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Monday, December 30, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR'S - BUT WHEN?



                                  HAPPY NEW YEAR!   
 
                                             
 
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and successful 2014.  

I thought I’d check my Wikipedia and find out the history of New Years. So for those who don’t know, like me, here’s some interesting information on New Year’s.

New Year’s Day we hang our new 2014 calendars. The New Year of the Gregorian calendar, similar to the Roman calendar, the one commonly used throughout the world, falls on January 1(New Year's Day). There are numerous calendars that remain in regional use that calculate the New Year differently.

The order of months in the Roman calendar was January to December since King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC. Until 1751 in England and Wales (and all British dominions) the new year started on March 25 – Lady Day, one of the four quarter days (the change to 1 January took place in 1600 in Scotland).  Since then, January 1 has been the first day of the year.

During the Middle Ages several other days were variously taken as the beginning of the calendar year (March, 1 March 25, Easter, September 1, December 25).

In many countries, such as the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and the UK,  January 1 is a national holiday.

With the expansion of Western culture to many other places in the world during recent centuries, they have adopted the Gregorian calendar and the 1 January date of New Year has become global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (such as Israel, China and India). Many in the countries where Eastern Orthodoxy predominates celebrate both the Gregorian and Julian New Year holidays, with the Gregorian day celebrated as a civic holiday, and the Julian date as the "Old New Year", a religious holiday.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, occurs every year on the new moon of the first lunar month, about the beginning of spring. The exact date can fall any time between January 21 and February 21 of the Gregorian calendar.

The Vietnamese New Year most times is the same day as the Chinese New Year due to the Vietnamese using Chinese calendar.

The Tibetan New Year falls from January through March.

The new year of many South and Southeast Asian calendars falls between April 13 1nd 15, marking the beginning of spring.

I do make goals and I posted them in my previous post. Do you celebrate New Year’s? If so, do you celebrate January 1st or do you celebrate on another day? Do you make resolutions or goals? I’d love to hear from you.
                                                  

 

Friday, December 27, 2013

MY WRITING - PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE


Welcome back to our Round Robin. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and if you lost power that it’s back on.

We have two topics this time. The first is what have I learned from writing? This is an interesting one. I’ve been writing for a long time. What have I learned? About my writing – no matter how many times I edit, there’s always a mistake.

You can’t do it alone. You need a team, whether it’s the publisher or your team as an indie author.  A copy editor and a cover artist are essential.
And I never quit learning or trying to make every story better. Every book helps me learn a new aspect of the craft of writing. My latest book was one that had been published and I learned how to tighten the story (and cut 15,000 words).
I’ve also leaned that writers are the most supportive group of people I know. They are there to answer questions, critique your work, help with promotion and share their own experiences. If they can do anything to help you become successful, they’re there. Writing can be a solitary pursuit, but with these people to help it’s not a lonely one. And they are wonderful friends.

And the second is my goals for 2014. This is always interesting thing for me. I do write goals, not just for writing but for all aspects of my life; my health and fitness goals, my personal goals, my writing goals and my career goals (okay those could be the same but I separate them).  One of my goals is to eat healthier, read labels and eat more vegetables. Another one is to meditate, try to relax and focus more. I want to publish 6 books this year. I have two finished that I got my rights back. I have a novella I’ve finished. I have two books that are almost finished I want to complete. Once I have them all published I have this great idea and plot I want to write. (Wish me luck.) And one last goal is to learn more about marketing, and Goodreads. All these can continue after 2014.

 


If you have any goals you’d like to share, or if you have any comments on mine, I’d love to hear them.


 
 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

BOXING DAY - Sales or?







My 5 Secrets isn’t here today. I gave the authors the day off to enjoy Christmas. But they’ll be back next Thursday.

Christmas is now over and today is Boxing Day. Other than returning the unsuitable gifts do you know where Boxing Day originated?

I thought I knew about Boxing Day and the English tradition, but I checked Wikipedia to make sure my information was correct.

Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen receive gifts from their bosses or employers, known as a "Christmas box". Today, Boxing Day is habitually known as the holiday that occurs on 26 December. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Malta and some other Commonwealth nations. In Australia, Boxing Day is a federal public holiday.

