Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome, 2016!!!


From our house to yours, 
may you have a splendid and wonderful 2016!



Happy New Year!!!






Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot...

Since 2015 is coming to a close, I decided to look up the meaning to the words we all sing at midnight on New Year's Eve.

The song:  Auld Lang Syne (and yes, I looked it up on Wikipedia, so don't beat me up like my kids would).  Auld Lang Syne is roughly translated as 'for old times' sake.'

The basic meaning I take from this, (according to the words, listed below), is 'should we forget old acquaintances, or should we be nice and reconnect for old times' sake?'

It's about burying the hatchet on the bad times between friends, and becoming friends again.  Wow.  If everyone singing that song actually did that, can you imagine the peace in this world?

Have a wonderful New Years, my friend!
Markee at SweetTale Books

~~~~~

Here are the English words (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Lang_Syne)

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
CHORUS
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.
CHORUS

------------------------------
References:

http://www.ibtimes.com/what-does-new-years-eve-song-lyrics-auld-lang-syne-mean-2014-1523810
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Lang_Syne
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/auld-lang-syne-what-does-it-mean-again/

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hilarious! Party music for the New Year...

So the New Year's coming.  Welcome, 2016!  But it's a few days early, you say?  No time like the present to plan for a party!

This year, I'm thinking of a karaoke party with New Year's songs.  Are you feeling it?

I found these sites with songs for the New Year's celebration:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/948683/20-and-15-songs-about-new-years
http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2014/12/29/new-years-songs/
http://lounge.thekaraokechannel.com/great-songs-to-sing-on-new-years-eve/

How cool would that be?  Karaoke, when done horribly bad, is hilarious!

Check out this video of a bad karaoke compilation--be warned.  I couldn't get through it all but it's HILARIOUS!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2U_RR7cXHQ


Enjoy!  Have a wonderful week!
Markee at SweetTale Books

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

13 Indie Books Published This Year!

If' you're in need of a new book to read, how about checking out one of my latest, all published this year.  It's a baker's dozen of tales to escape to!

Here's the list.  enjoy!


  1.  The Improbable Legend of Lucy George by Kyra Myles01/30/15
  2.  My Vampy Valentineby Paige Ryter02/11/15
  3.  The Psycho Golden Shamrockby Paige Ryter03/15/15
  4.  The Lord is With Meby Eryn Grace04/14/15
  5.  Please Don't Blow Up the Neighborsby Andie Alexander05/29/15
  6.  Welcome to Fugitive Innby Andie Alexander06/29/15
  7.  Invasion of the Alien Dust Bunniesby Paige Ryter07/30/15
  8.  Faith in the Darkest of Nightsby Eryn Grace08/31/15
  9.  Death's Sidekickby Andie Alexander09/28/15
10.  Deadly Interpretationsby Andie Alexander10/31/15
11.  Murders on the Edgeby Andie Alexander11/10/15
12.  The Waterfall Coupby Andie Alexander11/29/15
13.  In the Twinkle of Christmasby Markee Anderson12/19/15

And all the covers:


The Improbable Legend of Lucy George My Vampy Valentine The Psycho Golden Shamrock The Lord is With Me Please Don't Blow Up the Neighbors Welcome to Fugitive Inn Invasion of the Alien Dust Bunnies Faith in the Darkest of Nights Death's Sidekick Deadly Interpretations Murders on the Edge The Waterfall Coup In the Twinkle of Christmas
So go find a good book today!  Here are 13 right at your fingertips, and all under $3!
Enjoy!
Markee at SweetTale Books

Monday, December 28, 2015

Movies...You've Got to See This One!

Every year, my husband tries to give me a list of things he'd like for Christmas.  This year, he gave up, assuming I could read his mind or something.

So this year, I got him things he needed...and things I wanted. LOL!  I bought the DVD Ant-Man on a whim.  He'd already seen it in the theaters with some of our kids.

If you haven't seen it, I think you'll enjoy it.  Just ignore the scenes with the lambs or disintegrating a man.

It's rated PG-13 and according to sources, isn't that bad on the family friendly scale:

http://www.dove.org/review/11409-ant-man/
http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/life/family/upstate-parent/2015/07/17/review-marvel-ant-man-what-parents-should-know/30282865/
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/entertainment/movies/2015/07/20/movie-review-ant-man-family-friendly-superhero/30433309/

Overall, it kept my attention.  I didn't even play computer games during this movie, which is unusual for me.  But then again, I like Marvel shows.

What good movies have you seen lately?
Markee at SweetTale Books

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

May you have the happiest of Christmases, with all your wishes and dreams coming true!


Merry Christmas!

from SweetTale Books

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Remember When...

