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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Flying Saucer House

We have a bonafide landmark in the area. It's not much to look at but it's just so cool.

It's called the Futuro House, designed by Matti Suuronen in 1968. Only 96 of these homes were ever built. 96. And we've got one a few miles from where we live.

It's not habitable but it still gets a regular flow of visitors. If I had money to burn I would definitely buy this house and refurbish it. Don't you think it would make a great studio or a writing haven? Think of the inspiration!

The house is tiny. According to this web site it can accommodat
e eight people. Yeah, maybe, if they were REALLY good friends.

You can see pictures of what these homes looked like brand new at the web site.

Our local Futuro House is sad looking, but still neat. I wish I knew
who owned it. I'd like to know why it's sitting in that field and why no one has ever done anything with it.

My guess: I think it's a real flying saucer and this is where it crash landed.

My proof: There's a big honky tonk not far from there. I think the aliens got so plastered, they crashed and didn't have enough dough to get their ride fixed.

Every time I pass by this thing I want to haul it back to my property and fix it up. I just hate to see it unloved.

Don't you think it's unique? If you could own this piece of history, what would you do with it?

A home? A diner? You can call it the Do Drop Inn.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Call Me Lucky

You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I'm a little superstitious. I try not to walk under ladders, and if I spill salt, I always throw the spilt remains over my left shoulder--just in case.

Why take the chance, right?

But I have publishing superstitions too. I don't like to make major announcements until I have the SIGNED contract from the publisher in my grubby little hands.

Guess what I got in the mail the other day?

Celebrate with me! This fall, (November, if Angela James is right) my science fiction romance will release under the Carina Press banner.

Can I get a WOOT-WOOT from you guys?

There is a long and complicated story behind the story which I'm sure you'll hear bits and pieces along the way. But I am very proud and pleased to have signed with Carina Press for my novel, TRUE BELIEVERS.

It is science fiction, action-adventure, and a love story all rolled into one. Along the way, I probably managed to aggravate the Catholic Church, the US government, and every code monkey who ever debugged a computer. Poke me with a fork and call me done. LOL.

This is a novel that almost wasn't, and I'm grateful to Angela James to have given me the chance to tell this story.

I don't want to spoil the surprise of the official blurb, so I'll leave you with the blurb I used to pitch this story.

Mix one cynical immortal and one true believer and throw them into the biggest alien-hunt the world has never known.

Rachel Cruz is a Nephilim masquerading as an archeologist and she's stuck with an alien who believes she can lead him to his ancestral gods.

Black Ops wants to find these gods too. They want them dead.

Who reads SF? I need a fan club!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Maria-Fail

I am a failure at Twitter. Try as I might, I simply can't keep up with with all the tweets. Am I damned for eternity? Is there a Twitter hell for those of us who shame the Twitter Blue Bird of Happiness?

Someone told me that I need to put the people I want to read in a favored list group, and just keep up with those folks. But that begs the question: Why follow people if you don't intend to read their tweets?

Am I missing some subtle social protocol?

I know some of you are Twitter-wise, juggling from tweet to tweet like a short order cook flipping tweet-burgers. How do you do it?

Because of my mega guilt for not being able to follow everyone's tweets, sometimes I go days without signing on to Twitter. It bugs me because some people have really good tweets and I feel like I'm missing out.

Twitter
keeps me up-to-the-minute on events and for that alone I make the effort, but I feel like I'm losing ground. I need some advice.

How do you handle so many followers? How do you decide who to read?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

First Egg

We interrupt our normal programming to show you our FIRST egg.

We're so proud.


What's even more interesting is that I think the hen who laid it was my poor 'victim' chicken, the one everyone was picking on.

I've got some more pictures to show you next week. Greg built a very nice set of nest boxes that turned out tres cute. He just made it, so the chickens haven't had a chance to lay in them yet.

I wasn't planning on posting today, but I just had to crow. LOL!

Friday, July 23, 2010

I Dub Thee...

I've been renaming some of you--and you can't even tell.

My reader has well over 500 blogs that I scan daily. As colorful, original and downright cute some of your blog names are, I almost always rename them with your actual names when I subscribe them to my reader.

There is no way I'd remember over 500 blogs, but I can remember people's names a little better, especially when there's a face to the name. It makes it so much more personal too.

The only time I don't rename the blog is when the blogger leaves absolutely no clue as to who he is.

