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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thoughts on a Rainy Sunday!


This is just a very short post to let everyone know the winner of the book drawing from last week's interview with Tim Hooker is:

madcapmaggie!!!

She will receive an autographed copy of Rocket Man: A Rhapsody of Short Stories from Tim Hooker. If the winner will please contact me I will give Tim your name and address and he will send it to you directly. I will post the name of the winner on my Facebook page too. In case the winner didn't get to read this blog post yet.:)

Congratulations and I hope that the next interview will have more commenters. Thank you to the people who did leave questions and comments.

Today was a day of dissenting. Looking back on the day it was probably because of the impending thunder storm. It rained all day lightly and there was a fog hanging over the whole landscape as we drove to Stew Leonard's for food. It only lasts about a month and then we have to go back and do it all over again.:) My daughters and I kept disagreeing over almost everything both going up there and coming home. Then when we had gotten home and dragged all the bags from the car and put the stuff away, I was upstairs when I heard this loud crash like the sky was literally cracking. Then the sky lit up and rain poured down faster and faster until it seemed that the roof wouldn't be able to hold all the pounding water that suddenly exploded from the clouds. It was literally an assault of rain!:) I hugged myself happy that I wasn't underneath it but safe in my dry house! It's little times like these that make you happy you are in the comfort of your own home.

Then all the anger and dissidence went away and we ate dinner in peace and calm. It was a good end to a very chaotic and stress-filled week.

I'm subbing Chapter 22 and maybe Chapter 23 of When My Life Changed to my critique group this week. Also this is going to be the week I'm resubbing my YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. It will be going to an agent. Please keep your fingers crossed.:)

Until next time, have a great Monday!!! I'm trying to make my posts shorter.:) I will also talk about the movie we saw this weekend and a few other non-writing things next post. Again - Congratulations to madcapmaggie.:)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday!

For Postcard Friendship Friday
Thank you to Tim Hooker for a very interesting and complete interview about his writing. Thank you also to the people who left comments and/or questions for Tim. I will leave this open for more people to ask questions or comments if you missed doing that. Otherwise it's only four people who are in the drawing and the winner will be announced in the next post. I am disappointed that there weren't more people who left comments or questions.

One of my daughters told me that I had too many ideas and too much to read in my blogs. I have nothing to say except these are my mind's meanderings. If you read the description of my blog it says these are the thoughts of a writer. Unfortunately or fortunately for my ideas, these are the things I think about during the day. I want to share them with you, since some of them are rarely discussed and some are only my thoughts. I would like your opinion on whether I should shorten my blog or not. I'd be interested to know if it's too much to read and I should put it into shorter blocks. It seems that today everything needs to be in short spurts like Twitter responses. You can see I can't do that. It's one of the reasons I have to spend so much time on revising my work. In any piece of writing I can always go back and cut some of my words. I can probably do it here too, but most of the time I don't. It's more a stream of consciousness thing and more like I'm talking to you. I feel blogging is like having a conversation with a lot of people at the same time. Even though most of the time you don't get too many responses right away.:)

I used to carry around a journal and write down my thoughts whenever they occurred. But it's too heavy to carry it around in my bag, so I leave it home and come back and write about everything in my blog now. :)

So this has nothing to do with anything that I've written before, but today for some reason I started thinking about a middle grade fantasy novel that I wrote as my first serious novel. It came from a story I used to tell my brother when he was younger and that I recycled and told to my daughters before they went to sleep. By the time it had come to my daughters it was elaborate and I couldn't start the story where it was. So for a project for a Writing Workshop for my masters degree I used it and started from the beginning. It didn't matter that when I started the story I didn't start it at the beginning and that I never knew how it began. I went back and introduced the characters and wrote a fantasy story that is very unique.:) No, seriously, I have never read anything like it. Neither had my professor, though she never really commented about the story, but rather about whether I had fulfilled the assignment, which I had. Then I left it alone and picked it up again a few years later when I had plenty of time and thought I had it ready to be published after a few critique groups had commented on it. Now that I think back on it this wasn't ready at all. It received three rejections and I put it away and have never looked at it since then.

Then Virginia S. Grenier and Donna McDine from Stories for Children
Magazine announced a contest to write a dream story for children, Wacky Dream Contest and I thought, why not make this a dream! Of course, this is a dream. It's a fantasy and it's about a scary thing that some kids think about. This contest is for both adult and children writers who are interested in writing a story to be included. More about the story in my next post. I have to go back and reread it first.:) Don't forget to check the link for all the contest details. There are too many to list here.:)

The picture on the top is for Postcard Friendship Friday and it's one of my favorite things. I love Betty Boop and can't seem to get enough of her. I love the small dolls and the large ones. I even have a clock of her.:) So Marie of Cpaphil Vintage Postcards, here is my offering for Friday. Sorry it's a tiny bit late.:)

That's it for today. If you want to comment on yesterday's interview you may leave your comment until the end of the weekend. I'll give all of you who didn't get here that much time!!! Until the next time thank you to all of my readers and I hope you will post a comment when you visit.:)


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

If It's Thursday It Must Be a Guest Author Interview!





Welcome to my second guest author interview with Tim Hooker. Today this is also part of the Red River Writers Blog Tour and I hope that any of you who are not part of this great group will join. Thank you to April Robins for arranging all of this.

Tim's bio is extensive. He has been an Instructor for several colleges, a Director of Public Relations and Marketing, a Manager of a college Reading and Writing Center, a Radio Announcer, a newspaper columnist, and a Program Coordinator for Student Services. Tim has both a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Master of Arts in English. He currently has three published books: Rocket Man, Duncan Hambeth, Furniture King of the South, Looking for a Ci
ty and many articles of his are published in several magazines. He edits a blog with several contributors called Sushi Tuesday. Please check out his full bio, which is too large to put here.

Here is the interview and please leave your question or comments. Tim has promised to answer all and will
stay through tomorrow to answer if you were late coming.:) I'm always late, so I understand.:)

Interview with Tim Hooker

I noticed as I was reading your bio that you took your Masters twice. Why did you decide to get your MFA?

I did two masters, including the M.F.A., for several reasons. The M.A. in Writing was one of the best experiences in my life. It gave me a good grounding in all aspects of writing-- Composition, Rhetoric, Professional Writing, and Creative Writing. But, in one sense, it was still a generalist program. And, the M.F.A. was the fine-tuning I wanted in Creative Writing. Professionally speaking, I wanted the academic clout that came from holding a terminal degree. But, more specifically, I saw the M.F.A. as being to a writer what Parris Island is to a Marine. I went into the program thinking I was a writer; I left knowing I was a ***-****** writer.

Going through the M.F.A. program soaked me in the Creative Writing discipline until I became the discipline. I couldn’t take the writer out of me now, if I wanted to. And, whether I’m ever at the top of the best-seller list, the experience has gone beyond taking classes. The process has significantly contributed to me becoming me.

