Saturday, February 28, 2009
Why do I get sore muscles? It's because I'm using ones I don't ordinarily use and they're protesting.
I confess I've let things slide. I've allowed winter weather to interfere with getting to Fitness classes, and my body isn't happy about it. I didn't used to have this problem, and I hope to get to more classes, weather permitting, so I won't have it any more. If weather's not permitting, I'll exert discipline and exercise at home.
The same thing happens with writing. I can blog every day because I've kept up that exercise, but I'm having a harder time finishing my work in progress. Lately, my brain hasn't exercised in that direction. No, I don't get headaches after doing so, thank goodness, but it's harder for me to focus. I fumble around trying to find the right words to say. I have a difficult time coming up with plot points and descriptions. My characters' thoughts elude me.
I've got tons of unwriting projects that need doing. One of them is getting my income tax papers together, which means balancing a checkbook that's been neglected for months. Still, I'm determined to spend more time each day on my novel. I need to get back in writing shape.
What about you? Do you ever get out of writing shape? If you let yourself slide for a while, is it harder for you to come up with ideas when you do write? Or, are you so disciplined you never let this happen? Do you have a routine you follow, no matter what? Please share.
Friday, February 27, 2009
The Chicago Tribune newspaper reports a significant rise in United States sightings of these evil bloodsuckers, which attack unsuspecting victims in their beds at night.
Are you itching? Not yet? Keep reading.
These tiny little insects are camping out in hotel beds, on cruise ships, in nursing homes, hospitals and other likely spots. Click this link for a story about them in the New York Times. In this article entomologist Louis Sorkin mentions they're so small they're hard to find. If you see something a quarter inch long and it's reddish-brown, you may have found one, but there are many types. They not only feed on people, but also pets.
These nocturnal critters release some kind of nerve agent when they bite, numbing their victims during their feeds, until the damage is done. Afterwards, the fun and itching begin. If you scratch too much, you risk infection.
Why have they become so prevalent? Some people blame it on our shrinking world. Travelers are visiting more places where these tiny critters dwell and the nasty little things hitch a ride back on clothes or shoes, in suitcases, etc. Another reason is poor hygiene, with people being too busy or unable to spend money to wash sheets and pillowcases.
If you're traveling, what measures can you take to be safe? A few suggestions I heard on WLS were to check your sheets for little splotches of blood (that sound icky, doesn't it?), keep your covers tucked in, and make sure your bed doesn't rest against the wall.
Have you ever seen a bedbug or gotten bitten by one? Have you ever included bedbugs in a book you've written? Do you feel like doing so now? Did I make you itchy?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
If I like the cover, I'll proceed to the back and read the blurbs. If I like what I see, I'll open and read the first page. Sometimes I feel an immediate click and know I want that book. Other times, I waver and flick to a few other pages, not reading them entirely, just kind of checking.
If I see books that seem interesting in bookstore windows, they're usually hardcovers. Since I can't afford them, except in special instances, I order them from the library.
Of course, if a book happens to be written by a friend, that's a different story. In that case, I'll buy the book, get it autographed and save it as I do all my autographed books.
I can't say that I buy books from reviews, but I have from word-of-mouth, or if it's by an author I like.
What about you? What makes you buy a book?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Riding on the Metra to work on Tuesday, someone coughed and for some reason I coughed right afterwards,though I hadn't felt the urge moments before.
What about smiling? When you take someone's picture and tell that person to smile, have you caught yourself smiling,as if you were the person getting a picture taken?
Laughing? Have you wanted to laugh at absolutely the wrong time, and made others want to as well?
Why does this happen? Is there a scientic explanation, or is it just follow the leader?
What about you? Do you exhibit such involuntary reactions? Or, have you reacted inappropriately at the worst possible time, and don't know why? Have you ever started a chain reaction of yawning or something else? Please share.
If you liked this blog, check out Get A Life at http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com today.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Hugh Jackman looked and sounded stunning as the show's emcee. I admired his talents in the opening number, also admired Anne Hathaway's voice. I was touched by the marvelous tributes to the supporting actress nominees and felt happy for Penelope Cruz as she accepted her award.
Then a commercial came on. That's when I made my mistake. I closed my eyes just for a second. Next thing I knew, it was 11:30 and the show was long over. Darn, I missed it!
