Category Archives: Pet Peeves

Of #Cellphones and wrecked writing #plans….

Yesterday was a disaster waiting to happen and it didn’t disappoint!

After a killer workout at Planet Fitness, I was all set to come home and start plotting out the next three books in my Will Cook For Love Series – even though book #1 ( Cooking With Kandy) won’t be released until April 4.

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But I digress….

I left the gym, sipping water from a Poland Springs bottle and checking my phone for email messages when I slipped on a patch of black ice and…wait for it….dropped my phone. You thought I was gonna say something like I broke a leg or an arm, weren’t’cha??!! hee hee. Anyway. I retrieved the phone from under my car – yes, it bounced all the friggin’ way under – and pressed the screen button so I could check and make sure it was okay.

It wasn’t.

The screen lit up and then started flickering like a light bulb does when it’s starting to blow. I watched as it had a full-fledged Samsung seizure and then just… winked out.

So. Okay. I figured the lightbulb inside it had blown. No worries. I hightailed it over to USCellular,cellu a mere three minutes’ drive and told the lovely tech lady there what happened, describing the light blowing.

“Um, No,” she said. She took the phone from my hand and ran her finger along the screen. “There’s no light bulb inside this, so what I think is that you have a broken connection underneath the LED.” I have no idea what that means – didn’t then and still don’t.

Okay, so go ahead and fix it, I said, expansively.

“Do you have insurance?” she asked.

“What, like life? Car?”
She shook her head. “Phone.”
And there, my friends, is where the second part of this disaster occurred. The answer to the question was a resounding no, I did not.

After a few moments of typing on her USCellular computer, she said, “Well. The phone is for all intents and purposes, broken and non functional, so  it will cost about **** ( insert astronomical figure of your choice here)  to try and fix the problem, but I don’t see that happening, so you might as well just get a new phone.”

“Okay.” I figured, why not? Even though the phone was only a year and month old, I could always stand a new one.

Here’s the corker…are you ready for it?
“You owe **** ( a little less than astronomical amount -but not much!) on the old phone, so you need to pay that off in full first before I can give you a new one.”

Truly? Could this day get any worse?
Well, yes. It could.

I need my phone. I do. I always say I don’t know how we survived before cell phones ( I know we did!) but I am just so dependent on that damn thing, that I have to have one. So…. I paid the balance on the old (13 months!) broken one and then was lucky enough to get the same model back as a new one.

But….

The lovely tech lady suggested I now get insurance on the phone AND get a case whereby if I dropped it again, I wouldn’t break it. Okay, that didn’t sound too bad. The insurance is only 8 bucks a month – I can live with that. They case? Yeah, not so lucky with the price there. Another large chunk of change passed hands and I now had a case, insurance, and new phone.

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You might think this is the end of the story, but it’s not.

Because I’m so tech illiterate – and there really should be an actual word for that – I said, “so can you transfer the stuff from my old phone to the new one?”
The Lovely Tech lady stared at me, speechless, but I just know she was thinking, “What part of the phone is for all intents and purposes broken and nonfunctional did you not understand?”

She blinked and said, “Well, we can tryyyyyyyyyyy ( yes she did elongate the word), but..” She shrugged and that told me everything I needed to know. “Do you back your data up? ”

Um, no because I didn’t even know you could!!

All my photos, all my text messages, my settings, my apps, my entire workoad, was on the old, now broken and non-functional phone.

“So,” I said, fighting the tears I felt stinging my eyes, “can you try? Please?”

She nodded, but I knew, deep down, she thought it was a waste of time.

She got some weird looking connector and attached the new phone to the old one and then pressed a few buttons.

And….nothing happened.

The threatening tears swelled a little bigger and I said a quick, silent Novena.

Then, the old phone, well chugged, is the best word, beeped once, and then the new phone lit up. “I think I can get something,” the Lovely Tech Lady said. “What can you absolutely not live without that’s on this old phone?”
I didn’t even think. “My photo gallery. If you can get that back, I’ll march right over to Church and give thanks! Everything else, the apps, and the programs,  I can try and re-do when I have time, but the pictures are important. I don’t have copies of them anywhere – hard or digital.”
She nodded and pressed a bunch of buttons. Just when it looked like the connection would hold, it broke.  Not once, but twice.

Her sigh was heavy and long. “Just try one more time, please,” I begged. Hey, I’m not proud. I wanted those pictures.

She did, and after about 15 minutes, my photos uploaded just in time for the old phone to chug and fritz out again.

But I had my precious photos, so I was happy. Well, happy may not be the right word for all this aggravation, but hey, I had my pictures.