Your latest book, Duncan Hambeth, Furniture King of the South, is a play. What made you decide to write it in play form?

Duncan Hambeth started off as a thought experiment. It dawned on me that there were an awful lot of parallels between Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “MacBeth.” And, the more I studied the two plays, the more convinced I became that they were structurally the same play. Both had questions about who should be in charge. Both had strong female characters. Both had elements of the supernatural. Both had political maneuverings. And, both were resolved with violence. The big difference was that “MacBeth” was told from the perspective of the one who stole the throne; “Hamlet” was told from the perspective of the one who had the throne stolen from him.

With this in mind, I typed both plays into my computer. And, then, I started merging them along a time line. Then, I started fusing characters together. King Duncan and Hamlet’s Father fused together. Gertrude and Lady MacBeth fused together. Hamlet, Malcolm, and Donalbain fused together. And, Claudius and MacBeth fused together.
Then, I got scared. It was working . . . too well.

So, I deflated Shakespeare. I took his beautiful words and melted them down into modern Southern vernacular. And, it still worked.

But, reading plays is a dying art. So, now, I’m writing the novelization of the play, entitled “Memphis Knights.” It gives me the opportunity to fill in the backstory. And, hopefully, it will be out this Fall.

What inspired you to begin writing?

Mick Jagger asked, “What can a poor boy do, ‘cept sing for a Rock’N’Roll band?”

When I was seven years old, one of my chores on the farm was to go out to the big trough and water the cows. And, in the mud around the big aluminum trough, I’d watch the ants crawl along and it reminded me of desert terrain in a TV show I was watching-- “Rat Patrol.” So, out of boredom, I’d tell myself little stories. And, I just knew that my stories would be what I’d be remembered for.

I felt the impulse to be creative early on and, in my neighborhood, there were not a lot of opportunities for upward mobility. There were musicians who played in church, but I couldn’t afford an instrument. I wanted to paint, but that required supplies I couldn’t get. But, as a writer, with a broken pencil and a scrap of paper, I knew I could be in business.

So, I took Mick Jagger seriously.

Would you share with us the story of how you got your first novel published?

There’s really not that much to tell. I wrote Rocket Man in the Summer of 1990. I wanted to be able to tell myself that I’d written something of value before I turned thirty. But, it sat in my strongbox for approximately fifteen years for two reasons. One, the further I went through graduate school, the more I heard about how impossible it was to get anything published. And, two, I found out years later that I have Avoidant Personality Disorder. In layman’s terms, that means a person received so much negativity in their childhood that their psyche simply saturates with it and can’t absorb any more. People with APD have an extremely difficult time dealing with rejection and negative feedback. So, I was caught between the proverbial Scylla and Charybdis, compelled to write and equally compelled to not go through the rejection process so common to pre-digital publishing. Self-publishing through Xlibris helped me negotiate those treacherous waters.

What do you think of the importance of networking in relation to book sales? Which social networks do you think work the best for marketing and why?

A writer has to be careful when networking. There are plenty of people who are willing to take free copies of your book, as long as you’re giving them away. But, that takes money out of your writing business; it doesn’t bring money into it.

So, you have to develop a business plan. How can money come into your writing business?
1) Book sales
2) Speaking engagements
3) Teaching opportunities

What else is critical to business? Advertising.

So, Sushi Tuesday is my loss-leader. At www.SushiTuesday.com, I am daily giving away literary product, so folks will sample my goods. Through direct visits to my site and through catching the feed via SinfoniaCircle, Twitter, and Facebook, I am building a loyal following around a brand-- the writers of Sushi Tuesday.

When I wrote the Sunday Op/Ed column for the Cleveland Daily Banner, there were more than a few people who would come up to me and tell me I was the reason they bought the paper. They wanted to hear what that Hooker boy had to say this week.

Think about it.

Professors don’t buy books. We have desk copies given to us. It’s ordinary folks who buy books. And, just like every other aspect of their lives, they’re looking for value. They want something that is thought-provoking and entertaining. They want to stretch their minds and they want people who will speak for them.

So, I give away samples. I build a customer base. And, every quarter, I get a royalty check from Xlibris.

Would you please share with our readers the steps of your writing process?

I write at two different speeds-- big project and small project.

With big projects, I’m very much a nuts-and-bolts kind of guy. I want outlines. I want character profiles. I want to know what’s going to happen before it happens.

With the small projects, the Sushi Tuesday essays, I keep my eyes and mind open for that story that comes across the screen that has a kink in it. With my FeedDemon RSS reader, I scan a ton of news stories every day, looking for that quirky story that I can bounce off of.

But, having done that ground-level work, I move to the next step. The story is told that, when Bette Midler is rehearsing her band, they bring in the sheet music and pass it out to the players. Then, twenty minutes later, they take up the music and the players make it their own. Within that twenty minutes, they’ve either gotten it or they haven’t.

The best writing advice I ever received was when a colleague of mine told me to “write about what breaks your heart.” You can block out movement all day long. You can tweak dialogue ad nauseum. But, then, you’ve got to get to that level of the text where you’re writing straight from your heart. When I have to stop typing so I can wipe my eyes so I can see the screen, I know I’m where I’m supposed to be.

And, the audience does, too.

How important do you think critique groups are for writers and do you have one?

The only thing I learned in creative writing workshops was how much I hated creative writing workshops. I avoid them. They are evil.

A friend of mine is trying to get one going and I’ve agreed to come in and do book reports about writing books. But, I want nothing to do with a hack-and-slash group.

Having said that, when I write a big project, I do assemble what I call The Greek Chorus. I want three people to read along as I’m writing, not unlike the judges on “American Idol.” Randy loves everyone that comes across the stage. Simon hates everyone who comes across the stage. And, Paula’s actually been on a stage. Likewise, I want one reader who loves everything I’ve ever written. I want one reader who hates everything I’ve ever written. And, I want one reader to be a fellow writer, someone who’s been in the trenches, too. I figure the truth will be somewhere in the middle.

All of your books are meant for adults. Have you ever thought of writing for a younger audience?

I have been working on a project for some time that could find a following among younger writers. It’s called “The Warrior’s Guide to the Battle of the Sexes.”

Years ago, I ran across a translation of Sun-tzu’s Art of War and the back cover blurb talked about how it was the definitive work on conflict management and that, whether it was two companies vying for the same market or two armies on the same field or two people in a relationship, the rules of resolving conflict were the same.

Two people in a relationship.

It dawned on me that any two people could be a couple, as long as everything was going good. But, it was during the conflicts that couples broke up.

I realized, also, that guys were clueless when it comes to relationships. Women have entire sections of bookstores devoted to them understanding relationships. But, men didn’t get diddly.

So, the premise of “The Warrior’s Guide to the Battle of the Sexes” is a fictional advice column written for guys about relationships. And, the columnist takes something men don’t understand (relationships) and relabels it with something men understand instinctively (war).

