Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Dark Ridge: by LL Rucker, ISBN;1589614607 Available by order at: http://www.bn.com/,
I put these links, and a picture of my latest book up here because I need your help. Well, that's not strictly true. I'm not the one who needs the help, at least not this time, all though I think this idea will benefit me as much as it does others.
Yesterday I watched the Oprah show and Bono was on there, as was Alicia Keys and Kanye West. Everyone who has ever heard of Bono knows that he is passionate about the AIDS pandemic in Africa, as we all, as human beings should be.
The AIDS virus has reached terrifying proportions in Africa and the number of infected is staggering.
Sub Sahara Africa bears the brunt of the AIDS epidemic with almost three quarters of the deaths from Aids in 2006 happening there, and nearly two thirds of those living there are infected with the AIDS virus.
UN AIDS sources report that there are over 39.5 million people now living with AIDS. Sources report that there were 4.3 million new HIV cases reported this year (2006) with 2.6 million of these new cases reported in Sub Saharan Africa.
In 2006 alone some 2.9 million died of AIDS related illnesses. 2.9 million people. That is the population of a moderate sized city. Imagination an entire city the size of Chicago wiped out in a single year.
The numbers are absolutely staggering, but even more frightening is the number of newly infected people. Women are becoming more at risk now because of unprotected sex . Men who use prostitutes, or have sex with other men, then go home to their wives and pass the deadly disease on to them.
Rape in the war torn countries in Africa have caused widespread AIDS among younger women and girls and even younger boys and men.
Below is a graff which shows the numbers we, as a world community are dealing with.
As you can plainly see, the numbers are staggering, but in Africa it has become very close to extinction level in it's spreading.
So, we have to help. We have to do something to try and stop the spread of this deadly disease.
With that in mind, I am trying to create a relief fund called, W.H.A.T. that will not only help those infected with this deadly disease, but also promote literacy as well, not to mention bring the talents of some wonderful writers to the attention of the world.
I am trying to form a group of writers to help me with this battle. I want to get as many self-published, or small press authors together, and offer portions of our royalties to the AIDS relief fund, either through Bono's Debt AIDS Trade Africa, or DATA, and/or through Oprah's Angel Network to keep a child with AIDS alive. The name of this group of dedicated authors is: W.H.A.T. which stands for: Writers Helping with AIDS Treatment.
Not many people actually know how much money an unknown author actually makes off their books.
In my case, I make $1.27 off of every book I sell. Not a huge amount by any stretch of the imagination. But, I don't write for the money, so much as for the story. However, this time, with this book, Dark Ridge, I AM doing it for the money.
My goal is to sell 100,000 copies of my book worldwide and I pledge fifty cents, approximately 40% from every copy sold to the AIDS Africa fund. That comes out to roughly $50,000.00 for medicine to keep children infected with AIDS in Africa alive.
I will instruct my publisher to cut a check for Bono's DATA or Oprah's Angel Network for that fifty cents per copy sold every quarter for a full year. That is my pledge to do my part to help keep the children, the mothers, of Africa alive and to provide as many of them with the necessary medicine as that fifty thousand dollars will supply.
Okay, so now I need your help. If you are a reader, please, go to one of the above websites and order DARK RIDGE. If you are a writer, self published or small press published and you want to extend a helping hand by contributing a portion of your royalties for a full year to this cause, please contact me at: email@example.com
Please help. May your life be free of this deadly disease, and remember, but for the grace of your God, go you.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Okay, granted, it was botched and the person or persons responsible for the error need to be re-assigned, but come on folks get real.
So it took the murdering scum thirty minutes and two doses of the lethal injection to die. Are we supposed to feel sorry for the guy? He took a life; coldly, brutally, and without remorse. He made children orphans, a spouse widowed and for what? A few lousy bucks? And we're supposed to get all weepy eyed and outraged because he took thirty minutes to die?
Sorry, I don't. I think we have shown enough humanity for these people by giving them lethal injections instead of making them ride the lightening, as Steven King so eloquently called it in the Green Mile. Old Sparky has been retired, and a kinder, gentler way of doing away with baby raping, child murdering scum has become the accepted norm.
Well, maybe not accepted, because there are still opponents of the death penalty on both sides of the aisle.
But, are we really expected to feed, clothe and house these idiots for the rest of their lives? Do we really have to provide them with cable TV, libraries, three hots and a cot, laundry service, an education, games, entertainment, and a myriad of other diversions, at our expense, while their victims and the victims families struggle daily to survive the heartbreak and the loneliness for the rest of their lives?
