The Hard Decisions


Yeserday I lamented about others; today I am lamenting about personal issues – the critical choices we have to make in order to have, well order in our lives. It’s sometimes difficult to deal with criticism from others.  We have to maintain a delicate balance for friends and family who sometimes feel compelled to express their opinions while if you offer yours it will cause hard feelings.  This double standard is frustrating.  However, I’ve found the hardest part is conquering myself.  *cough*  Yeah, I”m going there as well.

Top 10 Ways To Conquer Yourself

 1. Make the choice  to be inspired by difficulties, not intimidated. Life happens every day.  Sometimes it throws us a curve balls, sometimes it throws us a slider, and sometimes even a fastball.  Although it may be difficult at the moment, we can always find a silver lining.  Example:  A flood destroys your home and everything in it.  It is devestating, yet the lives of you and your loved ones are spared.  Stuff can always be replaced, people can not.

2. Make the choice to not fret!  Being a worrywart is damaging to your health, your mental well being and your ability to handle the future.  I have a friend that is a complete worrywart!  (By the way a worrywart is someone who constantly worries about everything)  Shef rets over the smallest little things.  It started when she was young , worrying about storms because she was quite scared during a thunderstorm.  Then it progressed into her clothing choices, her food choices, and now she can hardly make a single decision.  She is completely bound up by fear, constantly afraid to make any decision for fear that itwill be the wrong decision.  That is no way to live. There are things we have no choice in , and we learn to handle them.  Fear is a wicked and cruel master.

3.Be a knight not a Barbie!  I am borrowing that from a bit of my presentation last fall.  Knights go into battle prepared, ready to tackle whatever comes their way.  Sure they get knocked down but they are tough, battle seasoned, and don’t give up easily.  Barbie’s are plastic, and melt under pressure.  They are superficial and fall apart at the slightest little trouble.  You find out who you are under pressure.  You also find out who other people really are under pressure.  Are you calm during a storm, or crushed by it?

4. Don’t live PO’d – past oriented.  Keep your eyes firmly fixed in front of you, not constantly looking behind.  The windshield of your car is much larger than the rearview mirror for a good reason!  All of us have a past that makes us who we are today.  It affected us, molded and shaped us into the person we are but don’t  let the past keep ou from living your life. Learn from where you’ve been, and focus on the future!

5. Are you happy  or hopeless?   Your attitude determines your altitude.(John Maxwell)  We don’t have to be happy about some of the things that happen to us but we can choose happiness.  Only 10% of happiness is determined by outside forces.  That should make you stop and think.  We  are not hopeless, or helpless.  Being a victim doesn’t have to be a permanent state.

6. Tap into the well. I’ve heard it said that happiness is contagious, that smiles spread easily.  Joy is your strength, but jealousy destroys. I have unfortunately complained to my friends way too much.  I am really a happy person, but when little things get to me, I spend way too much time taking things to heart and letting it affect me.  I owe my friends the deepest apologies for crying on their shoulders and lamenting trivial and some not so trivial matters.  I know that’s what friends are there for, but there’s a time to get a grip and realize that it’s notworth the anxiety I am causing myself or them.

 7. Focus your lense. quit focusing on your mistakes. Quit looking back at the past and beating yourself up over it.  I should have. . . I could have . . . I wish I had . . . It’s a dead end trap to misery!  Adjust your lense to see the future, learning from the past and focus on the parts you did right.  Yeah, I need to work on this one big time!

8. Half full!  Choose to be an opomist.  I know it doesn’t come naturally for some, but it can be learned.  You cantrain your brain to jump tracks from pessimism to optomism.  Looking at future opportunities, and your own potential goes a long way on those days when your past can nearly overwhelm you.  Atreyu showed us in The NeverEnding Story that is all too easy to get lost in the swamp of despair forever.

9. Patience is a virtue!  Yes, well . . . not one of my strong suits.  I battle this one frequently.  HOwever, during a crisis I tend to stay calm, and not panic.  It’s not exactly patience, but a willingness to slow down, and not get overwhelmed by the circumstances.  Challenges happen all the time, we need to face them without buckling to panic.  Sometimes, we need to be patient, and outlast, outwit, and outplay our opponent.  Trying times happen, only you can determine your mental battle plan.

10. Choose strength over suffering.  This sounds obvious, but how many people do you know that seem to enjoy their suffering?  They wear their suffering like a badge.  I’m not talking about the sacrifices taht our veterans make.  they should be commended and honored for every second they gave so that we can have freedom. What I’m talking aobut is the neighbor or friend that practically boasts about their afflictions in a way that it makes them special. They want your attention, your time, but always spend your time lamenting their own woes.  Strength comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes it takes strength to get through a single day when your body is wracked with pain.  The difference is the sufferer will tel you every second how miserable they are looking for sympathy.  The strong will endure, frequesntly quiet to their plight and rarely ever speak of anything amiss.  They earn my respect every time.

The biggest challenges we often face is learning to conquer the screaming toddler within us, and conduct ourselves as responsible human beings.  Making the tough decisions to tackle our own “tyrant selves” in the long run makes us happier with ourselves.

Some things to think about anyway!

Write on my friends, write on!

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Lazy Writing


I have a burr under my saddle, and I can’t let it go. It’s been irritating me for some time and I have to address it. See up there in the title? Yeah, that’s a major pet peeve of mine, and my hackles are up.

There are so many ways that lazy writers operate it makes me sad. I’m an ‘old school’ person; I think the person should put in their work. There’s a reason why even some of the best writers early works were rejected, because it wasn’t very good writing! Very few of us can publish a first draft of anything! It takes time and a lot of effort to come up with an original work, whether it is a best seller or not.

There are common ailments that every writer faces:  solitude, procrastination, time management, idea constipation or diarrhea, verbal writing, and a tendency to have a poor diet. We learn to work through these things or they will rule over us.

