Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lost in the 50s Tonight

Boombox clip artI was chatting the other day via email with a new friend. I mentioned that the great weather this past weekend brought to mind the song, Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer. I didn't remember who sang it but the tune was stuck in my head. He wrote back that it was Nat King Cole who happened to be one of my mother's favorite singers.

That got me to thinking about growing up in the 50's and being exposed to my parent's music - not necessarily what we were forced to listen to in the back seat of the car (groan), but those delicious slices of Americana from that era.

Our record player resided in our combination den, sewing room, reading room and downstairs sick room (all three kids slept upstairs). Since I was the oldest of three and the only girl, I often lost myself in reading and music and the den was my favorite indoors spot (outdoors was high up in a pine tree in the woods across the street).

A couple of songs stick in my mind to this day:
  • Doris Day and Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
  • Tex Ritter and The Red Deck of Cards
  • Patti Page and (How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford and Sixteen Tons
  • Gale Storm and Ivory Tower
  • Gogi Grant and The Wayward Wind
A special favorite of mine was The Old Philosopher by Eddie Lawrence. I'd play it over and over and over. Anyone who has ever heard that song will never forget it.
Hiya folks.
Ya say ya lost your job today?
Ya say its 4 A.M. and your kids ain't home from school yet?
Ya say your wife went out for a corned
beef sandwich last weekend - the corned beef sandwich came back but she didnt?
Ya say your furniture is out all over the sidewalk cause ya cant pay the rent and ya got chapped lips and paper cuts and your feets all
swollen up and blistered from pounding the pavement looking for work?
Is that whats troubling ya fellow?


Well lift your head up high and take a walk in the sun with dignity and stick-to-it-ness and ya show the world, ya show the world where to get off.
You'll never give up, never give up, never give up...that ship!

Ah yes, lost in the fifties tonight - your turn!

Top Ten Songs of 1950-1969

Friday, May 29, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: May 29, 2015

Well, it's Friday and time to write my post for Lexa Cain's Celebrate the Small Things.

As in the past, 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 or two. ;)

Sorry I missed last Friday, but I was fighting a cold that my lovely husband forwarded to me. I lost the battle over the weekend but started to see some improvements by Tuesday.

So what are my small celebrations? Well, being sick gave me the impetus to do some reading. I read four books in the Gotcha Detective Series by Jamie Lee Scott, a friend I met at the Writer's Police Academy last June.

That gave me the push to do a little note making for my Lia Rules series as well as some research for her location and other background for her.

I am getting excited about writing the first book in a new cozy mystery series. Born Aurelia Ruhls, orphaned at age 3, she left the foster system at age 16 and changed her name to Lia Rules.
Street smart, she has "fallen" into a career as a Private Investigator/Bounty Hunter. Her flaming red hair, black Ninja 250 motorcycle, black jeans and thigh high boots make her a highly recognizable personality in the PI world.
I started a fun little game on my Facebook page: Author True or False. Anyone can play and when the questions are done, the person with the most correct guesses will get a gift. (...and tell your friends)

Still sticking with Spanish classes, although I did miss Monday due to being sick. Yoga has slipped to the back burner...will tackle that next week.

Today I am off an an all day tour with thirty or so friends. We are touring four cities around Cuenca (Ecuador). Here is the spiel:
  • Gualaceo: slightly lower and much warmer city than Cuenca, famous for its textile weavers and the Orchid Farm. 
  • Chordeleg: peaceful, tidy town, famous for its massive selection of handmade filigree jewelry. 
  • Sigsig: for fine Panama Hats. 
  • San Bartolome: village specializing in artisan guitars.
Till next week...

May 29th: 2015 Big Dreams, Big Goals Update

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know I seriously fell down on keeping up with my 2014 goals. I love participating in the goal tracking though, so thought I should set up a few new ones for 2015 (or at least modify the existing ones). So here goes....
  1. Write books 3 & 4 in my Klondike Mystery series.
    Well, this is on hold even though this was my main goal for 2015. Why? Read #2....
    Progress: none

  2. Write at least one novel/novella in the new A Set of Rules Mystery Series
    This new character has been talking to me for almost six months. My thought is to have shorter stories rather than full length novels. These should be a fun, quirky read!
    Progress: Started my Scrivener project, got photos for several characters, doing background research, hope to put pen to paper next week!!!
  3. Continue with the monthly newsletter
    Now that I'm slowly building up my subscriber list, I need to keep this on time and interesting.
    Progress: May done! (Have been told that having almost 300 subscribers with almost 100 that open it is a good ratio.)
  4. Continue my Monday Motivation posts
    Folks seem to enjoy these and I enjoy writing them, so I will continue!
    Progress: I haven't missed posting one yet, still trying to use more of my own photos for this.
May has seen me catch up on blogging (personal and professional), change the type of posts I'm blogging here, and get more serious about my next novel. It's been a busy month with new folks moving here to Cuenca, Ecuador (lots of meet 'n greets) as well as our starting Spanish classes. June will be busy, too, but I'm hoping with the number of blog posts scheduled ahead, I can find a bit more time to write fiction.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Why is it???