If the blog is just day to day stuff, it probably won't affect you to remain marginally anonymous. But if it's someone who wants to create a public presence, like a writer, reviewer, artist, or seller of crafts, I think it's in your best interest to keep your name (or pen name) obvious--even if it's not in the title.

Subsidiary information, like blog titles, unique keywords, or book titles send little tendrils out into the ether. By attaching my name to each and every one of them, it expands my searchability.

On the other hand, people can argue that a colorful blog title might be more memorable. That might be true for normal readers who only visit a few dozen blogs. I read so many that they blur together. Names are personal. Eventually, I develop relationships with many of these people. I want to know them by name.

I thought about this long and hard when I started this blog. I use the subheading, 'Tales of OtherWorlds', but it's just a catchphrase. Even when I use a 'user name' on places like forums, my messages always come attached with my full name.
I feel it is more advantageous to make my name the product and the brand.

It's been deliberate from the start and in retrospect, I think it was the right decision for me. I am very easy to find, and this blog and my books come up even on 'intuitive' searches.

How did you choose the name for your blog?

Was it the right choice for you?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Iko Needs A Puppy

I've been half-heartedly looking for an Australian shepherd ever since Chelly died two years ago. Greg never stopped looking and he is constantly sending me links for Aussie rescues, but I kept turning them down, saying, she's not the one.

Iko has convinced me I need to get a third dog, not for me, but for him. He is still slightly neurotic whenever Greg has to leave, and he goes into a chewing fit. It starts on the second day after Greg has gone. Maybe that's when he realizes, "Oh no, dad's not coming back. I'm stuck with Godzilla Woman!"

The dog has teeth like a chainsaw. He can rip through thick leather in one bite. It's too painful to recount the things he's destroyed. And although I can time it to the day when he starts to get anxious, I know I can never trust him alone. --and no, I am not going to put him on doggie downers.

Tank will play with Iko early in the morning and after their midmorning snack so he is perfectly content and occupied. The chewing almost always happens in the evening (when I'm trying to write).

The trouble is Iko is so unpredictable. He can go days being a perfect angel, then out of the blue, he'll get anxious and chews on the first comfort 'toy' he sees. So I wondered...what if I got a PM puppy. Someone to keep him busy at night and make him forget that daddy's not here.

Right now, Iko has to be with me 24/7. No fun for either of us because I have to keep whatever room I'm in with a shut door. Poor Tank thinks I'm mad at him since he can't be with mommy whenever he wants.

I will renew my efforts to get another Aussie, and this time it won't matter if she's a rescue or not. She just has to stand up to a frenetic rottie with abandonment issues.

I'm not looking forward to potty training and late night whimpers but Iko was housebroken within three weeks and he caught on to our schedule fast. I'm sure the next puppy will catch on quickly too, especially with two brothers teaching her the ropes.

***

Now that Greg is getting his shop, we have started talking about goats. I am excited! We've already marked off where their pen will be and it shouldn't be too much work to put up the fence.

Greg was ready to build the fence right away, but it's already late summer. I suggested it would be better to build the fence in the fall and buy the goats in early spring so we wouldn't have to overwinter them.

We're not going to raise too many, maybe two kids and a bred yearling to start. I know almost nothing about goats, so this will be a new animal to me, but I'm sure I'll learn fast.

After raising belligerent pigs, goats should be a piece of cake.


Though the words of a local breeder have been haunting me ever since I talked to him. He says: From the moment they're born, goats are looking for a place to die.

Great.

Goats have to be regularly wormed and monitored. And because they like to munch on almost anything, you have to make sure there is nothing dangerous in their pens.

I suppose that's no different than Iko. Except that Iko chews on only the most expensive Oriental rugs. Goats are less selective.

That poor Aussie puppy is going to be busy.


***

On the other side of the pond, Jayne Ferst is holding a contest to celebrate sending out her first query. Jayne has selected some awesome priz
es, so do go over and put yourself on her Follower list.

I must admit I am relieved that Jayne is finished with her
query. I thought poor Ginger would never get fed.

Isn't she a cute kitty?

I wonder if I can send Iko over there. Maybe Ginger can teach him some kitty yoga.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Editing Tips

I've been working on edits for the past week and I've come across a nice routine for keeping me on track.

