Thursday, May 30, 2013

Going Once, Going Twice - Gone!

This weekend my travels took me through the dark and crowded mazes of the garage sale.  I got to stick my nose into the fine art of the garage sale from the proprietor's side of the table.  I held a garage sale for my mother who had a collection of unique and interesting things acquired through years of gathering and neatly storing.  There were things that dated back to my grandparents and even my great grandparents.  It's amazing what a shelf can hold when you dig to the back of those neatly stacked piles.

It was weeks of preparation and doubts that customers would even come through the door.  Worse, we chose of all weekends, the one weekend in May that has had rain consistently over every year I can remember.  Don't ask me why about either the sale or the rain but somethings just are.  Fortunately, the rain greeted us only one day but even that I didn't notice, I was too busy hopping from one customer query to another.

It is on the working floor of the garage sale that you meet the underpinnings of the garage sale circuit; the antique dealers, the unique dealers and the scroungers.  They are the people that scoop up everything they think they might resell or what may be of value.  Value is a two pronged sword and often value only meant interest - two or three dollars worth.  But who knew that a plastic phonograph/radio with a chunk out of its side was worth even that.  After all it was worthless to one dealer but worth a gentleman's argument for another two.  And that iron stove that almost amputated toes, well it went out the door, rust, ancient coal dust and all.  

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There are people who just collect, there are people who collect and recycle and there are those - well, those that just like to snoop and discover something unique or just plain reuseable.  And you know, I don't mind garage sales, most days, I mean arriving as a customer.  I like snooping through new old stuff.  I don't know what's with that.  But I do know as I sat in my plastic chair poised to process yet another transaction that I couldn't help going through the book table to my left.  And yes I did rescue one, then two and finally three.  But I didn't get that book, the one that one man had me leaping out of my chair for the hundred dollar bill he claimed was between it's pages.  Wrong.  And I didn't bother to tell him that it was too late for April Fools.

But most of all what I got from that garage sale were characters, characters with more stories than I have time to tell in such a short blog post.  It was that moment in time when my life intersected with people I might not normally have met.  Fantastic fun for anyone, invaluable for a writer.

And my find from the sale - besides those books, a portable exerciser for abs.  And if I don't use it - it's too small to hang clothes on!

Any finds in your day?

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Difference A Day Makes

Today I'm hosting  Barbara Longley with her latest release The Difference A Day Makes.

Welcome Barbara

And, to start things off - here's a little bit about Barbara:

As a child, Barbara Longley moved frequently, learning early on how to entertain herself with stories.  Adulthood didn't tame her peripatetic ways:  she has lived on an Appalachian commune, taught on an Indian reservation, and traveled the country from coast to coast.  After having children of her own, she decided to try staying put, choosing Minnesota as her home.  By day, she puts her master's degree in special education to use teaching elementary school.   By night, she explores all thing mythical, paranormal, and newsworthy, channeling what she learns into her writing.

Blurb for The Difference A Day Makes

Ryan Malloy has lost it all.  After his fiancee dies in a tragic accident, he enlists in the army, only to lose his best friend in a roadside bombing.  Wracked with guilt and grief, Ryan finds his life unbearable--until a job offer from his former commander gives him a glimmer of hope.  And in the tiny town of Perfect, Indiana, the man who thought he had nothing left to live for meets the only woman who can tempt him into risking his battered heart one last time...

Paige Langford has it all:  wealth, beauty, and ambition.  But when her boyfriend's betrayal leads to the loss of her job and her reputation, she retreats to her brother's rural Indiana home to regroup.  There she meets Ryan Malloy, a gruff, hard-drinking loner whose surly temper can't hide the haunted misery in his eyes.  He is everything Paige never wanted, yet he may be exactly what she needs--if only they can overcome their personal demons to forge a love strong enough to save them both.  

Excerpt from The Difference A Day Makes

Throwing her shoulders back, Paige knocked on Mr. Weil's door.

"Come in," he barked from inside.

Smoothing her face into a professional mien, she opened the door and strode in.  One look at his expression, and she faltered.  He looked serious.  Seriously unhappy.  What the hell?

"Have a seat, Langford."  He moved a pile of folders aside.

She took one of the chairs in front of his huge, imported desk.  "You wanted to see me?"

"Hmmm."  He scowled her way.  "Meyer Construction needed our bid five business days ago.  They never got it.  They've gone with another supplier."

An adrenaline shock shook her system, and her heart leaped in her throat.  She gripped the arms of her chair.  "That's impossible!  I sent that bid with a same-day courier two days before it was due."

"Like I said--they never got it."  He leaned back in his expensive leather chair and fixed her with a baleful scowl.  "I've also had two other accounts you handled complain that their bids were late, holding them up and delaying their contractors.  If it weren't for Anthony Ruger's intervention, we would've lost those accounts as well."

