Monday, January 30, 2012

P.S.

The winner of J. Mark Bertrand's book, Pattern of Woulds, from comments on last Thursday's blog is ....
Jeannie. Congratulations. I'll email you today to get your mailing address and get your book to you.

Seeing Double

Monday Musing on This ‘N That



Anybody out there have a reason why I’m seeing double of almost anything I look at? The second image I see is always to the right of and level with the original; sometimes the second image is a little lower than the original. Occasionally when meeting cars (I’m not driving!), a second image of the car crosses the center line and comes straight toward our car. When the “real” car goes on by the ghost image disappears. Only once have I had this double thing while looking at the computer screen; it was wild and I just walked away to come back later.

Okay so if you do or don’t have a reason why, do you know a remedy?

I’ve been to my local ophthalmologist, who totally does not know what’s going on. He sent me to a neuro-ophthalmologist in another city who did numerous tests I’ve never had done on my eyes even though I’ve used corrective lenses since I was 12 years old. I have a second appointment with him in April. In the meantime he wants me to go back to my local ophthalmologist, get a new pair of glasses with prisms in both lenses and use “artificial tears” drops four times a day. Prisms? What’s that in glasses?

The neuro man has me scheduled in February for an MRI covering from my waist to the top of my head. I think he’s probably trying to eliminate and hoping he can diagnose the problem at the same time.

This is a medical problem that has no pain. It would be almost comical seeing all those cars coming toward us if such a puzzling thing weren’t going on. Wonder how I’ll look with my new prism glasses? Maybe I can use them to watch 3D movies; nah, guess not.

Now I’m in a place similar to publishing a book—wait and see what happens next. I welcome any suggestions, cures, or remedies.


Until next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Win This Book!

Thursdays Thoughts on Reading ‘N Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by midnight Sunday, January 29, 2012, you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below.

Pattern of Wounds, A Roland March Mystery by J. Mark Bertrand.

J. Mark Bertrand has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. After one hurricane too many, he left Houston and relocated with his wife, Laurie, to the plans of South Dakota Find out more about Mark and the ROLAND MARCH series at www.jmarkbertrand.com. 



From the book’s back cover

It’s Christmas in Houston, and homicide detective Roland March is on the hunt for a killer. A young woman’s brutal stabbing in an affluent neighborhood bears all the hallmarks of a serial murder. The only problem is that March sent the murderer to prison ten years ago. Is it a copycat—or did March convict the wrong man?

Alienated from his colleagues, and with a growing rift in his marriage, March receives a series of taunting messages from the killer. The bodies pile up, the pressure builds, and the violence reaches too close to home. Up against an unfathomable evil, March struggles against the clock to understand the hidden message in the pattern of wounds.


From Jo

After reading this fascinating book, I feel I would recognize Roland March if I met him on the sidewalk. Bertrand writes his characters with all their moles and also their goodness and his scene descriptions are vivid. Action flows without a lull. If you want a page-turner, this book is for you. If you enjoy the fast paced writing of James Patterson you’ll love this book. Can’t wait for the next novel in this series, there just has to be one, and you’ll know why when you read this great novel—at the book's end I kept looking for the next page. Now that’s a cliff hanger!


I thank Mark for giving me a copy of Pattern of Wounds, which one of you could win. Remember to leave a comment on THIS blog by midnight Sunday, January 29 to be eligible for the drawing of a copy of this book. You must be 18 years old and a resident of the U.S. to be eligible for this drawing. Neither I nor my family members are eligible to enter. Winner will be announced on my Monday blog. Remember to please leave your email address so that I can reach you should you win the book.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Murphy's Law

Monday Musings on This ‘N That

Have you ever noticed this when you and your husband/date/friend/appointment go out to eat? With more empty tables than full tables, inevitably the next customer chooses to sit at the adjacent table! I’ve actually been in a fast food place and was the only seated customer and guess what? You guessed it—the next customer gets their food and sits right next to me.

Another thing that happens to me—when I like a particular place to eat then it goes out of business. That’s understandable within our current economy. But years ago this same thing happened. One restaurant was close to the mall and a favorite of ours because of their great salad bar. Yep. They closed it only to reopen next to the interstate where the traffic is horrible; we don’t go there anymore.

Same thing happens with TV shows I like. Now, I don’t watch much TV AT ALL except the tennis grand slams. So it is rare that I see something advertised in the paper that I’d think I would like. I do and get hooked on it. Then one week I get my popcorn ready and settle in on the couch to watch it but it’s gone. Poof! So there I am with an hour’s worth of popcorn and other snacks and nothing to watch.

I never indulge in more than one TV show in a season. So when it’s cancelled, then I have more time to read. However, I hesitate to read a new book or library copy with buttery popcorn fingers. So I just sit and eat my snacks and think and pray. Some of you may think that’s better than any TV show anyway.

