Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.



THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Rebecca Buckley's Blog
Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I HATE BEING FAT! - Part 2


TWO SIMPLE METHODS

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another diet gone by the wayside.
A month ago my son Micheal told me to try the method of dieting that he had just used to lose forty pounds that had slipped up on him. It took him three months to lose it.
So, I downloaded it on my iPad, like he did, and began a ‘counting-calorie’ program through MyFitnessPal.com, his recommendation.
It was fun and productive through the eleventh day, lost six pounds, only thirty-four to go to lose by my 55th class reunion in April 2013. But then counting calories got tiresome and I wanted to eat some of the food I usually ate without counting calories – cookies, handfuls of Good ’n Plenty, Lindor’s Truffles, Hershey’s candy kisses, bowls of ice cream, cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, pizza, and the list goes on and on. All no-no's. 
So I decided to take a break. A reward day, we call it. I rationalized also that the diet had screwed up my bowel habits, and Metamucil, as Micheal suggested, wasn’t working for me. Whenever I eat my regular way, I never have a problem with constipation.  
So, I took a day off, then a weekend, then a week, then . . . I still haven’t got back to the ‘counting-calorie’ program, and now . . . I’ve regained the six pounds I lost while doing it.
According to MyFitnessPal, if I would have stayed with it for just five weeks I would have lost twenty pounds of the forty I wanted to lose, then another five weeks would’ve done the trick. 
Okay, here it is, honesty, pure honesty . . . I am over 70 years old, 5’4”, and I weigh in at a man's weight.
I’m shouting it to the rooftops, I won’t deny it anymore!! I am obese according to the charts and to my wardrobe. I am fat!!! I don’t care what anybody says. I know what I am and how I look. Don’t try and tell me I look fine when I don’t. I am fat and ugly. No, no! I said don’t try to convince me otherwise. I won’t listen. This is who I am. I am obese.
And as some of the self-awareness books say … ‘love yourself’ and it will be alright … the hell, you say! I do not love myself weighing as much as a man. Sorry, Charlie! Tell that to somebody else, not me.
I’m sick of it! I’m tired of it.
Right now I’m visualizing myself as I was in my 40s—this was after I had all four of my kids—when I could wear jeans with a T-shirt tucked in, no muffin-top, no fat rolls between the hips and the bra-line, no flabby underarms, no gobbler neck, no ten-ton boobs, no thighs slapping, no horse haunches, none of it! 
I’m tellin’ ya, I’m sick of it!

Have you seen any of the Joyce L Vedral weight training books? Here is a woman who proved that any woman over fifty could stay in shape by following the Vedral methods.  She says “Anyone can do it, easy to follow.” Well, it is easy to follow.  I did it for awhile. But again, the problem is to keep it going.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? Keeping it going?
Vedral’s method is just twelve minutes a day. Why couldn’t anyone do the exercises just twelve minutes a day?  I mean, it’s done in your own home, on your own time, with two 3-pound weights. How simple is that?
So here I have in front of me two simple methods that could get rid of my fat and keep it off and tone my muscles at the same time. I could become my ideal once again.

TWO SIMPLE METHODS!

What is the matter with me? 
And to top it off, I watched the 2012 London Olympics and every single day I saw the results of commitment and body training right before my eyes. Why can’t I demonstrate just a tiny bit of that commitment in my own personal diet and exercise program? I’m not unable to do it, no physical inhibitors. It wouldn’t take much of my energy and time.
It just means I’ll have to enter exactly what I eat on my iPad (the program automatically figures out your calories, food values and maximum nutrient requirements) and do Vedral’s simple weight-training exercises just 12-minutes a day. 

Dammit, I’m gonna do it! Starting right now. 

--to be continued--




Monday, December 17, 2012

MASS MURDERS RUN WILD

According to Mother Jones (motherjones.com) there have been in excess of 60 mass murders committed in the U.S. in the past 30 years and most of the killers got their guns legally. 

Today, I just want to say a few words about the tragedy in Connecticut . . . I can't look at the photos of the victims without choking up and shedding tears. It's just too much for anyone to handle, much less the families of those dear little ones. The children were so young, only on this earth for 6 or 7 years. Can you imagine? And the dear teachers who tried their best to protect them, losing their own 
lives too is unspeakable. It's just unimaginable.

How to prevent such massacres? Honestly, I don't believe we can do that. If an evil or deranged person wants to do it, he'll find a way. If he wants guns, he'll find a way to get them. The problem may be closer to home, just as in this case. But then, there was no one at home except the mother. And I don't know about you, but we mothers tend to be protective of our sons, we would never want to believe our son would be capable of doing something like this, no matter how strange we might think he is. It was said that she quit work to stay home to take care of him ... which makes me wonder what that was ... a young man his age. And then maybe when it must have become evident that something was really wrong with him and maybe she feared he might do something against mankind, it was too late. He killed her first.

