from the originals ones. Evil is rampant everywhere in this world, and it’s there day or night. Yes, there’s more evil on Halloween night, but that’s because anyone can wear a costume and hide their true identity.
It’s fun for our little boys to dress up as super heroes and princesses, or anything they want to be. Heck, it is fun for all of us to masquerade once in a while.
I’ll be eager to hear the comments today. Grin.
Until next Sunday, have a great week.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog about the alpha hero. To be fair, I am going to give equal time to the heroine. This woman is the other half of the alpha male, and they belong together even though they may not think so at times.
People usually think the heroine is gorgeous, but she can be as ordinary as you and me. She may have freckles, pimples, be too tall, too short, have thin hair, thick hair, too thin, or too heavy. Hey, don’t all women think they are too something. Lol I do. She is still going to be feisty.
Being spirited doesn’t mean she argues with the hero, but it does mean she gives as much as she gets from him. She’s not a doormat to this alpha male, and she lets him know she’s quite capable of taking care of herself even though she occasionally likes to have someone to lean on.
Heroines are never weepy little milquetoasts who play helpless to the hilt. They are strong women with faults just like women in real life. They battle their problems and manage to come out on top. Of course, they may get some help from that alpha male but in return the heroine also assists him.
Heroines are able to compromise, to see all sides of an issue and make decisions based on all aspects of a subject. Are you beginning to see one of the major differences between the hero and heroine? Yes, men are straight forward and to the point whereas women analyze. Lol This is the very thing that drives men and women crazy with each other.
This spunky heroine is a communicator, and she makes her hero talk back to her even when he doesn’t want to. She may be a little wordy at times, but she wants to get everything explained so there’s no misunderstanding. The alpha male says what he has to say in as few words as possible and sometimes there’s confusion caused by his terseness. Our heroine may run away (for a while), or she may stay to clear up the confusion.
Our heroine is not perfect, but she has a good heart and will fight for the underdog, is loyal to friends, family and the hero. She has the same flaws that most women have. Remember women are from Venus and men are from Mars.
Hey guys, what is your idea of a heroine? For writers, what do you think a heroine should be like? Ladies, do think of your self as a heroine? You should. We have the qualities to be one.
Until next Sunday, have a great week.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Today, I'm promoting my publisher, Eirelander Publishing. They have two excellent stories out from their Heat Line this month. I guarantee that heat does not mean mindless sex because these stories have great plots to them. The only one I've read so far is Master and Commander's Prey and I loved the characters in this historical time travel.
A Panther's Flight When a mate is worth waiting for. Fane Baron is a Reign warrior—a sanctioned killer charged with hunting down the rogue vampyre cats of the Sovereign Kind. Haunted by memories of stalking his best friend and afraid the same contagious addiction will consume him, Fane makes a drastic decision; he’ll stop taking blood. He knows the consequences of his decision, the problem is, can he live with himself once he meets her…? Edy Adair is in a predicament of her uncle's making. A few days from her first change to a panther, already dealing with the clawing emotional turmoil of being in heat, she’s headed on a short flight to Arizona with the vampyre cat of her dreams. Only problem, he isn’t the mate chosen for her by her parents. The fact is he killed her cousin!Genre - Paranormal Romance/ ShifterLength - NovellaHeat Level - Sensuous/CarnalPrice - 3.99http://www.facebook.com/l/31a4e;eirelander.webs.com/apanthersflight.htm
Master and Commander's PreyThere is only one law in his world...his. Shiloh Montgomery-Moore is the queen of hiding in the shadows. This penchant is an avoidance dance meant to stave off her father’s fists and her mother’s barbs. Hot tempered, distrusting, Shiloh is determined to forge her own path in the world. Little does she know, that the path leads her to the strange anomaly know as The Veil. Whisked back in time, she finds out danger lurks everywhere and nothing can save her from a bleak future except a man of war, a master and commander. Captain of the H.M.S. Predator, Jacob Christopher Wolfson, has his official orders–capture the French war vessel, The Bordeaux. It isn’t in his strategy to be chained to a ‘supposed’ time traveler. Immediately attracted to the mystery woman found aboard his ship, Jacob has but one chance to save his sanity and his mission; he’ll take Shiloh Montgomery-Moore to his bed or wherever the opportunity presents itself. Genre - Historical Romance/ Time TravelLength - NovellaHeat Level - Carnal Price - 3.99This story contains - mild Dom/sub and anal play http://www.facebook.com/l/31a4e;eirelander.webs.com/mastercommanderprey.htm
Go take a look around Eirelander Publishing at http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/ to see if there may be other upcoming books to interest you.