Back when I was a kid, Christmas seemed like it took forever to actually arrive.  We'd have a few days off from school before Christmas, just waiting for that day.  I remember listening to the Christmas carols on my old radio, singing along, and wishing for something great for Christmas morning.

We'd set up the tree a few days before Christmas.  Some years we'd have a real tree.  It always leaned for some reason, but my dad would jerry rig it up so it would stand straight.  Sometimes, there would be presents under the tree before Christmas, but they were always from my brother and sisters to each other.  The REAL presents came on Christmas morning.

On Christmas Eve after dinner, we'd go to church in our old station wagon.  Five kids in the backseat, and Mom and Dad in the front.  There would always be a candle lighting service in church, and then we'd come home.  It was usually snowing and always cold.  Us girls would wear dresses with heels.  It was cold, even with our big brown furry coats.  That's Pennsylvania for you.

Once we got home, we'd be excited to get to sleep, because Santa was finally coming to our home.  It was hard to sleep that night, and all of us would get up around six, tired of waiting.  We'd wake Mom and Dad, who always looked like they'd been up wrapping presents all night.  We never did figure out any connection to that theory, because Santa brought our presents.

Santa was a thrifty guy in our house.  He wrapped our presents in newsprint.  If you were lucky, your presents would be wrapped in the Sunday paper, because it was in color.  If you were doubly lucky, it would be wrapped in the Sunday comics, because you could read them before you opened your presents.

Every one of us five kids had a pile.  And, every one of us would get a red sweater.  Santa must've known my dad loved the color red and loved Christmas shopping for sweaters.  Santa also must've known that my mom was practical and liked getting clothes for Christmas.  But Santa was also smart.  He got us a lot of games to keep us busy all day long on Christmas day.

As the years went on, Santa got lazy.  Instead of wrapping each gift, he'd put them on piles and lay a piece of newspaper on top of the pile.  Cracked us all up.

I miss the magical days of Christmas, but now that we have our own kids, I understand our parents wanting to watch us open the presents.  Kids make Christmas fun again, even when they're grown.

Some year, I'd love to travel during Christmas, just my husband and me.  But that's a long way off, after our kids have families of their own.  Until then, we get to enjoy the holiday with our family and our one daughter's boyfriend (great guy!) until the other two date people they like.

So have a wonderful holiday tomorrow.  Enjoy the magic of Christmas and laugh a lot.  That's what I intend to do.

Merry Christmas Eve!
Markee

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Romance Formula

If I had a dime for every time someone said there was no formula in romance novels, I'd be rich.  But the dirty little secret is that there IS a formula.  Here's what I've found from reading these things.  I'm sure other authors have things to add, but these things seem to hold true for all those romance novels and those Hallmark movies I watch at Christmastime.

  • The heroine and hero meet early in the book.  Usually, they're angry with each other for some reason, or are on different sides of the fence for something.  Think Doris Day movies for that tidbit.
  • The heroine has to do something to make her stick with the hero.  For some reason, they have to stick around each other. 
  • The heroine and hero have inner and outer conflicts.  An inner conflict is one they're battling on the inside, like a fear or something they want in life, or some conflict they can't solve.  The outer conflict is the main problem in the story.  Sometimes they have a secret they can't let out.
  • Only the heroine and hero can solve each other's conflicts, but they don't realize that until the end of the book.
  • Right before the end, there's a 'black moment' or 'dark moment.'  In that part, the heroine loses everything--the hero, her job, her home, and anything else dear to her.  The sadder and the more she loses, the better.
  • The hero saves the day in the end.  He helps her get back what she lost, declaring his love for her.

Also, there is give and take, good and bad throughout the book.  When the heroine gets close to the hero, he backs away for some reason, and vice versa.  It heightens the tension.

That's it in a nutshell. I don't always follow the norm, but there's always a beginning where they meet, the middle filled with some sort of happy/sad moments, and the black moment.  Every scene has to be important to the plot or it's gone.

Now, many books prescribe to the three act play setup.  Here's a really good description of the three act play:  http://www.writerswrite.com/screenwriting/lecture4.htm

Also, the beginning, and every chapter, should begin with a big hook.  Think of a movie or a TV show.  It starts out with a bang, to get the viewer hooked.

So if you want to write romances, go for it.  Read a few and see what the author does.  Some authors make really good money writing romances.  You never know.  :)

Have a great week!
Markee

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Looking back...

At the end of each year, I like to look back and see what I've accomplished.  I usually just do it in my head, but this year, I'm putting it on the blog.

