Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Sherry Rentschler

Meet Sherry Rentschler
This Saturday you are in for a real treat.  I first met Sherry Rentschler on Twitter and immediately there was a kindred spirit between us.  She enjoys life as much as I do and misses the nostalgic days of a simpler time.  Always ready to help another follow their dream, Sherry is a quick with the encouragement to help others succeed.  She is also a hilarious lady to follow and interact with.  Her blog, Between the Lines, offers great advice on the writing journey as well as tidbits about life.  A military veteran with a love for vampires, her first collection of poetry, Paper Bones, is now out and ready for your purchase.  You can also pick up her 30-year photographic journey, I Wish You Joy, where Sherry fulfills her mother's wish for her.

You can follow Sherry on Facebook as well as Goodreads to keep up with her writing and her many exploits.  In a world where so many are trying to see what they can get out of you to benefit them, Sherry is a lady who gives and your life will be richer for knowing her.

So, sit back and enjoy this Saturday's delight.  You will not be disappointed and I am sure you will make a new friend.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Breaking the Rules

I'm in time out
Rules surround us.  Society’s rules.  Family rules.  Business rules.  Rules of religion, usually called Commandments.  Rules for wearing hats.  There are even rules for using Facebook and Twitter.  Or so I am told.  It seems the blogosphere is full lately of ways to help you navigate social media and I’m glad, because I have a hard enough time navigating my coffee maker.  Actually, I don’t even try.  The girls make the coffee every morning so that I don’t burn down the house.

I spent the better part of my blog reading time this week browsing the various posts and the links they provided.  I found myself agreeing with most of what they suggested.  However, there was one blog post I did skip after reading a couple of paragraphs because they came across snarky and belligerent.  I don’t mind being given advice, but I hate when people talk down to me while doing it as if they have all the right answers.  There are no right answers, except for the ones Twitter and Facebook made you agree to before giving you an account, which you probably didn’t read.  Like most people you just checked the box and hurried on to fill your profile with something witty.   There are, however, suggestions that have worked for others and preferences that people seem to agree upon.  Furthermore, I witnessed the very people who were giving these rules also breaking them.  It’s like after I read a book on the craft of writing and the writer tells me not to do something like use words ending in -ly and then I read a novel of theirs and the book is riddled with them.  I feel as if I wasted my time reading the first book.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Time is Flying

So much still to do
Two hundred and forty days of this year have already flown by leaving only one hundred and twenty-five left.  Before I look up, those will be gone as well.  It’s not that I fear getting older, because I don’t.  I’m enjoying my life now more than ever and the second half of my journey has me excited.  No, I fear the quick passing of time because I am so far behind in what I had planned to get accomplished this year.  The intentions were there, the To Do Lists written out, and goals set.  Then the distractions began and the days fell from the desk calendar.

When I quit my 9 to 5 last September, I had several manuscripts halfway done and a list of blog posts to write that should have kept me busy for several months.  I began strong.  I published Circle of Justice and, a couple of months later, Reaping the Harvest.  The blog posts were going well and I had even started doing five a week, which eventually I dropped down to three.  I was also doing some guest spots on other blogs and working on some short stories.  However, the plan was to have four books out this year.  I know that seems a major undertaking, but as I said before, I had most of them halfway done.  Therefore, I assumed I could finish them.  After all, I have all day to write, right?

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Harmony Rock

What I keep in my pocket
It was a gift, this little green stone with the word Harmony etched across its face.  I had actually been given two of them, the other one having Journey carved into it, but I lost that one somewhere along the way.  I’m not sure if that is symbolic or not.  I’ve searched for it all over the place, but it has yet to turn back up.  I’m not worried, however.  I have plenty of guiding forces that keep me along the right path.

