Saturday, September 30, 2006

You Know You're Too Busy For Your Own Good When... find out someone appreciated something you wrote, sent you an award for it, and find it weeks later in your e-mail box.

Here's the award..

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now, is that the most beautiful thing you ever saw! Thank you so much, M.E.!!!!

And the fine woman who blessed me the honor, check her out here!

Dang, that's pretty.

Speaking of over-worked, I'm also over-medicated. It started with a sore throat, then turned into a nasal non-breathing thingee with lots of achooos. A cold. The drat common cold.

I can't even remember the last time I got a cold, it's been that long.

On the homefront, other than sneezing my brains out, I'm tying up the manuscript I was supposed to have to my editor like...uh...yesterday. Hope she forgives. The working title is "The Soul Mate Triangle - Unlocking the Mysteries of the Soul Mate Relationship."

I didn't have any problems getting interviews for the karmic and companion soul mate categories, but for some odd reason, it's not many folks who've met their twin soul, or at least, they haven't become aware of it.

Such a shame, but not to fear. You just have to know what to look for.

Since I was having trouble finding people to interview for it, I added my own story. I think that might be the best way of showing people that their twin soul might be right under their nose, and they not even know about it.

I did put out a call in my newsletter, and have had responses, so it looks like I can tie this up over the week-end, if I can put my nose to the grind.

Well, my soup is getting cold, so I better get to eating it. Hope everyone's week-end is going splendid.

Oh, one more thing. I was standing outside of work this morning, looking up at the clouds. One of my co-workers came outside and I said, "Look at those clouds. Can't you just imagine mountains behind it?"

I bet if I were in the Smokies, I wouldn't have gotten sick! Drat...get me off the east coast!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful week-end, and now it's time I eat my soup...AACCHHOO!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tom Cruise and Robert De Niro Are My Neighbors

This was the startling fact my daughter just told me this morning. Where have I been?

"Mom, don't you read the newspaper?"

Well, uh, no. Unless I can grab a few minutes at work and read the one that my co-worker leaves behind, but I've had myself wrapped up in books, thank you very much.

This little bit of trivia was told to me by my daughter this morning over talks of the housing market and crime rates. Such deep conversation for someone just crawling out of bed, but it was just so darn interesting.

The reason why we were talking about the housing market and crime rates was triggered by the fact that a friend of my daughter's couldn't sell her house, and has had to put it on the market as a rental. The price? Are you sitting down? $1,100.

As I'd love a new place to live, I knew this woman was getting ready to rent her house out, and I told my daughter to let me know when she comes to a price.

$1,100? Is she crazy?

"She has to pay the mortgage with it because she's moving to North Carolina to be with her husband who builds houses over there," my daughter said.

I've often wondered how people pay mortgages that high to begin with. Hopefully, they're either presidents of some software company or surgeons whose jobs are never threatened. Even so, isn't that a ridiculous price for a house here?

Well, that's not the house. The house is about a third of that, and I don't think it's even on the darn water.

"You know why houses are so darn high to begin with," my daughter adds. "Tom Cruise and Robert De Niro moved into that development in Cape Charles."

I had to laugh. I was born here and have lived here for years and years. I know the place inside out. The rest of Virginia doesn't even recognize us because we're separated by the Chesapeake Bay, and then you have to pay a toll to get over here. Plus, we're technically a low-income area. Or, used to be.

I actually don't even live in Cape Charles, but as it's a part of the Eastern Shore, I've traveled there many times.

Cape Charles used to be a booming town. That was when the ferry was running which closed in the early sixties. There is a beach (hence, waterfront), but nothing compared to the great beach over on Assateague Island, which is about 15 minutes from my back door.

But, after the ferry stopped operating, Cape Charles became somewhat of a ghost town, with just a few of the businesses still hanging on, and praying for that miracle.

But then, some hot shot developer bought a huge piece of land there, right on the water. And turned it into the best investment he could have probably ever bought. Or she. I'm not sure who bought it. Like I said, I don't read the newspaper.

I've not seen it. They say there are bars up to the gate, and you can't get in unless you live there. Although catching a peek at Tom Cruise or Robert De Niro out taking their dogs for a pee would have been a treat.

