Monday, November 26, 2012


Book number two hit Smashwords & Amazon yesterday. In one day 29 books were downloaded. The new book, Off-Trail: Trail Swap is a Spin-Off of Trail Swap.
SPIN-OFF: to derive a new product, material, or service from something that already exists, or be derived in this way.
Do you remember Spin-Offs? I do. Television is not what it used to be. (Yes, I just sounded 80 years old.) Some spin-offs are the following:

All in the Family's - Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Archie Bunker's Place, Gloria
Alice - Flo
Cheers - Frasier (how they picked that character to follow not sure)
Cosby Show  -  A Different World
Different Strokes= The Facts of Life, Brian & Sylvia, The Academy, Peekskill Law,
                                More Facts of Life
What's Happening - (very cleverly titled) What's Happening Now

I went on a tangent. . . so spin-off. Off-Trail is not as exciting as all those spin-offs above. Listening all those makes me want to go back to the 70's & 80's. I, however, am very excited at the prospect of Off-Trail bringing some more traffic to my first book Trail Swap. My sales for Trail Swap spikes some last night after I published Off-Trail. It's FREE on Smashwords. Click on the book to the right to follow it to the Smashwords site. Enjoy, and don't forget to leave some feedback!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Internet- Too Wide of a Net

Even with new search engines, the internet seems to be too wide of a net. It catches everything and you have to weed through them all.
I just want to know "how to boil an egg." Not how big an ostrich egg is? How to boil at higher altitudes? The history of boiling eggs. I know how do I not know how to boil an egg? That is for another post.
Doing this publishing, writing, blogging, facebooking, and tweeting I am finding out that there is a lot I don't know. Everyone and their uncle and cousins are writing about how to best do something but who are they to say that?
Please just sign me up for a search engine entitled, "These people are not idiots. . ."
I hope I make the cut.

By the End of the Weeekend

My lovely assistant and wife stated that by the end of this weekend she will create another beautiful cover for my second book Off-Trail. Are you trembing in anticipation too? I could just quit my job and write, write, write.
I had a conversation a few months ago. It went like this.
"I think I am going to quit my job and just concentrate on writing books," I said casually.
My wife stared at me in a sympathetic look and smiling slightly."Ummm," she started. "If you could make enough money, I would say. . ."
"I am just kidding," I said. I wanted to save her the trouble of navigating "how to be supportive but say hell no in the same sentence."
I would though, I would love to join the ?# of people who quit their job and just write. Well, I am not saying "just write" in the sense of "just being a homemaker" because we know that BOTH jobs are HARD. I would like more time to concentrate on writing. I feel my brain is BURSTING with ideas for stories. I am so hungry to read and write (no rithmatic).
So by the end of November Off-Trail will come-out. It is an enhancement to Trail Swap, my debut novel. It will be accomanpied by my favorite for letter word, FREE. It will be FREE. I hope that it drawas more people to Trail Swap and other books.

From 5th Grade to Forever

In year 19xx I was a 5th grader, I had just moved from the elementary to our Middle/Junior High School in my small New Jersey town. I had braces and always with the prodding of my mother was updating to a perm. A very bad perm. I was awkward. The only thing socially I had going for me was my newly found love of playing basketball, and my friends. I had a tight knit group of friends.  We hung-out at each other's house, did sleepovers, had each others backs, had funny (at lease we thought) inside-jokes. A few of these friends I still keep in touch with.

I had one friend that people always mistook us for the other. I am not sure why. We both did not think we looked like eachother. She had just moved from the next town over "the Township" and with one playdate in my backyard, we became friends. I remember her favorite color was purple, she was artisitic, very unique and smart. She laughed at my jokes or laughed at me, I am not quite sure which one. During high school everyone had their acitivity band, sports, smoking pot, boys, etc. We grew apart.
She went on to college in PA like me, but PA is a huge state. She managed to hitch a ride with someone from her school to visit one year as a surprise. She still lives in PA as I live in MA, and I have been to visit her 7 years ago. She, however, has come to visit me a about five times. This feat is brave because I share a home with three energetic kids, four cats (which she is allergic), a dog and a wife.
The most important thing she ever did for me was when I was going through a disasterous time with my divorce, she sent me a card. She filled it (in her neat handwriting) with inspirational quotes. The quotes all pointed toward sayings of hang in there, and keep going. She included a picture of her and I. It was a picture of me with my blonde hair. She was the only person from a distance (who was not in close proximity seeing me fall apart), who reached out to me during this hard time. I was at rock bottom and that card was a stepping stone to help me pull myself off the rocks.
This June she drove about 6 hours from her town to my town for my wedding, reception and then that next morning drove back. It meant so much to me that she was there.

