From the southwest to the midwest. It’s a given that fall comes earlier to some areas faster than others. While we enjoyed a slow decline in morning temps in Goodyear, there were not all the outwardly signs of the slide into winter as we are currently beginning to note in northwest Indiana. I love the landscape of Arizona, the cactus, the beauty of sunrises and sunsets and I never tired of the artistic parks crafted with the perfect balance of sand, rock, and arid vegetation–there is an amazing variety of plants and trees in the desert. And so many hiking trails! There is a bounty of hiking trails for everyone from short to long or level to climb. Continue reading “From the Desert to the Rust Belt”
Pinterest is now being used for people on a how-to quest. How to pursue a project or interest. Pinterest reports informative pins are up to 30% more engaged than other pins. Want to bury your pin? Just make a simple pin with a picture. To make them more informative, however, you might want to take a college course on colors, form, and journalism or buy ebooks, webinars, and read, read, read informative blogs. Or, try employing these six techniques: Continue reading “Pinterest-How To Up Your Engagement With These Six Simple Rules”
Blacktip Island by Tim W Jackson
Genre: Currently #3585 in Best Sellers Rank for Literature & Fiction-Action & Adventure-Mystery & Thriller-Crime
Publisher: Devonshire House Press
Publication Date: September, 2016
Submitted by author for review
Psst–want to have a fantastic Caribbean adventure and save some moola? How about an Islander hop to a fictional Caribbean, Blacktip Island? Ahh, the sun, the surf, the people…but what about the people? Well, that’s the thing, you see. Blake Calloway had it good, working in his dad’s investment firm, right up until he screwed up a few decimal points. An innocent mistake! Unfortunately, when he tries to disappear on a remote island with some cash, blending in with the other scuba enthusiasts, he accidentally rescues one of them–again–an innocent mistake. So much for blending! And just like that, the book has you within the first few pages. Continue reading “Blacktip Island – Review”
Relocating can be a major pain, whether in state, or across the U.S. In our case, across the country.
Where do you begin to find an author group like the one discovered years before and lost with each successive move? If you use the computer and do internet searches, you can browse the web. But where to start? Meet-Up’s? The local library? You need encouragement and support with your writing goals. You need positive critique. You need to find the holes in your work so you can plug them.
The rewards for finding the right author community are numerous and there are resources out there to help: Continue reading “Find a New Author Support Community”
Forbidden Birth by William Rubin
Genre: Currently #1949 in Best Seller’s Rank for Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense, Medical
Publisher: Crystal Vision Creations
Publication Date: July, 2016
Submitted by author for review
Forbidden Birth – Cover conveys medically themed novel
I was sent this book by the author, Dr. William Rubin, as a medical thriller to read and review. After reading “Forbidden Birth,” however, I’m wondering if it shouldn’t have been classified as cross-genre, as there were also elements of horror, crime, and mystery; even sci-fi.
Dr. Christopher Ravello has given up a lucrative medical practice to join the newly formed Medical Crimes Division as a homicide detective of the New York Police Department. Compelled to fight crime on the street level after the brutal murder of his mother, he moves his well-to-do family to a blue-collar hood of questionable security and works with childhood buddy Kev Kennedy as they bump up against a serial killer known as The Giver. The antagonist is presented as extremely intelligent and, indeed, we get to know him well as he rationalizes the necessity for the work he is doing and the status he’ll achieve when his work becomes known. Continue reading “Forbidden Birth – Review”
What patent medicine begun in 1885 eventually became one of our most popular drinks?
Here’s a hint: It contained two “medicinal” ingredients–extract of coca leaves (cocaine) and kola nuts (the latter being a source of caffeine). How much cocaine was actually contained within the syrup at the time is unknown, but we do know that cocaine continued to be an ingredient in the syrup (however minute) to secure the trade name “Coco-Cola” right up to 1929.
