Friday, December 27, 2013


One of my Facebook friends posted how she had already taken down her decorations, put them away and cleaned up the aftermath. Wow. Seems a little early to do that but maybe she's without power where she lives in the Northeast. Without power, an unlit Christmas tree would probably be a bit depressing at night, and I suppose doing all that work would help to keep a person warm.

This is definitely the time of year for some clean up. Not only putting away the holiday decorations, but for cleaning unfulfilled wishes out of your head before starting the new year. I pondered over those thoughts yesterday as I watered my garden. I live in the Southwest where we were experiencing 20% humidity yesterday. Couldn't put off watering with humidity that low. Now today I'll have to go out and clean up the leaves and debris created by those warm Santa Ana winds that came off the desert.



I don't mind the outside work - it gives me a chance to warm up in the sunshine and get a little exercise. Problem is - when I go back inside I gravitate back to the keyboard - right past the dirty dishes and dog hair rolling around on the floor. Sure, I pick up the occasional coffee cup and return it to the coffee bar, but other than that, it's either clean house or write. Decisions - decisions!

If you're wondering what my husband is doing while I'm ignoring the dirty house - well, he's reading. I finally broke down and bought an e-reader, and now he's hooked. He's currently reading my friend MJ Summers debut novel, #Break in Two, a sexy romantic story that is keeping him occupied while I do some on line clean up. I had been keeping my e-mails current until I started my writer's platform a few months ago. They started to pile up, and then we had to take the computer in for a tune up. Had almost 300 e-mails by the time we got it back. Yikes! Good news though - I've got it down to under 100. Hoping to get it down to zero by the end of the year.


So - are you busy cleaning up this week too? If not, are you available to come over to my house to do some cleaning? Thanks for reading - see you in a few days.


Sunday, December 22, 2013


Yesterday my husband and I wanted to get out of the house for awhile, so we decided to go to the local shopping mall. Yes, we knew it was the weekend before Christmas and that it would be crowded. That was the whole idea. We wanted to lose ourselves among the crowds and forget our troubles. We're early risers so we had time to run over to the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park first, which happens to be fairly close to the mall. As members of the Zoological Society we pay once a year and can go as often as we want. We love animals, so to us this membership is a necessity rather than a luxury. We need it for our sanity.

If you read my Facebook posts, you already know that the Park has a pair of two week old lion cubs. Cats grow fast, so we wanted to check on their progress. Imagine our disappointment when we got there only to discover that they weren't going to be on exhibit for another hour. Normally we would have walked around while waiting to see them, but I wasn't wearing walking shoes. I was dressed for the mall, not the rolling hills of the Safari Park. So we left for the mall after our shortest stay ever at the Park.


Being early we had no trouble finding a parking space. So we parked and went to Panera for coffee and a bagel. Our disappointment over not seeing the cubs turned to pleasure as we savored our cranberry walnut bagels, complete with cream cheese. Did you know they not only charge separate for the cream cheese, but it's more expensive than the damn bagel itself? I didn't realize that until I looked at the receipt. Trying not to think about that fact, we sat and enjoyed our coffee refills (free refills - yeah) and watched the shoppers bustling about carrying their packages. At least the economy was improving for some people. A few years ago in that same mall, people walked around, but few were buying.


With fresh fuel in our systems, it was time to browse through the mall. At least there weren't any empty store fronts. After the recession hit a few years ago, that mall was littered with empty stores. The only stores that didn't come back were the book stores (too depressing to even comment on). The Apple store sure was busy. We foolishly stepped inside to see what was new, but after seeing the look on the clerk's face when we replied "just browsing, thanks", we moved on.

Once we got to the other end of the mall I couldn't pass us the pet shop. That's one place where more people look than buy - and with good reason! They rarely have kittens anymore so we were surprised to encounter one sleepy little two month old Himalayan curled up in a little kitty hammock hanging from the cage. Cute invention by the way. We weren't the only ones enamored over this furry little bundle. When we found out how much they wanted for this precious creature, we all settled for telling stories of our own cats and showing pictures. Well, isn't that what smart phones and Facebook are for - showing cat photos? On the way out of the store I thought back to a white Himalayan I once had. Got him free, so you know that was a long time ago.


Continuing on through the mall we tried to avoid the salesman handing out free samples of face lotion in front of a cosmetics store. We foolishly accepted the sample and were immediately sucked into the store for a demo. Actually it was a pleasant experience as we enjoyed our conversation with this former Israeli commando. I think he actually thought he had us sold on the product when he said he was selling it at half price - $200 - that was half price? "Oh, but it has flecks of gold in it and it's a year's supply" he said. When I said thanks, but no thanks, he handed us a bunch of samples and sent us on our way. I guess he figured we really needed that lotion!


