Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Keeping Kindle

I’ve got a confession to make. I like the oldies, but goodies. I still hum the Beach Boys, Ba Ba Ba, Ba, Barbara Ann, to my year-old grandson. I put gravy and vinegar on my French fries like I did as a kid. I love vintage jewelry and classic-cut clothes. Change is not hard for me, and I love watching technology move along…but I can’t help liking nostalgic kinds of things. So it seems to not surprise anyone when I pull out my original pristine white Kindle. It was here that I downloaded my debut novel, Run, River Currents, to my Kindle—a thrill for any first-time author.

I remember that day so vividly; I was lying on a white beach in Mississippi, the day a summer-south kind of hot that made you sweat in air-conditioning. The day was bright, but it was no match for the clarity the Kindle gave me in the full sunlight, something my iPad cannot match. I was perched under a big, colorful umbrella, letting the sun bounce off my brilliant white legs while I read my latest download, Grace Unexpected. My cell phone rings, and I recognize the number—my book manager. “It’s up!” she gleefully tells me. “The book?” I cry. “Yes!” I slam the phone down, and within 30 seconds I am reading MY book!

So, it is no wonder that, when I returned a few weeks later from a business trip and pulled my now-famous Kindle (because I was an author and downloaded there) from my briefcase to charge it, I was horrified to see a small black square in the upper right-hand corner of my device. “NOOOOOOOOOO,” I screamed. “Not my Kindle!” A friend rushed to my side, thinking I had crushed a foot or broken my arm. Examining my Kindle, my friend declared it to be broken.

I slumped into my office chair and placed my left hand over my eyes. “What am I going to do now?”  “Get a new one,” my friend cheerfully offered. “I can buy you one for Christmas!” Now I have been friends with this person for over 30 years. You’d think by now they would understand me. This person knows I’ve kept underwear as long as we’ve known each other. What on earth were they thinking? My glare had my friend backing out of the room within seconds.

Faced with the overwhelming dilemma of whether to replace my old friend, or my Kindle, I went to the Kindle website and requested a call from the service department; I thought I’d beg them to fix my old Kindle or replace it with something identical. I was surprised that the call came within the five minutes they’d promised with a service person who empathized with my situation. I explained the love I had for my original Kindle and the reason it meant so much to me. She told me about her own fascination with vintage items and her love of reading. I felt like she was family, listening to my problems and giving me advice as though she were my sister. She even promised to download and read my novel. Kindle had sent me just the perfect person to understand my predicament. Within moments, we had determined that my original Kindle would need to be put to rest.

To my surprise, Kindle offered me a refurbished replacement with a full one-year warranty for a discounted rate! No, it would not have the buttons I was so fond of. Instead, it would be replaced by a touch-screen model. I had to admit, that sounded terrific. In fact, since I’d bought my iPad, I found myself trying to touch-screen everything from my push button cell phone to my television set. So we agreed, Miss Service Tech and I, that I would “try” the new refurbished Kindle. She agreed that if I didn’t like it, I could return it for a full refund within the trial period.

Imagine my surprise when, a few days later, a new Kindle showed up at my door. I was skeptical that I’d like this new model and turned it over in my hands several times, exploring the nooks and crannies of the unfamiliar device before turning it on.

As quickly as my trepidation had arrived, it disappeared when I turned it on. The delightful service agent had been true to her promise. She had made sure my Kindle books had been transferred to this new device before it was sent—and there, under “Ginger’s Kindle” was my personal library, ready to go. At the top of the list was my own book, Run, River Currents.

It’s been a marvelous transition from the old to the new. Kindle made it easy for me by allowing me to replace my old model with a quality refurbished new model. Since then, I have purchased two Kindle Fires as gifts for family members, all because I was made to feel like part of the new Kindle family.

So with the New Year coming, I’ve put away a lot of the old, including my dearly beloved original device. But I’m keeping Kindle. It’s just a much prettier model. And by now you know this much about me: I can handle change!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Free Kindle Download Days!!

Hey Readers!

First, pop on over to fellow author, Tanya Eavenson's blog for an interview she did with me recently! Don't  forget to leave comments and check out her website at http://tanyaeavenson.com/ and the blog interview at http://guidedgirls.blogspot.com/. Thank you!