Wounded in the Civil War, inventor Confederate Colonel John Pemberton became addicted to morphine. His need to replace morphine led to the formulation of the Coca-Cola recipe, originally produced as a coca wine. It was formally registered as a French Wine (Coca) nerve tonic. It was reformulated in 1886 in a non-alcoholic version, became Coca-Cola, and sold out of Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. But “soda” drinks had already become popular.
Increasingly found in pharmacies by the 1830’s, soda fountains were helping to dispense medications with the flavor of mineral (or naturally carbonated) water. Back then, two plant roots, specifically sarsaparilla and sassafras, were recognized for their unique flavor and presumed to contain medicinal properties. Sassafras (as well as sarsaparilla) was a major ingredient in root beer, brewed as a mildly alcoholic beverage. (Studies found sassafras oil caused cancer or permanent liver damage in laboratory animals in 1960. A process was then discovered to remove the harmful substance.)
And, by the way, Coke’s main competition was created by Caleb Bradham of North Carolina when he concocted a fountain drink in his pharmacy that was intended to aid digestion and boost energy in 1898. The main ingredients are pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and kola nuts, later to become Pepsi-Cola.
And really, this is nothing. Think what man discovered they could do with rice, corn and grapes and those drinks have been around for thousands of years! ©2016 Virginia Williams
My stated goal last year was to make a new book trailer. It didn’t happen. Looking at book trailers these days, most appear to have been professionally crafted; definitely not your standard home-grown variety. I tried creating a book trailer four years ago and had a great time with it–writing about it on this blog.
But things have changed a bit since I made that first book trailer. Even in that short span of time, the technology has gotten better, sources for free video clips have widened, and the bar has been raised considerably.
Video Editing Software
Back when I tried that first book trailer, I used Windows Movie Maker, the default Windows video editing software, to create “Cocos Island Treasure.” It’s a fairly basic program, keeping it simple from font choice to video to photo clips to audio. (I experimented with introducing a voice over in addition to music clip in “Lucky Joe.”) Other popular programs are Sony Vegas and iMovie. Sony Vegas was sold in May 2016 and now may be more expensive than before extended into Sony Pro and certainly more sophisticated than my level of expertise. iMovie was created by Apple and is the default video editing program for the Mac. The iMovie alternative for (PC) Windows 10 (and older) is the Movavi Video Editor. The latter currently runs $39.99. Yes, there are free trials.
Craig’s list has a reputation for unusual or hard-to-find items; it’s a go to whenever you are looking for something. Looking for a desk recently, I found some very unusual items and I’m not sure if it is just a representative sample of what can be found perusing “furniture,” or whether it’s the area of search (NW Indiana). For instance, this area seems to be big on “man caves.” Here is the perfect accessory for the pool table out there. Called a Pool Shark Cue Rack, it will hold 4 for the measly price of $100.00.
The French tend to go a bit overboard with their French Provincial; this love seat with matching couch at only $400. (Do you like the way they pulled the plastic off for the picture and then left it there?)
Need something a little more modern with some color? How about these Herman Miller Landscape Social Chairs–only $150. (Well, you have to imagine it with legs.)
Even more simple, you say? How about these “hand chairs?” $100 each. Pick a color–any color–or not.
An absolute must-have around here with all these lush green areas, however, are riding lawn mowers. You won’t find them in furniture–or lawn equipment for that matter. Apparently once you finally get one, it’s stays in the family for life. I didn’t see one. ©2016 Virginia Williams
Beyond the Red Carpet/Heart of Stone by Debbra Lynn
Genre: Heart of Stone is #653 in Best Sellers Rank for Mystery, Crime Fiction, Murder
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Publication Dates: December 2016/June 2016
Submitted by author for review
Because I was sent these two books of the Hollywood Lies series together, I’ll review both here beginning with Beyond the Red Carpet, a debut effort by Debbra Lynn. Though I am not usually one to read a book with some serious “adult content,” (language and sexual content) this book caught my attention with an interesting plot that was laid out by flashbacks setting the ground work for the present (2015) scene–describing a well planned, or “perfect” murder. Both covers are dark and set the stage for murder mysteries.