Friends from 5th grade to forever.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Written by E.S.W. a 10 year old Author

E.S.W is as unique as they come in the package of a 10 year old step-daughter. She found out I published an ebook, and her eyes lit-up and she said, "I am going to do that." Then I said how much money I made so far and she said, "You didn't say you made money with books, I am definetly doing that!"
She is something else. When we pass vacant commercial areas she asks me and her mother to buy it for her so she can start a cupcake shop. She loves cooking, creating, and anything that could make her money.
She was watching me update my blog and said, "You are starting a blog?"
I answered, "Yes, I have been writing in here for a few months."
She said, "Write about me and my book!"
So here I am writing about her book. When she finally finishes it, we will publish it together. I will type up from her composition notebook, and get it published. She stated that I can have 50% of the money she makes on the book. (E.S.W I am writing this specifically in here so that I have proof that you said this.) She is a definetly a kid that 50% goes to 30% without something in writing.
She is very creative. I know her book will turn out wonderful. Who knows, she might even start a fad for other kid writers to publish. (This might have already happened I have no idea.) She can do whatever she puts her mind to. She loves to read, is wicked smart, sharp, and a great imagination and sense of humor.
So, when her book comes out, it will be advertised here. For now, it will be something to wait for from E.S.W.

Daily Writing on My Hand

My co-workers and supervisees have a daily laugh as I say, "Oh, I forgot." I then take my pen in my right hand and write a couple words of reminder on my left hand. (This all started when I was in the wilderness and paper always got wet, and as a supervisor I had to write reminders down on the fly.)  Currently, on busy days my hand looks like a long poem. If I don't get my days work done before I go to the restroom a bunch of times, my list gets lost. I have sticky note after sticky note, list after list, and I am going partially mad. So, this weekend I spend time thinking about how to organize myself. What I am doing is not working . . .
Besides winning the lottery and getting a personal assistant, I was at a loss. I could make more lists of what I need.

After thinking about it for some time on Black Friday, I realized that what I needed was one place to have all these things. To avoid missed appointments, disorganized task lists, and to save my left hand from a tattoo of a sticky note, I decided to look into a PDA (personal data assistant). Yes, because of all the smart phones they seem to be going out of style.. that is the good thing. As long as I can sync it to my computer somehow, I will be good to go. The other good thing is, nobody seems to want them or are using them so something that went knew for $150-$400 now is $20-$70.

I researched the PDA's and looked on ebay and amazon. The way I do ebay is I put everything on watchlist that come close to what I want and then I obsessively and anxiously watch the time count down. I narrowed the search to a couple of Palms, Compaqs, and Dells.

Then I went on Facebook and posted that I was looking for a PDA and asked if there were any suggestions. Someone suggested and ipod touch (I would love to have for other reasons too, but can't afford). Then my long time friend from 5th grade posted that she had one and she was getting rid of it. She is mailing it to me this week.

Hold on my left hand . . . you will hopefully only be tortured a little bit longer.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I am not talking about a kids tantrum. I have, however, been in the middle or have had to try to de-escalate these. I am talking about your own tantrums. Actually, I am talking about my tantrums. This is an embarrassing to write about but the fact that I did not get caught having the tatrum maybe sharing this might shed some light for you.
Maybe, possibly, you will identify with it. For a long time, months actually, I have been highly stressed. No matter how hard or long I work I am behind on my work at home. I am so exhausted when I get home that I can't get the things I want to get done or need to get done. Things like dishes, laundry cleaning... no don't worry this is not turning into a domestic blog (not that there is anything wrong with them but this isn't one of those). Then I am not able to do the things I want to do . . . spend time with my family, with my writing, hobbies, etc.
Back to the tantrum, I mean a full-out kick your shoes across the room, throw chairs, bang tables, swearing. . . yes minus the 6-shooters it was like Yosemite Sam.
I was out of control. I think if I had the chance in that moment, I could have jumped in a ring and beat the $%^# out of anybody that stepped-in. No, I am not on steroids.
I lost it. Somehow, within 20-30 minutes I came down from this rage and was able to compose myself and limp through the rest of my day (bc I only could find one of the shoes I kicked off).
But seriously, adult tantrums, they happen and they are scary, and I am still stressed.