So, anyway, the point of my story is that, because of this big shot developer coming in and turning Cape Charles into THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH TO LIVE, the houses on the rest of the Eastern Shore has shot up to ridiculous prices.

And, if you're not Tom Cruise or Robert De Niro, or a brain surgeon or President of the United States, you can forget affording to live here.

And, it's crazy.

So, I sit in my rental I've lived in for the past ten years (don't tell my landlord that he could get 3 times the amount I'm paying now) and dream of the Smokies, where there at least houses are affordable.

It's funny what living next to Tom Cruise and Robert De Niro will do to you, not to mention the price of your property.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Writer's Lament

I have a new member in my writing group, The Writer's Life e-group, that just tickles me. His name is Gale Sparks (remember the name, cause you're going to hear good things about him in the future), and he writes the best southern novels I've read in a long time. He tickles me because of his writing style. He's a typical Tennessean, which by now, you all know is right up my alley.

He talks about his book in such a nonchalant way. It's not published, and he has been turned down by a couple of agents, and he doesn't seem real concerned about it, but I've tried to encourage him to keep on keeping on. He is so laid back about it, wanting it, yet not obsessed about it. He's my hero in that area.

Anyway, he said, "Geez, I can't believe t'night I did my meditating, couldn' t sleep, got up took a shot of Jack and still can't shut my brain off. I had a couple of abstract paintings floating around and had to get up and thumbnail sketch them, then I saw my pc sitting there and couldn't help working on the book a little."

Isn't that like a true writer, though? I wanted to tell him, and encourage him in the process, that this is what it's all about.

So, I posted something in reply and it went like this...

"It's called being a writer, Gale. ;o)

"I love it and I hate it. No sleep, the house gets speed cleaned every once in awhile and the dogs pee on the papers in the utility room if I'm in the middle of something and don't notice Max's paw gnawing through my leg to get out.

"You have dreams of making it big and tears when it doesn't happen.

"You take pills to keep you going at work because you've been on the computer all day and your brain is mush by the time 4 p.m. comes, and pills to help you go to sleep when you're lying there and inspiration comes to you and you jump out of bed for another 2 or 3 hours.

"You get no sex (nor want it) because your intended other falls asleep waiting for you to come to bed, and then when you are finished what you're doing and jump up because you feel guilty, he's fast asleep.

"For Christmas, you don't want practical nor fun things. You want printer ink, computer paper, and a new mouse because you've run yours down. Same goes for birthdays.

"Your friends abandon you to go do fun things like hang out at bars or catch that latest cool flick, while you have the mindset that its a waste of time and that if you did, you'd be a couple hours behind trying to sell that book, or that article, or hobnobbing with other likeminded individuals who might help you do so.

"Your mail used to come to you in the form of cool magazines about organic gardening or tabloids about the antics of the rich and famous doing it with their sister, brother or mother; and instead, it's unsolicited material from publishing houses or agents trying to hook you into signing up for a small fee of $1,000.

"You no longer have a life; but instead, you have a goal and a zest and a yearning to be someone, to have something to show from all these hours on the computer, to make something from your bare hands that people will pick up at their Barnes & Noble.

"It's an obsession. It's the strongest hold anyone or anything could have on you.

"It is your soul mate.

"There's no cure, except for burn-out, but you'll not cave in, if you are a true writer. Welcome to the club. ;o)"

A writer who is obsessed is a writer with high hopes. She or he will give up quality time with their family to spend countless hours pursuing something that has such control, even they aren't aware of its power. All they know is that there is an ache inside of them to become someone.

I do think of this from time to time. I know I've given up five of my years to this obsession. But, I'm thinking, did I give up my years, or did I turn those years into the best years of my life?

I'd like to think so. ;o)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Spaghetti Done the Right Way

I have a funny story today that involves one of my favorite dishes--homemade spaghetti.

I was sitting here working on a book cover for one of my friends, and chomping down on a nice, hot bowl of homemade spaghetti, and it reminded me of my mother's recipe for making spaghetti sauce that I found soon after she died.

Mother was known for her spaghetti. I could never duplicate it. Even after I found a shopping list she had written which included all the ingredients she had put in her spaghetti, I still could never get it to taste the same.