I keep my Harmony rock in my left front pocket of my pants and it has become a familiar weight that I have come to enjoy.  There is a whole culture that believes that if you etch a word in a stone or crystal you gain power towards that end.  I’ve even seen it said to put the word in ice and freeze it and you can make strides toward your goal.  I’m not sure how valid those practices are, but it can’t hurt to try it, that’s for sure.  Somehow, I think it may be more mind over matter and the carving the word is symbolic of that belief system.  As I said I don’t know and I am not going to criticize someone’s spiritual practices.  I’ll leave that to the fanatics.  I don’t use my stone to give me power.  I use it as a reminder of the harmony that surrounds me.  I don’t pull my harmony from my little green rock.  I pull it from the people I surround myself with.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stephanie Neighbour's Author Spotlight with Ginger Myrick

Welcome to Saturday my Mess-y friends. As you know we have been opening up our Saturday's here for guest posts and I know I've enjoyed them as much as you have. We've met some fantastic people, heard some funny and some not so funny stories, and been exposed to great writers. Today is to be no different. The interview you are about to read was done by my good friend and co-founder of Bloggers against Bullies, Stephanie Neighbour, who you might remember from a couple of months back when she filled the guest chair herself. Well, today she is taking it over completely as Ginger and Stephanie have allowed us to swipe an interview they did together to share with you. I even stole the pictures and their captions along with the links they both provided. Yes, this is my lazy Saturday, but when the work was already perfect there was really nothing else for me to do.

You already know my high opinion of Stephanie, so you won't be disappointed by what you read.  Ginger is a dear lady and a great writer. You are going to enjoy getting to know her better and I hope you take the time to click the links and explore her writing. You won't be disappointed.

A quick thank you to both of the ladies for filling in this Saturday. I greatly appreciated it and I can see the fun you both had.  Now, I'm on my way to buy Ginger's book.  See you at the end of the interview!

Friday, August 23, 2013

I Saw Your Mommy’s Panties

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again - some parents should never be allowed to become parents.  They are simply too ignorant and inconsiderate to be raising a young child.  Most of them are still raising themselves.  These parents don’t know how to behave properly and, therefore, are incapable of teaching their children the art of proper behavior.  Rude parents will not bring up polite children.  What’s really sad is that these “adults” see nothing wrong with what they are doing or the impact it could have on their children.  Surviving during the school years is hard enough without Mommy and Daddy adding fuel to the teasing flames.

With school back in full swing, I have resumed the task of picking up the 8 year-old.  Every day it’s a battle not to go off on some idiot that should have been halted from ever breeding.  They are too busy trying to snatch their offspring from the clutches of the public school system that they won’t slow down enough to provide for their child’s safety. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Stocked Bunker

My friend, Chuck Conner
Bunkers are fortifications built below ground to protect people in case of an attack or a tornado.  The military used them to house weapons and supplies during both World Wars and sometimes even as command centers.  The bunker was to be stocked with necessities for survival, like dry food, water, radios, etc., in case you had to remain in one for any length of time.  Mine would need coffee, scotch, and an abundance of cigars, although I doubt the girls would allow me to light one up.  I’m not permitted to in our house full of windows, so I don’t see it happening in an underground concrete box.  I thought I could get away with it in the garage when I put my office out there, but no, they didn’t want the storage tubs to get sticky.

A friend of mine, however, has taken the term stocked bunker to a whole new level.  To Chuck, whom I have known since middle school, it’s not just what is around  him that will aid in his survival, but more his abilities.  When Chuck was two, he was diagnosed with Kugelburg-Welander Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  I know, the name goes on forever.  It was finally shortened to SMA Type 3 Muscular Dystrophy.  He has always had a sense of humor and a zest for life, making the most of what Life has handed him.  While I haven’t seen Chuck since we both graduated high school, I have been able to follow his exploits through social media and it’s refreshing to know he has maintained his sense of humor.  He has a unique perspective on human interaction and the ridiculous statements people make when faced with something or someone out of their comfort zone.  I’d love to be able to convince him to write a book about some of the encounters he has with stupid people and their questions because I’m sure it would be a humorous and enlightening read.  However, for now we’ll just talk about his Stocked Bunker.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Let There Be Noise

I was teaching Baby Hank about women
Some friends of ours just had their first grandchild and the excitement is still overflowing.  They were over the other day, visiting and showing off the new bundle of burps, and I was able to hold him for a little bit.  He still had that new baby smell, but I knew a few dirty diapers and spit ups would eventually fix that and he would smell like a kid soon enough.