Personal life:  lost weight...and gained a bit back.  Back on track to lose again.

Family life:  Two kids are still in college.  The oldest is gainfully employed and moved out, to the west side of town (and closer to his work).  He now has a bachelor pad.

Pet life:  We got Webster, our third dog, this year.  He's a hoot...sometimes literally when he howls.  LOL!

Writing life:  Self-published 13 books this year.  That's more than a book a month.  Before you get all excited, most of them had been written years ago and I'm just cleaning off my computer.  But they still needed to be edited (and rewritten) in some cases.

Busy year, for sure!  What to expect next year?  Who knows?  LOL!

How about you?  Have you done a yearly assessment to see what you've accomplished this year?

Have a great week!
Markee

Monday, December 21, 2015

Need an Ugly Sweater?

I've been doing a lot of shopping lately and have come across the 'ugly sweater' section of the stores.  As ugly as they are, they're adorable.

As a writer or a reader, have you ever come across an 'ugly sweater' in a book?  I'm thinking of a character you really don't like but they're lovable.  Or an object or a person that just gets in the way.

Here's an example.  In my book, 'Touchdowns and Potions,' there's an old woman named Edna (my grandmother's first name, by the way).  She's selling her home and the heroine, Jenna, is the real estate lady.  Edna speaks her mind, deciding Jenna needs to attract more men, especially the star quarterback for the pro football team.  Without Jenna's consent, Edna splashes a magical  love potion on Jenna's wrists.  It lasts for a week and all the men are attracted to her, to the point of being annoying.

Edna is an ugly sweater.  She's eccentric and takes the liberty of making Jenna's life really tough.  But you have to love Edna.  She means well, even if you want her out of the story.

The next time you're reading, see if the author threw in an ugly sweater.  They're a hoot and definitely make the plot more interesting.

Have a great week!
Markee


Saturday, December 19, 2015

#53! A New Book for CHRISTMAS!

Here's a book for you, to read over Christmas!  Enjoy!



Blurb:  
3 magic wishes
2 lonely singles
1 matchmaking Santa …

Mix perfectly for a fun romance!

Hope Twinkle, half of the child-acting duo of the Twinkle Twins, is running away, after her boyfriend proposes to her sister, and will be marrying on Christmas Eve. Hope ends up in Snowflake, Wyoming, where she meets Santa at Kringle's Coffee Shop. He knows exactly who she is, and gives her a magical penny. Santa disappears, but Hope has to find him.

She runs out of the shop and bowls over Dr. Daniel Graham, a psychiatrist. She tells him she's looking for Santa, and he thinks she's a homeless person who needs psychoanalyzing.

Needless to say, Christmas won't be quite the same this year, when Hope finds out the penny can grant wishes.


Chapter 1:


Hope Twinkle sauntered into Kringle's Coffee Shop. She'd been driving for about seven hours, finally pulling off the road in Snowflake, Wyoming. It was a snap decision, but she needed the break.

She fell into a seat at the front bar inside the restaurant, putting her chin in her hand with her elbow on the bar. She was running away, plain and simple. Nothing had ever gone right for her since she'd been a teen.

"What'll it be?" she heard.

She lifted her weary eyes to an older man who sported silver wire-rimmed glasses and a white beard. If she'd been a kid, she'd have sworn this was Santa. "Um…" She looked up at the menu, written on a candy-cane clad chalkboard on the wall. "I'll have a hot chocolate."

The man turned and began making the drink. "It's a cold one out there. Is it snowing yet?"

"No, but it's thinking about it."

He chuckled a hearty belly laugh, almost sounding like ho-ho-ho. This guy was something else. He really got into the Christmas spirit, but Hope wasn't buying it. She hated Christmas, but this year, she hated it worse than ever.

"How can snow think of falling?" the Santa-wannabe asked. He turned back toward her, carrying a perfect mug of hot chocolate sitting on a plate. Big marshmallows rested on top of the brown liquid with a candy cane hanging off the rim. Two small gingerbread cookies lay on the side of the plate, both decorated in the most adorable way while smiling up at her.

"It just is." She studied the plate. "That's gorgeous. Mind if I take a picture before I eat it?"

"Go for it." He winked. "Are you doing okay?"

"Not really."

He leaned against the bar. "I'm all ears. Want to talk to me?"

She lifted her phone and took a picture of the drink, accidentally getting the guy in the picture as well. "You want me to talk to you?" She put her phone away. "You're not a bartender and you probably have a ton of customers to wait on." She glanced around, but no one else seemed to be waiting for a drink. The place had quite a few customers at the tables, all seeming to be happy and talking with others. She hated that she was alone, feeling oncoming sadness.

"Nope," the man said. "I'm bored." He smiled and she could've sworn she saw a twinkle in his eye. The guy just needed a red hat and coat to look like Santa Claus.

Hope shook her head. "Well, not much to talk about from this loser." She pointed at herself.

"Loser?" He chuckled. "Hardly. I know who you are."

"You do?" She was surprised because she'd been out of the public eye for years…at least her face had.