As we walked out of the mall and back to our old beat up jeep, I looked around at all the nice new cars and wondered if we were living in the wrong neighborhood - or the wrong century.


Thanks for reading - see you in a few days - if we can keep our computer out of the shop long enough. And in case you were wondering - they only wanted $2,000 for that kitten!



 These are the gold flecks that should be up with the cosmetics paragraph. Formatting problems prevented me from even deleting it.



Sunday, December 8, 2013


It's 39 degrees F outside. I know, that's warm compared to where a lot of you are. But I live in Southern California where it's supposed to be warm and sunny. The problem we warm weather people have is that our blood is thin. So to us this feels COLD!

I grew up in the Midwest, so I know a thing or two about cold, slushy, icy weather. I could handle it then because my blood had a chance to thicken up a bit during Autumn. I did my share of shoveling snow and standing at bus stops freezing my a.. off. My hour commute to work turned into an hour and a half in the winter - allowing time to scrape the ice off the windshield and warm up the car - and allowing extra time to find a place to park because the streets hadn't been cleared yet.

Yes, I spent my time in that weather. It was fun as a kid when you wanted to be out in the snow, building snow men, having a snowball fight or skating on an outdoor pond. But It's another story when you become an adult and have to get to work in the stuff - or have to shovel your way to the front door with frozen fingers after slipping and sliding your way through traffic just to get home. I still love snow, I just don't like the cold that goes along with it.

A couple of years ago I was offered a job in Northern California (where it snows), but I wasn't in a position to accept it as we own our house and houses just weren't selling then. I think I might have considered it if it hadn't been for that one little problem. The job was managing an RV Resort. We would have been living there, so no commute. I think I could have handled snow under those conditions.

Yesterday that resort posted several pictures of the recent snow in my Facebook news feed. I couldn't help but wonder if I would have adjusted to the change of seasons had I been able to accept that job, or would I be wanting to be in warmer weather - just like I am now.

Thanks for reading. See you in a few days - if I can keep my fingers from freezing!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Here's a recipe for SPIRIT BALLS that I only made during the holidays. It's a good one for a house party as it needs to be made ahead of time. Also, because of the alcohol, it's best not to serve it with kids around.  

The last time I made these I decided to also make a batch for a Christmas party being held at a local radio station. I wrapped them up nicely with a red bow, and made sure I included a note mentioning that one of the ingredients was RUM. This radio station played my favorite music at the time, plus some great Christmas songs, so I felt really good to be able to share something home made. After all - there were no kids there. It was an office party with,
what I thought were responsible adults.

So I went home and listened to the radio station while they had their Christmas party that afternoon. Nothing was mentioned about the rum balls. Little did I know that they decided to play a prank on the evening DJ, and they removed my note about the alcohol content. Apparently that DJ had a sweet tooth as he devoured one too many of the rum balls.  About an hour into his segment, he started to slur his words. After awhile it dawned on him what had happened, and when he said "I think somebody slipped some booze into these cookies", I decided this was one recipe best not to share. But I'll share with you - so please, eat responsibly!

These Spirit Balls are UNBAKED

2 Cups fine vanilla wafer crumbs
1 Cup sifted confectioners sugar
1 Cup chopped walnuts
1/4 Cup sifted cocoa
3 Tab dark corn syrup
6 Tab Rum or Bourbon
Dash of salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Roll into balls using about 2 teaspoons of the mixture for each ball. Then roll in colored sugar, cocoa or sifted confectioners sugar. Store in covered container for several days before serving. Makes about 35 balls. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading - see you in a few days.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Although I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days, this time of year always brings back memories of big Thanksgiving meals and lots and lots of baking for the holidays. It's hard for me to resist buying fresh baking ingredients, but this year I managed to resist. I know they would go unused because I'm living at this keyboard until I get my first book published.

I figured there would be no harm in looking at recipes though - right? And I have plenty of them. When my son was very young, I quit work to be a stay at home mom. During those years I cooked and baked (from scratch) and collected an enormous amount of recipes. So during the month of December I am going to share some of them with you. 

The recipe below is one that I originally got from my mother, but over time changed it. In spite of all my baking from scratch, this is one recipe where I used canned apples rather than fresh. That's because I used to make it before 6 am and took it to work to share. With getting myself and a toddler ready to leave, there wasn't much time left for baking. When Comstock stopped putting out the canned apples (I never used the pie filling), I switched to canned peaches. Some day I'm going to try it with fresh. 

