Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mommy's Idea Mommy's Idea Mommy's Idea Mommy's Idea

Friday, November 23, 2012

50 Shades of Grey

When I first heard all the hype about 50 Shades of Grey, I immediately ran the other way.  Twilight fan fiction? Self published? {More or less} Not for me.  Thanks but no thanks.  But then back in June I literally saw 50 people I know, read, like reading 50 Shades.  So I decided to join the club.

Now at first I was driven crazy by the bad writing and the even worse "sex" scenes.  But somewhere in the midst of all this I fell in love with the story and the characters.  I immediately bought the second after finishing the first and then the third after finishing the second.  I was actually sad that they were over... So now what I am I too do?

So then I started reading through a bunch of erotic fiction book reviews, looking for something to fill the hole 50 Shades had left.  Finally I found Click Here this site that has a list of books the same as 50 Shades of Grey!!  Yay, my search is over and just in time for Christmas.  I can just tell people here is my list!

Friday, December 10, 2010

April Showers Blog Design Giveaway!!!

Photobucket Here is a little about April from her website. "I started designing blogs almost two years ago, and thanks to lots of  demand, I was able to quit my day job (June 2010) and hire some help to  beautify the blog world! I graduated with two Bachelor's Degrees in  Advertising and Radio/TV/Digital Media Production. Blogging, online  media, and of course - design - are my passions, secondly only to my  wonderful husband. I love babies, Band Hero, Facebook, running,  swimming, and have a serious love for shopping. I hope we can make your  blog a functional work of art that inspires you too!"

 Where you can find her online:
Her Design Blog
Her Personal Blog

She does blog design, business identity, and invitations and announcements.  She also has a freebie section with layouts and buttons for use.

In addition to blog design, April also offers design classes.  I took her Blog Design class back in September and it was great!!  You also get a copy of the class so if you miss something or forget you can watch it later.  You can see her new workshops that are being offered in 2011 {Here}!!  You save $20 if you sign up before Dec 13th!!

She has a giveaway going on right now.  Starting today and ending Dec 17th, you can enter to win a Full Blog Design or a Workshop Registration.  The values ranges from $85 to $320!!! depending on what you pick and if you have Blogger or Wordpress.  Go enter!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

AMAZING BlogFest Giveaway!!!!

Do you want to win a brand new Kindle from Amazon??  Then head on over to Bitten by Books and enter their BlogFest contest!!!   (Or don't- I really want to win!!  LOL) They have tons of ways to enter and the only mandatory thing is comment with your First Name and Last Initial and your country.  Sorry everybody else!  This giveaway is only open to US peeps.  Have a great weekend and Good Luck (but not too good.. I need all the really good luck!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Author Interview: Cheryl Snell

Here are some questions I asked Cheryl Snell author of Shiva's Arms

Where are you from?
Alberta, Canada, eh.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I published a poem in an excellent journal whose rep dwarfed my previous publications

What inspired you to write your first book?
Inspiration didn’t enter in. I had published about 65 poems and a few stories in lit journals and the logical next step was to put together a collection of poetry.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I write in a lyric narrative style. A critic/professor recently said I was an American surrealist. I like that.

How did you come up with the title, Shiva’s Arms?
It came to me when I was at McDonald’s with my Mom one day. It had all the elements I needed, incorporating the Hindu god of creation AND destruction, comparing that entity to Amma (who did plenty of C&D herself). All the god’s arms reminded me of Amma’s push-pull with Alice.

Is there a message in Shiva’s Arms that you want readers to grasp?
Much of literature focuses on the idea of Home, and I thought it would be interesting, in this book, to take a culture clash, complicate it, and see how the characters worked out a way to see one another as individuals as well as family.

How much of Shiva’s Arms is realistic?
The basis for the story is drawn from my life (American girl marries Hindu boy) but the characters are fictional. Details are drawn from South Indian culture, researched and fact-checked. Like Emily Dickinson, I want to put “real toads in my imaginary garden”.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The action in the story certainly could have happened to me, if I had married a more traditional guy. In our social circle, there are plenty of attitudes similar to those I write about, and I’ve witnessed the results in real life, from my place as observer.

