Thursday, May 31, 2012

Orange [five sentence fiction]

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
Well hidden by the bushes, he blended in perfectly while he searched for sustenance; survival of the fittest, no matter the means.

At a sound most would miss, he swiveled his head, searching intently. Finally he located it, dinner; a bit on the small side but it would do.

He took off quickly, nothing but a blurry shape would be seen by any who might be watching.

His prey, caught by surprise, seemed mesmerized by the brilliant orange of his eyes, never noticing the lethal beak and claws as it was snatched up and carried away.


Huh? When did that happen?

I know I'm not a twenty-something or even a thirty-something anymore. But I'm still trying to figure out how I got to be a senior citizen when middle-age is still ten years away?

What? It's not? How did that happen? WHEN did that happen? Why was I the last to know?

We got our mail forwarded the other day and I'm, gulp, now qualified for MEDICARE!!! Tell me it's not true.

I know I have the gray hair (I prefer to call it chrome in honor of my motorcycle love), I know my memory isn't the best and my energy level lower than it used to be.....but MEDICARE? Did they lower the age limit? They must have.

I surely can't be THAT old...can I?  [That was a rhetorical question, just in case you missed the sarcasm.]

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Napping Blogger Award

First things first....I've been swamped with awards lately, both the Kreativ and Versatile Blogger Awards. Since I already have both of these, rather than repeat what's already been done (you wouldn't want me to BORE you with more personal details), I decided to create my OWN award.

If you've been visiting here for a while you've probably noticed my NAPPING theme. Naps are a good thing and we often forget that. They can not only revive you, they can help jump start your creativity. They also remind us to take time for ourselves.

The rules for the Napping Blogger Award are easy:
  1. Link back to the one who gave you the award (in this case, it's ME!)
  2. Tell us what you do to take time for YOU! That might be a hobby, a musical break, a favorite movie or show, sitting outside enjoying nature, or even taking a nap!
  3. Nominate five other bloggers - especially folks you think deserve a break from their routine.
I've created this award in several colors so choose your favorite and go take a nap. Be sure to CLICK the image to get the full-sized version and save that.


Okay, now to nominate the five wonderful bloggers who presented me with the Kreativ and Versatile awards:
  1. @KelaMcClelland 
  2. @ashviper 
  3. @KD_Rush 
  4. Kim & Jerry Peterson 
  5. Tara Tyler 

Now to send the award out to five new folks, reminding them to slow down and take a breath once in a while.
  1. @tia_bach_author
  2. @TxYellowRose 
  3. @Ruanna3
  4. @BullishInk
  5. @VeronicaSicoe
Just in case anyone wonders about my model, it's our almost two year old Boxer mix pup...who has her own blog: Sadie Speaks She can take some serious naps!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FOTO: Key West Sunset - 2003

From time to time I'll post a photo that I've taken at some time. Nice scenery, unusual topics, or just a picture that I like. 
[click for larger view]
©Donna B. McNicol ~

“Stuff your eyes with wonder …
live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds.
See the world.
It’s more fantastic than any dream made
or paid for in factories.”
~ Ray Bradbury
(1920 – )

Monday, May 28, 2012

Silence [five sentence fiction]

[photo credit: Nicobobinus via photo pin cc]
The bus careened crazily around the corner before abruptly stopping and with a hiss opened its doors, allowing the masses to enter from one while exiting from another, all while I watched them, the daily riders.

The up-tight businessmen on their way to their boring little cubicles, conversing about the latest Wall street debacle; the service industry workers heading to or leaving from their endless shifts of food, drinks, orders and surly patrons; the mothers headed to day care or nannies to the park, balancing babies and toddlers and complaining loudly about the crowds, sounds and smells.

The warning bell sounded, the doors closed and the crowd slowly jockeyed for optimum position, preparing to snag an empty seat or readying to exit, heading out to their cookie-cutter day.

Me? I'm the bus driver, thank goodness for the voices in my head, my conversations silence theirs.

