Friday, May 31, 2013

Happy Birthday To….

It's my birthday!!
Wednesday was my birthday. Don’t worry if you forgot. I’m very forgiving. You can make it up to me by going over to Smashwords and purchasing Reaping the Harvest. Go ahead. Click on over and do it now. I’ll wait.

*Whistling the Mayberry theme song*

Back? Good. Thank you.

Now, as I was saying, Wednesday was my birthday. Some friends came over that night and we had cake and ice cream. The kids that still haven’t ran away to far away cities were also in attendance. It was a quiet, relaxing evening with some of the people that mean the most to me. The girls tried to sneak the little gathering upon me, but alas, it didn’t work. I’m pretty smart with things like that. Of course, I allowed them to believe it was working all the way up until Nathan and Christina walked in the door. Then I told them how I figured it out. They just shook their heads and handed me some cake. And ice cream. You can’t have birthday cake without ice cream. The two are meant to be enjoyed together.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Necessity of Many Keys

I’m not altogether keen on modern cars and their new key technology.  I understand how they help eliminate someone making a quick copy and coming back later to steal the vehicle.  Or if it’s a used - or the more politically correct term, pre-owned - vehicle, not having to deal with the worry that there are other keys floating around, giving strangers easy access to the lemon you just bought.  However, these engineers of tighter security have ignored the accident prone person, such as myself.  And forget getting an extra key made unless you want to sacrifice the water bill. Whereas it used to cost $1.50 or less to make a copy, it now runs $65 or higher.  Much higher. 

I just stared at the man, dumbfounded.  “Why in the world would it cost so much to make an extra key?  I don’t want it made out of gold or the University of Florida insignia.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

Some Sacrificed All

Across the United States today people are remembering all of those who have sacrificed their lives to keep us safe.  They have gone to war in the fight for freedom and the end of tyranny.  They heard the call and answered, knowing the risk, but going anyway.  There will be parades, visits to cemeteries, and family gatherings as people remember those they knew as well as those they didn’t know who died so that we could be safe in our homes and on our streets.

Originally known as Decoration Day, the modern Memorial Day was started after the Civil War to remember the Union and Confederate soldiers who had died during that war.  During the last century, it was expanded to include all military personnel who died while serving their country, and with so many wars in the 20th Century there were many to honor.  Celebrated on the final Monday of May, Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veteran’s Day, which honors all military personnel.  Both, however, are important, well-deserved holidays.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Stephanie Neighbour!

This Saturday The Mess welcomes Stephanie Neighbour, a great lady with a fantastic sense of humor. I met Stephanie via Twitter and we've shared the chaos and Twitter jail time together, taking turns to bake the file in the cake to get us out. One of the things that make me click with this writer is how we both view life through the same funny glasses. We're not afraid to look at ourselves and laugh even through the embarrassing stories.  I thoroughly enjoy her blog and you will, as well.  And I am eagerly looking forward to reading her upcoming book about her growing up years. A great friend, and a faithful supporter of other authors, say hello to Stephanie and be sure to leave her a comment or two before visiting her at her blog, Chucklespace.  You will also want to follow this talented lady on Twitter and on her Facebook page, SMN Writer.

Now, say hello to Stephanie Neighbour.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Do You Remember 18?

It was the end of the school year when I turned that magical number.  I only had a week to go before crossing the stage, shaking Principal Hickman’s hand, and ending the first chapter of my life.   Some of my friends had already crossed over from childhood to adulthood earlier that year, but I couldn’t really tell a difference.  Most were still as lost as I was about the future and holding onto a carefree youth with all their might.  They didn’t comprehend that when the clock ticked from 11:59pm to 12:00am their life drastically changed.  They woke up, ate the breakfast their mother fixed and went to school.  High School.  They had girlfriends or boyfriends.  They still held hands, still snuck kisses when the teachers weren’t looking, and made out at the movies.  Nothing changed, although everything had changed.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sex Offender or High School Student?

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Mess - and by “we,” I really mean me, because, well, I determine what goes up here - to bring you a true mess that is happening in the state of Florida.  If you live in the Sunshine State, then you probably heard about this breaking news that is ripping through Indian River County involving two love lost teenagers.  As you read their story, I think you’ll find yourself on one of two polar ends.  I highly doubt any of you will say, “Who cares?  What’s happening on The Big Bang Theory tonight?”  Mess readers are deep feeling individuals.  At least, that’s what I tell myself when I write pieces about Zac and his exploits into turning my hair grey.