Several hundred dollars and almost an hour and a half later, I left USCellular and went directly to church where I said a quick prayer of thanks, and a long one that my new phone stay in working and functional order for another 24 months – the time it would take to pay it off!

Byt the time I got home I was hungry, tired, pissed off, and behind on my writing schedule.

Yeah, A disaster is exactly what the damn day was!

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Why I’m happy to see #2016 get the hell outta town…..

2016

I don’t do reflections. Not normally, anyway.

I’m the person who could care less about my Ancestry.com findings; the one who doesn’t subscribe to Classmates.com even when they email me that “someone wants to reconnect with you.” If I wanted to stay in touch with the people I went to High School with ( the admittedly WORST 4 years of my life) I would have done so without the help of Facebook or any other nosy Internet company. I don’t like looking at old yearbooks ( especially my own) and I never watch Oprah’s Where Are They Now series.

I’m just not into all that. I’m the type of person who likes to look FORWARD, not reminisce on the past. If you need a reason why I’m so bitchy about this, just look at 2016 for an answer and a little insight into why I feel this way.

We lost TRUE HEROS like  Mohammad Ali and John Glenn and ElieWiesle

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We lost MUSICAL ICONS like Prince, George Michael, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen

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We lost BRILLIANT ACTORS/ACTRESSES like Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Robert Vaughn, Carrie Fisher and a day later her mother, Debbie Reynolds.

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We lost LITERARY ICONS Harper Lee and Richard Adams

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Because of INSANE HATRED we lost 49 LOVED and CHERISHED Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles and Fathers in a horrific nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida

We suffered through terror bombings in Brussels, Nice, Turkey, Korea, Germany. Political scandals in almost every country.  Olympic scandals from athletes doping to one American swimmer acting like a dope!

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We watched on the news the attempted annihilation of an entire country and people in Aleppo.

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We heard words that sent our minds into panic-mode. Words like Zika Virus, Ebola, Suicide bomber, Refugee crisis, Brexit, Pokeman-Go (!)

Yahoo was hacked. The DNC was hacked. Hillary was called a hack. Trump acts like one.

Earthquakes, floods, plague and pestilence. War, famine, poverty and murder.

No, 2016 is not a year I will remember fondly.  I’ll be very happy at midnight on 1/1/17.

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When I’m not complaining you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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My #word for 2017: #Compromise…

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Every year I take a theme or a word that epitomizes what I want to accomplish for the following 356 days. Last year, 2016, it was “the Year of YES.” Which basically meant I was going to be open to saying yes to things I usually knee-jerked a NO. A loud, emphatic, I don’t want to, NO!

It worked out pretty well. I did a bunch of stuff that I ordinarily would have shied away from or outright avoided. No one died. No one got maimed. And I didn’t have a stroke, heart attack, or lose my dignity.

Well….

Nevermind.

Anyway….

For 2017 I wanted to continue with the new, open, and willing to put myself out there mentality, so I’m going to be doing something I rarely– if ever– do. Compromise.

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The dictionary defines it this way: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

My definition is a little more specific in that I will be the one making the concessions. Again, something I rarely, if ever, do. I’ve come to realize after viewing the turmoil this country has found itself in politically, spiritually, and morally, that I like many people, do not often see both sides of an argument. We, and by we, I mean me, tend to form an opinion based on whatever information we happen to see, and then stick with it, oftentimes becoming loudly obnoxious and righteous in expressing that opinion.

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Not anymore. If’ I’ve learned anything in 2016 it’s that every argument and stand has at least 3 sides: mine, the other person’s and the — wait for it — compromise position between the two.

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In 2017 I vow to see that third option as many times as I can and to make the effort to come to compromises which will benefit all sides, not just only my own. When you know better you do better.

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Maturity, thy name is Margaret-Mary. ( let’s hope!)

 

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Devices, Devices, Devices!

Today I’m channeling Jan Brady!

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The reason? Because I need to whine a little and Jan’s iconic “Marcia, Marcia, Marica!” just resonates so well for that.

The other evening, as I was plugging in my iPod, cell Phone,  laptop and Kindle to charge, my husband was brushing his teeth with his electric toothbrush. When he was finished, he looked at me–struggling to get everything plugged in for the night in one little over loaded  outlet– and then down at his brush and said, “How many extraneous electrical devices do you think we own?”

“Define extraneous?” I said.

“Something we use that we could use something non-electric for. Like our toothbrushes.”

I thought about it for a moment, counting everything I used on a daily basis that needed to be charged or plugged in to work, and then said, “None. Everything we use we need.”

“Really? Do you actually need all that”–he pointed to the overloaded outlet–“all day, every day?”

“Yes.” No hesitation on my part at all.

And I’m being truthful.