I used to use a large pizza pan to bake it in because I loved the browned edges. When flour no longer needed to be sifted, there was too much dough for the pan and it overflowed. So I switched to an oblong pan. This recipe freezes well so it can be made ahead for an occasion. One time I split the dough in half and used two smaller pans. I learned not to put the fruit on top of the second one until it was ready to be baked. I also used a pastry cutter to add the butter.

Use a 12x17 baking pan (or large pizza pan) - bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. You'll need:

3 Cups flour
1-1/2 Cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 Cups butter (or margarine)
1 Cup milk (whole or 2%)
3 Eggs
Canned apples or peaches (around 21 oz - you might have to experiment)
Cinnamon (to sprinkle on top after baking)

Using a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together - cut in butter or margarine  - add milk - beat in eggs (one at a time). Butter pan well and pour in dough. Lay fruit on top (you might want to cut the larger slices in half). Bake - After baking, sprinkle cinnamon on top (lightly). 

If you have any questions or comments - or want more recipes - come on over to my Facebook author page "Jake & Maggie Maguire". I'll be posting a recipe each day of December. Here's the link: 

Hope you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for reading. See you in a few days.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Tomorrow is our national day of giving thanks here in the U.S. - a day that is traditionally celebrated by having a huge meal of turkey with family and friends. Those who enjoy the sport of football also spend the day watching it on TV. When I was growing up my mother usually made the meal at our house, and the relatives would pile in from all around the city and outlying areas. Everyone lived close in those days.

For me personally every day is a day to give thanks, as I am very grateful for not only having a roof over my head and food on the table, but also for my friends and family. With the ever increasing storms that get more powerful each year, one never knows when tragedy will occur and everything could be taken away.

So I want to let you all know how grateful I am to have you in my life - all the new friends that I am making from around the world and those I have been reconnected with. I enjoy our conversations and am grateful for your support.

To my family so far away I am sorry that the distance keeps us from celebrating this day of Thanksgiving together, and I hope and pray that you will all have a safe and wonderful time tomorrow. Be good to one another - and send us lots of pictures and videos.

Thanks for reading - see you in a few days.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


This post is much longer than usual, so you might want to grab a cup of coffee first.

My husband and I used to manage recreational vehicle parks and resorts that varied in size and amenities. We always lived on site. The first park we did was listed as a small quaint park in a rustic setting - in other words - it was a dump! I didn't want to take the job, but my husband thought it was a good place to convert a bus. But that's another story. This tale is about tails - many different types of tails.

The piece of property sat on ten acres at the edge of a small town, and along two sides of the property there ran a trickle of a creek. Being a "rustic" place we saw our share of stray cats and dogs, possums and - because of the creek - there were also raccoons. I could write a whole story just about them, but this story is about the diversity we had there. Most of the property was unused by humans, so a family of coyotes took up residence where we humans did not tread. And why not? They had a varied menu right at their doorstep. Their den was cleverly hidden by vegetation on the side of a berm.

Aside from the more common critters, we had the occasional visit from more exotic ones. There was a ferret who set up housekeeping in the side yard for awhile. We never did find out where he came from or where he went when he left, but he was a riot to watch while he was there. He'd run up and down the trees and disappear in a flash down a gopher hole. We called him Ralph. And yes, we had our share of vermin, but I don't want to talk about them.

Another time we helped rescue a llama that was found strolling down the narrow country road that led to the park. We sheltered him in a fenced area until his owner tracked him down. He was such a gentle creature and so easy to care for. Some of our human visitors could have taken lessons from him. (That's an actual photo of him). We were sad to see him leave, but we got a tour of a llama ranch as our reward.

Now on to the many feathered friends that visited. We started out with the average back yard variety of birds, but over time had sightings of birds not common to the area. There were too many to mention here, but two really stand out in my memory. One was a male cardinal - so not common to that region. I had a visitor in my office who was from Minnesota and she was stunned when she saw the bird at one of the many feeders that we had built and set up throughout the back yard.

The other bird was a mystery. He was the size of a parakeet and despite my researching efforts, I never did find out what he was. This tiny visitor landed on husband's shoulder one day as if he was a long lost friend. He would frequently search for my husband and follow him around. And although we had set up a sheltered place for him to live, like many of our visitors, he eventually moved on. We hoped that he had been someone's pet and found his way home.

By this time my husband had tamed the wild growth on the property and created a trail for our visitors to walk their dogs. While walking our own dog one day, we noticed that the water in the creek had risen. We learned that a nearby wetlands area was being enlarged and the water was coming all the way from the base of the foothills. Our local raccoons were thrilled as their menu of fish increased. By this time the coons had taken up residence in a nearby clump of bamboo and would come up on our deck at night to share a meal with our cats and a local possum.