Until next Sunday, have a great week.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Who is the alpha male? He is your husband, brother, son, father, brother-in-law, a neighbor, a co-worker, or anyone. I’m not saying all men are alpha males, but enough of them are so that you feel safe with them when the going gets difficult. They are the ones who take care of their spouses, girlfriends, children when they are in danger.
Why do readers want them in the books they read? Most women want a hero, a person, who is there for them when they are needed. Here is the rub. The alpha male is a take charge kind of man, and he doesn’t turn that attitude off and on at will in real life. So although readers want to read about this guy they may not want one in their real lives all the time. That’s right ladies; we want to see a tender side in our men sometimes. lol
Being a writer, I can provide that for you in the hero of my story. That’s because I’m in charge and not him. Lol It all goes back to women wanting to change their men and make them the way we think they should be. That just isn’t going to happen in real life.
Even in fiction, the hero has his faults and this can be what causes the conflicts in the story. It’s working through those conflicts that a woman likes in a book. It gives her hope that there really is a man like that out there.
The alpha male is succinct in his speech whereas women take longer to get the same thought out, and most men don’t have patience with long winded people. Lol Can an alpha male be tender and soft? Oh yes, he can. Even that grouchy husband of yours, father or son who says, “yeah or whatever” instead of using complete sentences can throw you for a loop when you least expect it. That’s when you know why you love them in the first place.
We all have our alpha males, and all we have to do is remember the good things about them rather than their faults. Grin. I have the perfect one for me.
This is my opinion why people like to read romances about the alpha hero, but do you have a different reason why you like to read them.
Until next Sunday have a good week.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I’m a mystery romance writer. I have had two books published digitally, The Catalyst and Addiction. I have a website at http://www.skaymarshall.com/ and I post blogs at two different sites, http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com/ on Sunday’s and http://www.royalblushauthors.blogspot.com/ once a month.
Yesterday, I went to my RWA chapter meeting and our program was on blogging. The discussion came up whether to blog or not.. Some said it takes too much time away from their stories, one said she didn’t know what to write and no one will read what I have to say. One author said she was too negative, another said she came across as sarcastic when she was really trying to be funny, or I’m boring. One well-known author even said she goes to her blog every now and then and writes some silly little thing, but she never gets any comments.
Blogging does take some time and effort. I usually write mine in two settings and look it over three times before I post it. All in all I spend about two or three hours on it. There are times when I write it in an hour and post it like I may have to do this week.
I never run out of ideas for a blog. If it happens I have a file full of possible subjects to write about. Seldom have I had to use that list because new thoughts are always popping into my mind. For instance, blogging wasn’t the topic I was going to write about this week, but I felt like this needed to be addressed.
Okay, no one will read what I have to say is a little harder to deal with. We don’t really know if people are going to like or want to read what we write. Duh! Does everyone like what you say to them in person? Does everyone just love your little pea picking heart? Hell no! Can we really allow ourselves to worry about that? Yeah, we want to be liked, but let’s be realistic we can’t bat a hundred on our blogs anymore than we can in our every day life.
I try to write about a variety of topics so most of them are geared to readers and not to writers. Some of the blogs I’ve visited are totally geared to writers and that’s fine, but I’m much more interested in attracting readers. One of the things I’ve found is that readers are not likely to leave comments. They go in and read your blog and leave, but if you have a stat counter in place you’ll be able to see how many people visited you, how long they stayed, where they came from and if they are repeat visitors.
