DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

dog days of summerDid you know this period of August and into September is named after a star, Sirius the Dog Star. Looks like this Sirius is enjoying his air conditioner. The hot weather during this period seems to be hotter, no breezes, and robs one of their energy to be active. I’ve thought about this and remember, way back when, times of air conditioning did not exist. Yeah, they had means to cool businesses, but what about homes. We used fans, like in the picture, in our windows, rooms, porches, and we drank plenty of lemonade, ice tea, water and lots of ice in every drink. Never thought too much about the heat, until we got our first air conditioner. It was a huge, clunky box which my dad installed in one of our living room windows. It cooled the room where we stayed most of the time. Why? Our first black and white television was in this room. As I remember backwards, a lot of firsts entered our lives. Exciting to see pictures on a big screen and be cool at the same time. Then came the first washing machine, but not like the kind that you have in your homes. No, this was similar to the old washer and had ringers you ran the clothes through, after the rinse, to squeeze the water out. Only, this new washer had a motor that rotated the clothes you put inside the machine. You could watch the clothes move around without the use of hands or paddles. Then you hit a release knob and the dirty wash water ran down a drain. When it was empty, you filled the machine with clear water for the rinse, started the motor again so the rotation would rinse the clothes. Now, the final release knob and the water ran out again. Hands ran them through the wringer and they were ready for the clothesline. Wash day was a lot of work. No, I like the laundry days now, except…Oh, the clothes smelled so fresh as they were unpinned from the clothesline and folded up.  I’m happy to have had these experiences and when I do laundry, thankful for all the new technology. But, would love to smell the freshness from the outside, not from a rinse of different smells. It is good to remember what was and be thankful for what is now. Sometimes, we want things to go faster, quicker, and forget what we need is downtime from all our activites. During these “Dog Days of Summer” take time to relax, read, write, connect with friends, old and new, sit back and enjoy your Ice Tea, or Sweet Tea depending where you are spending your hot summer days. Just keep in mind, these days won’t last forever. Soon Fall and Winter will creep up on the calendar. At this point, you’ll remember  the hot days of summer. Enjoy your days, write about your own memories, and you’ll be surprised at what your fingers will dig up for you.

Happy Memories. Happy Days. Happy Writing.

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What Is An ISBN Number?

images_005Just so you will know, I wrote this piece back in 2012, and I’m using this again. Look at all of the books in the picture and then wonder about their ISBN numbers. What are they, Where did they come from? What do these number represent? Let’s find out.

Have you noticed a group of numbers on all books? They are there for a purpose: for you, the writer and the publisher. This number establishes and identifies one book title from another. Booksellers, libraries, universities, and a whole lot more of people in the publishing arena use these specific numbers.

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, which used to be a ten digit number until 2007, when the numbers increased to thirteen. Let’s take a look at the old “10” number and the new “13” number. Grab yourself a book from your shelf or go to the library or a bookstore.  The ISBN number is found on the inside of the book where the information on the publisher, copyright, all rights reserved exist and again on the outside of the back cover.

The first digit gives the origin of publishing – 0 – equals English, while another number equals a different country. The next six numbers identifies the publisher and the next two numbers identified the title or edition. The last digit validates the ISBN number. There you have the 10 digit ISBN.

In the 13 digit ISBN number, you will find this in the same area inside the book and on the back cover. The only addition is a three digit number instead of a zero. This three digit number will have 978 numbers represent a group or country.

However, if you go through the traditional publishing avenue, your publisher will do this for you with their publisher numbers. If you self-publish, go e-book, you will need to do your own work, but some independent publishers will handle this for you. However, you need to know if your book is published hardback, paperback, e-book, etc., each will have their own ISBN number even though it is the same title, but a different type of publication. Once you use an ISBN number, you cannot use it again.

You might also want to have a bar code, which is a requirement for many sales publications.

What do you do if you have some 10-digit ISBN numbers and need them in the new 13-digit? Go to Google on how to convert from a 10 to a 13. Another avenue is RR Bowker. Once you have your ISBN numbers, you need to let RR Bowker know and submit your title information, and register with RR Bowker.

