Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Converting hayloft into spare bedroom

Staying off social media while converting our unused hayloft in into a spare bedroom so when someone comes to visit they will have a place to sleep instead of on air mattresses in the front room. That is one of the problems you have when you live in a two bedroom house and one bedroom is converted into a library/computer room. I started working on this the last week after my last blog post, that is why this is the first post this week. I have a couple of books read but not reviewed yet. I hope to get back on track by the end of the week or first of next week. Sorry about the lack of posting. I am about to install the first of three windows I am installing on the hayloft. I just finished installing a door with a window after repairing the rotting floor and one wall. After I get the windows installed and molded in properly, I will install electrical outlets including lights before I insulate and drywall the room. I lot of work, I know but by the end of summer, early fall, I should be complete then I can get back to writing a regular blog posts. In the meantime while you are taking it easy, why not pick up one of my books to read in your leisure time. I have Dystopia/apocalyptic series, a mystery, time travel/love story, a science fiction series (pictured above), and another science fiction about an alien crash landing on Earth called "A Stranger Comes Crawling" just to help you pass the time away being entertained. 

Talk Back, I'm listening!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rave Review Book Club and

A few months ago, The Rave Review Book Club was recommended to me by one of my followers on twitter ( Author Promotions) so I checked it out. What I found was a group of authors that had come together to support each other and get the word out about their books. So I joined and found it is a good support group. As part of the joining, you agree to read and support other members books. Right now, they are having a recruitment drive so all you authors out there, check it out at this link  You will find the support your writing needs to become more successful. I have found that including this on my tweets #RaveReviewBookClub gains me more re-tweets after joining the club. Drop by and check it out, you will find the same level of support I enjoy. They have author spotlights, #PUSHTUESDAY where they tweet an author to get extra attention to their authors. Give it a go, I think you will find it enjoyable. While you are there vote for me for the best blog about RaveReviewBookClub this link.

For those readers out there that have not written a book, there is always room for you as well. The only requirement is that you review the book after you read it regardless of where you purchased the book. Everyone has to review four books a year as part of the membership requirements. 

Talk back, I'm Listening like always to you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kate Houghtaling (The Half-light)- Guest post

This is the writing I have spoken about, clearly demonstrating the confusion, panic and frustration of a young person growing into an adult. She has a way with words.   

“The Way Things Start”

These moments—these ups and downs, pitfalls and leaps of faith— they’re what stories are made of. These are the memories that will last a lifetime, changing, growing, molding, fading, until finally they are whispers upon the wind, dead laughs and cries mingling with the dust. It was like something out of a book rife with life and love and adventure, the sort of thing you could be proud of.
But I was only filled with terror when I first came to my senses. I was only aware of the thrumming of my heart and the pain in my chest that was growing with every still second. I felt ashamed and horrified and proud and confused, all in one barrel of emotion. The wave of it was overwhelming, and trying to escape it seemed impossible.
When enough sense could dictate my muscles to flee, I managed as much with far less grace than I hoped for. Tumbling, tripping, and falling, I created a small comfort-space where the breathing seemed a half-choke easier. Truly, I had no rational reason to be so upset, but something in a location half between my head and my heart said it was the right thing to do.
After a stretch of time that could’ve been hours or miles long, things around me began to move like nothing had ever been amiss. I was stuck in an ice age mindset, observing the flow and purpose of bodies around me. These terror-filled parts are fleeting, but the residue spoke clearly: I wanted out.
From there, I played a wholly unfamiliar game. Everything seemed to have a role: my thoughts, my face, my hands, my eyes, my smiles, my words, and every other bit of everyone else. There were some good times, and a fair share of bad times, but it was time and I couldn’t complain. Sometimes it hurt, the way plans and things fall apart, but hope was always this burrowing monster chewing at my weaknesses. I could always hope it would go right.
But somethings I don’t understand myself. Some actions I don’t know how to justify, some choices seem impossible to have been chosen any other way. And yet the pain still is there, hidden between the lines and the sounds and the gentle movements that can be so hard to read. There’s no running away from something an inch from your face.
And yet when the warmth fades and the night comes harsh and fast, it’s not easy to give up what you once had. Even if it hurt. Even if it didn’t make sense. The acridity of a vice doesn’t make it any less gripping and consuming.
So with tired eyes and thumping hearts, we set upon a journey to either wreck something too fragile to survive on its own, or to nurture it into something real and living and powerful.
But that’s all up to us, and that’s the part that scares me the most.

