Sunday, August 25, 2013

Palm Reading

My family entered our 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible in a car show earlier this month. Besides the car show going on at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon, there was also a flea market.

After we got the car registered and parked, and our lawn chairs set up, we wandered through the flea market. I had my camera strapped around my neck, as I so often do. And when an attractive, 30-something man asked me a question, I thought he'd said, "Can I see your camera?"

"What?" I asked back.

"Can I see your palm?"

"Oh. Uh, okay." I flipped my right hand over and he held it and began doing a reading.

It was unexpected, but interesting.

I have had my palm read exactly one other time. That was last November at the book launch party for my romantic suspense novel, "Mist." My friend, Susan posed as a fortuneteller (there is a fortuneteller in my book) and read palms. Susan is not actually a palm reader, although she did read up on the subject and she dressed the part.

So, while this male fortuneteller was running a finger along the lines on my palm and telling me the sort of person I am - very good communicator, kind, caring to the point of sometimes caring more for others than for self - I was comparing what he said to what Susan had "read." Her reading was more about the amazing success I would have in the future.

My husband and sons were hanging out as the male palm reader did his thing. "You are the leader of your household," he said.

That one didn't set so well with my husband.

I asked the palm reader about my life line. He said it was long, but I would have a big decision late in life and then I would come back. He tried to usher me into his booth for a more in-depth tarot card reading about the life line question, but tarot cards freak me out, so I passed.

The car show was a satisfying (we won a trophy and several raffle prizes) but a long day in the sun ( I sunburned my knees of all things). To help pass the time we wandered through the flea market a second time that afternoon. The tarot card booth was gone. Instead, my palm reader was manning a booth selling ceramic skulls and other knick knacks.

Very interesting, indeed.

Have any of you ever had your palm read? If so, what did the psychic say about you?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Importance of Local Bookstores

There has been a lot of press lately about bookstores going the way of the dinosaurs.  I don't believe that's true.  I do think that big box bookstores are going away, or at least shrinking.  But I still see a lot of smaller, local bookstores run by people who truly LOVE books. Even though I read a lot of my books electronically, I still love going to my local bookstore. I love browsing the shelves. I love sitting in a little alcove and letting time slow down for a moment while I read a few pages of a book I'm considering.

What do bookstores do?  The employees actually read books and make recommendations. They know if you liked a particular young adult novel, that you might like this other one you've never heard of. Because a lot of smaller bookstores sell both used books and new books, they know how to help you find a book that's been out of print for a few years. If they don't have it, they may know another store in your area that does have it. In other words, your small local bookstore is dedicated to making you happy as a reader.

Bookstores are also great for bringing readers and authors together. They provide venues for book signings or readings from a local author. If you ever wanted to ask an author why she did something in a novel, or what her inspiration might have been, bookstores provide that opportunity.  And it's not just print book authors anymore.  Many bookstores also provide opportunities to meet ebook authors, because they now have the ability to sell ebooks through their store and to make money off of them. 

At this point, you are probably saying something like: "Yeah, but it's so much easier to go online and buy it electronically and download it." Yes, but would you like the ease of that AND still be supporting your bookstore?  You can do that now thanks to relationships the bookstore can build with ebook companies like Kobo. Other bookstores use other affiliate relationships to provide their customers with that opportunity.

I hope you take some time and visit your local bookstore. Click on the Indie Bound logo above to find a bookstore near you. (For non U.S. readers, I've put the links to IndieBound International stores at the end of this blog. Let me know if I missed any.). Find out how you can have the best of both worlds--downloading ebooks as well as buying print books.  If you haven't been to a bookstore recently, I bet you'll be surprised at how many have joined the electronic world right along with you.

Happy Reading!

IndieBound UK | IndieBound Australia | IndieBound New Zealand

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Do You Really Want the Truth? by Paty Jager

I started watching the movie “Bernie” with Jack Black a couple weeks ago. It had been recommended by a friend. Well, my husband and I were bored to death it moved so slow and was kind of like a documentary about this guy Bernie’s life. It was based on a true story about a mortician who befriends an older widowed woman.