The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin, is unknown. In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This custom is linked to an older English tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.

In feudal times in the United Kingdom, the lord of the manor would 'pay' people who worked on his land in the past year with boxes practical goods, such as agricultural tools, food and cloth. These were often distributed on the day after Christmas Day.

Other stories relate to servants being allowed to take a portion of the food left over from the Christmas celebrations in a box to their families and the distribution of alms from the church collection boxes to poor parishioners.

In Canada, yes, remember I’m Canadian and it’s a holiday. It gives people he chance to hit the Boxing Day Sales (the opportunity to stand in line from very early hours of the morning to get a good deal) or it’s an opportunity to watch hockey games. In some provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Labrador and Ontario are not open on Boxing Day, so the sales start on December 27th.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a Happy Boxing Day.

Comments welcome and don’t forget to check back this Saturday. The Round Robin group will be posting about what we’ve learned from writing and what our goals are for 2014 ad further into the future.
 

Monday, December 23, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 
It's Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is Christmas.
Are you ready?
 
I'm sitting writing this, looking out at my neighbor's lights. He's done a beautiful job and I get to enjoy them.
I have traditional Christmas songs playing in the background. I've shopped for gifts and dinner.
I'm thankful for this past year. I have my health. My husband and family are healthy. I have wonderful friends.
I have donated to several of my favorite charities. I donate all year long, but I give extra at this time of year.
And I give donations in people's names as their gifts. People appreciate this. I am warm and have food.
I'm a very lucky person.  I've written three books this year and they will all be up for sale before the end of the year.
 
I have so much to be thankful for. I'll be in touch with family and friends which will be the highlight of my day.
 
For some people, it's Santa, reindeer, gifts, the Christmas tree and stockings, dinners with turkey and pies and overeating.
 
For others it's the birth of Christ in a stable, because his parents were poor and had no home for his birth.

It's the Star and the wise men. It's the joy of the season.

For some, it's another day.








What is Christmas do you? What makes it special? Once again, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Merry Christmas , Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukah and A Joyous Christmas Solstice.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

5 Secrets (What No One Knows About My Book)


Our guest author today is Qwillia Rain, who is going to share some tidbits about the writing of her book that no one knows--until today.
Qwillia was born in California but raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1992 she moved from Vegas to Anchorage, Alaska where she earned my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
She left Alaska in 2003 and took the Al-Can to Montana where she earned a Master's Degree in Educational Technology.
2006 saw another move to North Carolina.  She’s still in NC, but the temptation to move is there...She doesn’t think the wanderlust will ever go away.
A little trivia about Qwillia:
She was born on a Friday the 13th (it's always been a lucky day for her...except in1989)
Favorite color is green (forest or emerald are the best but kelly and lime have their places)
She's been changing the endings of stories to what she want them to be since she was three
She's been writing romances since she was twelve
The first romance she read was Zabrina Faire's Lady Blue
She prefers steak to pasta and potatoes to salad
Her characters actually talk to her (and no...She's not schizophrenic! Weird and crazy yes, schizoid no.)
 

 In A Lover's Silence

1) Years ago, when I lived in Alaska, I was a bill collector--which some people know, but In A Lover's Silence was my "what if" book after I read a credit bureau report for a man I was attempting to collect a debt from and discovered the multiple names and social security numbers on the report. After I talked to a fellow collector who was a former police officer from Texas, my imagination took the idea of identity theft several steps further, just like my character, Wynne Smith.
2) In A Lover's Silence actually started out as a story about the search for a person missing from the US Marshal's Witness Protection Program. While researching the Witness Protection Program, I discovered some very interesting things about the US Marshal's Service and the FBI, including the fact that US Marshals are often assigned to offices in locations they're personally familiar with, that they can be loaned out to various law enforcement agencies to assist in investigations, and that no one knows the identity of the Witness Protection officer in each of the offices.
3) When I came up with the idea about a serial killer who targets exotic dancers and has begun stalking his next victim in Alaska, I didn't know that there had actually been a serial killer (Robert Hansen) in Alaska who abducted exotic dancers and prostitutes, flew them out to the bush to stalk them like prey before killing them.
4) I started writing the book in 1996, but it wasn't until 2006 that I was able to finish it. I actually wrote 105 pages in a week to complete it.
5) Only a few people know that the book was originally contracted for publication with an e-publisher, but was not released because the publisher closed its doors one month before the book was supposed to come out.