  1. Solitude    Writing is a lonely occupation. The actual act of writing is singular.    It’s just you and the computer – or pen and paper. The ABC principle doesn’t involve anyone but you – apply butt to chair. Is it any wonder we make up complete imaginary worlds with imaginary friends?
  2. Procrastination   Everyone deals with this on some level, some have mastered it. Some have excelled it to a near art form. Here’s the problem: the real world  operates on a schedule and creativity doesn’t. Bohemian time is not an actual time frame. The real writing world operates on deadlines and  schedules. Either get with the program or get off the train.
  3. Time  Management    Closely related to Point 2, but not the same thing at all.  Time management can be an elusive little bugger, or it can become a  “ginormous” monster. We are all given the same 24 hours in a  day. Some of us have multiple hats we have to wear, multiple  responsibilities. Ironically, it’s often the busiest people who manage to  accomplish their dreams, not the lazy slackers that just waste their time  on frivolous things like watching Jersey Shore. I think ten brain cells just died in mentioning it!
  4. Idea  constipation    OK, that may be crude but here’s a simple translation:  writer’s block . Idea constipation-I don’t get it, never have. Seriously if you are a writer, then you have an abundance of ideas. There may be times that it’s difficult to pinpoint an idea into a concept that is workable, but they swirl around in there like leaves in a tornado! Then  you pluck one from midair, examine it, scrutinize it and decide to keep or toss. Not every idea is gold!
  5. Idea  Diarrhea      EWWWWW! Yes it’s ugly, it’s messy and it’s disgusting! When the writer thinks every one of their ideas is gold and every single word  they put down is platinum.  Ideas gush faster than they can get to their desk. Ideas that stink! Ideas that should be kept behind closed doors where  the rest of the world doesn’t’ have to see or read. A wardrobe and hair style change from the beginning of the scene standing on a porch between knocking on the door and the man opening the door left a stench I still haven’t recovered from! Come on people, take some Pepto or something, please!
  6. Verbal   Writing    Remember back in high school, the guys talking about “it” weren’t the ones doing “it”?  Yeah same principle      different “it”. Have you ever noticed the more time aspiring writers spend talking about writing the less they are actually writing?  Yeah, I don’t share every single thing I write. I don’t talk constantly about the story I’m “going” to write. Why? Because I’m writing!  I don’t have time to give you a play-by-play, and I don’t have time to constantly tell you the latest piece of gold I wrote. Quite frankly, I have to let it sit, simmer for a bit before I review and then I often rewrite it, refining, shaping and sculpting it into something more, that is more akin to a finely carved gold statue.
  7. Poor  diet I’m working on this one! There are days when I am in the zone that I forget to eat until dinner time and don’t drink enough fluids. I don’t smoke, if I did I might remember to get up and get food once in a while. You’d think that by not eating I would lose some weight but it’s  quite the opposite. Eating one meal a day is the surest way to set the fat  cells into total lock down—and when I do eat, I am ravenous and can easily  eat portions that are far too large. I try to make healthy choices. I’m  not just sitting and munching on Oreos, or Pringle’s.  NO, I have real food in a well stocked fridge, for a planned menu that I frequently ignore      because I forget to eat during the day. At least when I go to the YMCA I come home a bit hungry so it helps keep me on a better schedule. What can I say?  I’m a work in progress.

Then there are habits of some truly lazy writers. These are the things that really set my teeth on edge.

  1. Poor  grammar    Really, there isn’t much excuse for this.  I have been guilty of misspelled words; thank God for spell check! My typing can get pretty bad when I’m on a roll. Basic grammar is an essential part of communication. I hated diagramming sentences and conjugating verbs in class but it was an essential part of learning to communicate, and here’s the key – effectively.
  2. Poor  punctuation   *facepalm* Eats, Shoots, and Leaves is a must read! Writing a book is not texting on your phone to your teens! Seriously inorder to write effectively you need both good grammar and punctuation.  Other people need to understand your thoughts!
  3. Pirating     OH! Yes I went there! Yes, I opened the big ugly can of worms! There  are so many aspects of pirating, I could write a weekly series on this for  months! I will address a few that are at the forefront of my mind.
  • Borrowing   – taking someone else’s work and claiming them as your own. This can be lack of annotations, lack of references, or simply a lack of giving credit where credit is due. I often give quotes; sometimes I reference another’s work. I also have mentioned the person who I took the idea from. Borrowing material from someone and not giving them credit is sloppy laziness at its worst.
  • Informal  Interview – if you are going to pick someone’s brain let them know. If you  are interrogating them about a topic for the purpose of using the information gained for your own work, they better know that’s what you are doing. I’m just blunt, it puts some people off, while others just laugh. I  say, “Hey can I pick your brain? Can I get your thoughts on. . .? I may  use that as a quote. Can I interview you?” See how simple that is? There’s a chance they will say no, but most people are more than willing to share  their knowledge.
  • Cut      & Paste – DO NOT take a private conversation and cut and paste someone’s  answers into a document, then claim it as your own! “It’s unethical to take a conversation and just do a cut & paste and pass it off as your own ideas.” Raymond Frazee

Then the final line is, of course, plagiarizing. Beware of fellow writers that would do the above offenses because it is inevitable that eventually they will have no problem crossing this final line, stealing your intellectual property as their own.

I hate lazy writers! I think I will go do some writing exercises to flex my creative abilities to confound their weak little minds and perplex their frail malnourished bodies.

Yeah, the good writers should have no problem taking over the world! Smart writers also have a CYA file of everything.

*whispers – EVERYTHING!* Just keep that in mind before you even think about playing the lazy writer roulette.

For all the good writers – write on my friends, write on!

Interview With Tasha Turner


My guest today is Tasha Turner, a social media coach.  Tasha is juggling this with being a writer.  Over the past several months I’ve gotten to know Tasha, and she is a veritable wealth of knowledge.  If you read my post yesterday, Tasha mentors many writers including myself.  The Virtual Blog Tour that I have been participating was her brainstorm.

Let’s get down to business, I know you are as anxious as I am to hear from Tasha.

Welcome to Quotidiandose!  Help yourself to the refreshments. We have mini muffins, petite tarts, and the fruit tray.  For the decadent tray there’s chocolate truffles, and Andes mints.

I motion Javier to bring our drinks, a fruity concoction with tiny umbrellas.

1.  Thank you for coming today. Tell me a little about yourself.

Tasha Turner was born full-grown as it is a pen name. It also became my professional name overnight. The Satmar Vampire may turn out to be a bit controversial in the Orthodox Jewish community. I thought taking a pen name might be a good idea to hide my identity. Unfortunately I am no good at keeping secrets so within a month everyone knew Tasha Turner was Tasha (Malka Esther) Lennhoff. But I had also made almost 500 Facebook friends. My Lennhoff friends would talk to Lennhoff in chat about personal things and at the exact same time talk to Turner about writing and book publishing. So it was clear that I was meant to be Tasha Turner now that I am working again. And that is the story of how I came to be.

