Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Fun ~ Bye Television Until Fall; Hello Garden

With television watching, all of my favorites are going into slumber until Fall. Of the new shows only one has piqued my interest...Dracula with Jonathan Rhys Meyers holds promise. Scandal, Arrow, The Following, and the Walking Dead will be back to titillate and tease through new seasons. but until then what to do...

Well, there's my adaptive gardening to take up the slack and preserving. My corn now stands three foot tall and the weather is rainy but above 70 degrees so this weekend the green beans and black-eyed peas get planted underneath them. My zucchini and yellow squash went into the seed starters last week.

I had a thought about the wasted space under my raised beds. I despise wasted space when it could be productive. It's just one of my many quirks. My brain started working on what could grow underneath that required limited sunlight. Plus the weeds have taken root and I pulled up some dandelions, the greens are quite tasty when they are young, but bitter as they age. I didn't want them taking root haphazardly throughout my yard either.

I bought a few more bags of organic soil, and planted pumpkins and cantaloupes under them. The vines will grow outwards as they need sunlight. It's good ground cover to prevent weeds as they grow. If the vines grow over a place I need to stand to tend my raised beds I can train them another way with my shadow cane. Both end products can be dehydrated or frozen. The cantaloupes and pumpkins will be easy to harvest when small. Just a snip with my pruners and drop it into my harvest basket.

My harvest basket used to be one of those pans that you got at a hospital admission for bathing. At one time I had about ten of them lying around my house. I got three with my stroke admissions alone. But they take two hands to carry when full. They'll be re-purposed for the processing aspects after harvesting. By the way the kidney shaped pan makes an excellent seed starter and the drink pitcher can double as a seed sprouter. Nothing goes to waste in our house.

This year I'm actually using a basket with a handle for ease
of carrying. I'd honestly thought about swiping one of those hand carry shopping basket from my local grocer, but that would be stealing. I looked online to purchase one or two but the places that sold them had them in lots of tens or hundreds. Way to many for my purposes and expensive. So I settled on the grapevine basket to the left that I found at the farmer's market. It wasn't cheap, has a very sturdy handle, and should carry up to ten pounds of produce. Any more than that would throw me off balance anyhow.

I only planted forty corn stalks so that's what my harvest will be. This is a trial thing with raised bed three-sisters. I've actually gotten two to four ears of corn on one stalk before, but not really excepting that this year. We'll keep about half a dozen ears for fresh eating and remainder will go into the chicken feeder after it's dried. I don't feed the chicken much corn, but let then free-range for most of their diet.

"Now wait a minute, Jo. This is fun Friday and you are talking about work. Not fair!" I hear y'all out there. This is my fun. I get out of the house, soak up some Vitamin D thanks to the sun. Watch my grandchildren and teach them the finer points of surviving, and producing what they eat. Later we'll grab some eggs out of the hen house and make some infamous Neiman Marcus $250 cookies. What's even better is that we'll eat them warm with cold glasses of milk. **Drool drool!** Is that better?

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday Turmoil ~ Cat Wranglers

I was reading my blog roll this morning and read about Spring bunnies over on Shannon Lawrence's The Warrior Muse. She posts a lot of great info about publications searching for writers, writer's conferences, and contests. If you are not reading her blog, you should be.

I was reminded about a story I wanted to share with you. It's about my cats, Little Bit and Patches. Both of them were rescues by a quirky set of circumstances and divine intervention.

Patches was gotten from the Humane Society for our youngest daughter who had just lost a kitten to feline leukemia. My daughter was bending down to pick up another cat when she jumped up on her shoulder and wouldn't budge. She's a tortoise shell colored cat...patches of different colors.

Little Bit's story can be found HERE on my old blog. Although she's a lovable puff ball of six and fully grown into a seven pounder, I still think of her as a baby. My older cats and Yorkie are up in heaven now leaving us with only the two cats. I've trained them to catch but not kill. I do that with all my animals. I'm an old softie that way.

Both cats will bring me their catches and give that certain trilling meow that gets my attention. Depending on how much their prey fights determines whether it will live or not. I'm not always able to release them in viable health back to nature. It's about a 50/50 proposition when their catch is wild.