Secondly, don't forget to pass the word that TODAY, December 5 and TOMORROW, December
 6,  Run, River Currents will be available on Kindle for a FREE DOWNLOAD!!!!
So TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!!  And don't forget, if you've already read the novel, drop by Amazon
and give a review please! They are so helpful to authors!

Have a great day and watch for the next post shortly!!  Click here for the free download of Run, River Currents!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Blog by Ron Gavalik, Publishing and Marketing Professional!

Now and then it's a pleasure to invite not only authors, but other industry professionals to share their wisdom with us as we navigate our way through the publishing world! Joining us for a guest blog is Ron Gavalik, author of Financial Success for Creative Professionals and publisher of Grit City Publications! Let's welcome Ron! Don't forget to stop by his blog and say hello!
Propel Your Creative Career to the Next Level

Ron Gavalik


Thank you to Ginger Marcinowski for allowing me to guest post.


As a publisher and marketing professional, I’ve always found it vitally important to ensure creative professionals possess the correct tools and knowledge to market their work to the right kinds of audiences. I’ve enjoyed a long and fruitful career ensuring the success of businesses, but also writers, artists, and performers. I take a lot of pride in sharing that learned experience with others.


Unfortunately, I’ve met so many creative types that honestly believe they’ll never make a living fulfilling their creative passions. That kind of cynicism is sad and frustrating, especially when I know for a fact that it’s not true. We all require housing and plumbing to sustain life, but it’s creativity that gives our lives purpose…and unique creators perform a necessary function in our society. It’s my job to make sure they earn a high middle-class income.


That’s why our team assembled Financial Success for CreativeProfessionals, the first marketing plan ever developed for writers, artists, and performers of all types that guarantees success.


In the modern era, creative professionals face two real challenges when it comes to selling their work. The first is contending with an oversaturation in the market, where so many indie creators are now selling their work to the masses. The second and more important challenge is gaining the marketing knowledge to break through the chaos and build a significant fan base that leads to achieving a secure revenue stream.


Because of the oversaturation, consumers are only willing to invest about 5 to 10 seconds viewing a creative product or performance on a website or even in person at an event. If intrigued, they’ll stay longer to absorb more of the experience. If they don’t emotionally identify with your creation in a couple of heartbeats, they’ll walk away or navigate away from your web presence and your work will register as a negative experience.


In that brief 5 to 10 second moment, your potential fan stands on the shore of a river while your work sits on the other side. It’s our job to persuade the consumer into building a bridge (emotional investment) to cross the divide and then obtain your creation. That’s no easy feat, but when you understand the process, it’s easily achieved.


When a creative professional has the tools to drive hundreds of thousands of potential fans to their creations and understands how to brand their work as a unique experience, a high percentage of targeted consumers begin to build emotional investment in those products or performances every time they’re exposed to the experience.


The right kinds of consumers (target audiences) must be exposed to your work over and over again for their minds to build that bridge of emotional investment and then cross the divide to purchase your creation.


The marketing plan provides the guaranteed solutions to drive hundreds of thousands of potential fans to your work, period. It contains real-world tactics, the best parts of college marketing courses, and intensive workshops for creative professionals. The theories and procedures are assembled in an easy-to-reference plan that’s designed to be used for years as your career grows.


It’s my hope that you’ll take your creative career seriously. As creators, you must rise above the chaos and allow your creations to raise the quality of life in potential fans around the world. That’s a gift and your legacy. Each of you deserves true financial security. We’ll achieve it, together.


As the tagline goes, “If you pour your passions into each project or performance, you must propel your career to the next level, realize your full potential and achieve financial success.”


Let’s make it happen!


Good hunting.



Ron Gavalik’s Bio:


Ron Gavalik is the author of Financial Success for CreativeProfessionals and has over 20 years of celebrated experience in corporate and creative marketing. This former Director of Communications has assisted private, nonprofit, and artistic organizations achieve success through grassroots experience marketing initiatives. Gavalik is currently the Publisher for Grit CityPublications and creator of the innovative Emotobooks fiction medium. He holds a B.S. in Marketing Communications from Point Park University and an M.A. in Writing from Seton Hill University. His work in the arts has shaped success for countless creative professionals who seek financial independence.


Contact Info:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Contest for New Writers!! Enter by December 5!!

