Happy Holidays

Winter is upon us and there is nothing like a cozy blanket, a warm drink, and a good book to help you survive.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wives and Lovers and other Propaganda

I was just sitting around working on my computer when this old song popped into my head.

It seemed bizarre, even to me, until I recalled a remark made in a news article I had been fuming about all day. The prosecutor told a mother he wasn't going to pursue the rapist of her five year old daughter because "boys will be boys." 

Hours later this song popped into my head and won't  go away . . . probably because of the line, "and men will always be men."

Then when I ran the entire song through my head I was incensed.

Jack Jones (the singer) was popular in the 60s, if you are old enough you may know his voice from doing the theme song for the Love Boat. Jack is a tall, good looking man (He was in the 60s and he still is today.) with a pleasant voice.

In 1963 Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this sweet little ditty which Jack Jones made a hit record of. 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyNewwkfD2o


Let's talk a little about propaganda. Wives and Lovers stands right up there with Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man.

Can you imagine a world where a woman has to be perfectly coiffured each morning as she kisses her husband at the door and sends him off to work? Because heaven forbid, if she isn't perfect "she may never see him again."

When I was little I lived in a well to do city. We lived in one of two tenements that were across the street from the Catholic church and the well to do people lived in the beautiful old Victorians on Center Street, Commonwealth Avenue, and Beacon Street.

The Center of our Village housed a beautiful small brick library, which was next to the large brick building which was known as the "Women's Club". I could watch the women in their pointy toed shoes, dresses, hats, and gloves go in and come out. I always wondered what they did in there.

I never found out, because unlike those women, my mother ran around in slacks, popped out a baby a year, and worked at the Hood Rubber making P.F. Flyer sneakers.

Every mother I knew worked outside of the home. They didn't have the luxury of going to weekly hair dresser appointments, wearing white gloves anywhere except to church on Sundays, and it may have been a blessing to many of those women if their husbands didn't come home.

It could have stopped the baby a year and the black eyes so many of them wore on a weekly basis. Please remember, in those days the attitude was "men will always be men" and she must have done something to really piss him off.

The late 60s and the 70s brought us music that made us question the attitudes that were acceptable up to that time.

There were many causes, all of them good, but right now I am only concerned with one. Women's Rights.

Before the pill women popped out baby after baby.

Women earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Women were kept out of key jobs.

A battered woman had no recourse. If the cops showed up at the door, one cop would take the batterer for a walk to "cool down" while the other cop would tell her to stop doing whatever had set him off.

A woman very rarely reported rape. They were too ashamed.

Can you imagine a victim of a violent crime being too ashamed to report it?

For the last several years I have watched in horror as certain politicians and media people have tried to tear down some of the advancement women have made in equal rights.

Don't let this happen. To quote a Virginia Slim commercial (Heaven help me, I quoting a cigarette ad!) You've come a long way, baby. Don't let anyone take it away from you.

Break the Silence, let Washington know that we are here and we are not going back to a time when we were afraid not to be perfect.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Rainbow's End

In my book The Counterfeit Bride Cassidy Flynn owns a bar and uses the profits from the bar to run her therapeutic horse ranch. Pegasus Ranch where both the children and horses grow wings.



The work Cassidy and her buddies do at Pegasus are all based on the work of one woman. Susan Shaw.




Susan Shaw is a woman with a dream and a mission.

She houses rescued horses, teaches autistic children how to relate with the horses, and she loves what she is doing.





Unfortunately, since the economy took a downturn she and her stables have been suffering. 


In order to continue her work Rainbow's End needs a sizable injection of money to see it through the next two years. Anything you can give will be a big help and will be appreciated.

Sue has started a fund raiser through gofundme.com, please give what you can to this worthy cause.



Cassidy wants to help too. So 10% of all royalties on The Counterfeit Bride in the month of January will be donated to Rainbow's End.



Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16X28uT

Audiobook: 
Audible.com:  http://bit.ly/HSaQU1
itunes: also available on itunes!!!

Available in paperback through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.