I can't be the only one who's done something like this. What about you? Have you ever missed a television show you wanted to watch? Or maybe an event you'd planned to attend? Why did you miss it? Did you forget? Fall asleep or oversleep? Did something more pressing come up? Please share.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Making a marriage works takes patience and practice. This journal has been designed to usher couples into new intimacy and love for each other. With three primary areas of closeness, couples will see how to fix common relationship problems. The question and answer area will help couples learn some lesser known facts about one another. The book fosters truth as a bond of understanding between both the husband and wife; and understanding as a bond of peace.
Lacresha N. Hayes is a business owner, author, and community advocate. She serves as Co-Founder and Co-Pastor of Compassionate Healing Ministries International. She's also on serves on the CommunityServ Executive Board as Chairperson. She's a student at Capella University online. She's married to Pastor Lensey Hayes and they have one son. Lacresha is a multi-published author writing under two pen names. She is author of the bestselling book, The Rape of Innocence: Taking Captivity Captive, and the new sensation, Truth and Intimacy: A Couple's Journal.
Truth and Intimacy Purchase Link: http://tinyurl.com/cxl65x
And Now, Here's Lacresha, with a a motivating message about leaving your own legacy:
When I entered the writing world, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn't fully understand the process of writing for the reader. Previously, I'd written only for myself and a select few. I wrote to heal, or to express things I couldn't express to others. Sometimes, I wrote because I couldn't get a thought out of my head until I did. That, I believe, is the driving force behind all writers.
There are three things I've discovered in these past eight years about writers and the craft of writing:
The best work of any writer is what comes from his/her soul. When I read a book, article or blog post that came from the heart of the author, normally it touches my heart, even when I don't fully agree. The passion seems to drip from every word. This kind of material makes an author special. It doesn't come around everyday. You can't really force it, but when it happens, it's something spectacular for both author and reader.
If you write for money, you'll miss the biggest reward for writing. If you write for change or inspiration, the money is a reward that follows close behind. I've seen wonderful books pounded out swiftly, and sent out way before time. I've done that myself. But writing a book, or even an article, is like parenting. Whatever you're writing, give yourself time to nurture it. Don't send it out looking crazy. Your writing is a direct representation of you. I wish I'd learned this sooner, but I'm happy I learned it at all.
Lastly, don't ever stop writing. Even if you have to slow down, don't stop. If one group of people reject what you're offering, seek out others. Someone somewhere will appreciate the effort you've put into your work, even if it isn't in a commercially published book or super popular blog. As long as I'm getting a visitor a day, I choose to keep blogging. As long as I can sell a book or two from time to time, I'm going to get pounding them out in faith.
I hope you have been inspired to continue on in your writing career. Remember, it's not the easiest job in the world, but it is very rewarding if done for the right reasons. What you write today is history tomorrow. Leave a great legacy!
Pastor Lacresha N. Hayes, Publisher, Author, Grantwriter
Choose ye this day whom you will serve. It's as simple as a choice!
Business ~ www.livingwaterspc.com
Sunday, February 22, 2009
If there's no blog address, it takes a bit longer to click on your name link or profile photo link to learn where to find you. Then, if you have more than one blogspot listed, it gets confusing. It would be a shame if you just posted a great blog on one of the spots, but it was maybe the third one listed, so it didn't get attention.
So, please don't hide, unless you're not receiving visitors.
Okay, gang, let's see who's paid attention. Please leave a comment here and put your blogpost address underneath it. Many happy returns.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
What about you? What's your favorite gadget? Maybe it's a Kindle, a camera, a videorecorder, a Swiss army knife, a TV remote, a garage door opener, an electric can opener.
Please name it and tell us why you like it so much.
Friday, February 20, 2009
All things being equal, if a book is edited correctly, looks good, and reads good, what more could readers want?
What's your take on this subject? Please share.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Here's one link on the matter:
For more information, if you're a Twitter user, sign in, go to the bottom of the page, click search, type #Facebooktos and you'll see all sorts of enlightening tidbits and links.
As of Wednesday, Facebook, realizing the repercussions of the fallout of unhappy campers, backed off from the new terms and switched back to the old ones, with a promise of studying the matter thoroughly before making or revising another set. With news of the reversal, I downloaded my profile pic again to my Facebook account, but don't plan to overdo it until I'm more comfortable with the situation.
The same thing that made Facebook so popular threatened to destroy it. For now, it appears the danger has passed. And how was the reversal achieved? By social networking. People spoke out.
One person may not make a difference, but collectively we pack a wallop.