I am so fortunate to have so many connections to various writers, editors, readers and literary journal people! I've met them at conferences, in person or over the internet. They write and promote styles very different from my own, some very secular, some very Christian-oriented, but all graceful, wonderful people. Along the way, you learn how giving the writing world is, whether it is a reader who uses their time and talents to give you a review, or writers who haves taken the time to start a literary journal to showcase new talent. Today I get to interview two such wonderful people, Patricia Florio and Sue Richter, editors of the East Meets West Literary Journal. Pat and I were friends during our MFA program, so it is especially nice to see what she's accomplished since school let out!

Ginger: Welcome Ladies! It's a pleasure to have you stop by.Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.  

Pat: I’m a graduate of Wilkes University’s MA/MFA Creative Writing Program. I’ve been married to my husband Ralph for 40 years. We both shared a career in court reporting in the federal court system, which I left in the year 2000 to continue my education in liberal studies and creative writing. We have four children, a set of twin boys, Anthony & Joseph, another son Jude, and a daughter Kristin. We have four grandchildren: Lauren, Madison, Joseph and Amelia. We live in the Historic town of Ocean Grove at the Jersey Shore. My first published book is a memoir called My Two Mothers. It came out July 2011. I have several short fiction stories published by Phyllis Scott Publishing, Fiction 365; my nonfiction story Theresa took second place in All Things If magazine, and my latest short story Golden Boy will be featured in their Spring 2013 in Newton Literary. I write for Striped Pot, an online travel magazine and freelanced for local and regional newspapers from Philadelphia to New York City while in school. 

Ginger: And Sue? 

Sue: I’ve been in the publishing industry for 20 years. I started SERA Publishing 15 years ago and previous to that I worked for McGraw Hill in San Francisco and two independent publishers in Austin, TX. I’m an author, journalist, and writing coach. I was asked to present at the Jack London Writing Conference in San Francisco two years in a row, while I lived in the area, and loved working with new writers. I moderated a book tour with Luba Brezhnev (niece of Leonid Brezhnev), Myriam Chavez (daughter-in-law of Cesar Chavez), and Lailee Bakhtiar (niece of Shapour Bakhtiar) that took us from San Francisco to Washington D.C. I then co-wrote a speech that was delivered to the U.N. and subsequently won an award. I currently live in Temecula,

California located in between San Diego and Los Angeles. I’m married to Alan Phillips, an Account Supervisor for Weber Shandwich (the largest Public Relations corporation in the world). I’m a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Economics and Business Administration. Since completing my degree, I’ve taken several writing courses from UCLA including screenwriting and persuasive writing.

Ginger: So Ladies, what exactly is East Meets West and what is its purpose?

Pat: East Meets West, American Writers Review is a literary print journal that features authors, poets, writers of all genres, and emerging authors coming on the scene across the United States and Territories and/or possessions of the U.S.

Sue: The purpose is to acknowledge new and seasoned writer’s work. Our vision is to allow a platform for these writers to showcase their work and get published.

Ginger: And how did you both get involved with East Meets West?

Pat: I met Sue Richter online while both of us were contributing writers for Examiner.com. I needed to learn Windows Publishing for my MFA project in publishing and put out a call for help on Examiner’s group email. Sue introduced herself, and the rest is history. After the Cohort Review, my MFA project at Wilkes, I received high praises from my site supervision in publishing Dr. Phil Brady, Sue and I wanted to continue working with writers, and East Meets West was born.

Sue: And by the way, we are both still writing for Examiner.com!

Ginger: You two are crazy busy. Typical writers by the way! Tell us about the contests and prizes in your East Meets West publication.

Pat: We’re trying to produce two issues a year at East Meets West. We put out an announcement through Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, on Wilkes’ student posting board, and to writers’ groups, giving information about our present contest, asking writers to submit their short stories, fiction or nonfiction, poetry, prose poems, narrative poetry, hoping to bring hidden new talent and seasoned talented writers to readers across the U.S. We pay a $100 for first place, $50 for second place, and $25 for third place. We charge a $15 reading fee to defray our cost of printing the journal.

Sue: Each submitter whose work is accepted, gets a full critique from our judges, and receives a copy of the issue and publication. We also have a free contest, which aligns with our logo, “bridging the gap”. It’s a contest that asks the question: What’s so Great about your State? Writers who want to participate in the free contest should submit an essay about their state, city, or community with a maximum of 1,000 words. We also are requesting one or two black and white photos that enhance their essay. Each author that is selected receives a free copy of the journal and publication of their essay.

