Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Bad End

My job of 38 years came to a bad end Wednesday, December 29, 2010, at 4:30. My boss called me in and said this would hurt both of us. Then he said we knew this day would happen.

Oh, we did? I always thought it would be the other way around, and I'd be the one leaving to retire in a few years.

He went on to tell me they're restructuring the firm and hiring paralegals. Interesting concept - these paralegals will be doing all the s**t work I was doing as an assistant (fancy word for secretary). Well, maybe they'll  be part-time with no insurance, or a lot younger with a smaller salary. That way the  boss and his cronies can keep even more money for themselves. Whatever the case, since my old boss retired 6 years ago, the firm has not been the same.

So, my many years of dedication, coming to work sick and working hard to keep the clients apparently meant nothing in the long run. It has all come to a Bad End. To add insult to injury, the present boss followed me to my desk and watched me pack up my stuff, as if I were some crazed criminal who'd grab a stapler or  something silly as a souvenir. Not likely. I guess I sound bitter, but I have to tell it like it is.

Actually I'm looking forward to a new beginning. How fitting, to start a new adventure in the New Year!
I plan on getting some projects done while on unemployment, also plenty of writing. Now I have no excuse to let my WIPS languish. I'll pretend I'm going to work, but instead to into the other room and sit myself down at my desk and write on, and on, and on...

PS Some of my Facebook friends have recommended killing him off in one of my manuscripts - tempting idea. I wonder if it will fit in somewhere or if I can make room for it somehow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Christmas Card List by Morgan Mandel

I wrote this short story in 2009 for my friend, Hagelrat's blog at Un:Bound, but since it's one of my favorites, I'd like to share it with you here. Although this is a work of fiction, some of the aspects of this story ring true for me and many others who send out Christmas cards each year. I hope you enjoy it.

Abby frowned, as she set the box of Christmas cards on the kitchen counter and reached for her pen in the junk drawer. What used to give her joy now filled her with sadness. Once she’d groaned at the money she’d spent on cards and stamps. She wished that were still true.

Time marches on. Many of the people who’d touched her life were gone. Some had moved on and left no forwarding addresses, but the majority resided where no mail could reach them.

I miss you,” she said aloud to the empty kitchen.

A wintry afternoon snow/sleet mix pelted the windows. The wind howled, reinforcing Abby's feelings of abandonment.

Christmastime was supposed to be a happy season, but she couldn’t shake off her melancholy. She should be grateful for those who were left, and she was. Still, she longed for the one’s she’d never see again. Mom and Dad, sis, her niece, Nancy, her good friends, Judy and Maureen, and so many others were not around anymore. At times like this, she regretted not finding someone to share her life. Then again, maybe he’d have gone the way of the others.

She padded on her fuzzy slippers to the wooden table, pulled out the matching chair and began penning notes inside the cards. It was hard to make her stiff fingers move right, with the arthritis taking over, not to mention she was more used to typing than writing in cursive. Forty years as an administrative assistant, first on a typewriter, then a computer, did that to a person. Five years after retirement, she still hardly wrote, choosing to use a keyboard instead.

That reminded her. She hadn’t checked her e-mail and blogs. She’d do it after she finished the cards. Her heart lifted at the thought.

Soon she’d stamped the few cards, placed Christmas seals on their backs, and secured them with a rubber band. She’d mail them tomorrow. For now, she’d switch on the laptop computer on her kitchen desk and see what everybody was up to.

The usual mass of e-mails awaited her from e-groups she’d joined over the years. Also, she hadn’t gone through her blog roll yet today, not to mention the Facebook and Twitter posts.

Smiling, she entered the worlds of her cyber friends, commiserated and/or cheered them, according to what was appropriate. Janet had had a baby girl and both were doing fine, Sue’s dog was eating chair legs, John wanted suggestions for an inexpensive, caring Christmas gift for his girlfriend.

When she started to get hungry, a glance at the computer clock surprisingly told her two hours had already passed. The time had been well spent. Though she’d only met one or two of them in person, her online friends were real and important to her. Every day they shared secrets, triumphs and sorrows with each other. Wasn’t that what friendship was about?

She wasn’t so alone after all. A feeling of warmth stole over her, kind of like when she drank a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day. Her snail mail list may have diminished, but her Internet friends had grown. 

She was truly blessed. Smile widening, she got up to fix dinner.

Merry Christmas, Cyber Friends!

From Morgan Mandel

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Please Welcome My Guest, Chris Redding

Chris will give away a cute purple tote of goodies to one lucky commenter, so be sure to comment and leave your e-mail address.

Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids and various animals.  She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital.

INCENDIARY By Chris Redding

A firefighter and an EMT must stop an arsonist before they go up in flames. Someone is burning buildings in Biggin Hill, NJ, and framing Jake Sweeney. He enlists the aid of his old flame. Too bad their fiery past may get in the way of bringing someone to justice.

Buy Link: 

The following is an excerpt from Chris's workshop, Show Up Naked: Writing the Male POV, which she will be giving in February at

Communication is about independence and intimacy.

Men tend to focus on independence. They give orders and tell people what to do. Women crave intimacy. For instance. a man will make plans without consulting his wife. (Not all men) He will see no reason to “ask permission” of his wife. He actually views it that way. He would see it as not being able to act independently of her. He sees at as being the underling if he has to ask permission. Even though is isn't really asking permission, but consulting the wife about her plans. (Which is how she would see it.)

Here you can add conflict. The hero makes a unilateral decision be it about a social event or in the heat of running from the bad guys. He doesn’t see why he needs to clear it with the heroine. Of course she wants to be in on the decision-making process so we have conflict between the two. He doesn’t understand why she needs to be part of making the decision.

It is the same mindset when men go out and spend money. They don't feel they need to “ask permission.” My husband once bought a car without any input from me. He was going through a rough time and I think he needed to assert his independence not so much from me, but from his job. I didn't make a big deal about it, but the next time he bought I car I mentioned it. And of course he had no idea that I would feel that way. Until I told him.

Intimacy says we're close and connected. Women bond with each other, especially through talking. In feeling connected, two women feel symmetry. They are equals.

Independence is connected to status. Men like independence and their lives are about status. So status and independence are asymmetrical. Both people in a contest cannot have the upper hand.

Imagine someone other than the hero interested in the heroine. There would be an automatic competition between the two men. Conflict! Not huge conflict, but enough to show another side of your hero.