I can sit down with any guy and listen to his awful love-life and then retell him what he just told me, using military jargon, and see the light-bulb go off over his head. He, then, knows what he needs to do.

So, hopefully, it will gain a following among teenage guys.

How important do you think it is for a writer to have an agent? Do you have one?

I don’t have one. Someday, I may need one. But, I know, ultimately, an agent’s allegiance is going to be with a publisher first and me second. So, I’ll have one of my attorney buddies riding herd over my end of the contract.

Your blog, Sushi Tuesday, has several contributors. Would you please describe how you met and why you decided to blog together?

Sushi Tuesday came into existence because I got to a place in life where all I was seeing were students and patients, and I needed more. So, I called a fraternity brother of mine that taught in another department and suggested lunch. He agreed, and we went to a sushi bar on a Tuesday. And, we’ve been meeting ever since. Our group has grown. We include an English professor, a music professor, a violin instructor, a sociologist, two psychologists, a lawyer, and a physician. We’re like Cleveland, Tennessee’s version of the Algonquin Roundtable.

Out of the luncheon came the idea for the website. I’d dabbled with blogs before that and had been unsatisfied. And, then, it dawned on me that I could replicate on www.SushiTuesday.com the op/ed column I’d done before for the Cleveland Daily Banner, at www.clevelandbanner.com. As such, the site was born.

Initially, I did all the writing and I garnered some good hit numbers. So, I invited one of my former students, Ashley Ledford, to write a weekly column. Then, I found Dr. Niama Williams on BlogTalkRadio, at www.blogtalkradio.com and invited her to write for the site. I found Dave Tabler and his Appalachian History blog at www.appalachianhistory.com , when I wrote a piece called “What’s a hillbilly?” Soon, he was writing for us. Then, I attended a meeting of the Cleveland Writer’s Guild, where I met our Poet-in-Residence, Celia Shaneyfelt. And, then, I found another fraternity brother, Michael Evans, on Facebook and found he’d already written a novel. He was the next piece of the puzzle.

Meanwhile, I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and soon found I couldn’t crank out a piece daily. So, I devised a system where each of us take a day and have a separate section for features. Dave’s podcast runs on Monday. Ashley’s column runs on Tuesday. Michael’s column runs on Wednesday. Celia’s poetry runs on Thursday. And, I bring up the rear with my column on Friday. Concurrently, we feature short stories from students that run the entire month.
It’s a strength-in-numbers thing and, so far, it has worked. We now have a core audience that visits the site, as well as derivative audiences through SinfoniaCircle, Twitter, and Facebook. Sushi Tuesday is a literary honkytonk, that place where writers can try out new material, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and cultivate an audience along the way.

We’re not quite Frank, Sammy, Dean-o, Peter, and Joey. But, we’re getting there.

What do you think of e-books and e-book readers like Kindle? Are any of your books in e-book form?

I believe e-books and e-book readers are the organic extension of a revolution equivalent to the invention of moveable type.

When Muddy Waters invented electricity[in music], a seismic shift occurred in music. For most of music’s history, professional musicians labored under the whims of the patrons who fed them. But, when kids named Paul and John and Mick and Keith and Roger and Peter and Eric and Stevie Ray were able to take their Stratocasters into sleazy little dives and play until their fingers bled, they were able to develop their craft on their own terms. And, the world has been a better place because of it.

Likewise, for most of literature’s history, you’ve only had a free press, if you owned the press. And, now, thanks to the Internet, POD publishing, and e-books, now everyone owns the press. I remember having classmates tell me that instructors had told them that, if they wanted to get published, they had to sleep with them. I’ve seen way too many effete academics excuse their inadequacies by proclaiming, “I write; therefore, let them learn to read.”

Those days are gone.

Now, a writer can control his/her own destiny. A writer can tell his/her story, regardless of whether it’s politically correct or whether he/she was born in the right neighborhood.
And, that’s a very liberating thing.

Presently, I don’t have any of my titles in e-book format. But, eventually, I will. E-books democratize the message. Everybody gets to speak.

Will there be some garbage printed along the way? Sure. But, there will also be some mighty fine writing rise to the surface that would have otherwise been squelched. And, that’s what scares the old literary establishment. Oh, heavens, everybody’s work will be on an even playing field; my work will be judged on its merits, and not on how pretentious my pedigree is. Oh, no!

Your books were published by Xlibris. Would you tell our readers what you think of this publisher and why you decided to go with them?

I chose Xlibris for a few reasons. There are any number of local printers who can stamp out a few dozens books and hand them to you. But, do they provide all the extras (LOC cataloging, copyright, etc.) that legitimize what you’re doing? And, once you have your box of books in hand, then what? For me, flexibility of distribution was a key factor. As an extension of Random House, I figured Xlibris would not be a fly-by-night operation. And, with the print-on-demand set-up, combined with the global reach of the Internet, I knew Xlibris would allow me to market my books worldwide, without inventory issues. And, so far, Xlibris has exceeded my expectations. I would recommend them to anyone.


I want to thank Tim Hooker for spending time with us today. Again, if you have any questions please ask them and please if you stopped by to read this leave a comment for Tim. It's like applause.:) Also, anyone who leaves a comment has a chance to win the contest for his book: Rocket Man: A Rhapsody of Short Stories. If you go to his blog you can read an excerpt of it.

Thank you to my new readers. It's wonderful to be reading all of your blogs too! Of course, to the readers who have been here awhile, thank you too. I love writing, so it's great that you like to read it too.:) I will be announcing the next interview tomorrow.

Until then, looking forward to seeing all your questions and comments and you could be the winner!!!

We visit Shirley's Luxury Haven


The Sentosa resort
Today I promised that I was going to highlight a new blog. It is very difficult, because there are so many fabulous blogs. As I mentioned I am a member of the women's blogger directory.

The blog I am highlighting today is Welcome to Shirley'sLuxury Haven. Shirley lives in Singapore and she updates us constantly on new and exciting things to do in that area. I wish I lived there, because she makes everything look so good!!! Today's post is about a new resort there, Sentosa. The photo shows a picture of this resort! Don't you want to get on a plane and go
there?

She tells us also about concerts and gives great recipes for asian food. I love the animated slide show she has of all the dishes she features. All you need to do is click on the food and you get a larger picture of the dish on her other webpage. There you can subscribe and make your own slides to show on the website using the slide show she has there. Very cool!!!

But the main reason I like this blog is that she talks about fashion as well and in one of her posts she concentrated on how to tell a fake handbag from a real one. This is a serious problem when there are so many counterfeit bags out there. I was impressed by the detail she went into to show us the real thing!

I also love the background color of her blog - pink, and I look forward to reading each post. She describes herself as someone who is: Passionate about food, crazy over shopping, eccentric about travel, is in a frenzy over Hello Kitty! and Cooking's my passion. You can see her profile picture on top says it all.:)

So Shirley, from Welcome to Shirley's Luxury Haven, I am highlighting your blog and look forward to reading more interesting and unusual posts.:)

Tomorrow's guest author is Tim Hooker who is the author of three books and
who is also the editor of his blog Sushi Tuesday. During the last couple of days I have gotten to know a little bit about Tim and I think you will enjoy this interview very much!

