BabesinBookland

2 Blondes, 1 Redhead & a Reviewer

Got a peeve about the progress of technology and society?

Yes, yes yes!!!
My biggest peeve can be stacked on top of a huge pile. (and will cause an avalanche) The instant message, twitter, cells, and email give people power that their opinion matters and expressing it will bring change. Really? When we have people killing because of some internet comment? How about those tormented souls who are bullied into taking their own life? I hate that it’s so easy for assholes to express themselves and in as much as I like getting information fast, let’s be specific. Opinion is not information. It’s a personal view that’s colored with background, how they were raised, the list goes on.
I have a healthy level of cynicism but then again, I’m not married to my cell phone or internet. In fact, in a week I’ll be unreachable. I like that. Not every portion of your life needs to be shared and in a world of ‘Selfies’ and constant posting on FB, we see it all. Even the parts no one should see. And its there for the world forever.
I don’t text or FB constantly. I don’t have the cell on unless I’m in my car. And even then I forget it’s there. If you text me, I won’t answer. If you email me with something time sensitive, then its more likely to get by passed. I am not weeded to technology.
What truly ticks me off is the arguments under 20-soemthings want to have with the aged as if they know the world. Really? You want to argue about politics with people who actually participated in the Million Man march, or recall in real time the Kennedy assassination. Or a military service member who has walked into a live fire battle? You little self important moron. Who raised you not to respect experience? And that’s the truth of it. The internet has created a society of people who feel they truly are the brains of the world. Ya know what? Someone over 40 invented that little phone stuck to your ear and you allow to rule your life. I saw a man walk on the moon, the rest of you watch a video. And no, its not the same. Not by a long shot.
End of rant.

Amy, the old broad.

My favorite things….

I’m a loyal person. If you’re my friend, I’ll go to the matt for you.  It’s just who I am.  That said. I’m loyal to certain products.  Mr. Clean for one.  I think I’ve had a fantasy about a bald guy with an earring.  A pirate, in my then, young eyes.  So this is my top five product, movie and gadget loyalties

Cleaning…

Mr Clean.  Lysol (old school here, nothing works better on bacteria) including the blue toilet bowl cleaner. It gets out hard water stains.  End dust; Cleans and shines with less elbow grease.   OxyClean or dishwasher detergent, I can get any stain out with that stuff.

Personal grooming products.  L’Oreal color is the tops and I’ve tried all on the public market.  All.  I won’t mention the professional stuff, since you cannot buy it without a license, but know there is a difference.  It’s why you pay more to have it done in a salon.  Add to this list Bare Essentuals make up.  It feels like nothing on your face and in the deep south, ten minutes on a hot day and it’s a total waste of makeup except for BE.  Hempz body lotion. Yes, its made from cannabis, an untapped resource, imo.  It’s the bomb for moisturizing. I can feel the lotion still working when I’m in the shower!  I’ll be trying the shampoo and conditioner this week.  The last two are Nectafirm.  It’s a dermatologist product and I wish it came in gallons.  It firms and smoothes the neck better than anything I’ve tried.  City Lips. It’s a lip plumping and it works, but bet prepared for the price tag.  $35 in some places.

Gadgets: my Electronic cigarettes.  I haven’t quit completely but I have cut down to about 5 cigs a day. I had quit. Actually I’ve quit four times, but don’t let anyone tell you the E cig will help you quit smoking. It won’t.  I could go right back in a heart beat and its only will power that keeps me on the electronic and breathing easier.  My advice, try a disposable for a couple weeks to see if you like it.  Then, get some cartridges and refill with the liquid.  it won’t be economical without refills.  the market is raising the prices.

My new Hamilton Beech Scoop coffee maker.  It makes super hot coffee in ninety seconds.  Can’t beat that.  No K cups, no stagnant water in a tank and cleans up easily.   I’m a coffee snob, so it’s the best for me.  I’m not into making more trash just for a cup of Joe.

My washer.  I know I know, a stupid choice but I have a large capacity Kenmore and if you need to beat clothes clean like my husbands, this is the machine.  It has three agitators.  One tip; I bought the display model that had a dent in the side for $400 less than its sale price.

Google Nexus.  I received on for Christmas when I could not get a book I wanted to read in print.  That just angered me too much and Bob gave me the Nexus. It’s fun to play on but for anything more, not so much.  Reading a digital book is the same as reading a print one, the pages clear and turn with a swipe.