Bullbutter!! I have always maintained that the punishment should fit the crime and I still do. If some bastard rapes, tortures and murders a child, he dies, painfully and slowly would be best, but he dies regardless, and not in ten, or twenty years, but as soon as his appeals have been denied. And why should he be given ten twenty appeals. If the supreme court or the court of appeals says no, then he's done. Why try to garner sympathy from another court? Did that murdering bastard offer any sympathy for his victim or the victims family? Nope.
I, for one, am not willing to spend a single dime giving comfort to a murderer, or a drug dealer, who deals poison and death to children, or a kidnapper, who tortures an innocent or murders him because he might be able to identify him a few years down the road.
Terrorists, deserve no sympathy, and no lengthy prison sentence. Execute the bastards before they get the chance to take the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of Innocent people.
We, as a nation have become far too weak and wimpy in our own defense. Political correctness has all but crippled us and made us a nation of weaklings and whiners. We think it better to molly coddle suspected terrorists and make sure their rights are not violated, but give that same terrorist a bomb and see how much he will coddle us.
We have a right to bear arms, We have a right to protect our homes and our families, We have a right to the pursuit of happiness, and we have a right to expect to live in peace, unmolested.
I for one am not willing to let political correctness ever put my family or my way of life in jeopardy.
I don't get it. I know folks climb mountains because they're there, but wouldn't it have made a hell of a lot more sense to wait until spring? Why do it now, in the the winter or actually the late fall, when they had to know the weather was iffy at best?
What was it that these three guys had to prove that couldn't wait until spring?
So, now we have friends and families waiting, praying and hoping that they will see their loved ones alive, and well, and all praying for a Christmas miracle, that sadly for one family will never come. And why? Because it was there? Is that sufficient reason to put your family and friends through this agony of waiting, hoping and praying? I can't see it.
NO matter how good a climber you are, no matter how experienced you think you are, Mother Nature is stronger and will not be denied. So why challenge her in this way?
All I can do is shake my head in amazement and send good thoughts to the families of the two remaining climbers.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
What a world, what a world! Every morning when I get up, CNN is on. Hubby likes to watch that gal thats on there in the morning. Me, I prefer Diane Sawyer and the GMA folks, so I usually switch it over. Besides the world and national news, I get the local news as well, during the cut aways.
So, I live in Central Florida and I am amazed at how crime ridden Orange County and Orlando have become.
It is one murder after another, home invasions, rapes, robberies, assaults, you name it, crime wise and we have it here.
It just boggles my mind. When did Orange County and Orlando, the City Beautiful become such a crime mecca?
I guess it comes with the growth that has taken place over the last decade. Used to be, Orlando was a quiet, peaceful small town. Really, in comparason to Chicago or New York or L.A. it still is, but now, the crime here is worse than either of the aforementioned cities.
It's like the criminal network has sent out the word, move to central Floirda and wreak havoc. And they have.
No place is safe. Not any more. People have lost their minds. Lawlessness prevails and we have reached that dreaded state of Anarchy, at least here.
The cops are ineffectual, at best, at worst they're crooked and on the take. They are over worked and understaffed and are inadequate for the job before them. The criminals out number them by a thousand to one, at least.
And the decent law abiding folks who call this hell hole home, are the ones who suffer.
For instance, a couple of weeks ago, a man was gunned down in front of his house. A neighbor woman ran over to help the wounded man and was shot to death for her trouble. She did nothing but try to help another human being and this mother, this wife was gunned down in cold blood like she was nothing more than a paper target.
Yesterday a teenaged boy was attacked, robbed and stabbed by three other teenaged boys from his school. All four were, you guessed it Hispanic. Now, I'm not saying all the crime in Orlando and Orange County is committed by Hispanics, but if you go to the Orange County Department of Corrections website and peruse the names of the inmates, more than half are Hispanic.
Seriously, there was crime here, always has been. I mean let's face it, wherever there are human beings there is crime, but God, not like this! This alarming increase in crime has occurred in the last decade when Mexico decided it was all right to turn a blind eye to the criminals of its country fleeing justice to start all over again here in the States.
A lot of the immigrants from Mexico are decent, hard working people who only want a better life, but I'm beginning to believe that the vast majority of the border jumpers are the dregs of Mexican society fleeing justice in their own country, and Mexico seems to be just as glad to let them go. They have now become our problem and it's getting out of hand.
But, what can we do? Not much. As long as there are business owners, contractors and others willing to hire illegals to work for half the wages Americans work for, we will never be rid of them, and our economy is going to continue to soar out of hand.
I called about a piece of rental property a few days ago for my daughter. The guy was nice, but firm. He wanted $1200.00 a month for a house that two years ago would have rented for three hundred.
