Saturday, April 30, 2016

Homemade Potato Chips -- YUM!

I love potato chips.  They're on my banned list of food, because if I start eating a bag, I won't quit until the bag's empty.  It's a problem.

So to remedy this problem, I decided I'd learn to make my own chips.  That way, I can make a potato at a time and there won't be too many chips to eat at once. Good thinking, huh?

Well, that seemed to be a good plan.  How hard can it be, really?  Harder than you think.

My first batches over the years were really dark, almost burned, and not crispy in the middle.  I did research on the recipe and found out a few things.  I made chips last Saturday using a new method, to see if I could deviate, and no.  They were burned.

So here is my recipe for making potato chips.

Take this recipe:

Homestyle Potato chips by AllRecipes.com

But only go up to the soaking part.  Let them soak for 1/2 hour in salt water.  Rinse and drain again.  (To get the paper thin chips, use a mandolin.  I have this one and it works GREAT on the thinnest setting.)

Then, before you even consider just frying them (they'll burn), read this recipe:

The Food Lab: Extra-Crunchy Homemade Potato Chips

Before you put the chips in oil, cook them in water with a bit of white vinegar.  Then dry them off completely before you fry them.  Just be careful working with the oil.  It will rise up because the chips still are wet.

I also use a narrow baking pan that has high sides.  I found if the chips are allowed to rest on the top of the oil (because the pan's wide, like in a frying pan), then only the edges get done.  So I put in a spoonful of the potatoes, and stir them to make sure the entire potato is immersed.

I  start them out frying on a medium heat.  When they stop bubbling a bit (releasing the water), then I turn the heat up to high to get them crispy.  It doesn't take long for that to happen, but they won't burn on the high heat if you par-boil (cook them first) in vinegar water.

This is what you'll get.  They're very crunchy, and completely cooked--every last one of them.  I put them in a metal bowl, just to dry out from the grease.  Then I put plastic over the top so they don't get mushy in an airtight plastic bowl.





You can't even taste the vinegar.  They're delicious and addictive!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Get Off My Lawn!

Have you ever heard stories of how old people don't want younger kids around?  They usually include the phrase, 'Get Off My Lawn' for people like that.  Some of the reference came from various sources (see Wikipedia's "you kids get off my lawn") including Clint Eastwood in the movie 'Gran Torino.'  This is what I envision someone doing when saying that:  Clint Eastwood's Character.

So the other day, I went outside to mow.  For those of you who know me, you know I have bone spurs on the top of my foot, that's very painful.  Walking is nasty, even with special shoes or wearing a special orthopedic boot.  Thus, I was so happy to know that the riding mower had been fixed (it wouldn't start) and I could ride the job and listen to my MP3 player.  It was my one moment that I could be alone and just sing without anyone hearing me (over the sound of the mower).  I went outside to start the 'riding paper weight' (as I've been referring to it as of late) and it wouldn't start.  Again.  I tried and tried and tried...but nothing.  So I called the people who just fixed it and returned it last week.  Uh...they'll have to look at it.  Duh.

I went back into the garage and stared at my nemesis...the walking mower.  My foot hurt just looking at the big hunk of metal with wheels.  I summoned up painful courage and got to work, mowing the yard.

While I was mowing the side yard, I watched a neighbor with a ton of kids, instruct their two YOUNGEST children on how to ride bike across the street.  But they didn't tell the kids to watch for cars.  One of the kids even had training wheels.  The mom told the kids to ride back and forth between our house and the house across the street, riding on our driveway...and don't look for cars, I swear.

Needless to say, I wasn't a bit amused.  The family never talks to us unless they want something.  They never asked to ride on our driveway.  If one of the kids fell, I'm sure we'd be sued, even though we didn't give permission.

What did the mom do?  She went back inside and left these two YOUNG children to ride across a fairly busy street, back and forth, from driveway to driveway.  What did I do?  I kept an eye on them, like a REAL mother would.  I was ready to run up to them and tell them to watch for cars, but then thought, I'd be that mom who said 'get off my lawn' if I did.  I'd be the bad guy.  So I mowed and watched.  There were a few close calls, but the kids were fine.  However, when I had to mow the other side of the yard across the driveway, I went up close to the driveway, and waited for the kids to move so I wouldn't hit them with the mower.  The older girl (she was about five, maybe?) saw me, went across the street, told her younger brother, and they went home.

I became the lady who said, 'Get Off My Lawn' without saying a word.

When did I become the mean old lady in the neighborhood?  When did people become afraid of me just because of a stare?

I don't know.  But the worst part is...I think I like it.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Character Studies

Have you ever gone people watching?  I like to assign situations to strangers or try to guess what they're thinking.

Here's an example.  I'm going to illustrate my point by using random pictures of people.  How would you describe their situations?  It's a great motivator for character studies in books, to practice giving people a back story.



He thinks he's Clark Kent?  Where's his phonebooth?  And that woman on my right?  She's after this guy.  Well, she can have him.  He wasn't a good date anyway, with that phone glued to his ear.  Oh wait.  Maybe it really IS glued to his ear?  He wasn't that bright and it was in the same position last week when I saw him.  I need to ditch this joint.  Wonder if they'd miss me?