Did you learn anything from writing Shiva’s Arms and what was it?
Aside from learning how to shape a long narrative and control my characters, I learned that societal memes do perpetuate. Traditions in old cultures will continue to be passed down, and change will only come slowly. But the Christian ideal of reconciliation has great power.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Shiva’s Arms?
No. After many drafts and remodels, I’m quite satisfied.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Looking at my library of a thousand or so volumes, my eye goes straight to Shakespeare’s plays and Flaubert’s Sentimental Education.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Alice Munro, for her wisdom.

What book are you reading now?
I like to read several at once: Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift, and Roth’s Dying Animal are right on top of the pile on my bedside table.

What are your current projects?
Another volume of short stories, another book of poetry with art by my sister, and a new novel. Working on several types of writing at the same time prevents writer’s block!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My father liked to write and I followed suit, writing little poems and stories for family birthdays and celebrations.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Knowing when a piece is finally finished. For awhile afterward, the characters still seem to want attention, one last try for another effect or plot point. Overworking a piece can leave it blurred, all the spontaneity drained. You have to know when to quit.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
“Killing your darlings” in order to make it new.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Standard advice: write every day, and read more than you write. Workshops are good, or at least a fresh pair of eyes to look at your work. “Write what you know” may be good advice, but I’d rather learn something new well enough to be able to write about it.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’d like to thank them for reading my work. It’s the highest compliment for any writer.

Thank you!!!
It was my pleasure.

**If you would like to win a copy of Cheryl's book Shiva's Arms leave a comment or question for her and your email address. I will notify the winner by email and they will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway ends 7/8**

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thumbing Through Thoreau Book Review

Title: Thumbing Through Thoreau: A Book of Quotations By Henry David Thoreau

Authors: Kenny Luck
Illustrators: Jay Luke and Ren Adams
Publisher: Tribute Books
Published: April 19, 2010
ISBN: 978-0982256541

Summary: "On July 4, 1845, when Henry David Thoreau moved into his cabin on the shores of Walden Pond, he was probably unaware that his abode in the woods, and the impact and influence of that endeavor, would forever echo through time. Thoreau was an uncompromising idealist; an ardent maverick who criticized his fellow man. He urged that men and women ought to live more simply, and more deliberately. "The mass of men," he famously wrote, "lead lives of quite desperation." Yet the scope of Thoreau's message is much wider than social criticism. He speaks of spiritual transcendence in Nature and the unbounded potential of the individual. Thoreau is a dreamer and he speaks to dreamers. In a word, shun dogmatism and demagoguery; see beyond the immediate conventional religious explanations to reap a higher understanding. In our commodified contemporary American society, with the rise of religious intolerance and fundamentalism, materialism and mass consumerism, Thoreau's message is needed now more than ever. Author Kenny Luck has thumbed through Thoreau's voluminous journals, correspondences and other publications to make this the most comprehensive collection of Thoreau aphorisms available."

I love quotes. One of my favorite reference books is my Dictionary of Quotations. I love to find ones that match my mode or whose subject is of interest to me. I was thrilled to get the chance to review this book of quotes by Thoreau because, although he lived over 150 years ago, his quotes are timeless and many address issues still present in current society. If you have never read anything by Thoreau, I think you might be pleasantly surprised by his relevance.

Another amzing thing about this book is the illustrations. Both of the illustrators drew and painted all of the drawings included in the book. I received a review copy which was in black and white so one thing I am curious about is if the sketches are in color or black and white. Some look like they were done as pen and ink sketches but others could be anything.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

* "There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and the war, who yet in effect, do nothing to put an end to them."

* "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

* "...not until we are lost do we begin to realize where we are..."

This is a great book and if kept as a true coffee table book, I bet would spark tons of interesting conversations. I highly recommend this book to everyone!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!! What Would Rob Do??

Forget Someone's Name? What Would Rob Do?

By Rob Sachs,
Author of What Would Rob Do?: An Irreverent Guide to Surviving Life's Daily Indignities

When nobody else has been around to help out, I've also tried getting someone to talk about her own name. I'd say something like, "I used to get made fun of all the time when I was little because people would call me names like 'Saxophone' or 'Sexy Sachs' or 'Rob my sacks of cats.'" (Okay, nobody ever used the last one.) After sharing my story, I'd ask if she ever got teased, hoping she will give me a funny story that I can use to remember her name. Or sometimes I'd inquire, "What did your family call you when you were little?" Hopefully, it won't be Princess.

