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The First Blog of Christmas

14 Dec
RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is the author of the Life First series, a dystopian thriller set in the future, where the government can take your organs if they want, and give them to someone else. Prior to writing Crayton was a journalist and has worked at a variety of publications, including the Kansas City Star, Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News. Presently, Crayton is a monthly contributor to the Indies Unlimited blog and an occasional contributor to the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies blog. The first book in her series, Life First, is on sale for 99 cents until December 31.

FROM RJ: 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop – Photo Fun I was so pleased when Martin Crosbie invited me to participate in this 12 Days of Christmas blog hop.  Martin was pretty broad about the topic, so I thought I’d talk about having fun with your photos at Christmas. Not just taking a fun photo (as pictured here), but doing fun stuff with your photos. Back in 2008, when this pic was taken, I started doing a holiday card and website for my family. This was before Facebook was ubiquitous and if you wanted to share digital pics with family members you had to email them around, and hope your email didn’t get blocked because the attachment file sizes were too large. Or you had to create your own website.   Having created a website for my wedding, the task seemed easy enough, and I set up a website where I posted a holiday letter wrapping up our year along with lots of photos.

Read More (link: http://wp.me/p3s5mv-Qb)

Book Links:

Amazon Author Page (all books): http://www.amazon.com/RJ-Crayton/e/B00DFQ5F24/

Smashwords Series Page (all books): https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/10510

Google Play (all books): https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=RJ%20Crayton&hl=en

Barnes & Noble (all books): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/rj-crayton

Itunes(all books): https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/rj-crayton/id666058030?mt=11

Current Promotions

Life First is 99 cents until Dec. 31 (price is at all retailers)

 

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The 12 Blogs of Christmas

13 Dec
The 12 Blogs of Christmas

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Hello everyone! This holiday season I’m honored and excited to be one of a group of 12 authors who have come together to offer you up some great reading. This special project, titled “The12 Blogs of Christmas”, has been organized by my friend and best selling author, Martin Crosbie.

Here’s how it works: between now and Christmas, each day we will be hosting and posting a different bio, author picture, and a blog post from one of this group of very talented and hand-picked authors: R.J. Crayton, Jamie Lee Scott, Heather Haley, Jennifer Ellis, Helga Zeiner, Laurie Boris, M,L. Gardner, Roberta Kagan, Sarah Lane, and Wendy McClelland, and Martin Crosbie.

I know! What a fab group, right? So here is my contribution. Thanks for dropping by!

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit …

Bah, Humbug!

To steal that popular line, it is Hot Stuff Hubby’s summation of what he also refers to as “a Hallmark Holiday”. The rest of us call it Christmas.

For anyone who has anything for sale, the Christmas retail season is like bottled oxygen to an astronaut in a Space Station – absolutely necessary in order to survive the rest of the year.

Not a particularly religious man, Hot Stuff nevertheless laments the overshadowing of the original intent of fellowship and gratitude of the season, with that of a glut of retail activity.

Personally, I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. I think I must have been a magpie in a former life because I love all things sparkly – twinkling lights, reflective ornaments, the ropes of flashy tinsel, diamonds (ahem, are you reading this, Hot Stuff?), and such.

I love Christmas music, especially the more traditional carols and hymns perfectly harmonized and performed by choirs – I feel no shame in humming along out loud as they are pumped out of the speakers in the mall stores; I thrive on the smells of Christmas baking – sugar and cinnamon, butter and raisins, warm gingerbread – and can often be seen hanging out around the local bakery counter until the clerks get a little nervous at my continuous presence; and I take personal pride in decorating my home and yard as though it were a marker for NASA to be easily seen from outer space.

But this year is a  little different.

  • My family is grown and gone and have moved away to the farthest points possible. They won’t be home to appreciate my normal decorative efforts.
  • An early Arctic vortex unexpectedly moved across the Canadian prairies where I live and parked itself over top of my house, and as much as I want to have my yard lit up in a display that rivals a summer fireworks display, I am loathe to be out there in -25, tying strands of lights to my trees.
  • And finally, sinking into a twinkle-deprived depression, I didn’t feel the need to haul my pre-lit tree up from the basement, rearrange the furniture to accommodate it, and transform my living spaces into a picture of perfect Yuletide-ness.