Please help spread the word and give generously.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Teen Fury Trilogy is now Complete

Amanda Torrey began her writing career in elementary school as Amanda J. Sullivan when her not so short story "They Called It Dare Mountain" was published in Trumpet Club, Young Authors of America, Volume 2.

"Three cheers for your peers! Here are all the prize winning selections in this year's trumpet Club Young Authors of America Contest stories, essays, and a poem- written by boys and girls like yourself, and never published anywhere else but in this book. "Angel" by Ian B. DeMeritt, "Awful Day" by Michiko Hanao, "Kate Did It" by Eileen Markey, "The Weirdest Dream of my life. . . Part III" by Chris Joplin, "Brotherly Love" by J.S. Eldridge, "The Talking Iguana" by Andrew Eric Harrison, "Days on the Bus" by Ron Riske, Jr. "The Farmer's Choice" by Johnny Quinones, "My Fisby Friends" by J.J. Donahue, "Growing Up" by Naomi Anne Schaefer, "My Trip to School" by Mario Demasi, "A Wintery Day" by Luci Crawford, "They Called it Dare Mountain" by Amanda J. Sullivan."









Amanda managed to resist the siren call of her characters as long as she could, until Felicia hit puberty and the snakes started sprouting from her head.

Thus began the YA trilogy Teen Fury.

The first book Unleashed is currently FREE!



http://www.amazon.com/Teen-Fury-Unleashed-Amanda-Torrey-ebook/dp/B009VL6RZQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1389936009&sr=1-1&keywords=teen+fury+unleashed




The second book of the trilogy is a wonderful portrait of a young girl/woman who has lost her way.




The third and final book of the trilogy is about Felicia maturing and having to find herself in a world that has become alien to her.

This book is a must read for mothers and their daughters! (The young men in my life have also enjoyed reading the entire series.)






Amanda also has an adult novel in which she turns up the heat.




Amanda is currently working on a small town romance and I can't wait to see what she does with it.

To find out more about Amanda Torrey and her books visit her website http://www.amandatorrey.com/author/. Her blog is also on her website.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

How much is your work worth?

If I work as a waitress the federal government thinks my time is only worth $2.13 an hour. It is up to my customers to decide if I am worth more than that.

Writers do not get paid by the hour. If we did, even at $2.13 an hour our paychecks would be pretty sizable. It takes much longer to research and write a book than it takes to read it.


Once upon a time all an author need was paper, a feather, some ink, and an idea.



Then the typewriter was invented and every author had to make sure they submitted a clean typed copy, double spaced, on one side of good quality (10 pound stock) white paper.



Now we have the computer!




The equipment needed to write a story is not cheap. Not only do you need a good computer, one that will not lose all your work, but you need a writing program. (Which is an additional cost.)


Once you have bought all the equipment you need to write your book. You can begin researching the subject matter. (Even when you are writing fiction and it is about something you know, there is still a lot of research to be done!)

Some authors (like moi) like to have the source material close at hand and buy some of the research books they are going to use frequently. While others either don't like to do their own research or they don't have the time, so they hire someone to do the research for them.  (This adds $ onto the cost of writing.)

Authors who are traditionally published have agents and publishers that handle the rest of the expenses after they accept the book. The author will be paid royalties based on the amount of books sold and how much of a percentage their contracts specify.

Now . . . onto the Indie published author.

An Indie author has the expenses involved in buying the computer and research materials, plus many more expenses.

An Indie author must pay their beta-readers. (A professional beta-reader is more likely to tell the author the hard truths about what doesn't work in the novel.)

They must purchase their book cover.

Hire a copy editor (anywhere from $200-$1,000), a content editor ($500-$2,000), a proofreader ($100 and up), a formatter, and possibly a publicist. Plus they have to buy ads and run contests with expensive prizes and spend a lot of time on social media pimping the book.

Long gone are the days of writing on both sides of scrap paper with a feather and some ink.

The cost of publishing a quality book is not cheap.

Most authors still work their day jobs.

Write late into the night, or get up extra early.

Attend local writer's groups. (Another cost!)

Worry about their books being pirated.

 
They live in sweats and abuse caffeine.

It's not the glamorous life pictured on Murder She Wrote or Sex in the City, but it can be very fulfilling.