Soda Stream. Yes, that one.  It’s great. Every flavor you can imagine and it works well.  We no longer have bags of cans for recycle and that you can make any flavor is just fun. They have a diet Orange like Crush but all the SS diets sodas are made with Splenda.  A huge plus too me.  I can’t have aspartame.  It makes my joints hurt.  My son Zack just likes the fizzy so he has a blast.  They also have a pink grapefruit that tastes like Fresca.

When it comes to favorite top movies, I had to think about this.  What movie will you watched repeatedly?  For me it’s The Goonies, Dead Again, Kingdom of Heaven, Practical Magic and just about anything Supernatural.  I was a Stephen King fan in my younger years so I think his work instilled that love of the weird and strange for eternity. Thanks Stephen.

Got a top five?

AMY

Bathing suits and hats. Yup, you heard it here.

Instead of working, or marketing, or writing, I spent the day with my close friend, who is visiting for a few days from North Carolina.  We started the morning with coffee (me) and tea (Sheryl) – then later we went to lunch at Ocean 101 off of Commercial in Lauderdale by the Sea.  We talked and gabbed and caught up all while People Watching of the kind that can only be done in a small beach town. Sunburned noses, tired parents allowing kids to go ahead an play in the street, older couples strolling down the sidewalk, hand in arthritic hand.  Idyllic. Quaint. But wait – here come’s a guy in too-short swim trunks in a hat and boots. Why not? And a girl in a hot pink bikini with a baseball cap and a sweatshirt to stave off the chill from the 86 degree weather. The man with the beer overhang, hairy chest and gold chains sporting a bandana – we’ve all seen him before, in jeans with a plumber’s crack. Only now he’s on vacation with the fam 🙂

After lunch, Sheryl and I walked through the shops – maybe she was picking up on the Hat Vibe, ’cause this one called to her as if they peanut butter and jelly.

sheryl hat

Isn’t she cute??

After that, we raced home before the rain and now we are enjoying a glass of Twisted Sisters At The Beach – a North Carolina wine she brought for us to share, along with The Biltmore, another yummy Carolina zin.

I hope you all are having a terrific Wednesday – cheers!

twisted sisters at the beach wine

The Power of Words…

When I first learned this I was about 13, in the back of the family station wagon and under a blanket reading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.  I would have been in huge trouble for that, not for reading, but the subject matter.  It wasn’t the book a sheltered Catholic girl should be reading, however, it scared the crap out of me.  Really scared; so much that I had to stop, tuck it away and think of something else.  Quickly.  That’s when I realized that the author’s words were so powerful they terrified me.  I didn’t know if I could finish it.   I asked myself, “It’s a book. I’m scared of a book?”  As it is now, I understand that the way it’s written on the page, (i.e. printed) that had me breathing hard, sweating a little and thinking ‘ Oh please let good win over evil.”

It was my first King novel and wasn’t my last.  Some I couldn’t read they scared me so much.  I consider that a mark of excellence.  If the author can bring me to a tense state, then yes, they know the power of their words.  When I began writing, I remembered that childhood moment and it made me want to learn how to recreate that too.

My mom is a huge mystery fan and panics when there aren’t at least four unread books in the house.  I’m not that bad, but then again, I write them so there is a happy medium in there somewhere.  I have varied taste.  It depends on my mood, my current interest.   Last year I read almost all of the PJ Parrish books.  I love comedy and adore my pal Rhonda’s Finley Anderson Tanner series.  If I want a thriller, its Preston and Child, and if I want to read a historical, I immediately go for Connie Brockway, Jillian Hunter or Teresa Medeiros.  They have never failed me.  Oh, and neither has Stephen King.

So, readers… anyone give you that reading jolt?