In ancient societies, men protected women. It is still in their biology to do that. There aren't man-eating animals that women face on a daily basis so they do it other ways. (Quick story: In a bar recently with a mixed group. Someone else we knew asked one of the guys in the groups to help her get this guy off of her. Now he doesn’t even like her, but she was clearly scared of this other guy hanging on her. So my friend asked the guy to leave. Twice, nicely. The guy, of course, gave him a hard time, and they almost came to blows. My friend was willing to protect this woman merely because she was a woman.)

A mother naturally protects her children. But when a woman extends her protection to a man he bristles at it. He sees himself as a lower rank, a child. Since I was a kid in the age before widespread seatbelt use, if my father had to brake suddenly he would put his hand out to protect whoever was in the front passenger seat. I developed the same habit driving.

Fast forward a few years. I begin delivering pizza and using a seatbelt on a regular basis. I'm driving with my boyfriend (the one who convinced me to wear a seatbelt.) and I have to break suddenly. My arm goes out. He thought that was the most ridiculous thing. He made fun of me for it for awhile. Looking back, it wasn't about me. It was about him feeling as if I'd lowered him in the hierarchy of our relationship.

Here's Where You Can Find Chris Redding:

Please leave a comment to welcome, Chris. You may be lucky enough to get that cute purple tote!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

How to Get a Bestseller

One way to get a bestseller is to write about what everyone's thinking. The trick is to figure what that is. What is everyone thinking?

Another way to get a bestseller is to make everyone think about what you've written.

Another way is to think up something new and different and get the word out before someone else thinks about it.

Yet another way to get a bestseller is to write something shocking.

One more way to get a bestseller is to do lots of promotion.

Another way is to have a really great cover.

Don't forget great reviews and back cover blurbs.

Or, if you're a celebrity, you could write just about anything, or hire a ghostwriter, and you'd get a bestseller.

These are some ways, which can be done alone or in combination.

Any other ideas about how to get a bestseller?  Or, maybe you can tell us of some instances where one of these methods worked for yourself or someone else. If so, I and the rest of us would like to hear about it.

Here's hoping at least one of these ideas will work. (g)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Check Out These Books

On Wednesday at Acme Authors Link I asked for Elevator Pitches, and I sure got them. Lots of wonderful descriptions of great books. We have no shortage of great authors on the web. With so many choices, there's no excuse for not finding something to read.

If you haven't gone over there yet, here's the link to read and/or add yours:


Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Was Your Black Friday? What about Cyber Monday?

My brother and I went for our annual excursion hitting area stores on Black Friday, while my husband relaxed at home. He hates such doings, but I enjoy joining in the excitement. The worst line was at Kohl's, but I stayed in it, because I really liked the 40% off tablecloth I got for $8.99.

I picked up some other nice bargains, but didn't go overboard. Besides our last stop at Kohl's, we hit Radio Shack, Meijer, Walmart, KMart, Staples, Pep Boys, my brother's choice which was surprisingly popular, Office Depot, Menards. I was too late for the $9.99 comforters and the $9.99 frying pan sets at Menards, but I did pretty well otherwise. For photos of my bargains, including a stainless steel stock pot, come on over to

I couldn't get up any enthusiasm for Saturday sales, but by Monday, I'll be checking the Web. I've been tempted for a while to get a projector for when I do presentations. I wonder if there will be a good one I can find on Cyber Monday. If so, I'll let you know.

What about you? Did you do any Black Friday buying? What about Cyber Monday? Will you be checking the Internet for bargains?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sharing Christmas Story Results

Just want to point you to the results from Wednesday's post at Acme Authors List, where I made a call out for Christmas stories. I got a tremendous response recommending stories by the authors themselves and also for recommendations about books by other authors.

Whether you like print or ebook, you may discover some great finds from this list. If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, why not check one or more of these out. They'd also make a great present.

Thanks,  Morgan

PS This is an old picture, but snow always reminds me of Christmas. So far we don't have any this year, but that could change any day here in Illinois.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tips and Excerpt Today From My Guest, Light Gore Author, C.A. Verstraete

A good writer never stops learning. Here are some tips from one of the best of them, C.A.  (Christine) Verstraete. After that, you'll learn about her latest releasem what she calls a light gore.

10 Tips to Better Writing By C.A. (Christine) Verstraete

1. Start Small
Big projects can sometimes be overwhelming. Break them into bite-size pieces. I'm guilty of stressing over not writing the 20 pages a week I'd planned. Setting goals smaller, say three pages a day, will get almost the same results, with less stress. And if you don't get the exact amount done, don't beat yourself up. Even one paragraph or page is one more than you had before, and 500 or so words closer to your final word count.

2. Believe in Yourself
A bad review can hurt, but the pain is temporary. But that inner critic that tries to hold you back and tear down your efforts (you're a lousy writer, you'll never get anywhere, why are you wasting your time?...) can be worse. Believe in you. Think on what you've accomplished and move forward. One rejection is just that. It's not the end. Don't let rejection stalk you. Send that story or project to another publication and move on to the next one. Having at least a few stories circulating (some say 10 or 12 if you can) will prevent you from obsessing over one.

3. Learn From Others
Success comes from listening to others who have already been there. Check out the experiences of other writers in your genre. Study the works of writers you admire to see how they did it. No matter how many years you've been writing, there is always something new to learn.

4. Review Yourself
A little self-evaluation can be good to gauge where you are in your writing goals and progress. Be honest; don't be afraid to point out your shortcomings, but also decide on how to improve them. Maybe you've only been published in lower paying markets and are afraid to move to the next level. Pick a market you haven't written for; study the content, and work on a story to submit. Becoming a better writer doesn't mean treading water; test the waters in new markets.

5. Make Goals
Goals keep you from stagnating, but make them reasonable. Start with one goal, like planning to get published in a new magazine in your genre, or working on a story in a different genre or field. When that goal is accomplished, make a new goal. Keep moving forward and don't stress over how long achieving that goal may take. It isn't a race. Work at the pace you feel comfortable with.

6. Seize the Day!
Swallow your fears. Some opportunities only come once. Don't be afraid to take a chance. You never know where it will lead.

7. Don't Fear Mistakes
You'll make mistakes; you'll write less than stellar stories. We all have. It's one mistake. Even if you make the same mistake, it's not the end of the world. Learn from them. Every mistake only makes you stronger.