I listened to a radio show this morning about this case and heard differing stories.  I’ve read a few articles on it and the mother’s heartfelt plea on her personal Facebook page.  Normally, I ignore political or legal issues.  I prefer to poke fun at myself and other people.  However, when the hypocrisy of something stinks - and my readers know how much I despise hypocrisy - I have to chime in.  What follows is what I have pieced together from available sources and if anyone finds something to be in error, please let me know and I’ll fix it.  I hate to do research for blogs, but this is too important to just wing it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Book’s Cover

We’ve all heard, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet, we do it all of the time.  We can’t help it.  We glance at something - book, television show, person - and immediately we form an opinion based on what we see.  Sometimes that opinion is based on what we already think about something.  Homeless people are lazy, moochers.  Gang members are cold-hearted killers, and preachers are sacrificing saints leading you to the gates of Heaven.  In some cases, that’s quite true.  But not all.  Not by a long shot.

Authors are told to pay special attention to their book covers.  It’s the first opportunity a writer has to catch a reader’s attention and make them pick up the book.  You need to pay attention to the title, make it catch, and then have an image that entices.  You won’t be able to hook them with that first page you spent quite a bit of time on if you can’t get them to pick up the book.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Tess Stenson

Tess Stenson is the author of Gatekeepers of the Docks, "a comedy fantasy about music, apathy, conspiracy and death" as well as her blog Dances with Squirrels.  A twenty something residing in London, she studied Palaeobiology and Evolution at Portsmouth University before deciding it was time to stop chasing a career in IT and follow her dream of writing. Below you will find her article, which she contributed to British Hedgehogs Awareness Week and I know you'll be touched and relate as we all have that special animal, which touches our hearts. For me, it's the platypus as he seems as messed up as I am.

So, sit back with your coffee and enjoy Tess's unique voice and style and be sure to visit her blog. Oh, and leave her some encouraging comments below. I'm sure she'll respond.

Thank you, Tess, for being the first of our Saturday guests.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The New Honk

She came out of her bedroom, straightening her outfit, eager for her date that night.  She practically skipped across the living room floor.  “See everyone later!”

“Wait! Where are you going?” I closed my book and glanced at the girls. They just glanced back, just as confused as I.

“I told you. I’m going to the movies. You said it was okay.” Her face held that frightened look as if I had just cancelled her night with my faulty memory.

“I know. Where are you going right now? I haven’t heard the doorbell ring.”

“Oh,” she looked relieved. “Sorry. He texted me that he was here. Have a good night. See you when I get home.” And she inched her way to the front door.

She didn’t get far. Our daughter doesn’t come when someone whistles, texts, or honks. She is not a pet. If I ever catch my sons doing it to their dates, I’ll personally take them to the woodshed for a lesson on chivalry. It’s simply rude and not the way men should treat a lady. It’s not the way anyone should treat another person. Period.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Their Problems are Big

The 8-year old was crying as if someone had told her that Santa Claus wasn’t real.  Tears streamed down her cheeks as sobs heaved her chest.  It took quite a bit of time and holding to get her to calm down long enough to find out what had rocked her world.

“I wanted to play with that doll.  I never get to play with that doll.  She won’t let me.”

I just stared at her, eyebrows raised in shocked disbelief.  “No one hurt you?”  She shook her head.  “You’re not bleeding?  No broken bones?  No one died?”  Again, she shook her head.  “You’re crying because you weren’t allowed to play with a doll?”

“I really like that doll!”

I stared at her, dumbfounded.  She was giving an Oscar performance over a doll that wasn’t even hers.  “You’re grounded.  Go to your room.”

Monday, May 13, 2013

To All the Moms

My parents and I

Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the U.S.  A quick glance at Wikipedia reveals that it began in the United States in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia.  Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother and then began to make it a nationally recognized holiday, which occurred in 1914.   Other attempts had been made, of course, such as the one in the 1870’s by Julia Ward Howe.  Yet, Jarvis claimed all the credit the article said.

However, she then grew disgusted with it, because as with everything, big business stepped in and took over.  As Linus said about Christmas, Mother’s Day had become too commercial.
And it’s only become worse.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Be Our Guest

The girls and I are social creatures.  When we aren’t joining others on the town for dinner or dancing, our home is abuzz with activity from small gatherings around the grill to elaborate themed parties with costumes.  Every weekend has us in the company of friends.

Since we share so many of our weekends as well as so much of our lives, I wanted to share The Mess with you, as well.  In our home, we have an open door policy where everyone is welcome.  I would like to open the door to the Mess and invite you in.  Saturdays will be our day for Guest Bloggers.  Join me on my porch and have your say.  Would you like to discuss your book with my readers?  Now’s your chance.  Have an essay or article to share?  Feel free to tell us what’s on your mind.  This is your opportunity to speak.

Why Be a Guest Blogger?
Besides being a fun experience, guest blogging can introduce you to whole new audience.  It gives you exposure that was unavailable to you before, and really, isn’t that what we, as writers, want?  As you provide links back to your site or to your books, it will, hopefully, gain you a wider audience, which translates into more sales.