When my editor sends me changes, she sends them in parts. It was the first time anyone had ever done that with me and I wasn't sure if I liked it until I started working on it.

Sending back the manuscript in pieces has kept me focused on one segment at a time. If you get back 400 pages in one shot it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But 100 page segments feels more humane.

One thing I did this go round, which you can do regardless if it's an editor or a critique partner, is make a duplicate copy with the tracked changes accepted and then reading it again.

By creating a duplicate copy without all the red marks it becomes less distracting. I found I could more easily polish the narrative and edit with fresher eyes.

***
Aren't you all surprised I did an actual writing post today? LOL.

***
And did you hear about that silly quiz that told you what famous author's work your writing resembles?

I could have sworn that quiz made the rounds last year, but for whatever reason it went viral this year. The algorithm is keyword based so you got all kinds of loopy answers. It has nothing to do with your writing style.

Here is the Huffington Post article out to burst your bubble.
Such a shame. Now you can't go around flaunting your Kafka.

***
Lastly...

Poison ivy is getting better. I tried Stacy's (Form and Funktion) over-the-counter remedy of Technu and it seemed to work pretty well.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Freebies

According to my internet provider there's a chance I won't have service on Friday...and then again next Wednesday. I can't believe they sent me notice ahead of time. If I'm absent on one of those two days, that's why.

I thought I would share a few freebies that came across my Reader this week. The magazine subscriptions are the best deals. I have subscriptions to at least a dozen or more, absolutely free.

They tend to expire pretty quickly, but if I'm getting ready to post, I'll include them from now on in case anyone is interested.

Word to the wise: I always use a separate email account when I sign up for these freebies, just in case. I've been getting free magazines for over a year and they've been safe. No one ever asks for money and I've never been spammed. You just answer their demographics questions.

If I'm not mistaken, these are only good in the US, but you can check to make sure.

Horse & Rider, Free one year subscription

Salt Water Sportsman, Free one year subscription

Trailer Boats, Free one year subscription

***

Free Pedometer from Nature's Bounty

***

Sam's Club freebies: You'll need your membership number to get these.

Purina One sample (Click 'Get A Sample')

Cascade dish washing soap
(Click 'Get A Sample')

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What's In Your Wallet?

Jackie from Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Stories started this meme that got more interesting the more I thought about it. I didn't list all the categories, but these four were my favorites.

Once I started listing stuff, I realized how telling it was about my personality.

5 things always in my purse

Phone, business cards, calculator, notebook, pen

5 things always in my refrigerator

Coke Zero, garden seeds, plum wine, shredded cheese, water

5 things always in my car

Sweater, radar detector, Wet Wipes, dog bowl, maps

5 things always on my desk

--What desk? I have a desk? Oh wait, there it is.
Computer, jump drive, phone list, pad of paper, pens

If someone were to rummage around my house and car, they'd probably deduce that I was probably forgetful given the abundance of note paper and writing instruments. I travel with my dogs, and sometimes I need a reminder on how fast I'm going. ;) I am also likely to get lost--a lot.

All true.

What does your stuff say about you? If you do this meme, let me know so I can go over and visit.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From Bottom to Top

The bottom fell out today, so this will be a short post.

After more than 4 weeks, I FINALLY got my car back. I didn't mind not having a vehicle, except for that one time when Greg became stranded and I had to rescue him. It's a great inconvenience to be without transportation--especially when you live in Texas.

When I lived in Chicago, everything you needed was within walking distance, but here...every excursion is a journey.

I also have repair people coming today and tomorrow for an ongoing problem with the air conditioning and ovens. These things are under warranty, which means I am at the mercy of their schedules.

We did a bit more work yesterday and cut a few trees to widen a trail. Greg cuts, I pile the limbs into a brush pile that we'll burn later.

Only one of the logs I picked up had ants on it.

Then I had ants on me.

You never saw a woman get naked so fast. They were all over my shirt and I yelled at Greg for help. He came running and helped me out of my top. (I'm sure it was all his pleasure. LOL.)

I ran into the house and showered off the remaining ants that had landed in my hair.

Add one more reason, it's good to live in the boonies. At least if you have to get naked in a hurry, there's little chance of offending the neighbors.

Oh, yeah...I think I now have poison ivy too. :sigh:

It's one of those days. Anyone else a veteran of poison ivy?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blog Shout Out Winners

I proclaim the Blog Shout-Out contest a great success. It turned out so well, I'm thinking about doing it next year too.

