Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Roxanne Lowery

Roxanne and Mike
This Saturday The Mess welcomes the guest I have known the longest. Roxanne and I go back to our school days.  We sang together in choir and shared a few classes as well as a love for writing. I've mentioned in other posts how my junior year we started the literary magazine Spindrift at my high school.  Well, when Roxanne was a senior she became the editor of that creation. This guest post sees her back into writing after having had to set it aside since college and I am hoping it's the start of her picking it back up and sharing her stories with us. 

Thank you, Roxanne, for joining us here at The Mess. I'm sure our readers are going to enjoy your story as I did.  It's a prime example of what I keep saying. Life is short. Don't wait to go after your dreams and we owe it to ourselves to make the most of every day.

And now, here's Roxanne!

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

And yet, to many it is.
I don’t care for politics.  I don’t get involved.  I know, I know. It’s my responsibility as a citizen to participate.  Yeah, yeah.  I usually don’t write about politics, either.  Mainly it’s because I don’t want to listen to the die hard idiots that disagree with me.  If you search the almost 300 posts in The Mess, you will probably only find three posts with a political bent to them.  I’ll tell you what, to keep you from searching the archives, I’ll list them in the For Further Reading section at the end of this post and you can check them out for yourself.

It’s not that I hate open discussion or debates.  Actually, I love them.  However, I have discovered that when people are passionate about some politician or cause, they cannot discuss things rationally and are soon spouting disparaging remarks about my mother and my conception.  Therefore, I choose to remain silent.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Online Word of Mouth

Many people, myself included, claim that the modern technological age has made us disconnected from one another, especially the younger generation.  Between social media sites, text messaging, and online gaming, people always seem to have some type of device in their hands.  You’ve seen me expound on the modern phenomena of rude behavior because people simply have to answer a text message while in the middle of a real conversation with someone sitting right beside them.  Furthermore, it has hindered the creative imagination of children because instead of having to entertain themselves, they are constantly being entertained by technology.

You have also seen me discuss how some become emboldened in their behavior as they hide behind a computer monitor.  Online Bullying is rampant as threats are made and vicious comments posted.  “Your mom wears combat boots” has been replaced with “Your mom uses a Mac.”  Kids, nowadays, are just mean.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mondays, Not So Bad

Relax, it's just Monday
I’m not sure when Mondays started getting a bad reputation.  I’m sure it was long before Garfield bemoaned the start of a new week.  I’m also not sure when Mondays started to be thought of as the first day of the week.  It’s not; Sunday is, which is really confusing since Sunday is tossed in with the weekend.  For quite a few people, Monday is the first day of the business week, but then, like Char, some people say their weekends are not Saturday and Sunday, but rather, Tuesday or Wednesday, or some other combination.  Of course, not everyone gets a weekend, like Zac who has days off such as Tuesday and Friday.  With all of this confusion, it is surprising Mondays still get a bad rep.

However, according to research by the John Hopkins BloombergSchool of Public Health, Mondays are a great day to either start a new habit or break a bad one.  Of course, if this is the same Bloomberg that wanted to take away my Supersized soda, then I’m already against the study.  Furthermore, before you think I sit around reading scientific research studies, allow me to say that I found this tidbit while thumbing through the girls’ HealthMagazine.  And yes, I’d rather own up to reading a publication geared for women than stuffy reports or Gallup polls. Besides, it was left in the bathroom and I forgot to take my book in there.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Joanne Mazzotta

Joanne Mazzotta
This week The Mess welcomes Joanne Mazzotta as she brings us a heart wrenching tale from her life, the suicide of her son Danny.  Joanne's book, Why Whisper? is a memoir of that period of her family's life as she shares their grief with us.  One of the things I like about this strong lady is her love of family and her title as "proud matriarch of one helluva great family." Not only a writer, Joanne is a painter and she shares some of her work with us on her blog, which you would be wise to check out. 

I met Joanne on Twitter and from there to Facebook.  She is someone I call friend as well as a great supporter of other writers.  So, sit back with your morning coffee and let's meet Joanne.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Life is to be a celebration!
As I wrote about Father’s Day Monday, it struck me as funny that even as far back as the 1930s, the cry was going out that holidays were just about Big Business.  It was seen as just another method to pressure people into buying greeting cards, gifts, and expensive meals out.   Charlie Brown wasn’t the first to say it.  It had already been a complaint for decades.  However, it does seem to be getting worse every year, as is evident in my essay Blacker Thursday as we looked at how the traditional Black Friday began at 9PM Thanksgiving Day.  It’s all about the big bucks and trying to make bigger profits than the year before.
Holidays, to me, are special days.  They are meant to slow us down and reflect on family, friends, and history.  They should be celebrations, not simply another day, business as usual.  Actually, they shouldn’t be about business at all.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father’s Day

My dad & I
In the United States, this past Sunday was Father’s Day.  I was able to spend mine with my dad this year, which isn’t always the case as he lives in another state and neither of us travels much.  This year, however, my parents along with my sister and her two kids came down for a week’s vacation and it was timed allowing Dad, my boys and myself to enjoy the holiday together.  It was a great day spent grilling chicken and floating about the pool with some great friends as well as family.  By the end of the day, I was exhausted, but it was a good exhaustion that comes when people gather together to celebrate life.