Now, we can blame the assault rifle, and I don't see any reason any private citizen should have one of those, handguns yes, but not a gun that can shoot a gawd-awful number of bullets without reloading. I mean those are used in combat or by swat-teams or sad to say, gangster wars. A private citizen doesn't need one. So yes, they should be banned from possession by private citizens. Mainly to keep them out of the hands of someone who is suffering from a mental condition ... just as in this case. 27 lives gone. It might have been less with only handguns. But still there would have been deaths, so what is the answer? I don't have a clue.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

I HATE BEING FAT! - Part 1


INTRODUCTION TO "I HATE BEING FAT!"


When did it begin?  When did the fat start creeping into my body? I think it was in my fifties, piling on even more in my sixties, and now, voila! In my seventies I’m ten-ton Annie!
I ask myself what made the difference in weight between my first forty-nine years and the last twenty-two?  And right off  the bat I can see it is my activity level and my lifestyle. 
Growing up I was extremely active in school, sports and cheer-leading, band, choir, group activities, church activities, working for my dad in his store, constantly on the go, walking all over the place, running from home to school to town and back again, dating, looking and feeling my best at all times ... won best figure in my Junior or Senior Class - don't remember which one.   
Then as a young adult throughout my forties, wife and mother (several times), with full time jobs outside the home . . . again, the high activity level continued. Add to that a newly acquired night life, singing, dancing, partying … and you have more activity. 
Food wasn’t an issue during those years. I ate when I was hungry and ate whatever I wanted.  It didn’t seem to matter, on looking back, whether I ate cheese and crackers, sandwiches, cake, pie, salads, fish & meats, fruit, bread, pizza, spaghetti, mac & cheese, and so forth.  I didn’t gain weight.  Cheeseburgers galore, didn’t matter.
Then … in my early fifties, I decided to drop out of the workforce and traipse off to god knows what and where with a new man in my life.  This was after my kids were raised and had their own lives and families, lived elsewhere.  I was single, divorced, and living on my own in L.A., had a fabulous job with a major advertising firm. But one day I quit my fabulous job for a man. 
My new boyfriend was moving to Arizona, across the river from Laughlin, Nevada, and wanted me to go with him.  The first red flag should have been the fact he didn’t have a job, the second red flag was when he asked me to pay the moving expenses and pay the deposits on the condo and utilities in Bullhead City. 
Even though I was in my early fifties at the time, I was still in good physical shape. Was a size eight, no flab, felt good.  Loved life.
Needless to say, that excursion lasted only four months. He never got a job, would rather play pool for money all day and night, and I was doing all I could to pay the rent by working for a temp agency. The day came when I packed up a U-Haul with my belongings, left him a ‘dear John’, and returned to California. I lived in the U-Haul for the next week till I rented a room in Brentwood and signed on with a temp agency in West L.A. 
But I never got back into the swing of things. My momentum was lost. I was in my 50s, wasn't a spring chicken anymore. I tried several jobs offered by friends, but nothing gelled. Finally I landed a singing gig in Bakersfield with an old friend piano player.
 It was then that I met a man from England which began my instant foray into the British segment.  But it wasn’t till several years later that I moved to England, married the man and left him, and since then, over twenty years ago, my focus has been my writing.  Any work I’ve done since then has been primarily in the creative world and basically on my own time.
So there we go, there it is. On my own time. And that’s when the fat really started creeping onto my frame. You see, my activity level decreased even more, while my stress level increased.
After I left the man in England and returned to California, I met and married an old friend whose life was in community theatre. As it turned out, that became the most stressful time of my life.  More fat.
I ended that relationship a couple years later and in the past nine years I’ve focused on full-time writing and have started a publishing company.  I’m the happiest I’ve been in years, just me and my three cats, but I’ve become more sedentary due to writing more, sitting at the computer more, or lazing in front of the TV more, and reading more. I spend more hours sitting or lying down than standing and walking.
And it keeps comin' on, fat and more fat.

By the way, how many times have you read a book by a person who has such will-power and restraint from the moment a diet begins and they lose their weight seemingly effortlessly? Is there really such a person? Do they really tell the truth about their trek to skinnydom? Are they leaving out their false starts and falls from the wagon along the way?
Well, I’m telling it all here, I’m tellin’ it like it is.


To be continued . . .


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blogging from ipad

Wow, this is too cool. Great for traveling! Just checking out this new app on iPad for posting to my blogs. Perfect.

Monday, October 8, 2012

HOW FAR WILL YOU GO?

I'm sitting here wondering how far would I go in selecting subject matter for a book.  I have this overwhelming desire to write a book about perfect murders. Murders that haven't been committed.  Murders in my head that are fail proof - unsolvable.

So how many times have you visualized murdering someone, maybe not seriously, I hope, but in your fantasies?  I mean I can't be alone here, surely there are others who have had the thought. Maybe how you would get rid of a vile and abusive husband or a wife or a tyrant boss or whomever you're totally disgruntled with?  I mean it would have to be more than just disgruntled, murder isn't payment for disgruntlement.  It isn't payment for anything really.  Nothing warrants killing. It's best to just walk away no matter what the problem.

But on the other side of the coin, in your imaginations, you may have at one time or another visualized murdering your adversary.