I purposely kept it small so that you wouldn't be flooded with links, but if I do it next year, I'll have it run over a longer length of time and give out more prizes.


One of the things I liked was seeing people actually commenting on blogs. That's the problem with most blogs, a lot of people visit, but few leave comments.

Granted, I don't expect people to comment every time, but when something tickles your brain, you should drop a line or two. This is what creates relationships. You say something. Then they say something. Before you know it, you're having a conversation.

We need more real conversations and less cricket noises.

Given that
Blogger/Google didn't play nice with me last week, I know some people missed some posts, so I'm going to list the entire run down by day.

Monday

Mike Keyton, Record of a Baffled Spirit

Kaz Augustin, Cooking with Kaz

Marguerite Butler, Marguerite Says

Jeannie Mierni
k, The Magic Nutshell

April Hollands, Le Franco Phoney


Tuesday

Lydia Kang, The Word is my Oyster

Stacy Low, Form & Funktion

Denise Covey, l'Aussie

Jim Vines, T
he Working Screenwriter

Manuel Royal, Donnetown Today

Wedneday

Dru, Dallnotes

Jackie, Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Stories

Lisa Clark & Lisa Davis-Craig

Terri Coop, Why I Fear Clowns

Diane J, Contentedly Neurotic

Thursday

Kait Nolan, Shadow and Fang

Sandra Ulbrich Almazon: Speculative Fiction Author

Marian Perera, Flights of Fancy

Barbara Ann Wright

Renee Miller,
Dangling on the Edge of (In)Sanity

Friday

Abby Ang

Marianne Arkins, Reading, Writing, & Stuff That Makes Me Crazy

Liz Fichera

Jane Lovering

Gina Langridge, Fairy Hedgehog


Saturday


Stella, Ex Libris

Ruth Rockafield, Power of the Pen

Sara-Jayne Townsend, Says Sara


Barbara Martin

Gemma, The Literary Project

Sunday

Krista D. Ball

LM Preston

Wendy Ramer

Tyffani Clark

Susan Griscom


Each blog entry was placed in the Randomizer in the order received.

Drum roll, please.

The winner of the Texas package is...
Marian Perera

***

Ms/Mr Congeniality: And because several of you went above and beyond visiting and commenting, I made myself a little note of your names and put them in the Randomizer too.

This winner will get
'Touch Of Fire' in ebook and a tube of Chicken Poop lip balm. (Relax, there is NO chicken poop in the balm.) It's a blend of natural emollients.

When I saw the packaging, I had to get it! The tag line reads: Grandpa says: "If ya got dry lips, put chicken poop on 'em so you won't lick 'em."

Is that not great marketing?


And the winner of the Ms Congeniality prize is Terri Coop.

Marian and Terri, please email me your physical mail addresses and I'll get your prizes in the mail.

I hope all of you won yourselves a few new readers along the way. And I hope you enjoyed the contest as much as I did. We'll see about doing this again next year.

Now that the contest is over, maybe I'll have some time to actually visit you myself. It's been a little crazy this past week.

Link often and link well.

Note: If you are following me, and I have not followed you back, please let me know.

And if you're not following me...what are you waiting for? I'm not getting any prettier you know. I keep trying, but this seems to be as good as it gets. LOL.

Off to blog hop. On Wednesday, we return to regular programming.

Update: Just stopped off at Stacy Low's blog. She wants to know about you. Stop over and introduce yourself.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Take A Gander At These Blogs

Today is our last batch of entries. It's been a heck of a ride. Aside from Blogger and Google monkey-dancing on my posts, traffic here has been tremendous and I hope that translates into more eyes on your blogs.

On Monday, I will announce a winner, and because I was so impressed with the interest this contest generated, I am going to include a small bonus prize to a second winner.

So here are your marching orders for today. Visit these nice people. Introduce yourself and tell 'em I sent you.

And for those of you who have been visited, be sure to return the favor. Add yourself to their follower list and read these new blogs for a a few weeks to get a feel for them.

Here is today's line up.



Krista D. Ball

My blog is a combination of writing tidbits for new authors, zombie rants, and a few author interviews. I really need to talk about my animals more, since all authors talk about their pets.


***


LM Preston

I blog about books, teen issues, writing, movies, travel, my books, scifi topics and give interviews of others in the book biz.