Frog With A Question clip art

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
Guys never turn on the windshield wipers until they haven't been able to see anything for at least 15 minutes?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
If people even bother to turn on their directionals they either turn them on after they have started turning or 1/2 mile before they need to turn?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
Guys seem to prefer backing into a parking spot? Is it due to the fight or flight response and the need for a quick getaway?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
Some people insist on stopping everyone behind them when they are in the wrong lane, waiting to get into the next lane over? Why not just go around the block?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
The easier they try to make computers for others, the harder it is for me?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
We used to stop for yellow lights and now we plow through on red?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
The phone company can tell me I need or don't need to dial a one to reach a number but they can't just ADD or SUBTRACT that one and complete the darned call?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
The best tasting foods have the most calories or are the worst for your health?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
Some folks think they need to be the speed limit guardians by driving at or below the speed limit in the far left lane?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
Babies are so cute with little or no hair or teeth?

Question Mark clip art Why is it that.....
I have to change toilet paper direction on the holder when it unrolls from the wrong direction????

Just a little food for thought today....add your "Why is it?" in the comments!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Motivation Monday: The Right Way

photo copyright DB McNicol
I had saved this quote, liking the simplicity of it. But also because of the truth behind it. Many times we do take the easy way, not the right way. I hope you will think of this quote next time you have to make that kind of decision. I know I will.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Technical edge? What technical edge?

Cartoon Sick Face clip artI'm not sure when it happened. I used to be an early adopter. As soon as I read about a new gadget, I just had to have it. New software, new computers, new peripherals, new whatever. I reveled in the knowledge that I was "out there", staying on the technological edge.

I worked with computers back when they took up a whole room and no one had heard of a personal computer. I was in the field when few women were interested. Quick to adopt the "new", I learned to adapt quickly. I laughed at jokes about flashing numbers on video recorders. I snickered at those who sneered that they would never use an answering machine. I smiled when listening to gripes about how difficult it was to use their new device. I was the queen, I ruled.

Then one day I realized that I was losing the edge. Commercials left me wondering what they were selling. Why was that person wearing headphones and dancing? My Palm Pilot languished in a drawer while I noted events in my paper pocket calendar. GPS and geocaching were foreign terms. Why in the world would someone want satellite radio?

Determined to get my edge back, I started out with an MP3 player. Very proud that I got one with removable memory so I could store more songs, I brought it home and opened the package. I had no idea what to do next. Several readings of the documentation, I figured it out. Phew!

From there I moved to installing my own wireless network. Piece of cake...I'd worked in the computer industry for years. Yeah, right! After spending an hour on the phone with a 19 y/o son of a friend of a friend, it was up and running.

The purchases continued as did the confusion. New DVD players/recorders, GPS devices, satellite radio, programmable kitchen appliances....I read the instructions. I muddled my way through...sometimes it was like reading Greek. But in most cases I managed to get things set up.....finally.

Then it came time to change something....or the power flickered and I need to reset my options....or the government changed daylight savings time. And once again I realized that I can't make the change without digging out the instructions and starting all over again. Wondering if I will ever find the instructions for the neat atomic alarm clock and be able to finally set the alarms!

When planning my move to Ecuador, it was time to learn about media streaming, Roku boxes, Magic Jack, Ooma boxes, VPN services - I quickly assigned that task to my husband.

I've become one of those I used to smile at and snicker about.....I'm now technologically challenged and use my son and grandkids for help. Sigh....

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

VisDare 97: Almost

Today I'm writing a little flash fiction for Angela Goff's Visual Dare challenge.
I hope you enjoy!
photo source
"Stop, stop," Kevin yelled uselessly towards the car hurtling down the dusty lane in front of him.  He kept running as it continued, stopping only when it was out of sight. He squatted in the middle of the road and inhaled deeply, trying to catch his breath. "I almost had it." He stared at the empty road in front of him. "Almost."