I curled up in front of my fireplace with my own Grumpy Cat, Sergio, for the practical warmth of it, rather than to immerse myself in the contentment of the holiday season.

Sergio: Anyone ready for a cuddle with me by the fire?

Sergio: Anyone ready for a cuddle with me by the fire?

 

Christmas was creeping up on me and I had not done any preparation, including getting my own writing ready for a Christmas push. I avoided visiting the mall and the bakery, and my playlist was a jumble of Country rock and techno.

Until the phone call.

Hot Stuff’s side of the family phoned to say they would be coming to stay the entire Christmas WEEK with us for the first time ever. The parents, their two grown children, and … their two Border collies.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love these relatives. They are FUN people with deadly senses of humor and the week with them will be non-stop entertainment with plenty of culinary pleasures, liquid refreshments, and laughter. I was delighted to hear they were coming, although the news that there would be two hyperactive dogs in my house for the entire week left me a little less joyful (but believe me, I am not as distressed about that news as is Grumpy Cat Sergio…).

TWO dogs?? For a WHOLE week?? You gotta be kiddin’ me! I think I’m gonna be sick…

And so the phone call galvanized me into a furious whirlwind of action. I rearranged my furniture like I was a set of triplet interior designers, I relieved my local hardware store of their entire supply of exterior extension cords with which to light up my house and yard, and I brought in a two week supply of food, drink, and baking goods. I even have my Christmas playlist wired so that the music fills my house AND yard. (Gotta love those wireless speakers.)

I may have permanently injured my Achilles tendon hauling that damned tree up from the basement in such a hurry, but no worries. It’s a small price to pay for having rediscovered my Christmas spirit. The busy preparation is done and I have only to sit at my laptop, rear glued to a chair, nostrils filled with the sweet scent of fresh cinnamon sticky buns baking in my oven, and get to work on my next manuscript in my Quintspinner series. Too late for Christmas sales, but maybe for the post-Christmas slump in late January when there is not so much competition? I’m sure I read a post somewhere claiming that there is such a thing.

And I think my Christmas spirit may be infectious. Hot Stuff Hubby has mentioned that the tree does look kinda empty, that maybe we should go shopping, and oh-by-the-way did I know that there are a couple of neighbors who will be spending Christmas alone – do we have room at the table for a few more?

You bet.

I love Christmas. Best wishes to all of you. May you be filled with the feelings of joy and friendship that is Christmas, however you see it. And in case you need a cheap-like-borsch last minute gift for a loved one, well there you go. Hit that link.

Merry Christmas! Ho, Ho, Ho!

Blog – Adventure #2 – Operation Sting! (Jelly Fish Sting, that is…) or Up Close and Personal With Creatures of the Deep

6 Oct

Taking a shortcut and drifting through a Mexican Mangrove-like swamp, the eight of us (yup – same family of mine, that by now you’ve probably come to know reasonably well), were boating over to a neighboring beach, the sun splashing down on our shoulders like warmed suntan oil. It was early December – shoulder season meant no crowds – and it was blissfully perfect.

 

Arriving at our destination, we were delighted to see that, except for a half dozen fishermen who were working their fishnets in the shallow waters, we were the only ones on the beach. There weren’t even any customers lounging on the patio of the tiny traditional Mexican restaurant that sat just back of the soft strip of sand that rimmed this little bay.

My family in Mexico - all 6 kids. (Not a typo - count 'em!)

My family in Mexico – all 6 kids. (Not a typo – count ’em!)

As we strode into the warm waters, the fisherman yelled and greeted us in Spanish, waving their arms in an enthusiastic fashion. Speaking no Spanish, we grinned, waved back and plunged into the waves.

 

 
Within seconds, the entire underside of my body exploded in pain, feeling akin to what I imagine it would be like to have five thousand elastic bands all snapping against my skin at one time. Staggering from the water, I was nearly stampeded and pummeled into the sand by the rush of all other family members in their efforts to clear the water as well. Our combined screeching, however, was topped by the shrieks of my 14 year old daughter. A raised crimson welt slashed down the length of her thigh. Something had stung us all, but only she had any mark to prove it.

 

 
Somewhere in my panicked brain, my EMT training took over. A thought rose to the forefront. A very logical, extremely scientific thought. Something about either vinegar or concentrated urine salts changing the ph or cellular barrier of the ocean dweller’s venom-filled cells to stop or reverse the expulsion of the venom out of the deposited cellular cysts. So I did what any scientist would do.