Dear Diary:  I went out on that blind date tonight.  The guy was a little scaly but nice enough I guess.  He kept trying to sell me insurance, though.  Very odd.  And that Australian accent?  Fake.  I could tell by the way his tongue kept going in and out.  What's he think he is, anyway?  A gecko?  Fat chance.




Three kids, three different schools...and all in trouble at once?  What's a mom to do?  Go on vacation.  Alone!


And then she killed off the writer in the book, because the woman didn't know anything about mystery writing?  I like it!  Oh wait.  I'm the writer???



I never should've signed up for 'Mommy's Dating Service.'  This woman's so self-involved, and her mother won't leave us alone.  She keeps standing there just staring at us.  Time to write off all blind dates from now on.  Ridiculous!



What do you think?  Would you consider something more extreme for these pictures, like a doomsday machine heading for earth?  Or a spy situation?

Let me know!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books






Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It's a Two Cuppa Day



Some days, I need an extra jolt to get moving.  Many nights, our dogs get up one, two, or even three times during the night, especially in 'bunny season.'  That's when rabbits decide to wander into our fenced in backyard.  The reason they do that is either to get something to eat (from our plants that I plant) or to hide out from predators.  Sometimes, it's to give birth to their babies.

When our dogs get the scent of a bunny in our yard, they have to go out to chase it.  Usually I don't even know the thing is there, or I wouldn't let them outside.  And no, they've never caught one.  They wouldn't know what to do if they did.  But to them, it's their job.

To me, it means lack of sleep.  Thus, the coffee jolt during the day.  Then, I'm up at night, unable to sleep after one of the bunny runs.  My husband usually sleeps through all of it, so it's my job.  Lucky me.

Today was a two cuppa day for me...at least.

Lately, I've been making my coffee with skim milk, a little sweetener (monk fruit in the raw is delicious, by the way), and I add just a BIT of vanilla ice cream (like a tablespoon).  That's my dessert.  Delicious!  I'm surprised that's not a 'thing' people are clamoring to eat.  It's excellent!

So enjoy your cuppa joe (coffee slang).  You'll probably be drinking coffee with me, regardless of the time of day you drink it.  I should form a coffee clatch or something, with this guy:



Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lacking Energy

Some days, I wake up not sure where I am.  I go through the day, lacking energy, or so I think.

I think everyone feels that way most of the time.  Why bother getting all excited about work, because it IS work.  It's the same old thing, day after day.  Bleh.

I think it's more than that, though.  I don't think I lack energy as much as I lack excitement.  Remember the days in elementary school when you couldn't wait to go to school because it was a special day?  Something exciting was going to happen.

What if our jobs were more exciting to us?  What if we looked forward to working?

Thus I come to the real point.  I'm bored.  That's why I'm lacking energy.  There's nothing exciting to get into.  I watch the rest of the world pass me by, with a ton of excitement about things they're doing, meeting new people, going places, and so on.  I sit at home and am bored.

According to this article, a lot of us are bored:  Why Are We So Bored?  It's a very interesting article, talking about how novelty gives us a hit of dopamine, the feel-good chemical in our brain.  We're so used to over-stimulation, anything less is boring.

The moment I realized what was going on, I realized it's my fault I'm bored.  It's all in my head, because of overstimulation.  If I can get excited about something, or set a goal that will be thrilling, my life will be fun.

My mother was a school teacher.  She used to have a mantra, 'Only boring people get bored.'  I don't want to be boring.  Who does?

So, if you're like me, get out of your chair and find something that makes you have fun.  Give yourself a positive self-speech and enjoy your life.  You only have one life, so why waste it being bored?  Every one needs that hit of novelty, so I, for one, am going to strive to do that once a day.  How about you?

Have a wonderful and fun week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Old Man and His Dog



I live at the end of a street.  Most of the people on our street work for a living and are out of the house during the day.  Since I work at home, I see what goes on during the day around my house.

Some young families go out to walk with their young children, some people walk their dogs but are in a hurry, but most people aren't home.  It's mainly the stay-at-home moms, the retired people, and me.  I'm somewhere in-between those two classes of people.

The family that moved in about two years ago, catty cornered and across the street from our house includes a middle-aged daughter who's trying to get a place of her own, a mom who still works, and a retired dad.  The dad used to work in the school district at their home state, but he decided he wanted to move north.  So they ended up catty-cornered to our house.  Wonderful and very nice people.

After arriving here, they adopted a dog from the animal shelter.  The dog (I'll call her Gigi) had been on the streets and had puppies.  They found homes for the puppies, but Gigi was a neglected German Shepherd, with mange.  She wasn't in good health.

Our neighbors got Gigi and after working with her coat and her medical issues, turned her into the most wonderful dog you can ever imagine.  She's so friendly now, and just a joy to be around.

Every day, the dad walks Gigi.  The dad's older, so he doesn't go fast, but Gigi doesn't care.  He's her best friend.  Wherever Jay goes, Gigi goes, too.  If he goes to the park, she's right in the backseat of the car, right along with him.  If he runs errands, she joins in.  Jay and Gigi are inseparable.