I had to ask him why he thought the property was worth that much. His answer? Because he can get it. Because the Hispanics were willing to pay any price for a place to live that did not require a background check. So, in essence, housing costs have soared here, at least rental property, and that could very well be the reason.
But, cost of living aside, the crime herre is getting to incredibly dangerous levels. People lock their doors during the day light hours. If they go out in the back yard, they lock and bolt the front door. Windows are closed against the cool evening breezes because some one will slit the screens, climb in throught the windows and like as not slit your throat.
And other than arm ourselves, there doesn't appear to be a damn thing we can do to combat this.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I'm almost certain that there isn't going to be much done in the way of writing or blogging until next year.
There's just so much to do, and so little time to get it done.
For instance, I still have two teenage grand daughters to buy gifts for.
Now what in blue blazes does one buy a teenage girl? I have no earthly clue.
They love music, but who? I mean is it Hawthorne Heights or Jay-Z? Do they listen to Beyonce or Carrie Underwood? And who is this Fergie? Isn't she that redheaded gal that was married to the Prince or some such? So now she sings? Okay, no music.
How about movies. You know , DVDs. They are too old for the little dancing penguins in Happy Feet, but too young for that lunatic in Saw ll. Most of the movies they want, I can't watch. They're either too bloody, too gory or just too stupid. Like that Clerks Two movie. So, okay, no movies.
Which brings me to clothes. What's in these days? Everyone seems to raging about those "hoodies" Hoodies? We used to call them sweatshirts. So now they have a new moniker and now they are unbelievably popular, not to mention outrageously expensive. Now how does that happen? Two years ago a hooded sweatshirt costs me eight bucks, now it is thirty and up? Are you kidding me? And how about those jeans. You know the ones with the holes ripped in them and the frayed hems and the ass out of them? Yeah those, the same ones we threw out two years ago. Now they are in and now they cost eighty buck a pair. Why? Why can't the kids just shove them away in the back of the closet and wait a year or two, they'll be big again. And they'll save themselves a ton of money.
Obviously, there is nothing new under the sun. What was old is new again.
I guess for those two girls, the old standby will have to do. Good old cash! They can then buy whatever they want and I don't have to watch their faces drop, and their eyes grow wide with horror at the Back Street Boys CD I bought them.
And who is K-Fed? Wasn't he Mr. Brittany Spears? How is he now a wrestler in the WWE?
Well, I do hope you and yours have a wonderful and joyous season and for the reader on your list this year, let me recommend a good book- Mine!! Dark Ridge.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I was surfing around on the web the other day and thought I'd see if I could find the origins of the "F" word.
I found some interesting things. For instance, the word is supposedly an acronym variously rendered as:
Fornication Under Consent of the King
Fornication Under Charles the King
Fornication Under Crown of the King
Fornication under Christ, King
Forbidden Under Charter of the King (a sign posted on brothels closed by the Crown)
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
Forced Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
File Under Carnal Knowledge (how Scotland Yard marked rape files).
The two most common acronyms are: Fornication Under Consent of the King, and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.
Now, it might make sense that the first is correct. After all, maybe couple really did need the King's permission to procreate back in the day, but I kind a doubt it. People have a tendency to ummm, well, you know, f--k like rabbits and breed indiscriminately, so I seriously doubt that anyone actually awaited the King's consent.
The second refers to unlawful fornication, such as rape, child molestation and adultery. Such crimes were generally punished by the stocks and supposedly the perpetrators were forced to wear a sign around their necks bearing the acronym F--K, But, this too is a myth. Folks in stocks did indeed wear signs around their necks, but the For was not included. The sign would simply say, rape, adultery, stealing a cow or what have you, but not For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. That sign simply would have said, unlawful carnal knowledge.
So, obviously the word did not come to us from an acronym. So, where did it come from?
According to alt.usage.english FAQ,
[Fuck] is a very old word, recorded in English since the 15th century (few acronyms predate the 20th century), with cognates in other Germanic languages. The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang (Random House, 1994, ISBN 0-394-54427-7) cites Middle Dutch fokken = "to thrust, copulate with"; Norwegian dialect fukka = "to copulate"; and Swedish dialect focka = "to strike, push, copulate" and fock = "penis". Although German ficken may enter the picture somehow, it is problematic in having e-grade, or umlaut, where all the others have o-grade or zero-grade of the vowel.