As a blogger you need to know that you should set up a certain day every week that you’ll be posting, and make it an obligation to post on that day. When you can’t make it at that time be sure to explain why. Your readers are forgiving when there is a valid reason.
To the author who writes silly little things and doesn’t get any comments, what do you expect when you don’t post but once in a while and when you do you don’t tell anyone.
You should send a message to your friends and groups to let them know you posted because that’s the only way you’ll gain a following. Also, if you don’t follow up with a response people do quit returning to your site. As for writing silly little things, I don’t agree with your assessment on silly. Your personality shine through on your blog. Smile. Everyone who knows you loves that bubbly person.
In today’s world having a website and a blog is a necessary tool for promoting your self and your books. This blog will show everyone the type of person you are when they read it. Most of the time I’m far too serious, but there are times when I’m silly, too. Some people like the serious side and others don’t, and the same is true with my funny side.
Next, I want to ask writers what is your opinion about blogging. Do you think it is beneficial to your career? READERS, do you like my blogs, topics, etc.?
That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
So now we come to one of those topics that worry me. Credit card fraud is a growing white collar crime along with many others. With the age of the Internet, hackers who are diligent can get in anywhere, and any security you have is not one hundred percent safe.
Recently, when my computer was hacked into, I had to change our credit cards because I had bought some things on-line using my CC numbers and didn’t want to take the chance that they had been stolen.
Last week, my Wisconsin RWA group was all abuzz because many members had received letters from the Radisson Hotel where they had their writer’s conference saying that their credit department had been breached. At this time, everyone thought it was just their group at this particular hotel who had been hit. Only it turned out the main credit department for all the Radisson Hotels had been broken into.
Some members had their CC’s used in California, Colorado, Oregon, Bangladesh, and probably many more places not mentioned. Was this the work of hackers? It’s too wide spread to be just a hotel employee (not to say there isn’t one working with them), so I say most definitely somewhere there are hackers involved in getting these numbers.
RT (Romantic Times) had their conference in Orlando, Florida, and some of those people had their credit cards used by someone other than themselves. One of the MARA-RWA members told me her roomy had charges on her card that she didn’t make, but her roommate hadn’t used that card at the hotel. She’d used it across the street at a convenience store.
One author even had someone try to buy $1250.00 worth of shoes with her numbers. Now, I’m guessing she might like to have those shoes for herself. Smile. Although, I doubt she would buy that many at a time or spend that much.
Another place where there have been fraud issues is at Vista Print, a company where you can order business cards. A parent company takes your CC number and signs you up for something called Passport to Fun, whether you want it or not, which gets you discounts.
Two other authors found problems with Vista Print, there were charges on their CC’s that they didn’t recognize that came from them. One author happened to read an article in AARP about “negative option marketing,” which said a merchant doesn’t have to sell you anything; he can assume you bought it. Those free sites and free trial period deals get you into these kinds of deals. This is an illegal practice and it is fraud.
What can you do? 1. The article suggested you insist on them sending you a contract. 2. If you get charged for a negative option program, contact your state attorney at www.naag.org, file a complaint with the FTC at www.fte.gov or call 1-877-382-4357. 3. Check your charge statement and beware of free trial offers. There are fraud hotlines to go to as well. Also, the article said some insurance companies use this practice, too.
One of the author’s from MARA recommends getting pre-paid Visas, but check into other CC’s to see if they do this, too. For a pre-paid card just put enough money on the card for the trip, then your home account information isn’t available for theft. Just max out those cards during the trip or cash them out when you get home so there is no paper trail leading to you.
Many of you reading this may think that just conferences or writers are being targeted, but that would be far from the truth. Each and every one of us is a target in today’s world.
For instance, my brother was overcharged on his telephone bills a year or so ago for calls made to Jamaica. They tried to tell him he’d misdialed, but he fought them on it and got the charges dropped.