 

 
“Boys!” I bellowed in my most motherly commando-sounding voice. “Get over here right now and pee on your sister’s leg!”

 

 
Well, I can tell you that I got no co-operation from either side.

 

 

By now the fishermen had hustled over to us and had already enlisted the assistance of the senora, owner of the beachside restaurant. This angel flew to our rescue with a huge bowl of sliced up limes and began to squish vast amounts of lime juice all over the welt. Plenty of it. And it seemed to work. Within minutes, my daughter’s wails had downgraded to a few shuddering sniffles.

 

 
“Why you no listen, Senora?” the puzzled fisherman asked.

 

 
“Listen to what?” I asked, slightly annoyed to being grilled like this while the lime juice application was continuing. This woman was using copious amounts.

 

 
“Medusas peligro!” he replied.

 

 
Peligro. Danger. That much Spanish I knew. But what kind of danger? My confused look brought only a snort from him, and he grabbed a glass from his satchel, strode into the ocean and scooped it full of water.

 

 
“Medusas!” he exclaimed upon returning, and he held the glass up for me to see.

 

 
I squinted and then I gasped.

 

 
Suspended in the water-filled glass were several tiny almost transparent Jellyfish! The “friendly” hand waving and shouts from the fishermen had been words of warning to the crazy Canadians who were blindly romping into the infested waters. We later heard from another bilingual tourist that there had been some kind of overnight underwater storm that had stirred up and brought into the shallow waters, a bloom of – given the size in the glass sample – baby jellyfish. Oh yeah, and one humongous one, as my daughter would have you believe.

 

 
Later that evening, as the sun set over that expanse of mysterious ocean, I made a journal entry of  our day’s adventure, filing it under “Quintspinner Research”.  It was shortly after that,  that I got around to  treating my still-slightly-burning skin with a lime juice/tequila concoction of my own. Taken internally. And plenty of it.

End of a Day in Paradise

A Peaceful End to a Day in Paradise

Now go and see where in Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest, part of this little true story was adapted to fit into the plot. I’ll give you a hint. It involves the character, Mr. Lancaster. He was fond of liquid medications taken internally. Believed they did more good that way….

 
For those of you needing to acquire your own copy of the Quintspinner adventure to find the answer, you can net one right here: http://amzn.to/1kLuqi9 .

 
And stay tuned for the next adventure installment: Um …  is that a snake you’re wearing?

How to Meet Deadlines and Remain Sane

4 Apr

I meant to post these thoughts some time ago, but am only now getting around to it. Oh and by the way, this post was also posted over on http://fabulosityreads.blogspot.ca/2014/03/how-to-meet-deadlines-remain-sane-by_11.html#.Uz8L1VdnA2s. (A fabulous blog, true to its name!) Somehow I met the deadline for that… 😀

My name is Dianne and I am a procrastinator – a busy one, but nevertheless I am an authentic procrastinator. Image
Yet somehow I manage to work at a fulltime day job, assist Hot Stuff Hubby with a part-time endeavor, direct an annual 2 week stint of dinner theatre, take care of two very large yards year round, sit on three community boards, keep in touch with 6 grown children and dispense motherly wisdom on a daily, sometimes hourly basis (yes, I am, as well, a hovering helicopter parent with 30 plus years of experience), and I write novels. Sandwiched in between all of this big stuff is the little stuff – the “crack filler stuff” that holds my life together. (More on this later.)

 

Know this truism and Rule of The Universe: WORK EXPANDS TO FILL THE AMOUNT OF TIME ALLOTTED TO IT.

It always has and always will.

This is actually an unwritten law from the higher realms of Quantum physics. (C’mon, stick with me as I ramble on here – it will soon make sense, and you will be able to brag to your friends about your literary choices by casually saying something to the effect of, “Yeah, so I was reading this blog post on Quantum physics the other day ….” Now how impressive would THAT be?)