AHD1, following Pokorny, derived "feud", "fey", "fickle", "foe", and "fuck" from an Indo-European root peig2 = "hostile"; but AHD2 and AHD3 have dropped this connection for "fuck" and give no pre-Germanic etymon for it. Eric Partridge, in the 7th edition of Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (Macmillan, 1970), said that "fuck" "almost certainly" comes from the Indo-European root *peuk- = "to prick" (which is the source of the English words "compunction", "expunge", "impugn", "poignant", "point", "pounce", "pugilist", "punctuate", "puncture", "pungent", and "pygmy"). Robert Claiborne, in The Roots of English: A Reader's Handbook of Word Origin (Times, 1989) agrees that this is "probably" the etymon. Problems with such theories include a distribution that suggests a North-Sea Germanic areal form rather than an inherited one; the murkiness of the phonetic relations; and the fact that no alleged cognate outside Germanic has sexual connotations.
So, it appears the word is German in it's origins. But, origins aside, let us consider the word itself.
Is it a verb? As in "Go f--k yourself?" Perhaps, because it certainly does describe an action.
But, it can also be a noun as in, "He is such a f--k." Which pretty much describes a lot of men.
It is also used as an adjective, as in , "That is so f--king cool." describing how cool a thing is.
Well, whatever the meaning, whatever the tense, whatever the usage, it is perhaps the single most widely used curse word in any language!
I myself have used it quite frequently, and colorfully.
I have a friend, Sandy Lender who coined a new phrase with it. For assholes she finds overbearing and stupid, it is f--ktards! Excellent word and certainly brings to mind an officious little bastard quite clearly.
Frankly, I am amazed at the people who use the word. Actors, of course, and professional wrestlers, football players, baseball players, basketball players, coaches on the sidelines certainly, but also, Senators, Congressmen, Vice Presidents, Presidents, ( and some even do it in the Oval office) professionals, lawyers, cops, harried housewives and husbands. Even little old ladies and gentlemen have let it fly from time to time.
Why? Because let's face it, it is beyond a doubt the only word that adequately describes any given situation at any given time.
So, why is is considered a curse word and the grand dame of all curse words at that?
I think I'll start a petition to have the word included in Webster's next year as a verb, adverb, adjective and noun. After all, if everybody is saying it, how bad can it actually be?
Have a great day, y'all!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Okay, somebody this morning on one of my writing groups just had to say something about Social Security. They simply could not leave well enough alone.
Well, okay then, here we go!
For years my ex husband drew social security disability, not because he was actually disabled, at least not physically, but he was a drunk, and he did do drugs, so I guess in a way he was disabled.
But, his disability was of his own making and choosing. I can't remember a single time that I actually saw anyone hold a gun to his head and make him take that first drink or swallow that first pill, or snort that first line. His 'disability' was of his own making, and yet he drew full disability from Social Security because of it.
Okay, so maybe alcoholism IS a disease, but no one will ever convince me it isn't a disease of choice, so if that's what's on your mind, forget it. You won't sway me.
Now, my mother, God rest her soul, suffered serious debilitating illnesses the last fifteen years of her life. She had a diseased heart, emphysema, (okay, I know that particular malady is pretty much self inflicted, because we all know how hard the tobacco companies tried to dissuade people from smoking in the thirties, right?) rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer, which finally killed her in Jan. of 2003.
For years we all tried to get Momma on disability because honestly, she couldn't even walk from the kitchen to the bathroom without gasping for breath, so she sure as hell couldn't work.
But you know what, time and again she was denied. And why? Not because she wasn't disabled in the eyes of the Social Security, but because she had never worked outside the home and hadn't paid any money into the system.
Are you kidding me? My ex husband drew full disability from the time he was like twenty-eight, and I can probably count on my one hand the number of years he actually worked, and here's this drunken drug addict drawing full disability, and my Mother can't get squat.
Now, there's a system that works, don't you think? Stupid.
And here is my next rant about that failing system. I've worked lots, and paid in lots, and yet I keep hearing that there probably won't be any money in the kitty when it comes time for me to draw.
Well, above seems a good reason for that. And how about the executives who retire with pensions of fifty, a hundred or hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, and yet these greedy bastards still whine about that measly social security check and their Medicaid. Seems kind of stupid to me.
So then why in the blue hell is everyone so against privatizing Social Security? I mean doesn't it make good sense to anyone?
Say Joe Blow is thirty years old, makes $75,000.00 a year and his wife Sally Blow makes $52,000.00 a year. They have three kids, a mortgage and the usual bills families generate over the course of a life time. Given the raises that sometimes compensate for the cost of living hikes, these guys are doing all right.
Why can't Joe and Sally open an account, which should be tax free, by the way, and each put maybe four or five hundred dollars a month into this interest bearing account. Say this account is set up to where the Blows can not touch it until they retire. There's their retirement money, which is a hell of a lot more than they're gonna get from Social Security anyway.
Now granted, this probably won't work for the poor folks of which there are a helluva lot more than rich folks. So, poor folks continue to pay SS tax, and they get to have a decent shot at living and eating and getting their medicine when they retire.
