Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 Goals: July 31st UPDATE

Oh goody, an EXTRA DAY this month! I recently joined a blog hop to help me work on my yearly goals, at least my writing goals. So where am I on the goals I set initally? Let's take a look...

1) Book 3 & 4 of the Klondike Mystery series
Still no writing done, glad this is a one year goal. In January I had planned to get both books written in 2014. Well, not going to happen. My goal now is get book three done before year's end.

2) 7 Days of Seven: Short Story Snacks
Um, no  progress. I am targeting getting these done by the end of the year as well. Hey, gotta keep my goals realistic!

3) Monthly Newsletter
Second newsletter sent, have to pat myself on the back. Should be able to stay on track for this one.

4) NEW GOAL: Monday Motivation Posts
I started a new weekly feature, Monday Motivation Posts that seems to be going over well so I plan to keep this up.

July has passed quickly with our move, the death of THREE local expats (lots of legal issues being floated around, we have work to do here to be secure), and my move to the Mac from my PC. (Still a work in post to follow at some point.)

So, here's to a productive August for us all. We fly back to the US for two months in late August. I will be attending the Writer's Police Academy conference initially, then it's on to TN and our property. We'll spend about a week there, getting the RV in order before we head to MD/DE to see family and get our doctor appointments in order. Ciao!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Motivation Monday: Fear


  1. I'm afraid of spiders. 
  2. I'm afraid to make a fool of myself. 
  3. I'm afraid to travel where I can't read or speak the language.
  4. I'm afraid of trying new foods.
  5. I'm afraid of changing my routines.
But over time I have somewhat beaten all but number one. I no longer worry about what others think of me. I moved to Ecuador where I don't read and barely speak the Spanish language. Thanks to friends and cruises, I have tried many new foods. Okay, number five is still a work in progress - I am a bit OCD at times.

I never thought I could ski - at age 45 I paid $25 to participate in New York state's Ski it to Believe it program. I got a ski rental, a lift ticket and basic lesson. Before the day was out I had fallen up the hill, down the hill, on the hill - but found out I loved it!

At age 55 I took a Motorcycle Safety Foundations (MSF) approved riding course. Since then I have ridden 100,000 miles, over 30k of those alone. I have ridden in all 48 states. I turned age 66 while riding Route 66 with my husband, on my Harley-Davidson.

I got my first tattoo at age 54 and eventually got several more. I no longer think about what others might say, each and every one has personal meaning to me.

I still work to conquer fears, I often picture the worst (and plan for it) but hope for the best. I'm finding that living in a foreign country is helping me to fear less and live more!

Do you have fears that are holding you back personally or professionally?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Perfect Travel Accessory but Great for Home Use

We tend to travel with a lot of electronics: two Kindle e-readers, two cell phones, two iPads and often one if not two laptops. This means carrying a mass of cables and adapters/chargers, being careful of wattage requirements for the newer iPads (or other tablets, when we had Kindle Fires).

Over the years we have tried and tossed many different adapter/charger combinations, usually settling for a duplicate of what comes with our device pre-stashed in our toiletry bag. We even bought laptop bags that came with a battery and a host of charging plugs, handy but heavy.

While Stu was in the US, I ordered two of these SHARKK® 25W 5-Port USB Wall Plug Family-Sized Charger/Adapter from Amazon. As soon as he unpacked it, he put it to use. HUGE hit! He easily plugged in and charged his iPad Air, Kindle e-reader, iPod and Android phone. No muss, no fuss!

We can now travel with the one stashed in our luggage and the other works in our house. OR we can each put one with our travel stuff. Hmmm, thinking I may get two more when we are in the US this fall.

Oh, but you STILL have to remember to bring your cables! ;)

*for Apple iPad Air / iPad Mini / iPad mini Retina / iPhone 5 / 5S / 5C / All Apple Phones and Tablets / Android Smartphones & Tablets / Samsung Galaxy / Samsung Tab / Samsung Note / And other USB-Powered Devices

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivation Monday: Cancer

I'm getting old. My friends are getting old. My kids are growing older. Cancer surrounds and abounds me and I hate it. I have friends fighting for their life right now. I have family impacted. I have lost a spouse to it. Something is broken and there are few signs of our fixing it. A couple of resources:

Have you had cancer enter your life? How have you dealt with it? Do you have any recommendations for others?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hmmm, decisions, decisions

As most of you know, I have a new MacBook Pro. One thing I like to do is personalize things. On my HP Envy I had this sticker...please ignore the apple. LOL!

