Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I'm Rich

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday. I know lots of people take some blogging time off during this week or so of busy, wonderful days. I'm posting now during a little down time in the afternoon. My boys are busy playing their new video games. My husband is grabbing  a nap as is my daughter. My stepsons will stop by later to share a little more Christmas joy with us.

My husband and children showered me with many gifts. That new camera I'm trying to get the hang off, new warm slippers, and gift cards for some clothing, books and iTunes. Enough to keep me busy for many days to come. But that isn't why I feel rich today.

Yesterday and this morning, I had the pleasure of watching my children open their gifts. Each of them found a surprise of something they wished for but would never have asked for because of the price. Their delight continues even now, hours later. Then they urged me to open my gifts from them. Beneath the wrapping paper, I found exactly what I would have wished for. They were thoughtful and knowledgable in their selections for me and my husband. I'm not sure I have ever felt so proud of them as I realized they were enjoying the giving more than the receiving. Yes, today I am rich in having my family around and knowing they've grown into compassionate, mature adults.

As they enjoy their gifts, they make many trips to the kitchen where the leftovers from yesterday's feast are waiting. I'm grateful for the abundance of healthy food, the warm house to enjoy it in and the comforts of living in a free society.

My husband and I have worked for many years, long hours, and been thrifty when considering any luxury items. Today, I feel rich for what we've achieved, the children we've raised and the comforts we have. I wish the same things for all my friends.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Gang's All Here

My children are all home for the holidays. My youngest son took his last final at Penn State yesterday and arrived home in the afternoon. My daughter arrived home from Boston on Wednesday. We put up our tree yesterday and decorated it last night. My children are funny with their traditions about who puts on which part of the decorations. They don't want things to change even a little bit. There really is no place like home. There's nothing like Mom's cookies, mom's Christmas brunch and Mom's help with everything. At least, I think they feel that way.

I know many of my fellow bloggers are taking breaks over the holidays and I am only going to post two or three more times before 2013. That is if the world doesn't end today. I bought the Christmas ham just in case we're still here.

On this last day of school before the holiday, we'll be having a blood donation drive. I'll be giving as usual and so will most of our faculty and many students. It's a great way to start the holidays, by giving something that could save someone's life. It's one of many upcoming feel good moments.

I wish all my blog readers the very best health and cheer for the end of 2012. I hope you spend many hours surrounded by family and friends. I know many of you will find ways to share your good fortune with others.

On the writer's side of my holiday hopes, I wish everyone to receive lots of new electronic devices. Tablets, ereaders, laptops and smartphones. I expect to have three new books published in 2013, maybe even more and I hope there are lots of people eager to purchase some reading material for their new toys. I mean their new necessities.

Are you home for the holidays? Are going home for the holidays? Are you 'giving' in some special way this year? Expecting some new personal electronic devices?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Spirits and Cover Reveal

It's a world of ups and downs this holiday. Those of you who have children know how fun Christmas is when your kids are little. It's different when they're older. My lovely children are even more appreciative as they get older, knowing the college education we're paying for is a year long gift, but I miss having those surprises under the tree. I miss seeing their faces light up on Christmas morning. Now they ask for things they need for Christmas. Not so much fun.

But as I wrapped gifts a few night ago, looking at the sad little piles, I realized how surprised and happy they're going to be when they unwrap those few packages this year. Beyond getting them a few things they need, I found something for each child I know they want but would never ask for. I'm excited to see their faces light up Christmas morning.

But the past week has dampened my holiday spirit. Sadness hovers at the edges of every thought and activity. As a parent, I'm horrified and angry. As a teacher, I'm depressed at the ease with which this terrible thing happened. As a teacher, I know we can't protect our children in schools without making them into prisons. As a writer, I can't find any words to express my feelings. This shadow will darken many holiday celebrations.

My mother's health is another yo-yo of emotions. I intend to help her escape the long term care unit she's in and go on a field trip. Don't know where we're going or how we'll get there, but I'm breaking her out of there for a few hours. She's pretty excited, so I hope the snow holds off until after next Saturday.

And finally some writing news. Toni DePalma, a fellow author with Crescent Moon Press, is revealing her cover today for her paranormal YA, Devil's Triangle. Pretty terrific. I can't wait to see what they come up with for my book. Check out Toni's website here.

Also join in Michael Offutt's super blog tour with lots of cool giveaways here to celebrate and promote Oculus.

Do you have some faces you hope to see light up on Christmas morning? Are you giving people things they need or things they want? Done shopping? Please visit Michael and Toni.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hobbit Fest

Like so many fantasy fans, I'm really hoping the new Hobbit movies live up to our high expectations. I'm not as excited as I was for the grand adventure of The Lord of the Rings, but it is still going to be great.

Helping us celebrate the movie premiere, M. Pax and Tyrean Martinson are hosting a very interesting blog hop to get us all in the right mind set. Visit either of their blogs to sign up and find more wonderful blogs to share fond thoughts of those lovely little furry footed hobbits, those gentle and courageous heroes.

As part of the blog hop, I must answer a few questions.
1.What is my favorite hobbit characteristic/or the one that resembles me.

The thing I find most lovable about these little people is how they don't think of themselves as heroic or adventuresome, yet they step forward when it's really important. They're everyday heroes, not kings or knights, but farmers and villagers.

2.If I could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast or a perilous unexpected journey which would I take?