Day Light Saving Time

Sources say that Ben Franklin is credited with the idea of Daylight Saving Time. It wasn't until WWII that it was instituted. Today we have to remember twice a year to switch our clocks. With the now modern conveniences of computers, cellphones, cable boxes, we only have to remember to change the oven, micorwave and alarm clock.
Daylight Saving Time was instituted to conserve energy and enable some people to work more hours. I think it is just added two extra fool's days to the calendar. People showing up late or early to appointments, being sleepy from loss of sleep, and having to repeat 1am
It is even trickier when you have to manage a shift work place of business. Even though someone only worked from 11pm to 7am, they worked 9 hours.

In my years of living in the wilderness I came to adopt the sun as ruling my day. On month long river trips and backpack trips during my years as a wilderness counselor we forgot about the time and just rose at sunrise and went to bed when it was dark. I have come to a time in my life when I don't want to sleep in as much. I want to get up and enjoy a quiet house while everyone else is asleep. I want to watch the sunrise. I revel in walking through the center of town and feeling as if I am the only one awake.

This morning I was happy to have light at 6 am. My dog Cali and I were very happy to greet the day early.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Single Mom No Tip

There was a recent story and was accompanied with a picture of a receipt. A single mom racked up a bill of $138.35 and then wrote in the spot where the tip should be "Single Mom Sorry." Then she wrote, "Thank you it was great."
First, who are I to judge. I am not.
Have you ever stiffed a waitress or waiter? I used to be really harsh until I dated people who were servers, and they left good tips. I think that you have to decide it you can afford the tip before you go out. If you cannot, they you don't go out.
Besides that, if you have a server who is rude, that is one thing. Then less tip.
I once was at a 50's Diner in Pennsylvania and a young high school girls spilled ice and water all over our table. She then ran back to clean it up and slipped on a piece of ice and ended up sliding under our table. She was fine, and although I was a poor, poor college student, we left her a huge tip.

John Cusak

John Cusack was the man of the 80'sand 90's.  His characters were the Wesley's (Princess Bride), the underdog, the sweetheart, and the boy next door.
I dated a John Cusack when I was in high school. Actually, it wasn't John Cusack. It was Lloyd Dobler. Yes, the ultimate of Cusack's characters!
Lloyd Dobler, if you don't know who he is, was a character from Say Anything.He ended up dating a beautiful, smart, and someone he loved from afar. He was so sweet, innocent, and emotional.
So yes, I dated this guy (minus the trench coat). What happened? No we are not married, but I am now married to a woman. (Thus the problem.) My Lloyd Dobler was very understanding of this when I "came-out" to him a few years later. He actualy jumped up and gave me a hug and said "congratulations!"
He is out in Oregon with some lucky wife and kids on the way.
I now have a best friend and I am looking for another real-life Lloyd Dobler for her.
John Cusak the man of the 80's & 90's. If you never saw Say Anything, go find it now and watch it. It will have you laughing, crying and wanting to meet your Lloyd Dobler or find one for your single friends.

CMA's 2012

I was lucky enough to wrestle the remote away from my family in order to watch some snippets of the CMA's (Country Music Awards). There has to be other country fans out here. I haven't met many though.
I wasn't always a country fan. In college, I had a hard time getting up in the morning. I didn't drink (much) in college, but I just stayed up late. I either had a late away basketball game or a lot of homework. Anyway, I set my clock radio to a local Pennsylvania country station because I knew I would get up to turn it off. Country music was THAT bad to me . . . I remember for a year almost every morning I woke to "Dust on the Bottle" by David Lee Murphy.
But somewhere between college, New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina, and now New England, I became a country music lover. I think it was North Carolina and Florida that did it to me. The only stations strong enough were country stations and I needed music.
What about country? Nobody else in my family loves it. I love the stories, I love the silliness of it, and I loved the feeling of family that you see at the CMA's.
I only got a snippet of it, but boy it was nice to spend a second with windows down, twang of the guitar, cowboy hat wearing, and southern drawls.