If you're not so good at face-to-face reconnaissance, there are less invasive methods for procuring names. In college I used to peek in backpacks, binders, notebooks, or anything that might have a name written on it. Now you can use social Web sites like Facebook or MySpace to see if you can figure out who somebody is through your circle of friends. You can also befriend someone who is really good with names and have him act as your personal Rolodex. Another "more advanced" technique is to challenge a person to a rap battle. The trick is to begin your rhyme with the words, "My name is . . . " Mine goes something like this:

My name is Rob,
I'm on the job
And though I eat with my hands,
I ain't no slob.

Then tell her it's her turn and she needs to follow the same format. Sit back and wait for her to give up the goods.

These tricks don't always fly in a work setting (though it would be fun to rap battle with some of my coworkers). There are times when the easiest thing to do is to come clean about forgetting someone's name. Within the first thirty seconds of talking to someone, it's okay to say, "I'm an idiot and I've forgotten your name." If you're not feeling self-deprecating, a simple "Oh, remind me of your name again?" will do as well. Letting a conversation go longer than five minutes without saying that makes you not only an idiot but a jerk, since the person you're talking to thinks you've been duping him the whole conversation.

My career at NPR has taken me from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles and back to D.C. I knew there
would be a lot of people I'd recognize but whose names I'd forget. To get some new tricks for the workplace, I called memory expert Harry Lorayne. He holds memory seminars all the time and has a full line of memory-related products. He was at first reluctant to talk to me, since people usually pay a lot of money to get the information he gives. Fortunately, I got him to open up on my specific problem of forgetting names, and he gave me a few hints.

He said that most of the names we forget are ones we never heard in the first place. Many times when people tell us their names, we're not really paying attention. When you hear someone say his or her name, you have to flag it in your brain as a vital piece of information. Lorayne recommended repeating the name right away to try to commit it to memory.

Let's say you're meeting me. I'll say, "Hi, my name is Rob Sachs." You can first verify that you heard it being pronounced the right way. Say it back to me. "Rob Sachs, is that correct?" Second, you can make a quick association with the name, or start talking about it in the conversation. Ask if Sachs has any relation to Saks Fifth Avenue or Goldman Sachs. (There is none, by the way.) The more you talk about the name right away, the more likely you are to remember it.

Another possibility is to try to associate someone's name with one of his physical characteristics. For instance, if you meet someone named Ben Green and you notice he has green eyes, you can repeat that in your head. Ben Green with the green eyes. Ben who has eyes that are green. Ben's last name is Green. My trick for remembering a name like Mikhail Gorbachev would be to think of the red splotch on his head as being gory. "Gory splotch" sounds like "Gorbachev." This might be a stretch, but it can work. The idea is to have a visual cue that correlates to the name.

Lorayne said another great thing to do is to use the name as often as you can over the course of your conversation. Try to eliminate all pronouns and just say the person's name instead, while always being careful not to say the name too much, since that can be a little creepy. "So Rob, what do you think about the weather? How about those Phillies, Rob? Rob, what brings you here?" I've tried this out, and to my amazement, it works. People also appreciate hearing their own name, because it makes them feel you care about them, or are a thoughtful person.

Harry Lorayne is a pro at this. He can repeat the names of a whole roomful of people he's just met. He told me that if you practice a lot and work on it, over time you will get better at it. These techniques have already started to help me in the office, though I still have one more trick. If I didn't catch someone's name or have forgotten it, I now go to the new searchable online database of NPR employees that contains everyone's picture from their photo ID. It's my own little office facebook, and I've lost more than a few hours of productivity studying it.

The above is an adapted excerpt from the book What Would Rob Do?: An Irreverent Guide to Surviving Life's Daily Indignities by Rob Sachs. Check out my review on his book later today!!

Copyright © 2010 Rob Sachs, author of What Would Rob Do?: An Irreverent Guide to Surviving Life's Daily Indignities

Author Bio

Rob Sachs, author of What Would Rob Do?: An Irreverent Guide to Surviving Life's Daily Indignities, has spent the last ten years as a producer, reporter, and director for NPR shows, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Tell Me More. He created the podcast What Would Rob Do? in 2006 and serves as its host.

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