Ginger: You have a very ambitious schedule and some great contests for new writers. So are all genres accepted?

Pat: Right now, we have poetry judges, fiction and nonfiction short story judges, and an essay judge.

Sue: We do not have a playwright or a screen-writing judge. We hope some time in the future to be able to include those specific genres.

Ginger: Sounds like you have most things covered. Do you have a word count?

Pat: Yes, we do. We’re looking for approximately 3,000-3,500 words for short stories and/or three poems consisting of one to three pages each (or shorter for all content submitted).

Sue: Multiple entries are acceptable, with a reduced entry fee of $10 for second or third entries.

Ginger: Explain how your contests are judged?

Pat: That’s the best news of all. Our judges have full credentials of an MFA or PhD, and are fully qualified and experienced writers themselves. They read and give each submitter a personalized critique. At this point in time, our judges are not paid. They do receive our gratitude and share a place in our latest issue with a piece of their own writing.

Sue: We hope someday to be able to give our judges a stipend for their time and effort in selecting the prize winners, which is totally and completely in their control. Pat and I market, layout and manage the journal. We are not involved in reading or critiquing a submitter’s work. We do however go through the issue after it’s been approved by our judges for errors before it goes to print.

Ginger: Wow! That sounds very professional. The personalized critique is so important for new writers. Now tell us about your upcoming contest?

Pat: Our latest contest is our most exciting contest to date. It’s our Valentine’s Day 2013 Issue.

Sue: We have asked the question: do you have a Valentine’s Day story that involves Love, Lust, Sex and other Bawdy Adventures?

Ginger: From the sweet and tender Christian love story to the over-the-top secular tale will be allowed?

Pat: And everything in between!

Ginger: Sounds like fun! How can writers enter?

Sue: We are an open submission journal in the United States, territories and/or possession of the United States. Just go to www.serapublishing.com and click on the contest link.

Ginger: That's easy enough! What do you hope to accomplish with this publications?

Pat: Good writing and fun reading is our goal. And as always, we want to showcase the work of new and seasoned writers.

Sue: We want writers to have a platform to present their work. All the writers keep their copyrights and can use the Review to launch their writing careers.

Ginger: Before we go is there anything else our readers might like to know about either of you or what you do?

Pat: We’re passionate about writing. I've founded two writing groups in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Sue’s thinking of creating a new blog called Spontaneous Combustion within the purview of East Meets West to ignite fellow writers to write on a daily basis. Even if it’s two productive sentences or a paragraph, write it down.

Sue: We love being surrounded by the blood, sweat and tears of creative energy that writing inspires. We want EMW to grow and allow fellow writers to chat across the U.S. Sound crazy? There are more exciting things on the horizon for EMW. We hope to be launching those exciting updates early next year.

Ginger: Well, thank you ladies for taking time out to share this great information with my readers! Sorry I couldn't get your photos to post! For those of you who have not yet submitted any of your work for publication or you wanna-be writers, now's the time! (TC, I am thinking of you here:) Here's the contact info for the ladies! Thanks and stop by again soon!

***And as for extra good news, my novel, Run, River Currents, will be offered as a free Kindle download on December 5 & 6!!! Tell your friends and download away!!! 

Twitter handles: Patricia Prato-Florio AND @SueRichter

Facebook page: East Meets West, American Writers Review

Contest: East Meets West, American Writers Review, Valentine’s Day 2013 Issue

Deadline for Contest: December 5, 2012


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Everything Old is New Again!

After a harrowing past couple of months, it seems life is looking up! My latest work in progress will start getting my full-time attention as of December 31. I hope to have a full first edit draft by early March, if not before. This novel will be a total departure from Run, River Currents. It's a mystery involving eminent domain in a small Midwestern town. Here's a quick rundown!

Keep a lookout for small excerpts and plot leads and maybe even offer up your thoughts of the direction the main character, Laura Eden should take. Yes, there will be a romance, but there will also be intrigue, murder and spiritual change for the characters which will always be the purpose of my writings. So weigh in when you see something you like, or don't like! We'll make this fun for everyone!

Shortly, I will be posting an interview with Pat Florio, editor of the East Meets West anthology. She'll be sharing with the readers the latest upcoming contest! Watch for the post and drop a note here or send in your work for the upcoming Valentine's Day Contest!
Have a great week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Good Cop..An Interview with Stacy Eaton, Author of My Blood Runs Blue.