Do you check your credit card statement, or do you just pay the bill?
I always go over my monthly statement and check each item off before I send in my payment. I attribute my care to detail to my work in the airline maintenance. We were required to go over the paperwork multiple times to make sure everything was done.
Keep a watchful eye out for anything to do with credit, money, etc. There’s always someone there waiting to take advantage of you. (When my hubby reads this paragraph he will laugh out loud because it has been his mission in life to teach me this.) lol
Have a great week, and I’ll see you next Sunday.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Right off I want to apologize for posting my blog late this week. Those who visit here often know I usually post on Sunday’s, but for the last few months I’ve had computer problems due to viruses and an old computer. I finally got a new computer on Saturday, and it’s been a chore setting it up. For the most part it’s up and running even though there’s a lot more work to be done.
On to my question about the internet highway being safe. My answer is not very. The Internet is wonderful in bringing people together all around the world, but in all things there are some who are malicious enough to take advantage of anything good.
What can we do to protect ourselves? There are many security systems, firewalls, etc. that you can install on your computer to protect you from viruses, spy ware, Trojans, and worms. Like my husband says, there’s nothing out there that will catch everything so most of us have more than one security system installed but that’s not a guarantee that something won’t get through.
Every single one of us is in danger. We visit sites all the time and many of them we don’t know who operates them. How many of you are on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.? I’m on all of those, and I can tell you right now it’s dangerous. We want to network with others, so what can we do to protect ourselves?
One thing we can do is not click on links we don’t know where they come from. All right! All right! I clicked on a link that came from a friend, and I thought I was safe. The one thing you must remember is that friend may not know where the link came from. I clicked on a link at Facebook from my friend, but she got the site from someone on MySpace (probably a friend) and neither one of us knew where that link originated. I hope you’re getting the drift now.
None of your friends are going to intentionally give you a virus, but sometimes they don’t even know they have a bug. Some viruses can stay on your computer for a long time without being detected while infecting all of your friends if there anti-virus doesn’t catch the bugger.
Where can you pick up viruses? Just about anywhere. My husband is a ham operator, and he has gotten viruses off the sites he’s visited looking up information on ham radio equipment. Porn sites are notorious places to get viruses, so you guys stay away from them.
I have never heard of anyone getting a virus at Google, but the sites they direct you to for your research can be susceptible to viruses and you’re taking a risk when you go to them. I’m not telling you this to scare you away from all sites because then the information highway would be useless for all of us. Just err on the side of caution and realize that just one firewall and anti-virus checker is not enough.
See you on Sunday when my topic will be credit card fraud.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
You are probably asking yourselves why I didn’t teach him to put his clothes in the hamper by now. The answer to that is, I tried, but that didn’t take. Grin. I just learned to live with it. There are other things that he does that annoy me, but I am going to give the poor guy a break and not make this post about him.
Something else that stirs me up is people who complain or are negative all the time. I am an optimistic person and pessimistic people can get me down in the dumps if I’m around them too much. My husband is a complainer, but he’s not depressing, so you would think after all these years I would have learned when he is badmouthing a driver in front of him. Of course, he complains about other things, too. Oop. So much for not being about the hubby. Smile.
There is one thing that really irritates me. I hate to start saying something and have someone interrupt me before I have a chance to get the words out of my mouth. At times, I only say a few words before I am cut off. It makes me furious, but who are the rude people who do this?
Families are the worse culprits. I remember my mother saying she could never get in a word around her mother and her sister. Friends get to laughing and talking so fast, they try to speak over one another. You and I are also guilty. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t do it at one time or another.
When is enough, enough? If it becomes so rude that it irritates the hell out of everyone. Usually, everyone let’s the person or persons take over and keep their frustrations to themselves. There are those people who know it all, and since they do, you know nothing.
Okay, I admit that sometimes I can’t get the information out the way I want to. Oops! That goes back to not being able to finish what I was saying in the first place. Are we as a people becoming bad-mannered, or have we always been rude? Once upon a time, I was much more courteous and a better listener than I am now. Since I’ve become busier and more rushed I have become discourteous by saying curt words, or brushing people off.