What are your feelings about Facebook and its terms of service? Were you aware of what happened? Do you trust them? Or, maybe you don't have a Facebook account. Please share.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Let's play a little game. What do you think these characters are thinking or saying?Have some fun with it.
When you're through, I invite you to stop on by at Acme Authors Link for a great motivational post from my guest, L. Diane Wolfe.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Today, I'll do a fun post. Here's the plan. I'll list a bunch of embarrassing, annoying and nosy questions. If you want, you can pick one to answer, or if you want, you can relate something embarrassing that happened to you, a friend or a book character.
Ladies - When was the last time you shaved your legs or underarms?
Guys - Do you ever shave or get shaved your nose hairs or ear hairs?
Anyone - What do you wear to bed at night?
Anyone - Do you ever pick your nose? Or have you seen someone else pick theirs?
Anyone - How often do you brush your teeth?
Anyone - Have you ever worn shoes from two different pairs and not realized it right away?
Anyone - Have you ever gotten toilet paper stuck to your shoe?
Ladies - Has your skirt ever ridden up in the back, or gotten stuck in the waistband in the back and you didn't realize it?
Guys- Have you ever left your fly open in public and someone had to tell you?
I'll start by answering a few -
Because it's winter and cold around here, I shaved my legs and underarms a few days ago, after not bothering for a while. During the summer, I do it every few days at least.
I usually wear a nightshirt to bed, sometimes with a fleece vest. If it's really, really, cold, I'll wear my flannel pajamas plus a fleece jacket over it. Our upstairs doesn't get as warm as the rest of the house, but the water bed makes up for it.
I did wear two different types of shoes to work one day and didn't discover it until on the train ride hope, so no one else noticed all day either.
Okay, your turn. Provide your own question and answer, or Take Your Pick - Pun intended.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Not to mention, but I will anyway, I have some questions to answer at the Blog Book Tours listserv about my Ning network, Book Place, some other e-mails to answer, blogs to comment on, Twitter to control - I've gone from 664 followers to 764 in less than a week. Apparently, Twitter is the new "in" place to be.
Did I mention, it's my day to blog over at http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com ? You're more than welcome to stop there for fun stuff about turning the ordinary to scary.
Getting back to my day. Other mundane matters must be dealt with, such as the laundry, the pots and pans in the sink, the newspapers scattered around, the coats and jackets left on the rocking chair, all of which were neglected since I knew I had Monday off. Oh, and Rascal says I better take her on a long walk, because Tuesday will turn ugly weatherwise.
No problem. Everything is under control. I've got some sticky notes to remind me of what to do. I'm actually looking forward to getting things done.
What about you? How do you spend an extra day off? Do you like to keep busy or simply relax? Or, maybe sometimes you like to crash, but other times you like to dash? Please share.
Group shot: Morgan Mandel, Debra St. John, June Sproat, Margot Justes, Sherryl Bodine, Carrie Loftus.
Valentine's Day was a busy one. After my husband and I exchanged Valentine's Day cards early Saturday morning, I was off to Step Class at the Park District, then a book signing at the Des Plaines Library, along with fellow Chicago-North RWA Chapter members.
Then came a long walk with Rascal, ending up at where else but her favorite hangout, Bentley's Corner Barkery, where we caught the tail end of their doggie Valentine's Day Party. Here's Rascal in the Kissing Booth
Instead of going out to dinner for Valentine's Day, we decided to eat in, in favor of going out to an early dinner on Sunday instead. It's always so crowded at restaurants on Holidays anyway. I don't mind celebrating on another day. When you've been married a while, any day is as good as another.
What about you? Does it bother you if you don't celebrate a Holiday on the day itself? What do you do? Please share.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Actually, I did get a brief respite of a few days from that dreaded slippery, wet stuff. During the intermission, I thoroughly enjoyed walking the dog, walking to work and other activities I'd missed, which I couldn't do when the snow made it too difficult to travel on foot. Spring seemed so close I could almost think it had arrived.
That was before the cold, soft, flakes hit me in the face when I opened the back door. Once again, I'm dealing with what looks oh, so pretty, but doesn't act so very nice.
This dismal turn of events reminds me of a novel. The hero and/or heroine suffers through all sorts of calamities. Then, when everything appears to be okay, calamity hits with a vengeance. Wham, once again, the world is not so pretty. The only hope is that somehow everything will turn out all right at the end.