Someone needs to really fix this system, because as it is now, it just doesn't work!
And for God's sake, please don't get me started on the IR freaking S! Bloodsucking swine!!
Have a great day, y'all.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
And boy do I have a few of those! Oh, I know, everybody does. For every single one of us there is some little thing that just drives us up the wall.
For me it is actually about a dozen or so, but I'll try to be as brief in my ranting as I can be.
Okay, my number one pet peeve is a lousy server! Nothing pisses me off more than to go to a popular restaurant, and have to stand in line for upwards of forty-five minutes and then get a server who doesn't know a Queso dip from a salsa!
For instance; Hubby and I went to our local C----i's a couple of weeks ago, on a Friday night. When we got there at around sixish, there was a line out the door. Hubby is not one to wait patiently for a table, but I told him we were waiting. So, I went in, had our name added to the list and took that little pager thingy they give you.
While we waited, I happened to notice there were several empty tables, and hubby took a stroll through the restaurant and discovered there were exactly twenty-two empty tables and booths all over the place.
Now, this didn't make a lick of sense since there was a line out the door and down the sidewalk of waiting patrons. So, hubby asked to speak to the manager who told him that most of the evening servers hadn't come in yet. Huh? On a Friday evening? Are you kidding me?
Okay, so after forty five minutes we get sat, and it is fully another fifteen minutes before our server graces us with her presence.
Now, by this time hubby is a bit tense, so he doesn't use the sweetest tone while ordering his sprite. He's driving, so I get my usual two Miller lite drafts.
Off she goes and after another fifteen minutes we begin to wonder if perhaps she's gotten lost somewhere along the way.
Finally, she shows up, with a coke and a margarita! Hmmm, not what we ordered. Hubby is getting tenser. She doesn't even apologize, just snatches the drinks up and stalks off.
I try to laugh it off, but hubby is really testy by now.
Okay, after another fifteen minutes, she comes back and while I can't be 100% certain, I am fairly sure that my Miller lite has morphed into a Bud light, but I'm cool.
"You ready to order?" she says, and hubby's reply?
"We were ready thirty minutes ago, where were you?"
Okay, we order chips and Queso before dinner Then dinner, yes?
No! Dinner arrives a full forty minutes later along with the chips and Queso.
"You can take those back," hubby says quite crossly.
"You ordered them," came her tight lipped reply.
"Yes we did, as an APPETIZER!"
So, she grabs them up and stalks off again.
My CFS is luke warm, the gravy a congealed mess on top of the mound of cold mashed potatoes. But, not wanting to cause a scene I choke them down.
Not so hubby. He's a bit of a wimp when it comes to rare steaks. he doesn't want to see any red in the middle. So, when he cut into his steak and the blood oozed out onto the plate, he looked up at me and I could see the white blotches on his forehead signifying that someone was about to tote a cussing.
But who? Our server had disappeared again, and I was pretty sure she was watching us from some obscure corner, laughing.
Hubby grabs his plate and heads for the hostess station, and I kind of slump down in my seat. This is going to be bad.
After a lot of gesticulating with his hands, hubby comes back to the table. Ten minutes later our server reappears.
"Is there a problem?" she asks.
Hubby glares and I shake my head.
After another fifteen minutes, hubby's steak is returned by the manager, who stands over him while hubby cuts into it. It is, by the way, the same steak they had undercooked before. Now it was like shoe leather and hubby pushes his plate away, and asks for the check.
"I'm sorry. I'll take the steak off your bill," the manager says.
"Don't bother," hubby replies. "But, I do have a tip for our server."
I hurry and stand up, cutting him off. I know what he's going to say. But, it's too late. The server walks up to the table and hubby looks her in the eye and says, "We do have a nice tip for you and your efforts."
"Why thank you," she gushed sweetly.
"Find a new line of work," hubby growls and stalks off.
Find a new line of work indeed. Some folks can be servers, some can't, you know?
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Okay, something new. I decided, or rather hubby decided, that I should do some advertising for my quilts and try to get some orders so I can make some money doing what I really love doing.
Of course, everyone who knows me, knows that quilting is my second love, behind writing. But, alas, the money flow from the writing is a mere trickle at best so.....
I make quilts. Very nice ones, I might add, and I do them all myself. I cut them out, I piece them, and I hand quilt everyone of them. I like hand quilting better than machine quilting because ,to me at least,a quilt ain't a quilt if you machine quilt it. I like old fashioned. I like the look and feel of hand quilted pieces, and I think they are a more personal gift than something that has been machine quilted. But, that's just me. A lot of folks prefer machine quilting because; number 1, it's faster, and number 2, machine quilted pieces seem to hold up better when washed repeatedly.