The initial protagonists don’t all stay in that position as the plot progresses. Not the first time a marriage has been misrepresented as a beautiful, loving couple, Marcus and Sophia have their share of conflicts that escalate into ever-increasing paranoid revelations by Marcus. He has become involved with Sophia’s best friend, Cat, who is definitely no friend, getting her claws into Sophia’s husband, who is a wildly successful and powerful Hollywood director. Continue reading “Beyond the Red Carpet-Heart of Stone – Review”
On Sept 27, 2015, I wrote regarding my introduction to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month website created by Chris Baty in 1999 and succeeded by Executive Director, Grant Faulkner in 2012. Think you still have a book in you? November is the month to find out. Just 50,000 little words, only 1,667 words per day in 30 days. Think you can do it? How about if you had help, a coach, or several coaches, hints, information, word count, encouragement, and other participants pushing to complete their book in the same month? It’s a band of engagement–join the fun!
National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The experience is free–yes–they’ll accept donations and getting into the spirit of the thing, you can order NaNoWriMo mugs, clothing, books, and posters. And it’s so simple: Continue reading “It’s Almost NaNo Time Again–Get Ready!”
No, this blog is not all about dogs, it just seems that way lately. I was struck recently by a couple pictures I saw of dogs dressed in human clothing and dogs painted to look like other animals.
My own dog, shown on this blog before, hurt her foot and has been way over attentive to it, licking the fur off and practically laying the foot raw. She is receiving an Epsom Salts soak every night, and it does seem to be helping a little, though my son and daughter-in-law thought she might need a plastic hood designed to keep an animal from aggressively attending an owie (sometimes REALLY important).
This is the third time she has had a sore paw (she gets stickers between her toes) and the second for the hood and once again, I was struck with how difficult it is for her to negotiate her normal routine. That hang-dog look is obvious; the change in attitude a dog exhibits upon being “dressed.” Is it really possible they can be embarrassed or demoralized? Ask most canine owners and they would say YES! (Once again creating an anthropomorphizing quality to a canine.)
So, besides the restrictions to eating and drinking, do costumes, clothing, or protective devices actually change a dog’s attitude? We know, depending on the costume or clothing, it can change the dog’s body language, which is especially important when confronting other animals.
Costume May Lead to Stress
The inability to signal other dogs might lead to stress, which in turn may make the dog less tolerant. If the dog cannot produce subtle signals, she/he may resort to more obvious or vocal signals–i.e., barking or lunging. Additionally, a change in temperament may change his normal pack order. Knowing your dog well will help you watch for important behavior cues.
While clothing or bootees might be a good thing in the winter for some thin, shorthaired or small breeds, it can in some instances allow the dog to overheat.
In the case of the “head cone”, I’ve had one vet advise for it and one against it. Guess it depends on the dog. ©2016 Virginia Williams
We’ve all dealt with dreams, some better than others. And here again, the theme of getting older. But this lady continues to nail it square on–love her observations, sense of humor, and philosophy. Here for you to enjoy as well, “Life in the Boomer Lane.”
Life in the Boomer Lane has always taken an interest in dreams, specifically the following: What do my dreams mean? What does it mean when I know I am dreaming in the dream? Why do I remember some dreams and others not? Why can’t I have great sex in dreams? (Readers note: LBL has never actually had any sex in dreams. She didn’t mean to imply that she only had mediocre sex).
Scientists keep trying to come up with answers to explain dreams. About the only thing they can agree on is that, in most cases, one must either be asleep or in a semi-somnambulent state listening to one’s spouse drone on and on, in order to dream.
As a service to readers, LBL will now answer some of the top questions about dream:
Why do I dream?
The answer here is that, in the absence of dreaming, sleep is…
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