Now I want to choose one for the MacBook and am having a hard time deciding. I;m not going to tell you my favorites but would love some input, or even other choices. Thanks!

Do you like to personalize your computer, tablet or phone?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things: Survival

As part of my new initiative for my blog posts, I have joined VikLit's Celebrate the Small Things - something to post on Fridays.

I may post something about writing, something personal, something random or even all the above.

Or if I have a REALLY off week, I might just post a photo. ;)
  • Well, it's been two weeks since we moved and I SURVIVED! We got 85% of our unpacking done the first two days, then slowed down to a crawl. And crawl was what our poor, battered, aged bodies did for several days. LOL!

    We got DirecTV installed first, after several nights of no television and no Internet. We used our computers to play music and we went to bed VERY early. It took several visits to our Internet provider, Etapa, before we finally got our landline and then our Internet installed. Painless once you provided the correct paperwork, danced in a circle and then stood on your head - three separate days. Okay, so I'm exaggerating, but it does take patience to get through the red tape at times.

    No sooner had we gotten Internet then I was laid low with a nasty tummy bug on Friday night. Yesterday was the first day I ate much real food. I think it's finally gone. Pretty sure it was caused by some new medications I took recently, nothing I ate.

    We do love our apartment, our views, our neighborhood and now we are trying to learn the local bus routes. Still have a dining room table full of things that need to go on the walls, but that will happen. Sooner or later.
  • Hmmm, trying to think of a second small thing to celebrate. Oh yeah, after being sick I lost three pounds? LOL!
  • Lost another expat unexpectedly resulting in my writing this post: Internet Death: What Happens After You Die?
  • This week I will be moving to my new MacBook Pro so blogging will be limited once again. I hope to be back on schedule next month - just in time to head to the US for two months AND attend the AMAZING Writer's Police Academy!
Till next week...celebrate the small things!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Motivation Monday: Change

For many of us change is difficult, we eventually adjust but it may take a while (with an appropriate amount of whining at times). I remember a conference about change when I was working as a consultant. The speaker asked all of us to move our watches to the opposite hand. From time to time he'd ask us to look at our watches and we invariably looked at the original arm. By the end of the two hour session, about a third were looking at the new location.

I've faced a lot of changes in my life. Some small and inconsequential, some large and very significant. I'm still here and I'm still sane (well, I think I am). The more changes I encountered, the easier it seemed to be to face the next one. I learned to use the five year rule to decide if something was important - would this make a difference in my life five years from now, if not, let it go and adapt. If it would, then try to deal with it in a positive manner.

The older I get the easier and the harder it is to deal with change. I seem to deal with the big things much better than the little. Strange...

How well do you deal with change? Have you noticed any differences as you've matured?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Views from our new apartment....

We are moved, semi-settled, got DirecTV and phone line installed and hopefully Internet will come next Monday. Phew! We love our apartment and the views area amazing and ever changing. Till next week...

From our kitchen window, early morning clouds.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Internet Death: What Happens After You Die?

We don't like to think about it. We don't want to talk about it. But it's a fact of life. We arent' getting out of it alive.

So what happens to the digital trails we leave behind? Bank accounts, Credit card accounts, Email? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all other social media outlets? Blogs, websites, tumblr? Shutterfly, SmugMug, Flickr and Picasa photos? Game sites, dating sites, video sites, support groups - we all leave a HUGE digital fingerprint behind us.

Here are some links to help figure out what you might need to do in preparation for that fateful day - today, tomorrow or years from now, we never know when.

  1. How to Create an In-Case-of-Emergency Everything Document to Keep Your Loved Ones Informed if Worst Comes to Worst
  2. Cyberspace When You're Dead
  3. Your Digital Afterlife
  4. 3 Important Reasons to Plan & Organize Your Digital Afterlife
It's a good idea to save this infographic below from WebpageFX
Created by WebpageFX
We all need to take time to think this through, analyze our cyberspace life and plan for the future!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Motivation Monday: Positivity

We've all heard the saying, "No matter how bad it is, things always work out for the best." In many cases this is true, especially for those who strive to weather the bad times. Whether in your relationships at home, at work or with friends, look for the light ahead. It will be worth it.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things: Location, location, location

As part of my new initiative for my blog posts, I have joined VikLit's Celebrate the Small Things - something to post on Fridays.