Model, Science, Mike, Symbol, AndrewBut I digress. It’s all about the energy not being able to be created or destroyed. Which means there will always be stuff to get done. Always. You will never get caught up. All the great minds in physics realize this. Just ask them – physicists like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Ok, well maybe it’s too late to chat up ol’ Albert but Steve, if you’re reading this post, feel free to leave a comment at the end.    Science, People, Einstein, Cartoon The point of the Rule of The Universe is that in order to meet deadlines, you must put your tasks on The List (see point #1 below), and assign a start and stop time to each one. Do this and It. Will. Get. Done. The trick is to get through The List without bleeding every last drop of energy out of you.

Here’s how I manage to meet deadlines in view of the aforementioned rule, while remaining calm and a little bit shy of crazy:

1.Make THE LIST. Here’s how. Get a calendar. No, not just the one in your phone, although that’s a dandy way to get audible reminders of how much time you’ve got left. Get a paper one as well, or at least a piece of paper and write down the deadlines in the spaces of the appropriate days. Estimate, realistically, how many minutes/hours/days it will take you to do the task and, working backwards from the deadline date, write the start time down.

Oh, and seriously? Capturing all of the things/events/issues/meetings/promised outcomes on paper makes them much easier to keep track of. This in itself relieves an unbelievable amount of mental stress. You no longer have to attempt to lasso all of those thoughts and mental memos racing and banging around inside the old noggin, which is kind of like trying to herd an armload of cats into your car for a trip to the vet for yearly vaccinations. (Cats instinctively know what you’re planning. Think only kind thoughts towards them.)

Brown, Cat, Kitten, Kitty, Illustration

2.Stay focused and devote the time solely to the task at hand. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you finish something if you have only a set amount of time in which to do it, and you’ll be surprised at how good the wash of relief feels when you can tick a task off your list of things-to-be-done.

Ever get a phone call from friends who want to drop by in 15 minutes? Suddenly you can do the sink full of dishes, or at least hide them in the dishwasher, vacuum the cat hair off the couches, wipe the last meal’s crumbs from your kitchen counters, sweep the floors, toss the smelly bag of garbage into the outside can, and put your feet up, looking like you have nothing else to do for the evening, before the doorbell even rings. Under normal circumstances, those household tasks could have eaten up an entire afternoon.

Home, Education, People, Lady, Woman3.Break up overwhelming tasks into manageable bits and set a goal for yourself with a time limit. One hour. One day. Maybe one week, although that’s almost too big – it leaves lots of squirming room for those of us who have an issue with staying on task. Hoping to write your next novel and get it finished in this decade? (I speak from personal experience in trying to get Book Three in my Quintspinner Series done.) How about writing 100 words at every meal? That’s not asking a lot. How many times have you been asked to fill in an online form for your book and in doing so, must leave a 100 word description? All of a sudden 100 words fly onto the page in a matter of a few sentences, and before you know it, you’re OVER your allotted limit. (Take this #3 point for example. It’s 143 words up to this point, not counting this sentence. How easy was that?)

Pencil, Happy, Jumping, School, Writing4.Learn to say “No.” And practice saying it out loud. There IS a practical limit to how many tasks a non-super-human being can take on and still retain some semblance of sanity. Pass that limit, and unmet deadlines will fall by the wayside like heat-struck guards at the palace gates. 

Old, Sign, Stop, Office, People, Man

5.Set rewards for yourself, to be enjoyed at the end of tasks. Rewards are the crack-filler stuff that stops me from fragmenting. (See? I promised that I would get to this part.) Rewards can be as decadent as a glass of wine, some white chocolate, and a soak in the hot tub, or as practical as watching a favorite TV show, reading for pleasure, or indulging in a hobby.

Woman, Tan, Watering, Garden, Spring

However you choose to time-manage your commitments, make sure that they leave you with a feeling of enjoyment, or at least some level of satisfaction upon completion.  Otherwise it’s just an expenditure of energy on matter that doesn’t matter. But that’s another lecture on a subset of Quantum physics, best saved for another time. I’d love to hear from you on how you effectively meet YOUR deadlines.  Now go get that calendar.

School, Black, Notebook, Icon, Note

IT’S THE MARCH BOOK FRENZY!! YES, INDEEDY!

27 Mar

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Well the blog hop has begun and it runs until Sunday, March 30th! Your help sharing the March Book Frenzy would be greatly appreciated. Tell your friends!
This March Book Frenzy is brought to you by http://fabulosityreads.blogspot.ca/Image

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE  FREE AND DISCOUNTED BOOKS YOU SEE ON THE BANNER PLEASE REFER TO THIS BOOK CATALOG.