One thing I’m certain of—I will be close to devastated if TNT ever takes off “The Closer.” Now that’s MY show.  Brenda Lee, bless her heart, isn’t she a sweet, tough as nails, kind of woman? I remember the great job she did with her matter-of-fact role in the movie, Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About as Julia Roberts’ sister. When I saw that movie, Kyra Sedgwick had a loyal fan.

Anyway, what is this—Murphy’s Law? "Anything that can go wrong usually will,” or similar wording. When I say Murphy’s Law I always smile because I see the irony and I am a positive thinking person!

So do you notice any of these or other little things that happen around you?


Please leave a comment to tell me if the text size in the first paragraph above is too large, too small, just right.
Till next time ... keep on smiling.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Will Do X When Y

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

Our guest blogger today is Tifffany Colter who is a writer, speaker, and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers.

I will do X when Y
By Tiffany Colter

I remember back in my late teens or early twenties reading one of those nifty little quotes we all like. The sum of it was I’ll change my life after the next thing happens. The summary of the little “story” was that there is never the perfect time to do things, so do it now before your life is over.

That poem made such a huge impact on me I actually blogged about it a while back [Grow where you’re planted]. However, my personality type is one who plans. In college I had to write meals on my “to-do” list or I would find them a distraction to my tasks and simply not eat.

I’ve softened a bit since those days, but to make “taking that leap” a bit easier for those who plan I’ve put together a small list for you.

1.      Keep your heart and thoughts on the dream, your mind in the game. You have to know why it is you’re doing what you’re doing. I’ve found this true in my writing career and in building my business.  By focusing on the end result you can force yourself to do the things you don’t really feel like doing. The danger is you’ll spend so much time day-dreaming that you get nothing accomplished, so have clear steps and a definite plan for each day or week.

2.      Create trigger points. Decide where your point of overwhelm is and then look at the step before that and have help ready. When my company began to grow, I knew when I was editing more than three books at a time I would need help watching my kids for about 10 hours that week. Therefore, when I got the second manuscript I’d check my husband’s work schedule to be sure there were no special meetings, I started asking around for help with the kids and then I scheduled the work on my calendar. That meant I was ready when the third arrived and I wasn’t stressed.

3.      Have the people you need ready for the next level. As I continued to grow I found that I needed outside help and staff. This gets difficult because you have to balance your needs with your budget and qualified help. The process is the same. When I see a particular area of my business growing I begin to look for help. When I saw my business to business sales really growing, I began to look for sales staff to help me in that area. That is still one of my high growth areas and a department I’m still hiring in. I also understood that as that area grew, I’d need to build others. The same is true with writing novels. When you start getting requested manuscripts, fulls and book deals, you may need to hire a virtual assistant to help you with emails, newsletters, or even scheduling book signings.

4.      Take down time. This is a tough one for me because my mind never stops. If my funds were limitless I could honestly keep 12 people busy all at the same time, full-time with all I have sketched out to do. I love what I do, but I also need down time. Don’t look at rest as a waste. See it as a necessary part of your success formula.

Over the next month work to add these small tweaks to your schedule and your life. Then continue to do them consistently.

---------------------
You can read a complete interview with Tiffany on my blog
Tiffany can be reached through her website

Monday, January 16, 2012

Writing and Reading Sick

Monday Musings on This ‘N That


Winner from last Thursday's comments on A Wedding Invitation by Alice J. Wisler is BARBARA S. I'll email you for your mailing address and get the book to you.


We all get sick at one time or another. I’ve been sick enough so that I didn’t even feel like reading, much less writing.

Being sick seems to knock the props out from under any creative thought process. Talking about looking at a blank computer screen. Those few times I’ve attempted to write through sickness were almost futile. I did manage to get down a few words but really nothing of consequence. If you’re a writer, can you write although you are sick? How do you become determined to do so? Maybe deadlines?

I try to keep a list of my five favorite novels. Along the way I add some and take away some. But I think I could read any of the five novels while sick. In fact I carried a favorite novel to the hospital and was reading it when I had a small heart attack. I can’t blame the novel for bringing on my heart attack because it was a sweet story not a murder-suspense story.

Here, I’ll share the current list of my five favorite novels:
The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Rooms by James L. Rubart
The Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King

I’d love to hear from you readers in the comment section below what your favorite novels are.

You may have guessed, I’m sick now—bronchitis. So, I’ll stop here and lie down but I’ll be checking the comments to see if you shared your five favorite novels.


Till next time … keep on smiling. (Can't get the white text background removed. Guess I can blame it on my tired body from this bronchitis.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Win This Book!

Thursdays Thoughts on Reading ‘N Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by midnight Sunday, January 15, 2012, you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below.