These are just a few things that get my dander roused. Since I know I interrupt people, I’m going to try harder not to. What irritates you and do you do them, too?
Have a great week everyone. I’ll see you next Sunday.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I learned that because of his son’s bone cancer and becoming an amputee that he fought for health care for everyone despite their station in life, for equality for all, and for those with disabilities. These are only a few things he sought for the people of this country, there were numerous others.
He was passionate in his beliefs and as a legislator in the U. S. Senate he roared, thus he was nicknamed, The Lion. At the end of the day, he was friends with his adversaries no matter how heated they became during the hearings on whatever was being debated that day.
Ted Kennedy lived through many tragedies, but he didn’t live in the past, he continued to move forward. He made mistakes and admitted to them. He was raised in a family that taught him and his siblings that because they were blessed with so much more than the average man they were responsible for helping those with less. He shouldered this responsibility as his brothers, John and Bobby, before him.
Something else, I remember hearing during the motorcade was that Ted Kennedy got a bill passed to have ramps placed at all public buildings for wheelchair access. On another note, I heard that when Irish emigrates came to America they were not hired for jobs because they were Irish. I am sure this had something to do with the Kennedy clan being so against any type of discrimination.
He believed in church, family and country. Ted taught his children, his nephews, nieces, and grandchildren their moral responsibility to country and to those less fortunate. Like all good fathers, I’m sure he spoke with them often on the topic until it was ingrained in their psyche. Now, I wait with baited breath to see who will carry the torch in the future.
I have no doubt there will be someone.
Thanks for your service to our country, Senator Ted Kennedy. My belief is that you have been redeemed. I know you have fulfilled God’s plan for you, or your turn to rest would not have come yet.
I have rambled today, but these are just some of my observations and thoughts after watching the proceedings yesterday.
Have a great week.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
To put words on paper is to use your mind while being inactive physically. I am an author, and I know. Not only that I know many other authors who are the same, and I have heard horror stories about others. We become so focused on our books that we forget there is a real life beyond these boundaries.
So many writer’s will eat while they create their novels and often times the food consists of junk food like M & M’s or chips, something that is easy to munch on and still stay on the computer. I have always had the tendency to do that, but I am fortunate to have a husband who drags me away from my PC (screaming and kicking lol) for a few hours every day.
I know novelists who have gained weight to such limits that they have developed diabetes and other serious diseases to the extent that they have become bedridden. Some smoke to calm their nerves or to keep the weight off their bodies, which poses more health hazards. Whether we have an illness or not, we are all developing the same problem, we are causing muscle deterioration and losing strength in our limbs, which will cause major difficulty later in life. Some of these will be irreversible if something is not done in the early stages.
My health hasn’t been the best for many years. I have suffered with fibermyalgia and peripheral neuropathy since my early forties (it may have been earlier, but it wasn’t diagnosed until then), and one of the things my doctor told me was that exercise would help.
For several years, I have belonged to a goals oriented on-line Yahoo group who also set targets for exercise, which kept reminding me I needed to exercise. Also, I have a husband and sister who have nagged me about not keeping fit and that it help my mind, give me more energy, etc. All of us have heard it before, and we just let it go in one ear and out the other. Anyway, I didn’t have time for everything, and I let my health slide.
At my last birthday, I changed health insurance. This insurance believes in prevention and one of the ways they believe in deterring bad health is through exercise. To help people like me who won’t exercise by themselves, they are paying for my membership and monthly dues at the YMCA.
I’ve been exercising at the Y for two and a half months, and I can honestly say I feel a difference, much stronger physically and mentally. This is something every writer needs to take time to do for their selves, and I’m not saying I’ll stick to this regimen, but I hope I do. Smile. This is our health.
My question is, what do you do to help yourself keep fit?