I just chalked it up to her having the right touch.

Of course, I did leave out the mushrooms because they remind me of snail meat. Not that I've had snail meat, but I guess it's just a visual hang-up of mine. The very thought of biting down on snail meat sent my stomach into convulsions.

Well, one day I was telling this story to someone about how I hated mushrooms and when I made spaghetti, I would always leave them out. "I like the taste it gives to spaghetti," I told them, "but I hate the mushroom itself."

And, then it dawned on me. This was the reason my spaghetti didn't taste like my mother's...those damn mushrooms.

So, I did an experiment. I added the mushrooms, but was very careful to add large ones so that I could see them to pick them out. Heaven forbid I confuse them with a green pepper.

Well, when I took my first bite, it took me back to when my mother was alive, and we'd all be sitting at the table stuffing our faces with it. I can't even put into words how good her spaghetti was.

I remember one time I was having my boyfriend over for dinner. "I'm making spaghetti," my mother told me, "because I want him to know how great a cook your mother is."

Perfect! That was her best dish...surely I'd get some brownie points in the love department.

Well, my boyfriend arrived and I introduced him to my mother, step-father and sister, and we sat down to enjoy our meal. I was in heaven...everyone really liked each other and as this particular boyfriend I really wanted to marry me (which he did later), I felt that this was going GREAT.

However, when I took my first bite of spaghetti, I knew something was wrong. Terribly wrong. The spaghetti was squishy, instead of chewy, and I wanted to die. Here was my mother's perfect getting-your-boyfriend-to-marry-you meal, and it tasted like mush.

I didn't know what to do. Surely, everyone realized it, but sat there, slowly eating. As it turned out, my boyfriend admitted to hating spaghetti, so this must have been pure torture.

He ended up marrying me, but not for my mother's or my culinary talents. Remind me to tell you about the Hamburger Helper dinner that my German Shephard, Baron, wouldn't even eat.

So, I sit here, eating my spaghetti, carefully picking out the mushrooms, thinking about Mother and how she so wanted to impress my boyfriend. She told me later that the spaghetti noodles had sat too long in the water, waiting for him to arrive. Ack.

But it goes to show you how one little ingredient, even one you despise, makes all the difference in the world in a recipe. Not that I'm an expert, but it made me realize that even if something looks like the grossest thing in the world, it could turn out to make the biggest difference.

Now on to the snail meat....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Soul Mate Triangle

Well, I'm finally jumping back into the soul mate book I've been contracted by Zumaya to publish. I was supposed to send it to them as in..uh..yesterday. The promoting ebook has been taking up a lot of my time, but it's now to turn my focus on soul mates. Such a switch in mental capacity, something I don't have much of lately.

Here is a mock cover I was thinking about sending to them. The book is called "The Soul Mate Triangle: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Soul Mate Relationship."

Where I have this mountain fetish (dreamed about them again last night...that's 11 days in a row), I thought I'd incorporate a picture I took while in the Smokies. After all, they're my new soul mates now.

I showed this picture to my writing group and one of the members commented on how they were mysterious, much like soul mates. Hopefully, this book will clear up those mysteries, but I have no solution as to why the mountains' effect on me is so overpowering.

But, then isn't soul mate love overpowering, too?

There is a spiritual feeling I get in the mountains. It's just like a soul mate relationship. I leave it, and yet my heart cries to return. How many soul mates have left you and you had this same feeling?

So, I guess the cover might work. I haven't thrown it at my editor yet, so it's not set in stone, and I still might make a few changes, but meanwhile, I've got something to go by.

Now, back to editing...uck......

Monday, September 18, 2006

Obsession That Won't Go Away

Today is the day I'm not going to think about:

1.) the fact that I have dreamed about the mountains for ten consecutive days.

2.) the fact that I'm very unhappy here and it's not my life in general, but where I live.

3.) the fact that I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Okay, here's the deal. I never should have gone to the Smokies. This was my third trip in four years, and this time was the worst. I didn't want to leave.

I am obsessed with the mountains, but the Smokies in particular. Although it's not the fact that I lived there, or even know anyone there, but the fact that there is an inner calling that is killing me.