Tim is giving away a copy of his book, Rocket Man as a thank you to one lucky person who either comments or asks a question. The winner will be announced as soon as all comments are in to the post. We will be taking comments on this post through Friday night. So please stop by and leave a comment. You could be the winner!!!! In the meantime go and see Tim's blog, Sushi Tuesday and read his bio.

Until next time, I'm really looking forward to our second guest author blogger, Tim Hooker. Please join us and maybe you will win the book give away contest!! Thank you to all my readers. Your comments warm my heart!!:)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Tuesday Quikie


Interview with Tim Hooker on Thursday, March 26th
It's time to gear up again for a new guest author interview. As I promised I will be interviewing a new guest author every Thursday. Please remember the author is here all day and possibly the next day to answer any questions you may have.

Here is a little bit about Tim Hooker and you can
find out more about his life at his website. He is the editor of a multi-author blog and has three published books, the latest being Duncan Hambeth, Furniture King of the South. I am looking forward to interviewing Tim and hearing all about why he titled his book as he did.:)

Also coming, in two weeks I will be interviewing Katie Hines, whose book, Guardian, a middle grade urban fantasy, is coming out June, 2009. If you want to be interviewed next week let me know and I'll arrange it. Tim and Katie are part of the Red River Writers Blog Tour 2, which is happening through April.

Meanwhile, a quick review for The Heretic's Tomb by Simon Rose. I had hoped to be able to read one of Simon's books before the interview, but it arrived too late. Set in both fourteenth century England and present day London,The Heretic's Tomb combines history with adventure and suspense.

Imagine you were suddenly thrown into fourteenth century England during the outbreak of The Black Plague. This is what happens to Annie as she finds a part of an amulet in the ruins of an old abbey. The author gives a very thorough explanation of what life is like for people in that time period and shows the devastation that the plague has wrought for almost everyone. Lady Isabella has lost her family during the early plague outbreak, but she is spared and tends to the sick with her home remedies. She lives in the abbey after her tragedy and is revered by the folk she tends. Much happens to her as she attempts to cure the sick and she must also suffer the wrath of the lord of the manor who searches for a way to stop her. In the course of his story, Simon Rose describes the world of the fourteenth century in explicit detail. He really throws you into the muddy streets of a typical town. If I were teaching this time period to a middle grade class I would be sure to have this book on hand! Also, it is a very quick and exciting read for anyone. If you want to read this go to amazon.com.

As far as my own writing is going, I am waiting to sub my chapter for this month to my critique group. I was finally able to start writing the party scene and I did it when I was sitting in the car waiting for my daughter. I had nothing to do and my other daughter, the one who had driven on the way over was playing on her IPod Touch. If you need to wait for someone an IPod Touch with games loaded on it is the best way to do it. They have all kinds of games. The ones I like best are where you have customers and you have to wait on them and either do their hair or give them chocolates. You can spend almost an hour playing these games. Of course there is Scrabble and Word Twist, but those require too much thinking.:) Also, you move up in levels in the hair salon and chocolate games. So I didn't have anything to do and took out a piece of paper and a pencil and began Chapter 23. I only have a page, but that will be enough to write the whole chapter. For me all I need is a sentence and I can usually write the whole chapter.

Welcome to my new readers and thank you to the readers who continue to follow my crazy ravings.:) Please leave a comment if you stop by. I always check to see if there are any new comments and answer them as soon as possible. Just a quick ad for both of the networks on which I'm listed: Blog Catalog and Facebook Networked Blogs. Also look for my name on the women's blogger network. I'm meeting a lot of new friends all over the world and finding so many blogs to read that I can't keep up. I will be highlighting a new blog tomorrow. Could it be yours? Until the next time have a great day!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Spring!!! Let's Go to the Movies

From "I Love You Man" - Paul Rudd and Jason Segal
Paul Rudd in "I Love You Man"



I needed a few days to relax after my author interview, but I'm back because so much has been happening around here.

First of all thank you to all the people who commented about Simon Rose's interview. There weren't many questions so I guess we answered everything you wanted to know about Simon Rose but were afraid to ask.:) Seriously, anyone who still has a question or would like to know more about Simon Rose please go to his website or his blog for information.

The next author I am hosting is Tim Hooker. Tim has three books published. Two of them were published a year ago. One is a book of short stories and the other has the unusual title of Duncan Hambeth Furniture King of the South. The short story book is titled Rocket Man. I am looking forward to learning more about Tim and his love of Tennessee where he lives. Look for the interview on Thursday, March 26th. :)

On Friday night I watched "The Great Buck Howard" on DirecTV HD1, which is a movie based loosely on the life of "The Amazing Kreskin". Anyone who remembers Kreskin from "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" knows what astounding feats Kreskin can perform. In the movie, "The Great Buck Howard" John Malkovich plays someone similar to Kreskin toward the end of his career. Starting with the focus on Colin Hanks, a disgusted law student who leaves law school after two years, the film shows how Hanks needs to find a job and answers an ad for an assistant road manager. Then we meet Malkovich as Buck Howard and we go into the world of the semi-failed performer. Buck Howard performs at Community theaters and has been doing this for awhile when Hanks joins as his assistant road manager. Unfortunately for Troy, Hanks' character's name, the road manager is fired and he has to take over for him. Malkovich plays the role of a washed up celebrity brilliantly and unless you compare them side by side it is a pretty good portrayal of Kreskin. In fact, on Kreskin's website they say: "Each scene in the movie has a dramatic similarity to the persona of The Amazing Kreskin." Buck Howard still knows how to wow audiences, but he isn't nice to his help. There is more, but you can read the reviews. My whole family enjoyed it and as Stephen Holden says: ..."it leaves a tiny but discernible afterglow." In fact, my husband looked up The Amazing Kreskin and we watched some of the video he did. If you watch the videos, you will see the prediction he made before 9/11. It gave me chills!!!

We did go to the movie theater on Saturday night and saw "I Love You Man" which picked up my spirits so much that I forgot how awful life has been lately.:) In the hands of the wrong director this would have been a light romp, but with Larry Levin and John Hamburg's great script and the crisp direction of the same John Hamburg all you need add is Paul Rudd and Jason Segal for a movie that may be the best comedy I've seen all year! Paul Rudd plays Peter Klaven, a man who always had women friends, who needs to find a best man for his wedding. He goes out on a series of "man-dates" looking for a man to be his friend. After many loser experiences he finds Jason Segal at one of his open houses to sell Lou Ferrigno's house. Segal seems like the perfect man friend and soon the two form a relaxed friendship. There is more and lots of mayhem, but that would spoil the movie for you. I urge you strongly to see this movie. It will definitely brighten up your day!!! Paul Rudd and Jason Segal are a fantastic pair and they should consider doing another movie together. :) And did I mention that Paul Rudd has amazing eyes!!