Okay, lots of information, but have some fun. Go through your books and study the ISBN numbers. Your book “A” published by XXX publishing, and study the numbers. Then your book “B” published by XXX publishing and this has different publisher identifier numbers. What? Check again. XXX publishing may have different entities.

Have fun. Study. Learn. Enjoy. Do not forget to write. This is what will get your book finished.

Happy Writing.

EXERCISE IS FUN

Yes, this should be about fun, parties, and everything that goes along with the Holiday Season, but it is. The exercise I’m talking about comes with the fabulous group of Silver Sneakers I have the honor of being their instructor.

Yes, we work hard every time we come into class. We stretch and stretch with the Yoga Stretch classes. We learn how to balance so our bodies can experience new poses and the stress of the day, time, month slide off the top. Then we learn how to combine the workout to strengthen our muscles, and put the balance to work as we squat, and squat, and squat. Never, do we go overboard. We work hard to make our muscles work for us. Like lifting weights and the ugh bicep curls. We use these muscles every day: picking up groceries, putting the clothes in the washer, shaking them into the dryer, and the important one – picking up the grand-kids.

We also work on the Cardio end of the scale to give our hearts the ability to help us each day. The rule is to do what you can and not push yourselves over your limit. Cardio can be doing a little more than we thought we could, but never over the limit.

We have a great room to workout in and welcome everyone; newbies, seasoned, and always have some oldies come back and surprise us with visits. We also combine fun with our exercises and our program. You never know what will pop up and give all of us a great laugh.

We do know how to party and express our new-found energy with different avenues. This is a set-up for the following pictures – our Holiday Luncheon. If you are new to Atlanta, been afraid to venture out to a ‘gym,’ fear not. We will welcome you, add you to our group, and begin exercising and having fun. You can find us at AGX, in the Blee Shopping Center in Chamblee, Georgia. No special clothes, just come and be with us as we go forward in to the new year.

Here are the pics to show our fun at the Hudson Grille in Brookhaven. I am fortunate, no Blessed, to have all the group at our SS program. Come be part of our group and learn how to exercise and have fun.

No, this is not my usual writing theme, but what stories can be written by the successes of our group.

Happy Holidays and see you in 2015 for your Good Health.

Patricia

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WHAT IS WEIGHING YOU DOWN?

Great ImageThis past weekend, I attended the GRW (Georgia Romance Writers) Moonlight & Magnolias Writers Conference entitled “On the Write Path” and what a fabulous group of writers and speakers. There was not a workshop scheduled each day that could not help any writer improve their craft.
All of the classes had a little something for every romance writer. Sweet romance, paranormal, how to write great sex scenes without going overboard, and so many more it would take a spiral notebook to name them all. Then a workshop caught my eye – Draw Me a Story. Fascinating, innovative, and I will never look at another picture – newspaper, magazine, billboard, television without questioning every aspect of the image.

Now, I look forward to the 2015 conference, where the hard workers are already getting speakers and planning events. This is what writers do: SUPPORT EACH OTHER.
The whole weekend, I thought of nothing but writing. Then I returned to reality and the world around me. That is why I titled this blog, What Is Weighing You Down? STUFF. STUFF. STUFF. It is as simple and complex as this word.

When we begin our week, or even our day, we think about all the stuff and this suffocates our writing. Yes, we do have jobs, a family, responsibilities, but what about our writing. This is important to us, as writers, and we have a tendency to put our writing last.
One thing I came away with, that I am putting into action, is my time to write. We make appointments for the dentist, the doctor, the hairdresser, the car maintenance, the laundry, the grocery store, the manicure, and I could go on and on. These are important. But, damn it, so is my writing. No, I do not mean to be so abrupt, but we need to look at our writing as a continuous job in process.

Some of us are early risers and think clearer early in the morning. If you truly believe in your writing, then it is as important as keeping the dentist appointment. I am an early morning person. My thoughts have not yet coincided with the stuff of today, and I can think of all sorts of positions to put my writers into. So getting up at 5am and writing until 7am fits into my schedule. Yeah, some days the eyes do not open, the pillow feels too comfortable, and then I think about the last scene I wrote and left unfinished. Why? To guide me back to that special place and find the ending or rework the whole scene.
All the other ‘stuffs’ can be worked in during the day, which leaves me some part of the evening to read. A writer does not just write, a writer reads, corresponds with other writers,
And—oh, yes—works on revisions. Sometimes, the revising process is best done in the evenings or at night. We are concentrated on the work before us and not the work we want to do.