 

Blurb from: In A Lover's Silence

Alaskan bill-collector Wynne Smith has a problem. Actually, she has two. The first is sexy, six-foot, Deputy US Marshal, Seth Vassar, fresh off the plane from Dallas, Texas and looking for answers to a five year old murder investigation. The by-the-book marshal doesn't take no for an answer any more than Wynne likes to let a puzzle go unsolved.

Which leads to her second problem. A serial killer intent on making Wynne pay for destroying his next work of art.

Now Wynne has to guard her heart against a man she knows is going to leave her while she tries to keep one step ahead of a maniac.

In a game this deadly, her only hope lays In a Lover's Silence.


You can Qwillia at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Qwillia-Rain-Fan-Page/234065069968987
Twitter: @Qwillia
Blog: http://authorqwilliarain.blogspot.com

Thanks for checking Qwillia Rain and her secrets. If you have any comments or questions let us know. Qwillia Rain will be around to answer your comments
And don’t forget to check back next week to find out even more Secrets.


Monday, December 16, 2013

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW - OH NO!

Where will you spend Christmas this year? Will it be cold and snowing or maybe sunny and warm?
Are you traveling to be with family in the cold north or heading south for a week of palm trees and sun?
I've done both.
I'm Canadian, so we're used to a snowy, white Christmas. The only part of Canada that doesn't have snow is Victoria and Vancouver. I've lived in Alberta and the British Columbia Interior - winter is cold with snow.
We put up the outside lights, the Christmas tree, and decorate inside the house. I hung Christmas cards and started Christmas baking weeks before. I baked my own Christmas cakes. (Until a woman in our area bakes them sells them - and ships them. They're that good.) I sent out Christmas packages of cookies and cake to people who didn't bake or lived alone. I mailed lots of Christmas cards and stood in lines to get stamps. We hung stockings (and Santa always came). I cooked Christmas dinner for family. On Christmas Eve we opened one small gift.
We skated on the lake, went x-country skiing, drank hot chocolate and played Christmas music.
I loved it - except maybe the really cold days.


 
 
Now, my family don't make it home for Christmas, for a variety of reasons. (Like my daughter has three dogs, two cats, two rabbits and a hamster se finds it difficult to leave). So we've become snowbirds. We spend Christmas in San Diego with our two dogs. We put up Christmas lights on our motorhome, have a mini-mini tree and I play Christmas music. No stockings. I wear shorts and capris, sit outside in the sun and enjoy the southern, warm Christmas.
I send Christmas cards out in November before we leave and send email cards just before Christmas. I don't bake (because I'd eat it.) I cook a turkey breast for Christmas dinner. Sometimes we share the meal with our neighbors. I spend a lot of time on the pone with family.
Do I miss the house and tree and decorating ? Sometimes, but I love not being cold and bundling up in layers with scarves. And not slipping and sliding on icy sidewalks and roads.
And I do miss the Christmas cake.
 
 

 
So tell me where you spend Christmas and why you love it there. What's the best thing about your Christmas?
 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

5 Secrets (What No One Knows About My Book)

Our guest author today is E. Ayers, who is going to share some tidbits about the writing of her book that no one knows--until  today.

E. Ayers is an Amazon best-selling author in Western Romance and she also writes contemporary romances. When she least expected it, she found her prince charming and married him five weeks later. She uses that heart-warming passion as a basis for all her books, because she believes everyone needs someone to love.