Some authors are privileged to get the opportunity to interview other authors. This one is special to me. Having had been married to a police officer for many years, I know the stresses that are put on the lives of our police officer's, and their families. I can empathize as a writer how having that kind of a profession, and then trying to write a novel, can be almost too much! I am honored to have Stacy Eaton, author of three novels, Whether I Live or Die, My Blood Runs Blue, and Blue Blood for Life, join me today to talk about her life as a police officer, and an author. Help me welcome Stacy, won't you? And feel free to pop over to her blog and thank her for joining me here!

Welcome Stacy! You're a police officer, right? How did you get into that profession?

Yep-I sure am. I made a major career change when I turned 30 and got into this field. I've been doing so for 12 years now and love it. In my late 20's I was working a great job for a manufacturing company. I worked with a bunch of great people, but I felt Like there was something missing, and couldn't imagine working there for another 25 years. I started wondering what I wanted to be when I finally grew up. On night, I was cooking dinner and listening to the news on television. They did a segment about how important it was to have female law enforcement officers, and as I watched the segment, I thought to myself, Hey, I can do that.
I started asking and researching it a bit more, and about 7 months later, I was in the police academy. While I went to the academy I continued working my full-time job and took my classes at night. When I graduated from the academy, I was one of the lucky ones who actually already had a job lined up. I've been there over 12 years now and love it. I can't imagine not wearing my badge.

How does your day job influence your writing?

Day job?....LOL...Don't you know that being a police officer is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week, 365-day-a year job? I call it 'the job that pays the bills', since I spend as much time working night shifts as I do working day shifts, but back to your question... My job is a huge influence in my work. All of my work is written into the law enforcement world and has a strong demale officer as the lead character, I use bits and pieces of what I have seen or done through my patrol years to weave bits of reality into my stories. In the series I have partially published, My Blood Runs Blue, I bring the paranormal to reality by mixing vampires into the human race to help the police. It gives them a sense of humanity that many authors have not included. Although I use my career a lot for ideas, I use some of my previous experience in life too. In Whether I’ll Live or Die, I dig deep into the world of Domestic Violence, something I have more knowledge about that I would care to have, not only as a police officer, but also as I victim. People have often said that authors should write what they know. I live and breathe my job so it only makes sense to write about it.

I so get what you are talking about! As you know, my own book, Run, River Currents, has a dark storyline centered on abuse. Who makes a good character for your novels? Do they have specific traits?

I have to be able to relate to my characters, pure and simple. Most of my female characters are very strong woman, I related heavily to that as I am that kind of a person. It seems that the more you put on my shoulders, the stronger they are and harder I work. In the My Blood Runs Blue series, Officer Kristin Greene is an intense woman with strong views and she expects people to listen to her and accept her; which does not always happen.

While most of my characters tend to be strong – there are times when a weaker character must be written to bring about the story. In Whether I’ll Live or Die, Amanda is such a young woman. Going from one abusive relationship to another, trying to find love in all the wrong places. At times she was very difficult to write, but at others rather easy. The easy parts were only because I had previous knowledge of the emotions and pain that she was going through.

I believe most writers write from that place of tension. So how do you create tension for the reader?

I’m a twists girl! I love to twist up a book, make you think I am going one way and then turn you in the other direction at an explosive moment. I did pretty good with my first book, very few people figured out where I was going with it, and those that did were hoping it would turn out that way.

In Blue Blood for Life, the twists and turns are so intense, no one sees them coming. I spend hours trying to figure out how to make those twists work so people don’t see them coming. I am not a fan of knowing the ending while still reading the first few chapters. I want people to think about the characters and the events when they set the books down.

In Whether I’ll Live or Die, there are not so many twists, but there is a moment in that book that will leave you taken aback. I have yet to find someone who said they saw that particular event coming and while people have praised me about it – they also ask a very strong question about it. I can’t tell you what the question is because that would give it away, but I will tell you the answer… It’s up to the reader.

I think every reader loves a good twist in a story. From the feedback you’ve received about your books, which novel has affected your readers the most? Why?

I have gotten a great response from readers on my series. While it does have a romance, there is enough tense and police procedural in it to keep men interested in it. Ironically, I have quite a large male readership on it.