 

There’s also A WONDERFUL GIVEAWAY:

 

FOR READERS $35, $25 and $20CashPLUS2 eBooks from each author. Refer to the BOOK CATALOG Giveaway Link: March Book Frenzy (Readers)

FOR PARTICIPATING BLOGGERS ONLY

2 X $20 Cash Giveaway Link (Bloggers ONLY): Bloggers Giveaway

Increase your chances to win by visiting as many of the blogs on the book tour as possible. (Find the list of participating blogs by clicking here). Here’s a list of all of the stops: http://new.inlinkz.com//luwpview.php?id=375044.

Why not click around and visit these blog sites? Such a selection! And all of them are full of really great reading suggestions. The hosts have a huge collection of posts from authors, as well as many, many book reviews.

I’ve started things off for the tour with a post about 10 things that I wish I had known before I became an author. It’s been a steep learning curve and I probably could have had a list three times longer….

If you are like me – multitasking, trying to keep my head above water while tending to all of the bazillion things that threaten to pull me under while competing for my time and attention – well, I’m left with the attention span of a fruit fly. Therefore, I have added the post in it’s entirety below. (one less click step for you!)  Here goes:

10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Became An Author

 

  1. Some people write just for themselves. (Drawers full of scribbled down short stories and poems for-your-eyes-only anyone?) These people are writers. Not authors. There IS a difference. The author part is where you do the hard work that is required to get the story or poem ready for judgment by the rest of the world, and then succeed in doing so. Writers write for the joy of capturing thoughts down on paper or screen. Authors do this too, but hope to make a living at it. Most writers secretly long to become authors.
  2. Telling the story is the easy part. Then comes the hard part of editing, rewrites, cover design, and marketing your product.
  3. Writing to make money is a business. There are costs involved and hopefully, monies earned. You do not have to spend a fortune to get a good quality book out there (although some have) but you probably DO need to pay for some services such as book cover design (if you don’t have a fantastic, eye-popping cover, it will never be noticed at thumbnail size. I hire Derek Murphy at http://bookcovers.creativindie.com/ to do the book covers for my Quintspinner series. Treat yourself to seeing some amazing book covers over on his site). The Internet provides groups to join professionally (http://allianceindependentauthors.org/ ) and lists places to get answers to questions about “how-to” for most things related to publishing a book and becoming an author. Other jobs, such as proper formatting can be hired out at a reasonable cost, to people who will make sure that it’s done properly. End result? You will have a great product to sell. Do not skimp on the quality.
  4. You MUST embrace technology. You cannot get away from using it and it will be a steep learning curve. If, like me, you are somewhat of a computer troglodyte, learn what you can on your own, and then hunt down a teenager who, for the price of some weekend beer money, will teach you how to upload, download, resize jpg’s, start a blog and a Facebook page, etc. They have grown up with this stuff. They’re really, really good at it. Pretend the money you’re paying them is going toward their university savings.
  5. You should have a plan. Several of them actually. A plan for your book’s plot. A marketing plan for your book’s introduction to the world. A financial plan for your expenditures. Do not do any of these by the seat of your pants.
  6. Word of mouth is still the most effective (and cheapest) way to get your book out there in front of hopefully thousands of pairs of readers’ eyes, and without a doubt, book bloggers are the best way to spread the word about your book. They connect with a built-in audience of readers. Book bloggers are an author’s BEST avenue of book discovery.
  7. Most of your friends and family members will abandon you after the novelty of your first book wears off and you have not immediately been invited to be a guest sitting and chatting on Oprah Winfrey’s couch. See the next point.
  8. Writing is a solitary occupation and it is vitally important to make connections with other writers. Preferably those who are authors. Not only will they have advice about formatting issues, royalty statements, Amazon algorithms, and be able to offer encouragement to you when you are full of self-depreciating thoughts (Why can’t I write the next BIG THING? Why do I continue with this?), but they will completely understand your need for a glass of spiced rum and coke and a bowl of chips and dip to get the creative juices going. (Hey, I am writing a pirate series after all.)
  9. The pathway to authorship will become littered with sacrifices. It’s a demanding career choice and it does not willingly share your time with anything or anyone else in your life. Got time to watch a season’s worth of your favorite TV show? Nope. Spend a few hours on a lazy afternoon reading for pleasure? Not likely. Want a weekend to work on [insert your favorite hobby here]? Not going to happen. You will be hunched and crunched over your keyboard, eyes nervously flickering over your accumulated word count, as the sounds of your family’s laugher floats over your head from the family room elsewhere in your home.
  10. This is the most important point of all and if I had known this, it would have made the journey of writing my first book so much easier: the heart-pounding, intense thrill of seeing your book available for sale online for the very first time, or better yet, holding it as a physical copy in your hands, makes all of the above WORTH IT. Every lonely, frustrating, exciting, wonderful, challenging minute of it. I really wish I’d known this from the start. Wouldn’t have gone through quite so much spiced rum, I expect Cheers!