8. Don't Be a Victim
Self-pity leads to depression, which leads to inactivity, self-doubt and can be a vicious spiral that robs you of your energy and happiness. No matter your circumstances, there is no reason to sit still and be unproductive. Don't make excuses, do something. There are tons of free resources available. Use the Internet and computers at the library. See if there is a niche in your community where you can volunteer or provide a service. See #5.

9. Be Happy
We all can't be Rockefellers or live like them. Always thinking the grass is greener on the other side will never make you satisfied. Look closer and you'll find crabgrass and weeds there, too. Enjoy your faith, friends, family, pets, and hobbies. Shut off the computer and make time to exercise and have some fun. You'll feel better and be more productive.

10. Think Positive
It takes less energy to think positive and will add more to your life and your writing.

And now, let's see find out how C.A. managed to put her tips to work in her latest release:

A party at a day camp; a blind date on Valentine's Day. Can you say loser?, Jess thinks. But this is no ordinary party. The Killer Valentine Ball has more thrills than Jess ever expected--or will ever forget.

As they walked into the shadows, Jess noticed that things weren't quite as they appeared. Sections of the room lightened for a moment before being cast again in deep shadow. What Jess thought she saw in that split second made her heart race. On the dance floor, the same three couples stood, clasped to each other. Jess stared. She swore they never moved.

The music played quietly in the background. When the shadows brightened, Jess caught a quick glimpse of one of the couples. The young man's mouth gaped open. His partner's gown glistened with streams of dark ribbons. The light flashed again and Jess gasped. Those weren't ribbons! The girl's dress shone with dark glimmers. Like-like blood, she thought. No, it can't be! She looked back at Dylan, who shook his head and urged her on.

"Light tricks," he whispered. "It's not real. It's Halloween stuff, like the movie. Don't worry."

Want to find out what happens next?  You can for $.99, if you Click the link above.

The Killer Valentine Ball

Author: C. A. Verstraete
Cover Artist: Delilah K. Stephans
Word Count: 3,094; Pages: 15
ISBN: 978-0-9865875-6-6
Price: $0.99
Release date: October 1, 2010
Warning: Light gore

To connect with C.A. (Christine), you can find her online at these links:

Book page:

Please leave a comment or question below for C.A. (Christine). I know she'd like to hear from you.

Meet C.A. aka Christine Verstraete, Tuesday's Guest Blogger

Tuesday the 23rd, is the scheduled day for C.A. (Christine) Verstraete's blog stop here, but since she provided me with such a wealth of material, I'm starting early. Today, meet C.A. as she reveals how she became a writer and frankly answers interview questions.

Here's what Christine says about getting hooked on writing:

     C.A. Verstraete
I grew up with my nose always in a book, so it seemed a natural progression that I wanted to be a writer. A prophetic wish, it seems, judging from my favorite baby photo as seen on my website of me with a newspaper and a pencil behind my ear. I studied journalism and continue to do freelance writing for newspapers.

I also enjoy writing all kinds of fiction, with stories appearing in several anthologies including the recent Steampunk'd from DAW Books (coming out Nov. 2).

My kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, was #1 on Kindle for Miniatures books and was a 2009 EPPIE Award finalist for best YA/children's ebook by the Epic Foundation.


1. How long have you been writing?

C.A.  Forever? Ha! For years. Being trained in newspapers, I'm used to writing every day so the real question is probably when am I not writing?

2. What is your favorite genre?

C.A.  I confess to split personality writing. I'm drawn to mysteries, horror and kid's books, so I seem to write about the same as what I like to read. I love a good scare.

3. What's been the hardest thing you've written so far?

C.A. I'd have to say that learning more about science fiction-type writing has been interesting and a great challenge. I learned about a whole new category when writing my story for the Steampunk'd anthology and had a lot of fun doing it. Some of my stories had some magical and supernatural elements already, so I hope to try my hand at more of that.

4. If someone walked into your office, what would they see?

C.A.  Stuff! (Or what others call junk! :>)) Being a collector and crafter, as well as a writer, you tend to collect a lot of supplies, projects and materials, besides the books and other "writerly" items.

5. Is there a particular author who influenced you?

C.A.  I have several favorite authors, though I think Stephen King and Dean Koontz rank at the top. I also enjoy reading mystery authors like Margaret Grace, Elaine Viets, and others.

6. What made you decide to sign with Muse It Up Publishing as people are generally leery of new houses?

C.A. It sounded like an interesting venture and I have to admit I am impressed with how thorough and professionally it's being run. The openness is also refreshing. Publisher Lea Schizas has a good reputation and runs a tight ship.

7. What has been your worst experience since you became an author?

C.A. I'm sure just about every author has horror stories and bad experiences to share. A few things I learned along the way are the value of openness, open accounting, especially where fundraising and royalties are concerned, and the importance of checks and balances.

8. What has been your most positive experience?

C.A.  Growing as a writer. Seeing my work published in new anthologies and working with new publishers has been a fun experience for me.

9. What constitutes a good book, in your opinion?

C.A.  A good story. Nothing is more enjoyable than spending time with characters you like (or sometimes even hate!) and want to know better.

10. Which of your books is your favorite?

C.A.  I've learned something different with each book or story I've written, so in that respect, they all are special. I've enjoyed writing, and trying new things with each one, whether it was delving into past history and fantasy as I did in my story, The Dream Child (Dragons Composed), developing a friendship (and conflict) between pals Sam and Lita (Searching for a Starry Night), learning about time travel (Timeshares), or writing horror with a macabre sense of humor (The Killer Valentine Ball).

11. If you were asked by a new author for advice, what would you tell that person?

C.A.  Write every day. Writer's block is an excuse. If one story isn't working, write something else.

12. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

C.A.   I enjoy crafting and working in miniature. I collect dollhouse miniatures and like to make many things myself. (Click miniatures on my website for some samples.)

12. What can we expect from you in the future?

C.A.   More! Haa! I'm continually working on new projects. See my website and blog for updates.

Book page:

Tomorrow, be sure to come back to learn Christine's 10 Tips to Better Writing, and also read an excerpt from her light gore, The Killer Valentine Ball.

The Killer Valentine Ball
Author: C. A. Verstraete
Cover Artist: Delilah K. Stephans
Word Count: 3,094
Pages: 15
ISBN: 978-0-9865875-6-6
Price: $0.99
Release date: October 1, 2010
Warning: Light gore

Please welcome C.A. with a comment below. It would be much appreciated.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holidays Are Opportunities

Holidays are a great opportunity to enrich your manuscript. The trick is to not gloss over the  holliday, but to add vivid descriptions as to how the holiday is celebrated by your characters.