The engineers in charge of the wetlands project kept their eye on the creek, so we weren't concerned about overflow until an unusual winter storm headed our way. Concerned about the tenants who were closest to the creek, my husband decided to rent a tractor and widened the area where the creek turned at the corner of the property creating a nice sized pond. Within seconds the ducks started flying in to claim the newly created pond. This was a good example of "build it and they will come". In time, their numbers increased to the hundreds, which suited me just fine. 

Then the shore birds that were displaced from all the construction activity at the wetlands area followed along. I especially loved seeing the white egrets. Unfortunately several of the other shore birds discovered our little back yard fish pond and routinely emptied it of its contents. This was a different pond from the larger one.

There was a blue heron that would alternate from fishing in the big pond to waiting patiently for a gopher to emerge from a hole out in the field. Whenever he was spotted in the field, the people driving out of the park would turn around and go out the other way. Nobody wanted to disturb our feathered friends. 

Now back to the ducks. There were so many that we ended up buying large bags of duck food and we'd go out to feed them every morning and late afternoon. We started out laying the feed in a clearing by the pond, but sometimes they arrived before we got down to that area. So we'd find them waiting for us in a clearing closer to the park office.

One morning we slept in and were awakened by the phone ringing. We were told we had visitors waiting by the gate. Thinking that we had early arriving RV'ers, we dressed quickly and ran outside to check them in. What we found instead were dozens and dozens of ducks patiently waiting for their breakfast. What a treat that was. Not only did we enjoy our feathered visitors, but all the tenants in the park did as well. One tenant took a picture of the ducks walking up to the office from the pond. It was strange that they didn't fly up - I guess they realized how small the landing area was and didn't want a mass collision. I wish I could have found that photo to show you.

So that's my tale of tails. Now it's time to feed the little bundle of cat fur that has been sitting next to my keyboard waiting for her breakfast. Thanks for reading. See you in a few days. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday this coming Thursday, I'll put out my next post on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I am experiencing a mixed bag of emotions today. I am both happy and frustrated at the same time. The happiness comes from the fact that I was awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of a nice gentle rain dripping off the awning. Rain is one of my favorite things. Some of my best memories are of walking in the rain - warm rain that is. Today's rain is not in that category as it is only 58 degrees (F).

Not surprisingly, my first novel - the first in the Jake & Maggie Maguire Book Series - is called Summer Rain. I had that title before I even started to write the book. The second book in the series went through several titles - most of which referred to weather. When I ended up with a working title of Miami Heat for the third book, I realized I was getting into a weather rut. And yes - I knew I couldn't use Miami Heat for the title. That one is now titled Midnight in Miami. So the rain is what has made me happy today.

The frustration is coming from having trouble installing a photo software. We installed it the other day - it wasn't working right - I sent an email to the manufacturer - and was told I'd have to wait a few days for a reply. So I went about my life for those few days and did other things. When I finally got a reply, I went to open the software and discovered that it had disappeared - completely! Not only were the on screen icons gone, it was nowhere to be found in the programs. Decided to walk away and try it again the next day.

So this morning we installed it again, this time on an external hard drive to make sure there would be plenty of room. We got further than we did the last time, but alas - a few minutes later - it disappeared again. If you're thinking "operator error" - I'm sure that's possible, but it's not the first time we've installed software. 

Are we frustrated? That's putting it mildly. We'll try again later - that's if I don't walk off into the rain. So there you have it - my mixed bag of emotions.

Thanks for reading. See you in a few days.

Monday, November 18, 2013


When my lovely wife talked me into retiring early from my construction business, I looked forward to spending some quality time with her. Unfortunately that hasn't happened. It didn't take long before I realized what a recluse she had become. I knew that she had gone through the "empty nest" syndrome, but that was quite some time ago - after our son, Casey, had gone off to college.

I knew she was an avid gardener - one only has to look at our landscaping to see that. What I didn't know was how much time she spends in that garden with her beloved cat, Duffy, a pure bred Himalayan. I tried to talk her into taking a cruise, but she complained about being claustrophobic and not wanting to leave her cat in the hands of strangers.

All I want is to take her to tropical locations, walk with her in the sand, and drink margaritas at sunset with the tiki torches lighting the night sky. It all sounds very romantic to me, but for some reason she won't budge from that garden.