With no help in sight, he moved over to the shade. "I'm an idiot! Almost doesn't count. Well, except like dad said, in horseshoes and hand grenades."

He laid back, his hands behind his head, reflecting on his day. He'd been late for class, had a fight with his girlfriend, lost his favorite pair of sunglasses. Not a good day at all.

Staring overhead, he watched the clouds move in and then felt the drops of rain on his face.

"Dammit, why didn't I set that emergency brake!"

Monday, May 18, 2015

Motivation Monday: Life

I grew up in the 1950s and early 60's, and yes, things were simpler then. I grew up with 3 channels on the television and it went off the air at night and came on in the morning.

Unless it was raining, we were outside playing until called for dinner or it got dark. We walked to stores alone, we walked to school alone, we played in the dirt, we explored and learned. We made forts and castles out of big boxes or a card table covered with a sheet. We used our imagination to color our life.

Moving to Ecuador in 2013, we found a similar life. Children are allowed to be children. Things will get done, maybe not immediately, but eventually. No stress in our life here.

Life since the 50s has grown at a rapid pace and I realize we can't slow it down in many ways. But we can take time to sit quietly, preferably outside where we can view nature. Relax, listen to the sounds, observe the trees and other things around you. It's worth it!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: May 15, 2015

Well, it's Friday and time to write my post for Lexa Cain's Celebrate the Small Things.

As in the past, 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 or two. ;)

Where did the week go? Eeeek....I think all I have done is socialize so I'll share some of my personal blog posts. Enjoy!

Oh, and I started back in Spanish classes this week. Mon and Thu for 1.5 hrs, so far it's been really good (and fun).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Small Town Living & the Gathering Spot

Every small town has one...the place where long-time residents gather to share their news, gossip about others' news, solve the world's problems and just generally stay updated. One of the spots in my small town is McDonald's. I discovered this after the death of my husband. I started going out for a morning coffee, just to get out of the house. I'd take along a book and sit for an hour or two, reading and sipping my coffee.

This gave me time to watch the interaction between the locals and eventually get to know many of them. The farmers who have retired and discuss local haying that needs to be done. The young mothers with small children in tow, meeting grandparents....or just as often the grandparents with young children in tow, baby-sitting for the day. The high school age kids catching a quick breakfast on the way to school or, in the summer, grabbing a bite with friends. Local law enforcement, business owners, realtors, social workers, local politicians....visiting with friends, neighbors and co-workers.

The conversation flows around me, I catch it in snatches. Sometimes our eyes meet, we nod our heads and exchange a smile. On occasion that moves into our own conversation, sometimes a new friendship starts.

"Was that Mary's boy in the crash over by the bridge last night?" "No, it was Bill & Sara's boy." "The young one?" "No, the older one. You know...the one who's always in trouble".

"Did you see what they done to that house on the corner?" "You mean the Johnson's?" "No, the old Miller house." "I thought they tore that down..." "Nope, ya gotta go by there and see it."

"How's your mom doing?" "Better, she still misses Dad but her ladies church group is keeping her busy. Don't know what she'd do without them."

"Did you hear that old Joe died this weekend?" or "I heard Sylvie's getting worse, they don't know how long she has." or "Mary Jo's boy had a baby last week."

Over the last two years I have come to know many of these folks, not usually by name but by face. We exchange pleasantries, I get teased about reading so much, we smile and know that we are not alone in the world.

A few years have passed, the people have come and gone and that includes me. When I'm back in my small town I drop in from time to time. The staff is still friendly and welcoming and the conversation continues to ebb and flow....

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What day is it?I

Donna asks, what day is it?I semi-retired in 1997, moving from my high-tech, high-pay, high-stress job to being a fiber optic construction inspector. My late husband did the same and we sold our dream home in Atlanta, realizing all we were doing was working for the house. We bought a used motorhome and changed jobs.

After two years of doing that, the work was drying up and I took time off, working on writing web content as well as dabbling in a little fiction writing. When he was diagnosed with cancer, everything changed. After undergoing surgery and radiation, he took a promotion to a job in Florida. I worked temporarily in the office for a short time, but for all intents and purposes, I was retired.

So I've been retired since 2003, something I never really thought I would enjoy. I was a workaholic and loved working. I started a side business in 1995 and never looked back. Fast forward to 2007...I sold almost everything I owned and became a full-time RVer.

I still was on the computer every day. I still wore a watch. I still knew what day it was, usually because of watching TV shows on certain nights. In July of 2008, I met my now husband, also a full-time RVer, widowed and a motorcyclist. (Yes, the handwriting was on the wall.) We did a lot of travel over the next five years but we still had our nightly TV to keep us on track.