You can draw on this by your own experience. Think of a holiday, such as Thanksgiving. What's the weather like outside? That will depend on where you live and/or the climate vagaries of the fictional year you create. Such descriptions can add greatly to the setting of your story.

Who is invited to your character's house to celebrate the holiday? Is someone missing? Why? A rift in the family, illness, death? Who prepares the meal? The mother, the wife, the son, the daughter, one, some, or all? Who helps? Children, spouse, friend? How is the table set? Disposable plates, glasses, silverware or fine china and silver? Such details are a good way to show the station in life of your characters, whether they're well-off, just-married, college students, maybe, or members of a large family.

What's on the menu? Does it reflect a character's ethnicity, a quirk, or maybe an effort to please someone who's held dear or who's domineering? Many people eat turkey for Thanksgiving, but maybe your character is alone and eating spam. Why?

What about guilt? There are lots of possibilities for that, such as a dinner guest who forgot to bring a hostess gift. Then there's the working wife or mother or single who feels bad because she uses canned gravy and ready-made dressing instead of making them from scratch. Why does she work? Is it because she needs the money, wants to get away from home for a while, or has a high profile position? I'm using the female gender here, because it's the women who usually cook the holiday meals, but there are exceptions. If so, that's another good difference to emphasize in your book.

Or what about the eternal ying and yang of invitations to the husband's and wife's houses on the same day, at the same time? Where to go? Who to please? That's a tough one.

What other holiday descriptions can you think of, either from your own novel or someone else's?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hibernation by Morgan Mandel

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to keep my eyes open lately in the evenings. I get myself all comfy on the couch, with my comforter over me, start watching something good on TV, and I miss most of it.I wake up and then stumble upstairs to bed.

In the morning, it's harder than hell to get up. I'd much rather stay in my cozy waterbed. If I don't get up, though, and start moving around, my energy is sapped for the day. Once I get moving, I'm okay. It's just the getting up process that's hard.

I blame it on the change of seasons. It's dark so early at night and darkness is a conducive atmosphere for sleep. So, it's very easy to hibernate these days.

Yes, I do have this inclination to stay in la-la land, mostly in the evening after a hard and confusing day at work. Because of that, it's almost impossible for me to do anything then on my WIP.

I have made a schedule which I'm doing my best to adhere to. If I want to send out emails in the morning, I try to do them from my home computer before leaving for work. When I'm on the train going to work, I devote that time to my WIP. On breaks I catch a few blogs and emails. At lunch and on the way home, I read my Kindle. When I get home, if I feel up to it, I try to finish a blog, then relax, go back and do some emails, and perhaps zonk out.

What about you? Are you feeling more like hibernating these days also? Does your schedule change with the seasons?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Please Welcome Children's Book Author, Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Please welcome Cheryl C. Malandrinos -

I'm so happy to welcome Cheryl C. Malandrinos to my blog today. I've known Cheryl for some time now through the Internet, and feel like I know her in person. She's very giving and very professional.
Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.

Cheryl Malandrinos is also a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Cheryl is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.

As you can tell, she's a very busy lady. Here's what she has to say about how she performs her juggling act -

Juggling It All by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

There are days I feel like I belong in the circus. Not because my family is a bunch of freaks—okay, maybe we are, but that’s a story for another day—but because I am constantly juggling a menagerie of items, some of which are dangerously sharp or laden with fire.

When I left the corporate world to stay home with my children, it was as thrilling as flying through the air on a trapeze. Here was my chance to enjoy motherhood, be a good wife, and focus on my writing.

Six years later, I’m wondering how the heck I got all the necessary stuff done when I was working outside my home.

In case no one has ever mentioned it before, writers don’t make a ton of money. Well, Stephen King does, but how many of those did God make?

The average writer—especially those newer ones like me—supplement their income in some way. For me, it’s been as a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book. I love my job, which is a darn good thing because my family is convinced some days I am married to my laptop.

Then when I started promoting my first children’s book, Little Shepherd, it was like adding an elephant into the mix. Have you ever tried juggling an elephant?

Luckily, I’ve always been an organized person who manages her time wisely. I couldn’t cope otherwise. Here are a few tips that can help:

• Track your time to see where time is wasted. We all do it: surf the Net instead of write; get lost in research; allow distractions to steal your writing time. By tracking your time, you’ll be able to identify those areas and develop a plan on how to use your time more wisely.

• Use timed writing sessions. Set a timer for 10 minutes and do nothing but write. You can do this throughout the day to keep you focused.

• Set deadlines—even if they are fictitious ones—so that you have a goal to strive for. I used this strategy and was able to complete a first draft of a manuscript in three months.

• Cut out trade journal articles and keep them in a folder so you can tuck them in your briefcase. You can read them on your lunch hour or while you are in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.

• Don’t be afraid to say no.

• Try to create a schedule that takes advantage of your most creative time. I’m not a morning person, so I tend to write in the afternoon or after the girls are in bed.

• Leave room in your day for the unexpected.

I don’t believe there is ever a perfect balance. One hand will often be handling a heavier load than the other. I’ve put together a schedule that I can live with 8 days out of 10. Some days my family needs the majority of my attention, other days it has to be work and writing. Some days I feel fortunate to blend the two well.

Finding a balance you can live with the majority of the time will help you achieve your goals. You might even find that you can become a master juggler. Just watch out for those elephants!

You can visit Cheryl online at or the Little Shepherd blog at

You can purchase Little Shepherd at:

I've already got my copy. It's a very cute, sweet book, perfect for a Christmas present.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Cheryl.
What about you? Are you a juggler too? Please leave a comment for Cheryl about her post, her book, or whatever else you wish.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

For Bargain Hunters - Price Reduction for Killer Career

My husband and I received our property tax assessment this week from the Cook County Assessor's Office and were happy to see the value was less. If we were selling our house, it would be a blow. However, we plan to stay there for a while and have been struggling to pay outrageous taxes, so it was good news.

Houses have been selling for less these days, so in a way it wasn't surprising. We're just hoping the places that need our money won't come up with some new formulas to raise our taxes anyway.

Prices are going down all over the place. I for one am always looking for a good sale and confess to clipping coupons from the paper.

In light of the present economy, I've just reduced the ebook prices of my romantic suspense, Killer Career. If you like bargains, the kindle and other ebook versions are now 99 cents. You'll find the links below, if you care to bargain hunt on my book. (g) or Smashwords.

Morgan Mandel

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friday Fright for Halloween

How would you like to see this on your doorstep?
Pretty scary looking.