Still, all of my quilts are hand quilted,and so far not a one of them has failed the washing machine challenge.
I made the one pictured above two years ago. I also made the shams and the bolster and the little envelope pillow. The pattern is called "Off With Their Heads" and I got the idea and the pattern from one of Alex Anderson's Simply Quilts shows.
I get a lot of my patterns from books though and have about a hundred of them, books that is.
My all time favorite Christmas gift my husband ever got me is a quilt book that has quilt patterns from the 1700's to the 1950's. It's been around a pretty good while.
So, okay, I guess maybe I'll see if I can do some advertising for some custom quilts.
The problem with the whole thing is simply this. If I make a quilt, and hand quilt it, then I am going to put a high price on it. I have to. my time is valuable, to me anyway.
It takes me anywhere from six weeks to three months to complete a quilt, depending on the size and complication of the design.
So, pricing tends to be on the high side.
And that tends to put people off, who truly believe that those quilts they buy at Penny's or Belks are actually handmade and hand quilted.
They can buy a queen sized quilt for anywhere form $49.00 to $129.00. And I say bully for you, then buy one. But, I guarantee you they are not handmade. They are made in a factory oversees somewhere, and while hands certainly did thread the machines and set up the pattern, that's as close to handmade as those things get. Still, they convince themselves they have a real handmade quilt for $49.00.
All I can say is, Caveat Emptor, let the buyer beware. And remember, you get what you pay for.
No, I believe my pricing will cause me to have few sales, as people always want something for nothing, or as little as they can get by with.
Well, sorry, my time is worth something, and I will set my prices in stone. No haggling, no discounts, except to close friends.
So below is the prices I will advertise for custom made hand crafted quilts.
Twin ............ $100.00
For special designs, like the Cathedral windows and Mariner's Compass quilts, the price will be doubled on all but the King size. Kings will cost $1000.00. A bargain at twice the price as anyone who has ever made one knows.
So, there it is. I seriously doubt I'll get any takers, because like I said, people always want something for nothing. But, regardless, I will continue to make them and put them away or give them as gifts to my family and dearest friends.
Monday, December 04, 2006
For example, I drove into my local Wally world parking lot yesterday afternoon. Now first of all, any idiot who goes to Walmart on a Sunday afternoon is just begging for trouble, but,I had some shopping to do so like a dummy off I went.
After driving around the fifteen acre parking lot for ten minutes, I finally found a parking space pretty close to the county line, and sadly Walmart does not have trams to transport their patrons from the back forty to the front door. So, I had to hoof it the mile or so to the front door.
Inside was a scramble to grab a buggy. There weren't any in that lovely line up at the front door waiting for me like there usually is, so I had to keep my eyes on the checkout lines to see which sweet, considerate soul would actually carry his one bag with the loaf of bread in it to the carry by hand, and then rush over to grab the buggy before someone else scooped it up.
It took me three tries, but I finally nailed one, and of course it was the one buggy in the whole store that had a wobbly front wheel and veered to right hard while I'm pushing it.
So, one by one, I traversed the aisles, which took less time than normal because the shelves were virtually empty. Walmart has this annoying habit of stocking their shelves at night, so of course by mid afternoon the shelves are bare.
With my limited amount of booty I proceeded to the checkout and tried in vain to find a line that had less than twelve people in it. I finally found one. You know those twenty items or less checkouts? Right! There were three people in this line. Me and two others. I had three items, the other two people had upwards of the contents of a grocery store in their buggies.
The lady in front of me turned around and smiled and I looked pointedly at the twenty items or less sign and she just shrugged her shoulders as if to say, "Sorry about that."
So, lady number one has paid and is off, and lady number two proceeds to unload her buggy and half of items onto the conveyor belt. The cashier looks apologetically at me, then shakes her head.
Some twenty minutes later, lady number two is all rung up and then the fun begins. Her check, after taking a few more minutes to write out is spit back at her by the machine. Not to be deterred, she insists the cashier tries it again. She knows there's money in the account, she still has checks in the book! Lord love a duck! Okay, second time refused. Let me try this she says, dragging out a plastic card that looks for all the world like a debit card. it is. Now, if I'm not mistaken, if your check is spit out, it's kind a doubtful that your debit card is gonna work. And it didn't.
Still undaunted, she pulls out a succession of credit cards; all of which are denied. Finally in exasperation, she pulls out a wad of bills from her wallet and pays cash. Now why in the gay hell didn't she do that to begin with?
Finally I get to pay for my miserable little three items and make my escape.
And I"m lost. Where did I park that car? So now I'm wandering aimlessly up and down aisle after aisle trying to find my car and wondering why it is so difficult to find a black car?