Whether I’ll Live or Die was published in July 2012, so it is still a very new book on the market. Reviews are just starting to come in, and everyone who has taken the time to write a review has praised the book for touching on a subject that needs to be discussed. Some people have never been touched by Domestic Violence, while others have been affected quite severely. My hope for this book was to reach readers who were survivors, victims, family members and people who have no clue what it is really all about, and I wanted them to see up close and personal what happens behind closed doors. From what I am hearing from readers… I am doing just that.

Sounds like you have been pretty successful and pretty busy! What is your next project?

Would you believe I have 4 active projects right now? Well, I do. I am working on the third book in the My Blood Runs Blue series, along with finishing up a contemporary romance, a book about guardian angels and a new book that I just came up with recently that deals with alcohol and drug addictions.

It makes it hard with my work schedule to always find the time to write, but I do it when I can. I hope to get at least one of these book on the market later this year, only time will tell. If they don’t get out this year, I will be released several next year.

I swear that time is an author's biggest enemy, isn't it? Anything you’d like your readers to know about you or your writing style?

I write for adults. My books deal with real life situations although they might include fantasy elements, they deal with some very hard core events. It is hard not to write like that when you are talking about what happens in police work. While I try to keep the language to a minimum in most of my books, there are times when certain words just have to be used to fit the situations and the characters.

I also write from multiple first person perspectives. I want you to see into the minds of the main characters to know what they are doing and why they are doing it. That is what I like to read, so that is what I write.

I’d also like to thank you for allowing me to visit on your blog! I’ve loved answering your questions and I am always interested in hearing from readers! Thank you so much!

And thank you, Stacy! What a great way to get to know you! Thanks for stopping by!

So Friends, drop on over to Stacy's blog, and say hello. Then make sure you pick up her books for your reading pleasure! See you soon!

Whether I Live or Die

My Blood Runs Blue:

Blue Blood for Life:

Twitter: @StacySEaton


A New Interview Tomorrow!

As usual, my traveling days are keeping me running. You remember my last post on traveling, right? Junior got a quick lesson in carry-on luggage. Well, Junior made it to his destination, sans luggage and got another quick lesson on what the airlines do for you when your luggage doesn’t arrive with you. Being the seasoned traveler I am, I just sat back and watched. Couldn't help myself, as I need all forms of entertainment just to stay sane.

After about a half hour watching the baggage conveyor circle the stainless steel portal, Junior finally looks around to see that everyone, except he and I, are gone. He stares up into the hole of that conveyor never quite getting that his bags aren't coming out. You remember, I last saw them being tossed back into the moving gateway by the still smirking flight attendant whose instructions Junior decided he wouldn't follow.

Now again, I am the blonde. Junior mumbles a few words to me never asking any advice, I might add, and then storms off to the baggage office to "give them a piece of his mind." I knew he couldn't afford that, but let him go. I stood outside the office and listened to him as he ranted, raved and blamed everyone in sight for his luggage not arriving. The man behind the desk and I locked eyes in some knowing fashion. Maybe it was the smirk on my face, but he knew I knew the big mistake Junior was making. It's called courtesy. A traveler has to recognize that they have no power once they leave the comfort of their own home. A traveler is at the mercy of every service person they come in contact with. Armed with that knowledge, the savvy traveler can manipulate every person they meet with kindness. Poor Junior.

Long story, short. Junior left with no luggage and no chance of even seeing that luggage for the whole three days we were at the trade show. Every morning when he showed up, I had to smile. Same clothes, and no gel for his hair. I had my seat changed for the ride home, as he was smelling a little gamey. Yet another lesson from a road warrior. We can't help ourselves. Watching newbie travelers make mistakes is what we do to entertain ourselves.

Oh! His luggage showed up about two weeks later. Two wheels were gone. You do realize that airlines don't pay for wheels, don't you? I am still smirking.

Also, tomorrow I will be posting a wonderful interview with Canadian, Stacy Eaton, lady cop and suspense writer! Join me, won't you, for another great talk with another great writer!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I'm a Traveling Man...oops, Woman!

By now, my readers understand just how much I travel. I've teased you with little tastes of places I've travelled to. I've also shared some of the very funny stories I've had on route to my work. This week, I'm going to share a bit about what I actually see along the way....This is part one..Boarding the Plane.