Second breakfast sounds pretty good, but because I don't want to tend toward roundness like a hobbit, I better go on the unexpected journey. I do like to travel and see new places.

3. Have I ever left something behind on a journey and then wished I'd brought it over and over again?

I didn't but one of my sons when he was about eight years old forgot to pack all his tee shirts after we laid all his things out the night before we left for a week at the beach. We went into a souvenir store and bought him ten $3 shirts, all with the same picture of a shark on the front. It was pretty funny. We still laugh about it and he claims he loved those shirts.

4. What is my favorite quote from the book I hope will be in the movie?

I don't have a favorite quote but I'm really looking forward to seeing Bilbo trick the trolls. He's so clever.

Remember this is a blog hop so go find some more stories to get you pumped for The Hobbit. What part of the movie are you looking forward to? Every have second breakfast?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest

It happens. You can famous and people want to take some shots at you. In my little world of blogging, there's no one more famous than Alex Cavanaugh. And thanks to Stephen Tremp, David King, Morgan Shamy and Mark Koopmans, today is the massive blogging roast of Alex Cavanaugh.

1. In twenty words or less, describe what Alex looks like.

2.In twenty words or less, who would play Alex in a documentary?
I'm going to cheat and combine my words to answer both these questions. Alex not only looks like Wesley, but Gary Elwes, in his youth will play Alex in the docu-drama. Oh, and there's Mrs. Alex. It is trueeeeee love.

3. In twenty words or less, who does Alex remind you of?
When it comes to blogging, Alex is Tony Stark, a generous genius, making everything look easy compared to us regular folks.

4. In a 100 word flash fiction, use these words: Cavanaugh, Ninja, IWSG, Cosbolt, Guitar For.
The word spread round the cyber kingdom, December 21st marked the end of the world. Nothing could save us except support of the Ninja Cavanaugh and his gang known as IWSG. Using a guitar for inspiration, the captain traveled like a Cosbolt and wove a power through the space time continuum some refer to as the internet. And the world survived, living to write another day.

5. In +/- 40 words, thank Mrs. Cavanaugh for loaning Alex to us.
Thank you, Mrs. C., for allowing us some quality time with dear Alex. We adore him nearly as much as he does you.

Thanks for joining. This is a blogfest and remember to visit the rest of the participants.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I thought and thought about it. Should I join another blogfest or bloghop. I figured I shouldn't with all the balls I'm juggling right now.

But Writers4Writers is too great an opportunity to pass up. In today's publishing realities, the best way to make sure readers find your books is through word of mouth or in this case, word of social media. Some very generous people have taken the time to organize this and help out with book exposure.

The kick off star is Nancy S. Thompson promoting her book, The Mistaken. Take a moment to check out this thriller. Love the cover.

Take a moment to like the Writers4Writers facebook page and see if it might be something you want to be part of.  Want to join, go to Stephen Tremp's blog and check out the linky list. I hope you'll take the time to tweet or post on facebook about Nancy's book. Let's make this work.

What do you think about Writers4Writers? Joining? Have your own promotional efforts going? What's working for you?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Insecure Writer: Likes and Reviews

Thanks again, as I say every month on the first Wednesday, to Alex Cavanaugh for starting this monthly get together where writers can encourage each other and ask for help. Every month I meet a few bloggers who are new to me and learn something from nearly everyone I visit. I'm always jotting notes down, buying a few new books, and finding some interesting blogs to follow.

This month I collecting opinions on 'likes' as well as reviews and those little golden rating stars. Many authors I know ask, politely, for their friends on facebook or readers of their blogs to 'like' their books on Amazon. And of course, hoping and requesting your friends to write a review, no matter how short is not too much to ask. Is it?

I have never done anything like this. I hope readers of my books would feel motivated to 'like' or review my books but I never specifically asked them to take the moment needed to click on a button. I 'like' other people's books all the time and about once a month I take the time to write some reviews. I'm pretty far behind on that but I have hopes to catch up on it over the holiday break.

So, I'm wondering, do you ask this of your readers and friends? Do you do it? Is it acceptable? Should I request it? Would you go to this link and click 'like' if I asked it of you? Does it help book sales?

Monday, December 3, 2012

First for Mondays

I read somewhere that this is a special December with five weekends though that also means five Mondays. The good news is that I will have two of them off from the day job. The bad news is the other three. At the least, I have lots to talk about on this first Monday.

With the holiday season comes lots of gatherings with friends, families and coworkers. It also means lots of food, delicious, fun, fattening food. It's very difficult to avoid and refuse all the wonderfulness. So my first Monday health tip is to not refuse it. Instead of being strict about what you eat, try policing your portion size. You can even help yourself with your own baking. Make your cookies smaller. Cut those holiday marshmallow treats into tiny squares. Use smaller plates and even smaller cups for your sweet holiday drinks. And then cut yourself off early in the evening. Eating late can really ruin your weight management goals.

Onto other great things about this first Monday. Today, Lynda R. Young, announces her release of the anthology, Make Believe. Lynda's book can be purchased at this link. And read this short blurb:

Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.

She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.

Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.

Blurbs from all the stories included in Make Believe can be found on the J. Taylor Publishing website HERE.

Read an excerpt here. You can also read the excerpts from all the stories in this series here.

So, how are you going to watch your caloric intake this holiday? Or do you throw caution to the wind and enjoy the feasting and work it off after? Did you go check out Lynda's book?