Finally, after about a half hour I find it, and all I can do is just stand there and laugh like a lunatic. I know the people who were walking by must have thought I'd lost my mind, laughing like some escapee from the nut house, but honestly after my experience in the store, this just made my day.
Parked on my left, the driver's side, is a huge Ford dually, that is pulled in almost diagonally and so close to my car that Twiggy would have been hard pressed to get in the door!
I wanted very much to leave a note on this guys truck windshield asking him if he always bitch parked or if he was just an inconsiderate asshole during the holidays.
Merry Christmas y'all!!
Friday, December 01, 2006
All I can say is, Better you all, then me!! Got up this morning to scenes like the above on the
morninng news! Brrrr! While I, on the other hand, languish in the glory that is Florida. You all can have that stuff. Keep it north of the Mason-Dixon Line and I'll be tickled to death.
Snow is wet, it's cold, it stickes to your clothes, and while it may be pretty for a minute or two, when it starts to turn to slush with coal dust turning it black or car exhaust turning it gray, or muddy footprints tracking it up it, then becomes yucky!!
I used to live where it snowed deep enough to cover our car. Lower Michigan! On Lake Erie! Talk about cold? Oh my God!! But, you know as a child, you are virtually unaffected by the cold. You play out in it until your Mom forces you to come inside. Your nose is running off your face, your fingers and toes have turned an incredible shade of blue and what you thought were vibrations from the sled, are actually chills you can't shake.
When I was younger, we lived in an old farmhouse in Lambertville, Michigan. Our front yard was very big and deep, and across the front of the property was a ditch that was probably six feet deep at least. In the winter, the snow would fill the ditch and cover it up.
My sister and I had this favorite game we always played with our baby brother, who is seven years younger than us.
We would play tag, in the snow, and we'd always get Butch to chase us across the front yard. My sister and I were big enough to jump the ditch, but not Butch! Without fail every winter, he got buried in that ditch trying to chase us!
Our mother, who was probably the best mother in the world, loved to have fun. Momma was from Georgia, and snow and freezing temperatures were not her cuppa. But, she always encouraged us to go out and play and have fun. When we got to be pre-teens, we whined about the cold, of course, but our brother always wanted to have snowball fights.
Mom's solution to that? We were allowed to go out, gather our ammunition for the snowball fight and bring it indoors. Our battles raged in the living room, the dining room and the kitchen! Momma laughing and pelting us with snowballs she'd pilfered from our stash!
Thanks God we had linoleum in the kitchen and hardwood in the rest of the house, because carpet would have been ruined.
Christmas time was always very special for us. Momma and Daddy always had a huge, live tree for us to decorate, but one year Momma decided on an artificial one. A six foot tall silver (aluminum) tree with a colorwheel! We thought that was the most beautiful thing we'd ever seen. Looking back, it was actually the ugliest tree we ever had, but you know kids, no taste.
Anyway, this time of the year is fertile for nostalgia. We all have our precious Christmas memories, and as the season draws nearer, let's share some, okay?
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Blessed Kwanza (or however it's spelled) Merry Yule, or just plain Happy Holidays to all!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
But, more specifically in Orange County, Florida where I live , or used to live,has reached critical proportions.
Last night on the local news station, it was stated that Orange County has had 344 murders to date this year alone. 344! That is over one a day for the entire year.
Still digging for stats, but just from the news stories I have watched, the vast majority of these murders have been committed by immigrants and a lot of them because of drugs or alcohol.
In a related story, it was said that the rounding up and deportation of illegal immigrants is not a high priority for law enforcement officials. Huh? Not a high priority? Why not?
Seems to me that particular issue needs to be not only high in priority, but at the very top of the list.
In recent years, the crime rate in Central Florida has risen to alarming numbers,and while there are those who will try to tell you that the crimes are committed by all races, all you have to do it look at the arrests records for Orange County to see the lie in that.
Most of the violent crimes in this area have been perpetrated by Hispanics, more accurately, the illegal immigrants that continue to pour across the border and inundate our cities.
A great many of those illegals are the dregs of Mexico, criminals and drug dealers who are running from justice in their own country to come here and continue on with their crime sprees, and it appears that the powers that be in Mexico are saying good riddance.
Mexico can't control them, so they let them squirm across our borders so we are forced to hire more policemen to combat the crimes these people are committing.
Now, I don't know how it is where you live, but I have been in the Central Florida area for over forty years and in that time I have seen Orange County grow from a quiet, agricultural area to a booming, crime ridden metropolis, making it all too obvious, to me at least, that progress isn't always a good thing and out of control growth creates far more problems than it solves.