 

A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming

 1: When I sat to write A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming, I didn't think of it as anything other than a little Christmas story. Considering it was Christmas story, what better time to think about all those wonderful family values? And I certainly didn't consider it a western. I didn't write westerns! After completion, I was told I had written a sweet western. But it was just a Christmas story!
2: A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming spent over seven months on the best selling western lists on Amazon.
3: I knew nothing about the Crow tribe when I started writing the story other than there are some very handsome men in some old photos and the reservation is located directly above Wyoming. I knew almost nothing about the tribe when I finished the story. Oh, did that change!
4: I've known several folks tied to the news programs. They don't have a life. The broadcast company owns them. Their hair is cut, colored, and styled according to the company. The company tells them what they will wear, etc. Any free time they have is controlled. They are an image and it must be protected at all times.
5: The success of this book triggered off the series of Creed's Crossing, Wyoming, and the diary of Clare Coleman mentioned in A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming prompted my foray into historical westerns. That diary will also be available soon. My short story A Christmas Far From Home in A Sweetwater Springs Christmas with Debra Holland uses the grandson of Clare Coleman. As I was writing that story, I realized I had another, A Rancher's Woman. It should start appearing at the e-stores next week.
 
My sweet little western A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming has become the catalyst for so many other stories. Available separately, it is also part of the boxed set, Christmas on Main Street by the Main Street Authors. That's 11 Christmas books by your favorite best selling authors for one low price. (Guess who is a Main Street author?)

 BLURB from A SNOWY CHRISTMAS in WYOMING

A Native American cowboy and a national TV news anchorwoman have nothing in common except for their pasts. Is love preordained? An old diary from when Jessie and Clare Coleman settled on the land in the 1840's provides a history of their life. But tucked between the pages is an unrequited love between Clare Coleman and a tall Native American. Does love and land come full circle? In this season of giving, will fate reach through time to give a gift of love?

Andy Coyote settled into the job as foreman on the Coleman ranch. He's got custody of his thirteen month old daughter and the situation is perfect for both of them until Caroline Coleman returns home for Christmas and one of the worst blizzards in years hits the area. He's forced to accept Caroline's help to move a herd of cattle and mixed in it are several head from another ranch in the community. Cattle rustling still happens.

Caroline Coleman has her dream job as a Washington, D.C., news anchor for a national broadcast, but home is in Wyoming on her family's ranch. She has everything that money can buy, but the things that she really wants can't be purchased. Raised with solid, hard working, family values, she knows her life in the spotlight isn't real. She wants a man who appreciates the ranch, loves her for who she is and not what she is, and she wants a family of her own. And she doesn't like the idea of Andy Coyote taking advantage of her grandmother.



To Buy A SNOWY CHRISTMAS in WYOMING go to 
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B006B3IOIK; for Christmas on Main Street (boxed set) go to
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00GCPPALG
B&N: http://ow.ly/rEG4K Apple: http://ow.ly/rEGoH
Smashwords: http://ow.ly/rEIFj; for Sweetwater Springs Christmas go to Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00G06W3SA

You find E. Ayers on these links:
www.ayersbooks.com
Twitter: @ayersbooks
Blog: authorsofmainstreet.wordpress.com
 
Thanks for checking E. Ayers and her secrets out. If you have any comments or questions let us know. E. Ayers will be around to answer your comments.
And don't forget to check back next week for another of our 5 Secrets.


 

 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Charity Giving - Do You?

I don't know about you, but a lot of places I shop ask if you'll contribute to a charity when you're paying for your purchases. I usually say no. Not because I don't believe in the charities, but if I hit that store three times in a week, they ask me every time. Besides, I have four or five charities that I regularly support during the year. Yes, I send extra donations during the Christmas season. The food bank, for example, needs more money then to help families. As do other agencies that support families, children and even animals.
One of my charities that I support is called Critter Care.
It is a non-profit organization that supports wild animals, in particular those that are injured. Also abandoned animals, usually as a result of their mothers being shot by hunters. Two years ago they ended with 12 black bear cubs - which costs a lot of money to feed.
Once the animals are healed or can manage on their own Critter Care releases the animals back into the wild.
They d not allow visitors routinely, so the animals don't get used to people.
You can check this group a out at their website. http://www.crittercarewildlife.org/index.php
And no, I am not asking you too donate money to them.