MULTIPLE AWARD WINNER including B.R.A.G. Medallion Winner, Best
Historical (Reader Views, NIEBA), Best YA (Writer’s Digest, Hollywood
Book Festival), Best Commercial Novel (Eric Hoffer), Book of the Year
(Foreword Reviews)

 
Even in the year 1717, one month, one week, or one day, can make all the difference in the world.
 
One month ago, Tess Willoughby was the daughter of a well-to-do physician in London, and she witnessed the murder of an old seer. Coming into possession of the dead woman’s odd ring – an ancient Spinner ring, known by the locals as the Ring of Prophesy, she was wrongly accused by her father of having stolen the ring.
Three weeks ago, by her father’s arrangement for the family, she became an unwilling passenger on a merchant ship bound for the pirate-infested waters of the Caribbean.
Two weeks ago, at her father’s insistence, she became forcibly betrothed to a man who she recognized as being the seer’s murderer – a man who covets her only for her ring.
One week ago, she met a sailor and experienced the thrill of being in love for the first time.
Two days ago, she realized that such a secret love would endanger them both, and, heart-broken, she was forced to choose her loyalty. 
Yesterday, her fiancé betrayed her during a pirate attack and those she loved were slaughtered.
Today, she is plotting to save her own life and perhaps to take his in retribution. The ring is urging her to decide quickly…
 
Tomorrow will be too late.
 
 
 
Born and raised on the Canadian prairies, Dianne Greenlay is the author of the hilarious story, THE CAMPING GUY, as well as QUINTSPINNER – A PIRATE’S QUEST and DEADLY MISFORTUNE, Books One and Two in a fast-paced award – winning adventure series, set in the 1700’s, in the pirate-infested waters of the West Indies. Greenlay is also a playwright, producer, and Creative Director of the long-running community theater group, Darkhorse Theatre. She is fluent in at least her mother tongue and she thanks her fierce English teachers for that. More of her thoughts on life can be found at www.diannegreenlay.com.

Connect With Dianne Here:

More of Dianne’s books on her AMAZON page.
Follow her on TWITTER.

 

Damn Fine Stuff!

25 Mar

[Image
I once had an old aunt who, in her youth had been quite a fire cracker. Years later, in the twilight of her life, she was still a confident, opinionated, and quite deaf old gal, but a bundle of entertainment to be around.

Most notably, she had a signature expression of everything that was to her liking, as being “Damn fine stuff” – as in music she liked: “Now that’s damn fine music!”, or in a sip of the ol’ medicinal: “Now that’s a damn fine drink!”, or (my favorite) in judgment of a particular lifeguard’s overall build: “Now that’s a damn fine piece of beautiful walking past us right there!”

Like I said, she was deaf, not blind…

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She passed away at the end of March several years ago, and I can’t help but think of her at this time of year, and so, in borrowing her phrase, I’d like to introduce you to some Damn Fine Stuff.

It just so happens that I am a part of the eNovel Author March Book Frenzy.  It’s an 8 author multi-blog (55 stops at last count, yup – NOT a typo. Fifty-five stops) that is running this week, March 27th through to March 30th. There are several amusing and revealing posts by the authors, book give-aways, and contests with cash prizes to be entered into. Here’s the link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YTQ1NWM3Zjk2MGMzZTg0ZThhYTIzYWJlNDcwMWUxOjI3/

You can find details for all of this incredibly Damn Fine Stuff here: http://fabulosityreadsbookpromotions.blogspot.ca/p/enovel-authors-march-book-frenzy.html

And free and give-away and cash is always good, isn’t it?