And in the midst of all this growth are the illegal immigrants who continue to pour across the borders, forcing American taxpayers to not only feed and clothe them at our expense, but to house them and provide them with medical treatment , things that far too many citizens of Orange County can't even get and they are legal residents.
There is an old trailer park in Orange County that was recently condemned, and the poor people who live there, blacks and whites, and even a few Hispanics now must try to find another place to live. No easy feat in this place unless you are a college educated professional with a five figure income, as most of the people here appear to be.
Housing costs have skyrocketed to obscene levels, creating housing shortages for a huge number of Orange County residents. I mean come on, if you make minimum wage, and your spouse does the same, and you have two kids, or even none, how do you pay $1200.00 a month for a decent place to live. We're not talking Taj Mahal huge and gorgeous, we're talking your basic three bedroom, two bath block house . A place that five years ago costs anywhere from 500.00 to 700.00 a month to rent has not only aged and worn by five years, but has jumped in price by as much as 500%, but, on average the wages have stayed pretty much the same.
So, you tell me, how does a man support his family and liven in this place?
He finds a trashy, run down little dump of a dive in a neighborhood he would ordinarily not even drive through at night and reluctantly moves his family in.
And next door to him is a meth lab, and on the other side about twenty illegal immigrants all crowded into that small house. He and his family are forced to endure loud raucous music till all hours, and he has to get up a dozen times a night to make sure his doors are secure and his windows locked, because God knows he could wake up to everything he owns (which working a minimum wage job can't be much) stolen.
As Americans, I think we have been more than hospitable, and I think we have been as patient and accommodating as anyone can be, but dammit, enough is enough! Don't you agree?
Have a great day.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Personally, for me, the answer is no. I can't see the wisdom of writing for the market. Why? Look at it this way, say I finish my Vampire novel and get a contract for it. Okay, great, vampire novels are big right now. But, my contract specifically states that the release date for my book will be late summer of 2009. Okay, great, I have an almost three year wait for my book to be released.
Comes late summer of 2009 and the market has changed at least three times, and guess what, vampires are out, werewolves are in. So, I waited three years for a book to be released that most likely won't sell a sozen copies. So, why write for the market?
It's a good idea IF you can get your book out there in a timely fashion while your subject matter is still hot, but given the time frame of the NY publishing houses, timeliness is not going to be factor.
So, what do you? Self publish? Oh no, I mean why attach that stigma to your work? Why indeed. Because at least you get your book on the shelf while your subject matter is still hot, and hot generally equals sales, right? Right! Even if you go the vanity press route, you have a book out there that fits very nicely with the market and you're going to get sales, regardless of who published it.
I mean really, for the most part, readers could care less who the publisher of a book is as long as the book is a good read. So, that so called stigma that has firmly attached itself to self-publishing is really imaginary.
The only real problem with self-publishing is that ridiculous no return policy, and some of the better vanity presses have deleted their no return policy in order to generate more sales.
If you insist on being a market writer, then in order to keep up with the current trends, why wouldn't vanity presses be the chosen route? I don't get it.
For a long time I was firmly against self-publishing, because in my mind, an author who self published just wasn't good enough hot be picked up by a major house. That was my feeling, but I have since learned that is not always the case.
A couple of cases in point, Natalie R Collins and James Conroyd Martin, both vanity press published and both picked up by a major house, with the same vanity press published books! And why? Because they were that damn good.
And there are other authors of note, nameable Janet Elaine Smith, who have chosen to reject that NY contract in favor of maintaining control over their work and not signing it away to a major house.
Janet has upwards of twenty books she has self published, and been offered contracts for a few of them, but she's turned them down because she wants to hold the rights to her work, and lets face it, who among us does not?
So, having totally veered off course here, I just wonder if writing strictly for the market is the best way to go? What are your thoughts?
Have a great day!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Yipppeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another free e-book is about to be released from the Writersville Gang!
As with our Halloween e-book, this one will also be free and is filled with humorous stories, inspirational stories and yummy recipes from the members of The Writersville Gang.
The book will be available for you on December 1, 2006 and here is the link to the order site.
I know most of you are busy shopping for that special someone on your Christmas list, so as a special treat, the members of the Writersville Gang have included the titles of their books so that you can order copies from your favorite authors.
Remember, giving the gift of reading to someone, is a way to show you care, and it is a way to support your favorite authors from Writersville.
On a more personal note, sales for "Dark Ridge" have slowed down. The holiday season I guess, but, I'm not too worried. I am looking forward to the New Year, new adventures and new books to be released. For those of you interested, you can go to: www.amazon.com to purchase a copy of "Dark Ridge" or any of the other wonderful books being offered by the Writersville Gang.
Okay, no other news right now, so I'll say good-bye for now. Have a great day!