So I go off every day and drown my sorrows - in coffee. We live in Costa Mesa, California close to the Newport Beach Yacht Harbor. I have a favorite little coffee shop over there that I frequent where I hang out with my ole buddy, Ernie. I love being near the water and the boats, but I'm not sure how long I can keep this up. It's not in my nature to be so inactive.

If I can make my dream come true, I think I can get Maggie to join me on that cruise. You see, I've decided that I want a yacht of my own. Do you think I'll get it? And how will she react if I do?

Thanks for reading - and for helping Maggie and me to push Joan along on her way to publishing Summer Rain.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


One of the first posts I saw on my Facebook news feed yesterday morning was by a gal who was stating how grateful she was for the seat warmers in her truck - because it was 13 degrees out. Now that's just way too cold for me. I was born and raised in snow country and although I love the stuff, I can't handle the cold. Unfortunately the two go together.

She ended her post by asking "what are you grateful for today?" That was easy. I was grateful that I wasn't in 13 degree weather! In fact, where I live the weather forecast was for a high of 90. Now that temperature a couple of months ago would have been a bit hotter than I like, but at this time of year it was very welcome. We do have to put the heat on early in the morning as the overnight temperatures dip into the 40's. 

Now it did take all morning for the temperature to get that high, but it was a chance to open the windows and air the place out. It's supposed to get into the 80's today, then tomorrow it will cool down again. This three day warm spell is called a Santa Ana. Normally the wind comes off the Pacific Ocean and heads east, but when we have a Santa Ana, the wind shifts and comes from the desert east of us bringing the warmer air with it. (And no we don't have camels in that desert.)

It did give me a chance to do some overdue gardening that I've been putting off due to being glued to this frickin' computer. I don't intend to waste today's warmth either, so I'm going to get this finished and go outside.

Although I prefer to be in a warmer climate, I do enjoy seeing all the snowy backyards - so please keep posting them. Do I miss the snow? Sometimes. Am I grateful not to be living in it? Definitely. Thanks for reading. See you in a few days.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I usually have my post written a day or two in advance - ready to publish on blog day. Today, however, I had nothing ready to go and worse than that - nothing I felt like writing about. After two months of intense self learning on the internet, I felt my brain needed a well deserved rest. So I spent the weekend doing nothing much besides watching needless movies (all feel good - everyone lives happily after) movies.

Trouble is now my brain doesn't want to get back into working gear. Maybe I need more than a weekend to unwind. After all I did accomplish quite a bit on my platform list. I created my Facebook page, and although I'm not getting a hundred "likes" a day like I would if my page was about erotic romance or cats, it's slowly growing. I'm up to 88 "likes" and am very grateful for each and every one.

I'm up to 80 followers on Twitter. Yeah, I know, that's nothing compared to some people who have thousands and thousands of followers. But I'm not actively tweeting. The only tweets that go out are from having my Facebook page connected to Twitter. I still don't get the value of the whole tweet thing.

LinkedIn has been more active since I updated it, but I haven't been reading books lately, so I haven't contributed to Goodreads.

I spent a lot of time as an Admin in a new writing group, plus I started this Blog and have been consistent with two posts a week.  I also got my website up and running the other day (although the content is minimal at this point). Here's the link if you care to check it out: 

So I'm feeling a bit of Internet burn out. Now it's time to give Summer Rain a final read and polish, then it will be time to get published. Still hoping to complete that before the end of the year. Thanks for reading. See you in a few days.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I had planned on writing something else today, until I watched a video on my Facebook news feed a few minutes ago. It had to do with a woman who was in her SUV that was sinking in ten feet of water during those recent Colorado floods.

As one man attempted to break a window with a stick, several other men swam out to help. One of the other men reached down into the water and was surprised when the woman grabbed his arm. He was able to drag her out of the car and up to the surface where the others helped to get her to safety.

The interesting part of the story was that when the SUV was later brought out of the water, all of the windows were completely closed. Nobody was able to explain how the woman got through the window. Divine intervention? I for one wouldn't discount it - and I'll tell you why.

At one time I had one of those little Fiat Spiders - smallest vehicle I ever owned. I never felt safe driving that thing, especially on the freeways where semi truck drivers loved to get behind me and scare the you know what out of me. I'm not saying that Fiat makes an unsafe car - no way - it's just that I was used to driving full size trucks and V-8's - not little convertible sports cars.

Back to my story - One day I was driving out onto a main road in the city when the Fiat stalled after going through a big dip in the pavement. As I was attempting to restart it, I looked to my left and saw a huge truck coming right at me. I thought I was a goner as the truck didn't appear to be slowing down. Then in an instant I found myself on the other side of the road. The strange thing was that I hadn't gotten the engine going again.

