Friday, May 30, 2008

June is 'Book Reviewing' Month at Blogcritics Magazine!

To promote the release of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, co-author Mayra Calvani will be interviewing 15+ reviewers and review editors during the month of June. Learn all about the business of book reviewing and what’s in the mind of some of the most popular reviewers on the internet today. Some of the guests will include: Alex Moore from ForeWord Magazine, James Cox from Midwest Book Review, Irene Watson from Reader Views, Andrea Sisco from Armchair Interviews, Magdalena Ball from The Compulsive Reader, Sharyn McGinty from In The Library Reviews, Lea Schizas from Muse Book Reviews, Linda Baldwin from Road to Romance, Hilary Williamson from Book Loons, Judy Clark from Mostly Fiction, and many others!

To see the complete lineup, visit: The Slippery Book Review Blog.

Between June 1st and June 30th, stop by Blogcritics and leave a comment under the reviewer interviews for a chance to win a Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour ,OR, as an alternative to a non-author winner, a $50 B&N gift certificate!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Social Network: Virtual Book Tours Q&A and Author Day

Cheryl Malandrinos of Pump Up Your Book Promotion has started a discussion at the Pump Up Your Book Promotion Social Network for those interested in learning more about virtual book tours. As we have been in the business for a year now, we've become experienced experts in the field. If you would like to ask us a question about anything regarding virtual book tours, visit the link and we'll be more than happy to address those questions.

The Pump Up Your Book Promotion Social Network was opened to allow authors to promote their books without cost. Sign up and brag, brag, brag. There's a sub-group in the left hand side that allows excerpts and another one that allows reviews and everyone is invited to submit. All you have to do is sign up and post.

If you are interested in our special section called Author Day which includes an entire day of promotion in a question and answer format, we do have to charge for this but you'll get your own page with book cover, buying information, author bio, book blurb and promotion for the event prior to the date you will appear. We use the same format of promotion we use for all our authors on tour, so you get more than your money's worth. We are booked for June, but do have openings in July. The cost is $25. If you are interested, email me at thewriterslife(at) and I'll send you the application for it.

Our list of authors scheduled for Author Day in June include:

June 2 - Karen White, author of the fiction novel, THE MEMORY OF WATER
June 4 - James Burns, author of the financial book on how to get rich, THE 3 SECRET PILLARS OF WEALTH
June 9 - Victoria Wells, author of the multicultural romance, A SPECIAL SUMMER
June 11 - Traci E. Hall, author of the paranormal romance, LOVE'S MAGIC
June 13 - to be announced
June 16 - Steven Baldwin & Karen Holgate, authors of the non-fiction book about the American school system, FROM CRAYONS TO CONDOMS: THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS
June 18 - Grace Reddick, author of the children's book, ASHLEY'S UNFORGETTABLE SUMMER
June 20 - Candis C. Coffee, author of the literary fiction novel, MARIPOSA
June 23 - Phyllis Zimbler Miller, author of the woman's fiction novel, MRS: LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL
June 25 - Linda Merlino, author of the literary fiction, BELLY OF THE WHALE
June 27 - Peter Bowerman, author of the book on self-publishing, THE WELL-FED SELF PUBLISHER: HOW TO TURN ONE BOOK INTO A FULL TIME LIVING

All authors are giving away free books!

If you are one of our past clients and would like a stop at Author Day, your fee is waived, but you must book early as we only have a limited amount of stops.

Thank you!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Omg, what a show!!!! David Cook won!!! I was screaming, the dogs were barking and it's a wonder the neighbors didn't call the cops because I was a one-woman party going on!!! Oh my god, what a show!!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunsets and Bike Riding

I thought yesterday's sunset was fantastic with the boat gliding just under the sun, but scroll past these pictures and catch the fantastic sunset tonight! Wowzers...

I never knew sunsets could be so pretty!

I really really need a better camera (I'm listening to ya, Dick!).

Tonight, BF met me on the mainland to help me load a bicycle I thought I was getting into the car, but when we looked over the selection they had there at Wal-Mart, the one I finally picked out had a big ol' scratch on it so I'm supposed to call them tomorrow to see if they have one in the back. And then I guess another trip up there will be necessary.

I already bought BF a bicycle which is going to be used by my son and him and whatever male guest comes visiting, but I need a girl's bike for myself.

They do A LOT of bicycling over here on the island. If they aren't walking their dogs, they're riding their bikes. I know of at least 2 bike rental places over here and I'm sure there are more. You didn't see many people riding bikes over where I used to live, now it's like if you don't have a bike, you're losing out.

So, another bike is imminent.

I haven't ridden a bike in years. I've also added some poundage since the last time I hopped on a bike, too. I hope this experience won't be like the time I tried skating. I was on the floor more times than on my feet, so I gave that up. Funny what things you loved as a kid, you hate when you get older.