2. Interesting.  I’m not very good at keeping secrets either, I tell on myself all the time. I”m better at keeping other people’s secrets.  How did you get started in the industry?

I worked with Beth-Ann Mason at Tri Destiny Publishing for a few months. What I discovered I loved was helping authors learn how to talk to their target market and to build a social network platform. But many parts of publishing were not my thing. I still shudder when I think about deciding which submissions might sell. But I realized that I’d been social networking since the day I went on the net. Helping people connect.  I found out people were paid to do that and thought why not me? It also has the advantage of flexible hours which I love.

3. HA!  If I could get paid to socialize . . .  now wouldn’t that be a dream job.  I like that you said there are parts of it you don’t care for.  In all honesty I think every career is like that in a way.  As a writer, I hate the isolation. I am a social creature, and will talk to just about anyone including a stranger in an elevator. Why do you think it’s important for writers to hire a social media coach?

I don’t actually know that it is. If you know who your target market is and you understand how to connect to your target market without spamming them then you don’t need a social media coach. A social media coach should not be someone who teaches you how to use tools but instead is teaching you concepts. Why? The tools change all the time. The concepts of networking; good manners, building a relationship, those don’t change as much. Many would have you believe they do. Marketing has changed, but networking that has not. The medium we use has.

Here’s an example:

Guest 1. If I was at your house for a dinner party and I started handing out marketing material for my business how would you and the other dinner guest feel? When my wall is covered with “buy my book, please” in many ways that is how many people feel – invaded.

Guest 2. If I’m at your house at a dinner party and start talking about a book I read that I think people at the table would love this would probably start a conversation about books we each love. This is not inappropriate behavior. When this kind of conversation happens on my wall I don’t feel like my space has been invaded instead I’m likely to be pulled into the conversation.

Which kind of guest would you prefer to be? Which would you like to have at your table? Which do you think a social media coach should teach you to be?

Motions Javier again. “We need some refills babe!” 

Javier brings new drinks with fresh umbrellas.  I take the moment to swipe a mini muffin, the peach ones, yummy.  Last time I had blueberry stuck to my teeth after the interview, how embarrassing!  Tasha goes for the strawberries and banana bites and the chocolate fountain.  We settle in for part two.

4. Well when you put it like that it seems obvious now doesn’t it?  I can think of a few “dinner guests” that are the first kind and I would have to agree. You have had some success with your short story about a Jewish vamp and are writing a full length novel.  Tell me a little about that.  How did you come up with the idea?

Beth-Ann’s mom came up with the idea of a Chasidic vampire. She mentioned it to me and I jokingly suggested we write it together. We discussed a number of ways to co-author the book. We discussed various plot ideas for the book. Just as I started to write the novel this “skit” kept coming into my head. The skit required being written down. The skit turned into a short story for The Gage Project a charity book where proceeds go to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. The short story kept pulling at me that it could be more than it was. So it is being rewritten and will be published as a standalone. I’m looking forward to finishing that and getting back to work on The Satmar Vampire soon.

5.  Are you a plotter or pantser?

A mildly plotting pantser. I do a basic outline of what should happen and any information I must know. But from there I wing it. I do more pantsing/winging it with the short story then I am doing with the full-length novel. This was the model I used as a technical writer and has continued with my blogging and fiction writing.

6.  LOL!  I have a similar method, sort of but we won’t get into that.  How do you juggle the schedule between writing and being a social media coach?

Not nearly as well as I’d like. Writing keeps falling to the wayside. If it were not for a dedicated writing partner who makes sure I’m writing a few nights a week I would not get as much done as I am. My job has no set hours. If a client is online I check in. If I see they have a new blog post I’m reading it. I’m checking in on Facebook and Twitter regularly.

7.  Which do you find more rewarding?  And how?

They are differently rewarding neither more rewarding than the other. Social media coaching is more intimate. I know my clients and get immediate feedback. I get to see the impact of what I’m doing with the increase in confidence they feel as well as traffic, sales, and followers.

With my writing I occasionally hear that someone read my story in The Gage Project and enjoyed it. I have people drop me a message/tweet asking when the Jewish vampire story or book will be out. But most of the satisfaction is internal. Knowing I’m becoming a better writer and that people are fascinated with the idea and dying to see how I’m solving the issue of blood being forbidden to Jews. Even though I talk about it and the answer is on my blog they want to see how it all plays out in the short story and the book.

8.  As a coach, you’ve seen authors stumble and those who succeed.  What advice would you give to aspiring authors to succeed?

Write, write, and write some more whether you are in the mood or not. Be open to criticism. When you ask for someone’s help, LISTEN and take the advice of those who have been before you or at least think carefully before dismissing it. Did I mention write, write, write some more, every day no matter what even if just for a few minutes?

9. You said before that you can spot authors that have what it takes to succeed.  What are two things you look for in determining that?

The things I see that I believe make a successful author are those who spend more time writing when they are not at their day/night job than anything else they do. And also, who listen and implement advice from those they ask advice of.  Authors who can take criticism because they know their work could be better and that they could be doing more to make it better and to sell more copies of their books.

10.  Thank you Tasha for sharing with us today.  Well you heard her, write , write, write, and write some more! Share with us where we can find you on the web.

As mentioned I am a social media coach. To learn more about that check out Tasha Turner Coaching at http://tasha-turner.com . On Tuesday my blog has Social Media or writing tips. On Thursdays it’s either book reviews or author spotlights. Other days of the week I might post other things or I might not. I am in the process of adding additional services to the business but it is all top-secret so I can’t talk about it yet. To learn more about my Jewish Vampire stories and books check out http://tasha-turner.com/jewish-vampires/ and how I will solve some of the issues. I love questions and hope to see more participation on this page as time goes on.