We raise hens and rabbits at our house so killing is not an option unless I do it. The cats know this. The cats have become my stock wranglers. When rabbits get loose they will corner them until I catch them and the same holds true for the hens. They will carry chicks and bunnies back to the hutch or hens. They are all used to each other. Our homestead exemption is truly for a homestead.

 It's about the wild catches they bring me that I wanted to tell about today. My cats bring me everything alive and receive positive reinforcement in doing so. They also bring me assorted lizards and snakes. For those of my long time readers, you know I'm deathly AFRAID of snakes.

Although they serve their purpose, I can't stand them. They give me the willies just talking about them. That includes the Southeastern Legless Lizards. If it moves like a snake, looks like a snake, and is colored like a is a snake. Although after ten years, I'm building up a tolerance to them.

The downside of teaching your cat wranglers not to kill.

One day, my family was playing a rousing game of Canasta at the dining room table. With all the jovial bickering back and forth, I didn't notice Patches coming in the pet door with her prize. She gave her little trilling meow so I looked down and in her mouth was a Cottonmouth snake still very much alive!
  • I screamed. 
  • She dropped it in surprise.
  • It landed on my bare feet. Wiggling and trying to coil up to strike at the cat.
  • I jumped up into my chair still screaming and shrieking like a scared child.
  • The cat tries to recapture the snake.
  • My son in law stomps on it's head with his work boots.
It was a baby of less than a foot long, but it was a snake and a poisonous one to boot! After the snake was killed and removed, and my heartbeat returned to normal, I reached down with shaky hands and praised the cat. My girls were busy trying to clean up the snake gunk from the carpet.

Why did I praise Patches? She followed the rule of capture- don't kill. It's been five years, but still I get the impulse to shriek and stand up on my chair at the very remembrance of that day. There have been plenty of reoccurences with snakes and assorted other creepy crawlies, but this one stands out vividly in my mind. It was the last poisonous snake she's brought to me alive. Now, she just plays with them and kills them...but that's another story. How my cats know the difference is beyond me. No wonder ancient Egyptians worshiped cats.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Knowledge and Research

This is the last day for my take on the topic of knowledge and the writer. So let's jump on board...

It its often stated to write what you know or write what you love. It's true. If you love something you know it. If you read mostly historical romances or are a history buff, you are better suited to write historical romance than say a hard hitting, detective, murder mystery like Mickey Spillane type novel.

So as a reader what do you know and love? For me it's suspense. I've always been an action junkie. I like the twist and turns of roller coaster since infancy. It was my favorite ride ride at the boardwalk at the beach ask my father. "One more time, Daddy." Later as a young adult, I was at Disney World for the opening weekend of Space Mountain. Is it any wonder that I often compare my life to a roller coaster or write suspense with a soul? Not in my mind. I've lived a very high stress, excitement filled life compared to many others so I don't lack for material or emotions to pull from.

So what happens when there are some elements you are not sure of? You are writing what you do not know? I fell into that gray area when penning, Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption.

I knew some things about the CDC and the research studies they do. I knew the medical side because of my background in emergency nursing. I knew about missile conversions and sites for sale because my husband and I had seriously considered buying one. I knew about sustainability from my lifestyle as a prepper and survivalist. Haven't I planned to live off the grid in the near future, yep. What I had meager knowledge of was zombies which were an integral part of my story.

I had to broaden my knowledge base to include zombies. So I did what good writers in the past had done before me...I researched it. You don't have to be a know-it-all to be a writer, but the information has to be accuracy based. Nothing is worse than a reader calling you out on inaccuracies.

One such point in my book is it taking up to three days for the reanimation to take place. There are varying thoughts of
when reanimation into zombie form take place time wise and I stretched it considerably. Some readers took me to task on that point. It was done intentionally. I knew about the commonly held time frame and chose to ignore it. The novel offers a zombie point of view and a slow digression into mindlessness, or brain dead state unlike many other authors' conjecture that reanimation into the undead was brain dead with no consciousness. It was a creative tool rather than a unknown point.

Some readers and movie goers have no other purpose in life than to catch bloopers and typos. While I don't make it a lifelong profession, I do catch quite a few. So get your facts straight before you choose to creatively twist them.

So to recap...
  • Write what you know
  • Write what you like
  • Broaden your knowledge base
  • Know before you twist
Do you know or research before you write?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Tumbling Term ~ Knowledge

As an indie author, you need to know a lot. This leads me to the tumbling term for the indie author...Knowledge.

1. acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge of many things.
2. familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject or branch of learning: A knowledge of accounting was necessary for the job.
3. acquaintance or familiarity gained by sight, experience, or report: a knowledge of human nature.
4. the fact or state of knowing; the perception of fact or truth; clear and certain mental apprehension.
5. awareness, as of a fact or circumstance: He had knowledge of her good fortune. 

A broad and general knowledge base is essential. I often talk about the hats I wear as an indie author, but the truth is, now traditionally published authors are facing the same thing. The online presence being a major change in the publishing industry. I can remember being an author and doing a few interviews, public speaking events, and some book signings but the rest of the time I could just write. That isn't the case anymore. Now both have got to do it all. It's a mad scramble for positioning with more and more indie authors thrown into the mix.

As an author, you have to know...
  • how to write effectively
  • how to reach and who your audience is
  • how to breathe life into your characters
  • weave a good story
  • grammar and how to edit
  • how to attract an audience (little fish in an ever growing pond)
  • how to run a business
  • basic accounting techniques
  • how to write back cover blurbs
  • how to maintain an online presence 
  • computer literacy
  • and the list goes on and on
But then again, you have to learn a bunch of stuff for any job, right. Even a grocery bagger has to learn what goes in the bottom of the bag and what goes on top, right? Maybe I should clarify be a good grocery bagger.

Learning the steps and gaining the knowledge is half the battle.

So what is your knowledge base?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Mailbox ~

Today is Monday, and I'm shuffling through all my emails and letters trying to pick which to answer here for a topic for this week. So many good ones to choose from. Decisions, decisions...Ah, here's a good one...

 I've often heard that writers write what they know and what they love or have an interest in, but you write everything from espionage to zombies to nonfiction about being a survivalist. Nobody can have that much that much knowledge. An Avid Fan

My response...
Dear Avid Fan,

Actually I do. I was born with an inquisitive mind and have degrees in a wide variety of subject matters. I love researching, finding out new things, and doing new stuff. That's just the way my mind clicks.

I pull from my own personal, real life experiences to write my novels. It gives my characters a depth that comes from fully understanding the character having walked in their shoes in real life. When I first started writing, I wrote strictly nonfiction because of this knowledge base. But actually when reading for pleasure, it was fiction I chose.

About ten years into my writing career, I thought I'd try my hand at writing fiction...a space opera. It sucked like terribly sour lemons. May that book, all 500 pages, stay hidden in a box under my bed forever. But that didn't deter me. I kept writing fiction as well as nonfiction. Writing fiction was a whole different animal than technical manuals, how tos, and nonfiction. I had to learn a whole 'nother craft. It took me another five years before I attempted another novel. That's an equivalent to a Bachelors degree and then some time wise.

I often say that death is the absence of learning. For me, it's true. I will always consider myself a student but never a master at anything. As far as a variety of topics for my novels go, I could pull from real life material to write a hundred novels or more. I write what I know. If I don't know it, I'll research it. One thing for sure, I will always write suspense to make you keep turning the page to see what happens next.

Keep those cards, letters, and emails coming. Who knows...maybe I'll pick yours to be spotlighted on this blog one day.

I love 'em and always will answer you back.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survivor ~ The Golf Cart

A few years ago, my husband and I considered buying a golf cart. With his morphine and seizures, it's unsafe for him to operate a motor vehicle. Shh, he does drive on rare occasions, but he does forgo his morphine to do it.

We were torn between a back seat or a flat bed. That indecision stopped us from buying one. The extra seats would come in handy for grandchildren, he may have had to pick up from school. At the time, we had four grandchildren in two schools a mile or less from the house. But the flat bed would enable him to do yard work, and even make trips to the grocery store. The key word here was ENABLE.

Women are less concerned about egos than men are. Women tend to be more forgiving of themselves where their egos are concerned. Men can be seriously crushed when there egos are questioned. For my husband there were many issues impacting his ego and what he could do and couldn't anymore. It was also a way to EMPOWER him.

These are two very important things (enable and empower) when considering an ego. When you consider how much is taken away, there has to be a way to bolster one's ego. To keep hope alive and the can do spirit. These two words allow for that. There was also the consideration of the property we have and mobility around twenty acres of land to consider.

