Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gina Barreca's New Book--The Book You Must Have

Dear friends: As a writer that is trying to find her way in the publishing world I'm always looking for new ideas that move me, inspire me to be a better writer and help me not take myself too seriously. A few years ago, I met Gina Barreca, and I can honestly say that my view of the world and certain things was turned upside down.

I've featured her on the blog before and I would like to let you know about her upcoming book. It's scheduled to be released on March 29, 2016 but is available for pre-order now. Even though Gina is a well known author, we could use your help. Pre-sales help to propel the book in the right direction: hopefully, onto the NYT Bestseller's List.

I've included several links for you to pre-order and I hope you will do so. If you would like a signed bookplate to go inside your copy we can make arrangements for that too.

Her new book would make the perfect gift for someone special on your Valentine's Day list. Men will always look down your blouse when you lean in, why not laugh about it?

Here's the promo for the book:

Gina Barreca is fed up with women who lean in, but don't open their mouths. In her latest collection of essays, she turns her attention to subjects like bondage which she notes now seems to come in fifty shades of grey and has been renamed Spanx. She muses on those lessons learned in Kindergarten that every woman must unlearn like not having to hold the hand of the person you're waking next to (especially if he's a bad boyfriend) or needing to have milk, cookies and a nap every day at 3:00 PM (which tends to sap one's energy not to mention what it does to one's waistline). She sounds off about all those things a woman hates to hear from a man like "Calm down" or "Next time, try buying shoes that fit". "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'" is about getting loud, getting love, getting ahead and getting the first draw (or the last shot). Here are tips, lessons and bold confessions about bad boyfriends at any age, about friends we love and ones we can't stand anymore, about waist size and wasted time, about panic, placebos, placentas and certain kinds of not-so adorable paternalism attached to certain kinds of politicians. The world is kept lively by loud women talking and "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'" cheers and challenges those voices to come together and speak up. You think she's kidding? Oh, boy, do you have another thing coming.

Here's another link to pick up the book. You'll be glad you did.

Gianetta (MAFW)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Remembering Dad

Today would have been my Dad’s 81th birthday.

My dad liked nothing better than having a steak for his birthday. Mom likes a Ribeye, but not Dad, he liked a T-Bone; the bigger the better. In recent years, the local steakhouse closed down, reopened, closed again, reopened as a church, closed again and has now reopened as a Mexican restaurant.

Confused? Me too!

So in keeping with the family tradition, we’re going out for T-bones at the new Longhorn that has opened near where the old steakhouse once stood.

I’m sad you can’t be with us but we know you’ll be watching. I don’t know if you ever got to eat at Longhorn or not but I hear they cook a really mean steak.

We miss you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Technology Is My Friend

For the first time in my life I have something other than basic cable. I like a few channels not provided by the local cable company on basic cable like AHC or Military Channel, NFL Network, DIY Network and Cooking Channel to name a few. My telephone company in conjunction (cahoots) with DISH Network kept offering me a deal that sounded too good to be true. I'm slow to change things that don't really need changing. I've been a customer for over 20 years and the only thing that ever changed on my cable was my bill: it kept going up.

But this year, now that I'm back from a six-week holiday break and a two-week-long stomach ache, I'm shaking things up.

The deal offered was so good it took six months of weekly conversations with the same customer service rep before I was (somewhat) convinced that they weren't going to pull a switcheroo and charge me a fee every time I turn on the television. They didn't ask for a credit card number up front, they didn't charge for installation and now I have something called a HOPPER and an additional remote for each television. They also brought three additional devices (joeys?) (receivers) in the house that need to be plugged in which has created an even bigger problem: where do I plug them in?

I guess I could run a line next door to my neighbor, Merlethem Shatz's house. She wouldn't find it until spring, anyhow, because she doesn't go outside in the winter, except to get the mail.

I used to complain about the basic cable because there were so many channels that didn't seem to belong. Included in my plan was a bevy of local artists singing off key at local church functions, local school sporting events that I didn't follow and 15 channels of various religious groups all vying to save my soul if only I would be one of the next ten callers to send in $10. I had two shopping channels, six news networks, five sports stations and the Weather Channel, which kept me informed on what Fat Guys Were Doing In The Woods.

All of this I had to pay for.

Shoot, I could have just walked around town and seen most of that on any given day. For free.

My old cable stopped on channel 99 and took about two minutes to flip through. Now, the channels number into the hundreds and I've yet to make it completely around and back to channel two.