Please stalk me on the following places:

Tasha Turner Coaching Facebook Page

Tasha Turner on Facebook

Tasha Turner Author Profile on Goodreads

@turner_tasha on Twitter

Tasha Turner Coaching website

Jewish Vampires

The Satmar Vampire add to your Goodreads TBR

The Jewish Vamp & The Confused Slayer add to your Goodreads TBR

Thanks for joining us for this episode of my Wonderful Women Writers series. Please leave comments or questions for Tasha.  Want to know how to boost your sales? Find your target market?  Improve your writing?  I’m going over to Doug’s place, so I’ll leave Tasha to answer all your questions!  Grabs an Andes mint as I walk from the interviewing couch. TTFN!

Write on my friends, write on!

IMPACT


Who are you impacting?  Whose life are you affecting?

Most of us wouldn’t be where we are today if not for mentors that speak into our lives, that believed in us;  those individuals that give us the courage to pursue our dreams.  Of a thousand voices telling you why not, the mentor is whispering quietly in your ear that you can do it. It only takes one.  A single voice crying out in the wilderness makes a lasting impression. Someone that believes in you is worth their weight in gold.

I had a mentor for my writing;  Louise Marley.  She has authored 12 books, the latest releasing today: The Glass Butterfly.  Louise Marley is an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy. Her fiction often features strong female characters, and explores themes of hope, humanity, and faith in the distant future.

Louise is a class act. This wonderful lady tactfully took me to task to improve my writing.  I still have much to learn!  She drilled the show don’t tell part into my head, beware of my dreaded sentence fragments, and encouraged me in a manner that no one else ever had.

A final gift from my mother was enrollment into a correspondence class.  Despite the critical voice she always gave me, at some element she must have had some faith in my abilities or she would have never parted  with the cash it took to sign up for the course.  My parents were practical first and foremost.

Louise pointed out the good, the bad, and the ugly of my writing.  One lesson was a total fail, yet she managed to convey it in a manner that was soothing.  “Let’s try something else, shall we?”  She expressed that she saw potential within me.  that meant the world to me, and I pushed for my best in return. I’ve kept all my papers with her editing comments because I valued her opinion.  As I approach the threshold for my own publication I know I wouldn’t have made the progress without my mentor.

I am reminded of Susan Boyle.  Her rise to success was a hope and inspiration to many.  I particularly associated with her age, and the ‘shock face’ of Simon as well as the entire audience.  Sometimes, the reality of what lies hidden beneath the surface is far more than anyone could have imagined, but she knew.  She knew in her heart and believed in her own abilities. Sometimes, all we need is a chance.

What’s your dream?

So now it’s my turn.  The current catch phrase is ” pay it forward”. What difference am I going to make in someone elses life?  What do I have to offer anyone else? What about you?  Ar you making a difference in someone’s life in a positive way?

Here’s three ways you can impact someone:

  1. Believe in their potential.  Don’t be afraid to encourage them.  Let them know when you see potential. You may be the one voice in the wilderness.
  2. Spend time with them. Time is one of our most priceless commodities.  We make an impression and an impact on people that we spend time with.  “He who spends the most time wins!” Jeanne Mayo
  3. We make an impact on people we care about. Larry Burkett stated “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  This is a true statement.  I’ve worked with people counseling, both emotionally and financially and they really don’t give a rip what degree you hold, what background you have until you’ve expressed caring concern.  For those that I care deeply about I would give everything I had to help them.

Our children are examples of our mentorship, the family unit is the first group support.  Beyond that each of us have a circle of influence.  My goal is to have a positive influence, a lasting legacy that I helped someone.

Give first and it’s given back to you.  Just like a zucchini seed; it always comes back bigger, better, and more bountiful.

Write on my friends write on!

 

Relative Sanity, NOT!


For this week’s guest on the Tasha Turner Coaching Virtual Blog Tour, my guest is Martin Reaves.  Welcome to Quotidiandose!  Martin joined forces with me in a recent 3 man (person) basketball game during an interview with Bruce Blake.  He has proven to be a good sport and has a fine sense of humor. 

This week’s topic is to share a deleted scene and explain why it’s deleted.  Here’s an opportunity to get inside the mind of a writer!  Instead of my dark caverns, Martin is going to allow you to traipse through his! Please welcome Martin “Mott” Reaves.

Well now…I’m trying to remember what I had in mind with this deleted scene (actual 2 scenes but I’ve only posted one here). This was originally the second and third chapter of my book Relative Sanity. Apparently I had an idea for an entire subplot involving a professional criminal in LA. I wish I could creep back into my thought processes of 8 years ago to ask my then-self what I had in mind. I still like these pages, but they make me nervous–clearly I know a little too much about a bank’s daily opening procedures. For your consideration:
He took his doughnut and coffee and sat next to the window facing Paramount Boulevard. Someone had left the sports section of the L.A. Times behind and he scanned the headlines as he ate his doughnut and burned his mouth on the coffee. Dunkin’ Donuts was nearly empty at this time of the morning and he was enjoying the quiet, and the way the early spring sun slanted across the plastic table.