Well, I'm contemplating writing a book about "Perfect Murders" (a working title) about how to commit the perfect murder. Several stories about just that.

The problem is, I wonder how it will be received.  I mean, I'm not a real murderer. Haven't done the deed and never will. I actually don't feel that way about anybody. I've reached a point in my life where I feel no animosity towards anyone. Not that I haven't felt animosity ever, for I have, in the old days, about husbands.  lol lol   But not now. I'm okay.  But still, there is that desire in me to write these stories.

Should I, or shouldn't I?  What if someone uses one of my plans, hopefully not! Oh, that would be horrible!  I can only hope that the book will be entertaining and not used as a guide book to committing murder and getting away with it.

Back to my book . . .

Monday, October 1, 2012

In Between Books ...

Well, here I am, in between books. Just submitted my latest novel MIDNIGHT IN MALIBU, and now I'm  feeling empty and restless, feeling like I should be writing something.  But what? 

In between books is not a good place to be, I'm thinking.  Usually it takes me quite some time to get focused on what to write next, to zero in on which of the works in progress, if any, or ideas that I'll take through to the next level. But this time, I'm really in a quandary 'cause I'm thinking I'll not do another 'Rachel O'Neill' novel right now. I think I need a break from it. Maybe do a completely different novel, not connected with the series. 

I've got two novel possibilities in the wings ... JESSICA and MAMA'S DIARIES.   

"Mama's Diaries" started out as a short story I wrote that received quite a bit of notice and comments.  I even read it on my radio show.  It's still there if you want to listen to it.  I love the story, and it could easily be turned into a novel, adding more to it.  There's room for a lot of great drama, romance, and conflict in it. One possibility. 

"Jessica" was slated to be next in line, but have been tossing up between adding it to the series or not. It could go either way.  It's set in North Carolina, Vegas, New York, and Port Isaac UK.  Quite a bit of adventure and excitement in it, no question. I believe the character Jessica could carry it without 'Rachel O'Neill' making an appearance. But then again, maybe Rachel could make a cameo appearance ... lol lol ... since Jessica will be in Cornwall where Rachel lives.  Yea! That would be fun.  In Port Isaac, sitting at the next table in a cafe,  something minor that only my fans and readers of the series would catch and recognize. Remember how Alfred Hitchcock would cameo in his films?  Well, I could do that with my character 'Rachel,'  I could. 

Actually, sometimes between novels I'll write a collection of short stories, or a play. As a matter of fact, I do have a collection that I've been working on.  Maybe I'll bring that book out next.  I call it 'The Other Side of Me'.  So that will be number four to add to the previous three: 'Love has a Price Tag', 'Bits & Pieces of Me', 'My Dramedy.'  Hey, that's a good idea! That's what I'll do.  Another collection of short stories. 

Okay ... so what stories will be in the book?  Let me see what I have that I haven't used in my other books.  

1.  Murder or Self Defense?
2.  Moving On
3.  Liars
4.  Out of Nowhere
5.  Jailbird
6.  I Saw It
7.  Falling Off the Edge

I've written or partially written the first five already.  The last two on the list, I haven't written yet.  So there we go.  My dilemma of 'what to write next' is solved.  

This has been a very therapeutic session tonite on my blog.  lol lol   Started out with just my thoughts of the let down after finishing a book and have ended up with a new focus and mission. Thank you, Rebecca.  Thank you, readers. HOORAY!!!!

So what do you do in between books?  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

FIFTY SHADES OF SMUT


I just finished reading 'Fifty Shades of Gray' which would have been more appropriately entitled 'Fifty Shades of Smut' - hard-core sex. Didn't know what to expect from this novel, didn't read any reviews before reading it (should have), knew absolutely nothing about it.  Just knew it was a mega best-seller.

First, I'll say that I don't see how this book can be adapted to a film, as it supposedly is in the process of being, without it being labeled porno - XXX rated, as boring as porno can be. Second, I can't imagine a legitimate cast of top actors offering their services in this film. Porno stars, maybe, if it will be portrayed same as the novel. However I don't see much left to film if the sex scenes are eliminated.  It would be a 30-minute movie at the most, without all those pages of repetitive BDSM (see Wikipedia as Gray sez).

Third, the premise bothers me somewhat ... a young 20s, alluring, handsome billionaire deep into BDSM with signs of dark dark emotional damage entices a young 20s, innocent, virgin college graduate into his world of submission and dominance.  Not believable! Juvenile to say the least.

I must say the author (or conglomerate of authors) writes in a way that holds the reader at the beginning, sort of keeps you wanting to read against your better judgement to see which one wins, if anybody does win.  But it's hard to continue reading through the same ol' sex scenes as the story unfolds, it really is. I found myself skimming quite a bit. And I certainly would never recommend this novel to any of my friends or family.

