Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Enter the Smartphone




Okay! Here I am confessing: I must be one of the last people in the US to switch to a smartphone. On a trip to Atlanta to see a stellar grand-girl graduate High School, I was overwhelmed by family--both kids and grandkids--demanding that I get a better phone. So—I caved at last, regaled with all the storied delights that awaited me once I owned such a device. I returned home with said phone tucked inside a pair of socks. We had been too busy with visiting back and forth, hanging out, and attending various graduation festivities to go searching for a case through Atlanta’s daunting traffic.   I figured this would be a good time to make the big change, as I’d have two sons, two DILs and a grand girl to instruct me in at least some of the major arcana.

I was once considered a tech savvy person, but those days are loooong gone. There’s a certain inverted pride in still using a bona fide IBM keyboard from the 80’s, hitched to an early 2004’s computer. It is, however, getting to be more difficult to lag behind than to “get with the program,” as software, and hardware too, endlessly morph. IMHO, (as I learned to say on USENET) I suspect that all the “updating” is simply an excuse to wring more $$ from hapless consumers. One of my friends has a fantasy about MS65, a program geared to seniors, which would be guaranteed to run without chronic episodes of silicon insanity (could I perhaps be alluding to MS 10??) and also guaranteed not to change or alter in any way for a decade. That’s about the right amount of time for many of us cotton-tops to learn a software program these days, I fear. 

Of course, stability/continuity is not what software developers are into these days—the more things fail to work as promised, I guess, the better it is for business, or something. Anyway, while I’m griping, what’s with their penchant for hiding the most commonly used operations three or four—or five--pull downs deep? Is it so we have to humiliate ourselves and buy the latest copy of “…For Dummies”? And what’s with that “Search” that leads you into Alice in Wonderland conversations with   ?? Couldn’t "search" just continue to do what the word indicates that it does?

This morning, I awoke to the sound of chimes—my new phone, of course. I’d set the alarm, hitched it to the wall socket and left it wakeful. Now, I leapt out of bed, and attempted to turn the alarm off without first putting on my glasses. Next thing I knew, I’d taken four blurry pictures of myself. It took a few more minutes of struggle before I managed to figure out how to put the camera back to sleep and find the clock + alarm again. 


How did I, whose first and foremost mental image of “phone” remains the graceful black candlestick apparatus in my grandparent’s living room, enter a world where a small slim box in my hand can deposit checks, take pictures, tell time, and connect me to the internet and thence to untold wonders of consumption? As Charlie Brown so often said, "It boggles the mind."



~~Juliet Waldron

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Developing Characters in Your Stories by Connie Vines

How do you go about developing your characters for a story?  

How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process ?  What inspires you?

Thank you Rhobin, once again, for a great writing topic.

I believe development of my characters has a great deal to do with the type of novel/story that I am writing at the time.  Obviously, my novellas, for lack of work count, are not superficial by any means, but my information is given via dialogue or internal thoughts with visual clues.  My romantic suspense will have a lesser degree of character development, unless it relates to  the 'suspense element' that say, my traditional romance novels.

However, I do write character sketches for all of my 'people'.  I may sprinkle the info in the story, or simply keep in in the back of my mind for character motivation.


  • I often use astrological signs to help develop my characters and create conflict.  Rodeo Romance, Book 1, (LYNX).  Lynx Maddox is a Leo and Rachel Scott is an Aquarius.  Opposites attract but they also create great romantic conflict.
  • Birth Order is another way to develop your character(s) actions and outlook on life. Pairing a 1st born woman with the 'baby' of the family or vise-a-versa, will create writing inspiration.  
  • Ethnic background is also to be considered.  If one character is from a large immigrate family is dating a person who is an only child (4th generation) with have all types of expected things popping into picture.
  • If I am writing a historical novel, I often make a composite of historical people/clues in diaries and letters (WHISPER UPON THE WATER)
  • At other times, with all of my careful planning, the writing process flips my character into a secondary character or he/she evolves and I go back and edit/change several scenes.
  • Also physical attributes/challenges.  We all have them.  Did those dimples work in her favor?  
What inspires me?  Life.  People's hopes and dream.  Honor. Justice.  And sometimes, just the need for a good laugh.

Happy Reading!

Connie Vines

Stop by and see what the rest of this months' Round Robin writers have to say.








Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Angel Cat


Cat Woman, the GMA version


I was working a PAWS volunteer, every other Friday at Petsmart(c). Friday night duty was a slot they had trouble filling, but I was retired, and half sick, too, so I was never wanting to be out on the town. I am a long time cat lady, who has learned slowly and over the years about cats, and I know they need their space. I cleaned cages, scooped poop, cuddled when the cats let me, wrote notes for the folks in charge, took information, tried to get visitors to understand the PAWS rules.