A Wedding Invitation by Alice J. Wisler



Alice was born in Japan to career missionaries. As a young child, Alice walked to the local stationer’s store to buy notebooks, pencils, and scented erasers. In her room she created stories. The desire to be a published famous author has never left her. She is the author of four novels. You may visit Alice at her website, http://www.alicewisler.com.


From the book’s back cover

After returning home from teaching in a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother’s clothing boutique near Washington, D.C. When she receives an invitation to her friend’s wedding in Winston-Salem, NC, she’s excited to reconnect with her college pals.

But the wedding turns out quite differently than Sam expects. A chance encounter leads to a reunion with Carson Brylie, a fellow teacher and the man who once broke her heart, and Lien, a young Amerasian girl who desperately needs Sam and Carson’s help.

But working with Carson might put Sam’s tender heart at risk once again. Is she willing to forgive the past and take another chance on love?


From Jo

Alice J. Wisler gives us interesting stories peopled with a varied group of memorable characters. In A Wedding Invitation the plot is strong as her memories of teaching in the Philippines interrupt the living of her present life. Can she forgive and forget the past or will the past ruin her chance of happiness?


I thank Alice for giving me a copy of A Wedding Invitation, which one of you could win. Remember to leave a comment on THIS blog by midnight Sunday, January 15 to be eligible for the drawing of a copy of this book. You must be 18 years old and a resident of the U.S. to be eligible for this drawing. Neither I nor my family members are eligible to enter. Winner will be announced on my Monday blog. Remember to please leave your email address so that I can reach you should you win the book.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Creatures of Habit

Monday Musings About This ‘N That

Statistical studies have shown that it takes twenty-one days to establish a habit, whether good or bad. I’ve found no statistics about how long it takes to break a habit. We all have habits, some that we probably never consider, taking them for granted in our day-to-day living.

Habits become an integral part of our personality. Our habits flavor our daily behavior. Do you ever give thought to any habits you may have?

Well, I was unable to purchase a weekly planner like the one I used last year. I guess I just waited too long or maybe the store wasn’t carrying the same one this year. Since I’d become accustomed to the 2011 one, I’m having some trouble changing to a new format of my 2012 planner.

You see, I’d made a habit of using last year’s planner and by habit knew just where I should put things and where I should check for things. So I’m nine days into forming a new habit—learning how to use my new planner.

Such a little thing, really, but still it’s a habit-thing I’m dealing with and it’s a little awkward now. But let’s see, I’ve got twelve days to go and I’ll have this new planner format down pat. I just need to form a new habit of using a new system.

As we jumped into 2012, have you found things you’ve had to change from the way you’re used to doing them?


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reading and Reading and Reading.............

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing





Do you have your list of books to be read in 2012? I have some  from last year waiting for me to read. It’s good to have books around. It’s a bad thing (for  me) when I finish a book and don’t have another one ready to read. I feel lost without a book in progress.


I wonder which books I will read more of—paper books or eBooks. Getting eBooks is easier than going to the bookstore. And our local library is now loaning eBooks and getting new titles all along. Borrowing time is two weeks like paper books and on that due date the library will cause the book to vanish from your Kindle, Nook, or whatever your e-reader may be.

The statistics about eBooks growth is astounding. I read that in December 2011 one million Kindles were sold each week. And those folks who received a gift are busy buying eBooks for their new machine. I’m not an economist but I know what supply and demand means. There must be a good supply of eBooks to meet the demand of buyers. There probably will be for more and more authors are turning to self publishing both eBooks and paper readers.

Traditional and large publishers take so long to contract books and then sometimes an equal length of time to produce the finished book. Without an agent and a well-known name many new authors are passed by. It’s these authors who will be putting their work out as eBooks as well as paper books.

You’re lucky if you’ve received an e-reader because—and this is just a guess of mine—you will have a vast number of eBooks to choose from to put on that e-reader. I think it’s an exciting time for both readers and writers. Writers can cut through a publishers loooong wait time and publish their own books as eBooks and paper books. I predict that some of these books won’t be well edited and you may find mistakes in them but most of these books will have had a good edit and we’ll enjoy reading them.


Do you make note of the books you read? It’s interesting to do that and be able to look back and see what you’ve read and how many books you’ve read. Here’s wishing you good and happy reading for 2012!


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Santa Came Again

Monday Musings on This ‘N That

Santa came back around and gave us some late Christmas presents. A virus. Not the kind of virus your computer gets but the kind that people get. My husband got his first and I thought I’d been good and Santa missed me. But then I did get my virus. We got two different kind. He went to his doctor who didn’t give him an antibiotic (do any of them these days!?). I called in and my doctor gave me an antibiotic. Wish it would work faster.

My birthday came and went. We neither felt up to getting dressed and going to dinner. So I’ll have a late birthday dinner and I get to pick the place. Wish we could both get well at the same time. I’ve been in my PJs way too long.

Maybe my next blog will have more substance…I surely do hope so.


Till then … keep on smiling.