Firefly Glitter [#Faerypin]

Once again I find myself dabbling in fantasy. My first foray earned no comments so I suspect I have a long way to go, but here is another stab. The fantastic Anna Meade at Yearning for Wonderland is hosting a contest, Faerytaleish Pinterest Contest, based upon photos that have been uploaded to her Pinterest board: Faerytaleish. The contest closes on June 1 and all entries must be 300 words or less and include the photo that inspired the story.
Running around the back yard with her Mason jar, Stacie paused as her mom shouted from the back porch, "Ten more minutes, then it's time to come in."

She started to holler back but heard, "...and leave those creepy bugs outside!"

With a shrug of her shoulders Stacie continued chasing the fireflies. She loved them, so glittery and bright. They made her laugh and turned her insides all giggly.

Enchanted by a new group of fireflies, she darted towards them, chasing the dancing lights through the tall grass colored by a tapestry of wildflowers. She was too entranced to notice they were drawing her closer and closer to the forest at the edge of the property.

To read the full story, please check out the Amazon e-book
"A Flash of Fantasy"
It's only 99 cents!

Memorial Day 2012


"Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more.
Days of danger, nights of waking."

~ Sir Walter Scott ~

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sunday Snippets - Sundry Somethings

Once upon a time I awoke to was Sunday! Time to put together my weekly roundup of snippets.
Here's a news article of interest about indie publishing and booksellers.
"Bookselling This Week just reported that brick and mortar booksellers are making it easier for self-published authors to garner coveted shelf space in their stores. With indies crossing into this and other territory usually staked out by the traditionally published, the battle between self-published and traditionally pubbed authors has heated up."
You can read the full story here.

Author Mande DeGeit "outs" a bad publishing experience...and based on the comments, she's not the first victim of this person publishing under three different imprints. Her rant is here, "When publishing goes wrong, starring Undead Press", an update here, and her latest is here.
The folks over at The Masquerade Crew has put out a call for "shorts" to be featured on Saturdays. Check out their request here.
Now time for a little humor...enjoy!

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define "Great" he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft, writing error messages.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Your favorite topics are...?

Thought I'd ask what you like to see most on my blog...based upon my past posts. If you have other suggestions of what you'd like to see, please leave a comment. (You can choose more than one item.)

What are your favorite blog topics? free polls 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The end of my mouse?

I admit to being a gadget geek. I have been an early adopter most of my life, giving up the fun of being a test ground only in my later years. I worked in the computer industry starting in the mid 70's when there weren't as many women on the technical side of things, that was when my love started.

So when I read this announcement about the new gesture device, Leap, I just knew it was for me. From the website:
Say goodbye to your mouse and keyboard.

Leap represents an entirely new way to interact with your computers. It’s more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen.  For the first time, you can control a computer in three dimensions with your natural hand and finger movements.

This isn’t a game system that roughly maps your hand movements.  The Leap technology is 200 times more accurate than anything else on the market — at any price point. Just about the size of a flash drive, the Leap can distinguish your individual fingers and track your movements down to a 1/100th of a millimeter.

This is like day one of the mouse.  Except, no one needs an instruction manual for their hands.
Now who could resist pre-ordering for only $70? Well, not me. I'll report in early next year when I test it out!

Are you Pinterested?

I fought it for a long time. I really didn't need to join Pinterest, what with everyone talking about how addicting it was. The last thing I needed was another social media site to add to my daily checklist.

Then I read a blog post about Pinterest for writers and I knew I was going to have to venture there, at least dipping my toes in the virtual watercooler. [Hmmm, that's not a great visual, is it. LOL!]

So I had a friend sent me a guest invite, too impatient to wait for the official channels. [Yes, I may take a while making up my mind to do something but once made out!]

I had such great intentions. I would only use it to promote my blog and {future} books and maybe capture some inspiration for future works. Simple, right? Not so much... What started with 8 simple boards has multiplied into 26. Eeek!