I have found dust bunnies love company, so a once a week distraction to them is okay. Football weekends, unless you are one of the addicted ones, can be the time for laundry, and ugh, house cleaning, and grocery shopping. I find during the game, stores are fairly clear of rampage in the aisles

May you find what weighs you down and clear up the downs and add the ups. We all need to make choices, but these are choices that fit you, your lifestyle, your family, and most importantly, YOUR WRITING.

I have pics, thanks to my SilverSneakers® Camera Guy. Now, I need to practice downloading and uploading to you. There is one more to add, but my computer is working against me. Don’t worry, you will get to see the whole group.

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Have a wonderful FALL WEEKEND. Enjoy the start of the cool weather and map out your own way to clean up what weighs you down.

HAPPY WRITING.

 

 

SUCCESS???

Check your work.Do you have all your success strategies lined up or do you wing your way to get ahead?

Some people are so busy making lists, crossing items off, adding new thoughts, the process repeats over and over without a trial run.

Do you even have an idea of what success means to you? Do you find yourself wanting to try everything to become successful and lose sight of the focus on the road you need to take? Sometimes, people sabotage themselves on purpose. Yeah. The thought of success frightens them and they put up roadblocks to fail. Success is a new field and people get scared. Some believe they cannot compete.

Success is scary. There is  a lot of responsibility attached to putting oneself out there for ALL the world to see. Privacy is hard to maintain. People want  to know all about you. And then, what comes next? Whatever profession you are in, you still have to keep going  forward. As a writer, will  the next book be another blockbuster? What happens if it flops? As a painter, will your next painting be better than the one that brought you fame?

Success is not so much what you accomplish and how much you prevail in your efforts to move forward. We have so much we want to share with the world, but there are some time we need to reign in and take the ‘small baby steps,’ we know are out there.  People race to the top, slide back down, get in the middle, and hit the top again and again. Why?

Perseverance is the key to success. The ability to tell yourself….I  AM WORTH IT…. and hit the highway running. This is your opportunity to shine. Yeah, when I hit rock bottom or close to it? YES. Quiter’s quit. Winners keep plodding, sending out new material, standing in front of a crowd, and never showing a bit of fear? HARD?

This is what makes you a success. You keep hitting and hitting. You take opportunities to improve, improve yourself. You learn. You try. You trod the extra mile.

This is a boost to all of you.  FAILURE IS NOT  CHOICE. SUCCESS DEMANDS ALL OF YOU. GO FOR EVERYTHING. KEEP PLUGGING … AND SUCCESS WILL BE THERE FOR ALL OF YOU.

Happy Writing. Happy Everyday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AN OFF DAY

The OtherlifeDo any of you wake up and know the events of the day will not be smooth?

When I opened my eyes , this cold morning, an OFF DAY greeted me. My head tried to list everything from top to bottom before I could get in a good stretch. Slinging my feet out of warm covers to the cold floor hurt. My toes could not find their slippers. One good thing: SUNSHINE poured into my room.

The coffee process started, I knew this would put a little ‘umph’ into my day. Turning around I choke. All the household chores done the day before showed dust particles on every surface. Dark, dreary days hide the magic of dust and dust bunnies. Then, the sun brightens the windows and dust magic stares back at me over the furniture, floors, and all surfaces.

I blow across the desk, moving some of the sprinkles away from my computer. With the lid open, I hit the ‘on’ key. The screen is filled with sparkles. I continue without bothering about the wipe cloth. At least my brain has strength to write a few pages.

A few paragraphs later, I try to print out the work. I can edit online, but prefer paper and pen to get every mistake, well, most of them. Printer hums, paper goes through, no print. The ink cartridge shows ’empty.’ I check the desk drawer, no make that drawers, for more ink. Nada. Positive I bought two cartridges, I run through some receipts. Only one shows up.

