Monday, May 30, 2011

Condolences on the Beach

My father's brother was a Marine in World War II. He was killed by a sniper during the battle for the coral atoll of Palau.

Days later, my father, a sergeant in the Air Force, had just waded onto a Philippine beach 800 miles west of Palau when the officer commanding his advance party came up to him with an envelope. He opened it and handed my father an American Red Cross message reporting the death of his brother. Then, while troops and equipment kept coming ashore, the officer handed Dad a cup, opened a whiskey bottle and poured it into the cup.


After a few words of condolence, the officer moved away and Dad went on with his work but he never forgot that brief moment of empathy shown by the major which lingers in his mind, 67 years later.




Saturday, May 21, 2011

Teenage Angst

Once upon a time, I was young--a teenager growing up on the "wrong" side of town--the side where the "hoods" lived. I was a shy and I wore all the wrong clothes. While I was bright and destined for college I never fit in with the "in" crowd.

Oh yes, I had plenty of angst. But I was blessed with loving parents and siblings so I eventually got over my social awkwardness--sort of. I went to college, got a job, met a nice man, had a family and started writing. Actually, I started writing when I was nine, but I became serious about my writing. There's a difference.

I have toyed with the idea of writing a young adult book for years. So today, the New Jersey Romance Writers had Cyn Balog speaking and I decided I needed to hear what she had to say. I took lots of notes and now have a lot more books on my TBR list.

She also recommended an excellent blog written by Mandy Hubbard, an agent and author of YA books.

Tonight when we went out for supper with Dad, I told him about today's lecture. He could not understand why I--as a mature woman--would want to write a book where teenagers were the main characters. I told him I was a teenager once and I remember a lot about it, maybe too much. My high school experience seems permanently embedded in my brain.

Not that I would want to write about my high school experience. Most of it was rather humdrum and while I did suffer through a few crushes, there was no great romance. But YA novels include romance and the books have happy or hopeful endings. How delightful!

So I will continue mulling over the idea.

But first I've got to finish my WIP!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Importance of a Smile


Good dental health is a blessing. It is also costly and not an option for many people. When I was young, I rarely went to the dentist. When I did go, it was always and only for an emergency. I went to get teeth pulled--like the time I cracked a tooth on a lollipop.

My parents could not afford dental visits either. They both had full sets of dentures by the time they were fifty years old.

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to fall in love with a man who had a dental plan as part of his benefits package at work. I still have most of my own teeth--except for a bridge in the place of that empty spot due to that hard lollipop.

Our daughters regularly visited the dentist throughout their childhood. Their teeth are in much better condition than mine.

I just got another crown on one of my teeth this week. A tooth had cracked when I chomped down on a hard pizza crust. Our dental plan does not cover the entire cost, but at least it does pay for a portion of the bill.

When I see people with terrible teeth, I remember the pain I had as a youngster.

We need affordable dental care in this country and we need it for everyone.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Spiffy Newsletter

Until now, sending out my newsletters to friends and fans has been a chore. My newsletters were rather plain. However, today I decided to try MailChimp. What fun! There are a wide variety of templates offered, lots of colors and fonts. I used the header from my website, plenty of photos of my book covers, and a nice photo of me. My newsletter is now not only informative but gorgeous, exciting, and full of links.

I was able to easily import the email addresses from my computer's address list.

Finally, after a few simple steps I sent the newsletter off. MailChimp keeps track of any emails that bounce, the ones that are opened, and the ones that click through.

The same newsletter email went to Twitter and Facebook with another little click.

Best of all, MailChimp was free.

If you're interested in seeing the newsletter check it out here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

No Time for Books?

I know a lot of people who don't read books. Some are friends, some are relatives, and some are coworkers. Many of them have college degrees. I could list their names here but that would be mean and it still wouldn't make them pick up a book and read it. They all have a reason for not reading. They tell me they are too busy. They often read magazines, or the newspaper. But they never sit down with a book in their hands and read it from the beginning to the end. Never.

I think this is very sad. Those who don't read are missing out on some amazing adventures. But more importantly, they are wrong about the time needed to read a book. Reading does not have to take much time at all. There are millions of audio books--and you can borrow them at the library for nothing. You don't even have to visit the library, you can download them from the library's website and then add them to your iPod. You can listen to them while driving to work, exercising, or folding the laundry. Seriously, what else are you going to do while folding laundry? Listen to Lady Gaga?

For those who own a Kindle, there are books that are speech enabled. The Kindle can read the books to you. You can dust the living room or crochet an afghan while listening to the latest Janet Evanovich novel. Better yet, you can listen one of my novels.

Books are special. Every book allows the reader to enter into someone else's mind. Please get into a book soon. It really doesn't take any time at all.