In 2013 we moved to Cuenca, Ecuador and things changed. No longer watching our favorite TV series live, no longer following local news (from the US), no longer find our days dictated by our surroundings.

We get up in the morning, look at our calendar and see what we might have scheduled for the day. Many days are blank and depending on the weather, we might stay in or take the bus into El Centro (our downtown). We often look at each other and ask, "What day is it?"

Retirement is good! And even if we don't know what day it is, we find ourselves busier than ever. Thus my problem finding dedicated time to write. ;)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Motivation Monday: Self-Doubt

When I was learning to ride a motorcycle, at age 55, I often felt like I was not making any progress. But when I took time to look at what I had written 3 months, 6 months or a year earlier, it helped me put things in perspective.

If you are feeling doubts about yourself, think back to 6 months, a year, five years ago. You might be amazed at how far you really have come!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: May 8, 2015

Well, it's Friday and time to write my post for Lexa Cain's Celebrate the Small Things.

As in the past, 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 or two. ;)

It's been a busy month and I've had to skip a couple of my posts but hopefully May will find me back on track. So my small things to celebrate this week:
  • A fantasy short story I wrote was published in an anthology, all proceeds benefiting an author friend who is fighting cancer. Hey, it's only .99, why not give it a try! Flights of Fantasy
  • Today I am meeting with a local Ecuadorian fellow who does graphic design. We have bought a couple of pillows from him. I'm hoping he will allow me to use some of his designs for book covers. They would go on the middle school series, 7 of Seven, that I'm working on. Keeping my fingers crossed, he is a very talented and hard working youngster.

    Here are some samples of designs he has on pillows and puzzles.

    I love his flare for design and am hopefuly we can work something out.

  • My writing group, Writing Our World (in Cuenca), is still going strong. We have over 30 members and most meetings have 10-15 attend. We have romance, mystery, science fiction, memoirs, children's, poetry and non-fiction all represented as well as several editors. Everyone enjoys the networking and about half the attendees stay for the hour+ of quiet writing time.
So that's it in a nutshell. I hope you have some small things to celebrate!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

#IWSG for May: Decisions

Once again, it's time for my monthly IWSG post. February was a short month so March truly arrived early. Then April was taken over with the April A to Z Challenge. Now it's suddenly May!

The theme for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group is DECISIONS. Making decisions on writing, balancing time to write with spending time enjoying my new life, what to do - what to do?!?

If you've followed by blog for any length of time, other than just joining me for the April A to Z Challenge, you know that this past two years have been tough for me when it comes to writing. I don't need to go into details, suffice it to say, balance has been an issue.

Even though I promote my books on various outlets, sales have continued to slump with May starting out on a very low note. I normally sell one or two books on the first day of the month and continue with an average of one per day. This month, I sold nothing until the 4th...and that one book is all.

I know many are waiting for book three in my mystery series but I am finding it harder and harder to motivate myself to write it. The story is there, waiting to be told. It's just me.... Since I am retired, writing has always been for the enjoyment, both for me and my readers. This hump has me stumped....

What do you do when you're in a slump? Have you ever considered quitting writing and just sitting back to enjoy life?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Motivation Monday: Change

You know the definition of insanity, right? According to Albert Einstein's quote it's "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." So when you can no longer make a difference in the situation, maybe it's time to try to make a change in ourselves and how we are reacting to the situation.

Friday, May 1, 2015

All done with the April A to Z Challenge

I made it, completed the 2015 April A to Z Challenge. I really enjoyed it this year, spur of the moment sign-up and just went with the flow in what I posted. From A - Almost to Z - zzzzzzzz, it's done.

I think this may be a turning point in my blog. I've struggled with what to post here. My first year I posted every day, had great readership but my audience was primarily other writers.

I decided to move to a WordPress blog, tried that for several months and moved back to Blogger. Now I wish I had done double posts because I lost a lot of readers during the two changes.

Since then I have not posted regularly and have tried to post more personal things. I do post about my books and other writing, especially when there is a sale.

So I think my postings are going to continue on an even more personal basis. Little ramblings about various things as they pop into my head. Having a BFF (or not), childhood memories, food binges...that sort of thing. I will continue my Motivation Monday posts, I enjoy doing them and you folks seem to enjoy reading them.

So, if you have a topic you'd like to see discussed (writing related or not) or have a personal question you'd like me to answer, just drop in a comment or send me a message.