Today I went to the cemetery to visit my mother's and father's graves. As I stood in front of the cold stone rising above the trimmed bushes covering my parents' graves I had tears in my eyes. My brother, who came with me, and I are the only living relatives of our immediate family. My father is gone since 1972 and my mother since 1990. I hate going to cemeteries, because it reminds me of how ephemeral life is. Many of the graves that were added had been my father's friends. He and my mother are buried in a part of the cemetery reserved for his lodge members. I remember those guys as good natured men with mustaches who used to chuck me under the chin when I was a girl. It's difficult to see their names etched into the stone. My religion requires us to leave a rock on the grave to show we were there. The stone was empty when we came, but when we left each grave held rocks for each person's family. I'm glad I visited them today. Somehow I feel much more peaceful and I enjoyed hanging out with my brother. We don't get a chance to be together often and it was fun spending time with him and his wife.

After we visited the cemetery we went to a seafood restaurant my father would have liked and ate one of his favorite dishes, steamed clams. And then in kind of a memorial to him because he loved to drink the broth served with the clams after he was finished eating all of them, we each took a sip of the broth. My parents had always liked to go to Lundy's, a huge seafood restaurant
that went out of business and then started up again in recent years. Now this restaurant is undergoing another transformation. See the picture to see the whole building. To see more of what it looks like before it is redone go to this website where they have a series of pictures showing the restaurant. They're changing it into a huge gourmet market with a restaurant attached and calling it Cherry Hill. I'm sad to see the old restaurant go, but hope this new one will have great food. I don't go to Brooklyn a lot, so I'll probably have to make a specific trip to see it once it's done.

On the writing front I am all set to resubmit my first novel. I got great feedback from someone whose opinion I value and who is an editor herself, so all I need to do is write a great query letter and send the pages to this agent she said is accepting work from all authors. I'll let you know when I send it. It will probably be the early part of this week.:)

I am now a part of The Red River Writers blog tour and Tim Hooker will be my first author from there. He is really my second guest author as you know.:) After Tim I am talking with another author for the following week. I am hoping to interview someone every Thursday.

Finally, sorry to Marie and her wonderful blog for missing Postcard Friends Friday. I was so busy with my life and keeping up with answering comments on my blog. I will definitely post something this Friday.:)

Until the next time, thank you to all my readers and welcome to the new readers. Please leave a comment if you liked any part of this. Also, I am shamelessly asking you to click on the Google ads. I need the money!!! Anyway, a lot of them relate to writing.:) [You can disregard this if you feel it's too commercial!! For awhile they weren't even showing up.] Also one more thing, I will be highlighting another blog this week. It could be yours!!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Guest Author Simon Rose


Ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce to you our first guest author, Simon Rose, who is taking time out of his busy schedule to spend the day with us on my blog.

His Bio

Born in Derbyshire, England in 1961, he graduated from the university with a degree in history in 1982 and moved to Canada in 1990. He is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature of West Redding, CT. Now based in Calgary, Alberta in Western Canada,he is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels for young readers

His first five novels for children,
The Heretic's Tomb, The Emerald Curse, The Alchemist’s Portrait, The Sorcerer’s Letterbox and The Clone Conspiracy, all continue to gather great reviews and The Sorcerer’s Letterbox was nominated for the Silver Birch, Diamond Willow and Golden Eagle Book Awards in 2005. The Doomsday Mask will be published in Spring, 2009.

Throughout the year, he is available for author visits, presentations, workshops, Author in Residence programs and readings at schools, libraries, conferences and festivals in Canada, the United States and around the world covering such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research and more. He caters his presentation to the unique requirements of the school, library or organization in which he is speaking. He is also available for presentations, workshops and public speaking engagements with a wide range of adult audiences and summer camps each July and August and children's parties.

He offers a variety of creative services designed for both writers and the business community, including editing, critiquing and manuscript evaluation, as well as freelance writing services, including website content and copywriting for businesses.

The Interview

What was the reason you decided to write for middle grade children?

Like most people, unless they are teachers, I came into contact with very few children's books as an adult, until I had children of my own. The first ones were naturally picture books for very young readers and some were either very impressive and I wished I could have written them, or very poor and I pondered why they had ever been published. Like most of us, I wondered if I could do better, so I enrolled with the Institute for Children’s Literature and took their course. I had younger children at the time and thought I’d be devising picture books or fairy tales for four and five year olds. Then I read the Harry Potter books and realized that was the age range I was looking at writing for. However, I had no desire to write about wizards, dragons or classic fantasy topics and still don’t. Rather, I found myself drawn to what interested me when I was nine or ten years old - science fiction, time travel, history, superheroes, ancient mysteries and so on and the books have been in those genres, at least so far.

Would you share with us the story of how you were able to have your first novel published?

I was fortunate to attract the attention of a publisher quite quickly with my first novel, but had been sending out submissions of short stories and magazine articles for a while before that with no success at all. My first contracts were signed in late 2001 and The Alchemist’s Portrait was published in 2003, followed by The Sorcerer’s Letterbox in 2004

What do you think of the importance of networking in relation to book sales? Which social networks do you think work the best for marketing and why?

I have a website and blog and belong to various professional groups. Some are very useful, while others I get very little out of and reassess my memberships from time to time. I sincerely believe in the value of fellowship with fellow writers, but if there an annual fee for an organization, I like to think I’m getting some tangible benefits. I check my website statistics regularly to see where referrals are coming from, which helps me determine which groups are the most valuable to me. I subscribe to several listservs, where there are a good mixture of published and non published writers and do value groups where there are some great discussion topics or useful information about the writing life, such as taxes, legal stuff and so on. I am a member of SCBWI, for which I am the ARA for Western Canada, and belong to SF Canada, CANSCAIP, the Writer’s Union of Canada and a few others and also meet with writers and illustrators over coffee locally throughout the year.

I do use Facebook all the time, but have never used it for advertising my workshops and services for writers, I don't think. However, I am connected to writers all over the world and created the Children’s Writers and Illustrators on Facebook group at the beginning of 2009 and we now have almost 1000 members. I do have a page on MySpace, but find it much less effective and since it will not allow a feed from my blog, it is usually very out of date. I am on Jacketflap and some other sites too. I have considered Twitter, but decided I simply have no time for it, despite what everyone tells me. I’m at the computer every day, but because of all my marketing, promotion and work with schools, summer camps etc, I have a lot of e mail to manage, as well as trying to actually write the books. Another place to manage online is just too much at this point.

How much marketing does your publisher do and how much do you do on your own?

I do all my own marketing for the schools visits, workshops, conferences, book signings and launches, plus operate my own blog and website. I am always very grateful for any help my publisher has given me in the past, such as for travel and festivals, at least in Canada, will often approach him first.