Have a great week.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
First of all, I must apologize for not posting last Sunday, and then I’m going to bore you with the details of my vacation in Colorado. Smile. Of course, it wasn’t boring to me. I loved every moment of my trip.
For those of you who don’t know what traveling standby is like, I’m starting with the day I began my trip. Up at 2:30 a.m. and at the airport by 4:30 a.m. where fortunately checking baggage was made easy with curb check-in. Since, I had already printed my priority listing ticket at home I was able to go through security and to the gate. All went smoothly at our Kansas City airport. I made it on the flight and in the air by 6:00 a.m. without a worry in the world. I even dozed until we arrived at Dallas Airport.
Once at Dallas, I had a couple of hours to kill before my flight to Colorado Springs, which was fortunate since I had to make my way to another terminal for that flight. Anyone who has been to the DFW airport knows that transition is made easy by a train that people can get on and are transported from place to place. It takes all of 15 minutes at most.
At that terminal is where my troubles began. Grin. Being a seasoned stand-by traveler, I was expecting it somewhere along the line. To shorten this part of the story, I missed three flights out of Dallas before I caught the fourth one. I was lucky that all four flights were in the same terminal, although at different gates. As I waited, I had breakfast and started a book by Dean Koontz titled False Memory. It was the first story of his I had read since Red October (bored me to death with all the technology), but False Memory held my attention and had me rooting for all the characters to the end.
On the flight to Dallas, I sat next to a man and we managed to visit a bit between reading my book and him working his cross-word puzzle. The reason I bring him up is because I think he might have been a classmate from Lawrence High School since he asked me my name, but being so absorbed in my book and the topic we were discussing I didn’t think to ask his. (Addendum: I looked up the pictures in my 1962 class looking for this man, but all of us have changed so much I couldn’t tell for sure if he was any of my classmates.)
We were discussing Egypt because he had been there recently to visit his son and his wife. His son works for an architectural firm that is building a new Cairo Museum. I was particularly interested to learn if the country’s attitude toward women had changed since I last visited there. It appears that in some instances it had, but I would still never recommend a lone woman to travel there by themselves. I’m going to write more on this topic at a later date.
On to Colorado where my sister picked me up at the airport and took me to her home to rest where I was greeted with a big hug from my brother-in-law. Yay, Jon. Everything else was pretty much a jumble the rest of the time I was there, so I’ll tell you the main reason I made this trip, to attend birthday parties. Lol My great-nephew turned ten and a great-niece turned five. The week or so before another one turned three, but I wasn’t able to make it for that one as I had a lot of work to do before leaving, and I couldn’t spend that much time away from home.
While there, I played Sorry with my soon-to-be five-year-old great-niece, Ashley, and let me tell you she knew the rules by heart even better than her mother. Grin. I met Daisy, a six- month-old puppy who was so sweet I fell in love with her and got reacquainted with Toby whom I’ve always loved since I met him. We went to the park to walk the dogs and let the kids ride their scooters.
Later, Alex put on a magic show with his assistants, Taylor, Ashley and Courtney. He even dragged some of the adults out of their seats to help. It was great fun, and I laughed and clapped with each trick.
The next day Jon’s brother, Fred, drove into town for a visit. After that, we played games at night when we had a chance to stay at home. Also, I went to a Bunko party with my sister, which was a lot of fun.
Alex’s tenth birthday party was a lot of fun with family and friends there. My last day with Alex and his sister, Courtney, he showed me all his books on Egypt (he’s very interested in the ancient history of Egypt), and then they took me through his museums. One was a museum of money from different countries and the other was an art museum made up of drawings each of the kids drew. Lol Don’t ever think these museums were free. These kids are entrepreneurs, and I paid them 75 cents to go through the money museum and 25 cents for the art museum, although they were only charging 10 cents for that one. Grin.
Ashley, the lucky girl had two birthday parties, one with family and another with friends. The first day was her actual birthday, the whole family played miniature golf, and all of these kids are pros, especially Taylor who has gone golfing with her dad and Papa. Then, in the evening when the whole family could get together we had her family birthday party.