"Yes." He patted her hand. "You're way out of town, though. Why is that?"

"I'm running away. Don't you go telling anyone where I am."

"Not a problem. You had an interesting childhood, along with your twin sister."

"You know about her?" she whispered.

"Who doesn't? You and Joy were identical twins they used in a lot of movies when you were children. Then you had that other show during your teenage years."

She nodded. "The Twinkle Twins Take on Everything."

He chuckled. "I loved when they sent you out to a farm to pick oranges. Did you really not know they grew on trees?"

She chuckled. "We played to the camera a lot and some of that was scripted. However, considering we worked every day since we were about six months old, we didn't have time to learn much of anything. We had tutors, but it's different than having to live out in the real world." She sipped the hot chocolate, the perfect blend of chocolate and marshmallow filling her mouth.

He took a moment. "What happened after that show? You just dropped out of Hollywood."

"Sort of." She bit into a cookie. "But not Joy. She was the prettier and the more personable of us two."

"But you're identical. How can she be prettier?"

"She was pretty where it counted--on the inside."

He leaned closer. "I doubt that. But what have you been doing?"

"Well…" She was such a loser. "I was the face of Teddy Bear Chocolate Twists."

His white eyebrows lifted. "You were the teddy bear?"

What a legacy for her life. "I've been wearing that bear suit for four long years. That's a hot job and I'm talking in temperature only. At least it paid the bills, sort of." She shook her head. "I need a new agent but no one will touch me. Even my boyfriend dumped me." Tears teased her eyes. "That one hurt the most."

"What happened, if you don't mind me asking?"

"My life's an open book." She didn't think the paparazzi would be out here. "But don't print anything."

"No problem." He chuckled. "I promise. I'm just curious."

"Well, I was dating the producer of our ads."

He nodded. "Adrian Romans."

Her eyebrows lifted. "You know him?"

"He was all over the news today." He lifted the day's paper and put it in front of her, showing the part at the bottom, which announced her sister's wedding.

"Yeah." It was like a knife in her heart to see the headlines. "He and Joy are getting married on Christmas Eve. They want me to be the maid of honor. We were dating, when one day, out of the blue, he proposed to Joy. She gets it all. She has her own variety show. She has money coming out her ears. She just bought the big house in Aspen, has cool cars, and friends everywhere. Adrian was the only good thing I had going for me and he ran off with Joy." Hope ate the rest of the cookie and wiped her eyes. "Life really isn't fair. I'm scraping by on my salary while Joy has it all. Can't I get a break?"

The Santa wannabe put the paper away and thrust his hand into his pocket. "I want to give you something." He pulled out a copper penny, opened her hand, and placed it in her palm. "Keep that. It's magical and it'll help."

"A penny?" She glanced at it and then lifted her gaze to the man. "I guess it'll help pay my mortgage. Thanks."

He chuckled. "Trust me." He walked away, wiping down the counter as he went.

Hope wanted to drown her sorrows in her hot chocolate. Christmas was three days away and she dreaded the thought of watching everyone else be happy, except for her. After Christmas Eve, her sister would be married to Hope's ex-boyfriend and Hope would be alone, yet again.

She studied the penny in her hand. It wasn't a normal penny. Although it was copper in color, on one side was a Christmas tree. She turned it over. The other side showed a winking Santa.

Hope looked up to find the man who'd given her the coin, but he was gone. In his place was an older woman, waiting on customers. "Excuse me," Hope said to the woman.

The woman held up one finger, ringing up the bill for a man. When she was done, she approached Hope. "Did someone wait on you already?" She pointed to the cup in front of Hope.

"Yes. He was an older man with a white beard. I'd like to talk to him. He gave me this penny." She held out her hand for the woman to see.

The woman just stared at her. "We have no one working here like that. My sister and I own this place and are both working tonight. You must be mistaken and my sister waited on you."

"I doubt that, unless your sister has a white beard."

The woman shook her head. "No, she doesn't." She pointed toward the back of the coffee shop. "She's a brunette and I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a beard."

Hope turned to see a stunning middle-aged woman waiting on tables. "So where did the old guy go?"

"I have no idea." She put a bill beside Hope's plate. "We also don't give out cookies, but I'll let that slide." A flash of confusion covered her face. "We don't even have those types of cookies here. Are you sure you didn't bring it in yourself?"

"Nope." Weird. But she didn't want to argue with this lady, so she pulled out her purse and put some cash with the bill. "Keep the change." She stood up, ready to leave, because she had to find the man who'd given her the penny. Maybe it really was magical after all.

Web page:  In the Twinkle of Christmas

Buy Links ($1.99):
Smashwords
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