Anyone who visits your website sees how diversified you are. You give workshops, school talks and author in residence weeks, as well as maintain a strong presence online with the Children’s Authors and Illustrators. In addition if this week is an example, you are being interviewed on several blogs. Do you have a system to keep yourself sane?

I'm not sure. I do try and keep things organized, but the good thing about Blogger, for example, is that you can do a whole series of entries and schedule them to be posted over several months. I started doing that last summer when I knew I would have less time, since it was school vacation time, but I didn’t want to temporarily abandon my presence on the web. I simply don’t have time to write a new blog entry every few days, so scheduling them works very well for me. No system really.. It’s a full time job and somehow I keep on top of things, but it is tougher if I’m traveling, even with remote access to e mail and everything. I find it much easier to keep track if I’m working in the home office for prolonged periods.

When you start a novel what is most important to you, character development or plot development? Please tell the readers why you work this way.

Plot for me, not sure why, although the nature of the stories, the subject matter and the age group they are written for are most likely the main factors there. I work on a detailed outline of the storyline before I even start with the actual text, dialogue and so on. Character development often comes at the same time, sometimes later. That being said, I usually have at least the main characters in mind as soon as I get the idea. I just need to know where the story is going, if the project is going to actually become a full-length novel.

How important do you think critique groups are for writers and do you have one?

I have never had a critique group, but acknowledge that it is important for some people, either in person or online. Writing is by nature a solitary occupation and can be a lonely business, without the benefit of hordes of cheering fans on the sidelines. A critique group is a place where you can ask questions and receive constructive feedback to help you with your writing as you try to build your career as a professional author. A group can also help you conquer a stumbling block, help you to regain momentum and get back to your writing or make a start on a new project.

Do you have any advice for someone who is beginning to write for children?

Read lots of kid’s books of course to get a feel for what is being published at the moment, but also just to get really into the genre. It’s also a good idea to take a writing course, either in person at a local college, by correspondence with someone like the Institute for Children’s Literature or online with someone like myself. Writing is in some ways the easy part. It can be a very long process not only to write a book, but also to get it published. A book is a marathon measured in years rather than weeks or months. Don’t be afraid to revise and revise over and over again. Most authors go through many revisions before their work reaches its final format. Remember too that your book will never be to everyone’s taste, so don’t be discouraged. A firm belief in your own success is often what’s necessary. After all, if you don’t believe in your book, how can you expect other people to? Read as much as you can and write as often as you can. Keep an ideas file, even if it’s only a name, title, sentence or an entire outline for a novel. You never know when you might get another piece of the puzzle, perhaps years later. You also mustn’t forget the marketing. You may produce the greatest book ever written. However, no one else is going to see it if your book doesn’t become known to potential readers. Be visible as an author. Do as many readings, signings and personal appearances as you can. Get your name out there and hopefully the rest will follow. Especially for newly published authors, books don’t sell themselves and need a lot of help.

When do you think a writer needs an agent? How helpful is an agent both before and after publication?

I have contacted agents on numerous occasion and met them in person at conferences and other events, but no one has ever showed an interest in representing me, I’m not sure why. You would think that they’d jump at the chance to be involved with a writer who has already published six books, is all over the internet and does so much promotion himself, but there is no interest, very odd. Of course, many of the larger publishing houses will only take manuscripts through an agent, so literary agents remain very useful for writers. I think agents have been very good for some authors and there are some great agents out there. However, I have talked to just as many writers who have had agents who did nothing for them at all, despite their reputation with other authors. Of course, this could be the fault of the author’s material, but to sum up, a really good agent with all the right connections is probably worth his or her weight in gold.

What do you think of e-books and e-book readers such as Kindle? Are any of your books in e-book form?

None of my books are in Kindle format yet, as far as I know. However, I think these things, or at least what follows on from them, are here to stay. People from older generations may like to think that everyone will always want a real book, but although I used to think the same way, I’m not so sure these days. After all, even older people have iPods, Blackberries and all the rest and have become used to looking at text on a small screen. Why could you not get used to buying a book as a pdf, read some of it on your desktop computer, take it on a laptop to another part of the house, then read more on a handheld device on the bus or train on your way to work? It’s not that much different than taking a real book along with you, is it really?

Technology is changing many aspects of the way we live, and the pace is increasing all the time, it seems, with products becoming obsolete so much faster. Decades ago, it was said that TV would kill newspapers, but newspapers survived. Yet now, the Internet is seriously damaging newspapers as we speak, mostly from an advertising revenue aspect, but also because people have become so accustomed to seeing news items online. People no doubt thought tapes, vinyl and even CD's were a fixture in our lives, but the music industry changed dramatically and compact disks in particular had a very short life span, when you think about it. The Kindle certainly isn’t the end of this, and I’m sure other products will come along, but I think it’s the start of something that will change the way we look at books in the future. Not sure how this will play out with picture books, but I guess we’ll wait and see.

Graphic novels are becoming very popular. Do you have any plans to write a graphic novel?

No, I don’t think so. I have seen them and appreciate their quality and popularity, but I guess I shouldn’t rule it out, as long as I would have an illustrator to work with.

Thank you for joining us today, Simon and for your very informative answers to my questions. If anyone is interested in asking Simon a question or commenting, please leave it in the comments and Simon will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you to all of my readers. Until the next time, I would love to host another guest author. Please let me know.

For more information about Simon please visit his website and his blog.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bunny Ears on a Car?





Guest Author Simon Rose is here tomorrow.







Check out this video and learn more about this fascinating science fiction/fantasy children's author.



Real life has been overtaking me in the last couple of days, but I've been getting ready for our first author interview tomorrow with Simon Rose. I hope that all of my readers who are also writers will drop by to chat with Simon. He will be interviewed by me and then he will answer your questions throughout the day. All you need to do is come by and read the interview. Then leave your comment and Simon will answer it.

So the other day my daughter and I were on our way to get our coffee when we pulled up next to the strangest looking car I'd ever seen! I had to look twice and then check again to be sure. But, yes, those strange pieces of material sticking up out of the backseat windows were bunny ears!!! Yes, it's true. Someone put bunny ears on a car!!! I was in shock so I didn't have my phone out to take the picture, but we caught up with the car on the entrance to the highway. Here it is. You have to imagine the part facing the road has pink on it. The car is white.:) When I saw it I started laughing and this is probably the most ridiculous example of holiday decoration I have ever seen on the road. Bunny ears on a car!!!! With everything that is going on today in the economy it's kind of hysterical that someone took the time to fit out their car for these appendages and either made them or bought them and attached them to the ear holders.:) This has to give you a laugh and you will want to share this so your friends can get a laugh. Trust me. The image of this is going to stay with you and if things get you down just picture this car driving along with bunny ears.:) It should at least put a smile on your face or crack through the despair that sometimes hits when you try to please too many people and fail. At least it does for me.:)

Choosing the Right Critique Group
I haven't been dwelling on writing topics too much, but yesterday I got my copy of Writer's Digest in my email and browsed through it as I usually do. Sometimes this publication has great ideas for writers and sometimes it talks too much about topics that are of no interest to me.:) This time I found a great article for writers on how to choose a critique group. The article isn't talking about online groups. This is a whole other discussion. The writer of this article talks about choosing an in person Critique Group Club.