He checked his watch. 9:23.
A glance across the street at First Mutual Trust. No sign of her yet.
Banker’s hours, he thought, and went back to the paper. The Sacramento Kings were looking good again this year, or so the paper said. The Laker’s were out of it. Cleveland was…shit. Too bad they hadn’t left something other than sports; he’d never been able to work up much enthusiasm for all the macho posturing. He remembered laughingly speculating once that he might be gay.
The woman he was with at the time—what the hell was her name? Casey? Candy?—had not found it very amusing. In fact, she’d seemed to think that sort of speculation usually meant
that you were gay, at least to some degree. Well, what the hell did she know? He’s lying there, giving her the ride of a lifetime, and she’s got to go and say something like that. You brought it up, she’d said. You’re the one was thinking about it. He asked her how he could perform so well
with her if he was gay. Maybe you’re bi, she’d said, and then made some crack about his performance not being all that great. Bitch.
He laid the paper aside and sipped his coffee. Across the street a royal blue Mazda Miata pulled into the parking lot. The driver parked facing the bank, placed a Hawaiian print sunshade in front of the windshield and opened the door. A long leg wearing a white high-heeled pump snaked out the open door.
He checked his notes. Her name was Amanda Welch and she managed the Paramount branch of First Mutual Trust. She was thirty-two, married, with two kids and a three bedroom mortgage
in nearby Downey. A little plump for his taste but attractive nonetheless. He knew it was probably not necessary to be quite so thorough in his research, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. Be
embarrassing to study her movements and find out she was the janitor. Best to be prepared.
She went into the bank and he watched the second-hand on the platinum Rolex strapped to his wrist. Sixty-seven seconds later, the blinds opened on the far left window. Second from the
left stayed closed but the next one over was opened, and so on down the length of the building. Sixty-seven seconds was fast, which meant she was sloppy. That was good, because it indicated they had not been hit in a long time. Maybe never. Nothing made you stupid like a false sense of security.
So, a blind open on every other window was Amanda Welch’s signal for All Clear. If the Operations Officer showed up and saw a different pattern, he would know something was wrong, if he was paying attention at all.
It was another fifteen minutes before the Ops Officer arrived and went into the building. He didn’t knock, just walked right in. Dumb bastard was supposed to let her know he was outside, and then she’d come out, away from the windows and any possibility of being under the control of an intruder. Then he’d know for certain all was well.
“What’s your name, stupid,” he said, consulting his notes. Clifford Farrell; forty-nine years old and single; lives alone. Probably watches a lot of Jeopardy and drinks light beer out of a can, he thought.
He sipped at his coffee. “I’ll take Twentieth Century Presidents for two hundred, Alex,” he whispered. “Ummm, ‘Lost his head while driving down the street in Dallas.’ Boy that’s a tough one, Alex, can I pass?”
Another twenty minutes elapsed before the rest of the employees began to trickle in.
“Don’t make it too easy, folks.”
Every other window means All Clear. And then fifteen minutes of free time. If the job wasn’t wrapped up by then—and it damn well better be—there’d be Clifford to deal with. That wouldn’t be too bad. In fact, it might be a good idea to wait for him. After Mr. Farrell arrived, there’d
be a full twenty minutes before anyone else showed. Worth considering.
He smiled at the ease of it and went to the counter for another doughnut.

 

*     *     *

Martin Reaves is a writer primarily of suspense/thrillers with a psychological edge. And sometimes horror…or humor…heck, even romance. (Aren’t all these things connected on some level?)

Upon turning 48 he realized he was no longer 47…he wasn’t sure what to do with this information so he moved on.

Martin is very happily married to his childhood sweet-patootie, and has two incredible adult daughters who he considers among his best friends.

Reading and Writing are twin first-loves, followed by music (he is a musician and singer and has been performing semi-professionally for longer than he’d care to think about).

 

When not selling plastic to pay the bills, he (and his books) can be found here:

Facebook Author: https://www.facebook.com/MartinReavesAuthor?ref=hl#

Facebook Personal: https://www.facebook.com/Mottlee

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Martin-Reaves/e/B005DI98LG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mott342

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MartinReaves

WordPress: http://mott342.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5042356.Martin_Reaves

Interview With Author Joseph Eastwood


You may have noticed I haven’t posted for a few days?  Anyone????  Computers are finicky things.  Temperamental beasts on their best day.  Hopefully now, we hae all previous issues resolved and  I think (fingers crossed here) we are back up and fully operational!

Today I have a special guest.  His just released book , hot off the press is flying off the shelves!   Joseph Eastwood shared a bit earlier on my blog about his work, check it out  HERE!

Let’s get right to it then.

Hey Joseph!  Glad you could make it.  Thank you for taking the time to let me interview you.

What’s your choice of beverage? That doesn’t count as a question, just making you comfy.

JE:  COFFEE! I love coffee!

Hernando and  Javier bring coffee and refreshments, setting a plate of light pastries, fresh fruit, and cheese in front of us.  My stomach growls, having not eaten yet.   Javier stands to the side, flexing his shirtless form for Josephs’s benefit.  I pour my cup, Javier has already poured Josephs. Hmmm, I can’t seem to get him motivated.

Welcome to Quotidiandose!  A place where you just never know what might happen.  Just when you think I’ve settled into a groove, ha fooled you!  LOL

Ready????

 You’re the eldest child of five.  Ironically, I’m the youngest of five.  Do you think there’s anything to that personality/birth order connection?

Definitely, as the eldest I’ve always been the first to do everything, high school, moving out, university etc. but as the eldest you also feel like you’re the guinea pig as parents might be seeing what kind of parent they are, or god forbid reading parenting books. Parents mollycoddle their youngest, and if there are middle children, then they are the ones to usually rebel. (That’s my theory anyway.)

Hmmm, I’d have to disagree.  As the youngest, my folks were done with any ‘mollycoddling ‘- never heard that term before.  I’m the rebel of the bunch.  

 I see you’re a student at UNI, what do you plan to do with your degree when you graduate?

I don’t want to do anything with it, maybe perhaps do my masters. But getting a degree in Eng and creative writing is what I do part time, it’s not all of my focus, my writing and self-publishing career is my real focus and my real goal in life.

  What do you do when you’re not writing or going to UNI?

I watch a lot of TV! Like, I am an actually a TV whore, but only the good stuff like Grimm, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, The Good Wife, Cupcake Wars, and some reality TV that I won’t mention as it’s embarrassing to speak about in public.

Javier refills Joseph’s cup.  He’s very attentive today.

 I had some really aggravating assignments when I was in college.  What was your worst writing assignment?  

The one I didn’t hand in I guess, but it the most simple of assignments I’ve ever had, all I had to do was write a 1,000 word essay and then annotate a poem and also write 500 words about that, but I didn’t hand it in. Eeek. 

You’ve said that you’re a TRUE BLOOD fan.  Who’s your favorite character and why? 

Jessica! She really doesn’t get enough attention. She was turned into a vampire after being taken from her strict Christian (don’t know which religion) family, and then she became some AH-MAZING vampire lady. I think she’s the only character that I actually like anymore. Oh, and Pam! Everyone else is just super weird, and Bill cannot act.

Pfft! Bill!  *rolls eyes* Give me Erik or Alcide anyday!!

 Have you read the Charlaine Harris books that are the inspiration for True Blood?

I haven’t, although I do have the first few books on my shelf… which I will one day get around to reading.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

A plotter. I’m a major plotter! I absolutely love plotting and I’ve actually plotted all of the books in my three series, which is around 11 novels and 2 novellas… and I’m writing them all… so my life is revolving around getting these stories out.

You’ve stated that you like to put your characters through hoops.  What is the most bizarre “hoop” you’ve made them (one?) jump through – without giving away your story?