I watch those two pass by our home every day.  It makes me realize that they truly keep each other going.  Since the mom works, Jay and his dog spend more time together than with anyone else.  Every day, rain or shine, he's out walking Gigi.  She loves it.  She meets people along the way, and now, I see that he's training her to be off-leash, to listen to commands without needing a leash.

Jay and Gigi...inseparable, and she's truly man's best friend.  I love to watch them interact, because they have a special bond that I wish most people had.  It includes respect, joy, and most of all, unconditional love.

Some day, Jay and Gigi will be characters in one of my books.  I've never seen such a bond as the bond between those two.  Together forever.




Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bored? Need VR?

Are you bored with your life, like I am sometimes?  Do you need a vacation, but your pockets are empty, like mine?

Two words  -- Virtual Reality.

Virtual reality is (according to MerriamWebster.com):

an artificial world that consists of images and sounds created by a computer and that is affected by the actions of a person who is experiencing it

It's like experiencing a new world without having to leave your chair, feeling like you're in that location.

My son told me that this is a huge up-and-coming field.  Why?  Because of Google's new virtual reality products.  The main one I found are Google Goggles.

From what I see, these products will move around an area by tracking eye movements.  It's an amazing idea.

Here are some free products on Google Play to be installed on phones and/or ereaders (some work,some don't).  You'll need to get Google Cardboard or something compatible to make the rest work correctly.  Otherwise, you'll just have a split screen of the images, kind of like those 3-D glasses (for depth perception).  It also requires something called Gyroscope, so using it on my Nook won't work.

Google Cardboard

Some places to visit:
Village for Google Cardboard
Fish Schooling
Tuscany Drive
Cardboard VR 3D Environment

Very cool stuff!  Check it out!  It's like having a View-master that actually makes you feel like you're there.  Cheaper and safer than a vacation.  LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Been Watching Netflix

I've been on the hunt for something fun on Netflix for a while.  I think I found a few things you might enjoy and wanted to pass them along.

TV Shows:
Republic of Doyle  -- this is a really cute show about a father/son private investigation team.  It's set in Newfoundland (pronounced New-fin-land, with land not sounding like 'lind'), which is GORGEOUS.  I had no idea the people there had accents.  They almost sound Irish at times.  The story is light and I'd highly recommend it if you like shows like 'Columbo,' 'Remington Steele,' and shows of that nature.  Neat series.


The Mysteries of Laura  -- This is a show for moms.  It's about a woman detective who has unmanageable twin boys and is in the process of divorcing her detective husband.  For a mom, I can relate to this one.

Leverage -- I've seen this series more than once and love watching it over and over again.  This is a show where the underdog gets justice.  LOVE IT!  It's a shame this series ended.

Psych -- hilarious series!  Loved it and watched it when it was originally aired.  It's a shame this one ended, too.

The Vicar of Dibley -- This is a really cute British series about a woman vicar in a strange little town.  Very cute!

Keeping Up Appearances  -- This is one of my all-time favorite programs.  I've watched every episode over and over again.  Hilarious!  Rumor has it that it might return with a young teen-age Hyacinth.  YAY!!!

Do you have any more that you'd recommend?

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Friday, April 22, 2016

Need More Competition for Ebook Selling Sites

I went back to 2010 and tracked all my book sales.  I used to do it every day, then every month, and then stopped because the book sales were depressing.

I decided I needed to know what was selling and what wasn't.  But what I found was something even more interesting.  Although I've sold a lot of books on Barnes and Noble and quite a few on Kobo and Smashwords/Apple/etc., I focused on the Amazon sales since they're the biggest site for ebooks that I've found.  I'm also worried Barnes and Noble might go away for ebook sales since some of their latest news is troubling (pulling books from the UK, for example).

Amazon's history with authors is a love/hate relationship, in my mind.  When I first started indie publishing with them, there was no 'algorithm' to speak of, no 'KDP Select' and no gimmicks like there are now (there seems to be a new one every year to me).  My books that were published those first two years did very well in book sales.  Granted, they've also been out the longest, so of course they'd have more sales.  But once KDP Select hit (I think it was in December 2011), my sales plummeted because I didn't jump on the KDP Select bandwagon.  Why didn't I do it?  Because I don't believe in putting all your eggs in one basket, and the KDP Select rules stated you could only have the books for sale on Amazon.  What about people who didn't have Kindles?  Were they out of luck?  I also couldn't give out any free books to the troops which I found unacceptable.

I have issues with Amazon's rules in general.  For example, people can't give reviews of authors they know.  Well...I know a lot of authors.  Some of them are relatives.  I can't review any of their books because Amazon seems to know who I know.  If I do review those books, my books will be pulled off their shelves.  So I don't give out reviews as a rule now, not knowing if Amazon will think I know the author and pull my books.

Even though friends can't review friends' books, troll reviews are okay.  That seems to be fine, even if the reviewer's posts are WAY out of line and personal attacks.  Sometimes the reviewer writes things like 'I didn't read the book but...'  And that's okay.  Boggles my mind.