Find the magick!



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Redux

I am giddy. Daughter #3 just came home from work with presents for moi! 

I must admit, I usually receive Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook for Christmas and this year I didn't receive one. I was gravely disappointed.

True, I start off the year putting my appointments into the book, but gradually I forget to add them in or I forget to check the book to find them. My mind is usually buried deep inside a story, either one of mine or one I am reading, and mundane things like a check-up just doesn't occur to me.

While my alter-ego was publishing her Totems and monthly horoscope books, the Witches' Datebook was crucial. And it still is!


(Please ignore the dates on the pictures, I haven't figured out how to change them or get rid of them yet!)

However, last year I remembered the joy I had when I was a list maker. (Only on projects, not on life or ~gasp~ cleaning!)

When I used to earn money from my needles, (knitting, crocheting, and sewing) I always had a project list. It always gave me great joy to cross a project off the list and date it. It helped to see the finished products listed so that when I was feeling like I was floundering rather than treading water I could see that I had actually achieved goals I had set.

(I always set the bar high. If the goals were too easy than I wouldn't really be accomplishing anything.)

After decades of writing, it was only in 2013 when I decided to write the Boundless Billionaire series and I compiled a list of possible titles for later books. That was when I realized I was back to list making.

I also know myself well enough to realize that I am a deadline person. The closer the deadline the harder I work. (You don't want to know when I decided what I was making everyone for Christmas or when I began making them!!!)

Daughter #1 lives in a rural part of another state, so when I go to visit her we always make a trip to the local stores to load up on things we both might need. It was while we were there that I saw a pretty little desk calendar blotter. 

I didn't buy it that day, but I went home and obsessed about it for weeks before I finally found the same thing in my closest store with a big blue sign. (They get enough business so I'm not naming them here, but they use a yellow smiley face in their commercials!)

I needed that desk planner to post my goals in writing. In INK!!! I ignored the fact that my desk is just a catch all surface and doesn't have a chair. I usually pile the pillows behind me and work on my bed or go to the library when I want to sit like a grown up.

Anyway, the pretty pink blotter was hung on my door with the schedule of children's events written on it. In ink!

In the meantime, before I bought the pretty pink blotter I was whining to Daughter #3 about how I had to find a planner that was set up with each week set across the page and a place to write the weekly goals. I wanted to know if B&N still had any for 2013 in stock. Finally she pulled out the one she had bought for herself and had only used for the first week of the year and gave it to me.

A page from the 2014 planner. (Not yet used.)


I was thrilled and overjoyed. I didn't know she had one, but suddenly it was mine.

I had a goals partner, and I am very good at cracking the whip and giving out advice, but very bad at taking my own advice. I needed that planner to hold my feet over the fire.

So, beginning in June I began writing my writing totals for the day on each day. It even involved math, because I would write the entire amount written to date on the project and then find the total amount of new words for the day. 

If I did not write that day I had to write in "0" and write the reason for not working on my story.

I set weekly goals and a completion date for each project. I might not always reach my goals, but I do my best to finish on the completion date! (Afterall, I am a Deadline Ho!)

The new planner has a month at a glance feature.




I have since expanded the tracking to include when I write a blog, newsletter, or work on my website. (It is so easy to lose track of time.)



In December, courtesy of the Christmas rush to make gifts, I added when I finished each gift. I have decided to continue the practice throughout 2014. Perhaps I will get presents done in a more leisurely manner. (Yeah, right!)



The presents also included a new crochet book.

 

It's amazing where you can find some good patterns. Some of the best come in the "How To" books.

The fourth gift she brought home was this pretty felt tote bag. I am a bag lady and proud of it. The felt has nice stiff sides, so it should be hold a couple of skeins of yarn without collapsing.



If you don't already make lists and you are searching for a way out of chaos, or at least to get something done, try making a list or adding a break down of what you have to do to your agenda. It not may help, but it might, and it won't hurt.

You'll also be in great company. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and Martha Stewart made lists, and look at all they have accomplished!

Now I hope you will all excuse me, I have my goals to set for next year. I'm going to put them into my planner . . . in INK!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013