Well, why don’t you read Lumen and see what hoops I’ve created for Daniel to jump through, or the characters that I’ve created to get in Daniel’s way.

 What qualifies a “writing session” for you?  Do you set a word count, a timer, or write until a scene is complete?  Describe.

To me, a writing session is when I hit the 500 mark and can’t stop writing, but a writing session becomes fulfilling when I hit 2,500 words. My sessions can go from 1,000 to 5,000 words, and it all depends on what I’m doing that day, or if I’ve planned the session or not.

What’s the most you’ve ever written in one sitting before?
Over 10,000 words.  It was the day the internet was down!
LOL

I wrote my first ever flash fiction for your blog.  It was surprisingly fun.  If I gave you a story prompt, how long would it take you to write a flash piece, a short story, or a scene?  Which would you choose and why?

I’d choose a piece of flash fiction as it only takes me around 30 minutes to go from plotting what’s going to happen in the 500+/- words to writing it.

Are you a neat freak, a scrunge, or somewhere in the middle of the road?  How about your writing area?  Does it tend to the sanitized surface, or a cluttered heap?

I think I’m in the middle of the road. I’m certainly not a neat freak though. I usually write in bed with laptop on my knees and a bunch of paper around me, so you could say that my writing area is just a cluttered mess.

Are there any characters that have given you complete fits?  Been difficult to work with, or refused to cooperate? 

Oh god no, if I can’t work with my characters I kick them out, they either work with me, or they hitch onto someone else’s imagination. I also love building huge character profiles up for my main characters so that I can get a feel for them and know how to work them with my writing.

Laughing here, because mine can be quite the divas at times.  I’ve had them show up, want their story told then play coy in how they want it told.  Trust me, dragons can be such divas!

When Lumen hits phenomenal status, and is contracted for a movie, what actor and actresses would you like to see play your characters?

Oh, if only this would happen to Lumen, although all the way through writing it, and then after so many rereads I always imagined it being played on the big screen inside my head. I’m not someone to go through a list of celebrities and pick out who I’d want to play it if I was turned into a film. But if I saw someone, I’d say. Nobody really stands out when I think about it being a film. I’d probably have some newbie actors with fresh faces.

One of the things I enjoy is playing video games.  My favorite is Tombraider, and Skyrim is becoming a huge favorite as well.  Do you play and what games do you enjoy?

SIMS! I absolutely love The Sims! That counts as a video game, right? Other than that I don’t really play anything else. I would probably play Skyrim if I had a PS3 or something, but I don’t.

LOL!  My kids love SIMS!

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Self-publish my book. It was crazy. I didn’t know what to do once I’d clicked the upload button. So, the craziest thing I’ve ever done is self-publishing… whoa, my life is boring.

My kids and I have this weird little thing we do, memorizing lines from movies then reciting full scenes with each other.  Do you ever memorize lines from movies, and “reenact them with your friends or siblings”?

HAHA! Awh, that sounds so cute! I wish I could see that. No, I don’t do anything like that. We sometimes quote films, like Mean Girls etc. but not full scenes, although that would be fun.

The Olympics were just in London.  Did you go?  Did you watch?  What was your favorite event?  How do you feel about the US smokin’ everyone on the medals?

Hehe, I know I live in the UK, but at the opposite end from London… like, the north. Ha! I watched a couple of events, and my fav would have to be the mens gymnastics… who wouldn’t like to watch muscly men in lycra and spandex doing flips around a room.

Javier moves closer, then gets an odd expression staring at Joseph.

Thank you so much for visitng me here in the midwest.  I know it’s a far cry from the UK.  We’ve had a drought recently,  it’s usually at least a little nicer here.  *clears throat, turns pale*

How do you feel about spiders?

NO. NEVER. GO AWAY! I’ll start crying. I mean it.

Hernando steps in and knocks spider off Joseph’s shoulder.  I’m sorry.  With all this dry heat, they’ve become a real problem. 

Javier escorts Joseph quickly  out the door while Hernando cleans up the spider guts.

Speaking of unexpected, take a look at Joseph’s book for his unexpected twist with Daniel.

About Joseph

Joseph Eastwood is the eldest of five siblings, and he lives and grew up in Lancaster, England.

He has always had a giant creative connection in his life, from drawing and writing to having an eclectic taste in music and reading a wide range of books, which he hopes reflects in his own writing. He also loves watching sci-fi, supernatural and fantasy based TV shows and films. Among some of his favourites are Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. As well as those he loves dramas, like The Good Wife and Desperate Housewives.

Joseph is either busy doing edits and writing, that, or he’s on his Facebook page being a professional procrastinator. He lives for creativity, striving to be different and thinking up new hoops for his characters to jump through.

Links

http://www.josepheastwood.com/ – Blog

https://www.facebook.com/josephswriting – Facebook page

https://twitter.com/#!/Joe_Eastwood – Twitter

Got any questions for Joseph?  Leave him a comment adn show your love!!

Write on my friends, write on!

Laugh Out Loud!


A news report that I heard this morning stated that Doctors at Washington University have release scientifically documented cases where laughter is very good medicine indeed.  I’ve known this for years!

While the serious-minded folks around me are working on permanent creases in their foreheads and raising their blood pressure, I approach life in a little less orthodox manner.  One of my Facebook friends recently commented about posting LOL. “Do people really laugh out loud?”

I do.  Often in fact.  I laugh at odd times, at unconventional things, and sometimes at very awkward situations.  I laugh when I’m nervous, and when I’m not.  I laugh at funny movies. Unfortunately there aren’t that many that are actually funny.  My life is like a Carol Burnett rerun, and sometimes like the Three Stooges.

These doctors have scientific proof that laughter reduces cholesterol levels, blood pressure and decreases your blood sugar levels.  Really? I have low blood pressure, low cholesterol and no diabetes despite being overweight.  I’ve told people for years to lighten up, but do they listen? Of course not.  Here pull my finger!

Sometimes the idiocy that is our lives can become overwhelming.  You can laugh or you can cry.  I prefer laughing.  Looking for the funny side is a choice.  It’s not easy at times, but when things become just so insanely overwhelming what am I going to do about it?  Debbie Downer is no fun and I don’t want to be her.  IN fact I try not to be around her.