Forget about golf. I'm talking about a necessity here. Until my husband got too sick to play, there wasn't a weekend he wasn't on the green. Until my last back surgery, I was right there with him. I actually played and won semi-pro golf tournaments from age 16 to 26 whenever time allowed. I guess I could relearn a less painful swing, but I've got enough relearning to do right now. But that was ancient history and neither of us used the golf carts anyhow.

 I'd even investigated solar power to recharge the batteries with since we would be off-grid on the property. Yeah, I'm a survivalist at heart. As you may have read here, I'm also for double and triple duty everything. The way I saw it, a golf cart served as a transport, security, and work horse modes.

After my stroke, the subject of golf carts came up again. Not only for my husband but me as well. Operation is simple. You push the pedal and it goes. You take your foot off the pedal and it stops. It has a smaller steering wheel so maneuvering and turning is a breeze...smaller turn radius. Four wheels means it's stable to get in and out of.

The decision was made this weekend that we should buy three of them.Before it was just my husband and I making the decision, now it's a deciding body of twenty. Anything that has to do with the family compound has to go through a vote of all members as does the cost. The golf carts purchases are no exception.

I know I used the word compound and it seems a bit extreme, but what else would you call a group of six families on one property? A commune? Well sort of, that's a bunch of different people coming together with similar founding beliefs. But it's so sixties-ish, and brings to mind hippies and free-love, etc that's not us. We could call it a community although we have no plans to incorporate it or grow larger. We are family strong.

It was agreed to install solar panels on all of them and the one two-seater with a flatbed would be purchased first and reside, for now, at my house since I only have two grandchildren in schools within traveling distance. So it's a win-win situation. Although I can drive a car now after a year post stroke, gas prices are ever rising. We gain independence, mobility, and working towards living on our property full time.

Nothing is impossible with determination.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Fun~ Book Review of Letters to Zerky

As you all know I have a tough time reading since my stroke. It's not that I can't read, but I'm much slower at it when it's on pages rather than electronic or audio formats. Along comes Bill Raney with a request. Would I review his book on my blog? It was only available in hardbound, but he would send me a copy. I thought sure, why not.

I had heard great things about this book so I waited in anxious anticipation for it to arrive. I had a few health stumbling blocks with my husband and myself, but I finally got to read every word. It was well worth the minutes I could grab during the months I read it. I closed it begrudgingly each and every time when my attention was needed elsewhere.

Of course I'm talking about Letters to Zerky: A Father's Legacy to a Lost Son...and a Road Trip Around the World by Bill Raney.

Genre Nonfiction/memoir/autobiographical
ISBN 978-0-9821384-0-3

This is one book I probably wouldn't have grabbed off the shelves in the bookstore, but I would have been mistaken in so many ways! The halfway draw for me personally was he was traipsing around the world as I was during the same time, although under different circumstances.

The Blurb
Both a memoir and a memorial, these collected letters and diary entries recount one family’s adventurous journey in 1967 attempting to drive around the world in a VW bus. Not intended as a book at the time of the writing, the intimate and poignant story details the family’s travels through Europe, the Middle East, and into Asia, challenging preconceptions about different cultures and illuminating how one-year-old Zerky had a magical effect on everyone they met along the way. The book features maps and pictures of the trek yet is more than just a travelogue; Zerky and his mother died shortly after the trip and this narrative serves as tribute to their lives.

Available HERE

This book is a powerful and wonderful journey of a family road tripping through Europe,the Middle East, and Asia. It's heart wrenching sad considering you know up front that Bill looses his son and his wife, but still you read on and experience the adventure with them on their journey.

Many of us dream of backpacking across Europe, but here's somebody who actually did it with wife, infant son, and a dachshund named Tarzan in tow in a VW Bus for thirteen months. Written in the free spirit, hippie style, the descriptions are so vivid the reader can place themselves there every step of the way.

I could see myself in Greece, Germany, India, Thailand, France, Iran and assorted other places with him. I was reminded on my own first impressions of those countries. In fact, we were in India at the same time and my memories came flooding back through his words.