The movie opens with Bernie teaching a class at a mortician’s school on how to “present” the deceased.
He showed how to “fix the face”, put make up on, and pose the hands. Things I’d never thought about and have since researched because I couldn’t believe some of the things he did. Were they the truth or added to make the viewer question? 

From the info I found on the internet(two reliable sources by morticians), I believe the movie used methods to evoke an emotion other than “Ick”. In the movie “Bernie” super glued the eyes and the lips shut. But first he placed a piece of plastic in the corpse’s mouth to make his lips stick out rather than suck in. 

I discovered there is an adhesive used to keep the eyes closed (they don’t shut after someone closes them as they show in the movies and TV)  And they do a whole lot more to the mouth to keep it closed, but I won’t go into that. (Let’s just say, I think I’m going to just be cremated rather than have so much evasion on my person when I die.)

The reason I’m bringing this up, is, as I researched, I found out a whole lot of information that would make most viewers turn the movie off way before I did. So, when writing or reading a book, how much do you want the writer to stick to the truth? Enough to make it interesting without boring you or making you sick, or do you want all the gory or boring details? 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Everyday Heroes

I have a very good friend who is serving with the Peace Corps in Swaziland.  She is not the usual Peace Corps volunteer--the young, just out of college person who is serving before moving into their career. Instead she is 64, a cancer survivor, and in a life transition where she decided to return to her roots of helping others.

Personally, I can't imagine volunteering to go to an African nation where it fills like camping all the time. She bathes with a pan of water that she hauls herself from a stream. At every turn she is confronted with extreme poverty, lack of education, a very patriarchal culture, and the highest HIV infection rate in Africa. She is an educator and during her two years of service hopes to make a difference in educating girls about HIV. She is a hero in my eyes. When she could be enjoying retirement she is off helping others, truly making a better world.

Every time a get a new message from my friend, it makes me even more aware of those around me who volunteer--people of all ages from young children to senior citizens. From those in large organizations like the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders to the man who provide rides to doctors appointments, to the meals on wheels delivery people, to those who care for neglected animals, and to the lady who coordinates coffee service every Sunday at my church, I am awed by their consistent commitment to their work--most for very little or no pay. Each of them give up some comfort in their daily lives to do this volunteer work. Each of them choose to quietly make a difference.

In a world where it seems we hear only about evil, or people making choices to stagnate rather than move forward, I am mindful of all these silent, yet amazing, volunteers around the world. It reminds me of the chorus to the song "Everyday Heroes" by Dave Carroll

Cause you know heroes come in every shape and size
Making special sacrifices for others in their lives
No one gives a medal, the world don't know their name
But in someones eyes their heroes just the same.

I say Thank you to all of them!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pinterest...A Story Susan Lute

On occasion I teach a class called Storyboarding... Your Novel ...Your Career. It's an interesting, crafty way to pull out all the stops and figure out where your story is going, your career, or even your life if you're brave enough to give it a go, and take a walk on the wild side.

I've recently discovered a storyboard, of sorts (there were many ahead of me on this one). Pinterest. Check out my boards. You can tell a lot about a person based on what boards they set up, and the pictures they pin. In many ways you can see past the mask they wear in public into (forgive the dramatics) their soul, because when you're pinning the pics that speak loudest, you're not considering what anyone else will think. You're just responding viscerally to the image you're pinning, and on which board they will best fit.

I just took a stroll through my boards. You can see what kind of man I like; that I'd love to live in a castle; what I think a post apocalyptic world would look like (check the Dragons board); that I love fantastic color and images, and that baby animals make my heart go awwe!. Oh, and let's never forget The Boy Who Lived.

Do you have a place on Pinterest? What do your boards say about you?

"My bags are packed and I'm ready to go..."

Previously posted on Two Hot Mama's Blog

I’m sitting opposite my writing partner, Carolyn, as she listens to a travel alert on her computer so she can scare the holy doody out of herself before she heads to Africa to work with Kuza, a fabulous organization that helps young people in Uganda attend college.  Apparently now there is just the slightest chance she could be riddled with bullet holes prior to the trip home.