And no - no vehicle (or person) had come up behind to push me out of danger. It just happened - in an instant. Divine intervention? I like to think so. Thanks for reading - see you in a few days.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Hope I didn't get you guys confused with the change of my blog title. I decided I didn't want to keep sending out the "I'm lost" vibration into the universe. While I was searching for a new title, I discovered I already had one - my Twitter name. 

Since Maggie was kind enough to be my guest blogger the other day, I thought it would only be fair to extend the same courtesy to her husband, Jake. If any of you don't know who this couple is, please visit their Facebook page "Jake & Maggie Maguire". Here's the link for your convenience:

Anyway, Jake turned me down. Can you believe that? I tried to explain to him that it was like putting a prologue into a book. Maggie gave us some insight into her early years, and I wanted Jake to do the same. He flat out refused - saying he didn't like to talk about the past. He could tell I wasn't too happy with his refusal, so he tried the "complement" approach - saying that Maggie and I were better at writing than he was. I guess it worked as I stopped trying to push him into it.

So it looks like you'll just have to wait until I get Summer Rain published to find out about his background. Personally, I think he just wants to give off the image of a mysterious leading man. Guess I can't blame him for thinking that since my own image of him resembles that of Pierce Brosnan.

Now I suppose you would like to know what Maggie looks like. Well, to me she's the image of Rene Russo with the Irish attitude that Shirley MacLaine portrays so well. There you have it - a little insight into my main characters.

Now I need to get back into marketing research. I know Jake is upset with me because there haven't been any new Likes on their Facebook page this week. He wants me to step up my game - so much pressure! Thanks for reading - see you in a few days. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

GUEST BLOGGER: Maggie Maguire

Hi everyone. I'm so pleased to be here today filling in for Joan. She told me I could write about anything I wanted, so I thought I'd tell you about my early days - before I met Jake. Let's consider it a prologue to Summer Rain.

Most girls in my day were either geared toward learning how to be a homemaker or working as a secretary, unless you were lucky enough to go to college. I didn't have that option, but I was well trained to be a secretary (what they call Admin or Executive Assistants these days). I got a job with the Defense Department where I worked for several years, until the Washington big shots decided to shut down and consolidate some of the bases. We had the option of moving with the job to a big city on the east coast or finding a new job on our own.

They gave us a year's notice to make the decision, but it didn't take me that long to decide what I wanted to do. I had my sites set on Hawaii - ever since I'd been there on vacation a year earlier. I wasn't at a high enough pay grade to get a transfer, but I made out all right anyway. After sending my application to every military base on the Island of Oahu announcing when I was going to arrive, I took a chance and moved there not knowing if I was going to find a job or not.

Fortunately, I didn't have to go alone. One of the gals from work decided to go with me. From the moment we arrived on the island, wonderful things started to happen. We were greeted with flower leis and a warm welcome by a local gal I met through the mail (snail mail). She was working at one of the bases that was also being affected by the shut downs. She and her friends gave us a tour of Waikiki before dropping us off at our hotel. They even invited us to a Fourth of July bash on a yacht in the harbor. That was the first time I had been on a yacht, but not my last.

The following Monday I rented one of those island jeeps (the ones with the fringe around the roof) and my roommate and I headed over to the army base. Then the strangest thing happened. When I walked into the personnel office and mentioned my name, everyone in the room held up a copy of my application. I learned that even though I had mailed my apps out to different bases, they all ended up back at this one office. Guess it paid to do my homework as I got the last available permanent secretarial position. My roommate was hired as a temp but eventually got a permanent position too.

With a guaranteed pay check in the picture, we then started apartment hunting. We found a furnished place on the second floor of what had once been a hotel, so it came complete with a concierge working the front desk. All utilities were included with our rent, even phone service. We were told that when we came home all we had to do was check at the front desk for our messages. That was so cool - and they said there was usually a cab waiting at the entrance. Everything was falling into place. We were riding high until. . .the first night in our new apartment.

We were out on the lanai having a drink and enjoying the sights and sounds of living right on the main drag into Waikiki. The sun had set while we were out there, and when we went back inside and turned on the lights, we realized we weren't alone. . .

Oops - Joan says I'm way over my word limit, so looks like I'll have to give you the ending on my Facebook page - bookseries

Monday, October 28, 2013


I have been doing so much research lately, that I am now suffering from Internet overload. I feel as though my brain is going to burst. So it looks like it's time to cut back and regain balance in my life. Like I've said before - when I'm learning something new, I throw myself into it and focus until I learn it. But there comes a time when you just have to slow down and let things catch up with you.