Furthermore, it helps you build relationships with other bloggers, I don’t know about you, but I enjoy helping my friends to achieve their dreams, and I am more likely to go out of my way for a friend than a stranger.  By guest blogging, you help solidify those relationships, and they will help you in building your platform.
It’s also a great tool to assist search engines in finding you.   The more links that lead back to your site, the more Google and others will pick you out in a search.

A Few Rules
There’s only one - do not bash or slander a specific individual.  Anyone who has read the Mess, and hopefully you have, knows that there is really no rhyme or reason to my posts.  I talk about family, writing, and the frustrating things about life.  Therefore, feel free to offer your own take on life or anything else you wish.  How do you want to introduce yourself to my readers?  Make your first impression a positive one.

What To Do
Guest posts appear on Saturdays.  I’ll only post one per Saturday, so that you get the spotlight and will share it with my social media friends for the next week.  Let me know that you’re interested and what you would like to write about and we’ll select a date for posting.

Then it’s simple.  Send me your article and any pictures and links you would like to include, making sure you have the right to post the pictures.  I’ll take care of the rest and your article will be up by noon eastern standard time.

So, be our guest and share your story with the Mess.  The door is open and we’d love to have you.

* * * * *

Email me if interested in being a guest at The Mess that Is Me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

It’s a Career, Protect It

I'm disturbed enough already

“Hey, I need you to run a few errands for me tomorrow,” she said as she handed me a four page list.

I didn’t take it. “I don’t have time tomorrow. I’m working.”

“You sit on the porch all day, drinking coffee and smoking cigars. This won’t take long.”

Okay, to be honest, that conversation never took place. The girls know better. Besides, I screw up most errands anyway, so they prefer to do them themselves. However, not everyone understands. The only way to get them to take me seriously is to take it seriously myself. I have to think of my writing as a career and not a hobby. Furthermore, it’s a fulltime gig and not a part time thing I do during the commercial breaks of Castle.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Zoning Out

“What are you doing?”

I glanced back at her, confused at the question.  Wasn’t it obvious what I was doing?  “I’m working.”

She shook her head.  “No you weren’t.  That pen hasn’t moved in twenty minutes.  You’re supposed to be writing, but all I see is you sitting there staring at the Butterfly garden.”

“Right.  I was working a scene out in my head.”

“You looked like you were zoning out.”

“Writing looks like that sometimes.”  She stared at me a moment longer before giving up and going inside to allow me to “work.”

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award

I’m honored to have been nominated, not once, but twice, for the Sunshine Award.  Sherry Rentschler wrote, “You inspire me and I think you inspire the meaning of the award.”  Humbling, for sure.  Two days later, RLB Hartmann nominated me, as well.  The award is given to blogs that inspire others.  I am honored and touched that these who inspire me feel the same about me.  Thank you very much for the honor and kindness.

The Rules
When you receive the award, you are asked to do a few things. 
1.      Post the Sunshine Award Logo, which you see at the top. 
2.      Accept the nomination and link back to the nominator.
3.      Answer the questions below.
4.      Nominate ten other blogs and inform them of the nomination.
Simple enough, right?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Use Your Imagination

Doesn't even know she's caged

“I’m bored.  There’s nothing to do.  This is the longest grounding ever!”  The 8-year old wasn’t the only one who thought it was the longest week in history.  I was right there with her.  Children don’t realize that when they’re grounded, the parents are being punished, as well.  There are no breaks as they go to a friend’s house, zone out in front of the television or having their brains turned into mush by video games.  Good Luck, Charlie is replaced by the whines of a child serving a prison sentence for improper behavior.

“I don’t want to be grounded,” the whine continues.

“We don’t want you to lie.  Neither of us got what we wanted it looks like,”

“But I’m bored.”

I stare, dumbfounded.  “How on earth can you be bored?  You have more toys in your room than Toys R Us.  It’s a beautiful day outside.  Take the million Monster High dolls and go outside and act out your frustration.”

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Promise Is Not A Shirt

I have no pictures of me in tee-shirts

I hate to admit it, but I’ve gained some weight.  I know, I know.  You look at my physique and can’t believe it. Big, dramatic sigh. It’s true.  The scale tells me so every week.  So do my T-shirts.  When I slip them on they make sure I know that my six-pack is a keg ready to bust.  When I sit in a chair, the shirt creeps up making my gut look like that of a hairy, pregnant woman.  They used to be too baggy on me.  Not anymore.  Not by a long shot.  They are way too tight now and are busting at the seams.

The girls say I should throw them away.  They really are not comfortable.  Besides, they look ridiculous on me.  It’s rare that I even put them on anymore and if I got rid of them I could make room for newer, larger ones.  I mean, they are just shirts, after all.  There isn’t an emotional attachment to them.  Why continue to wear them if they’re uncomfortable?