I told BF I dreamed about the mountains again and he nearly blew up, "If you want to go to the mountains, then go. I'm staying right here."


But, it didn't bother me. If I went, he'd drag his sorry ass with me, 'cause that's the way he is.

You know...if I had one wish, I'd have that cabin in the Smokies. I'd watch the trees turn their shades or reds, oranges and yellows off my deck while sipping on a nice, hot cup of coffee. I'd sit there and think about how beautiful life was around me, and that no matter what else happened in the world, this was my oasis. My paradise. My rejuvenating spot.

I sat on the deck of the cabin I rented a little more than a week ago. I sat there with my cup of coffee and nothing but the wondrous hills stretched as far as you could see. If you could just imagine the power it gave me inside. It took all my stresses and just tossed them over the horizon.

It allowed me to really think about what I wanted out of life, and then that last day when I had to leave it, I mourned for it before I even stepped out the door.

The kids and I packed slowly. Each one of us took our personal glimpse of the Smokies off that deck and each one of us said our own special good-byes. Every one of us had our reasons for not wanting to leave.

It was heart-breaking. It wasn't because it was the end of vacation. It was because it was the end of a life we wish we had.

So, I get up now and close the window to the traffic just feet from my front door. I close it because I don't want it to get in and kill this wonderful feeling of being in the Smokies again.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published eBook

Okay, gang, it's here! A COMPLETE GUIDE TO PROMOTING & SELLING YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED EBOOK has arrived. If you would like to make money from the comfort of your home with no overhead and 100% profit, it's time to start thinking about writing your own eBook and selling it yourself. Why yourself and not an e-publisher?

Glad you asked.

YOU can do everything they can do, and all the profits are yours alone.

And don't think you can't do it, either. I've done it, and I will continue doing it because while I'm waiting for the royalty checks to come in from my other books and while I'm waiting for a NY contract for yet other books, I'm making money.

How do you make money from a book others have to read over the Internet?

You are so inquisitive!

But, that's what I'm here for. My eBook, A COMPLETE GUIDE TO PROMOTING & SELLING YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED EBOOK, explains it all. It's a 120-page PDF-formatted guide to show you how to promote your ebooks better than an e-publisher can. How?

By implementing the steps I've outlined in the eBook, you are guaranteed sales. While it may take time to complete, you'll be able to sit back and enjoy that added revenue you didn't have before.

I mean, think about it. It's a win-win situation. You can't go wrong.

My eBook, priced at $19.99, is comparable to others selling for hundreds. You read that right. HUNDREDS. And people are buying them.

People love information they can't get over the Internet or other places, and people are buying them because this priceless information is condensed into one easy-to-read and easy-to-follow location. By opening up my ebook and following the directions in each section, you'll find ideas of where to promote your eBook you never thought of before.

Oh, how I wish this information would have been available when my first eBook was published by an e-publisher. The money I have lost can never be regained, but the knowledge I have accumulated since has enabled me to promote my own eBooks with guaranteed sales.

Dan Poynter, marketing guru and author of over 100 self-published eBooks says,
“It does not matter if you sell out to a large (NY) publisher or publish yourself, the author must do the promotion. It does not matter if you publish a pBook (paper) or an eBook, the book must be promoted. Promotion methods are not the same for pBooks and eBooks. You can promote your eBook for little or no cost. A COMPLETE GUIDE TO PROMOTING & SELLING YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED EBOOK shows you how to promote your electronic book.”

If you'd like to find out more about A COMPLETE GUIDE TO PROMOTING & SELLING YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED EBOOK, visit For more tips on how to sell your eBook, visit my new promoting blog "eBook Promotion for Self-Published Authors" at

Happy sales to you!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Virginia's Shenandoah Valley's Natural Bridge

On the way home from our Smoky Mountain vacation, we really didn't want the fun times to end, so we stopped off at The Natural Bridge in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. It was spur of the minute stop, but it was absolutely awesome and I'm really glad we did stop.