I soon learned the potential adoptees were a lot more trouble than the cats. There were women who wanted to park kids there, or bring in a pushing mob + stroller. All those little voices were apparently tuned to screaming over the TV at home. Some of these rescue cats really weren’t up to that much humanity, especially when backed into cages in a narrow, walled in glass space. I put my foot down, as had others before me, and signs posted on the door by the store managers helped. “No kids without parents! No more than three people at a time!”

I’d been there for two years, taking my place behind the glass wall, sweeping the floor, cleaning cages, making sure there was food and water, that all feline were present and accounted for when I left, when my illness reached a critical point. I had Ulcerative Colitis and often there was the "I wanna collapse" level pain.

I was on the verge of my first ER trip, when they brought in a new litter of kittens. These were about six months old and mostly black. The head of our local PAWS had a husband who was a hunter, often over at his gun club. He was the one who’d spotted the Queen, hiding under the porch. He’d also heard the mews of tiny kittens, and he’d persuaded those who didn’t like cats to leave them alone until he went home and got the live trap. They were fostered for several months before they got to the store. Their now neutered Mama already had a forever home.



A cage full of kittens is a wonderful thing—all tumbling acrobatics, daring and sass. It was so much fun to lock the entrance to the space and let them out to play in front of the cages. Besides, nothing revs up potential adoptees more than kittens. I scattered balls and stuffed mice, got the feather teaser out, and began to enjoy the sight of them leaping around, chasing and tumbling crazily in the limited space. They batted balls, went sliding on the linoleum, and just generally had a big old time. They’d been given “sportsman” names because a gun clubber had rescued them from beneath the club house. They were  Blue Steel, Bullet, Smithie, Bowie, Archer, and Hunter. Several were tuxedos, adorable babies with round heads, neat white paws and full bibs. 


I stopped playing after a little and that was when I heard a soft mew behind me. When I turned, there was one who hadn’t joined the others on the floor. Totally black, this one was, with just a few white hairs on his chest, and an elegant, almost oriental head. I stepped close to the cage, and he simply climbed out onto my shoulder, then slipped down into my waiting arms. In the next moment, he began kissing me, and patting my face with his dainty feet.

He didn’t want to get down. He wanted to be held, to rub his face against mine and exchange vibrations. This is, as cat people know, is not the norm with kittens, especially when all your brothers and sisters are blasting nearby.  I was weak that night; my body just about ready for either death or cutting. I knew it was about my last tour of PAWS duty, that even two hours of serving the cats and the public was a stretch.  



When the baby was done kissing, I turned back his ear to see the number of his PAWS tattoo, and before I left that night, I left an application for adoption pinned on the cage. I knew I’d have an uphill battle convincing my husband to take in another—it had been part of the deal about volunteering that there were to be no additional cats—but within a week I brought him home—our beautiful boy from-under-the-gun-club. He crawled in bed with me that night and stayed at my side while I declined toward the bed-ridden and near-death experience of that year.

Sometimes, an "ordinary kitty" turns out to be nothing more or less than a gift from the Universe. This one, with the kisses and hugs which he bestowed upon me daily--like all little rays of divine light, he didn't manifest for long on this plane--was a full-on Blessing.






~~Juliet Waldron 

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Monday, May 29, 2017

WHAT THE HECK???

MySpace Graphics - Attitude


When we come into this world, there should be a handbook rolled up in our little palm so that we have an idea of what to expect. Every milestone has been somewhat of a shock. I shall explain from the female's perspective, since I can't speak with authority for the other gender:

As a young girl, you wake up one day, get dressed, and discover that you have embarrassing bumps in your t-shirt. What fit perfectly snug against you one day, now looks like someone has glued peas to your chest. When you're cold, it's even worse. It really doesn't matter what you wear, the evidence of blooming is ever present. You try to ignore the boy's snickers.

As a teenager, you've gone from a t-shirt to at least a training bra, but now you face having a period every month. If your mother didn't tell you the facts of life, you go to the bathroom, discover blood, and think you're dying. If she did explain mother nature's calling, then you just FEEL like you're dying.

As an adult, you most likely give birth to a child. No one can describe the pain associated with that. The best I heard was a joke that said, "Take your bottom lip and try and pull it over your head." I think it's more like trying to get a school bus out of the garage using the doggie door, but that's just me.