I've got three free months of every movie channel. Who knew there was more than one HBO channel? Why do you need more than one HBO channel? More channels that offer VOD for free and VOD you have to pay for (this sounds like a pesky personal problem) and several other stations I'm afraid to push the SELECT button on because an extra charge might be incurred.

I now have the ability to perform social media functions on my television which opens up a whole other can of worms. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for technology but I'm just a bit late to the party. I have an IPOD--the original one with the clicking wheel and it works perfectly fine. I've seen no reason to upgrade--so they say--to the Nano, Mini or implantable thingy in your left nostril that I'm sure is just on the horizon.

I don't want to become so wrapped up in "the newness of everything" that I forget how to leave my chair to go to the bathroom. And with my addictive personality it wouldn't take very long before my butt and recliner became more than just friends and I ordered a supersize box of Depends to keep me dry. (Who needs Costco when you can order directly from Amazon on your television?)

I know I wanted to shake things up but the new satellite system couldn't have come at a worse time. I have two novels that are nearing completion and they deserve my undivided attention. I suppose I could put myself in timeout but I learned something new today when the technician came to finish the installation: My new laptop can communicate with the new satellite system. I'll be able to work directly through the television.

There's only one problem: I had to unplug the television so I could plug in the laptop.

Now where did I put that extension cord...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New Year Recommendations

Happy New Year!

Since it's a new year, I've decided to eat more healthy, get more exercise, have a better outlook on things and get my daily recommended dose of vitamins and minerals to help me be healthy, wealthy and wise.

As with all such recommendations, there's usually a catch. Namely, you'll go broke!

I'm a sucker for the impulse purchase of a magazine at the checkout line if it has a catchy title. One such magazine recently was First For Women which screamed "Dr. Oz's Rx for extreme weight loss"; another headline read "Rev up slow glands"; and lastly, "Drop 11 pounds in one week." Holy crap! I had to get this magazine.

After a lunch of tacos and bean burritos, I found myself with time to really delve into my new purchase as I sat trapped on the throne in my lavishly decorated reading room. I quickly found the sections that I was interested in and started reading:

1. Be 100% healthy with coconut---to shed your holiday 10, to dodge colds and flu, to make hair extra soft and shiny, to heal irritated skin, to speed up sluggish glands and to relieve feminine dryness---recommendation: 2 Tbs of coconut oil. Spectrum Naturals Organic Coconut Oil Unrefined ($11 for 14 oz., at (Hmmm, I do suffer from some of these ailments. Maybe, I'll try it.)

2. Drop 11 lbs in 7 days with African mango---too busy to diet or exercise---recommendation: 150 mg of African mango extract. ($21 for 60 capsules, at (I am really busy.)

3. Too tired to resist carbs---lose 50 lbs in three months with sea buckthorn---recommendation: Sibu Beauty Revitalize & Renew Sea Buckthorn Liquid Supplement. ($18 for 25 oz., at (I do love me some carbs.)

4. Vitamin A protects against hearing loss---recommendation: 700 mg daily. ($9 for 30 capsules at any fine drug store) (What'd ya say?)

5. Years of fatigue vanished in a week---this brain chemical shortage makes 3 in 4 women tired---recommendation: L-tyrosine, vitamin B6, fava bean extract and mucuna pruriens bean extract supplements. (Balance D, $29 for 60 capsules, at
(No comment!)

6. Make 2016 your happiest year---reactivate the happiness/energy area of your brain---recommendation: recitation of the Lord's Prayer. (Free)

I stopped reading there because that's the best recommendation I've read in a long time...and the best part, I didn't have to buy anything, I already knew it by heart.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Brother's Birthday...Year VIII

Now, it's time for another birthday. My big brother is celebrating his birthday today. His nickname is Boy, sometimes called Big Boy.

Boy is a fan of WW II and can give you all the information ever needed if you are building a house since he has a background in construction.

He taught me how to play football, throw a baseball for a perfect strike (complete with a full wind up) and how to play chess.

He also taught me how to chew tobacco, scratch my butt, cuss a blue streak, burp the alphabet, throw cow patties, use the tractor and manure spreader to drive to town for hot dogs and Sour Cream Doritos when Mom and Dad were working, castrate a hog and spit and catch loogies.

Most of these tricks I have since out grown! (Most)

However, it is good knowledge to have. You never know when you might need to do some castrating.