Amy

Random Thoughts

3 20 13 004So, today’s blog post is a random collection of trivial things that make up a day in MY life. Author, barista, entrepreneur…
Ready?
3:55 a.m. Alarm goes off. I slide reluctantly out of bed. Rain pounds against the window, and BED is much cozier than racing around getting clothes on.
4:10 a.m. Dressed, hair slicked back in a pony tail, Shove feet into shoes – realize there’s a glob of dried whipped cream on the end of the shoe lace. Gross, but no time to chisel it off. Tie shoe.
4:15 a.m. Rush dogs outside into pouring rain, which they H A T E. Drag dogs, who suddenly have no power to walk on their own, to a semi dry spot and tell them to pee. They look at me like I’m the Anti Christ. Pee.
4:22 a.m. Two minutes late due to reluctant pets. Feed them treats and head out the door, apron, sharpie, hat and – whew – keys. Immediately lose hat in the wind, hat is now wet as I climb in the van and start the car.
4:29 a.m. Get to work just as the manager does – we run inside the frigid store, made all the more cold because we are soaked from the dash from our cars.
6:30 a.m. Finally grabbing a KIND bar and coffee on break. Pastry case takes an hour and a half to set up with the new system – doesn’t matter how fast I try to be. Coffee’s caught up. Glad that it wasn’t me who flooded the back room…
9:00 a.m. Rush home, still freaking pouring, to let the dogs out. I have to catch the bridge across the intercoastal just right, or I’m late. I have five minutes coming and going allowed for error – no more. Pippa’s terrified. She hates storms, but she can’t hold her bladder forever and she growls at me as I force her outside. Scary little Pomeranian teeth. Benny coughs. I know he’s a Chihuahua, but my friend Kathy insists he’s a little Jewish old man inside the Taco Bell outfit. I tell him that I refuse to buy Campbell’s Chicken Noodle, but know that if he’s still coughing later, I just might.
9:30 – Back to work, wiping peanut butter toast from my lips as I run inside. Made the bridge – all is well. CRAZY busy day. Something about dreary weather makes people think they need freaking frappucinos. Yeah, go figure. Temperature drop – let’s have a frozen five thousand calorie drink.
1:00 p.m. Work’s done. I drop my friend off at home so he doesn’t have to ride his bike in the rain, then put gas in the tank and get home in time to let the dogs out between rain showers. Change out of coffee scented work clothes – my closet smells like an espresso scratch and sniff. Kick off shoes, hoping the chunks have fallen off but not willing to take the time away from my new business, SMMNow!
1:45 p.m. Computer up, docs up, scanning email – don’t dare check Facebook. Something about it sucks an hour or two from my day. Okay – I’m nosy and I want to catch up with friends, if the truth be told….lol
4:00 p.m. Dogs want out AGAIN – good heavens, why do I feed these needy creatures?? Come back, allow myself a peek at Facebook.
6:00 p.m. Time warped into the future within the blink of an eye. Realize that it’s time for a glass of wine and the dogs’ dinner. They’ve been whining pathetically by their bowls as if they’ve never eaten before. Phone rings. Mom/Sheryl/Piks/Destini/Brighton/Patrice calls and I take a relieved break. Apple, cheese slice, pasta – something quick and easy to feed the machine then back to work.
8:00 p.m. Eyes are drooping. Computer and just plain old fatigue hit. I try to read, or do a last browse through Facebook to catch up on my own marketing or promo. Answer editor/agent/publicist/fan mail
9:00 p.m. Shower – set out clothes for the next morning to do it all over again.
10:00 p.m. Bed. Toss, turn. Worry about things outside my control.
3:55 a.m. Repeat 🙂

That’s my day – wanna share yours?

When you need to recharge…

Recharging, gathering your wits and aligning them in a row so you are productive, is different for everyone.  I think it has to do with how you were raised, or rather, how you saw others around you.  I, for one, cannot relax in my own house for the simple reason that I’m never bored.  Therefore I never at a loss for something to do, or needs to be done.  I can always find something that needs to be done.

Like my mother, the apron is ON all the time.

Given that, I leave to really recharge.  This year, I’ll be going to a sunny Florida beach for a family reunion. It will be fun in the sun and lots of take out.  The one rule, God love my mother for this—is that there is no big cooking.  So it’s a week intended to completely relax.  The toughest thing I do is maybe wash a load of beach towels and rinse sand off chairs and shoes.

I can’t always take a week off, but up until a few years ago, I took off for Romance Writers of America to spend time behaving like a real writer at a conference but truly, I was there to see my peeps.  Oddly, that one week for me alone at RWA costs about the same as a week in Florida on the beach, food and sundries included for my family.  When I need a short term recharge, I spend a couple hours in our pool or my never fail safe guard–a good book.

Have a great Memorial weekend everyone!

ooh-rahh!

Amy

Recharging the batteries

Zen - easter 2013 052I’ve spent a lot of time these past few months figuring out who I am, what I want, and how to get there. I’ve dug deep beyond the surface and trudged through the murky depths of what makes me tick. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve railed at Fate – and I’ve had my toes in the sand. The ocean is a huge balm to my soul. The crash of the waves, the endless back and of forth of the water, the smell of salt, the breeze, the pelicans and fish and dolphins and the people watching -all of this gives me energy, feeds my heart and allows me to focus on the good in life.
Whether I’m walking along the water’s edge or sitting with a friend, the ocean brings me peace. Where do you go?

The book that inspired…

Oh let’s jump on the Way Back Machine with Sherman and Peabody.   