Oh, Rats - Halloween Outside Decoration for Today

Rats spotted on someone's front lawn. At least they're civilized enough to be sitting on a chair!

They're cute in a grim kind of way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Outdoor Decorations - Today's Choice

Here's my Halloween Outdoor Decoration Pic for today from my Sunday walk with Rascal. She wasn't too happy I kept stopping to take pictures.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Today's Halloween Home Decoration Photo

Another of the cute Halloween decorations I saw while walking Rascal on Sunday. Later on this week I'll try to remember to put up a few of the more scary ones. I'm hoping our power doesn't go out. The prediction is strong winds through Wednesday night.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Home Decorations

I saw some cute Halloween home decorations when I was walking Rascal Sunday morning. I'll be posting more of them during this week leading up to Halloween. I don't have any myself, since I'm not as creative, not to mention no time.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Name for My Work In Progress - I may keep this one

I thought up a new name for my WIP, and this one I may actually keep!

I know I've said this before, but so far I'm really excited about the new title, which is -

How I Got the Way I Am

Okay, I'm not so sure about the second line yet. I know lots of books have an added line, but it can come or go.

It always helps to get feedback, so I'm asking for your opinion.
So far the choices are:




Which do you like? If you like the new one, what about that second line? Do you like it in or would you prefer it out?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Videos of The Blessing of the Animals on St. Francis Day, Oct. 4, 2010 Starring Rascal and Other Cute Animals

Well, one of the topics of this blog is Dogs, so I'm sharing the links to three videos I made on vacation from The Blessing of the Animals on St. Francis Day, Oct 4, 2010, in Arbor Vitae, WI. I finally had enough time to get them up on  In case you don't know, Our Little Rascal is the one with the black eye patch.

Hope you like them.


Monday, October 18, 2010

What's in a Name?

What's in a name? Lots, when it's the title of your book. After I got some feedback about my WIP, tentatively titled My Fear List, I discovered the name wasn't exactly setting the world on fire. A book title is one of the first stepping stones to hooking a reader.

So, now I'm trying to decide on a different title. Another one I thought up is
How I Got This Way.

Which do you like better - My Fear List or How I Got This Way?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Are You Fast or Slow?

It seems to take me more and more time for me to finish writing books lately. I'm distracted by marketing, including Facebook, blogs and other ways of networking. Also, I've decided I absolutely need to read, which I had pretty much abandoned for a while in favor of writing. On my last vacation, I was in relaxation mode, so along with going to the casino, shopping and other vices, I read one book, am almost got through another, and only spent one afternoon writing. It was great to be able to read, but that didn't help me get my WIP done. Should I have spent more time writing instead of reading?

I know there are speed reading classes. Maybe I should take one. But what about speed writing?
Or, maybe I just need to resign myself to being a slow writer.

What about you? Are you fast or slow?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Do You Read Non-Fiction?

Since I got my Kindle, I've been reading more non-fiction. I've found lots of books about marketing and self-image and other do-it-yourself stuff I find fascinating. Before my Kindle, I acquired several non-fiction books about writing from Writer's Digest Book Club, but they're mostly for reference, so they sit on my bookshelf waiting for me to grab them when needed.

What about you? Do you read non-fiction?

BTW, there is a motive behind this question. Right now I'm working on a non-fiction book, with the working title, My Fear List.  Here I am below trying to look scared and serious, in keeping with the book's topic. (g)
For more about My Fear List, and a very short blog post about Facing Up to Fears, come on over to

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Does an Author's Age Matter to You?

On Monday, I asked the question on Make Mine Mystery,
Does What an Author Looks Like Make a Difference? I got quite a few answers, but the general consensus seemed to be that looks didn't matter as long as the book seemed interesting and the photo fit the tone of the book.

Today, I'm wondering about a similar question. Does An Author's Age Matter to You?

If you're young and you learn an author is pretty old, maybe my age, would that have a bearing on your decision? And vice versa. If you're a senior, or almost one, would you read books by a younger author, say in the 20's or 30's?

If age is a factor, what are your cutoff dates?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Open Promo Day - Give Us your Elevator Pitches

Since I'm busy on my WIP again, I thought up an easy blog for today, which may be of interest to many of you. Instead of my writing a bunch of stuff, here's your chance to provide an elevator pitch of one of your books, either already out or to be released. Pretend you're talking to an editor or agent, so make it short, and don't cheat and talk about more than one. Embed your buy link and leave your blog and/or website, so people know where to find out more about you and maybe buy your book!

I'll go first - Killer Career - A career change from lawyer to writer could be a killer for Julie who doesn't realize her mentor participates in his own murder mysteries. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Facebook, Blogs, Egroups - How do you divvy up your time?

Sometimes I wonder which should come first - Facebook, Blogs or Egroups. They all seem important to me, yet I can't spend as much time on each of them as I'd like. With a full time day job, a husband and dog to come home to, plus a work in progress that's inching ever so slowly along, it's a struggle to divvy up the free moments.

Many people I've met in person, plus online friends and/or potential readers send comments or messages to me on Facebook, a place I love to visit. The possibilities for making friends, learning and sharing seem endless. I resisted for a while, but gave in to Farmville, because its cute, plus it's another way to connect on the Internet. I have to admit I'm not the best farmer there, with my crops withering often, and a fictitious dog I somehow got there which ran away because I forgot to feed it every day. I must assure you the same thing doesn't happen to my real dog, Rascal. She gets plenty of food and treats from me, actually more than she should have, because she has me twisted around her little paws.

Anyway, back to  the topic at hand -.

Blogs are great and I love them. I wish I could read and comment on all the blogs of all the friends - the ones I've met online and in person, but it's impossible. I try to visit the group blogs I belong to first to support my fellow members, then branch out to a few others, but it's usually a hit or miss process.

I also love the egroups to which I belong. I've never met many of the other members face to face, yet they've shared so much with me I feel I know them quite well. I like knowing what's going on in their lives and sharing what' happening in mine. It would be a great loss to lose my connection with them.

So, I love Facebook, Blogs and Egroups, but some days I can't get to them all, though I wish I could. Sometimes it's a matter of whatever catches my eye that gets first choice. What about you? How do you divvy up your time?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Matter of Taste

The pasta salad that came with my lunch today was seasoned with cilantro. I didn't know that until I started eating. Now, cilantro is one of those seasonings you either love or hate.
I despise cilantro, but I finished the pasta salad anyway, since I was hungry and besides I'd paid for it.