I actually have quite a bit of experience with in person critique groups. I've been in a couple for poetry ones and one for writing. A couple of months ago a new friend of mine on Facebook told me he had one with an opening when I asked if there were any in Westchester. So I was invited to join this group for an introductory session. I brought the first three chapters of my novel which had not come back from the publisher yet. The writers who contributed to the discussion and shared their work before me seemed serious and several were published authors. We all got along great and I was feeling very comfortable and thinking I had found a new group when the last member to arrive walked in the door. He hadn't been there for the whole night, but when he walked in the group deferred to him. We were in the middle of discussing my chapters and I was very anxious to hear what people would say. The comments were going fairly well and most people were tactful, which concerned me. When people are tactful it means they didn't particularly like what you wrote. Then this guy who hadn't heard my reading wanted to read it and comment upon them. When he finished his comments were harsh and condescending. I wasn't treated like I had written anything worthy at all. He picked my work apart and I felt uncomfortable. What had been a convivial, but wary situation turned into an I-must-go-home-and -put - my -head- under -the -pillow feeling. And this guy didn't even share his writing claiming he was in the middle or some other story. The meeting ended shortly afterward and I had a feeling this wasn't the group for me. A few days later my new friend on Facebook sent me an email saying that they weren't expanding the group after all and were going to stay with the original members. I didn't care, although rejection is always hard to take. I would rather have said to him that I didn't want to be part of the group. I'll never know if it was the published women author who didn't like my writing or that they felt as a group that I didn't fit in. Whatever it was, this wasn't a great experience. She was a picture book writer and had shared a story about talking animals. She didn't know much about young adult at all.

For someone like me, who almost never gets that kind of response from people it disturbed me. My friend recommended that I search for another critique group here in Westchester. I am a member of two online groups and one, YA-authors, though it has very little activity now, was a big, big help to me. My current group, KidsMuse, is filled with great writers who understand what the author of this article has said. That there is a kernel of good in every piece of writing and that you have to be able to see that and help the writer move forward. Currently I am sharing my second novel with the group, but they did help me a great deal on my first, which unfortunately was rejected. That's another thing I have to do. I have the name of an agent and should be sending out a sample to him soon.:)

American Idol Country Night
I'm going to end with my comments on last night's American Idol. Like most of the media I had mixed feelings about Adam's interpretation of "Ring of Fire". I read one account that said that it reminded them of Jim Morrison of "The Doors". In some strange way, Adam might have been channeling Jim Morrison last night. His oufit and the psychedelic way he sang that song with the sitars in the background were very like his performance. But on the other hand, Adam brought a 21st century feel to it with his vocals. Morrison sang full out all the time, but Adam did not sing out full. Instead he seemed almost to be holding back as if tortured. Johnny
Cash, who enjoyed different versions of his songs, might have enjoyed seeing this interpretation. Whatever it was, at least he stayed on tune for the whole song and it wasn't boring.:)

The other surprise was the emergence of Anoop and the quality of his voice. He was excellent and so was Matt. Though people think Michael might go this week, I'm not sure. It could be Scott, because that would make three piano players on the show. The other one who might go is Lil Rounds, because though she is awesome sometimes, she has shown that she doesn't have variety. I don't want her to go, but she didn't do that song justice last night. Alexis seemed like Dolly Parton, but only about a half of her.:) She doesn't have the sparkle and the voice of Dolly. She tried hard, but she should have picked another song. Later last night my daughter and I watched the Top 100 Countdown for Country Music Videos on CMT and it was obvious that Carrie Underwood's song would have been much better for Alexis. The judges said that, but until I saw the video I thought that Alexis might pull through. Now, I'm not so sure. I also liked Kris, but have a feeling that he won't be there much longer. He may make it through this round, though. Danny did his usual best and so did Scott, though their inspirational songs are getting to me. But the lowlight of the evening was Megan. She had the flu, but her singing was like a form of throat singing. There is a tribe in Mongolia that does this and if you've ever heard this form of singing it sounds a little like what she did last night. Her outfit too was very torch singer and not at all country to me. I'm not thrilled with her usually so if you like her at least she had the guts to perform with the flu. Also looked pretty good, but that explains the non-expression in her eyes.:) Yes, I guess that is a little catty.:)

Why do I watch American Idol? It's a phenomenon that no one has analyzed yet, but I think it's because I enjoy seeing talented people who have not had the breaks rise to the top. I suppose it's survival of the fittest played out in a TV show setting. It's like when the Romans watched the gladiators fighting in the arena and bet on the one that would be killed. What is the difference between not voting for someone on American Idol and them being taken off the show and betting on the gladiator that will be alive at the end? Certainly there is no bloodshed on American Idol, but people are eliminated. My husband once told me that he loves when there are a lot of people and then they go down to only one. It may be that fascination that keeps us watching AI. Or maybe people enjoy watching other people look miserable. Or on the other hand, it's fun to watch the winners be happy. I'm pretty sure we don't watch it for the talent. Or could it be the interaction of the contestants with the judges or the judges bizarre behavior, especially Paula's, could be the reason.:) What was up with Paula smelling Simon's arm last night? Or was she snorting something off of that arm?LOL

Until the next time, I am hoping all of you will be joining us tomorrow for my first Guest Author interview with Simon Rose. He will be here in the afternoon to answer your questions so please come and bring friends.:) Thank you to all my readers and the wonderful comments you leave that help brighten up my day and warm my heart.



Sunday, March 15, 2009

What the Power of Words Can Do!




Join us on Thursday, March 19th for an in-depth interview with Simon Rose, science fiction and fantasy children's author nominated for the Silver Birch, Diamond Willow and Golden Eagle
Book Awards. Simon also gives workshops, visits schools and teaches classes to authors. Please come and learn more about this author of five outstanding books for children. He will be here to answer your questions after the interview.




If you want to learn more about him visit his blog and check out his video on Youtube.


The Mattress Saga

I wonder sometimes if anyone is reading my words and of course, I love the comments all of you leave when you stop by. For a writer comments are like applause and we need that very much.:) That's why I always try to answer your comments, because my answers are like a performer's bows.:) But I never could have anticipated what would happen when I talked about mattress shopping on Friday in my blog.

So I opened my email box to check on email on Saturday and found an email addressed to me from the Vice President of Customer Satisfaction of Sleepy's! :) Somehow, and this kind of scares me, he had found my email address after finding my post about the mattress shopping experience on my last blog. I was very happy to know that my post had received attention. Probably they have an automatic service that checks constantly for their name or mention of their products. But how did he get my email address? I sent this person an email back to find out how they got my email and also to thank him for what he offered to us. Here is an excerpt of the email:

We thank you for taking the time to share your experience about the Miralux mattress and our showroom.
At Sleepy’s we work continuously to accommodate our customers with quality in both service and merchandise. We are sorry that you had to experience anything less.