I may post something about writing, something personal, something random or even all the above.

Or if I have a REALLY off week, I might just post a photo. ;)
  • We moved!
  • Today is Independence Day in the USA, strange to be here in Ecuador.
Since I don't know if we will have Internet yet, going to stop here. Will add more if we DO get it installed in time. Till next week...celebrate the small things!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

$5 To Help an Author in Need

Back in March I posted about a good author friend, Brandon Hale, who had been diagnosed with cancer. He has spent the last couple of months getting chemo in preparation for his surgery (or surgeries). It is currently thought his entire colon will be removed, in part to a hereditary condition as well as the cancer.

He is a key person in a private writing group on Facebook and a number of the authors there, myself included, decided to develop an anthology of stories in the genre Brandon specializes in: vampires, werewolves, paranormal and other oddities. The result is...


The Bitten is the latest anthology from the authors at Raptor Retreat Press, collected by Brandon Hale. 

Whether it's erotic, horrific or simply bloody, there is an intimacy between the predator and his or her prey, and once bitten, both are never the same again. These 28 tales encompass our most primal fears and fantasies. Stories that are amusing, poignant, sexy or acerbic, the reader, once tempted, will want to return again and again.

I realize this isn't everyone's cup of tea (and I really stretched to make my story fit) but it's only $5 and ALL proceeds go to Brandon directly. None of the authors, editors, cover artist or anyone affiliated with the creation of this book get a penny. All work was done voluntarily.

So, please buy a copy for yourself or gift a copy to someone you know that does like this genre. Oh, and if you buy it, please post a review AND remember to share this with your family and friends.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

#IWSG for July - Disappointment

Another month has passed and it's time for a new IWSG post. Once again so much has happened that it's all a blur, most of it personal stuff, not much writing related at all.

I have been very productive personally but not professionally so the theme for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group is DISSAPOINTMENT.

I really had planned to write a lot of the first draft of the next book in my Klondike Mystery series, "Almost a Touch", while hubby was in the US for the birth of his newest grandbaby. (Isn't she sweet?)

That didn't happen - for several reasons. First, we ordered new MacBook Pro's for him to bring back. That meant a concerted effort to clean up my current PC. I found client files from the mid 90's. Why? Because I never deleted any client information. Then it was on to duplicate files, especially photos. Thank goodness for the freeware, Duplicate Cleaner Free. It did a wonderful job but with over 40k duplicated files (many justified), it took several runs through to clean things up.

Then I spent time trying to locate adequate replacement software for the programs I use daily. While we've been told the native Mac apps are good, I knew there were some things I would need get replaced. For anyone interested, here is my list:
I think I have everything covered other than my old Image Composer software. It's been my go to program for all things graphic that Irfanview couldn't do. I will play with the native Mac apps to see if I need to look further.

Phew! Wiping my brow.... The other major impediment was the decision to look for a new apartment. We lucked into finding this one before our move to Ecuador and we rented it sight unseen other than having a couple of friends visit and take photos. The price was right, the location very safe and across from a beautiful river with a walking trail and very roomy at 2000sf.

The downside that has really started to bother us is the lack of any views (Cuenca is surrounded by the Andes Mountains) as well as no outdoor seating space. We were taking more and more walks along the river and when we'd get back we'd both lament the fact we couldn't sit outside and continue enjoying the weather. Since we were renting month to month, we started looking for an alternative.

Well, we found it. A bit over budget but offers amazing views, in a great location, easy walking distance to the other major river in town and a full rooftop terrace. You can see some photos in my recent blog post about moving.

So yes, I was productive, just not writing-wise. Oh, but I did get my first monthly newsletter out to 165 subscribers (of course only 77 opened it...LOL). And I have managed to write a flash fiction story every Saturday in the last month.

So it's my readers who are waiting for book three who are the most disappointed. Do you ever feel like you are disappointing your readers?