Mother’s Day was initiated in 1909 and a year later, Sonora Dodd believed that the men should have an equal celebration.  However, Father’s Day wasn’t as well received.  At first, it fell to the wayside because Sonora began studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and lacked the time to promote it.  However, in the 1930s, she returned to her hometown, Spokane, Washington and began to raise national awareness.  Still, Americans, being the cheap, cynical people that we are, saw it as just another business opportunity by merchants to copy the financial success of Mother’s Day.  We hear this cry with every holiday.  “Business has made it too commercial.  It’s all about money, nowadays.  People have lost the true meaning of the holiday.”

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Matt Best

Meet Matt Betts
A writer of speculative fiction, Matt Best is also a poet and a doer of things. This summer his steampunk novel, Odd Men Out, will be released by Dog Star Books, and you'll definitely want to check it out.  You'll learn quite a bit about Matt in his guest post this week, so I don't want to say too much upfront.  However, I can relate to what he says as a writer who struggled to get the words down on paper while taking care of a family.  I am sure we have all been there and many of us are still there. Perhaps, after reading his story, you'll be nice to share some of your writing tricks for making time in the comments.  I'd love to see how others have managed to make their dreams a reality.

For now, however, let's see how Matt managed it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Living on the Big Screen

Last night, the girls and I went to see Iron Man 3.  We saw it in 2D as opposed to 3D, because 3D gives me a headache.  The effects are usually lost on me, anyway, because I’ve never managed to figure out how to get those special glasses to work with my normal glasses.  I have a hard enough time just seeing with my normal glasses, as it is.

We were going to see the movie because to me certain movies just require a big movie screen when you first view it.  Super hero movies fall into this category.  So do Sci-Fi movies, fantasy, and movies with a ton of special effects.  You need the movie theater sound system and massive screen in order to truly appreciate everything that was shoved into the film.  Explosions, alien attacks, and car chases are just better on that 30 foot by 70 foot screen.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nap Time Should Be A Law

Zac sleeping...and behaving
There are things I fought hard against when I was younger that I wish I could do now.  Nap time is number one on my list.  When I was a toddler, I hated having to take a nap.  I was afraid I was going to miss something fun.  I fussed and whined and pleaded, but I was still put down for a nap.  I’d lie there, pretending to be asleep for a few minutes, then act as if I had just woken up, refreshed and ready to go.  My mother never bought it, however, and soon “Robbie, lay your ass back down before I make you cry yourself to sleep!”  echoed throughout the house.  Now, however, I would take that nap in a blink of an eye.

In some of the warmer climates, naps are taken after the midday meal.  Businesses close and shop owners go home for a long lunch and to kick off their shoes for a bit.  And they’re smart to do it.  Research shows that an afternoon nap helps reduce stress, improves our cognitive skills and causes us to be more alert.  We’re not only more efficient, but we gain better health when we catch an hour snooze.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Candle Lighter

Last Thursday, the Mess participated in the (Almost) Perfect Daughters Blog Tour with author, Nonnie Jules.  In her thank you remarks at the end of the post, she used the phrase, “candles out there willing to light other candles.”  I’m not sure if she coined the phrase or borrowed it, but I love the image and meaning behind it.  It’s an image that leads to a brighter world where everyone is reaching their dreams with the help of each other.

Imagine being in a dark room with eight other people.  You’re the only one with a candle that’s lit, although everyone else is holding a candle, as well.  Theirs, however, are mere cold sticks; useless.  Yours radiates a bubble of light and a very small pocket of warmth.  Now take your candle and use it to light one of the others.  The wick sparks and catches flame.  The room has become brighter and a tad warmer.  Now both of you reach to another cold candle and bring it to life.  It’s brighter.  Warmer.  You can see a little more clearly.  The four of you then turn and ignite the remaining four candles.  The room is now aglow with light and warmth and everyone’s vision is more focused.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Erotica Author, Angelica Dawson

This Saturday the Mess takes a turn to the sexy as Angelica Dawson shares with us her new book, Kitten, part of the Blue Moon House Series. Besides being an erotica and romance author, Angelica loves to cross stitch and crochet.  She also loves practicing tying knots, which probably comes in handy with her bondage scenes.  A mother and a wife, Angelica has written several books as well as been part of a few collections. I can thank Twitter for bringing this talented author to my attention and I hope you get a chance after reading this to meet her, as well. Not only is she a fantastic writer, but she is also a great friend and supporter of other authors. You can even follow her on Facebook to keep up with what she is working on next.