This is that time. I'm putting my web research on hold and playing catch up with the realities of life - things like housework, laundry and spending time with my family. Besides, the seasons are changing - daylight savings will be changing back soon, and the weather is erratic. We even woke up to rain overnight, not a normal occurrence in southern California this time of year. 

And the other thing is - I'm thinking of changing the topic of my blog. I don't seem to be content sticking with one topic. Maybe I should just write about whatever is on my mind on blog day. I know there will always be plenty to write about when it comes to the internet, but to be honest, I really don't enjoy writing about it. I'm a fiction writer. I don't like the reality of talking about high technology. It's bad enough I have to challenge myself to learn it. Why do I have to torture myself more by writing about it!

I'll let you know in advance if I change my topic. In the meantime I'm going to try to find a little balance in my life. Thanks for reading. Hope to see you next time.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


In my last post I talked about creating a writer's platform. Until I get a little experience in something, I usually start out by taking the advice of the pros. I've done that with this platform thing, and so far, I have to say it's making me a bit uncomfortable. One of the reasons I held off getting into marketing was that I don't believe in tooting my own horn.

It's supposed to be better for others to sing your praises. Until I get my books published, most of you have no idea if my novels will be worth praising or not. So I figured this would be a good time to make more friends.

The pros say to get involved with social media, but to just pick a few you're comfortable with and promote the heck out of yourself there. Facebook is what I'm most comfortable with, but after the problems on Facebook this week, I'm thinking seriously about cutting back on my time spent there. Seems I got on the bandwagon a little late, and now I feel like I'm sliding off. . .or being pushed off.

I've been on Facebook for close to two years now, and in that time it's gone from them pushing me to make friends - to them getting on my case because I'm trying. I wish they'd make up their minds. Seriously. No matter what page I was on there would be an ad in the sidebar trying to get me to find friends.

I was perfectly content with my slow growth of friends. I believe in quality over quantity. But because of this platform business, I recently increased sending out friend requests. Some people responded immediately and others didn't. Those lucky enough to have jobs don't have that much time to spend on Facebook answering friend requests. Apparently Facebook thinks they should be.

Last week I got a little reminder from Facebook saying that I should only be sending out requests to family members, co-workers and close friends. What??? If that's the case, then why do they have a cap of 5000 friends? Does anybody have that many family members, co-workers or close friends? Since I don't have a paying job right now, I don't have co-workers. The only ones I run into in my writing studio are my husband, dog and of course the cat. As for family. . .I have a few supporters and will be eternally grateful for them.

When it comes to friends - I've moved around a lot over the years and lost touch with most of them. Being on Facebook did help me reconnect with some, but if I'm going to be chastised for reaching out too much in any particular day, then I guess my number of friends will remain at a little over 200. Most of my friends have hundreds of friends and some of them have thousands. Just this week, one of them mentioned that he'd capped out at 5000. Really? Facebook let him do that, but I get stopped around 200. They need to change their algorithms.

Until I'm comfortable reaching out to make friends again, I'll be spending my time deciding on a web site. That was next on my list anyway. Thanks for reading. Hope to see you again in a few days.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Creating a Platform

In my first post I mentioned that I was going to be writing about learning my way around the Internet. Now I'll tell you why I need to learn this. It all has to do with creating what the pros call a writer's platform. For those of you who aren't writers (or are novice writers), it basically means marketing yourself through social media.


After reading hundreds of articles on the subject over the last couple of years (and hoping I wouldn't have to do it), I've come to the conclusion that they're serious. When I first started to write, I figured I'd go with traditional publishing. I agonized over writing the perfect query letter and synopsis of my first manuscript. At the same time I was also keeping up with the ever growing e-book market. Guess what? It doesn't matter which way you go - you still have to learn how to market yourself and your books!

I was on such a roll with writing that I didn't want to stop to learn how to market. And yes, I'll admit it, I really didn't want to learn. After all, writing is a right brain exercise - marketing is not. My brain doesn't switch over willingly when I need to learn technical stuff. When I'm learning something new, I have to give it my full focus.

Part way through working on the third manuscript of my series, I decided it was time to stop what I was doing and get into marketing. I had to drag myself kicking and screaming of course, but it had to be done. Once I made the decision to go with self publishing, it was time to throw myself out there, ready or not. I was already comfortable with using Facebook. I joined a bunch of writing groups, and started one of my own (that had morphed from a writing workshop I used to host). I even created a few other group pages that had nothing to do with writing.