Included are breathtaking photographs of the countries they visited with the family in the forefront. This is more than a travel diary. It's a legacy of love and remembrance, of joy and grief, and life at its best and worse. If I gave stars, it would rate a seven on a five star rating system. I'll give it a strong must read.

Now, Bill travels in a new VW bus to advertise his book. Life does come full circle.

Bill Raney's contact info

When I was researching this blog, (yes, I actually research my blog topics) I stumbled across this on youtube...enjoy.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday Turmoil ~ A Response to Ali's Blog

This week over on Ali Cross' blog, she blogged about "Call Me If You Need Anything." I thought about leaving a long comment but didn't. I'll do it here today instead. It is a rant of sorts, so be warned.  It wouldn't be a Thursday Turmoil if it wasn't. It may sound like I've got a chip on my shoulder, please be aware that I don't. I'm just giving the other side's view.

Do you know how many people have made this comment to me over the past ten years since my husband got sick and the year since my stroke... everyone that knew our circumstances. When you consider the congregation at church (not only mine but other ten churches), the hospital that I was on pastoral staff, courthouses that I helped at a moment's notice, all the local groups such as writers and businesses, foundations, ministry, work related, co-workers, etc not to mention friends of our family, it tallies up to a quarter of million times. No, that's not an exaggeration.

The little devil on my shoulder wants to answer dripping with sarcasm...
NEED ANYTHING? For my DH (darling hubby) Got a cure for cancer handy? Stop his pain. Or maybe you can restore my husband to his former robust self. For me, it's give me back the use my arm, wrist, hand and fingers, or make me walk without a AFO and cane, or maybe restore my mind to pre-stroke status. But no, I flick the devil off and answer that there isn't anything they can do for us and there isn't as far as those needs are concerned.

Now I know all these people will help IF- A) there was anything I truly needed, and/or B) if they have the time. Some would even stop what they were doing to help. All I have to do is ask and there's the problem. I have to remember who offered what, find their telephone number, match my need to their schedule and then if they can't go down the list to find someone who can. That's a lot of talking on the phone for someone like me with aphasia and no short term memory.

Now, I understand people saying this because they don't know what to say to you. I understand they mean well and are genuine in their offer of help. I also understand they have their own lives and I don't want to be a burden. This isn't a slap in the face to those that offered or didn't offer help.

My children and grandchildren are different. They know my house is a diaster area waiting on a condemned sign with half finished renovation projects. Clothes piled up yeah high, a sink with dirty dishes, floors scattered with debris because I didn't have the energy to vacuum because I used the last ounce I had taking care of my husband. "Gee whiz Grandma, let me carry out that bag of trash to the dumpster for you" type thing. "Can I roll it out to the street for you?" They all see me at least once a week. Besides, they owe me.

Not that others don't owe me as well, they do. But I never intended on collecting on those debts. I've always been generous to those in need even now even if it's a listening ear or sage bit of wisdom. Worse comes to worse the least I can do is pray.

The other well meaning statement I often hear is, "You're doing so much better than the last time I
saw you." The last time you saw me was when I was in the hospital just after my stroke or right after I got out when I couldn't talk, barely swallow, couldn't walk, or barely lift my head. Well doh! I've worked hard this year. I've worked harder than when I was holding down a full time and a part time jobs, raising four children alone, and going to college learning how to do something else with my life. The achievements and modifications I've made in the past year in our lives, 99% was because I HAD to take care of myself and my husband with children, their spouses and grandchildren thrown into the mix...just like y'all. Life does go on so long as we're above ground. The only thing I could do was go on.

For this I honestly thank y'all. I wouldn't have gained so much if y'all had of helped me do everything. But getting back to Ali's post for a minute. The gist of her post was not to offer help, but act. I agree with this wholeheartedly. If you are going shopping, call and ask me if I want to go or need anything from the store. Cook an extra plate or two of food and bring it by. It won't be turned down. Drop a card in the mail when you think of us.(Please something besides bills and AT&T ads) Most times when people ask me if I need anything, I can't think of anything at the moment. Maybe a card with your phone number on it and what you are willing to do would be helpful.

And to all those gentel, southern gentlemen who rush to open doors for me...thank you. A word of caution though. If I've propped my cane on my arm and am pushing on the door, please don't push the door open for me. I'm using it for support and balance.