"Anthony's... intervention?"  Her mind spun with the implications.  Anthony?

Her mind flew back to the day the courier had come to the lobby for the Meyer bid.  She'd been in the middle of a phone call, and Anthony had offered to take the envelope down to the lobby for her.  At the time, she'd thought it was sweet.  Come to think of it, he'd also offered to put a few of her bids into the office's outgoing mail bin for her.  No, he wouldn't purposely sabotage her.  Would he?  They were a couple.

Heat filled her face.  "I'm sorry.  It won't happen again."

"Damn straight it won't.  You're fired."

"Oh, no.  There's been a mistake.  I had somebody else put the bids in the mail for me.  They must've forgotten, or..."  Shit.  Shit.  Shit.  She glanced around the office as the reality of Anthony's betrayal sank in.  "I won't let it happen again, Mr. Weil.  I'll get the Meyer Account back somehow."  She sucked in a breath.  "From now on, I will personally put things in the out bin myself, and--"

"Miss Langford, you're done here."

To find out more or to contact Barbara, you can find her online at: 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Eldon Taylor - I Believe

Today is the launch of Eldon Taylor's latest book, I Believe.  It is a book launch that I was again asked to take part in and was happy to oblige as I've found with Eldon's books, they might be non-fiction but they're entertaining as well as thought provoking.  Better yet, Eldon Taylor writes one inspirational book after another.  So first off Eldon's provided some answers to often asked questions and we'll follow it all up with my review.

Q and A with Eldon Taylor

What was the motivation and inspiration behind your latest book, I Believe?

I have spent over thirty years investigating why people self-sabotage or limit themselves, thus experiencing so much less then their highest best!  What I have found is the reason rests solely in their beliefs--not their religious beliefs so much as their life beliefs.  I found this to be true when I was conducting lie detection tests and discovering criminality, and equally true when I worked with elite athletes, business executives, professionals and lay people alike.  The bottom line is this:  What you believe always matters!  It's like a web that fastens itself to belief-anchors, causing disheartening mediocrity in place of the glorious success we all seek.

I Believe spells out the power of belief and how it influences everything from our health and longevity to our success with out relationships and life.  Astounding as it may seem, belief  can (and has) defied our so-called laws of science and it has done so over and over again.  As ordinary and trite as it may seem, belief nevertheless makes all the difference in success in all walks of life.  Knowing how we acquire our beliefs, and which beliefs serve us while others sabotage us, is critical to maximizing our individual potential.  I Believe:  When What You Believe Matters!  was written to empower you with the roadmap to decipher and re-write the programming governing your life.  

 If you don't mind sharing, as the author, how has the belief in positive thinking impacted your life?

Years ago I had the proverbial chip on my shoulder.  I began paying my own way at age 12, paying my parents room and board and buying my own clothes and school books.  I left home at an early age filled with anger directed at my parents.  I could go on, but the point can be summarized this way as well.  You could fairly say that back then, the bumper sticker stating "Life sucks and then you die," accurately reflected my beliefs.  As time went on, both my education and avocation, revealed something truly important:  I could not blame anyone else for the problems with my life and I was the only one who could change it!  I basically learned how to examine all of my beliefs, and how to change those that were not working for me.  As a result, I have been happily married  for over 30 years, am successful in my career and feel that I am on the spiritual path for me.  Also my business is focused on teaching others the techniques I have learned and today it helps people all around the world uncover their highest potential.  The thank you notes I receive daily truly do brighten my life.

What is the first and foremost message you want your readers to receive from I Believe?

That they were born with all the gifts they need to fully maximize this life experience.  If things are not going as well as they had once hoped, then it is time to reassess their beliefs and to choose once again.  The fact is, there is a truly remarkable and near unlimited power that resides within all, that is the very essence of our individual uniqueness.  All we need to do is tap into the source of our ability and express the gift that is who we really are.

Are there any final words of wisdom you'd like to share with your readers?

I would leave this thought with everyone.  Most of us believe what we believe without ever truly examining it.  In that sense, we live out counterfeit lives.  As children we pretend to be many things and out make belief often becomes how we walk and talk.  We change our clothes and we change our personality.  Our behavior and our language can be totally different when we are in Levis and boots versus a three-piece suit.

Many of us have learned to be effective chameleons, just so we can feel as though we fit in, but in the process we have neglected the discovery of our selves.  We have learned to avoid rejection and thereby limited what we might try.  We are full of what I have called the "no-don't syndrome"--all those negatives that inform us we might fail, we're no good, we're not old enough, we're stupid or skinny or fat and so on.  This too has become part of our belief network, as we have the various defense mechanisms that protect us from pain and rejection.  We think in sound bytes taken from our culture and race to consume the latest whatever in a never ending need for more.    In the end, it is our self-doubt that prohibits our higher realization of who we are and perhaps why we're here.  The subtitle of I Believe is "When What You Believe Matters," and that about sums  up the answer for creating the person you were meant to be, for what you believe--the tiniest of beliefs, always matters!