“What about all the other things, like the microwave, your hair stuff, your lighted makeup mirror, the fans you keep blowing all day and night? Those aren’t superfluous?”

“No.” I should have known he wouldn’t leave it at that. Dog, meet bone. The definition of my husband.

“Why not?” he asked.

Ticking all the items off on my fingers, I gave my best argument ( debate club alum, remember?).

“When you work late and come home hungry but don’t want a full dinner, the microwave is the perfect thing for either reheating something, or making something small and quick for you. You’re hungry and you want to eat NOW not in 30 minutes after the oven has preheated. I need my blowdryer and all my straightening hair devices and tools because you know I look like I have a bird’s nest on my head if I don’t straighten my hair. There’s no other safe way to do it if I want to avoid the myriad of chemicals needed to attain non-pubic hair-looking status. Since I am in the throes of menopause and we don’t have robots or droids to fan me all day long to keep the heat at bay, I need those fans on or else I am in a perpetual state of sweat. Not attractive. And as for the lighted makeup mirror, I have two words to say on that subject: cataract surgery.”

A little disclaimer here so you get where I’m coming from: When I had cataract surgery it killed my near vision – I have perfect distance, but can’t see anything 5 feet or closer to me. I need, absolutely NEED that lighted, magnified makeup mirror or else I’d never feel confident in what I looked like to go out of the house and not scare children, the elderly, or small pets.

“And your computer, phone, kindle, iPod and Ipad? Those are necessary to your health and well being every single day?”

“Yes on all counts. I need the Ipod when I go to the gym ( 5-6 days a week) or else I’d be bored out of my gourd, and if I’m bored and not distracted enough, I won’t finish my workout, so that would be a waste of time. I need the iPad to watch my tv shows  when we travel. I need the Kindle to, you know, save trees. I read so many books every week. Just think of all those poor trees I’d be killing. It’s actually an act of Christian Kindness and Mercy to use the Kindle. Do I really have to explain the necessity of the phone? And as for my computer, well, my editor is not going to accept a handwritten manuscript.”

I took a breath. “And as for the toothbrushes, the dentist said our teeth are healthier since we started using them. Do you want gum disease? Excess plaque? Halitosis?”

He stood there, staring at me, while I prepared some other reasons why I needed every electrical device known to man to survive on a daily basis. I truly hoped he wouldn’t get me started on the necessity of dishwashers and vacuums. There’s a reason we life in modern times. If I’d been born in the dark ages ( aka the time before electricity when it was, truly, dark!) I wouldn’t have survived. In even older times? I would have been one of the ones eaten for the others to stay alive. And I would have been happy to make the ultimate sacrifice just to get away from the dark and cold and tedious.

There’s a reason I don’t camp, peeps ( aside from the going to the bathroom in the woods – never gonna happen!) All that wilderness living? Yeah, not for me. I’m like the character in Private Benjamin who said she joined the army for the condos and travel vouchers, not the marching and tents.

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After a few seconds of staring, my husband shook his head and got into bed without another word on the subject.

Score!

When I’m not using every electrical device know to man you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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My life in three words….

and those words would be, “Help me, Jesus!!”

Let me ‘splain.

I’m doing a presentation for my Romance Writers writing group in March 2017 and then giving it again at a conference to the New England Romance Writers group in April. It’s a good talk, even if I do say so. Timely and to the point. Plus dotted with humor.

But, I digress…

The lecture/talk is accompanied by a POWERPOINT presentation. Now, I am a great talker. I could ramble on for hours about any topic that strikes my fancy. I was on debating club in school so I can argue for both sides of almost any discussion. But I have never before used a machine to aid me in my discussions, and this is why I need celestial help. I have no freaking idea how to effectively use PowerPoint.

Now, because this is, well, me, and most of the things I’ve learned about in life I’ve learned about in books, I did the logical, smart, quick thing to do and bought a PowerPoint Manual. 2 in fact. Powerpoint for Dummies, ( because this is, like, me!) and Teach Yourself Visually PowerPoint.

Last night I started learning how to navigate through the PowerPoint system. Chapter one was called NAVIGATING THE POWERPOINT INTERFACE. Okay, what?? Navigate and Powerpoint I knew the definitions of. Interface? No friggin’ clue. This is Webster’s definition of Interface:

  • a device or program enabling a user to communicate with a computer.
  • • a device or program for connecting two items of hardware or software so that they can be operated jointly or communicate with each other.

Okay, once I got over being panicked by a simple word, I read on. How to choose a theme, how to decide on a design, how to create a SLIDE, how to navigate around the RIBBON. That’s another word I had trouble with because, you know, RIBBON signifies something I tie my hair back with or the backs of fancy dresses.