(Note:  All links will be listed on the web page when they become available)

Have a wonderful week and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Markee

Friday, December 18, 2015

11 Favorite Christmas Movies

What's your favorite Christmas story?  Is it a movie or a book?  Here are 11 movies that I just love to see every year:

1.  The Christmas Clause
2.  Polar Express
3.  Holiday in Handcuffs
4.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas
5.  It's a Wonderful Life
6.  Elf
7.  A Christmas Story
8.  A Christmas Carol (with Jim Carrey)
9.  Doctor Who's 'The Christmas Invasion'
10.  Christmas with the Kranks
11.  Just Friends

There are more, but those are my top picks.  What are yours?

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tis the Season...of Push and Shove

My dad used to say 'it's Christmas--the season of push and shove.'  He couldn't be more right about that.  Every year, it seems to get worse, at least in my mind.

So why does it have to be like this?  Why do we feel like we have to do it all?

I have a thought and it's a weird one, so bear with me.  What if we CHOSE to take life slower?  Instead of the shortest line at the store, we internationally choose the longest?  What if we actually went the speed limit instead of racing to the next destination?  And what if we actually smiled at others instead of snarled?  I wonder what would happen to our society?  Would it implode because it couldn't cope?

If you feel like you're always behind the eight-ball, try this idea.  I've been doing this for a few weeks and it really helps a lot with everything.

I make up a grid of what to do every day.  I have something like this example, but for every day of the week:


Day of Week Housework Writing Marketing Errands/Other

Monday Make meals
Clean house
2000 words on Christmas story Tweets
next week's tweets
Mail cards for Christmas
Clean garage
Call daughter

Tuesday Make meals
Clean house
2000 words on Christmas story Daily Tweets/FB Clean refrigerator
Call Mom

Wednesday Make meals
Clean house
2000 words on Christmas story Daily Tweets/FB Take dogs to fun camp
Water plants
Wrap all Christmas presents

Thursday Make meals
Clean house
2000 words on Christmas story Daily Tweets/FB Take out trash
Thursday night football
Make up grocery list
clip coupons

Friday Make meals
Clean house
bake bread
2000 words on Christmas story Daily Tweets/FB Grocery shopping
Mail packages


I put this into an Excel spreadsheet and print it out every week. Then I follow it as best I can. It reduces a LOT of stress for me and once I have my jobs done for the day, I have time to dream.  I have time to get rid of the push and shove and slow time down a bit.

As for choosing the longest line or going the speed limit, that gives me time to think.  My daughter calls it GTT--Great Think Time.  It's like savoring that one moment where time is there for the taking.

So slow down and give yourself the gift of time.  You'll thank yourself later!

Have a wonderful week!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

4 Ideas for that Book Lover on your List

I love the site called 'instructables.com.'  If you've never seen it, check it out.

They're having a contest on that site, for various topics.  One is for book lovers.  Here are 4 of the most creative things I've seen there:

1.  How to make a notebook and emboss it.  This is so cool!  They show how to create a notebook, like you'd buy in the store, by sewing up the center of some heavy papers and then folding it.  Then, they emboss the front with the guy's name, which is amazing.  Very cool to watch!

2.  How to make comics.  This is really neat.  It's basically a story in picture form.  You could do anything.  If you combined it with #1 above, it becomes a keepsake for anyone, with the front embossed.  Anyone could make it, too, even kids.  What a neat present to give to someone!

3.  Designing a coloring book.  Coloring books aren't just for kids anymore.  Consider this.  What if you took pictures and made them into coloring pages?  You could include everyone in the family as a separate page.  If you don't have adobe photoshop, you can use paint.net (a free drawing/editing product).  Just change the pictures into black and white, and print them off.  I used paint.net for the pictures below.  When using paint.net, get the picture you want, click on effects, artistic, and pencil sketch.  I used pencil tip size of 20 with range of 3 for this picture of our dogs.  But you can play with it and see what you like.



Here was the original:




4.  If your book lover likes to mark pages in a book, OR if you want a decoration in your home, try this idea for making paper roses:  Book Page Roses  OR you can crochet bookmarks that look like roses.  OR you could make origami roses.

There are so many ideas, it boggles my mind.  People can be so creative!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Stress Busters

How do you handle holiday stress?  Do you eat (that's me!), or do you hide?  Or, are you adventurous and take it head on, full speed ahead, regardless of the consequences?

I'd like to learn how to be adventurous when it comes to holiday stress.  So this year, I'm trying something new and it's working, for some reason.

Here's what I'm doing, to reduce what I HAVE to do:

  • Christmas cards--all filled out and ready to send by Nov. 1.  I sent them out on Dec. 1.  I'm keeping track of who replies with a card.  If they don't, they don't get one next year, unless I know they're infirmed or family (and I might get in trouble at the next reunion).
  • I get lists from what my kids and husband want.  They HAVE to give me links to online purchases, or they're out of luck.
  • I shopped only on Cyber Monday--not on Black Friday.  Cyber Monday--since I have the lists, it's easy--point and buy.  I was done in less than an hour.  To save on shipping, I'm having it all sent to the stores.
  • For things I couldn't get online, I took my husband with me to the store on the following Wednesday.  BIG mistake.  He was crabby.  So next year, I'm doing it all on Cyber Monday.  
  • Wrapping--I do it all on ONE day only.  It's stored on a table in our son's bedroom (since he moved out) and that day, I'm going to turn on Christmas movies and wrap, wrap, wrap.  All done.
  • No tree or decorations.  I'm at the stage in life where no one cares.  That way, I don't stress about putting things up and taking them down.  Not worth it.
  • Turn down any parties I can get out of.  I hate parties.  I hate being nice to people I don't even know, who talk about themselves the whole time.


Then, what I WANT to do, to mentally escape this time of year:

While working on a Christmas story, I'm researching what it's like in small towns at Christmas time.  I'm also thinking of where I want to retire in about ten years, planning trips to each of those retirement places.  If you're not ready to retire, what about planning vacations?  You don't actually purchase anything like hotel rooms, etc., but list what there is to see and do in that town, how to get there, and a ballpark price to get to that vacation.  When I'm done with the vacation ideas, I'm going to put them in a notebook and give it to my husband for next year's vacation/retirement research trip.  Since I've done all the legwork, all he has to do is choose.

Some year, after the kids are all done with college and leave home, the goal is to visit some place warm at Christmas.  I think that'd be the best adventure of all.

What do you do to escape and/or reduce stress at this time of year?

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, December 14, 2015

Naughty or Nice?

Have you ever noticed how many of the holidays have 'this or that' type of logo attached to them?  Halloween--Trick or Treat.  Christmas--Naughty or Nice.  Valentine's Day--He loves me, He loves me not.  Thanksgiving--To eat or Not to eat.  OK...I kind of made the last two up.  But you know what I mean.

I wonder if that works for titles, as well.  What do you think of these titles:

Love or Hate
Kiss or Kill
Tempt or Indulge

Do you think that works for a title?  Let me know.  :)

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Watching Sports on TV

I'm not a huge sports fan and neither is anyone in our family.  But we do watch NC State basketball games, and of course, the Packers (if you live in the Green Bay area, you pretty much have to watch the Packers).

So we're in the midst of watching both games (they're playing at the same time).  Have you ever noticed that the announcers are always 'for' one team, berating the other team while announcing?  For example, on the NC State/USF game, NC State is dominating.  The announcers are just harassing the USF team (and I'm for NC State).  They ALWAYS hate the Packers when they announce, so I usually watch it with no volume on the television.

I think announcers should either have one announcer for each team, and/or they HAVE to say something nice for each nasty comment.  They can always find something nice to say, even if it's 'hey, they have nice outfits.'

What do you think?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nonverbal Communication

I'm working on a book right now where the heroine is really good at nonverbal communication.  Why do I paint myself into corners like this?  I don't know much about it, myself, so I had to do research.

Have you ever searched for nonverbal clues and what they mean?  Most are innocuous, and pertain to what's going on at the moment.  So I sat back and put myself into the situation.

What if you were talking to someone at a party and they wanted to show they were above you?  What would they do?  I had my character lift his nose and swirl his glass of wine, as if rubbing in his snottiness.  Of course my heroine caught it and called him on it...and he walked away, ticked off because she was right.

What if you wanted your character to feel inferior to others?  What would you have them do?  I'd make them shrink--their shoulders would sag, they'd lower their head and not make eye contact, and wring their hands.

Have you ever considered putting more nonverbal communication into your books?  If you need a really good reference, check this one out:  http://readingbodylanguagenow.com/  If you go to the Bell Bubble or Scott Sylvan Bell at the bottom of the list, you'll see that he talks about base lining body language.  Very interesting read, actually.

But here's my REAL question.  What about 'nonverbal communication of the web?'  I just HAD to look this up, certain someone had figured it out, and they did:

How Design Is The Body Language Of The Web
Text or talk?—The importance of non-verbal communication

