Lent—A Host of Things to Give Up Unless…

One of my favorite things about Lent is the prospects of giving up something. Said no one. Ever.

For years, I gave up something on Ash Wednesday. Growing up it was usually Dr. Pepper and Nutty bars. Apparently 40 days isn’t long enough to make a change stick because I would resume my consumption of those things as soon as Easter hit.

Then there was the whole chicken, fish, red meat thing on Fridays that left me dazed and confused and irritated.

Still, I gave up these things as it was so very little asked of me until one day someone came up with a better idea. Instead of giving up something just for 40 days, why not make a change for the better in my life. I could give up a bad habit, or I could do something positive–help a stranger every day, reflect on one thing that made me happy today, or do something toward achieving a dream.

And so Lent to me is no longer a time to give up something small to reflect the great sacrifice that was made for me. No, it is about changing something in my life to make me a better person, a better steward of the planet, and a better citizen of the world.

While I cannot claim that I was transformed by a single Lenten event, I have become all of those things over the years. And, universe willing, I will continue to improve.

But I’m done with giving up the Dr. Pepper and Nutty bars. That doesn’t make me better, that makes me cranky:D

Until next time.

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Photos from the Glendale Chocolate Affaire

I just spent the weekend signing books and organizing workshops at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire. It was great fun and now all I want to do it sleep. So here are some photos from the event on Sunday.

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Tha’s me rocking a very short haircut.IMG_0287My friends Vijaya Schartz and Wendy Ely.

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Romantic Suspense authors Brenda Whiteside and KT Roberts/Carolyn Hughey
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Mystery author Taylor Michaels and fantasy author Arabella Thorne
IMG_0292Paranormal author Connie Flynn and one of my favorite sweet romance authors and fabulous friend Pam Tracy

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And the lovely ladies who sat in the sun while the temperature climbed to 80, Julianna Douglas and D.R. Randall.

A big thank you to everyone who came out and spoke to us.

Until next time.

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Friday Funny—Pin-up Paintings

Side-By-Side with the Photos that  inspired
them.

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A Day in the Life

This is one of my hubby’s favorite Beatle’s songs:

And I have to admit, it is mine too. Mostly because of the changes in tempo when you expect one thing and it changes into another.

Such is life as a writer. I wake up full of energy, ready to plug along on my manuscript and bam! I’m running to catch up on something else. 

So what am I up to? I’m in the midst of writing another of the Love’s Great War series, set in Hope’s Pointe Michigan. My critique partner said it was dark. This from a woman who summoned a demon army. It is set during the First World War, even in the US hadn’t entered it just yet. The tag line is:

She’d rather live a lie then die an honest woman.

After which, in the queue in my head is the long awaited sequel to Blue Maneuver, called Blue versus Black. Rae is back with the Extraterrestrial Security Program and this time she’s going up against the Men in Black. Should be fun.

Then there are more books unspooling into Forever, but that’s another post. 

For now, as I try to write, my brain is split between the current work in progress and my three day signing event at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire starting on Friday. FMI: http://www.glendaleaz.com/events/chocolateaffaire.cfm#Directions Come out and see me, if you’re around.

Until next time.

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Meatless Mondays

It’s funny how we constantly reinvent the past. And while few people admit to liking history, we always seem to be reliving it.

Take the recent phenomenon called Meatless Mondays. The idea is to give up meat and start switching to a plant-based diet. There are valid dietary reasons for plant-based diets, but the one promoted most often is meatless diets are humane and that raising animals are a drain on the world’s resources.

I’m not about to open the blog to that debate. i know the statistics on both sides. And I know that both sides are lying to some degree. The situation on our world isn’t so easily solved, and solving the situation in such a matter does create new problems.

That said, we do enjoy meals without meat, some without any animal products at all.

But the origins of meatless days in the U.S. stems not from environmental concerns or even health concerns. The meatless days harken back to the Great War.

Yes, you read that right. Herbert C. Hoover, who for years managed the Commission for Relief in Belgium (and Northern France) which fed nearly 9 million people during the First World War, instituted programs to save food and give it to our fighting men and support women over seas. An Army, Navy, etc do run on their stomachs. Note: Herbert Hoover became the President of the United States as a result of his work during the War and was subsequently blamed for the Great Depression.

The full policies he instituted were:

Wheatless Mondays

Meatless Tuesdays

Workless Saturdays (I do not understand why pork is not considered meat, but there you go)

The program was called Hooverizing, which many today would think of as vacuuming.  There were also heatless days and the introduction to Daylight savings time to help conserve coal usage. Legal holidays on Monday during the winter (for coal saving) and Industrial shutdowns.

So there you have it. What’s old has become new again, just for a different reason. Until next time.

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Friday Funny—Today’s Attempt at Humor: Dear Abby

Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY ADMITTED SHE WAS AT A LOSS AS HOW TO ANSWER THE
FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
(You can’t make up this stuff)

Dear Abby,
A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a
middle-aged gym teacher and the other is a social worker in her
mid-twenties. These two women go everywhere together, and I’ve never
seen a man go into or leave their apartment. Do you think they could be
Lebanese?