I'm surprised that Kathy Lee and Hoda are so gun-ho about it, as they were today on their TV show.  It's the hype that surrounds the book that is making it a best-seller, in my opinion, and it's the first one in the trilogy.  I am curious about what happens to the young couple, but I don't want to read all that SM.  I suppose I could skim through the next two books, for I'm sure it will be more of the same. But then, it really isn't all that important to me. Why would I bother?  I'd rather not waste my time, I'd rather read some good books.

What happens is, this first book of the trilogy ends on a note that requires the reader to buy the next book and then the next to see what happens.  It probably was one huge book and the publisher split it into three books to increase revenue.

Now I don't have a problem with serial formats at all, if it was intended to be, I write my romantic suspense novels that way (so far five of them with a continued story of the character Rachel O'Neill), as do other authors, using the same primary character going from one adventure to another in each novel.  Don't have a problem with that at all.

But this 'Fifty Shades of Gray' is something else.  It seems now we're into exploiting painful, cruel sex instead of lovemaking in romantic bestsellers.   The last group of mega-sellers were vampire novels. Before that it was Harry Potter.  Amazing, the rapid progression, isn't it?

A bunch of sick puppies, if you ask me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

THOSE WHO KNOW ME . . .

Yep, those who know me, those who have known me for several years if not most and all my life, know that I am in a space that is both satisfying and productive.  And I'm the first to agree that I am wanting nothing more than what I have or am.  Except a best-seller, yes, I would like a best-seller.

But in my personal life I am very happy.  Oh, every once in a while I think of the possibility of having a 'mate', not a mate in marriage, mind you, but someone or something more in my life.  Then when that possibility surfaces, I immediately do some quick back-treading and retreat into my cocoon, reminding myself once again that I am happy as I am. Some may call it being 'chicken', and that's probably more true than not, but nevertheless, it makes me wonder about whether or not I could ever open up my life to another man.

Of late one such 'would-be' candidate entered my realm unexpectedly through Facebook.  Now, mind you, Facebook isn't a dating venue for me, I use it as communication between me and other authors, publishers, producers, friends, and family.  I've never used it for dating, don't intend to, since I've not been interested in meeting up with anyone or starting another man/woman relationship. I've had enough as it is. But this particular man seemed interesting at first, he gave his credentials and, although unsolicited, went into depth somewhat about his professional and personal life.  The problem I have encountered here is that I am not sure I believe him, or if it is even his photograph.  I don't know why he singled me out, or if I've been singled out, for he could be writing the same generic notes to a multitude of women, if not at least three or four others.  I didn't give him my email address as he asked right away, and I certainly would never give him my phone number.

As any of my followers know, I haven't expressed the desire for a man/woman relationship with anyone on Facebook, in fact if he had read all my posts and my blogs and one or two of my novels, if he would have done his research, he would have discovered how I feel about committing or having another man in my life.

Well, after a few days of exchanging PMs (private messages on Facebook), I've decided it's a waste of my valuable time.  So, there we go.  It's over.  lol lol  

I believe that the only way I would become involved with another man is that he meet my requirements totally.  And those are:

1. He must be tall, at least 6' 2"
2. He must be manly, rugged, maybe cowboyish
3. He must adore me
4. He must at least read my novels
5. He must be a reader of other books so that we can have that in common
6. He must have his own money, and have interests to keep him busy
7. He must like to go to live music venues
8. He must like to eat out
9. He must love cats
10. He must like to watch movies
11. He must like to travel to other continents


And then there are the other attributes I would like him to have, but are not requirements:

11. play an instrument or like to sing
12. write books or want to write books
13. garden
14. drive
15. cook
16. be a conversationalist
17. love people

That's it, off the top of my head, I'm sure if I took the time I could think of some more.

Now if you know of a single man that fits any of the above, and he's over 70, please ask him to contact me and be able to prove that he is legit.  lol lol lol   I'm kidding of course.  No one is all of that.  I think I just listed my own attributes, with the exception of #1 and #2.  


 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

THE FOREST LAIRD


"The Forest Laird" by Jack Whyte is up to his usual high standard of writing. This man knows exactly how to keep the reader's attention from the get-go. He's got you from the 'Author's Note' in the beginning through the 'Prologue' ... which I usually skip when reading a novel.  But I know better when it comes to Jack Whyte, I know there is much information in these forecasts at the beginning.

This novel is 782 pages ... right up there with the Ken Follett novels that I love so much.  As a matter of fact, there is a similarity in style between the two writers.  And they both love to write historical fiction, set in the early A.D. centuries in Britain, primarily.

The way Jack writes his characters you feel you know them inside and out.  Ken Kollett does it too in his 'Pillars of the Earth' and 'World without End' - my two favorites of his.

In 'The Forest Laird' the story of William Wallace, Scotland's heroic figure (who was depicted in the film 'Braveheart' written by Randall Wallace), begins with Wallace's tragic childhood and continues with his early education with the monks.  At age 18 he leaves the custody of the church and becomes a forester on his uncle's lands. And then his life as we know it began. It all began with a young woman.

Jack Whyte does not glorify or canonize Wallace, he tells a story of how it must have been in reality, from an idealistic and ambitious young man-child to a rampaging, violent, crusader.  Just as in his King Arthur series - telling the 'real' story as close as his research would allow.