When someone emails with all caps, you might think they're angry, when in fact, they don't know how to turn the caps lock off.  Or they might be short because they're drinking a latte and are typing with one hand.  Same with texts.

The next time you write part of your book, consider all nonverbal clues.  It'll help create conflict!

Have a great week!
Markee

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Getting to Know Me

I love to talk to people.  I find out the most interesting things from the strangest situations.  My husband says I talk to everyone and it's frustrating for him (he's a major introvert).  But when I go to Walmart, for example, I talk to the cashier.  Why not?  They're fun to talk to and have great ideas.

I've also found that some people give me great ideas for plots.  For example, I was standing in line talking to the woman in front of me.  She was with her granddaughter and her new great grandson.  She said she was only 65.  She'd had a tough life, adopting her granddaughter when the girl was born.  The girl now drives the grandma around, because the grandma can't drive.

Wow.  What a cool idea for a book!  It's a win-win for both parties...a chauffeur for grandma and a built-in babysitter for the granddaughter.

The more I talk to people, the more ideas I have for plots and characters.  It's fun and never boring.  I haven't gone to a coffee shop and eavesdropped yet, but the day is young.  LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Novel Characters--Judge Me, Judge Me Not

Every once in a while I come across the 'character of the week' in my travels.  That's someone I just HAVE to put in a book.

This week, I'm looking at the judgmental types.  I had a conversation over the phone with one of these and man, I couldn't win for anything.  The woman I was talking to should be a lawyer...the other side would be afraid of them, because she wins at all costs.

I'm going to call this woman W, for anonymity purposes.  W judges everyone.  If you disagree, she tells you you're an awful person and should be condemned.  If you agree, she tells you you're awful and should rethink your agreement.  There's a no win in talking to her, so when W's around, best thing to do is to be quiet and walk on eggshells.  No kidding.

If I were to write this character, I'd definitely make it a woman.  I'd have her gossiping about others and negative to everyone's face.  She'd make a great heroine, because she has a lot to lose--all her friends, family, and all of society.  She also has the most room for growth, because by the end of the book, she could've turned around and realized that she, herself, is being judged for being judgmental.  Fantastic but fixable character flaw.  She could even learn diplomacy and how to filter her thoughts.

Do you know anyone like this?

Have a great week!  Stay tuned for more!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

4 GREAT Ideas!

Since Fun Idea Cottage is moving here, I'm sharing some new ideas with you.  These have come to me in the past week or so.

1.  A pacifier stuffed toy:  I can't take credit for this one.  I was waiting in line to pick up deliveries from Cyber Monday at Walmart when I got to talking to the lady in front of me.  She had her great grandson with her.  He was sucking on his pacifier, but since he was only about 3 months old, he had problems holding onto it.  So she sewed the sides of the pacifier to the mouth of a stuffed dog.  He could hold onto the small dog and push the pacifier into his mouth.  Those pacifiers have holes on the sides, so you can tie it to the child's clothes.  Why not sew it to a toy they could hold?  Great idea!!!


2.  Zippered bags for trash:  I don't know why this hasn't been put on the market yet.  I hate stinky trash especially when I have to clean up dog poo.  Regular zippered bags (like Ziploc or Glad) aren't big enough for a trash can, even a small one.  If they made bigger ones, I could put all my stinky trash inside, zip it up, and my garage would smell great!


3.  Spending Christmas Alone?  There should be a company that sends Christmas presents to people who are alone on Christmas.  They could even make a profit or it could be a charity idea.  I know there are some of these organizations who give filled shoe boxes to people in hospitals, but for single folk out on their own, Christmas can be lonely.


4.  Need extra cash?  Why not offer to set up Christmas decorations for people--the tree, the lights, etc., and take them down.  I know of a ton of people who would love to have that done for them.

That's it for this week!  Stay tuned for more!

SweetTale Books

Monday, December 7, 2015

Remembering December 7

In case you didn't realize it (and I'm no history buff...I'm terrible at remembering), December 7 is the 'date which will live in infamy,' when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941, which brought the U.S. into WWII.

Personally, my father-in-law fought in WWII.  He was a gunner, lying in the belly of the plane.  He flew over the White Cliffs of Dover and in that area of Europe.  He would've been 19 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

My dad was too young to fight in WWII, but he was in the Korean Conflict era (born in 1930, on Clint Eastwood's birthday).

If you get a chance today, remember those who fought in the war and those who were stationed in Hawaii at that time.  I always think of the vets of that era when it comes to Dec. 7.  They fought hard and long for freedom, finally winning.