Thanks for listening.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Way ~ Brain Farts & What to Do About Them

This week I'm talking about brain farts. They aren't the loud and prolonged type, but the silent but deadly kind. Just like the gaseous emissions from our rear ends, brain farts happen to all of us. Writing is no exception.

Have you ever thought of the perfect dialogue or scene, but by the time you get to your computer to jot it's gone. Try as you might you can't remember what was so perfect a moment ago...that's a brain fart. Have you ever written dialogue or scene and in rereading it realize that its gibberish and doesn't fit at all...that's a brain fart. I could probably list a thousand of them here that I've encountered during my writing playtime. I say playtime because writing is something I enjoy doing instead of thinking of it as work. Although since my stroke, its been far more work than play over the past year.

I've found a few things that worked, pre-stroke that worked in combating brain farts when writing...
  • Outlining your book
  • A tape recorder
  • A small note pad and pen

Even if you are a pantster, you have a rough idea of who your main characters are and what they desire most. You even have a rough idea of the obstacles they have to face and how they are going to step up to the plate and solve. You just do it all in your head instead of putting thought to paper like I do.

My outlining technique is an ever evolving one until "the end." The only exception is when I write nonfiction. That's a whole different thought process than making things up in my mind like fiction. But even when outlining, you can have brain fart moments like when you were in school and you knew the material you were being tested on, but when the test is in front of you ... you can't remember how to spell your name. That's why I like writing things down.

Writing after a stroke is a whole 'nother adventure. My cognitive impairments need a swift kick in the pants from time to time and is a brain fart factory in high production mode. I have lists within lists. I'll jot down titles as they occur to me and a couple of details so when I have time to write the event, I can recall it...maybe. Even then, it is a challenge of finding the words to type now that I've semi-sort-of figured out how to type one handed.

That's where item number two comes in handy...a tape recorder. Mine is small and voice activated. If you are going through a patch of life one handed, automatic is best. But even before my stroke, I used it. How many times have I been driving someplace like the grocery store and not even thinking about my book, and then BOOM! the answer to my problem hits me. If you're like me it happens all the time. The point is I didn't rely on my previous photographic or phonographic memory to recall the information later. I say previous because that's another area of brain cells lost with my stroke.

That brings us to the last item...the note pad and pen. This is the down and dirty, low tech method. How many of you visualize or hear dialogue of your books in your dreams? It will either wake you up with it or be gone after the first fifteen minutes upon waking in the morning. We've all been there. Things are so vivid in your dreams. It is the perfect scene or dialogue bit you need in your story.

Just like my dream about Abby I wrote about HERE. Your subconscious mind holds all the answers and doesn't stop working ever. On the occasions when this happens, I always had a notebook and pen beside my bed at all times. I'd write it down in the middle of the night or when I awoke. Now, not so much because I can barely read my own handwriting, but my tape recorder has take its place.

Can you eliminate all the "doh!" moments in your life this way? No, but it's a start.

What tips do you use to recall idea when writing 
do you use?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Tumbling Term ~ Brain Fart

If you read yesterday's mailbox, you've guessed the theme of the week and today's words...brain farts.

I couldn't find a definition in my usual source but didn't let that stop me. I went to for the definition.

brain fart (plural brain farts)
 1.  (idiomatic, informal) A lapse in the thought process; an inability to think or remember something clearly.
   2.  (idiomatic, informal) Something ill-considered and said or done impulsively

Yes, that pretty well sums it up. So what does this mean to the indie author? Well, I'll tell you...

You can't afford them!

Or at least not many of them. As an indie author you have to have all your ducks in a row.You set a plan in motion planning it step by step. The writing, the voice, the editing, the formatting, the cover, the fonts used, the advertising, and the word count. This is your creation totally.

Sure you can outsource a lot of this labor for a cost, but the ultimate decision is yours. As much as I like to travel outside the box, there are some things that just are. While being traditionally published takes a lot of the heat in some of these areas away, going indie is an all or nothing proposition.

When you allow your brain to wander in too many directions at one time, you will have more and more brain fart moments. Sure you can make changes on a moments notice, but should you? This is where the voice of reason comes in.