When they brought him in, he was sound asleep.  And he remained that way for awhile and by awhile I mean until I moved him around enough in his carrier that he finally woke up.  To be honest, I was surprised that he was still asleep, because our home is rarely ever a sanctuary for quiet meditation.  Most of the time it resembles a frat house undergoing a taping of Girls Gone Wild.  Yet, this fresh little bundle of grandchild slept on undisturbed with our cats staring at him wondering what pet we brought home and if we were keeping it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Eileen Granfors

Eileen Granfors & Nilla
A high school teacher for 33 years, Eileen Granfors finally turned in her chalk and turned to writing full time, and with the stories she has told, we are glad that she did.  I met Eileen on Twitter and from there we have joined over all of the social media sites from Facebook to Pinterest. She is a giant supporter of others and a great encouragement.  Like many of us, she decided to chase her dreams and has proven that once you determine your course, they can come true.  I'm glad she not only didn't give up, but that she agreed to be our guest blogger this Saturday.  I know you're going to enjoy having her here as much as I am.

On her blog, Word Joy, Eileen reviews new books and has all of her books readily listed there for your purchase.  I highly recommend you stop by and check them out

Before turning it over, I just wanted to say a big thank you Eileen for being here and a part of the Mess. I appreciate your support and have enjoyed your friendship. It's always amazing to me how the internet can bring us close to people we have never truly met and who live so far away. I am glad that it brought us across each other's paths.

Now, my Mess-y friends, let's grab that cup of java and settle in as this Saturday we present author, Eileen Granfors.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Negativity Kills

The most positive people I know
In the past, I have led several small groups as well as collaborated on projects and causes from reaching out to the homeless to bringing aid overseas.  The biggest cancer in any group, the thing that will bring about its demise faster than anything else is negativity.  It will kill the forward momentum of any project if not eradicated quickly.

It starts small.  One person.  One Comment.  “That’s never going to work,” “We’ve never tried that before,” or even “The last guy tried that and it never left the planning table.”  Usually, the snide comments are made by someone who doesn’t want to do anything.  They’re not just against that particular project, they’re against any project that might require effort or cause them to stretch out of their comfort zone.  Of course, there are always the selfish reasons like they didn’t think of it; therefore, it can’t possibly succeed.  If it had been their idea, they would have gone about it a whole different way; a better, more efficient way.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Hat’s Back, Jack

In 1985, I began working for Dominos Pizza.  I stayed with them for close to thirteen years before jumping ship and going to work for Papa John’s.  I did a few stints during that time as an assistant manager and as the marketing person for our local area, but for the most part I was simply a delivery driver.  I loved the job, which was why I kept doing it for so many years.  I loved the flexibility the schedule allowed to spend time with the boys as they were growing up.  What I didn’t like about either job was the uniform.  Those I hated.

First, it was the shirts.  I’m not a big pullover type of guy.  I prefer button down shirts, especially long sleeve.  Furthermore, they have to have a breast pocket for my notebook and pen.  The last few years before I quit to hide out on my back porch and write, I was able to buy my own shirts to fit my comfort level as long as I put the logo on it.  It was well worth the cost.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bloggers against Bullies

Together, we can make a difference
I look back on my ninth grade year with mixed feelings.  To be honest, I view much of my school year with disdain intermingled with the occasional fond memory.  Usually, those memories occurred when I wasn’t serving as the punching bag for teenage boys with too much testosterone and something to prove.  Other than the fact that they could bruise my scrawny frame, I’m not sure exactly what they were proving, but they did it with great zeal and it left a lasting impression.

Bullying is a real problem.  It was back then and it still is today.  According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 20% of students in grades 9-12 experienced bullying.  That’s an astronomical number that needs to be erased.  Even one is too many.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Catherine Townsend-Lyon

Welcome Catherine Townsend-Lyons & her husband Tom
This Saturday I am pleased to introduce Catherine Townsend-Lyons, author of Addicted To Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat).  In a day and age where addictions are surrounding us, her story is one many need to hear as it offers hope and encouragement.  She is also the author of two blogs, her Recovery Blog and her writer's blog, which I enjoy listening to for the soothing sounds.  Catherine and I first connected on Twitter and from there began to share on other social media sites.  She is a great friend and a sweetheart, always ready to support others with encouraging words.  She has a unique writing style as you'll see and a giant heart.  After hearing her story, I'm sure you'll want to check out her book and visit her other sites.  Don't be afraid to look her up on Twitter and Facebook as well.  You'll enjoy the banter and laughter.

Before turning it over to Catherine, I just wanted to thank her for sharing her story and her heart with us today on the Mess.  It's a pleasure, not only to have you here, but to have your friendship everywhere else.  I am sure my readers are going to be touched by your tale.