I can't even imagine how good they felt when they won.  The pictures of the celebrations in Time Square indicate their joy, especially the famous kiss.  That happened on August 14, 1945, on V-Day.

So, for all you WWII vets and descendants of vets, I'm thinking of you!  Thank you for your service.

And, if you know of any vets, write down their stories.  I wished I would've done that when my father-in-law and my dad told us of their stories before they both died.

Have a great week!  Stay tuned for more on this blog!
SweetTale Books

Friday, December 4, 2015

What People Do When Talking

As writers, we're always 'posing' our characters, having them do things while speaking.  Face it.  NO one just talks and doesn't do something else.  Don't believe me?  Go to a coffee shop and watch people in conversation.  They're doing something else while talking, even if it's just in their animated expression.

So what do we do during dialogue?  Let's assume they're in that coffee shop, and 'just talking.'

Here are 25 ideas...some of them overused, but still effective:


  1. Nod or shake head
  2. Talk with hands
  3. Wipe table
  4. Pointing
  5. Writing
  6. Reading and ignoring
  7. Checking phone
  8. Playing game
  9. Signaling for barista or waitress
  10. Checking out people in restaurant
  11. Moving in chair
  12. Folding or steepling hands
  13. Crossing arms
  14. Setting jaw and/or lowering eyebrows in anger
  15. Sagging shoulders as if fearful or inferior
  16. Sitting on hands
  17. Holding hands with someone
  18. Kissing someone
  19. Putting arm around someone
  20. Sipping drink
  21. Blowing top of drink to cool it down
  22. Eating something
  23. Waving at someone
  24. Laughing or crying--emotion on face
  25. Lighting a cigarette

And that's just while someone's having a conversation at a coffee shop.  Think what they could be doing if they were working on a farm, for example?

So the next time you fall back to 'he nodded' for your action beat, think about what else you could use on this list.  And yes, 'nodding' does work, but sometimes, it can be overused.

Have a great week!
Markee


Thursday, December 3, 2015

...and then this is happening...

After much thinking (of maybe ten minutes), I've decided to consolidate my blogs to this one.  Yes, I'm biting the bullet and putting all topics in one place.  Why?  Who knows.  But it's going to make my life a lot easier.

So, this blog will now become 'Random Thoughts of SweetTale Books' where anything goes.  I'm hoping you'll visit often to see what's going through my brain that day or every other day, whenever I decide to post.

That's my thought for today.  I'll keep the other blogs up for a little while, but eventually, they'll all be consolidated here with any posts I consider worthy.

Have a wonderful day!  I'm off to consolidate.  That sounds so dirty.  LOL!

SweetTale Books

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Newsletter for December

Happy December!



It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...everywhere but Wisconsin!  As I sit here looking out my window, all I see is...green grass and rain.  No kidding.  It's about 40 degrees and no snow for miles around.

That's just fine with me, though.  I did some cyber-shopping yesterday and am going out to pick up the items at the store today.  Should be fun!

Are you done with Christmas shopping yet?  Me, either.  Eh...cash works if I don't get done.  LOL!

Have a wonderful month!
SweetTale Books





What Happened At
SweetTale Books
in November?


This past month, I put out TWO books!  No kidding!  That makes a dozen for the year.  YAY!!! The first was the second in the Adventures in World Peace series, 'Murders on the Edge.'




Murders on the Edge, by Andie Alexander
(book 1 in the Adventures in World Peace series)





Blurb:

Harley Black and Jim Bond are at it again, this time as coworkers in a tiny New Mexico border town.  The town goes crazy at times, and everyone loses their inhibitions.  Since the mortuary doubles as the town brothel, and the rate of heart attacks has increased, the funeral director is loaded.  It's up to Harley and Jim to find out what's going on.


Read the first chapter here.
~~~~~


Web page:  http://andiealexander.com/murdersontheedge.html

Buy Links $2.99:


 Smashwords
 Amazon
 Kobo
 Barnes & Noble
 Apple iTunes



~~~~~

And the second book, which I JUST published this past weekend was the fifth of the Extreme Travel series, entitled, The Waterfall Coup.






The Waterfall Coup, by Andie Alexander
(book 5 in the Extreme Travel series)




Blurb:

The vice president and his family have been kidnapped in Venezuela. It's up to Kes and her team to rescue them, accompanied by some Secret Service agents. However, they also accidentally get involved in a rebel coup, making their lives a lot more difficult.



Read the first chapter here.
~~~~~


Web page:  http://andiealexander.com/et5.html

Buy Links $1.99 (updated for later links on the web page):


 Smashwords
 Amazon
 Kobo
 Barnes & Noble



Where to keep up with me

I have five blogs, posting them over five days out of the week.  See all the feeds here: http://sweettalebooks.com/mybloglist.html.


Come visit me!  You can also see pictures and videos of our dogs.  They're hilarious!



Have a wonderful month!!!
SweetTale Books