As a middle age woman you notice lines and wrinkles beginning to appear. It happens overnight just like the t-shirt bumps. One day you have smooth skin, the next you don't.

Then it really becomes tense. Your breasts, once perky and upright, have developed magnets that seem to be attracted to the toes of your shoes. Whatever held up the skin on your neck has disappeared and someone fan-pleated your lips. Mother Nature thinks your hair needs a frost job, and the color isn't at all attractive. As a protective device, your body begins building a shelf to catch the boobs that are headed south. As if that isn't enough, your legs have more blue lines than a road map.

At fifty-five, you become eligible for a senior meal at Denny's. You order it and pray someone will card you. They don't.

Of course, this is just a 'thumbnail' of the horrors of aging, but wouldn't it have been nice to have a warning? Now I'm facing sixty-two. The year went by so fast, I didn't even get to say I was sixty-one. It's scary.

I went to the doctor today because my legs and feet have been swelling. Of course, I've put on a few pounds because I sit at the computer most of the day instead of exercising. I get up everyday and say, "Hmmm, jogging or checking my email... sit ups or writing another chapter?" Well you can imagine which I choose. So today, the doc tells me I need to walk more and he gives me a RX for a very strong water pill. I was so depressed over being weighed that I resolved to start walking.

There's a little park not far from his office. I pulled in and got out of the car and decided to walk the one mile track there. Let me just say... you should not try to walk a mile on your first attempt if the most exercise you've had recently is moving your fingers over the keyboard. Halfway around I thought I was going to die. Literally. My legs turned leaden, sweat was pouring from my forehead, and every step was torture. At the half mile turn, I spied my car. I focused on it, and forced one foot in front of the other until I got there. I collapsed in the seat. I had to rest a minute before driving, but once I got off my swollen feet I felt pretty satisfied that I'd actually done a half mile. I decided to go to Walmart and do some shopping. I'm pretty sure I did another half mile there.

So....it's 2:00 A.M. I just woke up with leg cramps that rival childbirth. I have never had my big toe lift off of the floor and point at me. Try walking like that. Try climbing the stairs to the kitchen to get some orange juice to restore the lost potassium with Charlie horses in both legs and your big toe standing at attention. Oh Lord. I'd rather have the swelling.

So, I've had my orange juice, I've bitched, but now I'm afraid to go back to sleep. What if it happens again? Growing old isn't for the faint of heart. I need a muscle relaxer. :) Actually, I need a good stiff drink. I can't wait to see what's in store tomorrow. Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me. Happy Birthday dear Ginger... Happy Birthday to me. And many mooooreeee. *lol*

Monday, May 1, 2017

Classic Ginger: Hell Finally Froze Over

MySpace Layouts - Cute



I think I muttered the cliche associated with hell when someone asked if I planned to live with my son and his family for long. Well, it's been a year and I'm still here, doing daycare for my grandson, cleaning, washing, shopping, cooking, and trying to find time to be an author, blog, myspace, bebo, you name it.

It's not easy living with another family, and I'm sure there are days when my daughter-in-law wants to kill me as much as I'd like to leave her body in a dark alley somewhere. But we've managed to survive. I've learned to have tunnel vision when I pass through their portion of the house, smartly ignoring the unmade bed, the stacks on her desk, and the spots all over her bathroom mirror. Okay, so my tunnel vision hasn't been perfected yet but I'm working on it.

She held a job as a Correction's Officer when I first came here and was on second shift. That sucked because she was like 'mother in abstencia', but now she has a new job and she's home evenings. I know because I hear her upstairs watching the soap operas she recorded during the day. *lol* I thought life would become more normal and the dust less thick, but I was wrong.

Now I have to contend with a whole new problem. DIL works for a company that services and fills money machines and those lovely games that your children yank you over to when you go into restaurants, Walmart and other places. Her company-provided van resembles like a 'carney' on the way to set up a booth at the local fair, but she works hard and long. She tells me everyday. *lol*

The new headache around here for me is the 'stuffed animal' hospital thats gathering in the corner of the dining area. Toys that are damaged in any way can't go into the machines, so as she finds them, she brings them home and tosses them in a pile. It's growing in frightening leaps and bounds. (emphasis on frightening) Right beneath the three-legged unicorn is a really scary broom-less witch, a three-armed Sponge Bob, and a myriad of other colorful plush that are torn, frayed, or disfigured. I'm hoping it's just special-effects for Halloween, but I'll let you know. I had a nightmare last night that I was attacked by handicapped plush animals and woke up fighting with my pillow. I thought dust and clutter in the rest of the house was bad. I think I'll entitle my next book, Lunacy on Lick Creek Rd.

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