 Image

G’wan. Check it out. You know you wanna’… (Did I mention it was FREE stuff??)

Oh, and by the way, here is one of those entertaining author posts by yours truly ( a little bit of personal history in it) http://fabulosityreads.blogspot.com/2014/03/10-things-i-wish-i-had-known-before-i.html

Hope to chat with you somewhere along the blog hop! –Dianne

What I Live For

9 May

Today I’m taking part in ‘What I Live For’, an online event organized by author Satya Robyn. People like me all over the world will be sharing what gives their lives meaning. In Satya Robyn’s novel ‘Thaw’, Ruth gives herself three months to decide whether she can find a reason to carry on living. There’s 75% off the kindle version today (99p / $1.49) – you can read more here: http://www.satyarobyn.com/?page_id=56 .

And here are my thoughts on the subject of “What I Live For”.

I come from a dysfunctional family. At the time of growing up, there was no such term. I certainly wasn’t the only kid in school to come from a less than stellar background, but mine, in my younger years,  made me shy and insecure. I developed a tough exterior out of a need to survive, but I was always afraid that someone would find a chip in my armor and destroy the frightened little girl inside. Eventually I came to realize that I was OK. Each morning, the sun still came up, and each day I gained confidence in myself.

 My father was a workaholic, holding down a full-time real estate seller’s job, farming a small farm, and playing in a local band on weekends. He was also someone whose friends and social status was of much more importance to him that the feelings and needs of his family members were. The only time he really paid any attention to my brother and to me was to administer discipline at the end of his work day, for any infractions that we had done.

My mother was a severe alcoholic – so much so, that by the time I was the age of 12, I could no longer bring any friends home to play at our house after school, as Mom would be fall-down drunk and snarly. She was a demanding woman when she was sober, and a pugilistic one when drunk.

My brother was four years younger than myself, and I learned to “mother” at a very early age.

However, I outline these details, not to have a pity party but to rejoice in having grown up in such a family situation, because it has made me the person that I am today, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Yes. Grateful for that home life. How can that be? Well, it afforded me the environment in which to learn so much. As the popular poster says, “Children learn what they live.” In a way, that one wouldn’t probably expect, here’s what I learned:

  1. I became an excellent student. If I had 97%, I was not praised, but expected to have a reason for having lost those 3 marks. I still, to this day, strive to be the best that I can be, in all of my interests.
  2. I learned to cook. To do laundry. (Um, to drive underage.) To do my own banking. To administer simple first aid. These things I am grateful for, for I not only learned to cope, but began to thrive in all kinds of new or difficult situations.
  3. I learned of the damage that emotions can do, and resolved to not become embroiled in the inner struggles of others around me. Their wars are not mine. I now consciously decide where to spend my mental energies.
  4. I learned of the extraordinary feeling of bliss that loving one’s own family evokes. I now “mother” a blended family of six, and I do not think that I would have or could have appreciated how wonderful this family that I have is, had I not had the flip side to compare it to.
  5. My brother, who felt more like a child to me than a brother, passed away on his thirty-fifth birthday. He left me with so many happy memories of him (he had a deadly sense of humor that I miss most of all), but even with his passing, I have come to learn the incredible lesson that some people come into your life just to teach you how to let go.
  6. I wake each morning, grateful for all that I have, excited to see what my day holds for me, and I close my eyes at the end of each day, reviewing all that had been given to me.

And so, “What I Live For” is the opportunity to continue to experience all that life has yet in store for me, good and bad, frightful and restful, familiar and new. It is the purr of the feral cat who has decided that I am to be trusted, the whirr of the wings of the flock of birds who take flight at my advance, it is the comments of people that my writing has put me in touch with all over the world, it is the sunshine on my face, it is the excitement and sometimes the sadness that I hear in friends’ voices, and it is the feelings of love and contentment that catch me off-guard and pour over me at unexpected moments, filling me with the most joyous energy.

It is all part of my journey and I cherish it.

 Satya’s novel, “Thaw”, the story of a woman’s life choices, is available here: http://www.satyarobyn.com/?page_id=56 . Treat yourself to the pleasure of reading. Enjoy.

Happiness is a large fuzzy puppy at your side.

Happiness is a large fuzzy puppy at your side.

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