So, I'm just ready to board a flight to Houston, my new United/Continental hub. The flight is just over an hour, but my traveling companion has already asked 13 times, "Where is the gate?" "Do we have enough time to make it to the gate?" "Are they serving food?" Yup, you guessed it, a newbie traveler. He is just this side of me slapping him off the tiny steps we have to climb, (in the pouring rain,) to cram ourselves, along with 46 others into a small jet that reminds me of a sausage grinder. I knew there'd be trouble.

We have boarded first, as I have status with the airline. I bring the brat along, just to be nice. I immediately know it's a mistake. Of course, I am carrying one tiny purse, as I know the overhead bins are about the size of a walnut casing. The newbie traveling with me is heaving a 200 lb. trunk, three backpacks and a bag full of greasy-smelling burgers. I plop my rearend into a 6" by 12" seat, allowing my overhang to first drop, then expand through the armrests. Junior is headed toward the back of the plane, bags slapping the other passengers like they had all been fresh to him. I lean into the aisle to watch what he's going to do with all of the luggage I told him to check. He tries like mad to push the first of his chunky backpacks into the sliver of a hole, uniquely called "an overhead compartment." I've seen bigger holes in a new screen door.

I pull back into my seat and wait for what I know will come. The flight attendant now has a line out the plane door and all the way up to the check in gate, and she's just not happy at the time it's taking this young man to "stow" his luggage. I see her grab at the microphone and crisply say, "In order to make an on-time departure, we ask that you QUICKLY stow your luggage and step into your seat to allow others to pass by."

I stretch my nexk to see what he's up to again. People are jostling him, trying to weasle by, but his third backpack and oversized piece of luggage are wedged in the aisle, making it impossible to pass. He has his arms wrapped around the second backpack in what looks like a full Nelson and is wrestling with it as he tries over and over to squeeze it into the tiny opening. A big, burley man with a huge head and no neck is mumbling something to him. I vaguely hear the terror in the newbie's voice as he squeaks, "OK," and falls into the seat across the aisle from where he'd said he'd be sitting. The big guys then lifts the suitcase and drops it onto Junior's lap where he lays flailing as the big guys and numerous others squeeze by.

By now, the flight attendant's voice is pitched so high, I have no further need of new earring holes. She yells once more into the speaker she has clutched between her pure white fingers. "PLEASE STEP OUT OF THE AISLE TO ALLOW OTHERS TO PASS BY YOU, SO THAT WE MAY HAVE AN ONTIME ARRIVAL." My friend sheepishly rises, and tries once again to jam the remaining bags into a slot the size only an envelope could enter.

All of a sudden, in one big huff, the flight attendant wrestles past the passengers who have clogged up the aiseway, and pushes herself right into Junior. "SIR." Her voice is as sharp as cheddar cheese. "THAT won't fit into the overhead compartment. We'll have to gate check it." Junior protests for only a moment, his eyes catching the nasty sneers on everyone's face who is standing behind the curt attendant. She jerks the suitcase and the two remaining backpacks from his hands and hurls them one at a time back up the aisleway. The ensuing passing of the suitcases reminded me of a bucket brigade in an old-time fire department.

In just moments, the demeanor of the plane had changed from choas to peace. I leaned once more into the aisle to check Junior's status, before pushing my face up against the window to watch the gate agent pull back the covered gate. I heard the gate close and saw the ruffled flight attendant give the thumbs up to the agent. Feeling a little jerk, I knew we were on our way. I glanced back at the gate just in time to see three pieces of luggage, two backpacks and an oversized suitcase being heaved onto an open luggage carrier. The rain was beating on the suitcases as though they were an old rug. I wouldn't make the effort to tell Junior until we arrived that his suitcases were left behind. It would be a good lesson, don't you think?


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Interview with TC Avey, Christian Blogger & Book Reviewer

I'm always excited to have a chance to talk with others in the world of writing! Today, I have the great honor of interviewing TC Avey, a Christian Blogger and Book Reviewer. All authors know the value of a good review and the power of a bad review. Writers just want a fair shake. A review that gives the consumer a true look at the components of a story without passing judgment on the writer is a delicate balance for any reviewer. They are open to criticism for their opinion, but their words carry a mound of authority. I wanted to know a little more about one such reviewer, and was honored when she said she'd love to join me here. My interest was piqued about TC, as I'd heard her name mentioned several times recently by some of her loyal followers while I attended the Association of Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas a couple of weeks ago.