Then there's the rule of a seven day return policy.  I, like other authors, became victims of this rule.  Readers have seven days to return a book, even if they read it.  So some readers consider Amazon to be their own personal library.  I witnessed this happening with my books.  I saw books in a series being read, one at a time, on my sales page.  Someone would buy the book and a day later, return it to buy another book in the series, and return it next...and so on, over the course of the month.  I wasn't the only author who had this happen.  I saw many threads on forums of this occurring.  I'm waiting for the expose of someone who read a bunch of books, free, even though they cost money, because of this loophole.

It didn't happen at Barnes and Noble, because they only allow a return IF the book hasn't been read past a certain point.  They also have a shorter window for a return.  I also don't hear stories of this happening on other sites, but they are smaller.

Since now that I have questions about the future of Barnes and Noble, and the other venues are small compared to Amazon, what's going to happen?  Is Amazon going to be the only monopoly in town?  Will we all be controlled by what Amazon does?  It's not that I hate Amazon, which I don't, but I don't quite understand the driving force behind it.  It looks like they're playing favorites, to me.

I'd love to see someone compete with Amazon, so they'd start treating authors better.  I just hope I'm not banned from Amazon because of my thoughts.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Coffee With Valerie -- Photo Police Edition

I have this good friend (and I know she'll read this blog posting) who lives near me.  We have kids about the same age and go out for coffee once in a while (usually not weekly, but we strive for that).

She's a hoot.  She, like me, can be sarcastic.  She's one person I can tell anything to and she'll never judge me.  She might laugh at me (while I also laugh at myself) but she'll always be my friend.

So we were out last week, hanging out at the local Target Starbucks and watching the crowd while comparing notes on how to deal with our families.  She decided we should be photo police for some people who look awful while out in public.  Case in point--we saw a young woman in shorts that were entirely too small (like children's size) that covered almost nothing.  The woman had a tattoo under the bottom of the shorts line on her very upper thigh.

If there were photo police out taking pictures of people and then showing them what they look like, people might take a little more time to be respectable out in public.

If someone snapped your profile on their phone and then approached you to show you what the world saw when you were out, what would you think?  I'd be majorly offended, then slink off to my house, never to leave again.  However, like Valerie says, 'You don't have the right attitude.'  She also says, 'You wouldn't understand--you have no life.'  LOL!  Worst part is, she's RIGHT!

What if that were someone's job, and they had to be photo police?  Would people be more careful of what they wore and how they looked if there were actual photo police?  This would be an interesting study in people and a very interesting book plot.

In the book, the person with the short straw would have to go to the local Walmart and see the Walmartians.  (See Pinterest or the People of Walmart web page and you'll understand).


Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20 -- Hide Out Day

In my mind, I call April 20 'Hide Out Day.'  Why, you ask?

Well, April 20 always seems to be a 'bad' day to me and is considered to be the 'worst day of the year' according to The strange history of April 20, from Hitler to Deepwater Horizon.  I didn't realize that until 1999, when the massacre in Columbine High School in, Littleton, Colorado, happened.  If you don't know the reference because you're too young or aren't from the U.S., here is the account of that day:  Columbine High School Shootings

I remember working from home at that time, unable to wrench myself from the television.  I was horrified something like that could happen.

Then I found out more.  The supposed reason the two perps chose April 20 was because it was Adolf Hitler's birthday.  He was born on 4/20/1889.

It's also the day the oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 (called the Deepwater Horizon), and the day AFTER the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building (April 19, 1995).

For all you drug culturists, it's also the celebration of '420' crowd of people who use marijuana.  Wonderful.  People who are high are out in public or something.  Definitely not my scene.

So this time of year, I hide out.  In my family, it's also when most of the deaths occur--April 30 time frame.

Be safe and hide out with me. LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How Brits Perceive Us

I retweet people's posts every morning.  If they retweet me, I retweet them.  It's become a game.  Does it help with sales?  Nope.  But, it does give me insight into what's going on in the world.

I came across this little ditty on twitter:

British people give their best American accent and the result is Hilarious!

Ignoring all the bad words and all the OMGs, listen to this.  I'm not talking about how badly or how well the person can imitate an American accent, but listen to what they think of Americans.

First, they either use a Southern accent or try to sound like they're from California or New York.  I heard once (or read it, but I can't find it anywhere), that the Brits think there's only New York, Texas, Florida, and California in the United States, not realizing there's a LOT more land and are a LOT more people than from those states.  There are also more accents involved.  Take it from someone who lives close to Canada, dontchaknow?  Eh?

Anyway, it seemed that the people on this video think of Americans as kind of laid back and rather stupid, in a Valley Girl sort of way.  It's an interesting thing to watch.

I read a few other articles on this topic, where the Brits are upset with how Americans are WAY too upbeat and positive, tip too much, and can't spell.  They think we should include the 'u' in some words, and make a 'z' into an 's' in others.  They also don't think we can pronounce words such as aluminum (they think it should be al-u-MIN-i-um, adding the extra 'i' and not stressing the 'u').  I also didn't know they thought pants weren't trousers, but underwear?  Very odd, indeed.