The next day was the kid party, and although I didn’t attend, I hear it was pretty special. A huge tunnel and trampoline type thing (sorry, but my mind is gone, and I can’t think of the name of this contraption) was set up in the back yard for this party. lol
Miss Taylor didn’t get as much of my attention this time, but I let her know I love her very much as I love Alex, Ashley and Courtney and their mothers and fathers. It was for these little ones as well as my sister and brother-in-law and my nieces that I made this trip.
The only thing I did, other than family activities, was go to the majestic Garden of the Gods, and I did do a bit of shopping. I promised my sister that next time I came out we would do more sight-seeing, although, I’ve seen a lot already at other visits dating back to the sixties when Jon was stationed there after his National Guard unit was activated.
I loved the peace of looking at the Rockies while sitting out on the patio, or walking around the park area at the back of my sister’s house. I had a wonderful time, Sis and Jon. Thanks for having me.
Did I make it back home? Of course, I did, or I wouldn’t be posting this blog. Although, I had to get up for an early flight again, I didn’t miss any going home.
Talk about being long-winded, if this were a story I would have cut out half of it to make it more exciting, but this is about real life. Smile. It wasn't boring to me. Smile.
See you next Sunday. Have a great week everyone.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
We are going to discuss grudges today. Are you a grudge holder? I’m one of these people who explode and gets over it in about five minutes. Now, that can be a good thing, or not. That depends on the person who got the butt end of that explosion.
My hubby used to get mad and stay mad for several hours or a day or two. Early in our marriage, he learned I wouldn’t allow that. If I made a mistake, I wasn’t afraid to tell him I was sorry. It‘s easier to hold onto a grudge after a major fight than to let go of your anger. If I wasn’t able to teach my hubby anything but this one thing, I’m glad it was that it’s not worth it to hold a grudge or stay mad forever. Now, he gets over being mad almost as fast as I do. Smile. At least, he does with me.
To give you an instance of staying mad for a long time, I know a woman who didn’t speak to her brother for twenty years. That one was over money. Many grudges are within families and they can last a very long time. Sometimes, they are over hurt feelings, finances, assumed knowledge that they know something they don’t when they probably only know a portion of whatever they think they know, which is probably not their business anyway, and numerous other reasons.
My family had their share of squabbles, but they still could associate with one another at family gatherings and are always there for each other. We are huggers when we’re together. I know of families who never speak to one another unless they come together for a funeral or a wedding.
My hubby and sister don’t exactly get along, but they do when they get together. I think they are too much alike to ever really get along. He bitches a lot because he thinks she’s bossy. Lol My opinion is that they both are, and for absolutely the same reasons. Sorry honey and sis. You know I love you both. My sister swore she would never let a man walk over her like our father did our mother, and my hubby won’t let any woman treat him like some others have.
Do grudge holders ever get over it? Quite often, they don’t until it’s too late. The woman who didn’t speak to her brother for twenty years got a call from her sister-in-law to let her know he was ill. They started speaking again and they had about two or three years left to get reacquainted.
Once a woman got mad at her niece over some pictures she thought were being given to her. The person who showed them to her intended them for her husband’s sister, and not for this woman. The woman stopped speaking to her niece even though she was told the pictures weren’t for her. Fortunately, someone stepped in and was able to convince her not to stay mad, and she was glad she hadn’t remained mad because her niece died soon after.
When I was a kid, I learned early not to hold grudges. It was hard because sometimes other kids are mean. As I grew older and held a job, it was an advantage not to hold a grudge, and even if I didn’t feel like talking to someone I made myself speak in a normal tone to them. To do that always made it easier to heal our hurt feelings.
Are you a grudge holder? Does your family hold grudges? We would love to hear about the grudge holders you know.
Next week, I will be in Colorado. I hope to post a blog from there, but if I forget you’ll be free from listening to my ramblings for a whole week. Wink!