First, TC, I'd like to thank you for joining me at Novel Travelers. 

Explain to readers a bit about your blog and its purpose. 

Wisdom of a Fool focuses on the struggles Christians face in today’s world. I do this in a variety of manners.  

Currently I do a Monday series on the book, “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It challenges Christians to be real in their walk with Christ, to surrender their will to His.  It also reminds us that our salvation costs God everything. We shouldn’t cheapen His grace by willfully continuing in disobedience.  

I devote a portion to my blog to reviewing books. And I like to offer my readers interviews with the authors when possible. 

I also post on current events relevant to the Christian community. I do this more in my monthly Newsletter than on my blog.  

Boy, you seem awfully busy! What made you start blogging?
It’s a God thing. I actually began blogging because I’m an aspiring author and read I had to create a platform. 
But what to blog about?  

I prayed about it and God gave me Wisdom of a Fool. I rarely mention I’m an aspiring author and I’ve almost completely forgotten about building a platform. This blog belongs to God. I write as He directs and all glory for anything good goes to Him. Anything that falls short is me getting in God’s way.  

I say I’ve almost forgotten about my platform. I do desire (and pray) to be published, but this blog really has little to do with that. This blog is for God, not to get my name known. I rarely look at my stats and have no clue how my platform measures up since I’ve stopped looking at like a platform and now view it as a ministry. 

I knew you had something special about you! So, what kinds of books do you review? 

I prefer to do Christian devotionals, historical books and books that make the reader think. The only fiction I do is based on true events.  

No offense to mysteries, romance or other genre’s, I enjoy reading those but that’s not what this blog is for. Like I mentioned above, this blog belongs to God and I currently don’t feel that is an area He wants me to focus- that could change.  

I know that limiting the books I review does impact my platform building since I’m cutting off a large segment of readers, but I’m not concerned with building my platform at the expense of following God’s orders for me. 

All this is ironic as I write fiction. The novel I’m currently hoping to publish is an Apocalyptic Thriller (or Dystopia) - Tentative title: A Long Run Home. 

You seem to have so many talents. What do you see as the most important thing you do?

Get people to think outside their boxes. Challenging them to move out of their comfort zones. I also encourage people of various walks of faith to share. We can all learn from each other, we shouldn’t cut people off because they don’t think like us or believe like us. I think one of the things killing the American churches is denominations. We can’t seem to see the bigger picture…the family of God, not what church you belong to.  

With everything you have going on I can't imagine you doing any more. But you write as well? /b> 

Yes. I am shopping my Apocalyptic Thriller/Dystopia, A Long Run Home.

Think ”Left Behind” Series meets Ayn Rand’s big brother government in a futuristic world where the United States doesn’t exist and being Christian gets you killed.  

I didn't expect that kind of genre from you, but it sounds interesting. From the feedback you’ve received about your blog, what affects your readers the most? Why? 

They like true stories. Things that make them think, things that tug on their hearts and nudge them ACT. They like to learn, to grow. They are open to listening and that makes them a great audience to write for. 

With your great love of books, it seems a natural thing then for you to want to review others. How do authors get you to review their books?
I began book reviews as a side item on my blog. I never realized it would grow to take up such a large portion. I first began reviewing for BookSneeze (a wonderful way to read books for free) but then I began having authors contact me via email or twitter asking if I’d be willing to review their books. I’m honored when they do this. Especially since I don’t guarantee I’ll write a good review- just an honest one.  

There are so many genres out there. Do certain stories move you more than others? 

Oh yeah. I love history. I love true stories. I love reading about how God moves in lives, how He changes us when we allow Him to. 

It's been such a pleasure to have you stop by. Before your leave is there anything you’d like your readers to know about you personally?
I have no clue what I’m doing. No clue where this blog’s headed and no idea how to get published. I’m just following God. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I’ve only just begun. I’m humbled to see God working in my life and those around me. I’m excited to find out where God’s taking me.
Well, I'm sorry I can't show a photo of TC. She's a bit shy! Thank you for taking the time to share with us. I want to encourage my readers to pop by your blog and leave a comment. And I want to encourage you to keep plugging with your book! Thanks again, TC!

 TC's blog: Wisdom of a Fool http://tcavey.blogspot.com/
Twitter:  @tcavey1