Once I felt I understood Facebook well enough, it was time for the next step. So I created an author page (focusing on my main characters - Jake & Maggie Maguire), updated my LinkedIn and Goodreads sites and joined Twitter. Then it was time to start a blog, which takes us to where I am now. Next on my list is to get a web site, then on to getting my books published.

Trouble is - I miss working on my novel. The third one is only one third written and I want to get back to it. Why don't I - you ask. The answer is that I know myself all too well. If I go back to writing now, I'll never get a web site going. You see, I love my characters. They've pretty much taken over my writing. Once I get back into writing their story, they will take over my mind and I'll never get back to marketing. Once I have the first book published, I'll have to find a balance between writing and marketing.

Ah, for the old days when marketing for a writer meant an occasional book signing at a book store. As we writers know those days are long gone. Sure an author might still have a chance to do that, but with so few book stores left, it usually means standing at a booth at a local library or street faire. I wouldn't mind a library gig, but the street faires go all day and you're standing on the street pavement! And if our local street faire that I attended yesterday was an indication of how well things are going in that area, forget that idea. The economy has hit them hard. Everyone just walked around - didn't look like much was being bought.

So that's my sad tale. Thanks for listening. See you again in a few days - that's if I don't jump off that proverbial platform.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


In keeping with the theme of this blog, my launch did not go off without a hitch the other day. This has been my first experience with a Google blog, and I thought I was doing well. I actually got the site set up, typed in my post and hit "publish", but then nothing happened. The post just sat there. The link didn't work and when I Googled the blog, it was nowhere to be found.

The link was showing the title of my post, not the title of the blog itself. So I took a chance (not something I'm comfortable doing) and attempted to change the link. I deleted "to blog or not to blog" that was on the link, and typed in "lost in cyberspace". It immediately went back to the former. OK, so that didn't work, but then I really didn't think it would.

After a few minutes I went back to Google my name and voila! It actually took me to Progress. I then went back to my page, and lo and behold the link now made sense. Phew! Houston - we have lift off!

For me that was a huge accomplishment. I don't know if my fiddling with the link had anything to do with it righting itself or not. Maybe it just takes going back and forth with something new to actually get it into the system. Now that I'm up and running with this, I will spend some time learning my way around. I'm still not comfortable with "click this" and it will take you "there". That doesn't always take me where I want to go. It took several tries to even find this draft.

I did get some "gadgets" (as they call them) put on the sidebar. There's a spot to enter your email address if you would like my Blog sent to your inbox. Of course, we have the archive (which only has my last post there for now), and did you see the "Translation" button? Cool idea, as I recently have been making more friends around the world. I hope it works better than the Bing translation on my Facebook feed.

There's a "subscribe" button at the bottom of the post. Not quite sure if that does anything more than let the Blogger know that you're reading the post, and I still need to play around with that Google circle of friends button. As for the "Comment" section, I'm not sure how well that works. I've read in the forum that a lot of people post comments, but then never see them show up. It might have something to do with the arrow next to the Comment section that prompts you to select a profile from one of six accounts. I'm familiar with Google and Word Press, but have no idea what the other four are.

Another option for posting comments or questions would be to join an open group that I have, which is also called Lost in Cyberspace. That way you can carry on conversations with other members too. Here's that link:

It's all another learning experience for me. If you have any insights, I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading. See you in a few days. 


Sunday, October 13, 2013


Seems like it's been ages that I've been debating about my blog topic. The advisors say to be specific. So I picked a topic, drafted several posts, then put it on the shelf. After repeating that process several times for well over a year (all the time wondering if I should even spend the time blogging), I think I've finally hit on the right topic. So here it is (drum roll please):

I'm going to write about learning how to navigate my way around the internet. I will air my frustrations and my successes, and hopefully in time there will be more of the latter. I might even throw out a few questions, so I would love some feedback. Right now I'm so frustrated that if I could have one wish, I'd ask to go back in time to a more simple era. If I didn't need to create a writer's platform, I'd just roam around facebook and play games.


My only comfort in all this is that I actually know others who are also having problems understanding the constantly changing software. Facebook can't seem to leave well enough alone, and don't even get me started on my smart phone right now. Even with this blog - I had all this started elsewhere, then at the last minute this morning, I went back to square one and decided to go with I had to maneuver through another set of "how-to" sections, while interacting with some fb friends having trouble with LinkedIn. I think I'll have plenty to write about.

I will attempt to keep my posts short - and light hearted, if possible. Not an easy task for me as I tend to be long winded. As to the frequency, I'm thinking twice a week. After all, I have to leave plenty of time to continue learning - and working on my latest novel.

That's it for now. See you in a few days - that's if I don't get Lost in Cyberspace.