To prevent brain farts...
  • write a good story
  • choose the voice that will entice the reader. How many milk-toast characters do you read?
  • edit it well even if it takes months or years to do so
  • choose a cover which says something to the audience you are trying to reach
  • choose a font which is standard. Yes, you might like a certain font when writing, but can the reader read it?
  • formatting is different for each site you want to upload to...learn them
  • follow other authors' examples but don't be afraid to put your own personal twist on things
  • Set your sight on one goal at a time and make them achievable
  • write it down. Don't depend on your memory
 So what are your techniques for battling brain farts?
Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Mailbox ~ Brain Farts

After weeks in a slump, humor saves me once again with this pared down email. A humorous look at a fact of life. It's time to answer your questions?

You say it so often in real life and here... what is a brain fart? AJ

My reply...
I can't remember when I first heard the term, it must have been brought home by one of my children. If all else fails - blame the kids. It certainly was not used among my circle of friend until I started using it constantly. It falls in line with CRAFT (can't remember a freaking thing). It when during a conversation or action when you mind goes blank and you can't remember stuff. For example, you walk into a room and forget why you went in there.

CRAFT is usually age specific. A condition that hits elderly folks like me. But brain farts can occur at any age. It can occur at any time or place. It often occurs without warning... just like regular passage of bodily gas. It can be silent and deadly too! Unlike blowing off steam to vent anger that is done with forethought. It just happens.

Do you admit your brain farts? Or do you hold true to the adage- Thou who smelt it must have dealt it?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ The Pity Pot

Yep, I've been really hopping up and down on the pity pot for the past month with all that has been happening at home and abroad, and it's okay. I allow myself the time so long as it doesn't consume my life totally. Although I have to admit I've got an angry, red ring on my derriere from my long stint on it this time. I said all of these statements on the balloons over and over again over the past month.

Quite a few months ago, I told myself I wouldn't get on it again, but I was only fooling myself. Hey, I'm honest. I usually limit my time on the pot to fifteen minutes but this time I couldn't. Somethings are beyond my control. I have to go with it and ride the wave until it's over. Accepting things I can not change, but this is a hard lesson to learn. I'm fast approaching, the 25th, the one year anniversary of my stroke. What a year it's been too. There was no cop out of "look how far you've come" that would console me.

The truth is while I have achieved great progress, this is not where I wanted to be by now in my recovery. I'm terrified that this is all the recovery I can achieve and will be like this FOREVER. I'm afraid of failure. The stakes are too high for me that this may be my life forever more. There I said it.

 I expected more out of myself. Remember I'm the over-everything. I do not settle unless forced to and let me tell you, that's always a fight to the death. Recently, I've been reading anniversary blogs of other long term stroke survivors- five, ten, fifteen or twenty years post stroke. It truly boggles my mind. The courage it takes to be a survivor not just a year but YEARS! To not lose hope along the way and not give up.

Many of the words to the left have been used by others to describe me. Yes, they are all true to the persona I show to the outside world. Many have written me about being an inspiration or being a hero in their eyes.

 I'm not any of those things. Okay maybe, a fighter, outspoken, and intelligent, but the rest is conjecture. I fight to recover daily because there is a possibility. I've seen glimpses of what life can be, wouldn't you do the same? I don't want to admit that this is all there is. Given fifteen years there might be an inkling of acceptance. I'm stubborn.

I speak out because it's not in my nature to keep quiet anymore, even when it is in my best interests to do so. Would it be better to stuff my feelings and not give them a voice? I did that for a lot of years and it made me feel worse not better. It explodes in other ways such as drugs and alcohol...been there- done that- and don't want to go there again!

I shouldn't be a role model or hero to anyone. Everyone has it in them to do the same thing. It is their choice not to. Any excuse in a storm, right? And boy, are most people full of excuses. I taught myself and my children to take ownership of their faults and try not to repeat them. It's left some of their bosses with that opening and closing mouth like a fish in the fish bowl look when they take ownership of their mistakes because they are so used to hearing excuses. I don't make excuses I just tell it like it is in my perception.

I choose to live my life as an open book. Well, maybe not totally open, but as open as can be. Because self preservation beats out total honesty every time. In this age of identity theft, I'd be a fool to divulge everything on the net. But still if asked a question, I'll answer to the best of my hair-brained ability from my point of view.

So if I don't keep to my regularly scheduled blog time table, you know why. Real life is just getting in the way. But I'll get there.

Nothing is impossible with determination