But bike riding. Man, that was my thing. Let me tell bike was the bomb. Anyone remember banana seats? Oh you couldn't ride a bike comfortably without a banana seat. And, yes, they were shaped like a banana which I'm sure today would be hilarious on these bikes, but that bike was comfortable. Streamers. Had to have my streamers, a bell and ever put cards in the spoke of your wheels which were attached with clothespins?

Man, we were weird back in those days, lol.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ANEC Incompetent

Yesterday morning, I got out of bed and no sooner had my feet hit the floor, there was a loud rapping on my door. I peeked out and the ANEC electric truck (you know the one – the one that turns off electricity if you don’t pay your bill) was parked in front of my house.

Half-groggy, I asked them if I could help them.

“I’ve come to collect for the electric bill or I’m going to have to turn you off.”

I knew I had already paid it and I told him so. At that point, I thought it was a mistake as I knew I had paid it because I had just checked out my bank account online the night before and the check had cleared a week earlier. Keep in mind, too, I had no pending – recent or past – charges as I had paid the bill in full.

I told him I had paid it and without any remorse, he told me, “Well that’s not what we’re seeing. You have to pay $480 or I’m turning you off.”

I tell him I’m calling the company and will be right back. I figured it was a hindsight but I sure didn't appreciate being woken up to someone else's mistake.

I get the office and tell them that the truck is in front of my house and the guy is telling me he’s going to turn my electricity off if I don’t pay a bill I know I don’t owe.

After we argue back and forth, they tell me that my most recent payment was going on an account I had 13 years ago and wasn’t showing up on my new account (I had recently moved 2 months ago).

I tell them that that account was closed when I moved and after 3 visits to them in their building in Onley, Virginia, to get everything changed over (believe me, it wasn’t easy or it would have taken 1 trip like normal businesses), I had signed a new application with my physical address, paid all the re-connection fees and I was good to go. In fact, they wouldn't let me get the new account changed over unless I did pay all charges upfront which I did .

And they still insisted I owed this money.

I had proof I had paid it, but yet they still insisted I owed it and was going to turn me off if I didn’t pay it.

“Well where did my recent payment go?” I was practically screaming at that point because I knew I was in the right.

“To another account.”

“Can you get that money and apply it to my new account now? That account was closed and I don’t owe anything for it.”

“You’ll have to talk to my supervisor. Please hold.”

I was on hold for an interminable amount of time and called back.

“Yes, hi. I was talking to someone else about a bill you all are saying I owe and I know it’s been paid. I have no past due bills and the guy is out front ready to shut me off. I don’t owe it!”

By this time, the guy in the big yellow truck had left.

“I don’t know what’s wrong, Ms. Thompson. We’ll have to get this straightened out.”

“Well is he coming back to turn me off?”

“Unless you pay a reconnection fee, he is.”

“What??? Why do I have to pay a reconnection fee when the damn lights aren’t even cut off yet???”

“Tell you what. If you pay $126 today, he won’t come back and everything will get straightened out.”

“What’s the $126 for?”

At that time, I had lost it. I’m not even sure what I was paying $126 for.

“Will that be electronic check, credit card or debit?”

I paid the amount by electronic check only because for a solid hour, I had had it. I was being harassed by something that wasn’t my fault and I had to pay?

I ask you, ANEC, what did I just pay for? Will I see a credit for that on my next bill and the next time you go around harassing people for something that is your fault, will you still make sure they pay out of their pocket for your mistake like you did me?

Isn't that called highway robbery?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Aftermath

Today is better. The sun is out, too. I had my son and a friend over for lasagna last night. I needed something to calm my nerves so since the water was starting to recede, I thought it was safe to go off the island and get him.

I forgot to download another video last night...this was about when it was just about over. Still lots of water in the yards and the one side of the road was washed out, but whew, we made it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Update on storm

We just got back in a couple minutes ago. Wanted to see what it was doing in the rest of the town and got more video. Video doesn't even do it justice. And what you see is a quarter of how bad it is in front of my house which I'll take more video in a few minutes.

BF isn't home and I can't get in touch with him. Called his work and they were supposed to get my message that the roads were flooding but I don't know if he got the message. They're supposed to close the causeway between 3 and 3:30 which is right now. High tide is in 15 minutes so this should get interesting.

Storms, storms, storms

Last night, we had a scare. We had a tornado watch and the wind, rain and hail was coming down so fast, it was flooding the area. My daughter was off the island visiting a friend and I hadn't heard from her so I gave her cell a call. She answered it and was crying. "I'm on the causeway and I'm scared! Can't talk!" Click.