I'll add more to this as I read the novel.  Just wanted to begin the journey tonight . . .  

Excerpt:  "The water was frigid, but the rushing coldness of it against my heated body was intense enough to dull the worst of the searing pain in my backside. I gritted my eight-year-old teeth and grimly set about washing away the evidence of my shame and the sin I had endured. I could hear Will splashing close by, and hear his muttered curses, for he ever had a blazing, blistering way with words. When I could feel that my legs and buttocks were clean again, I did a brave thing. I knelt in the stream, bending forward to splash water over my face and head and scrub at both until I felt they too must be clean." 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MY WORLD OF HIGH TECH

I finally did it!  

Yes, I gave in to my innermost wants and needs . . . it was a bloody fight with myself to the very end . . . a stand off that lasted longer than the others before it . . . my iPad will arrive on Monday. It's a done deal. It's ordered. I'm going white instead of black, both sons have black. I've already downloaded the manual and am studying it.  It's dangerous for me to have sleepless nights.  That's when all the damage is done. 


Now I'm finding myself browsing the iPhone styles, I'm due for a device upgrade on Verizon. I think a nice white iPhone would be a fine companion to my white iPad, don't you think?  My Kindle is white too. So I may be changing from Blackberry to iPhone. (Strange for me, I've always felt 'Black is it!' Had a license plate on one of my vehicles that expressed those words - BlkIsIt.  The SUV was black, of course.)

Now, my PC and notebook are not Apple, but I'll stick with them.  Have been a PC person since the '80s. Have been with AOL since the '80s, how about them apples? No not Apple. How about them oranges?  Another case of apples and oranges.

Do you know how many times I've heard "you should get an Apple computer, it's the best" and "why do you stick with AOL, it's more trouble than it's worth."    Well, I don't see it that way, my sweet little geek friends. I have used Apple computers, don't get me wrong, and yes they are great with graphics, and maybe I'll get one just for graphics to create RJBP bookcovers ... but again, I'm doing okay with my PC in that department already. Not to mention I love the apps that are compatible to my PC ... AND I'm comfortable with the operating system. As for AOL, well, I will argue till kingdom come, it is the best!  I use a few other email programs too, however, and AOL is by far the best, makes it easy to do everything I want to do.

Search enginesMozilla Firefox seems to do best with social networks, but still, it sometimes annoys me to no end, uses a bunch of space, the hard drive is always a workin' overtime. Internet Explorer used to be my favorite, but it isn't up to speed anymore, don't know why that is.  I have AOL browser, but unless you keep emptying the cache, it sometimes causes a problem in getting to the web page you want.  I even use Google Chrome at times, and it's okay.  Google and Yahoo work well, but I have to go through one of the aforementioned to get to them.  (I also use MapQuest and Google Earth to search for addresses.)

Oh yes ... WiFi ... great hi-tech invention!  Because of it,  I'm able to go to the Internet with my TV and the Logitech keyboard I purchased through satellite DishTV.  Love the ability to do that. Can watch NetFlix streaming, do web searches, email, whatever I want, same as I do on the computer.  And since my karaoke machine, mic and speakers are attached to my entertainment system, I can go to the karaoke web sites and sing to my heart's content.

Yep, I'm all set with my high tech stuff, I would say.  Now we know where my extra money goes, sure doesn't go on clothing, no siree! I'm sitting here naked. (just checking to see if anybody is reading this lol lol)
 
 So enough on devices, and because I'm left to my own today, I need to get back to work.

Ciao, my friends ...

Watch for MIDNIGHT IN MALIBU ... fifth in the "Rachel O'Neill" series, coming soon!




Thursday, May 31, 2012

SO MUCH GOING ON ...

It's incredible how much time passes in the blink of an eye and how many thoughts inundate one's mind in a day's time. Most days I feel completely energized and sometimes overwhelmed. Overwhelmed in a good way though, in an exciting way, with all the joys of accomplishments, and the wonderful things each day brings.  Let me try and explain it better ...

Okay, it's like I'm on the brink or edge of something, almost like waiting for a race to begin, leaning forward at the starting line, my heart is pumping, my adrenalin is surging.  I feel joyous, and eager, and ready to go. This is all the time.   Crazy, huh?  No it isn't the beginnings of a heart attack. lol lol  It's how I feel most of the time, like something is driving me forward, continually.

And it isn't confined to the efforts of my writing, but of course it definitely affects it too, and the publishing, and the marketing, and so forth, everything business-wise benefits from my insatiable drive.  But it's part of my everyday life, too. I feel as if I've been wound up and am gaining momentum minute by minute.  Like I need to hurry because I'll run out of time. And no, I don't take drugs. Coffee, yes. Hey, maybe it's the coffee.  You think?  Nah.

I do have down times though, when all that energy is depleted, when I run out of steam, for you can't keep up that mental pace indefinitely. Usually I take a nap or just lie down for a bit, or watch a movie, watch the news, but then I'm up and back at it again. At night I'll read to give my body and mind a rest. But sometimes what I'm reading will spark a thought and there I go again.  Spinning round and round, where she goes, nobody knows . . .