Have a good week everyone.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Have you ever read a book that caused you sleepless nights after reading it? Every once in a while I’ll pick up one that has me tossing and turning with thoughts of it piercing my mind.
Just recently, I read Eclipse by Richard North Patterson, one of my favorite authors. His story has been in my head ever sense. Patterson drew me in gently, and then without warning he possessed my mind, pierced my conscience while shattering my heart. This is a story of man’s inhumanity to humanity. This story is about our dependence on oil and the monster it has created because of greed.
It’s about a gentle man who wants peace and environmental rights for his people, and he is willing to stand up for them at the cost of his life and others around him. Eclipse is a sad story, but there is hope in it along with a most certain fatalism.
Even though Eclipse is a work of fiction the origin for this story is Nigeria fifteen years ago when an environmental and human rights activist was hung by a corrupt dictator. The corruption, including oil bunkering, still goes on today in the Niger Delta and the environmental despoliation has continued. Patterson simplified the law for the lay persons like you and me, and it was easy for me to read and understand what went on during that period.
How much blame we must shoulder in the Western hemisphere is up to each individual. Myself, I believe our reliance on oil and all other oil dependent countries have created these fiends. My judgment is we should not buy oil from a country where the people don’t reap the benefits, but a corrupt government does. The ethnic group who lives in the Niger Delta is being murdered on a daily basis. It’s genocide pure and simple, and the land is without any law controlled by the lawless.
There is a love story in this story and Patterson weaves it in magnificently. He is a master storyteller who has managed to weave both fact and fiction throughout Eclipse. I recommend this book to both men and women to read. Just remember you may never get the descriptions out of your mind.
We as a people need to know that the basic human rights that we all take for granted have to be fought for, and if we ever stop fighting for them we’ll lose them. Nigeria is still fighting, but with a corrupt government it is an uphill battle.
After reading Eclipse I felt horrible shame for all we have at the expense of others. Do we really have that right? It’s a good question for all of us to ask of ourselves, but only after reading this story.
This is a thinking person’s book, and it is very worth reading.
Have a great week.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sometimes I wish I were a bear and could hibernate three months out of the year. Only, I wouldn’t want to sleep, I would just write and enjoy the scenery.
When I decided to blog, I made a commitment to do it every week, so even though I don’t want to this Sunday I have to honor this obligation. To be honest, I’m just plain tired, and I need a vacation badly.
It seems like everyone wants a piece of your time. This happens to everyone not just to writers. In August, I’m heading for the Rockies, and I’m looking forward to getting away, but will I really be doing that?
I’m visiting family because I promised a great-nephew and great-niece that I would attend their birthday parties this year since I missed them in 2008. It will be great to see my sister and brother-in-law, my nieces and their husbands and all the greats. I love them all and would love to spend longer than a week with them.
Yesterday, my hubby asked me to bring him a glass of iced-tea while I was in the middle of promotional work for my publisher. Should I begrudge him the interruption even though it was the third time he had wanted me to get him something. Well no, the poor man was sweaty from working on my car in the sun on the driveway. He was doing something for me, and I was glad to do it for him, but the interruption still irritated me.
My question this week is where would you go to hibernate if you could?
I would go to the mountains or the ocean and stay holed up for a month to write without interruption. Walking in the mountains or along the ocean would be relaxing and would revive my muse when needed. If I could have both that would be where I would want to be. Spain comes to mind here. Once upon a point of time, hubby and I wanted to buy a place on a cliff that overlooked the ocean. Or maybe it was Portugal. Jamaica and Florida were other places we thought of. It’s been a long time since we had dreams like that.
A couple of months in a condo all alone in New Mexico or Arizona would be nice. Nope, it wouldn’t work. I would worry too much about what was happening at home. I would be calling hubby every day to make sure he was okay and asking about everyone else.
I have to admit I am a very social person, so I cannot see myself staying in any of these places without family or friends I can visit when I want to. Lol But just think of all the writing I could accomplish in a couple of months.
Until next Sunday, have a wonderful week.