***


Wendy Ramer

My blog is meant to read as a column about whatever observations I'd like to make about life at the moment. Sometimes I try to be funny and other times sentimental. I only hope my readers like my "voice" as they share their own thoughts on the issue of the day.


****


Tyffani Clark

(Ed. Note: A brand new blog!) It's only a month old, so it's developing, and there aren't many followers yet, but I'd like to get more. It's a writing blog.


***


Susan Griscom

Family, Friends and Life in general. Opinions welcome.



Stop over and be neighborly. It all starts with Y-O-U.

For past Blog Shout-Outs, go here. Don't forget to click on 'Show older posts' for the earlier blogs.

***

Saturday's party was terrific. The food was great. The chickens came to visit and the lions roared for our guests. (That really freaked them out.) After it was over, Greg and I crashed on the sofa.

This past week has been unbelievably hectic, both on the homestead and the cyber front, but so much got accomplished and that makes it worthwhile.

I am looking forward to seeing who wins the Blog Shout-Out contest. I haven't run the names through Randomizer yet.

And don't forget there will be one bonus winner too. Be sure to come back tomorrow.

I think we're going to the movies today and see 'Predators'. What are your plans for today? Are there any movies you recommend?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Brainy Blogs & Zombie Chickens

You guys rock! I'm glad to see you moving around the blogosphere and checking out the other blogs I'm bringing you.

You each get a cookie...and a pony.

Okay, so it's a cyber pony and the cookie already has a few bytes in it. Get it? Bytes. All right, I'll stop. LOL.

So what's everyone doing today?

I am getting ready for this afternoon's party. The rain (that should have rightfully gone to New Hampshire) has been hitting us hard.

The good news is that all our outside work is done. The bad news is I really wanted to take this afternoon's guests on a tour of the woods and the chicken house. They've been asking about the chickens for weeks and this is the first time any of them have ever seen live chickens up close and personal.

I'm sure if my zombie chickens hear me calling, they'll come running up to the house.

Here, chick-chick-chick. Here, chickens!

This is followed closely by a handful of chicken scratch or old bread. I am their favorite human. But I have to keep them distracted so they won't eat my brain. mmm...brain.

Right now I think I am Greg's least favorite human. But I'm hoping to gain some brownie points soon. Tomorrow morning, the contractor who is going to build his shop is coming over to discuss designs.

I told him he could have the 40' x 60' shop. That made him a happy little camper.

:sigh: Once that shop gets built, I'll never see him.

***

For today's Blog Shout-Outs, I'm bringing you people who review, discuss, and say smart things.

Stop over and see how you like these blogs. Let them know I sent you (with a cyber pony).


Stella, Ex Libris

Ex Libris is a bookish blog. I post book reviews, author interviews, discussions about books/writing and other bookish topics, about reading challenges and I have 2 original features.


"Sunday Treats" is where I share a yummy recipe to a delicious dessert or other snack one could snack on while reading to sweeten it being Sunday and the weekend being almost over.


"Spotlight on..." is a regular feature where during one week I will introduce a particular genre through book reviews, author interviews, fellow reader's guest posts, book recommendations and giveaways in that genre.

***


Ruth Rockafield, Power Of The Pen
Power of the Pen is my writing blog, and I talk about everything from my newest novel to my serialized novel (one part posted a week). There are writing dares and blog chains...

***


Sara-Jayne Townsend, Says Sara

Officially I blog about writing, reading, commuting and travelling - the things that occupy most of my life. But I sometimes blog about other 'life' stuff if I think others might find it interesting. For the last year or so I have been blogging a lot about the process of getting my first book published, from the contract to it appearing as an e-book on Lyrical Press's page, and also the process of trying to boost sales of said e-book.

***

Barbara Martin

I write book reviews, and posts on environmental issues based on the various genres that my own fantasy manuscripts contain. I also write Canadian history articles, some of which are background material for future manuscripts.

***


Gemma, The Literary Project

This is an interview blog aimed at helping new and aspiring writers learn more about the industry. So far I've interviewed two top UK literary agents, bestselling writers, debut authors, literary festival organisers, creative writing tutors and literary consultants. I'm trying to gather as much info as I can straight from the people in the industry and put it in a place aspiring writers can easily access.


For past Blog Shout-Outs, go here. Don't forget to click on 'Show older posts' for the earlier blogs.