Too dated? 

My career started pre-internet, so I don’t think I’m that off track.

I was a licensed Cosmetologist for 13 years.  Writing was out of left field for me.  I’d never written a word unless forced.  I was the mother of a 3 year-old and a newborn and Id organized myself into complete boredom when I’d picked up my first romance novel.  I read hundreds but with one novel, I was on page five or six and kept asking myself, ‘when is the description of a show boat going to end and the story going to start?’  That I even asked that question generated more and I believed I could do better.   Ha.

I still consider it arrogant of me to believe I could pick up a pen and be good enough to be published.  But then, I never considered being published at all.  That’s not why I write.  At that time in my life, my idea of a writer was scratching out on parchment by candle light in some cold dark apartment.  money was never a factor.  I just wanted to learn and studied extensively any how-to book I could find.  We were living in Okinawa Japan then and I wrote for any magazine, newspaper and TV guide who’d accept my work.  A few of those sales paid for the manuscript shipping cost to the US. 

It took me three years to write that first book.  It was rejected six times and rightly so.  It was so loaded with everything I loved about romance novels and vastly over written.  But it taught me how to write.  Believe it or not, a couple rejections were encouraging.  I was already onto the next story, and wrote My Timeswept Heart, a historical time travel about a Sgt Maj.’s daughter who travels back in time to end up with the Continental Marines of the Frigate Navy.  I should add that my fellow writers in the Okinawa Writers Guild thought I should forget a time travel and write a straight historical romance.  They insisted that a publisher would not buy a paranormal book from an unpublished writer. 

Needless to say, I didn’t listen to that piece of advice.

 Amy

Books that inspired…

Patrick Dennis wrote Auntie Mame back in the fifties, I think, and I found the book as a teen at a garage sale. Original price for this puppy was 50 cents, and I think I got it for less. I adored it – the copy is now tattered and rubber banded together. What’s great about this? It took me away to another world with tons of laughter. As a teen in the 80’s I had no idea what life might be like in the fifties, but Auntie Mame was vivid in my mind. Whenver I need a pick me up, it’s a toss between that book and an Erma Bombeck. So far as fantasy goes, I inhaled A Wrinkle in Time and C.S. Lewis. I read everything I could get my hands on – from fables to nursery rhymes to my mother’s purloined library books. I remember one time I was twelve and home sick with a cold and I read a book of hers while she was at work. About the plague. By the time she came home I was sure I was dying, lolol

Books have always been a means of escape, another reality – and if the story grabs me I’m game for the ride no matter what the genre. And like Babe Rhonda, I am a HUGE fan of Gone With The Wind . Who do you LOVE?

Today only, PEONY, Book 2 in the Queen’s Guard series

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-queens-guard-peony/id643048164?mt=11

http://www.amazon.com/The-Queens-Guard-Series-ebook/dp/B00C0JD0QK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1368626803&sr=8-2&keywords=the+queens+guard

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-queens-guard-traci-e-hall/1115230608?ean=9781605426570

Reading for inspiration . . .

 

rhonda

So what book inspired me to become a writer?  Gone With the Wind.  Yes, I know it’s a tome but when I read it I was transported into another time.  It was the first time that happened to me.  I think I was about 14 when I first read the book and I’ve probably re-read it a dozen times since then.  Everything was so vivid.  The setting, the characters, all of it.  If you’ve only seen the movie, then you need to read the book.  There are many, many differences from what made it to the big screen.

 

Scarlett is actually more selfish in the book, but at the same time, more complex.  In spite of her flaws, you find yourself rooting for her as the story unfolds.  And the backdrop of the Civil War really comes to life.  Especially when the characters confront the aftermath of the war.  Melanie isn’t as sympathetic as she is in the movie.  But Rhett is as hot as ever.  The sexual tension between Rhett and Scarlett is palpable.  Ashley comes off as the same wuss he is in the movie.  This IMHO is the only flaw in the book.  What does Scarlett want the weenie for when she can have Rhett?

 

The pacing of the story is what makes it such a great blueprint for a novel.  Give it a try.

 

There have been other books that I consider special.  Sydney Sheldon’s Master of the Game comes to mind.  For those of you who haven’t read it, the book is a multi-generational saga that starts in the diamond fields of South Africa and eventually ends up in New York several generations later.  It’s a sweeping tale with a large cast of characters who are perfectly delineated.  It’s the characters who make this story.  The plot is a bit contrived but you read on to find out what new strife befalls the characters.  It has wealth, intrigue and character conflict galore.

 

A great study in crafting characters.  Check it out.

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