When writing about a British character, I suspect my character will be more American sounding than British, even if they're from Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.  Guess I'll just have to visit Great Britain some day and find out more, eh?

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

References:
British people give their best American accent and the result is Hilarious!
10 Things Americans Do That Drive Brits Nuts
30 Things Americans Do That Will Make Any British Person Angry (ignore the language on this one)

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Not About You

Have you ever noticed how the times have changed, and our society has become more and more selfish?  I'm seeing this in books, as well, which reflects society.

If you remember back to 'Gone With The Wind,' for example, Scarlett was a very spoiled girl who only thought about herself and her needs.  Rhett tells her no one cares, in the way only he can do it.  But if that story played today, it'd be a joke that she thought only about herself and everyone would just ignore it.  Rhett would be the bad guy, telling her no one cared.

Back in the 70s, when I was in high school (yes, I'm old), the 'thing' was to be altruistic.  It was a good thing to want to go into an altruistic field, to care about the rest of the world.  I remember the Peace Corps as being something kids wanted to do.  Maybe that was just in my little world at the time, but I thought it was everywhere.  After the turmoil of the 60s, there was still the 'peace, love, kindness' kick going around...at least where I lived.  However, it was classified as the 'Me' generation, because people were into the 'feel good' craze.

Then came the 80s.  I remember in 1979, a friend of mine had a necklace she wore all the time that said, 'Me' on it.  She was very spoiled.  Little did I know but the 80s were more the 'Me' generation in my environment than the 70s.  Maybe it's because I lived in a very conservative area (Lancaster, PA), but I remember television portraying that as well.  It was smart to become as rich as you could.  It was smart to take care of yourself and be independent.  Society changed from the 70s to the 80s.  Music became more upbeat and positive, compared to the mellow tones of the 70s and the anti-everything sounds from the 60s.

As for narcissism, I think that started back in the 60s.  You didn't hear of spoiled brats in the 50s like you do today.  Why, you ask?  I have a theory about that, that begins at childhood and how children are raised.  It all goes back to the 'don't discipline children' and how we should build up their self-esteem.

I look at the selfishness and realize every character has to build on what's important in that society at the time of the writing.  So in 100 years, society's going to change.  Characters are going to change.  Will people look back at the books of today and consider the characters spoiled?  Will society change to be more hard-working, more caring, even more quiet?

Only time will tell, but it'll be an interesting view of society.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Sunday, April 17, 2016

In Search of Style

I was trolling the web, again, and found a few articles that mentioned what kind of writer you are.

Here's one:


Which famous novelist are you?
...and I scored...Ernest Hemingway.

It says this:

You chose clear and unflashy words that get right to the point. Other writers known for this style are George Orwell and Raymond Carver. Try your hand at a six-word memoir or consider a career in journalism.
I didn't like that result, so I went on.

What style of writing is best for you?


Goth/horror?  Uh...probably not.  Gore and fear aren't for me.

Keep moving, I said.  I'm going to go until there are no more tests, or I like the one they say I am. LOL!

Which writing style suits you best?



Eh...no.  I can't rhyme worth a darn.


Next up:  I Write Like

For this one, you have to submit a sample of work.  I put in the latest piece I'm working on.

According to this, I write like Stephenie Meyer of Twilight Fame.

Yeah, not buying it.  My checking account says otherwise.


What Kind of Writer Are You?



OK...I read a bit of the Alchemist online, and I could go with this one.  He's quite a storyteller, letting it unfold word by word.

What's your style?  Try these tests and see for yourself.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Writing: Gender Specific Communication

I've been listening...well, reading emails (long ones) from our youngest daughter lately.  She definitely has female communication skills.  She tells me, in detail, about conversations between her new-found friends and how they all interact.


It made me wonder, in writing, how I can make my characters more believable.

According to this article, Male and Female Communication Styles (I summarized and put the information in a table):


I found this really interesting:
Because the man and the woman spend the bulk of their words in different areas with different purposes, they might not communicate as much when they are together as the woman would prefer, writes Tanner. It can help couples to plan time for nurturing conversation if lack of intimate conversation is causing the woman to feel alone or distanced from her partner.
Keep this in mind when you write characters.  Men and women are different.

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books
--------------------------------------------------
References:
Male and Female Communication Styles




Friday, April 15, 2016

'Find out more' click and bait blogs

I'm really getting tired of these 'click and bait' blogs.  They're the things that give you the impression you have to 'find out more' by clicking.  Then when you click, the answer's not even given.  It's things like 'this reaction will shock you' or 'the solution to world peace is this...'

Why do they do that, and more importantly, why do I feel like I HAVE to click and find out the answer, knowing I'll just be upset because it's not answered?

Also, when will people have enough of this type of blogging and just never click on them?

I guess I'm going to just have to try this once in a while.  LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Metaphors and Similes that Don't Work

Lately, I've been seeing more and more metaphors and similes in snippets on social media.  What's up with that?  Most of them are really bad, and I have to like them and share them because they're so bad, they're funny.  However, the original poster has no idea I'm laughing because I'm not a mean-natured person, but I do enjoy a good chuckle.