Not using Pinterest yet? Wondering why a writer might want to? Here is the original article that convinced me as well as several other good ones.
If you are looking for boards to follow, after checking out mine - of course, try Indies Unlmited's Pinterest Pin-fest post.

Always, ALWAYS be aware of linking to the source, not making a copy for yourself and linking to that. Protecting copyright issues is a tough issue for Pinterest and we need to remember that at all times.

One last note, there is a new site that is planning on offering to turn your boards into posters or books. Check it out here for an early invite - they aren't live yet.

Oh, my favorite reason for growing my Pinterest boards and pins? Gaining followers who aren't just authors....which will hopefully translate into a future reading audience for me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On being a motorcyclist....

I'm not a "biker", I'm a motorcyclist or motorcycle enthusiast. I love riding and have been riding my own for ten years this Memorial Day. I thought I'd tell you a little about why I learned to ride.

My late husband and I married in 1985 when my youngest daughter was eight. We lived in several states, mostly career moves for my IT career; he had a home office for his telecommunications work.

We lived in a suburb of Atlanta when she headed off to college. We were both involved in high pay, high stress careers; his for a division of IBM and mine for BioLab, Inc. We were in our dream home but never had time to enjoy it.

My father died the year I turned 50 and when his house was sold we had a small inheritance. Coming back from his funeral we had discussed the fact that although we both talked about traveling the country by RV when we retired, we had done nothing towards that goal. The inheritance that summer gave us down payment of 30% on a used motorhome, a 1989 Allegro.

In December an opportunity arose for us to travel and work as fiber optic inspection contractors. The pay was excellent, we traveled with the various projects and we lowered our stress levels immensely. So, we quit our jobs, sold our home and headed out in the RV.

We did this for almost two years, buying a small cabin in north central Pennsylvania. The work on the backbone was almost complete, I was laid off and my husband was hired full-time by Volt Telecom as a project manager.

In 2001 we had our wake up call...he was diagnosed with head/neck cancer. Often called throat cancer, his had surgery and six weeks of radiation. For those so inclined you can read the full story here. I keep it up as a reference, at least once-twice a year I get a thank you from someone who it helped in some way. As a side note, his first day of radiation was 9/11/2001, which was also my son's 35th birthday and a day that will leave in our countrys memories forever.

When he was first diagnosed I told him, "It's a bike or a boat. You pick, but we're going to start enjoying life." He picked a motorcycle and it had to be a Harley. We traveled to Jamestown, NY and he bought a used 1998 HD Electra-Glide. We had some wonderful rides through the Pennsylvania countryside before we headed to Cincinnati for his six weeks of radiation.

During those six weeks he spent a lot of time convincing me that I needed to learn to ride my own motorcycle. I'd ridden on the back since I was a teenager and had never really thought about it. My sister-in-law in Florida rode and I had met a couple of other women riders there.

In December we traded in his bike and bought a new 2001 HD Sportster in White Pearl for me and a 2001 HD Softail Heritage Classic in a dark green for him. We then trailered them to Florida for the winter and left them at my youngest brothers. I still didn't know how to ride. In March we learned that he was being promoted to a GM position in Clearwater, FL. That meant year round riding! We both took the MSF course over Memorial Day weekend in West Palm Beach and my motorcycle riding journey began.

Six months later I traded up to a 2003 HD Low Rider, about 250# heavier but a much lower center of gravity and a bigger engine. I rode that for two years, including doing a charity ride for breast cancer which took me from Orlando to NYC, via Chicago in August 2003.

In the fall of 2003, he was diagnosed with a recurrence of his cancer on the non-surgical side. It was inoperable and terminal. In June of 2004 we took what would be his first, last and only long motorcycle trip to Thunder in the Valley, Johnstown PA from Florida.

By September of 2004 it was obvious that his time was limited. We moved from Florida to the small town of Sparta, TN where I would "retire". We also opted to sell my Low Rider and upgrade me to a 2005 HD Softail Deluxe from the local TN Harley dealer. He passed on November 30th.

