Sunday, March 25, 2012

Do You Listen to Too Many People?

Good Morning Everyone,

Are you one of these people who listen to everything anyone tells you?  I am.  Is this good?  It maybe, but more often than not it isn't.  Why, you say?  Because you are the only one who knows what you are trying to say, or make your characters say.  When you listen to other people, they can lead you away from your voice. 

For years, I listened to contest judges, critique groups, chapter members and tried to do everything they told me to do, making my writing better in some ways, but totally losing my way.  I didn't have a voice of my own, and there's the crux of the matter.  I found myself trying to write like everyone else, which only made my writing sound like everyone else. 

In defense of my early critique groups, all of us were unpublished and we were all learning.  We had help from our published peers at times, and I'm not faulting them either because they couldn't follow us through our stories to make each of us stay on track.

An aspiring writer must get some backbone and stick up for what you think is right for your story.  If it's not a romance, don't let someone make you turn it into one.  If someone says you can't have sex in your story or you have to have sex in your story, and you don't want to do it that way then stay true to yourself. 

Do you listen to anyone?  Of course, you do.  I prefer to listen to those who make me think rather than those who tell me what to do.  I like to hear what's wrong with my work, how to fix the problem, but doesn't tell me how to do it.

Also, I recommend that if they aren't willing to listen to you run the other way.  If they think they know your story better than you do, they are wrong.  You know your characters and what makes them the way they are better than anyone. 

This article was posted in MARA MATTERS in April, 2008 by Sandy Marshall.

Thank you for reading.  See you next Sunday.

Sandra K. Marshall
Author Page at Amazon:

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Hubby and Maxie

Midnight and Dory
If you know nothing else about me from reading my blogs; you know I'm an animal lover.  My hubby and I love all animals whether domestic or wild.  For this blog, I'm going to talk about domestic cats.  Smile!

Here are ten facts about cats:
1.  Cats can reach great heights:  Did you know in 1963, France sent the first cat in to space known as Felicette, and she was dubbed 'Astrocat' by the press. 
2.  Felines sleep two thirds of the day:  Midnight, our black cat definitely sleeps most of her life away, but Dory, our tortie, doesn't sleep nearly as much because she looks out the window most of the day and night.
3.  Cats have human like emotions:  Cats can show happiness, excitability, playfulness, depression and anger.  There's nothing like a female cat who's angry.  lol  Midnight is very vocal and when she's mad she lets you know it by saying so, or tearing up a roll of toilet paper and scattering it all over the house.   On Dory's face I've seen love, puzzlement and fear.  She hardly ever gets angry unless a strange cat comes up on our deck.
4.  Cat bites are dangerous:  I didn't know this, but it's true.  Peter Muller, a doctor of veterinary medicine says a cat bite can result in a serious bacterial infection of Pasteurella multocida.  It can be treated with penicillin, but if left unchecked it can become very serious, especially in the elderly.
5.  Cats can jump high:  Cats can jump up to five times their height.  We once saw our cat, Maxie, jump almost to the ceiling one time.  Believe me it was shocking to see.  Midnight can jump on the kitchen counters, but Dory can't make it. 
6.  Cats can be cloned:  Wow!  This one I didn't know about, but if you have $50,000 to dole out you can replicate a favorite cat by using their DNA.
7.  Cats have internal GPS systems:  Yep, there are records of a lost cat finding its way home to a favored companion.
8.  Cats can use pet doors:  I knew dogs could use pet doors, but had no idea cats could to.  The story passed down over the years is that Sir Isaac Newton came up with the idea because his favorite cat kept opening the door and disrupting his experiments, so he cut a small hole in the door and covered it with cloth.
9.  Cats have a lot of hair:  A cats body is cover with approximately 130,000 hairs for each square inch.   That means a lot of cleaning, vacuuming, brushing and whatever else it takes to keep house and clothes clean.  lol
10.  Cats can use the toilet...and they can flush:  Experts have been interviewed and they claim there's no need for kitty litter.  You can train your cat to use the toilet.  (My only fear is that they would be in there flushing the toilet just for the fun of it.)
Cats are very intelligent and they can be taught way more than dogs.  The problem is they are independent and for that reason most owners don't try to teach them anything.  My husband and I talk to our cats and because of that they've learned our commands and know what's going on through our actions as well as voice. 
Have a great week everyone. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What Makes You Happy? What Makes You Unhappy?

This past week, I had lunch with a friend who used to be in my critique group.  I asked how she was doing, and she said she was fine, and she was happy.

Those words, I'm happy made me start thinking.  What makes me happy?  I started compiling a list in my mind and decided write about them in my blog.

Here's my list:  my faith, my hubby, my family, friends, our kitties, Midnight and Dory, baking for friends and co-workers at holidays and other occasions, and writing.

After answering the question of what makes me happy, I had to ask myself what makes me unhappy.  The number one answer to that was pain. The next reason is dimming sight, which I feel sure will be temporary once I have cataract surgery.  Anyway, I'm hoping that's the problem as I know I have cataracts. 

Okay, I said writing makes me happy, but promotion goes along with being published, and I detest promotion.  Why?  Because it takes me away from all the things that make me happy.  Promotion is a necessary evil if you want to make a name in the publishing world.

My question for you is what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy. 

Have a great week.  See you next Sunday. 

Sandy AKA author Sandra K. Marshall

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Infants Born With Both Eyes Crossed

My brother was born with both eyes crossed.  By the time, he was in the third grade the doctors were telling my parents he would become blind if he did not have surgery.  The down side with the surgery is that there was only a 50% chance it would save his eyesight. 

I believe the type of crossed eyes my brother had is called congenital Esotropia.  Congenital means from birth.  Most infants are born with eyes that aren't aligned at birth.  Only 23% of infants are born with straight eyes.  Within three months the eyes gradually come into more consistent alignment.

True congenital esotropia is an inward turn of a large amount of the eye, and is present in very few children, but the infant will not outgrow it.  True infantile esotropia usually appears between the ages of 2 and 4 months. 

The baby with infantile estropia usually cross fixates, which means that he or she uses either eye to look in the opposite direction.  The right eye is used to look toward the left side , and the left eye is used to look toward the right side. 

Some children who develop this type of crossed eyes, also have atypical gross motor development patterns.  They typically skip the crawling stage with bilateral movements, and go right from crawling to standing.  In most circumstances, surgery will be required.

There are other types of Estropia, which will not require surgery if therapy will work.  Esotropia with amblyopia (lazy eye) is one of these.  Accommodative esoptropia is one that occurs around 2 years of age.  This type is caused when looking at things up close and usually can be taken care of with glasses. 

This disease can be caused by problems with the eye muscles, the nerves that transmit information to the muscles, or the control center in the brain that directs eye movements.  It can also develop due to other general health conditions or eye injuries.

There can be a family history of crossed eyes.  Refractive error - people who have a significant amount of uncorrected farsightedness (hyperopia) may develop a problem because of the additional amount of eye focusing required to keep objects clear.  Also, medical conditions such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, or someone who has suffered a stroke or head injury are at a higher risk of developing strabismus.

More information can be found on these subjects on Google at the American Optometric Association and the article by Dr. Jeffery Cooper, Rachel Cooper and Dr. Leonard Press, FCOVD, FAAO at the Optometrists Network. 

My brother was fortunate because he had the surgery and is able to see.  

Have a happy Sunday and see you next week.