So, sit back and get ready for a sexy read as Angelica tells us about her book.  I'm sure you'll want to go give it a look afterward. I'm on my way now to get it.  See you Monday!

Friday, June 7, 2013

No, Really?

“Honestly, those people annoy the crap out of me,” Zac said as he went on a tirade about something or other.  I can’t tell you what, because I was still lost in thought before it dawned on me that he was even talking.  It’s not my fault, really.  He never gave my brain time to shift gears before he just started spewing his story.  I need time to refocus.  He knows this, but has no patience to wait for it.  His stories usually just come bubbling out of his mouth, unfiltered.

However, at the word “honestly,” my attention was grabbed.  It’s one of my pet peeve words.  I hate it because it’s unnecessary.  I mean, unless you’re a constant liar, why would you even use it?  It doesn’t increase the level of truth in your statement or make it anymore believable.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The (Almost) Perfect Daughters Blog Tour

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Mess to introduce to you an new author, Nonnie Jules.  Okay, to be honest, there wasn’t a Mess scheduled for today since it’s Thursday, but when Nonnie asked me to participate in the blog tour for her book, I was more than happy to oblige.  After all, if we’re anything here at the Mess, it’s happy and obliging.  Furthermore, once I discovered the book was on the family, I was more than ready to assist as the family is one of my dearest topics as readers of the blog will attest.

So, let’s meet Nonnie, shall we?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Zombies Live At My House

On my bookshelves I have several books on monsters.  Not the kind that fill our newsreels and prisons for their atrocities against mankind.  No, these are the creatures that scare the heebie jeebies out of us from movie screens and novels, the ones that keep us up at night with the covers pressed right up to our noses as our eyes peer out at every shadow that floats into our peripheral vision.  It’s these monsters that cause us to sleep with the lights on and chairs barring the doors as we jump at every sound.  Their creators have made them real and, trembling, we believe they are ready to snatch us away from the safety of our homes.

It seems to me that two of these creatures of mayhem, vampires and zombies, have controlled the spotlight for some time now.  It’s funny to me that they share the popularity, because they truly are at different ends of the scare spectrum.  They are nothing alike and I would be curious to see what would happen if they were to ever face each other in a battle.  I mean, zombies don’t have blood to suck, do they?  Yet, vampires are faster, so would have the upper hand in that way.  It would be an interesting match, to be sure.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Practical Joke Goes On

Showing the 8-year old how to make pizza
 The other day I was working on one of the essays for my upcoming book, A Confused Life, when I was retelling some of the pranks that have been passed down through a few of the jobs I’ve had over the years.  I found myself laughing at how easily duped some people were when if they had just used a little common sense, they would have realized their leg was being yanked.  I, of course, never fell for any of these practical jokes, mainly because I had seen them played on others and knew what was coming.  That didn’t mean that I didn’t help set others up as the butt of these jokes.  I did, and yes, I’m proud of it.  It’s a time honored tradition.  There’s a perverted reward when you’re able to set someone up to be a fall guy without them knowing it.

One of these jokes concerned a fictional piece of equipment, the Dough Patch Kit. The premise of the joke was that when slapping out the dough for a pizza pie, if it developed a hole because someone’s finger went through it while slapping it out or it was stretched too far and a hole developed, the Dough Patch Kit fixed it right up.  The pizza making could go on.  Now, common sense would tell you that if you stretched the dough together over the hole and pressed, it would seal itself back together.  However, new employees never wanted to appear ignorant and almost never wanted to question their superiors, so they eagerly went in search of the make believe tool.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Dani J. Caile

Dani J. Caile
Every Saturday I hear that old Mickey Mouse Club jingle, Today we're going to have a special guest. This Saturday is no different as we welcome Dani J. Caile, author of Man by a Tree, The Bethlehem Fiasco, and The Rage of Atlantis.  I came across Dani via Twitter where I have been able to meet and make some connections with some great writers and friends. After reading his post here be sure to pop by his blog and website to see more of his Quirky, Yet Sardonic writing.  I think you'll enjoy what you see.

And now The Mess welcomes Dani J. Caile.