The incident kind of reminds me about books. I  find that if I've paid for a book or perhaps one of my friends wrote it, I'll give it a longer stretch to see if I really don't like it. Also, if I have nothing else to read, I'll keep reading. If I still don't care for it after a while, I'll put it aside and go on to another one or do something else. Library books or ones lent to me are more easily put aside or returned.

What about you? What do you do if you've bought a book and later discover it's not what you'd anticipated? Do keep reading a while, or just give up?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Kindle 3 Is Calling Me

I'm having a hard time resisting my Kindle 3. It's calling me to open it up again and read. I really shouldn't. The DH is gone for a few hours and it's a perfect time to concentrate on my WIP - also a perfect time to read.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Kindle 3 Arrived!

Much jubilation when I saw my Kindle 3 arrive at work today! And, it did have all the books on it that I'd ordered on Amazon while I was waiting for it to arrive. That seemed like a miracle to me. How could it do that?

I'm using this cool Collections feature where I can organize my books (strange for me to be actually organized about something, I know). Anyway, I've got some books in Romance, others in Mystery, Non-Fiction, and Amazon info. Makes it much neater and easier to just click on a collection and browse through that bunch, instead of getting a giant mishmash going.

I'm not sure how long this spirt of organization will last. I don't expect it to carry over too far into other aspects of my life. It's not exactly in my nature.

I think I'll read a little now. Just have to decide which book to read first.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Kindles are Coming! The Kindles Are Coming!

I've never had a Kindle, but I ordered the lastest, the Kindle 3, as soon as they were available. Today, I received the anxiously awaited message from Amazon - my Kindle has shipped! I'm very excited and have already ordered some kindle books, which Amazon says will magically appear on my Kindle when it arrives. That will be quite a phenomenon. I'm very amazed at such ingenuity.

I'm not the only one excited. The Kindle Korner e-group I belong to is all abuzz with messages about Kindle 3s being shipped. You might say our excitement is at a fever pitch - we're so close to having ours, but don't just yet!

What about you? Do you own a Kindle? Will you buy one?

Gotta go now and see what other kindle books are available, that is, other than my own - Killer Career, Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams.

Are you an alligator in the river?

See to let us know if you're an alligator in the river.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shining Light

I've got to figure out a way to make my light shine brighter. In church on Sunday morning, I noticed the sunlight shining through the stain glass window so brightly I couldn't tell whether one of the candles by the altar was lit or not.

I feel kind of like that candle with the bright light overpowering it. I either have to move my candle elsewhere or make myself shine brighter. I notice lots of writers are moving their candles over a bit to epublishing, which I also do and may do even more in the future. The problem is the shiny ones are moving over now, too. How do I get away from them, or find a way to shine brighter? Such a dilemma.

Are you experiencing something similar? Or, maybe you've found a solution.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Mane Event - 2009 Remembered

Here's what I wrote last year about the Mane Event - You can tell the weather was a lot cooler then than it is this year.

Another year gone by and here I am again at the Mane Event, the big block party in Arlington Heights the night before the Arlington Million. We sat on a ledge in back of the stage and could definitely hear the band.

In honor of the event, I wore my Arlington Race Track cap and an Arlington Million tee shirt under my jacket. It was a little chilly for August, but the weather has been strange lately.

The DH and I had a great time singing along with the music, even dancing some. On my menu was a pulled pork sandwich, a slice of cheese pizza, pop and a huge chocolate chip cookie.

What kind of doings are in your neighborhood lately?

PS - We'll see what's on my 2010 menu.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Youtube videos

If you've got nothing better to do, in case you don't know it, I have tons of videos up on Youtube. They include writing events and authors, as well as animals and local events.

Here's a link which should take you to any videos with my Youtube name, morganmandel, listed.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Urban Hot Weather Tips

You may think that the Midwest is cool. Well, maybe compared to somewhere like Arizona it is. Still, in the Summer it can get mighty hot, especially this Summer.

From my many years working in Chicago, specifically the Downtown Loop, I’ve devised a few tips for keeping cool. These are not scientific, but they kind of work for me.

Maybe you’ll want to try one or two.

Shade – Not too many trees in Downtown Chicago, so I seek other shade. When needs be, when waiting for a light to change, I’ll stand in the shade of a street light, another person, or a building.

Cut Throughs – Speaking of buildings, when you work in a metropolitan area, there are various buildings you can cut through, such as banks, drug stores, restaurants, or just office buildings. A knowledge of their entrances and exits comes in handy. Sometimes you can not only cool off, but also save time and steps by using a cut through.

Time – Allow yourself extra time if you can. Rushing in the heat can make you hotter than ever.

Water – Bring a small water bottle with, enough for you to chug when extra thirsty, but not so heavy you’ll wish you didn’t have it with you. I’ve got a fairly new stainless steel bottle I use now. Because of another health scare I use it instead of plastic. I fill it halfway up so it doesn’t weigh me down. When I get to the office, I refill it for the trip home. While at the office, I drink pretty much water also to stay hydrated. Speaking of water, putting your hands under the faucet is a great way to cool down at work where you really can’t be taking showers or baths, unless you work at a gym.(g)

Clothing – Wear layers. I usually put on something light, but carry a sweater with me since I never know what temperature the train air conditioning will be set at. Also, the workplace temperature variations are quite iffy. I sling it over one of my shoulders, which makes that area hotter, but wearing the sweater or carrying it are worse options. At times, I’ll even tie a sweater around my waist instead.

So, those are my tips for keeping cool. What are yours, urban or otherwise?

Or, maybe you'd like to share something about a book you've written or read where hot weather or trying to keep cool plays a part in the plot.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Smashwords - I'm On It!!! Hooray!!!

I did it!! I'm on Smashwords!!!
Lots of reading and checking to make sure I formatted everything exactly right, but it looks like I did. Killer Career is up on the site and ready for people to download in tons of ebook formats.

If you use ebooks, you'll most likely find a format there that works for you, all at $2.99.

I'm offering a 40% free sample of Killer Career at Smashwords, just in case you're not sure whether or not you want to spend the $2.99 for the entire book. Here are some links:

Morgan Mandel's Smashwords Author Profile:

Book page to sample or purchase Killer Career:

And, also, you'll notice to the left that I'm using a special Smashwords Edition cover, which converted nicely to black and white.

One more item off of my to-do list. This one took me a while to get around to doing it, but I'm so happy I got it done!!!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

How Much Is Too Much?