Here’s what I love about Carolyn:  She is Lucy Ricardo.  I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating:  You say, “Hey, Carolyn, you want to–” and she is signed up, suited up and waiting with the car running before you’ve completed your sentence.  If no one has suggested an adventure in, oh, say the past seventy-two hours, she will surely come up with something.  It will be big.  It will be whacky.  It will require inoculations.

So when she heard about Kuza’s work in Uganda, she said to me, “I’m going to go to Uganda someday.”  She occasionally confuses the words “someday” and “tomorrow.”

She’s already taking medication to ward off malaria and rabid dysentery and has been inoculated for yellow fever, red fever, pretty much every color of fever known to humankind. She leaped first. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we are best buds; it takes me an hour to decide whether to go to Bi-Mart.

I think about things.  A lot.  One might argue “too much,” but at least I am prepared.  Carolyn had no idea how to spell dysentery until I mentioned that I’d Googled it and that she could get it.  Now, I’m sitting across from her as she reads about it.  She’s turning a mite green, but that’s okay; she’s informed.  

I love being Carolyn’s friend.  She’s gets me into all sorts of situations I would never get into on my own.  She’s the reason I nearly got strangled in a Krav Maga class and almost got arrested in a NY subway.  I was with her when she stopped the car to try to break up a street fight in Woodburn.  I have seen her fly across the country to pick up a baby she didn’t know she was going to parent until only a day before, and I’ve watched her enroll her five kids in a school I told her about only that evening.  Split decisions that turn out beautifully are her gift.  So is steadfast friendship.  Should I have the need, I know she would fly to the ends of the earth to accompany me on whatever adventure I get into my head (after a suitable mental incubation period, of course).

She’ll be in Uganda eighteen days if the typhoid doesn’t get her.  I’m going to miss her.  I will have to go on some kind of adventure while she’s gone.  Oh, what the heck: Bi-Mart, here I come.

Safe journey, Carolyn.

Wendy Warren

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Coffee Connections by Jamie Brazil

Writers run on coffee, and I’m not sure I’m mentally capable of writing a sentence without my cup of morning joe. I love coffee and I'm drinking some right now.
Another thing I love… putting the right people together.

I’m a bit of a matchmaker, and my matches have led to happy unions and, officially, two marriages.  But not all connections are love connections... some are caffeinated.
Like last Sunday.  
After talking my husband into hitting the garage sale trail with me, our path led to coffee.   
Actually, it was the yard sale of a food distributor.  His tables were  stocked with everything from coconut flour and gluten-free specialties to coffee and tea.  Unfortunately, I didn't buy any coffee because his boxes upon boxes of beverages were all pods for a Keurig. 

Fast forward to the very next garage sale five blocks away with a Keurig coffeemaker at the curb.  Cost: $15.  But I didn't buy it.  Instead, I asked the seller why she was parting with her Keurig.  Her reply was lack of counter space and how expensive it was to brew drinks! So while I couldn’t do anything about her counter space situation, I told her about the previous sale, went to my car, and got the address for her.  And luckily, she had her husband to cover for her at her own sale while she went shopping:)
I love it when stuff like that happens.  As for me, I’m still brewing in my vintage Chemex, which doesn’t take up a lot of room. 

Windtree Press author Jamie Brazil drinks medium roast, writes fiction, and obsesses over her Bloodhound. 

 PS- How much does your morning cup of joe cost?  I think it was Fast Company magazine that ran a how-much-does-it-cost coffee comparison recently.  Based on a 12-cup pot, Maxwell House/ Folgers will run a nickel a cup, while bagged coffee drinkers (Tully’s/Seattle’s Best) pay a quarter per cup.  The most expensive home-brewed cup was, no surprise here, Keurig and their competitors, at $1.25 per cup!  Which may be a deal if you’re trying to cut back on a twice-a-day Starbucks fix and save a few bucks.