I Believe by Eldon Taylor 

Eldon Taylor has spent over 25 years researching the power of the mind and developing scientifically proven methods to use this power to enhance the quality of your life.  I Believe is a book that will not only inspire you, but will highlight the kinds of beliefs you hold that may be causing you to fail.  In the process, it will provide you with the opportunity to choose, once again, the beliefs that drive your life.  Eldon is having a wonderful launch party so you really should check it out:

My review of I Believe:
(Four stars)
I Believe begins with a tantalizing forward that alludes to the fact that we don't have to lead an ant-colony like existence, that there can be more.  I Believe is a testament to the power of the human mind and how it can influence out lives.  As usual, Taylor's effortless writing style had me immediately hooked as I read how what you believe can affect everything in your life from your character and your success or lack there of, to potentially - your health.  Remember Maslow's hierarchy?   Are you self-actualized and if not what level are you at?

"The power of belief, the absolutely awesome
incredible power of belief, is the genie in your life.
Let me say that again:  The absolutely awesome and
incredible power of your belief is the genie in your life."

What I didn't expect were some of the religious references and I found that they didn't weave as smoothly as some of the more scientific facts.  However, Taylor skillfully brings forward more proof of the power of belief by weaving science with other stories, many from his own experience, that combine in this non-fiction read to make you forget at times that you're not just reading for sheer enjoyment.

All in all, I Believe was a thought provoking read that I'd recommend for anyone interested in exploring the power of the human mind.

So if any of this has you as intrigued as I was, I'd suggest you check out the book launch site.  There's a lot of things going on for this launch and some big name sponsors too.  Check it all out here to take part in what looks to be an exciting book launch - click here to go to "I Believe".


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Shorts, T-shirts, Snowbanks and The Book Trailer

It's Cinco de Mayo and we're celebrating....  it's an excuse to pull out the tequila and put out the lawn furniture.  It's time to wave goodbye to what remains of the snowbanks.  Yes, all my warm weather friends - there's still enough snow to make
The last dregs of prairie winter.
a snowman here on our little piece of prairie.  But that aside, the jackets are in the closet and the shorts are out.  In fact one intrepid little neighbour is right now dressed in shorts and burrowing into a snowbank with a sand shovel.

So before I get to all that celebrating, winter's end and the final arrival of spring and, of course, Cinco de Mayo, let's talk book trailers.  I never appreciated the book trailers for my first two books so much as when I set out to make one myself.

Where to start?

I have a Mac so the first thing I learned was that the Powerpoint version for Mac is a possible option, but it requires an additional program for us Mac users to load to youtube.  The second thing I learned
Fatal Intent - in the heart of the jungle.
is that imovie, Apple's movie making program, doesn't come with a half hour learning curve.  I
suspect that imovie works better if you were familiar with it before you jumped in to do a book trailer.  Yes, I tried Powerpoint, didn't locate the program to upload and fiddled with imovie as well - why focus on one thing if you can do two or more at once is my motto.  Neither was providing me with a quick and painless trailer - one that I could live with and someone might actually want to watch without grinding their teeth.  And then I tripped on an online program that provides a free option.

So off I went, after all what did I have to lose?  It took a bit of work but Fatal Intent has a book trailer.  With a bit of creativity you can come up with something workable.  It's a base to try something a little more complicated next time and then the next... and before you know it the book trailer will evolve to a full size movie...okay, not.

So here it is, my first step into creating  a book trailer click on through to see the finished product:  Fatal Intent

What else is in the works?  Well, Monday is the final day of Fatal Intent's epic tour and to cap off the tour, my last stop is at Black Velvet Seductions tomorrow, Monday, May 6.  If nothing else you've got to stop by to see the header picture on the blog, it's adorable!  Seriously, although it is adorable, I'm looking forward to the day, kind of sad that the tour is over but excited that someone is going to win the grand prize - a signed copy of From the Dust and a DVD copy of that vintage movie, East of Borneo.  So come on by, chat with me and be entered for prizes.

There's more than that happening.  I reviewed Eldon Taylor's recent book, "I Believe" and I loved it.  I'll be posting all about that here on May 7 as Eldon begins the launch of another inspirational book.

So, yeah it's going to be a busy week.  But in the meantime, sit back and enjoy Fatal Intent's trailer.  To celebrate - hey it's Cinco de Mayo, how timely.  Margarita anyone?