With the passage of time, I find that forgetting is the easiest part of life. It’s so simple to let go and ease into a false sense of newness and clarity. Reality will dictate time after time that we are never truly free from our pasts and the memories that haunted us never really do stop. Remembering is a natural function of our brains and though it can hurt and it can wound, remembering can be a healing process to remind us that we are who we are because of who we had once been.
In these stages of trying to tack things down and being stuck in the middle of two very distinct decisions, it’s easy to see the pleasure in ignorance and forgetfulness. Casting issues aside is a great way to avoid change, but when you’re facing the same old road and something foggy and shrouded in mystery, sometimes the excitement of adventure can block out the fear instilled in you as a child.
But what is worse: staying on the familiar, slightly more worn path of normalcy, or creating something as you go—forging new ways in light of new evidence? I wish that this decision could always be made by someone else. A hand in the dark moving me one way or another; the denial of an application that forces a different outlook; even the harsh, blatant rejection from the other party.
Simply said, this does not occur in the natural, likely world. Maybe it can be a part of the way you make decisions, but in the end freewill is just that: things you do and decide yourself. Pain is not always avoidable, and change is one of the most frightening, heart-constricting pains we know, but sometimes you can find solace in the freshness of a new start. Some changes are exciting with the small doses of adrenaline jolting through your system, yet I see in front of me not a remake of the old road, but a whole new one branching out, reaching to take my hand.
Am I brave enough to take the reins on my journey, or does this path simply refuse to be assisted by others? Is there a way to know for sure how it’s supposed to feel? Are the butterflies wriggling through my body supposed to feel like a swarm of gnats beating against my bones? I was never one to like the monsters to begin with, but I’d be willing to accept them over the fear-like shakes that tell me decisions aren’t always made to be fun.
Sometimes going with the flow feels more like standing still.

There’s something inescapably definite about anything that puts a smile on your face. Even if you’re ashamed a second later or years later, you can’t deny that little rush that made you instantaneously react with glee. When you’re happy and it just falls onto your lips as if by the flick of a paintbrush, it’s so real. It’s unstoppable and irresistible. Catchy and attractive.
When you find yourself so caught up in your own dizzying cheer, it’s easy to overlook so many other things. Different, previous priorities fall to the side; dwelling in those memories takes over; best of all, a glowing beauty seems to cover the very earth. It’s such a wonderful process of temporary heaven, and it makes any day seem like a success.
But the fallout from this hurts more than you could ever guess. How are you supposed to just wave that off, dismiss it like a small accident? Sorry, I didn’t mean to spill your coffee. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be so happy.
It’s just impossible to explain and cover up and pretend like it was nothing. You just can’t. And when you seem to be doing roller coaster flips with your state of mind, people will notice. Maybe they won’t want to take the long dip beneath the earth, and maybe the screaming heights and breath-stealing loops will be a little too much, but they’ll watch. Trust me on that one.
Maybe you’re not the biggest attraction in town, but it’s hard to blend when some of these huge twists and turns feel too large to be yours. But when it is, and you can own up to it, you’ve hit a mellow point. Casualness. A nonchalant greeting, slightly poor memory, a hesitance to admit too much. That’s okay. It’s better than the pain and the guilt and the remorse you feel towards yourself. Feeling bad for that gushing happiness hurts more than the initial sulking and waiting and figuring out.
How can you calmly give up bliss—whether imaginary or real—for complacency and shallow emotion? If you perhaps thought of a few things to add in here, well, you’re wrong. You could say diligence, determination, discipline, slight masochism— but’s that’s not it. You simply do not, will not, cannot do this with success. It’ll always be there, a small, gentle rolling of memories in the very back of your mind, far enough to be a rare thought, but still there nonetheless. 
One friend to keep company, from now to the end, will always be your doubt. Trust this feeling. It’s one of the realest reality checks you own. Doubt will keep you from diving in headlong, keep you from being too foolish, too gullible, and practically save your life. Just let the doubt sink in for a moment and retrace a few steps. Plot the map from there to now. Do things line up? Or are there discrepancies that shout foul play?
These are serious things to consider when slamming into a mouthful of post-glee pavement. Brace yourself. That’s all there really is to it. Nothing more can be prescribed to ease the pains or erase the past. It’s life and life doesn’t stop for you to cry it out and continue along in the background. Life demands you to be the front and center of everything, so bring it on. Show your tough side and bite a few knuckles to keep your focus on what matters. You. Making it out alive.