This organization is participating in a contest to win money to help out their animals. Aviva is giving away money to the groups who finish in the top 10. You can check Aviva out at www.avivacommunityfund.org

Critter Care made it through the semi-finals and they're now in the finals. We've got them up to 16th place, but they need help to get to 10th place. There are three days left to vote. If you could vote for the next 3 days we might be able to help them and the animals they care for.r a worthy cause and help injured, and abandoned baby wild animals.

It's Christmas Charity, without donating money

Here's how to vote to help them:...
Step 1:        Login into www.avivacommunityfund.org
Step 2:        Register providing your email address & a password. Skip this  step if you are already registered from Round 1.
Step 3:        Sign-in, and in the search field, key Critter Care.
Step 4:        Click on Critter Care box and Click “VOTE NOW”.
Okay, that's my charitable request.

What about the rest of you? Do you donate through the year? Do you donate at Christmas? Do you prefer not to donate? What do you think about the request for money every time you check out of a store?
I'd love to hear you thoughts on Christmas charity.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

5 Secrets (What No One Knows About My Book)

Here's our next author, Amber Skyze, to share her secrets about the writing of her books that no one else know - until today. 

From a very young age Amber Skyze began making up stories–the only child syndrome. While telling tall tales to her friends she never dreamed of putting words on paper. In fact, if anyone told her she’d write when she grew up, she’d have laughed.
It wasn’t until raising children and reading all those romances that she decided–hey, I can write these. HA! Easier said than done.
When not crafting hot, steamy tales, this New York transplant now resides in Rhode Island with her husband, four children (who force her to work a day job), and three dogs.
She currently writes for Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id and is self-published.
Here are her secrets about her book - GOING FOR BROKE.

 

1.       I’ve never been to Vegas, but the story is set there.
2.       I’ve only stepped foot in a Casino twice in my life.
3.       The hero is named after a The Young & the Restless character.
4.       I’m always insecure writing the sex scenes.
5.       I’m jealous of the heroine Holly’s confidence in business dealings.
BLURB from GOING FOR BROKE:

A night of hot sex wasn’t what Holly Perkins was looking for when she came to Vegas, but that’s exactly what she find with Deacon Burke.

When the two business tycoons learn they’re after the same goal – ownership of the Pleasure Palace, things heat up.High Stakes, Lust, Loss and a battle to the end. Who will walk away with All or Nothing?
To buy GOING FOR BROKE go to http://www.ellorascave.com/going-for-broke.html
You can follow Amber on these links:
Thanks for checking out Amber and her secrets.
If you have any comments, or enjoyed this post, let me know.
 
 


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Calendars - What Do You Know?

You buy it for your kids every year. They love it and thinks it's fun and a good way to count the number of sleeps until Santa comes. But do you really know what the Advent Calendar represents?
I don't, or didn't until I researched this article. And yes, I bought them for my children, too.
The definition from the dictionary says it is a piece of card incorporating small numbered flaps, one which is opened on each day of Advent to reveal a picture appropriate to the season. (So, I'm not sure where that puts the Star Wars Advent Calendar:))
So back to Wikipedia and the web, where my research says Advent come from Latin (don't most of our words) and that it means 'coming.' Centuries ago Christians felt they needed more than one day to celebrate Christ's birthday, so they could meditate on it, prepare for it and teach their children the significance of Christmas.
Originally the Germans counted down the first 24 days of December by drawing a chalk line on the door each day, beginning December 1. There are several stories about when the actual Advent calendar was produced.
Some say as early as 1831, others the early 1900's. The during the Second World War they were discontinued because cardboard was rationed. They restarted in 1946.
The traditional calendars often consist of two pieces of cardboard and take the form of a large rectangular card with 24 "windows", one for each day leading up to Christmas. One is opened each day leading up to Christmas, revealing an image, a poem, part of the nativity story or a small gift. Some calendars are strictly religious, others can be anything and can come in many various sizes and forms. 
In Denmark an adventkalender only has four gifts which are opened on each Advent Sunday leading to Christmas.
The Advent Calendar is very popular with children, but many feel it has lost it's true Christian meaning.
Do you use an Advent Calendar? Is it tradition is your family? I'd love to hear from you.