Since I got caught in the rainstorm on Wednesday, and my legs were feeling wet and clammy in my jeans, I thought I'd go on my lunch break to buy a new pair (of slacks, not legs). I found some that were really nice on a confusing rack, which on one side had a sale price sign. Not sure if the originally $40.00 slacks were on sale, I asked the cashier. Unfortunately, they were not being sold at sale price. I really liked them, but I forced myself to tell her, "I'm not buying them for that price."

As I walked away, I felt a twinge of regret. Still, I knew I had to stand my ground. Money's tight.

So, taking this to another level, I wonder -
How Much is Too Much for a Book?

To me, if I know the author, I'll purchase a mass market or trade paperback maybe up to about $14.00, but the author would have to be a very close friend for me to splurge on a hardcover.

As far as digital books, including those for kindle and others, I'm afraid I've gotten pretty much spoiled by Amazon's low prices. I've put Killer Career up on kindle at $2.99 and if I can do it, other authors can too. So, I won't be buying any bestsellers for higher amounts when I can get a good read for $2.99 or less.

What about you? How much is too much?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Busy, Busy, Buying, Blogging, Books

It's a busy time for me figuring out how to get Killer Career ready for Smashwords, which should have been done ages ago, I know.

Along the way, as many people already know, I pre-ordered a kindle 3 last week. I looked on the Amazon main page today and learned they're sold out, so I'm glad I got my order in when I did! It won't be coming until around August 27 or so, though. In the meantime, I ordered Marilyn Meredith's Lingering Spirit plus some other free books for my kindle when it arrives. I also ordered a pretty blue cover. And then today I decided it was a good excuse to buy a new purse, one a little larger, but light, where I plan to keep the kindle so I can read it on the train and on breaks.

Blogging - well Monday was my day at Make Mine Mystery, so of course I decided to blog about kindles. (g)

Tuesday is my post at The Blood-Red Pencil, where you get to answer questions and try to stump our Editors. Go on over and see what it's all about.

Books - I hope to finish my WIP one of these days. I've been fitting it into my busy schedule and working on it while commuting.

Anyone else out there busy, busy, buying, blogging and working on or maybe reading books?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kindle 3 is Out!

I checked Amazon's site and I'm excited to learn the kindle 3 is out! Pre-orders are available for August 27 shipment.

My problem is they're giving a choice between graphite color and white. I can't make up my mind.

Does anyone know which is better for reading, or does it matter? The white is prettier, but maybe the graphite is more practical. I don't know what to do. Such a quandary. Help!

Morgan Mandel

Smashwords, kindle and ebook discussion at Acme

come on over to Acme Authors Link, where we're discussing Smashwords, Kindle and Ebooks at

Morgan Mandel

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chris Verstraete Talks Dogs, Minis, and Other Fun Stuff

Today, we welcome Christine Verstraete who enjoys writing mysteries, children's fiction and short stories.

Besides writing her children's book, Searching For A Starry Night - (now in Kindle and coming soon in a new print version!)  Christine has had short fiction published in various anthologies including Timeshares and the upcoming Steampunk'd from DAW Books, plus in Dragons Composed and The Bitter End: Nautical Tales of Terror. Her latest spooky stories in eBook include "Motherly Love" and "The Killer Valentine Ball" (coming in Oct.)
1. Tell us about Petey, the Dachshund, and Snowy, the Malamute mix, they are too cute for words. Besides that, why are they included in your blog header at Candid Canine ? Is either one included in any of your books?

I know you're a big dog fan, Morgan. I love dogs, too, (Hi Rascal!) and try to add them to most of my fiction.

The funny thing is I add a dog to all my dollhouses and miniature rooms, too. (One project, The Dogcatcher's House, has at least 100 dogs. See my website and click miniatures.)

Petey the Dachshund plays a big role in my kid's mystery, Searching for a Starry Night. Besides causing trouble, he uncovers some clues, too. Snowy, the Malamute mix, is part of my adult mystery set in a diner that I'm sending around to publishers. She's modeled after my real-life dog, Shania, whose picture (the white dog) is on my blog header.

2. When did you first get fascinated by minis, and how do they figure in your books?

I've been collecting miniatures for longer than I care to admit. Ha! I think I've always been fascinated by small things. Once I discovered there were actual dollhouse shows that sold just about everything you use in real life, only smaller, I was hooked. In Searching for a Starry Night, Sam and her friend, Lita, are searching for a lost miniature replica of Van Gogh's "Starry Night."

I also own an actual miniature oil reproduction of the painting, which can be seen at my blog here.

3. Tell us about something that happened at one of your book signings. Anyone ask you where the bathroom was? That seems to be a favorite question. (g)

Yes, I directed some people to the bathroom at Barnes and Noble. Ha! I think my most memorable, funny, and stunning experience was at a dog show. Not a good event choice, it turned out. But this one woman when asked if she liked to read admitted she only read religious nonfiction. When asked about fiction, she said, "No, I wouldn't waste my time." Well.

4. Do you prefer personal appearances over online promotion, or are they equal in your eyes?

I enjoy online promotion, but I've noticed in the last year, especially with Kindle and ebooks, etc., there is starting to be a glut of writers. We all are promoting to each other! I think it may be getting near the saturation point of too many voices in the stream, especially with more and more writers coming online. So a writer will have to make dents in other ways as well.

I also write in other genres, with a nonfiction, how-to book on miniatures coming out next year, so I wear two promotional hats. I hope to attend a miniatures show this fall and in spring which lets me share my handmade miniatures and my books. I also enjoy bookstore promotions and talking to younger readers.

5. Do you belong to any writing groups, in person and/or online?

I belong to a fantastic small critique group in Wisconsin led by science fiction writer Jean Rabe, whom I met at a book signing event. I also enjoy writing groups online through Yahoo groups. I am planning on joining Sisters in Crime in the future.

6. Do you have a set writing schedule?

As a journalist, I'm used to writing every day without fail. I continue to write nonfiction so I work on that besides fiction, short fiction, blog writing, etc. No rest for the wicked. Lol.

7. Tell us how you got involved with Mysterical-e. What do you enjoy most about being part of its process?

I've been involved with Mysterical-e as a columnist for a number of years as part of my own online presence and because I enjoy doing interviews. I like talking to other authors via my Author Snapshot column (as I did with Morgan, see her interview here and giving them another platform for their books and writing.