Background Info on “The Way Things Start

This piece is incredibly close to my heart because I originally wrote it out for myself and then decided to share it with others. I tend to do the kind of writing where I address myself as the reader and basically yell at myself for the choices I make and the things I do. This one might be hard to read between the lines on, but it details the progression of my state of mind from a starting point, to where I am now. Because a girl can’t give away all of her secrets, I’ll describe it like so: this is the aftermath of going from not knowing someone who was on the fringe of my life, to sharing a secret with said person who’s not really a friend, but actually a co-worker, all in one warm, foreign night. Regardless of my experience, I’d like to think that it’s the kind of writing that other people can find meaning in. There’s fear and doubt, curiosity and happiness, and, like always, I add a good dose of misfortune and well needed self-advice.

Talk back, give me your thoughts on the works of this young lady. I'm listening and hope this gives you insight into the heart of this young lady, hopefully, it will make you understand your growing teenager. As the years go by, we adults sometimes forget the turmoil of becoming your own person and an adult. This should help you understand why so many teenagers take their own lives because they are not strong enough to emerge from the confusion without help.  

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The half-light and me.

I first met the half-light (her pen name) when i needed a cover re-sized for one of my books. She couldn't re-size it but she made me a new one that I used for publishing the book. At the time, she was really into making book covers and writing. I read some of her work. They were short stories and easy to read, but I saw something there. Being a reader, I liked how she wrote. As of yet, I do not think she has actually published any of her works for the public. She will someday, and everyone will find out what I saw. Her clarity, style, and use of descriptive words, places the reader in the story seeing it through her eyes. I asked her to allow me to place one of her pieces on my blog. Reading it, I saw the young lady that was emerging in life and the confusion that occurs. I asked her permission, because she captured her emotions as she struggles to become an adult better than I could. It has been a long time since I was young. She is going through this daily so the words are first hand. In creating one of my book covers, I believe she used a picture of herself for the cover, she was younger then, maybe a couple of years older now. The book cover you see at the beginning of the blog is the one I think she used. Hopefully, she will grant me permission to post her writing under a guest post. I don't want anyone to think that I wrote the piece. 

Late flash, she has agreed to allow me to post her bio and excerpts from her writing. I will start doing so next week. 

Talk back, I'm listening!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Imagination; blocked, channeled or roam free

Most people block their imaginations when they become adults. Others, channel their imaginations into new ideas and products. Writers of fiction allow their imaginations to run free making for the more interesting stories filled with unique books that captivate the readers. What do you do?

My older brother, when someone asked "where do I come up with my stories?" he replied. "He has always had an active imagination while we were children." Which is true, but when I became an adult to support myself and my family, I always put it on hold (blocking it) to focus on making a living and climbing the corporate ladder in management. Once in a while I would release it, coming up with unique solutions to a problem I encountered. I found my imagination disliked being channeled or blocked, so I started writing. That made my imagination happy and I stayed in a good mood. 