As with all widows, the following months were a time of reflection and change. I needed to find - define the new "me". So I started planning to ride all 48 states. The trips started in March, five in all - the longest being 10 weeks in duration. I ended in October of 2005 having managed to ride through 42 states and over 27,000 miles solo.

My original plans were to come back from my trips and find a job, holding me over until age 60 when I qualified to start Social Security. But living in a small town with an increasing unemployment rate, jobs were scarce. In the end, with the urging of my youngest daughter, I decided to sell my house and go full-time RVing once again but this time I would be solo.

In the summer of 2007 I sold my house (to my UPS man and his wife), sold my Harley (to a good lady riding friend), bought a barely used 2006 BMW F650GS dual sport motorcycle, a used 1999 Tioga Class C and a small utility trailer for the bike. I hit the road in October and never looked back.

Fast forward through meeting my present husband, also a full-time RVer, motorcyclist and widower, two more Harleys for me, having sold the BMW in March of 2007 and buying a used car in Arizona, and three Harleys for him. Here are a few photos of his three bikes and my two. [click any photo for a larger version]

The last photo shows Stu's last, not present bike, and my present bike, all tucked away in the garage of our toy hauler.

So, in all I have owned and ridden six different bikes over about 80,000 miles so far. We still plan to ride the old Route 66 from Chicago IL to Santa Monica CA the fall of 2013. At that point I'll be age 66 riding Route 66. Pretty neat!

I suspect at some point I'll move to a trike and probably not a Harley. I'm thinking a Can-Am Spyder might be in order (easiest steering for bad shoulders).

Oh, one last fact. I do come from a riding family, even if I did start late in life. Both my grandmother and grandfather rode Harleys in the 1920's-30's - it was cheaper than a car. My father and both uncles rode bikes, either Harley or Indian. Currently both my brothers, both their wives, my son and his wife, my step-nephew and his son, several cousins and their sons as well as both of Stu's daughters, his step-son-in-law and his future son-in-law, plus a nephew-in-law and a niece and her hubby....all ride. Most are Harley-Davidsons but there are a few other brands as well.

Wondering who you are?

Thought I'd post a little poll to get a better idea of who my readers are....please feel free to expand in the comments. Thanks!

What is your PRIMARY book relationship? free polls 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lightning Flashed [flash fiction]

Lightning flashed, lighting the night sky for a brief moment. The searchers froze, wary of being seen. Wind rushed through the forest, rustling the leaves and masking their sounds. Led by their seer and The Chosen One, they continued forward, a silent choreography weaving through the forest.

The Mountain of the Sacred Cave rose up out of the mist now surrounding them. Soon they would recover the amulet stolen by The Evil Ones, regaining their honor and reclaiming their lands. Too long their clan had lived like mice, hiding in burrows, venturing out only for food.

To read the full story, please check out the Amazon e-book
"A Flash of Fantasy"
It's only 99 cents!

This is an entry in Cherie Reich's 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blog Hop, May 21-23. This year the theme is "Lightning flashed...".

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday Snippets - Sundry Somethings

Well, Sunday has rolled around again. I'm writing this post in advance because we should be busy moving the RV this weekend. We're not going far, from one family driveway to another. We'll get to spend two weeks with Stu's youngest grandbabies before moving to TN where we'll be attending CMA Music Fest. Okay, on with the sundry...
I discovered a great blog this past week that I want to share with you. It's called 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure. I suggest you read this post first, Getting Personal, then this one, The year that didn't suck. I was hooked and look forward not only to more blog posts but the upcoming book about their first year as nomads.

If you are a writer but have never tried your hand at flash fiction, you need to read this post by Meg McNulty. It might just change your mind.

Not a Twitter fan? Never signed up? Feel overloaded with Tweets? This article might help you Tweet Like a Pro.

Okay...humor time! Some of you may have already seen this on Facebook, but I just had to share. Hope it gives you a little giggle.

[Savage Chickens]