He then went on to give some background of Sleepy's. Started in 1957 in Brooklyn, NY, by the Acker family, Sleepy's now has almost 700 stores in 12 states. He also mentioned how they deliver over 2000 Miralux mattresses a week and that one dissatisfied customer will tell ten more people and that is a problem in the age of the Internet. He also said that the percentage of negative comments was far less than the 2000 mattresses they had delivered.

But there is more:

I would like to extend my personal assistance in helping your daughter find the mattress that is right for her, no obligation to select a Miralux and will see to it that a Regional Manager gives you personalized attention at a day and time of your/her convenience.

Again, I apologize for the behavior of our salesperson and assure you it will be addressed with the Regional VP. We regret the outcome, but unfortunately it becomes our greatest learning tool. We hope to hear from you.

Because of this email we went back to a Sleepy's store today and my daughter finally found a mattress she liked and she bought it. It's a Kingsdown with a soft pillow top. She needs the very soft. Sleepy's has this test for anyone who needs a mattress. They lay you down on a computerized mattressand it finds the exact level of comfort you need. Then they show you all the mattresses that fit your profile. The salesman we had today knew what he was doing. He treated us with respect and gave us information so we were able to decide with facts.

My daughter originally decided on an IBC Mattress, but when she checked on the website she found....Miralux. They are the same manufacturers of the Miralux mattress. She was all set to buy it because it was the only one in her price range that felt comfortable. But after she went back to the mattress one more time she decided to lay down on the Kingsdown. In a few minutes she had changed her mind and though the salesman had written up the order for the first mattress, he switched it and it only ended up costing her a little more than the first one for much better quality.:)
He threw in the delivery for free and they're taking away the old mattress for $14.95. So they're delive
ring the mattress on Tuesday and I hope that this will be the end of the mattress saga.:)
And we didn't even need the help of the Regional Manager. This shows a queen size bed. Imagine it as a twin.:)




What Have They Done to Facebook?
Now one more thought before I end my ravings.:) What have they done to Facebook? They've pared it down so much and put things in different places and restructured the group pages. I don't like it. It's confusing and I wonder why they are always changing things when people get comfortable with using something. I just wish once that things wouldn't change on websites. In this crazy changing world of ours we need places that don't change and where we can find our friends. We need the comfort of the familiar to keep us sane. It's kind of like the "Cheers" song:

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came....
Click the link to see all the lyrics.
One last thing and then I promise it's finished! We did see a movie this weekend! But it wasn't the one I would have chosen myself. We saw "Taken" with Liam Neeson. I have mixed feelings about this movie, because it is about the horrific practice of kidnapping and selling young girls as sex slaves. Liam Neeson is a retired CIA agent who when he hears his daughter being kidnapped over the phone rushes off to save her. It incorporates a great deal of violence and some torture with a little bit of blood and the minimal amount of gore. There are horrible scenes of debauched girls at a construction site giving favors to men while drugged in some cases todeath! I was really disgusted by a lot of this movie, but at the same time there are edge of your seat chase scenes. It's very much like a larger version of "24" if Jack had been in this situation. It didn't get a great set of reviews as you can see, but for people who like adventure movies you might like it a little more.

Until the next time, welcome to my new readers and please leave a comment. Thank you to my readers who have been here before. Remember we have the pleasure of an interview with children's book author Simon Rose on Thursday.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th and Postcard Friends Friday

A cut paper sculpture by Peter Callesen
for Postcard Friends Friday

Take a few minutes and check out all of this artist's work. He even does performances.:) Just something to cheer up everyone on Friday the 13th and my offering for Postcard Friends Friday.

Okay, now something about my day for all who read these ravings all the time.:) My older daughter got the coffee today. We always get tall skim mocha lattes and because there are always three cups you need one of those cardboard carriers to bring them from the Starbucks place to the car. We don't go into the place, because we have our routine. We always have our coffee in the car. So far aside from one unfortunate incident with a vanilla skim latte that spilled all over my daughter's car's floor and made the car smell like old baby spit up diaper - Yuck!!! for about three months. Since the last time we haven't had any mishaps with this arrangement. To be fair, the first happened due to a giant pothole we didn't see coming at us.:) This time we were stopped and I opened the window to get the cardboard carrier. But my daughter didn't wait until I had the window opened all the way and started handing me the cardboard carrier filled with three heavy cups of hot lattes. You know they have that little hole on top for easy drinking. Well, one of the cups wasn't sitting so well and when she handed me the carrier this cup toppled over and spilled all over me and into my lap!!! Happy Friday the 13th!! After I cleaned myself up with the trusty stain eraser from The Container Store I always keep with me. I rinsed off the stain covered with the stain eraser with water from one of the water bottles we had in the car and I was able to meet the world.

We finished our lattes and my older daughter wanted to go mattress shopping. Two things I don't like to do with her are shoe shopping and mattress shopping. So I waited in the car and hoped she wouldn't ask me to come in there with her. But she did and I unfortunately did go into Sleepy's to check out the mattress she had to have. Sure it felt great, but it was a Miralux. Who knew that brand? The salesperson said it had a fifteen year guarantee and though he wasn't going to put in the delivery cost before I came into the store when I heard that he wasn't and mentioned it to my daughter he changed his mind. They were cutting the mattress price in half and I told my daughter that she should check other ones. This is what set off my radar that maybe this wasn't a good sale. When we asked the salesperson for help he was dismissive and tried to show us the information on a phone. But when we didn't know how to use his particular phone he took it away without giving us the information. I've had a lot of sales courses and this made me think that we should leave. I didn't want this Friday the 13th to be worse than it was.

Sure enough when my daughter got back into the car and checked on the web to see if there was anything about this mattress, she found horrible comments. One person said that the mattress was awful after two weeks! Others said it sagged. Another person said he tossed and turned all night on it. It felt comfortable in the store. Sure it did.:) My daughter said it was the most comfortable bed she found in the store. But when she saw all of the comments she knew we had made the right decision. For all who are buying a mattress, don't buy anything without checking it out first. Don't trust the salesperson. You need to be aware of what you are buying. When a salesperson won't give you all the details then run!!! This is not kosher.:) Salespeople need to give you all the details of what you are buying.

I'm going to let you guess what movie I'm seeing this weekend.:) I don't even know. So until the next time, I hope that everyone enjoyed this combination of superstition and rambling.

Coming next week I have a real treat for you. I am hosting my very first author interview with children's writer, sci fi and fantasy author Simon Rose on Thursday, March 19th all day. I am hoping all of my writing friends will come, because Simon has lots of great ideas for presentations and workshops. Have a great weekend!

Come to My First Blog Interview
with Simon Rose
Thursday, March 19th all day. Your comments are welcome!!!!

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