So here's to you! Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Sister's Birthday...Year VIII

Today is my sister's birthday. In case anyone wants to know, her nickname is Big Red. Yep, she's got red hair and a fierceness to go along with it.

She resides in the frigid north where it snows all the time. Yuck!

I won't tell you how old she is (29) because that wouldn't be sisterly. She is older than me though.

Happy Birthday! May you have many more and continue to do things that make me laugh.

P.S. Your present is still on my counter waiting to be mailed.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Year End Closeouts...Part Two

Happy First Day Of The New Year!

...If you're reading this post wondering what's going on, here's a quick recap: Instead of discussing everything I failed to accomplish in 2015 on my list of resolutions I'm doing the opposite and remembering certain events that happened during each month. You can scroll down to catch part one or read it here.

July--This month started slowly. About midway through the month I was well into book two of the series I am writing when I contracted the Crypto Virus that totally destroyed my computer and everything on it. Luckily, I didn't lose the first manuscript but I lost many of the supporting files and notes that went along with it and everything I had written in book two. It was my second virus in six months and I learned a valuable lesson: backup. Backup! And backup some more.

I stopped by the post office where I worked for nearly ten years to see an old friend. Rose was my closest friend there and we kept in touch after I left in 2007. We saw each other a few times a year and texted regularly. She was the biggest supporter of my writing and my number one fan. Shocked couldn't begin to describe my reaction when I saw her--our two previous attempts to see other had fallen through--she said she wasn't feeling well and had pneumonia the previous month. She just couldn't shake it, she said. A week later I found out she admitted herself to the hospital and they were running tests that came back with terrible results. It was cancer. We spoke on the phone before I left to spend the last week of the month with my family on our annual vacation and I planned to visit when I got back.

August--The Sunday after I returned from vacation I was contacted to participate in two book signings. The first--at FoxTale Book Shoppe was two miles away from the post office where we worked together. I hoped that Rose might be able to attend. The second event was through the Atlanta Writer's Club and would be at the Decatur Book Festival held over Labor Day Weekend. Sadly, Rose wasn't well enough to attend but Friend videotaped it and you can watch my presentation here.

The day after the book signing I finally made it to see Rose. We spent the entire afternoon, a Saturday, laughing so much that we brought ourselves to tears. The prognosis was grim, but Rose never lost faith and was in good spirits. In fact, it was she who joked "I'll do anything to get out of work."

Rose died four days later. She had a three-year-old grandson and her beautiful daughter, Elizabeth was seven months pregnant. How can you find the words when your very breath has been sucked right out of your body? You can't. You go on. You must.

September--Mom and I were leaving late in the month for another of our trips we have been so blessed to take. So we spent that time making plans. We were travelling once again with Preferred Travel where we always have a great time. If you're looking for a great vacation experience, give Sam a call and tell him I sent you--I might get a discount on my next trip! We travelled by bus up the East Coast and hit D.C. (where I met my childhood best friend, Christina, for coffee one morning.), Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine with visits to several of the top sites in each location. We had an amazing time!

October--My friend Rose's daughter, Elizabeth had her baby and it was a girl. They named her Catherine Rose and she truly is a blessing for this young family.

I was able to start again on book two and rewrote everything lost in the virus mishap.

I returned to Ohio later in the month to attend the funeral of my first cousin, Kenny. He was who Dad always called when he needed an extra hand to work out in the tobacco. He battled cancer for three years. You will be missed.

November--NaNoWriMo. They have it every November and this year, I decided to participate. It's basically write a novel in a month or 50,000 words. I also updated the blog for things I was grateful for every day and walked 30 minutes a day. Accomplishing all three of these tasks took a lot of effort but there are times when you have to put in the extra work to see results. Several mornings, I was writing at 3 am and sleep walking around the house trying to get that last five minutes of walking in before the new day started.

December--One thing I learned from participating in NaNoWriMo was that I was unable to write hardly anything else for the next 30 days. And I'm not kidding. This blog post is the first thing I have written in a month. November took everything I had to say. I needed a break, a chance to enjoy the holiday and I've had a wonderful holiday season.

One thing I perhaps am most grateful for this past year is my health. I have multiple chronic health conditions and I give myself multiple injections and test my sugar every day. I'm happy to wake up in the morning and eager to continue on with what I have started. Don't get me wrong, not every day is a walk on a sunny beach, but health conditions are like opinions--everyone has one but no one really wants to hear about it. Especially if it is different from yours.

Life is short. Live now, not tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.

Happy New Year!


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