I dutifully created my first slide after about 50 stops and starts and deletions and begin-agains. I had some text – no pictures yet because my mind was boggled by now – but a starting point.

Okay, so now, how to save it? I did everything the manual instructed me to do. Perfectly, I might add, the first time.

Then I went back to check and see where the document had saved to and….couldn’t find it. Yup. Two hours of sweat down the drain. Another fifteen minutes of frantic checking and I “found” it listed in an obscure compartment titled PRESENTATIONS. Well, Du-uh and FML!

2 hours and fifteen minutes on just one slide. Here is what it says because –of course– I couldn’t figure out how to cut and paste it here!

Romance and the Baby Boomer Generation

or

Writing Romance about and for the Seasoned Crowd.

2 hours fifteen minutes, people. For that. At this rate, my presentation will be complete in 2020.

When I’m not pulling my hair out trying to learn something new, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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Public speaking isn’t for sissies…

So, this weekend I’ll be here:

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I’m part of the Vendor’s event on Friday night,  hawking my books and pressing the flesh ( why that always sounds so dirty to me, I can’t tell ya, but it does! )

Saturday I’m giving two “talks” or classes, as the camp is calling them. One is titled DREAM BIG the other, WRITING A BOOK, two concepts I know a great deal about.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk. I’ll talk to practically anyone, anywhere any time. My grandmother used to say I’d talk to a rock if it would listen. She’s wasn’t wrong.

But speaking to another person one-on-one or in a small group of your friends is totally different from getting up in front of a bunch of strangers and commanding a topic.

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I tend to babble when I’m nervous. I tend to go off on tangents if something strikes me as funny. I tend to avoid eye contact because I’m so nervous. None of these little idiosyncrasies warms a listener’s heart when they have paid cash-money to hear you speak about a topic you are supposed to be proficient in and an expert on.

There are a million tactics to dealing with this nervous anxiety. Picturing your audience naked is one of the oldest and most quoted pieces of advice. But folks, seriously? I’m a romance writer. I write about naked people all the time! If I started envisioning my audience naked I’d most likely start to think up stories to put couples in the crowd together! Not a good tactic at all.

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Someone else offered me the advice of speaking to the crowd as if they were all a bunch of my friends and we were just chatting. Again- do you know me??? I have more “friends” on facebook than I do in real life. I’m never around more than 4 people at a time. EVAH!!!

One thing I did do for these two talks was write out all the bullet points I wanted to speak about and then transferred them to index cards. At least this way I can stick to topic and not go off on one of my numerous side trips and a non-sensical conversations.

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Arghghgh, as Charlie Brown so correctly says.

What have I gotten myself into? It’s so hard being a 50-ish, chubby, nervous, introvert in today’s youth obsessed, anorexic, let-everything-hang-out-there world.

I think I’ll go back to writing now to calm myself.

When I’m not having anxiety attacks about public speaking you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Writing Pet Peeves, Part Trois…

We all have pet peeves (something that a particular person finds especially annoying.) As a writer, I have a gaggle of them, all related to writers and writing.

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I have seen every single one of the following in either a book – or several!- magazine articles, and on-line. In no particular annoyance level order, here are the ones I feel are the most egregious:

  • IRREGARDLESS is not a word. You mean, REGARDLESS, when you write: without paying attention to the present situation; despite the prevailing circumstances.  Ex: Regardless of what you have done, I will always love you.
  • LITERALLY means it actually happened. Not that it FIGURATIVELY happened: FIGURATIVELY means: departing from a literal use of words; metaphorical:  EX: gold, in the figurative language of the people, was “the tears wept by the sun.”
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  • IRONY does not mean something that is unexpected. IRONY means: a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result: EX: the irony is that I thought he could help me.
  • It’s I COULDN’T CARE LESS not, I could care less, which means you actually DO care!
  • YOU’RE means you are. YOUR means: with the person or people that the speaker is addressing: EX: what is your name?
  • A LOT is ALWAYS 2 words, not one. ALWAYS!!
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  • You BEAR weight with your BARE hands
  • you give TWO things TO someone else. In addition, you give it to me, TOO. Got it??
  • You LOSE your keys if your pants are LOOSE.
  • THEY’RE means they are. THERE is a direction or a place ( THERE it is!!!) THEIR denotes one or more people ( THEIR noses were red from the cold weather)
  • If you try to form a contraction of COULD HAVE it is not could of. That is because there is no contraction of COULD HAVE. It is, simply stated, COULD HAVE.

So, those are actually most of my writing pet peeves. Tell me yours. Let’s discuss……

In my most recent book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS, not one of the above pet peeves is present! Promise!

Blurb:

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

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