  


Monday, May 14, 2012

JUST SAYIN' . . .

I read a post on Facebook today that had such merit to it, I feel like adding something of my own.

We know we're going in the right direction, are learning how to move forward successfully on our own path of enlightenment, when we are able to repel the lashing actions and retorts of others - sometimes reactive, sometimes blatant.  It's taken me many years to learn how to within a few minutes recover from such onslaughts or unkindness.  And usually the other person doesn't realize the impact of their attack, however minor or deliberate or not.

This helps me when being confronted by them . . . take a good look at the why and when and you can usually figure out the reason for their onslaught. And it's usually not a reaction to what you've done or said, but a reaction to something in their own psyche, something they've not learned to deal with, something going back to another time that doesn't have anything to do with you. In almost every case this is true.

I remember how I used to let my feelings get hurt at every turn. But now, in the very few times it gets close to happening, maybe once or twice a year, I apply the above to the situation. And like I said, within minutes I'm able to move on as if it never happened. No more am I bogged down with someone else's emotional baggage.

Certainly something new can be learned in almost every human exchange, however, so I do record it objectively. Human nature is a complex, frustrating, emotional entity. Observing how it works in ourselves and others can be liberating. 

Writers, take heed . . . it's also homework for developing characters in our stories.   The more we study ourselves and others, the more we have to write about. My storehouse containing decades of observations is absolutely full to the brim.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

DARK RIVERS OF THE HEART

Early this morning I finished reading Dean Koontz's DARK RIVERS OF THE HEART.  Koontz never fails to surprise me, scare me, enlighten me, make me think. I thoroughly admire his writing talent.  Oh to be able to write like that! 

Koontz writes the sight, smell, touch and feeling of every moment and every situation.  Something all of us  need to heed as we write.  Very few do just that.

And while doing all this, he manages to drive an underlying pertinent message home. In this incredible, past-paced novel he writes about high-tech surveillance techniques, most already in place as we speak, others that are most likely on the horizon. He writes about our government's asset-forfeiture laws (are you abreast of these laws and how they can be devastating to an innocent party?), stressing his opinion of revoking those laws (I agree), and his criticism of Congress passing laws for the citizens of the USA, exempting members of Congress (again, I agree).  These points of contention are melded with Koontz's clever and horrifying storyline and three main characters in this novel - characters so different from one another, their own terrifying stories revealed. 

I loved this book, for many reasons.  Not to mention it grabbed me from the get-go and held me to the end. I couldn't wait to see how it all evolved in the closing chapters.

Writing at its best, none finer!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WHAAASUP!

After a few days of feeling a bit under the weather, which to some may mean 'sickly' but that's not what I mean, more like a bit depressed, I suppose.  But today the actual stormy weather brought me out of it ... the rainstorm jolted me back to the living.  Now, don't get me wrong, it wasn't that dark for me, it wasn't that bleak, it's just that sometimes I seem to go into a funk and spend a few days there.  During that time I'm in my thoughts, mostly, and I totally shut down.  Don't want to do anything productive, don't want to see or talk to anyone, although I do force myself to do what HAS to be done, but don't care to stick to my health regime or bother to take care of myself. But I do manage to bathe every night before going to bed.  lol lol lol  Have to do that, no matter how depressed I get.  So maybe depressed isn't really the right word, maybe it's . . . well, whatever . . .

When I'm like that, my thoughts wander all over the place.  They go back to the beginning of time - my early years, my early adult years, my middle adult years and up to the present.  I seem to run the gamut, from teens to seventies.  Much of my thoughts are about the relationships I've had, quite a bunch of them, the people I've known, quite a bunch of them, my family.  How I went wrong, how I went right, what I should have or shouldn't have done. Why there's not a man in my life today. Why I haven't wanted one today.  Then I ask myself, how will I feel tomorrow?

Although I truly feel I'm not destined to have another mate, I wonder about the male friend possibility.  But I know it's next to impossible to have a male 'friend', one to date, an escort of sorts, without the physicality of it creeping in.  I don't see myself in that type of situation.  Sex.  But I do see myself in a man/woman friendship.  Sort of.   lol lol lol  I'm grinning now.  Not believing it even as I write.  lol lol lol  Hey, I'm trying.

You know, I think my answer is ... I'm relegated to having relationships through my characters.  Living vicariously through them, just like you readers do.  So you see, my dear fans and readers, I'm on the same page with you.  Although most of you are with wonderful husbands and boyfriends and like to dream a little while reading my characters, but most of you are happy in your situations, and rightfully so.  And then there are some of you who are older, single or widowed, who still like to dream a little just like me, still like to be taken to a place where you may not be able to go in reality.  So I write for you too. And there are some of you who would love to travel to the places I go to and write about, but are not able to do that, so I write for you too. 