I don’t want to get into a lot of psycho-babble about our temperaments and predetermined biological DNA as to why people are the way they are.  Although I think the shock of actually experiencing a good belly laugh might send some to the emergency room, or at least to the doctor’s office for medications, laughter is a good thing that grownups have forgotten how to do.

What makes you laugh?  For me it’s a variety of different things.  I laugh at my own mistakes, and my own ignorance.  I laugh at funny videos. I laugh at good jokes and even some corny stupid jokes.  I laugh at Mony Python and even the Stooges.  Slapstick is funny stuff!

My point is, don’t take yourself or life too seriously. None of us get out of here alive so why not kick back and enjoy the ride at least sometimes?  Surely there is something that you can find humor in.  If not, maybe see the doctor for some meds that make things seem funny.  I hear that stuff the dentist uses can be pretty good.  Mine uses needles, and I avoid him as much as possible.

When you can laugh so loud you snort, you’ve almost gotten there.  When you almost pee your pants  you are well on your way on the laugh track.  When you spray the person across the table with your soda, you make others laugh.  It’s a good thing I don’t embarrass easily.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:  LAUGH OUT LOUD!

Monday Madness in Mack World


The new routine begins today.  My kitchen was clean before 7 am.  Yeah!  Got my work out in at the Y, yeah!

Worked on my writing most of the rest of the day and had a lunch date with my sister, yeah!  It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, since her surgery actually.   We talked , caught up on things going on in each of our lives.  It’s sad really  that she lives less than ten miles away and we haven’t seen each other since March.

I miss family gatherings.  I came from a large family and after my mother’s death there have been fractures that have never healed.   There has been some improvements as time passed but there are some hard feelings that I fear may never mend.  I hate that.

Regardless of the water under the bridge there is a connection to family that is always there.  It’s like the friend you haven’t seen in ages, yet when you get together it’s like there was never any  time apart.  There are people  that I’ve instantly connected with.  There’s a spark of some sort.  Sometimes it starts from a common interest, but sometimes it’s more.  There are just people who you click with.  People that become important in your life;  people who become the inner circle.

I am very grateful to my inner circle, and y’all know who you are.  I’m not going to get all mushy here.  Friends that I chat with on a regular basis; sometimes it’s just a little chat about writing,  other times we share personal information about what’s going on in our lives.  Some conversations can get deep, sharing details that not everyone is privilege to.

On the flip side of that, however I’ve shared some personal stuff over on Bruce Blake’s blog in an interview.  Need a good laugh?  Go check out the Mack Attack! Tomorrow I will be hosting Joseph Eastwood again.  This time I get to interview him.  This should be fun!

Write on my friends, write on!

I want everyone to be happy and some people are just determined to not be happy.

I’m Back!


Summer is coming to an end.  School has resumed, the temperatures are finally dropping slightly, and to make it official we had rain.  After a long summer of record high temperatures and drought conditions the rain was a welcomed relief.  The kids thought it was ironic that it rained on their first day back to school.  I felt it just added closure, that the summer had wrapped up.

At the end of things I often reminisce about the highlights and lowlights. Evaluate what was right and what was wrong;  What I can do better next time, and what things should be avoided.  That’s sort of what I’m going to do here. Step into the way back machine, and here we go. . . (wavy lines across your screen.)

I have accomplished part of my goals I set at the beginning of summer, made partial progress on some, and others have . . . well, fallen by the wayside.  I should have established a firm agreement with accountability partners but I didn’t.  I have managed to drop a little more weight, but have by no means been as hard after it as I should.  Hey, I don’t deal well with triple digit temperatures.  The outdoor activities fell away quickly as the temperatures soared.  Seriously, I’ve had heat exhaustion before and put myself in that condition again even after I knew I should have just stayed inside.

Overall, though I have come to an epic decision.  This may not be such a surprise for those that know me, but it was  a shocker for my own realization. I have too many irons in the fire!  I will have to set some of them aside, for now.  Alright Penelope and Tim I see you laughing over there!

Reevaluating often means refocusing and realignment.  Definitely need that!  So, starting Monday, I’ll be starting a new schedule.  All other things will either have to fall by the wayside, be set aside for future planning or built into the schedule.   I have to schedule my priorities, then whatever makes the cut will stay, after that I don’t know when I can get to things.  Right now I’m still working on this. I have four more hours worth of stuff to cram into a 24 hour day.  I can make it work, really I can! Who needs sleep right?

In reviewing my blog, I am surprised at the posts that are the most viewed.  What did I do right, what did I do wrong?  Some of the posts that I worked on, did research for weren’t viewed nearly as much ones that were “fly by the seat of my pants” madness.  Apparently more people want to read my sarcastic wit than techniques for writing better.  Hmmm, that gives me an idea . . .

Scratch that – 6 more hours to cram into 24.  I can do it if I stock up on the coffee, figure out how to write on my phone while I’m on the elliptical, and eat my lunch while I’m showering.  It can be done I’m sure of it.  Or maybe I should just admit it and focus on only a couple of things!

Anyone else have system overload, with too many things to handle?

Write on my friends, write on.

The First Time


This Virtual Blog Tour is winding down to the final weeks.   I hope you are enjoying my guests, they are an awesome bunch of people!  It’s been a great opportunity to get to know these writers, and learn from them.  My guest today is Nikki Noffsinger.  Last week she hosted me on her blog, so this week I get to return the favor.  I love it when I find like-minded authors, and I think my romance reading fans will appreciate Nikki as well.  So without any further delays, heeeeeeeere’s Nikki!

The First Time

by

Nikki Noffsinger

            I remember like it was yesterday and several bra cups smaller, my first time. I had waited for this moment it seemed all my life-well my life according to Molly Ringwald movies.  Anyone remember those movies?  How many of us thought our high school experience would be like one of those movies like Fast Times of Ridgemont High, The Breakfast Club, or Pretty in Pink?  We just all set ourselves up for disappointment, didn’t we?  I’m starting to get off topic here.  I can go on and on about the eighties forever if you let me. I guess for the most part, it’s due to the fact it was my childhood thus some of the happiest years of my life. The early nineties weren’t all that great.

Being a girl, it should be no brainer that with all the horror movies I loved to watch that there would be a few “love stories”.  Again, it is a perfectly female thing to do. I had gone over and over in my mind how I expected my first time to be. The stars would align; the cosmos would be in a total state of Eros.  I had dreamt of that crucial moment when sparks would fly and I would soar through the heavens on pure euphoria.