So, as an author, I put my characters through the roughest winters I can think of, I give them a short break, pile on more snow, then at the end I reward them with the wonders of Spring sunshine.
What about you? Do you like to torture your characters? Can you think of any novels where you thought all was lost, yet somehow everything turned out all right? Or, maybe, can you think of novels where you were disappointed because the author treated the characters too nicely? Please share.
Friday, February 13, 2009
It takes some effort, but I can do this. What I find more difficult is to work on my novel under the same circumstances. When I create, I need to give my novel my undivided attention, which means a non-noisy atmosphere, maybe soft music, but not much else. On the train, if I get distracted by loud talkers when I'm creating, it also wrenches me out of the zone.
What about you? Can you create in any atmosphere? Under what circumstances do you seriously work on a manuscript? Please share.
PS Now that I have your undivided attention, if you wish to proceed, please see Little Things Mean a Lot at http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Anyway, in case you didn't notice it, more and more hybrid books are emerging. At times this presents a problem for classifying them, since the publisher and bookseller have to figure out which section of the brick-and-mortar or online bookstores to put the books in. It takes effort, but it's worth finding homes for these treasures. Many hybrid novels are wonderfully unique reads.
Let's face it. Nothing about life is only black and white. There are all sorts of nuances. Why shouldn't that also be true about books? I enjoy reading mysteries with romances tucked into them, or romances with paranormal elements, and other combinations.
What about you? Which do you like best? Specific genre novels or hybrids? Or, maybe you like both. Please share.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
One of the highlights of Love is Murder was a sword play demonstration.
Not only when writing historical books, but also in almost any kind of novel, either actual sword play or verbal sparring is involved, sometimes both.
Can you think of a memorable sword play scene in one of your books or another's? What about verbal sparring? Please share.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Laurie DeMarino, on the left, and Deb Gross, on the right - Two Chicago-North RWA Chapter members who were attending the Love is Murder Mystery Conference last weekend took time out to ham it up with two obliging reenactors from the Reenactors Fest.
What about you? Have you ever done a spur of the moment, kind of silly, but fun thing? Or, do you have a book character who's a funny, quirky sort? Please share.
Monday, February 09, 2009
- More Love Is Murder photos to share in future posts - Also, back by popular demand will be more Reenactor Fest photos. I heard the time period covered was from the Roman Empire to World War II. Nothing like seeing adults dressed up in very expensive looking, authentic costumes. I'm saving those photos to tantalize you to return here. They'll be worth the wait. Some are a real hoot!
About Love is Murder. I came back with lots of learning and bonding to absorb. I enjoyed seeing my yearly friends and making new ones. On a disappointing note, I'll have to wait until 2011 for the next Love is Murder Conference.
For 2 1/2 days I lived in a land where writers dwelled. There's nothing like being among my own kind and having people understand what I'm talking about without looking bored. I would have loved to have finished my work-in-progress in time for the conference, but that was not to be. I vow to do so before Spring, so I can spend the Summer relaxing without feeling guilty about leaving my poor characters dangling in dire situations.
Jeffery Deaver's guest speech after dinner Saturday was witty and encouraging. He revealed that even a successful author has stumbling blocks. His was letting distractions keep him from tying up the pieces in his novel. I also have a talent for allowing distractions to overcome me.
Right now I have a character boxed in a corner and I need to plant a clue earlier in the book to get her out of it. That's only one of the problems I face.
I have a compulsion to write, but sometimes I don't know why. On a good day I'm in heaven. On a bad day, I'm in hell. Then again, I wonder if there are any writers who can say writing always flows easily and they have no trouble with any aspect of the craft or the marketing which accompanies it.
Maybe you'd like to share what's easy or what's hard for you about being a writer. I could probably write a book on that concept itself. I'll start out by saying that in addition to falling prey to distractions, I have a hard time with descriptions. It's much easier for me to write dialogue. What about you?
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Steve Berry, Morgan Mandel and Jeffery Deaver - photo is a little fuzzy. Photographer had never used an iPhone camera before.
What a Stitch!
Reenactor Fest is also at the same hotel this weekend. The members are all over the place roaming the hallways. I've got some dandy photos of them and will be posting them later, along with more photos of Love is Murder.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
I had a great time at Day 1 of Love is Murder 2009. The Power Marketing Panel I moderated went so well we couldn't finish all the questions I had lined up. Great participation by panel mambers Rosemary Harris, Joanna Campbell Slan and Jennie Spallone.