Before I go on, I need to tell you what I'm talking about.  By definition, a metaphor is 'a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance.'

So, for example, 'That sign is food for thought' or 'you are my sunshine' are both metaphors.

A simile is defined to be a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in “she is like a rose.”.  The word 'like' is important in a simile.  While a simile may seem like a metaphor it actually allows two things to be compared while remaining distinct. -- (50 Metaphor Examples for Kids)

Some of the contrasts I read were metaphors but most were similes. They were hilarious.  I'm not going to quote any here, because that's just mean.  But if you're a writer, know that other people might not appreciate comparing someone's eyes to a dark sky with a moon in the middle.

Here are a few hilarious similes.  I laughed and laughed at these:

56 best/worst similes used in high school exams…



Enjoy!
SweetTale Books


 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Social Media--and the Rich Get Richer

I have a love-hate relationship with social media.  Recently, a friend of mine told me he bought twitter followers so he could look more credible.  It was only X dollars to do so, and now, according to him, he'll look like an 'expert.'

:: sigh ::

So if you have money to spend, I guess that's how you look like an expert.  Does anyone else have a problem with this, or is it just me who thinks this is dishonest?  It's like the stories of the people buying their way onto the bestseller list.  They didn't write best sellers, but they have money to bribe someone to get there.

I guess I have a problem with it because I don't want to follow in these footsteps.  Does anyone out there agree with me, or am I out of touch with the way this works?


Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Never Take a Coffee Break in the Middle of a Fight Scene

My husband and I were watching a really great series of shows last week on Netflix.  I was really enjoying it.  It was action packed with ninjas and superheroes (you can probably guess what show I was watching, but I'll keep that a secret).

There was this one scene near the end, where the good guy is fighting the worst bad guy.  His minions just stood around watching.  It was as if they were taking a coffee break.  My husband and I were both questioning this.  Why not help out their boss?  The guy was being beaten up, big time, but the ninja guys were just watching.  HUH?

It reminded me of a book I read, while helping out another writer who went on to fame.  That writer had an argument scene, where two people were screaming at each other.  The tension was high and the pace was fast.

All of a sudden, the author decided to put in back story...like over a page of it, in the middle of a scene.  I questioned their methods there.  It destroyed the scene.  Of course, they argued and did what they wanted to do, but seriously?  A 'coffee break' in the middle of a fight scene is never a good idea.  It makes the fight lose momentum.  Once you do that, you lose readers (or viewers) and credibility.

So if you want your characters to take a coffee break, don't do it in the middle of a fight scene.



Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm 55 today.  I usually don't tell people it's my birthday, so I don't get inundated with wishes for a happy birthday.  So no need to wish me a happy birthday.



The only reason I'm posting this is because I made my goal of my age in books!  I'm so happy!  I WAS going to exceed it, but decided I needed to write something new.  Thus, I'm working on a new story to put out soon.

Now, off to celebrate.  YAY, birthday cake!  LOL!




Have a wonderful day!
SweetTale Books

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Stupid Phone Calls

Whatever happened to the good old days, when we could sign up to block all callers trying to sell us something?  I think the sellers don't even follow that anymore.

I get calls all day long from stupid recordings (you'd think they'd respond to my voice) and autodialers to see when I'm home.  (Those are annoying calls when no one's on the other end of the line).

And, this being election season, I'm also getting calls from every person running for anything, with their hands out over the phone asking for donations.

Enough already.  I've taken to doing this...if I don't recognize the number coming up on my phone, I push talk and end right away.  I'm just sick of those calls.

Anyone else agree?  I've also argued with more than one salesman on why I don't ever give money over the phone (like I have any to hand out).  I trust no one calling me.

Now my husband, bless his soul, is so nice to telemarketers.  So I take care of that problem, too.  If they ask for him, no matter what he's doing, he's not available.  He's usually busy (I don't even check anymore), so it's no lie.  They promise to call later when he's not busy, but when and if they do, he's busy, because I'm a nasty gatekeeper.

The one that got me, though, was the other day, Breast Cancer Am called (I assume that's America).  They have a 'smart' recording that's an idiot.  They say, 'Hiya _(name)__' more than once.  If you ask any questions or say 'are you on drugs or something?' they say, 'We'll call back later' and hang up.  Weirdest call yet.  They've called here TWICE.  Very odd. Some smart recording that is. LOL!

Anyway, do as I do.  Get rid of the telemarketers.  Don't answer, or answer and hang up before you have to wait for the lag for them to answer.  LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Saturday, April 9, 2016

If I Had An Extra...

I saw this trending last week:

#If_I_Had_An_Extra_Five_Minutes (I added the underscores so you could read it better).

Wow.  I DO have an extra five minutes, IF I get up in time.  So I'm not sure why people are whining about not having an extra five minutes.

I'd RATHER answer '#If_I_Had_An_Extra_Million_Bucks, personally.  What would I do?

I figure once taxes are taken out, I'd have less than half of that money.  But still, that's more than I have now.

So what would I do?

First, I'd hide the money from people who know me.  It seems to me that people who are rich seem to have family members and 'friends' coming from everywhere with their hands out.