8. What about ebooks? Are they a good or bad thing for the book industry?

I think ebooks are an interesting innovation and any additional way to get people interested in reading has to be good. Plus, there's a lower selling price, which is also a bonus in our present economy.

9. What else would you like to say? Spill the beans for us.

A new version of Searching for a Starry Night is coming out in print shortly and is being designed as I speak. I'm hoping that readers will try either the Kindle or ebook version, or get the new print version if that is their preference.

Morgan, thanks for letting me meet your blog visitors!

Anyone commenting on any of the blog stops on the tour can win:
* One person who comments on any of the blog tour stops will win a free Kindle copy of Searching for a Starry Night. (You can download Kindle for PC free here.)
* One person will also win a miniaturized dollhouse collector's edition of the first chapter from the first print edition, made by miniaturist LeeAnn Borgia. See myblog for links and photo.

** To celebrate the revised Searching for a Starry Night, one person will win a copy of the new print version when it is available.
* Website
* Blog
* eBooks page
* Searching For A Starry Night on Kindle,

Blog Tour Schedule Next Three Stops:

Tues, 7/27: Killer Hobbies with Camille Minichino - Crafts and Writing, what comes first?
Weds, 7/28: Marian Allen's Blog at - Talking about Writing
Thurs, 7/29: Helen Ginger, Straight from Hel - Getting Kindleized
Full Schedule, including posts you may have missed, can be found at:

Okay, gang, don't forget to comment to be eligible to win a prize! Leaving an email address would be helpful to find you when you win. Think positive, but if you don't win, you can always buy the kindle from the handy Amazon link above. Thanks for visiting Double M today, Chris.
- Morgan Mandel 

Friday, July 23, 2010

E-Book Wars - Another Skirmish

It's official. In case you didn't know it before, the war is on. Here's evidence of one more skirmish among many - this time with Random House and an agency.

Morgan Mandel

Monday, July 19, 2010

You Don't Hear This Much

Celia Yeary's blog post Monday at reminded me of a participation blog I'd been wanting to write, but kept forgetting.

Now that I remember, here goes:

When I grew up I heard so many phrases that were a normal part of speech. I thought nothing special of them at the time.  Now that I don't hear them much any more, and I kind of miss them.

Some of them are:
Don't dilly dally
None of that monkeyshine business, you hear?
That's really icky
Were you born in a barn?

I know there are more, but right now I can't think of them. How about you? Which ones do you remember?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Making Room in My Life

Right now my work in progress is occupying a large part of my free time. I'm going to find one of those meter things and stick it on my blog here so people can see I'm really doing something. It will also be a great motivator for me to get to the end.

I do have some great guests coming up here and at Acme Authors Link. You'll be learning about them soon.

Also, I plan on making some changes to free up more of my time to do things I really enjoy, like blogging, but that will have to wait a few more months until I can set my plan in motion.

Until then, I'll do what I can. You can usually find me on Facebook, by the way, since there's a pretty fast app for it on my Iphone and I can zing in and out of there quite often.

Here's my spot over there -

I've also got a fan page, but that's for just in case my followers multiply twice as much as they are now and turn into 5,000. That one's at


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Was 4th of July Weekend Busy For You?

Do you sometimes find that Holidays can be more busy than workdays? That turned out to be the case for my 4th of July Holiday weekend which extended through Monday. The time flew by.

One reason is I'm on the committee at our local festival, Frontier Days, in Arlington Heights, so I volunteered to wrap hot dogs for Disability Day, plus be a marshal in our parade keeping kids diving for candy away from moving vehicles.

Two of the days I also signed books at the Frontier Days Marketplace with fellow author friends, Debra St. John, June Sproat and Margot Justes.

Any other free time was spent cooling off at home, until evening came along and I went back to the Festival to enjoy the entertainment. We were very lucky the rain passed us by for the most part. Only one incident where it poured for about half an hour at an off time when I wasn't there. Then it went away the rest of the Fest.

Now I'm back at work, which is not as much fun. The only good thing about returning to work is the air conditioning. It is very hot in this part of the USA lately.

What about you? Were you busy this past Holiday weekend? Or did you use the time to relax or get more accomplished on your WIP?

Monday, June 28, 2010

More Productive Week?

Here's to a more productive week this time around. One not filled with coughing fits, getting tech stuff figured out and other not so fun stuff.

With the help of at&t tech support, I got a tethering problem solved with my new iphone. After I  had set it up to tether, when I got home my laptop computer wouldn't work independently off of my dsl network. It insisted on being hooked to the iphone.

After a not enlightening very long session with Apple, I called at&t and the guy had the problem fixed pretty fast. Now, maybe I can enjoy the phone and get down to doing more work on the WIP.

Unless more coughing fits interrupt, but so far today it's been better. Summer colds are the pits.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Distractions - Bad and Good

Not much time to blog or do much on my WIP this week. Too many distractions.

One is a major irration - another cold! I already paid my dues with my May cold, but lucky me, I picked up another one.

One is major fun - Speaking of picking up, I picked up my new Iphone 4 today! So far, I love it. Also, got a new cute pink case for it. My picture here doesn't do it justice.

Morgan Mandel

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Updates - Yikes!

Trying to get things done, but updates keep getting in the way. The Itunes - Quicktime one popped up on my desktop, so I had to do that one.

On my laptop, the ATT Communication Manager wanted to do an update.  I finished it and then the laptop wouldn't connect to the Internet. Fortunately, a restart solved that problem.

Now I've got to put Itunes and Quicktime updates on the laptop. Sometimes having more than one computer is not a good thing!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Now I've Done It!

It was time for a change, so I tried out some of the new Blogger Designs. Lots of them were way too jazzy for me, so I settled for something kind of plain, and I hope businesslike. Afterwards I realized the colors look a lot like my webpage at, which I should update one of these days.

I could always says I was trying to match them up and be consistent, but the truth is my mind runs in circles. (G)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Now Blogger Has Really Done It!

That's what I get for not paying attention to my blogs. Now Blogger has really done it!

Everything's wide open with them, kind of like what's happening in the publishing industry. Blogger has added a new Design feature, with so many tons of choices it's too hard for me to comprehend, especially at this late hour. You can access it on the top right where you sign in.

I just got through redesigning Acme Authors Link at, using basic choices that were just the tip of the iceberg. Now, I know I'll want to redesign this one. If you stop over there, check out my Wednesday blog about Inadvertent Publicity.

Getting back to Blogger. I'm so happy they're back in the ballgame. Their choices before were utterly limited. Now, it's fun time!