My sister in law asked, "Where do you come up with your stories and characters?" I laughed it off but later thought, "Some characters are my alternate ego wanting to take part in my stories. Others are based on people I know or have met during my long working career, and now." The settings of my stories all took place in my head, all I have to do is transplant them from my mind to the computer (or paper). I find the less I try to control my imagination, the better the story becomes.  In "A Stranger comes Crawling" I had the original plot then turned my imagination loose. The story became better and better. The book, "A Need for Lightning" that I was writing at the time triggered my release of my imagination, allowing my stories to have unique concepts and events.  I stopped writing "A need for Lightning" to write "T.T. Gristman" and "A Stranger comes Crawling". To me, when my imagination starts forming a book, I write it down even though I might not write the whole story. I place it on a back burner until such time my mind is ready to go back to it once again. How do you come up with your stories?

Talk back, I'm listening.   

Monday, May 5, 2014

When you blog, is anyone reading them?

Most blogs have illuisions of half the world reading what they write. Some are read by a lot of people, but very few comments appear. If one does, be sure to reply so the reader will know you heard what they had to say about your blog or blog subject. I know when I first started, I saw the comments but was slow or not at all to respond. Anyone that takes the time to comment should be appreciated with a response. Now, if they just like your post, then no response is required. If your blog is re-blogged, that is great. Your blog is now in front of a whole new group of readers. The only problem with that is you don't normally see the comments made on re-blogs, or what the re-blogger had to say. Sometimes, you get lucky and if you are using Wordpress blog, you do see their responses. On blogger (Google+) they usually allow you to see what was said on re-blogs. I try to respond to them as well as the re-blogger.  I still have not found a way to link my two blogs except through Networked blogs. 

Have a great day, talk back, I'm listening! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Guest post by Colin Albin

The Silver Clock

The Silver Clock is the first chapter of Tom’s Tales.  A young boy called Len goes searching for conkers and ends up in a clearing in the woods, called Greenbank Meadow. That was where he first met Old Tom, an encounter that was to change his life.

“I nearly turned back the first time I saw him sitting on the tree trunk. I was only twelve and I didn’t expect to meet anyone in that place. I got a shock to be honest, and I was afraid of him at first. He looked a bit strange, really thin and gaunt, with short cropped hair, balding on top. He was a tall man with bright, shiny eyes, hollow cheeks and a funny-looking nose, which appeared to be somehow split in the middle. And he wore dark green trousers with striped braces and a black waistcoat. As I came through the trees into the opening, Old Tom was puffing on his pipe. He soon spotted me, though.
                ‘Hey there, little fella. Come and sit down here. Nice and comfy this old tree.’ I hesitated and didn’t know whether to run or do what he said. But I didn’t want to be rude to an old man, so I walked towards him, slowly. I was looking at him all the time as I walked. Something drew me to him, odd though he was. I couldn’t really say why.”

This was the day that Tom told Len the story behind Molly’s mysterious silver clock, a story that sent a shiver down Len’s spine.


Colin Albin – Brief Bio

Colin Albin was born in the great city of Liverpool and lives with his wife Doreen in Cheshire, their two grown-up children having now flown the nest. Colin has worked his way through several career incarnations - mainly in HR, recruitment and careers guidance, but also in pastoral work and inter-faith dialogue. His interests include reading, writing, jazz, classical music, hill-walking, swimming, Pilates and football (Liverpool).

His interest in football probably saved his life when he had a cardiac arrest on March 10th 2013. On a normal Sunday he would have been out in the countryside with his walking group. Instead of this he went to Anfield to see the Liverpool Vs. Spurs match with his son, who rallied help within 3-4 minutes and therefore prevented both brain damage and death (the permanent form!). Two wonderful people provided CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and the paramedics gave him 5 shocks with a defibrillator in order to restart his heart. Despite being technically dead and in a coma for 2 days, he is now still alive and kicking with the aid of an ICD implant and various medication. Following a period of recuperation and reflection, Colin decided to sell his business and focus on his writing.