Okay, forget about the printed page until later. It is too cold to jump up and head to the closest office supply store. Besides my robe and slippers are keeping me warm. More coffee. I need more coffee. Back in the kitchen, my stomach growls. Breakfast. I check the cupboards and spot some Brown-Maple oatmeal. This sounds good. A small amount of time passes and I smell a funny order. My fingers are on the keyboard and my oatmeal is scorching in the pan. Good bye, breakfast.

Words are pounding in my head, “Let me out. Let me out.” I comply with no oatmeal but another cup of coffee would help. I watch the words fall from my head to my fingertips. I continue plugging away at the keys, and ignore the ringing phone. I keep writing and the phone keeps ringing. Not to worry. Voice mail will pick up. I am too far away to hear the words, but they will be there later.

I sneak a peek at the clock. Yee! whiskers. I need to get ready to teach my class. If I hurry, I can make it with time to spare. But, no. A tennis shoe has dirty laces and the one stretch top I wanted to wear is in the dirty clothes. Thank heavens, the toothpaste tube is full.

Dressed,  I head to my car knowing there is plenty of gas. I can stop at the store for ink. Time tells me, NO. My brunch will be a couple of bananas. Not a good way to start the day, but work with what you have.

Class is great. Maybe the bananas turned the OFF, off, and I can have a neat day after all. I smile. Then it hits me. Why didn’t I hit the early morning with a bigger smile, a better attitude , and a few shrugs of the shoulders.

I believe, we all need an OFF DAY to bring our lives into the sunshine. Stress fills each day and the smile, the laughter, and the lightness of spirit gets pushed back. Today, let all the brightness you can into your life. If you aimed for 50 pages and got 20 done; hey, you worked. Now, go play. You’ll have company when you get home….dust bunnies.

ENJOY YOUR DAY.

PATIENCE IN HIDING

Great ImageWe all need, no crave a little patience at times. Do you find your patience hiding from you? Of course, and it is never in the same place. You start on one thing and jump to another. Your toes tap without going anywhere. You need to get a grip on yourself, calm down, and take a deep breath. Why do we get in a position like this? Let’s take a stroll through different paths and see if one fits.

PRESSURE:  Do we realize how many times we put this heavy load upon our own self? We need to be in control of every situation, every second. We cannot relax and let someone else take over, if only for a day. That would be disaster in the making.

IMPATIENCE:  Sometimes, we jump in ahead of the game without listening to the rules. What if the rules have changed. We are now uneasy, fretful, even sweating a little. We try to turn this haste on our part to someone else. Why? Because someone depended upon our ability, and we screwed up.

DISCONTENT:  Do you find yourself dissatisfied, disappointed, unfulfilled, resentful, crabby, and the list goes on. Sit back, feet on the floor, and stare up at the ceiling. Focus. What comes into your mind? Work. Writing, Money, Worry. Loss, and this can be from a friend moving away, a death in the family, a child heading to college, or whatever else you find staring back at you from the ceiling. There, you have named this discontented creature and can find ways to move forward.

PERSEVERANCE:  No matter what the patience problems is, we all have the stamina to continue forward. We just have to dig a little deeper with a bulldog tenacity. We must hang tight and let go. Such an odd saying, but when you dissect these words, we all need a little keep trying and trying thrown at us. We all have the ability to be a little stubborn. This may be the time to dig in your heels and show someone else a little patience.

LENIENCY:  Yes, leniency to yourself and to others. Maybe, another word might fit you better, so try tolerance. All of us have the ability to shine in one way or another. We just do not shine in the same ways. The more you can understand about another person, or even a position, the better you become at understanding yourself. Where did your sense of humor go? The best gift we have is to be able to laugh at ourselves.

A little look backward, forward, and in the moment can relieve some of the impatience we encounter. Most of the time, it is not from someone or something, it is ourselves wanting out of the hole we created. Grab a pretend “key” and unlock the shackles you put on. WHEW!! Feel the patience return and be certain not to ask where it was hiding, you already know.

We have today. Make it a beautiful day and do not hurry. Be Patient.