The Natural Bridge has some really neat facts behind it. Thomas Jefferson built a 2-room log cabin here for his guests. In awe, famous people painted it and wrote about it. Thousands came by horse, stage coach, and train to view the huge, mysterious, renowned rock bridge. Like Niagara, it was among our nation's most visited natural wonders, that today, still takes your breath away. Here's the entrance to The Natural Bridge:

Jefferson's rock bridge remains; as does the legend of the Monacan Indian's discovery of it. Jefferson's vision transpired over time: the cabin grew to a hotel. Since 1927, the bridge has also captivated visitors at night during the "Drama of Creation," when colorful lights dance across the rock, accompanied by Biblical narration, music, the light of the moon, and soothing sounds of the creek.

Here's a picture of my son walking down the path before we actually got to The Natural Bridge:

And this is moi standing at the sign...

And the covered bridge...

And this is the beautiful Natural Bridge...

And another beautiful picture...

I do want to mention this, though....if you could just imagine standing there among those awesome was a trip back in time and surely something I'll never forget.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Smoky Mountain Vacation '06 - Ripley's Aquarium

And the Smoky Mountain Vacation '06 continues...

Our next stop was the Ripley's Aquarium.

We had already been to Clingman's Dome and were anxious to do more things, so we opted for the Ripley's Aquarium. From the brochure, it said it would take 4 hours to get through it all. Not! We did it in an hour or less! I'm not sure whether the $20 was worth it, but we did get some awesome pictures. Here's what it looked like on the inside. The picture doesn't do it justice.

It was awesome inside. You got on this conveyer belt thingee and it took you all around this huge glassed in rooms. The sea creatures were actually swimming not only beside you, but on top of you. This was a cool picture of a shark over top my head...

This picture doesn't do this crab justice. If you could see it in person, that sucker was HUGE. I'd say it was about 3 feet across.

And finally, a cool as shit picture of a huge jellyfish. Awesome, awesome.

Well, that's about it. After the aquarium, we bought a couple of pizzas and went back to the cabin. As it was the last night, we cried mercilessly. We didn't want to leave it.

Tomorrow, I'll post pictures of the Natural Bridge if I can find some decent enough. We just didn't want our vacation to end. Wouldn't it be nice if our lives was one perpetual vacation?

Smoky Mountain Vacation '06 - Clingman's Dome

Every night since my trip, my dreams have been filled with the Smoky Mountains. Serious. I am obsessed. Possessed. Give me one year to think about it, but I'm really considering moving to Tennessee. I found a new love...a love for something that is so overpowering, it's making entrances into my dreams. There must be a reason.

This second account of my vacation is filled with yet more scenic views and this time, it's a piece of the Smokies called "Clingman's Dome." It is absolutely awesome. I told my daughter this is where you can spread my ashes because it's the most beautiful place in the world as you can see by this picture I took below:

Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it. But, let me back up....

We arrived at our cabin on Tuesday at 4 and spent the rest of the night playing pool, downing Coors Light (I don't drink, but I did get tipsy off of a half of one, believe it or not) and playing in the hot tub. I beat Melissa's friend 5 games of pool and vowed that's one thing I am going to start saving up for. We just had a blast.

The next morning, we got up and headed out to the Gatlingburg Information Center at the beginning of the Smoky Mountain National Park. I don't think the clerk behind the desk was amused at all when I told her I wanted to see some bears. Think it's a local thing and I was the typical tourist. My, how the tables have turned. Living near Chincoteague and working in a restaurant on the main path there, I get many questions about the ponies running through the streets. "Do you actually see them running through the streets?" If I heard it once, I heard it a million times. Sure, they're running all over the place. Poor tourists...little do they know they're only running around the refuge and you're lucky if you see one up close.

Anyway, so bears were out, but she told me about a place that we'd never been before called Clingman's Dome that sounded pretty interesting.

She showed me a picture of it, and I said let's go. Seems it's the highest point of the Smokies, so this was going to be an adventure.

We stopped off at a really neat picnic place near there and cooked hot dogs by a waterfall. Tres cool. Man, they were good, too. I brought some chips and potato salad and we had a feast. Here I am stuffing my face.

Then, we were off. Silly us forgot to gas up and we made it to Clingman's Dome on less than a quarter of a tank. It really helped on the way down being as we didn't have to put our foot on the gas.