Then, I'd pay off the house, fix up the house, and sell the sucker.  I'd move to an interesting place with a view (see the post from yesterday).

After that, I'd buy my husband a car and help out a few family members, but it'd be anonymous.

That's probably all the farther that money would go, but it's a start.  Then I'd wish for another million or so after that.

Where's that genie in the bottle anyway?  I need him/her more than ever now that I have a plan!  LOL!


Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Friday, April 8, 2016

Enjoy the View

Have you ever read a blog that talked about how rich someone is, and the view from their office?  As I write this, I'm looking out over a muddy backyard, the rain falling, and the grass as green as anything where there's not a lingering snow pile.  I also see the grill on our back porch, waiting for that nice summer day to have grilled...anything.

But I'd LOVE to tell you what I'd LOVE to see out my window.  I'd love to see nature, something interesting, something fun.  Maybe the beach and the waves rolling in.  Or eagles nesting in the trees beside my tree house window.  Or hot air balloons in the sky with a mountaintop in the distance.

Why can't I have that now?  Oh yeah.  We live in Wisconsin.  LOL!

Citizens, go back to your lives.  Nothing to see here...unless you like cheese, snow, and the Packers.  LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, April 7, 2016

...But There's More!

Have you ever stayed up to watch Infomercials at night?  They usually start out with a teaser about the product.  'These knives were used in WWII to chop cabbage into tiny bits for the soldiers.'  Intrigued?  Maybe so.

They're not done yet.  After that initial teaser, they go on to say, 'but there's more.'  Have you noticed, there's always more?  'If you buy these cabbage knives, we'll throw in another set for just shipping and handling.'

Then ten minutes go by.  Oh wow, what do you know.  There's more?  'We'll also throw in this one-of-a-kind doll that some kid played with in the Civil War.  It's worth millions.'

(Um...you're going to give that out to everyone?)

"You only get the doll if you're one of the first ten callers in the next ten minutes."

(Oh.  Right.  Only ten callers, because it's a one-of-a kind...got it).

And so it goes.

But life works that way, too.  Right when you think that's it for the vacation, that's it for the holidays, that's it for everything fun coming up, there's always more.

I was thinking the other day, 'Wow.  Easter's gone.  April Fool's is over.  We got through Christmas and the New Year, and I even made it through St. Patrick's without wearing green.  So the good stuff's over, right?

Nope.  There's always more!  Next up, Memorial Day.  Then Fourth of July.  Then Labor Day.  Then...more, and more, and more.  Life is like that.  There's always more until you die.

So the next time you're looking out the window at the rain, thinking life can't get more cloudy than this, be of good cheer.  There's always a rainbow at the end of the rain.  There's always something to look forward to.  There's always 'more.'

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Feeling Old?

Lately, I've been wearing a 2.6 pound boot on my foot.  (Yes, I weighed it, not believing it was ONLY 2.6 pounds).  I have arthritis on the top of my foot, with bone spurs.  In other words, ouch.  I went to the orthopedic surgeon, thinking he'd jump at the chance to slice and dice my foot and bones, but no...instead he put me through the torture of feeling old with a boot on my foot.

Why would that make you feel old?

Let me explain.  I went to the place on a Monday morning.  Every old person in the universe was there, I think.  I saw more gray-headed people in one place than you can imagine (and yes, I have gray hair but am still dying it so I look younger).  Didn't bother me because since I stay home all day, I deal with old people in the marketplace more than young people (they're all at work).

I went inside the office, and the doc took one look at the X-Rays and my foot.  "Arthritis," he said.  When I hear that word, I think 'old.'  But I took it in stride.  "We'll treat it like a stress fracture to see if that helps."  Sounding better to me.  If anyone asks, I can honestly say, 'he's treating it like a STRESS FRACTURE,' emphasizing stress fracture.  Then he gave me this HUGE peg-leg boot to wear and sent me on my way.

This is where it gets dicey.  While wearing this new weight on my foot, I hobbled back out into the waiting room to sign out.  This really old woman approached me.  She said, 'what's wrong with you?'

Umm..."I'm being treated for something like a stress fracture-like arthritis."

"Are you sure it's not gout?  I have gout.  Don't eat red meat.  Your gout will go away."

No kidding.

Gout?  Who gets gout these days?  Wasn't that a disease, say, back in the 1800s or something?  Or, if you're reading between the lines, OLD PEOPLE???

Thus, I'm now feeling old.  I don't get around as well as I used to.  My hair is really gray and without dye, I'd look a LOT older.  My glasses are bifocals.  I can't hear as well as a 20-year old, apparently, according to the show Brain Games.  I can't even remember simple things (like why I took two steps to the refrigerator) some of the time.

Now that I've had my whine, here's some cheese.  LOL!  I look at people at LOT older than I am, and see that they're happy.  Is it because they've forgotten how to be worried or upset, or is it because they're happy they're alive that day?

Regardless, we have a choice.  We can choose to feel old and look our age, or pretend to be happy and seem younger than we are.  I choose the latter.  Now to get this boot off my foot so I feel that way, too!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Talking to Yourself Again?