Dear Abby,
What can I do about all the Sex, Nudity, Fowl Language and Violence on
my VCR?

Dear Abby,
I am a twenty-three year old liberated woman who has been on the pill
for two years. It’s getting expensive and I think my boyfriend should
share half the cost, but I don’t know him well enough to discuss money
with him.

Dear Abby,
I’ve suspected that my husband has been fooling around, and when
confronted with the evidence, he denied everything and said it would
never happen again.

Dear Abby,
Our son writes that he is taking Judo. Why would a boy who was raised
in a good Christian home turn against his own?

Dear Abby,
I joined the Navy to see the world. I’ve seen it. Now how do I get out?

Dear Abby,
My forty year old son has been paying a psychiatrist $50.00 an hour
every week for two and a half years. He must be crazy.

Dear Abby,
My mother is mean and short tempered I think she is going through
mental pause.

Dear Abby,
You told some woman whose husband had lost all interest in sex to send
him to a doctor. Well, my husband lost all interest in sex and he is a
doctor. Now what do I do?

Dear Abby,
I have a man I can’t trust. He cheats so much, I’m not even sure the
baby I’m carrying is his.

Remember, these people can vote…

We don’t stop laughing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop laughing.

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Free Workshops-At the Glendale Chocolate Affaire

Friday and Saturday, February 6th and 7th, my local writing chapter is giving a series of workshops on writing. Best of all, they’re free. So come for the chocolate and the workshops.

Saturday 10AM—Connie Flynn
Workshp: FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH YOUR WRITING

Let’s Take Back the Fun

One day you decide to do what many people say they will but never do –

write a novel. Then you do it and realize writing fiction is the most amazing thing you’ve ever done. You’re in the honeymoon stage. Then one day, the love begins to wane. Using a series of exercises we will locate that moment in time when writing stopped being fun and take steps to reverse it. Although these can help with writer’s block, they are focused on getting back the joy of writing by helping you remember and reignite that original love.

11AM—Pam Tracy
Workshop:Title: Help! Commas and More are Running Amok in my Manuscript.

As a college professor of English, as well as a multi-published author, commas give me no grief.  Do they give you grief?  They don’t need to. Also, what is the difference between proof-reading, editing, and revising?  And, just how many different sentence types are there?  And, can I start my sentence with an and?  Let me help you with the very basic of writing tools and even show you how to look at the page as a whole.

Noon-Deena Remiel
Workshop: CRAFTING THE BLACK MOMENT

Learn why and how we send our characters through the dark side of Hell to reach their happily ever after. Don’t worry! Your characters will forgive you! Have tablets, notebooks, and writing implements ready to work.

1PM-Cathy McDavid and Kris Tualla
Workshop: The Grass isn’t Always Greener

You’ve made it, you’re published. Whether you’ve chosen the traditional or independent route, you’re there! Raking in the royalties with that one, three, or ten books under your belt. Life couldn’t be better. Or, can it? In fact, maybe you never thought it was going to be this hard. Best selling and award winning authors Cathy McDavid (traditional) and Kris Tualla (independent) will give you a candid, honest and sometimes humorous look at both sides of the fence from two different perspectives, along with a little advice on how to “greenify” that grass.

2PM—Erin Quinn
Workshop: What to Expect When You’re Expecting ( . . . to be a writer). 

A candid conversation about the many steps and stages in the journey to becoming a published author.

3PM-Caris Roane
Workshop: “The Complete Author: From Muse to Manuscript to Marketing” 

       

          Join Caris Roane in a workshop detailing the path from book concept to completed manuscript to the challenging task of finding your readers. In this workshop, Caris presents a host of reference materials and offers guidance from 30-plus years of writing and publishing experience. Dream on!

4PM—Sara Fujimura
Workshop: Music to Massage the Muse

 

Do you suffer from writer’s block? Learn how to get unstuck by using music to paint vivid pictures in your creative brain. From techno to classical to movie theme songs, I have music guaranteed to inspire even the most petulant of muses. This is a hands-on, interactive workshop, so bring your favorite writing gear.

Sunday Workshops
Noon Workshop- Wendy Ely
Workshop: Making Characters Unique

Tips on how to use voice, motivation, and setting to have the reader remember your characters long after the book ends.

1PM-Vijaya Schartz
Workshop: The Care and Feeding of An Author Website

With all the social media spreading the words about your books and your life, is an author website still relevant? Who needs one and who doesn’t? What should it include? Can you hold it on a blog site? Should you pay to have one designed for you? Is it worth the cost? What should an author website look like for maximum impact? How to make it reader friendly, new technology friendly. Come and learn what to do according to your personal and professional needs, and what pitfalls to avoid.

2PM—Carolyn Hughey
Workshop: Shake that Booty!

Join in the fun of this interactive workshop on Body Language that will help you tap into your characters’ feelings or help you figure out that complicated guy in your life!

3PM—Butterscotch Martini Girls
Workshop: Author Life Support

From first draft to published book, learn the ins and outs of what separates published authors from those who want to write.

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