As soon as we parked, we headed out.

We stopped at the sign and got Melissa's friend to take a picture of me and my daughter and son. The paved road took us up, up, up and I was always lagging behind. This was a test of pure endurance, I'm telling you. Not to mention I forgot to pee. But, we made it. I don't know why this picture is turning out blurry, but the original is clear.

It was pure awesome, though. Visibility was bad, but we were actually up in the clouds which you'll see in this picture. Simply awesome and a truly wonderful experience! We were heading back to the cabin, but wanted to stop off at Ripley's

Aquarium, which I'll post about tomorrow. Awesome, awesome!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Romancing the Soul - # 2 Bestselling Book at Zumaya Publications

I'll continue with my vacation story, but I just found out (thanks to Kathy Holmes!) that Romancing the Soul, that cute little book to the right there somewhere, is # 2 bestselling book at Zumaya Publications! Can I get a woop-woop????

Check it out at www.zumayapublications.html!

Friday, September 8, 2006

Smoky Mountain Vacation '06 - Pt. 1

I'm back! Absolutely absolutely awesome! Had a wonderful time and I wish I could say it was good to be back home, but I'd be lying through my teeth. Absolutely wonderful trip.

The kids and I took off from Virginia at 3:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon and didn't arrive to our cabin until about 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. Before we even walked in our cabin, we stood on the front deck and let Melissa's friend take a picture of us. What a memory. As soon as I walked in the front door, it was heaven. In fact, the name of the cabin was "From Here to Heaven" and the name fit.

I think for the next few days I'll send pictures through...sort of a virtual tour of the Smokies from my perspective. Here's a couple more of the cabin. There's the entrance which leads to the main part of the cabin which consists of the kitchen (which you see here), the living room and the dining area. Also came with a small bathroom and a stackable washer & dryer combo.

This is the living room area, complete with big screen TV, and a DVD player. The fireplace is a gas fireplace which works with a flip of the switch...simply awesome. I guess this is how the rich people play...sigh...
Well, there's a few for you to look at...I'll send some more through tomorrow. But, wait, one more pic...this is one of my most awesome pics. It was taken on the way to Clingman's Dome which I'll tell you about in my next post or so. Simply breath-taking!

Oh give me a home where the smoky bears roam..........sing it one more time....

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Off to the Smoky Mountains

Well, guys, I'm heading out to the Smokies with my daughter, son and a friend of my daughter's. My bags are packed...I'm ready to go...what's that song from?

Anyway, we plan on leaving tonight at 6 p.m., and do some night traveling to avoid the traffic. Tomorrow is Labor Day and I want to be pretty well on I-81 with the Blue Ridge on my right, heading south towards Tennesee tomorrow. Our plans are this:

Sunday 6 p.m. - Leave Virginia, head north toward Salisbury, Maryland.
Sunday 2 a.m. or so - We'll pretty well be on I-81 by that time. We may decide to go on and stay over and get up in the morning, refreshed.
Monday morning - We should be at either Front Royal, Virginia or Charlottesville (depending on where we crash for the night).
Monday evening - We should hit Pigeon Forge where we'll stay overnight and wait for our cabin to be ready on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, we'll do things. I want to see Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg...they say it takes four hours to go through it all. Not sure about Dollywood, just depends on how finances go.

Anyway, Tuesday at 4 p.m., we'll get our cabin and go out to Walmart for supplies. If it has a grill, we'll pick up some charcoal and steaks. Thinking about some kind of or wine coolers. I'm not much of a drinker, but I guess I'll have to force myself...;o)

Wednesday morning, we'll explore the Smoky Mountain National Park and Lord knows what else. We're just going to see how it goes.

Thursday, at 11 a.m., we'll head back home. Thinking about driving straight to avoid having to spend another night in a hotel.

So, that's the agenda. We'll get back home sometime in the wee early hours of Friday morning or sometime thereafter.

Wish us luck...we've done this trip before, but every trip is so different. I'm sure there will be lots of stories to tell...hopefully pleasant! And I'll take plenty of pictures. So, have a wonderful week and I'll be yakking at you when I get back. ;o)