Well, my heart raced. I threw on my shoes, headed out the door and the boxes that I had left under the carport that was headed to the storage room the next day was becoming drenched, so I hurriedly threw them back into the house. After I did that, I flew upstairs to get my coat and was heading out the door when Melissa walked in. She was crying and all we did was hug. You can't tell me there aren't guardian angels.

She said the causeway was flooded and in town, you had to drive down the middle of Main Street. Trash cans were everywhere. On top of that, her back lights weren't working and she was terrified.

I got up this morning and it looked pretty normal. Water was standing in the front yard which wasn't unusual. I got this picture of two lone geese who were confused, thinking it was part of the channel I guess. But it looked like an ordinary morning...

Then, about two hours returned. I got some video footage I'll show you...

I'm serious, scary stuff and they're saying it's going to get worse tonight!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

To my mother who left this realm 35 years ago and to all mothers still sticking it out and trying the best they can to become the most wonderful mothers in the world...

Happy Mother's Day!

And my favorite...


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Playing Tourist on Seafood Festival Day

Just thought I'd take advantage of my no tours on the weekend rule (I was a genius when I came up with that rule) and post a few pictures of my daughter's and my jaunt through Chincoteague on Seafood Festival Day last Wednesday.

For those who don't know what the Seafood Festival Day is, compare it to dropping the ball in Times Square. It's a mostly local thing, but we have politicians among thousands of other seafood lovers cramming into a local campground called Tom's Cove for a fun-filled day of seafood, beer, political talks, beer, sunshine, beer, well you get the picture.

Now, we didn't actually go inside, but we did get some pictures...across the water...

What we did, being as it cost about $35 a head or more to get in, we drove over to Memorial Park and I zoomed the camera and actually didn't get a bad shot. could hear the music, too...way cool!

Here's another shot...

And the adventure only began!

Being as this is our first time actually living on the island, we decided to take in some good old tourist hot spots and headed toward Assateague Island where I got a few pics. Now, keep in mind this is only the first week of May and not quite swimming weather yet, but my daughter got out and walked around. Snapped these pictures...

Unbelievable how you could actually get out and not have to walk through people...perfect time of year to go to the beach...

Melissa standing in front of the waves rolling in...she said the water was COLD.

After leaving the beach, we walked down a trail which led to the Assateague Lighthouse which was actually erected in 1833. I only encountered two mosquitoes which I think set a record. Maybe it was the time of year, but in the summer, you better be wearing mosquito repellent.

Got some awesome pictures, though...

Nice, nice day. I don't know who had more fun...the people at the seafood festival or us, but one thing is for sure...we didn't have a hangover!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Awesome Video

Doing more playing than working, but check out this awesome video...if you're scared of heights, cover your eyes!

Prank Calls

Monday, May 5, 2008

Water, Water, Everywhere...

The BF and I were standing on our lower deck gazing at how the tide was really high despite the fact there were no storms in the area. The waterline had almost reached the top of my neighbor's dock and maybe about a foot from ours (our dock must be slightly higher than theirs).

The sun had just about gone over the horizon and we were talking about how if it's this high when the water is calm, what's it going to do when there's a little bit of rain or much worse, when a hurricane blows through here.

Of course, we started thinking about game plans and what we'd throw in the car when it does happen, getting all nervous because it really could happen. Once they close the bridge on the causeway, that's it brother. You're either stuck off on the island or stuck on.

The way our condo is set up, we are resting on huge stilts. Our bottom floor where the utility room and our storage room would get hit first. The game plan today is to pull everything out of the storage room while I had a day off and rearrange things, putting plastic containers at the bottom and piling the boxes on top. Our mini-freezer would have to be put up on cement blocks and that's if the water doesn't rise above 2 feet in our front yard.

I wish I took a picture, but it doesn't have to rain here. My neighbor's yard is always full of water simply because it drains out of something in the back...BF explained it but I don't really understand it. But, like he said, after all, we ARE living on an island and it comes with the territory.

So, BF goes back inside and I sit there looking at the waterline, thinking of things that would be top priority to load in the car if worse comes to worse. It's scary when you think about it because if there was a hurricane to blow by here which happens every year of course, we're either stuck on the second floor and praying we don't lose electricity or we play it smart and leave the island before we can't get off. This is our first year here and I don't know what to expect.

I asked the local cop if he ever had to evacuate the whole time he has been working here on the island and he said no, but that doesn't mean the roads don't get flooded (they do) or the causeway gets closed down (it does).

It's scary.

So, I get up this morning and I'm still thinking about how scary it is, then look what I see out my window. Is this the coolest thing or what???

That's our dock and this cutest red boat just goes gliding right by. It was huge compared to the other smaller boats that usually pass by. Here's another one:

I really need another camera. Anyway, what is this??? Here's another:

And one more...
So, the moral of this story is I guess you can't have your cake and eat it, too.