Now, grab that cup of coffee, settle back, and enjoy meeting, Catherine Townsend-Lyons.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Ending of Summer Vacation

The 8 year-old & I in Tennessee 
It’s almost here.  Five more days, actually.  I’m not sure when it begins in your neck of the world.  We have nephews and nieces who have already started and some who won’t begin for two or three more weeks.  I’m not sure why everyone doesn’t start on the same day.  I’m sure there’s some bureaucratic reason behind it all, but I fail to see the logic.  Perhaps they’re afraid of what might happen to all of the tourist traps across the U.S. if everyone was released at the same time.  Whatever the reason, the 8 year-old’s prison sentence resumes in five days.

I, of course, have mixed feelings about it.  She, however, does not.  She hates the idea and is dreading my daily count down.  Wait until I begin counting down the hours and by then she’ll be weeping with her Monster High Dolls while trying to cram as much adventure into her last seconds of freedom as possible.  Regardless of what the girls say, I, however, am not that dramatic.  My jumping up and down was the result of a fantastic story idea that came into my mind and had nothing to do with the first day of school being almost here.

No, really. It’s true.  Really.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Red Ink

I need a new pen
I know you’ve been paying attention to my tweets and the Mess’s Facebook updates, so you know that I’m in the middle of editing Losing Faith.  You also know that during the first draft process it went through some character changes.  One was even demoted and then eventually fired because she just held one of the main characters back.  A couple of minor characters came to the forefront to take major roles and finally the draft was complete and the story told.  However, it wasn’t the original tale I had set out to share.  It had evolved and, I’ll admit, for the better.

Then the editing and revisions began.  It wasn’t so bad at first.  I had to pepper in some scenes to strengthen some of the subplots, add a little back story here and there, and even fire and hire a couple of more minor characters.  Not too difficult.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Cigar Means I Have Time

My youngest son, Zachariah, used to smoke cigarettes.  I’m glad to say that he has quit and has been smoke-free for almost four weeks.  However, at the time, he would harass me about how long it took me to enjoy a cigar. 

“A cigarette takes me less than two minutes,” my hyperactive son said.  “You’ve been sitting in that chair for over an hour.”

I put my finger in my book, reserving my place as I closed it before glancing up at him.  “A cigarette is akin to a one night stand.  A cigar is a committed relationship.”

My son wanted his fix and move on.  When I sit down to have a cigar, it’s not for any other reason than to enjoy my time.  It’s not a need or a craving.  It’s a leisure activity that says, “It’s time to relax and slow down.”

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Mess Welcomes B.J. Sheldon

B.J. Sheldon
Say hello to B.J. Sheldon, author of Reader's Favorite Silver Medal book, Haunting.  The book is available on Amazon, but will be re-released on September 1st with a brand new cover.  A cover reveal will be happening on August 13th, so keep your eyes out as you won't want to miss it.

I have met this fellow cat lover on Twitter (I've met most of our guests on Twitter.  Have you noticed that?) and have come to appreciate the friendship of the self-proclaimed nerd, B.J.  A great supporter of other people's dreams, she is willing to help out and share the spotlight.  Whereas I had three sons, B.J. has three daughters.  She grew up in Hull, Iowa, the daughter of a farmer, which is the setting for her YA Paranormal book, which received 23 five star reviews.  Be sure to click over to Amazon and pick up your copy today. Also, be sure to visit her to find out more at her website.

Before turning it over to B.J., I wanted to just say thank you for participating.  It is a pleasure to have you here at the Mess and I'm sure our readers are going to enjoy sharing their Saturday with you.  I know I did.

And now, heeeeere's B.J.

Friday, August 2, 2013

According to Research

Breasts can get you into trouble
Oh Oh
I’ll be the first to tell you that research is important.  I’m not referring to writing research, although that is extremely important as well.  It wouldn’t do me any good to talk about the Civil War if I put it before the Revolutionary war.  However, that’s not the type of research I’m referring to.  We need to research into the diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and whatever disease politicians develop once elected that turns them into deceitful jackasses.  We needed studies into children’s behavior, health habits, and the affect game controllers will have on thumb usage.  However, how some research even comes into the existence boggles my mind.

For example, take this one study a friend sent me the other day.  The site was the Daily Record, but it was referring to a German study that had been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  I’m not well-informed as to how these studies were published, but I did wonder why a German study was published in a New England publication and not a German one.  Then I read the report and I knew why he didn’t publish it at home.  He didn’t want his wife to read it!