Tom’s Tales - Synopsis

Tom's Tales is a short novel comprising a collection of tales of the unexpected, mysteries which have no easy or rational explanation. The story unfolds in the context of a relationship between a somewhat strange character called Old Tom and a young boy called Len, who goes to Greenbank Meadow looking for conkers. Len is so fascinated by the unusual tale the old man tells him during that first encounter that he returns, week after week, hoping to hear a new story. As the weeks pass by, Tom and Len get to know more about each other and develop a surprising and mutually beneficial friendship. It becomes apparent that they have far more in common than might have been expected. They both look forward to their short meetings with an increasing sense of anticipation and consider these times to be the highlight of their week. Len develops a love of stories and books from the old man, and over time this transforms his life. Each of Tom's tales has a surprising ending. But there are also some twists and turns in store for the reader as the book comes to its conclusion. Life is certainly full of surprises.
His book can be found at this link
Talk back as always, we're listening. Another fine blog by my guest. I hope you enjoyed it and will take a look at his book.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Escape or Haven by Dr. Andy Rose

Escape or Haven?
by Dr. Andy Rose

The Leaden Echo
(Poem: “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918)

Many of us seek ways to find a respite from the stress of our daily lives. We awaken to an alarm clock and prepare for the day’s demands. How many of us awaken and thank God for the jobs we have? For the joy they bring us?

Henry David Thoreau declared: “Our life is frittered away by detail … Simplify, simplify.” Most of us separate work and play, making the best of our jobs but waiting eagerly for the weekends, holidays, and vacations.

How many people are entranced by the lives of celebrities? Reality shows? Why?

Seeking relief from the pressures of contemporary life, we escape into a variety of entertainments. But do commercial television and the popular film industry provide deeply satisfying experiences?

To escape in entertainment is ultimately unsatisfying if we return to our ordinary lives without renewed spirit, insight, or inspiration.

The Golden Echo
Literature can provide a profound haven from daily stresses. Well-crafted fiction can imbue characters with vibrant and complex emotions. Lyrical language can enrich a reader’s appreciation of human thought.
Plots that twist and turn, “upping the ante”, can captivate the reader. This experience can nurture the soul.

There is something exquisitely special about cuddling up with a good book. The magic of written words is that they work in harmony with a reader’s imagination. Television and films portray increasingly graphic action. Books leave visualization to the reader’s imagination, fostering a more interactive relationship. Too many television shows and movies involve superficial relationships, clich├ęs and contrived situations. Little is learned about the meaning of life.

C.S. Lewis maintained that, “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”

Literature can provide a genuine experience leaving the reader more in touch with his/her feelings. Emerging from an engrossing read, one feels more alive. Feel the waves, the mist, and the excitement of confronting Moby Dick!

The late British critic, Cyril Connolly, argued, “While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living.”

In the end, television and popular films are an escape and entertainment while literature creates a haven for your mind and emotions.

Author Andy Rose retired after 42 years in public education. His debut novel portrays teachers as heroes. Imagine four schoolteachers, not James Bond, in a spicy thriller.
A Writers’ Digest contest judge raved about the book, Lily’s Payback:

“I loved this line from Lily’s Payback’s back cover copy ‘Can the teachers write a lesson plan to overcome a ruthless killer?’

That one line nails the primary strength of author Andy Rose’s hardboiled mystery, which has a most unusual heroine: a middle school teacher. This is a great idea, a very fresh approach, and one the author makes terrific use of to tell a quick, exciting, plot-twisty tale of revenge and international intrigue.

The ideas flow well and though there are elements of the story that might seem implausible on first blush, it all wraps together in a way that makes it work. Finally, the long-suffering teachers get their payback.”

Here is a link to the book’s trailer:

  Dr. Andy Rose

After 42 years as a public figure, his imagination is unleashed!Website - Author Page -   Lily's Payback: Dr. Andy Rose: 9781477597705: BooksTwitter -  Twitter: Andrew Rose, Ed.D (DrAndyEdD)

This is a guest post by Andy Rose. Hope you enjoyed it! Talk back, I'm listening and bringing you new exciting authors as guest bloggers on my site.