Funny how expectations often don’t go the way they should.

At sixteen, what did you expect dear reader? What were some of your crazy dreams? Did you accomplish any of those? What ones didn’t work out?  Okay you only have to highlight a few; never fear I remember being sixteen.  We all wanted to conquer the world in some way, didn’t we?

My first time though, was not met with flowered garlands or notes played on golden harps by chubby cherubs.  I do not think the cosmos was aligned nor was Jupiter in the seventh house or whatever. What I recall of it was disaster.  It was nothing short of horrific without all the Carrie White drama.  Wow, wouldn’t it have been cool to have been telekinetic in high school? I mean, not the killing people part of it but the possibilities are endless to a sixteen year old. Sorry, my mind is starting to wonder. So that should tell you right there how traumatic this event in my life truly was.

That afternoon, my sister had spent hours, literally hours curling and teasing my hair into perfection. It was winged, banged, and bulletproof.  My eyeliner was perfection with the exception my eyes were still burning like hot coals from my sister and best friend Cheryl trying to do both at the same time and using my eyeballs as testing sites. I never had to worry about full lips because I always had them but I was a reddish strawberry blonde at a time when blondes were considered, “cute”, “sexy”, and “popular”. Brunettes were a close second; probably thanks to starlets like Phoebe Cates and Kelly Le Brock. For some reason, only a few guys actually preferred us reds over those two. However, tonight was not about hair discrimination and the fact that I wasn’t the run of the mill model perfect looking girl; however I was a pretty nice looking size twelve.

My palms were sweaty and I couldn’t stop rehearsing a thousand and one scenarios in my mind. The radio was playing everything from Guns n Roses to Madonna. It was just what I needed; Madonna, the blonde ambition, on a night such as this; one of the more important nights of my sixteen years of life. This night was going to possibly affect the rest of my life!  I remember stepping out onto the asphalt and walking with trepidation. I was nervous. I had the mental image of the virgin in white stretched across a stone altar and then some hooded dude mumbling what sounded like gibberish right before ….well okay, you have to know I was and still am a huuuuge movie buff and I might have been watching too many horror flicks.

As my anticipation grew and there within my line of vision was what I had been waiting for and dreaming about for as long as I could remember. It was like being in the Olympics and finally seeing the finish line tape stretched across the track and knowing that you were right about to win and hear the crowd roar.  My finish line was a boy who I had spoken with over the phone and flirted with for weeks until he finally asked me out.  A lot of girls said he was quite the “babe” (term “babe” was used before it was cool to say “hawtie”). All I know is Boy X had hair clean down to his waist and looked like he came out of a MTV music video…well maybe not that good but he was close. Okay so maybe he wasn’t close but he was only a year older than me so he was in the neighborhood.  Anyhow, all I knew all my friends didn’t have a guy with hair like that and his face was unblemished by puberty and he liked me. Who wouldn’t want to have their first with a rarity such as an unblemished face at puberty and long blondish-brown hair?

We walked around the mall, talking and laughing. We held hands and even looked in a few stores. First was the music store so we could reaffirm we had the same taste in music and then Spencer Gifts, to kind of drop the hint that I was “ready for love”. Okay laugh now but who didn’t sneak a peek in the “naughty” section of a Spencer Gifts at the local mall? Yeah that’s what I thought.

As soon as I ditched my sister and best friend we went outside. I remember the weather was cool but not frigid. It was just coming out of spring. Summer would be starting soon and school would be out. I had gone from, Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret to Cheyenne Splendor. This was the moment I had dreamed about and waited for; well one of them anyhow.  He leaned in, closed his eyes, and our lips met. Our tongues danced and I waited.  I waited past the taste of stale Mountain Dew and the aroma of Stetson mixed with sweat.  Some things a girl can over look. However, I didn’t feel the earth move, hear explosions, or feel my body go limp and wanton. It hadn’t been a bad first real kiss, but it simply hadn’t been what I had expected.

We kissed often during our three-month affair – which to a teenage girl is some serious time. When we broke up, I cried. Oh how I would miss that hair and all those late night chats. Boy X hadn’t been a bad boyfriend until he dumped me for some other mall rat but for as pretty as he looked; his kisses had been underwhelming.  They weren’t like the fevered ones I had seen in movies or read in books. They hadn’t made my insides clench or had even stirred the butterflies. So when I wrote stories about kisses, I wrote what my mind had dreamt up. I mean all those hours of watching all those movies and the books on the subject hadn’t been for a lost cause here.

So tell me, what was your first kiss like? Was it anything like you imagined it would be? If you write any genre of romance do you draw on your own personal experiences or not?

I write love scenes both the way I see them in my head and from experience. I write how I want to be touched and what my character should be feeling.  I write more wanting to convey the connection not just the graphic act.  If someone is describing chocolate to the person who has never tasted it they would use their own feelings to create that taste.  I want to do that very same thing that all starts with a kiss.  All my favorite romance novels have all done that very same thing and for some of those books, I’ve been found fanning myself or heading to a cold shower or two.  In my opinion I think that it is why people are drawn to romance of any genre is because they want to feel and see what it is the author is describing.  For some, perhaps it’s a yearning to just want to feel for a moment the bliss of loving and being loved.  Who knows but it is fun to write and create. It is even more fun to watch someone who has never read anything in my genre and see the shock and blush that comes over their face  and then tell me how they really got the story not just the juicy stuff.

So that is one of my firsts. It wasn’t what I expected and it kind of let me down but here I am uncorrupted by the Dr. Phil assessment writing about thousands of kisses I’ve never had but have seen dozens of times in my mind along with lots of other things.  So tell me, who was your Boy X?  Did it live up to your expectations?  How has it influenced your writing or the books you select?

About the Author

            Nicole Noffsinger or Nikki as she is known is a 37-year-old mother of two children and has always loved writing and creating stories from a young age. She lives with her family in a mid-sized Indiana town. Aside from writing she has an eclectic taste in both music and art, loves to travel, and has a great love of all things that go “bump” in the night.

Links

http://www.xoxopublishing.com

http://nikkitrueblue.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/nicole.noffsinger

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Realm-Of-Author-Nikki-Noffsinger/191125007586215