I love this quote:  

"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story."  ― Terry Pratchett

That couldn't be more true.  I love it, too, because it seems that with each letter I type, the story comes alive, with twists and turns I never imagined possible.

I'm working on a first draft right now.  Frank (a secondary character) is married at first...and then, I decide he needs a different love interest, so I make his 'wife' his 'girlfriend' that dumps him.  That way, he's now free to move about as the hero's sidekick.  The hero who's on a quest to win the heroine's heart, but she lives halfway across the country.  Poor Frank.  But it made his life and my book so much better!  Frank's a great character and if he stays in the home state and doesn't move to where the hero wants to relocate, Frank's gone.  But if Frank's girlfriend dumps him and he's free to go after the heroine's sister, then it has a much happier ending.

First drafts...they make me crazy and make me talk to myself.  How about you?

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Monday, April 4, 2016

If Someone Bugs You, Write About Them.

Have you ever had to deal with a teenager/20-something?  They'll drive you up a wall.  It's all about them, all the time.  If you interrupt their lives with anything outside their interests, Heaven forbid.  You've now been thrown into the Blackball Dungeon of Midom.  (key creepy music).

That happened to me recently.  I emailed my youngest daughter an article that I THOUGHT would interest her.  She has strange tastes in topics, and anything having to do with weird medical stuff is something she seemed to enjoy.  Or so I thought.  So I emailed her an article (it was pretty interesting, actually) and she was horrified I'd send it to her.  'What if a client saw it when she pulled up her email.'  (She has a class where they have to work with outside clients right now).

Well, I sent it to her PERSONAL email and not her SCHOOL email so that shouldn't be a problem, now should it?

Regardless, she went off on me over various emails.  Fine with me.  I just use the angst for my next book.  If they bug you, write about them.

Guess who's in my next book?  LOL!!!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A True Storyteller

My son sent me a link to a Youtube video by Paul Harvey (1918-2009).  If you've never heard him speak, I'd suggest you go listen to any of his broadcasts.

This guy could tell a story so well, you wanted to know 'the rest of the story,' his tag line.  His media was usually radio, as well.  So the listener had to construct the scene in their head.

My father used to listen to his regular broadcasts.  At the end of his time, he'd always say, 'Good Day' in the way only Paul Harvey could do it.

Here's a list of some of his 'the rest of the story' tales.

Popular Paul Harvey & Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story videos

I just listened to Paul Harvey The Rest Of The Story Lizzie Borden.  He explained the whole setup of why the killer did it.  And no, it wasn't Lizzie.

This guy had storytelling down to a science and able to get the listener to hear the words and imagine what was going on.  He also did it in very few words, no flowery stuff, but just enough to spark someone's imagination.  We could all learn a lot from Paul Harvey.

Have a great week!  Good Day!
SweetTale Books

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Time

Have you ever heard the song, 'Time in a Bottle' by Jim Croce? (Other than on the commercial with the Cookie Monster that's out right now?)

I believe this is the verified location, for the people who own the song.  Jim Croce died in a plane accident in 1973.  He initially released the following song, Time In A Bottle, 1972:



The lyrics are:

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

Songwriters
JIM CROCE
Published by
Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
 
 
----------------------------
 
Now that you've heard the song and read the lyrics, and probably sang along or it's stuck in your head, I want you to think back over your life.
 
If you could save one moment from the past to be able to relive over and over again, what moment would that be?
 
I have quite a few--I'd need quite a few bottles.  Of course, the day I met my husband (it was hilarious, by the way), when I had each of my children,  and some of our fun vacations.  I'd love to relive them over and over again...every single moment.

But what if for every moment we saved in a bottle because we enjoyed it, a bad moment had to be saved as well, to balance out the good times?  Would you even want to go to the good times if a bad time was hooked to it, as well?

Wow.  What an interesting premise for a book.  LOL!

Have a great week!
SweetTale Books

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy April Fool's

April Fool's Day dates back to 1582, with the change in the calendar in France.  The change made the beginning of the new year to be January 1, instead of March 25-April 1.  Some people refused (or didn't know about) the change, and were referred to as fools, since they weren't up with the times.  They were sent on fool's errands and made fun of.

There are different ways to celebrate April Fool's Day.  In Scotland, for example, the holiday is called 'Taily Day' and jokes about the buttocks are made.  Think of the 'kick me' sign as something that would come from Scotland.

In England, the jokes are only made in the morning.  In Portugal, people throw flour on each other.

From my own observation, April Fool's lasts a lot longer than one day.  Some people seem to celebrate year round.  I remember, as a child, saying, 'April Fool's for next year' when I wanted to trick someone but it wasn't on April Fool's Day.

Here are some hilarious April Fool's stunts.  Enjoy!
The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time
25 Best April Fools' Day gags, hoaxes, pranks and practical jokes: No foolin'
Classic April Fools' Jokes Heard on the Radio

Here' are some you can do yourself:
April Fool's Day Pranks and Practical Jokes
Good Pranks to Play
27 Pranks You Need To Really Own April Fools’ Day


Have a great week!  Happy April Fool's Day!
SweetTale Books