Those of you who want to break out of subjugation and control, to take back your lives and live, to be free from abuse ... well, I write for you too.  "Midnight at the Eiffel" is a prime example of overcoming that misery.  And there are some of you who need to learn how to build your self-esteem and believe in yourselves, to learn how to go for what you want and to get it.  I write for you too.  Prime example in "Midnight in Brussels."  For those of you who are adventurous ... all of my novels are sure to captivate you.

Yes, all my novels have something for each of you, even for you men out there.  You want to learn about women and how they think? Read my novels.  I write for both men and women, for everyone.

So ... from this very moment (May 9, 1012, 7:54 p.m.) I'm on the upswing ... from this moment I'm back ... until the next huge pendulum swing in the other direction.  But I'm not complainin' about the mood swings, because each time I come out of the funk just a little bit stronger with a little more clarity.    

Luv & Hugs ...

Friday, February 3, 2012

THINKING OF PARIS ...

Yep, I'm thinking of Paris tonite. Oops, it's morning already ... 1:39 a.m. Oh my gosh, didn't realize that. No wonder I'm tired. Anyway, I'm still thinking of Paris, regardless of the time.

I think of the novels I've written, my favorite one is MIDNIGHT AT THE EIFFEL. A lot of me went into that book. And a lot of Shellie Singer went into it.

How many times have you felt as if you wanted to drop out of sight, disappear from your present circumstances, to get away from it all. Shellie had a desperate reason to escape of course. It was a matter of life or death for her. She chose life and fled to Paris, France.

In the writing of the novel, I drew from my own visual experiences of the City of Light. Gawd, I love that place. My friend Robert (Bob) has lived there since the '60s. After the Vietnam War (in which he was a flyer), he left the U.S. and has lived in Paris ever since, became an architect. I met him when I rented his Bateau Simpatico for a holiday. A houseboat that sits on the Seine near the Eiffel Tower.

I've returned to the boat twice since, and have been to the city I don't know how many times in the past 20 years. Many! But what I was going to say . . . my friend Bob says that there is nothing in the world like living in Paris. He says that if I spent a month there, or three months, or even six months, I'd be hooked. Well, I'm already hooked with my 4 to 10 days at a time. I keep threatening to spend 6 months at one sitting, but haven't been able to figure that one out yet. My three cats are preventing me from doing it at the moment.

But every time I go, I discover something brand spanking new about the place. The last time, my friend Babs went with me, and we didn't have such a grand time . . . we were both in pain. She with her shoulder, me with my feet. But even still, I have fond memories of Paris and I'm eager to return now that my feet problems are pretty much solved.

When I wrote about Montmartre in the novel, which is where the artists congregate, it was as I would want to live. And sometimes I feel I have lived as Shellie, Janet, and Rachel did on the square, sometimes I feel I have become my characters, sans the bad stuff which isn't in my reality.

If you haven't read it yet, on Kindle it's 2.99, or will be in a couple of days. Right now it's 5.99, the new price should go into effect by Saturday, or maybe even tomorrow - Friday. Let me know what you think after you read it. And if you write a review on Amazon for me, I'll send you another of my print books for free. There are four "Midnight" novels, and two collections of short stories, also a collection of plays I've written. Any one of them, I'll sign and send to you.

So have a good read ...

Friday, January 20, 2012

HIBERNOPHOBIA and the GYPSIES

I hadn't realized how strong Hibernophobia is in the UK until I began watching the TV series: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

It breaks my heart that such prejudices still exist today against a people from Ireland. The Irish Travellers that are depicted in the television series suffer the most discrimination and racism throughout the UK. Today it's as bad as the whites' early prejudices against the blacks in the USA. Signs such as "No Travellers" and "No Irish Need Apply" are indicative of an unmerciful, unkind people.

I know, I know . . . the religious war between the Irish Catholics and the British Protestants was the initial dispute, but for heaven's sakes, what the hell is it all about now? And to top it off, antiziganism (prejudice against gypsies) is dumped on top of the Irish prejudices.

Did you know they have a very strict moral code? They don't marry outside their kind, and divorce is not an option? True, the life isn't for everybody, but those that have chosen it should be able to live as they wish without prejudice.

In the show I watched tonite ... the wedding planner called over 50 venues to accommodate the reception. But as soon as the hotel would find out it was a traveller wedding they immediately came up with one excuse or another to reject them. Their weddings are huge, and some drive their campers, so the venues have to be spacious. Not easy to find the right site because of those two requirements, either.

They finally found a kind soul - proprietor of an animal shelter, a beautiful building by the way - who accepted them and bent over backwards to make it a fabulous and memorable event for the bride and groom. I know that might make you giggle - an animal shelter, etc., but think about it. Regardless of how well it turned out, is that really fair?

I'm really pissed about it all. If it were left up to me, I would go to Wales and England and build centers for weddings, and would rent them FIRST to travellers and gypsies.

Oh, and maybe you've seen the documentaries about the removal of travellers' camps throughout England ... how they are being ousted, their trailers trashed and burned if they don't move at the nearby council's discretion?