Gorgeous hotel. The panel rooms were stuffy, so tonight I had to re-think my choice of outfits for Saturday and accessorize all over again. Finally figured it out after at least half an hour of rummaging. More photos to come tomorrow.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Love is Murder Memories from Feb 1-3, 2008.
What conferences have you been to? What did you like or dislike about them? Please share.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
To open a can.
What kind do you use, electric or manual?
Either will work. It depends on circumstances. If the electricity is on, it's easier to go electric. Otherwise, the manual will do just as well to get the job done.
There are many ways to get a book published. Which method works best for you depends on your circumstances.
If you can get to a conference and pitch or if you can win a contest with the prize being an editor, agent or publisher reading your manuscript, the process will go smoother.
If those options are not available, you can still rely on the tried and true methods of following guidelines and submitting a query, proposal or partial, depending on requirements. If you're talented and fortunate, you'll advance to the next round, which is submitting a full manuscript.
I'm going the electric route this weekend at the Love is Murder conference, where I'll pitch to editors, agents and publishers.
What about you? Which do you do? Go to conferences and pitch? Enter Contests? Make snail mail submissions? Or all of these?
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
I'm excited to say my romantic comedy, Girl of My Dreams by Morgan Mandel, came in #4 in the romance category. To celebrate, I added the Top Ten Finisher graphic to my sidebar.
I couldn't have done this without the support of all my wonderful friends and readers. Thanks to everyone who voted for me.
Maybe you have a favorite you voted for and would like to see where it landed. Here's the link for the romance category:
For other results, here's another link. You'll need to scroll way to the bottom of the page there and look for the 2008 results in the different categories.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
For those blustery months, I also missed out on my twice daily walks with Rascal. I opened the back door and let her out into our fenced yard instead. Also, instead of walking to the train station, I let my husband drive me there. I couldn't chance slipping on the ice or freezing in the zero weather.
A partial solution came to me a few weeks ago. That Saturday, plus this past Saturday and Sunday, the DH and I parked in the parking garage in our village's downtown, where the sidewalks are clear. We then were able to safely walk Rascal to her favorite hangout, Bentley's Corner Barkery. We finished our trek by picking up a DVD at the library five blocks away.
I'm not a gunho fitness fanatic, but I couldn't believe how good it felt to move around and exercise again after so long without it. I'm hoping to get more opportunities to do so in the coming weeks as the weather gets better. Another conflicting event will keep me from exercising again this coming weekend - the 11th annual Love Is Murder Conference. I'll have to settle for walking from panel to panel for that occasion.
I know I've put on weight. I really want to get back into the exercise routine. I can't ignore my health. What about you? What do you do to keep fit? Have you had trouble exercising this winter? Please share.
Monday, February 02, 2009
If you missed the Super Bowl Commercials, you can still catch them at:
I thought I knew which commercial I liked best, but when I kept watching, I saw even more I liked.
Dorito's - with the crystal ball landing you know where!
Dorito's - with the money spouting from the ATM
Bud Light - with the guy flying through the window in his chair - super funny
Pepsi - with all the dancing
Pepsi Max - with the klutzy guys
Audi - great action
Pedigree - with the exotic animals
Budweiser - with the retriever Clydesdale and one of Rascal's half relatives, a Dalmatian
Budweiser - with the same Clydesdale following his girlfriend, Daisy to the circus, and the Dalmatian - a real riot!
Castrol Edge - with the real grease monkeys
Hyndai - with the other foreign car guys mad
Teleflora - with the talking flowers
Jay Leno - driving his Corvette
Careerbuilder.com - with the mean boss and the guy crying and the kuala bear
Transformers trailer - looks like a great action flick
Bruce Springstein - I couldn't hear him too well on a few of the songs, but he really belted out Glory Days!
Do you remember any of the commercials? Do you have favorites? What did you think of the half-time show?
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Yes, I'm old enough to remember that time in history also, so I'd like the Cardinals to win. Still, that's no reason to watch an entire football game, not for me, when I really don't like sports. I could just as easily watch the last few minutes and find out who wins.
Still, I'm watching the Super Bowl, but not for the sporting aspect. You may have guessed it by now. I enjoy the spectacular commercials.
What about you? Do you like the Super Bowl? If so, do you watch it for the Game? For the Commercials? For Both? Please share.
More From Morgan - Do You Make Your Characters Sick?