It's a human disgrace. It is. I would also go to England and buy up property and build grounds to house traveller trailers and gysies. I'd make the accommodations modern and comfortable for them. I'd plant trees and shrubery around the perimeter so they wouldn't be bothered, so they could live a good life as others do without prejudices.

They're a very proud, colorful, and dramatic people, historic. They love hard, play hard, and live hard. They don't drain the government coffers, they work for their livings, for themselves and others, and they are loyal to their people.

As I mentioned, they have to marry within their ranks, and rarely do they break that code. They are religious, marry very young and have many children. One thing I don't abide by, however, is that supposedly on the bride's wedding night, the husband beats her to let her know who is boss. No no. But I'm not sure if that is true today, or if they all do it, if so, I would hope that is changed sooner than later.

The ones who give the traveller's a bad name, of course, are the ones who go out drinking and fighting, disturbing the peace. And of course you will find crooks and criminals among them same as those in other cultures. All cultures have bad men and women, sad to say. But it isn't fair to discriminate against all, those who are not.

Something you may not know, the women aren't allowed to go to nightclubs without their men, which I find interesting. But when they do go out, the women dress prevocatively, most likely for themselves and for their own, or for prospective husbands. The weddings are the meeting places for new couples, by the way. People come from all over the country to the weddings. A wedding is a major event.

I find them fascinating. And I find it appalling that they are treated with such disrespect. Most of the families live quietly and peacefully, to themselves, within their communities.

They are human beings after all, just like the rest of us.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Different Kind of Day

Yes, today was a different kind of day ... unusual ... interesting.

It began with 'Oreo' chasing a mouse into my bedroom at 3 a.m., bumping into chairs and tables, skidding across the floor, rattling decor, scratching at cabinets. Of course I didn't know that was what he was after till I turned on the light and caught a glimpse of the little critter trying to escape from Oreo's clutches. One second he'd be caught, the next he'd get away. It went like that, from the bedroom to the kitchen to the living room and back again, till this afternoon when I finally entered the fracas and enveloped the little guy in a Russian Shawl that swags across a chair and put him out the front door. He didn't appear to be injured, just stunned. He disappeared within five minutes, once again happy go lucky. But it was confusing to Oreo, he's been watching the two spaces intermittently - one in the kitchen, one in my bathroom - where mousie would get up under the cabinet and rest, hoping to see him again.

THEN . . . I don't know what got into me today, for I spied a package of raw cranberries in the fridge and wanted to do something with them before they were a total loss, have been here since Thanksgiving. Well, I decided to make some jam or sauce, whatever you want to call it. I boiled a cup of water and a cup of sugar first with a couple tablespoons of ground lemon peel. Then added the package of cranberries (2 cups) and 2 cups of blueberries. I always have blueberries on hand - frozen whole berries. My taste imagination was at work and I added a third cup of orange marmalade to the mix, stirring occasionally over a soft 10-minute boil. I poured the mixture in a glass bowl to cool to room temperature, then refrigerated. Voila! My fabulous Blueberry Cranberry Citrus jam or sauce. And I mean it is good. I put some in a jar to use as jam, and the rest will be used as whatever. I don't know what possessed me to think of creating a recipe. But I'm glad I did. Felt good not to waste the cranberries. And I now have another recipe for the cookbook I'm writing.

THEN . . . the proof of E. Don Harpe's novel NEON RAINBO arrived this afternoon. So I've been doing one last read-through and edit before the launch of the book. It's a paranormal fiction this go 'round for Mr. Don. This one is turning out to be my favorite of his. It really is a must read, guys. Terrific book! Here's the blurb:

MORGAN NICHOLS was caught up by the music same as
the thousands of other hopefuls who came to Nashville
chasing the dream they called the Neon Rainbow.

The rhythm of steel guitars and twin fiddles had been
playing in his head since he was fourteen, and now he was
immersed in the heavy atmosphere at the bottom and craving
the thin, heady air that awaited his rise to the top.

He wanted it all, and he was willing to do whatever it took
to get it, including making a deal with the Devil. The Neon
Rainbow was real, and in a honky-tonk in Alabama that had
burned to the ground in 1957, he reached out and grabbed
it. Now all he had to do was figure out how to hang on to it.


Here's the cover:


THEN . . . I did some accounting, working with Excel spreadsheets, since the annual call came from the tax man. Gawd, I hate compiling all that stuff, although it isn't as difficult as it was at one time. Now I keep a monthly accounting during the year so I have the monthly totals at hand, just need to add them up. Easy, really, to do with Excel. I learned several years ago how to create Excel spreadsheets, when I worked for Barnabey's Hotel in Manhattan Beach. My boss, the GM, was an alcoholic and sometimes couldn't function, so right off the bat he taught me how to do his reports - spreadsheets, 90-day and annual forecasts, budgets, etc. Valuable stuff he taught me. I was his assistant, so that worked out well. Anyway, ever since then I've had several occasions to use that expertise with companies I've worked for, and in my own personal accounting. So today was also an accounting day.

AND ... then there was all the stuff in between. It's been a rather interesting day, as I said.

How was your day?