Thursday, September 27, 2012

Contest

I just submitted my 100 word blurb and 5000 word entry for a romance novel on www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com.  If you have a romance novel done (or near done), then check it out.

I’ve had this novel done for a while.  I’ve been meaning to submit it to Harlequin but never gotten around to it.  Now I’ve gotten around to submitting it for a contest.  All the first chapters are going to be posted for people to vote on.  The top 25 will be advanced with 3 more being selected by the editors. 

Now it is a wait and see thing.  Fortunately I won’t have to wait long as they will notify the winners by October 12.  Then there is another round where editors review and only three end up finishing.

I’m nervous about this but at the same time I know if this doesn’t work then I’ll figure something else out or just submit it again, and again, and … you get the picture.  Or I might actually figure out how to go through and self-publish. 

Wish me luck and let’s hope I get lots of votes…

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Politics

Ads, propaganda, and blowhards are flooding the airwaves with bullshit about which person would be better for the job of president, or which party should have control to guide our nation forward.

I doubt any politicians will read this but here are some things we need to do to make this a better country:
 
·         Everyone whose income is over 75K a year should pay a flat rate of income tax.  Yes we can still give tax credits for kids, retirement, and so on but it all starts out even.  I guess if you have to have levels those from 50K to under 75K should pay a smaller percentage but under 50K shouldn’t have to pay anything – they already aren’t making it.
·         The political employees (Senators, Presidents, Congressmen, etc) all get the same retirement as the rest of us – Social Security or private paid for by their own funds not tax payer funds.
·         The old and infirm, the veterans –these groups should be cared for.  I don’t care if they live for 20 years or 50 years and need the care.  They aren’t able to do for themselves anymore and in some cases have stood the line defending our country.
·         Women are equal to men.  Gender does not make a difference.  If we have to do a fair wage thing – let’s do it.  No one should be discriminated against and women still are.  The government should stay out of the woman’s health care issues.  If people want abortion to stop then they better figure out ways to fix the problem of unwanted pregnancy – not get in the business of individual women.  This may mean that we have better adoption laws, better access and distribution to birth control and we EDUCATE.
·         Marriage is a union – it is a contract that shouldn’t matter whether the two parties are of the same gender or not. 
·         Corporations are not people.  All funds for campaigning should go into a central fund and be distributed evenly amongst all the candidates – so if there are 10 people running for a position and a million bucks were donated for that position – each candidate gets the same amount.  Attack ads should be banned.  Ads should be solely about what the candidate believes and wants to do. 
·          Education is KEY to eradicating poverty.  This doesn’t necessarily mean every kid has to be shuffled into college.  We still need plumbers, welders, electricians, and other crafts that require hands on training.  If you are on aid from the government – unemployment or welfare – you have to further your education in order to better place yourself.  We need to support that.
·         Don’t get into wars.  Okay if someone is threatening the US – really threatening not some bogus BS – it is okay to fight but there are almost always better solutions than going to war.  If you want to put our young people into harm’s way you better have a damn good reason for it – not some fantasy WMD myth.

I’m sure there are more things but these are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.  As a politician, I expect you to be on board with these things.  If you aren’t then I have to figure out whether you are worth voting for.  I don’t’ want a President that dismisses half the country (even in a speech meant for a targeted audience).  I want a President who is going to try to serve the country as a whole, who will represent the US in a positive light, and who will be able to make the tough choices.  I want representatives who are going to listen to my opinion on all issues and only make decisions after they have listened to their constituents not based on an antiquated religious belief system which subjugates half the population. 

I am tired of all the BS ads and lies being told.  If you can’t open your mouth and speak the truth – then don’t open your mouth.  Mostly, I want all the damn political crap to be done.  My absentee ballot came and I’m going to fill it out, send it back and be done with it.  I can only hope the rest of the people in the country really think about what direction we want to go – forward into the future or backwards into an era that is long dead and shouldn’t be resurrected.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Publications

At my job, a request has been made for all publication for faculty and staff in the last year.  My faculty know I write so they have encouraged me to participate.  I was feeling like I hadn’t done much over the last year.  Then I gathered up the material.  Since July of 2011 I’ve had a dozen items published and that doesn’t count my own personal blog or the second blog I did for a bit. 

Periodically I feel like I’m not devoting enough time to submitting my work.  I feel like I could do more and should do more in order to add to my credits.  If people don’t see your name regularly they forget who you are.  The problem is I have been focusing on writing.  I have ideas of what I want to submit where but I just haven’t taken the time (I’ve had it but spent it elsewhere). 

A dozen items printed isn’t bad.  I want more – greedy aren’t I?  I want my book out there.  I’ve been very focused on that.  I’m currently reading the guide for self-publishing on Smashwords.  I’m hoping to take my notes from that and get my romance novel out there.  Then the next step is to get a poetry book out there.  Once I go through the Smashwords process, I will want to get paper copies done too so yet another process. 

I feel like the process is never ending.  I know that in addition to the actual publishing I’m going to need to do marketing as well – no point in publishing if no one knows your book is out there.

I need to do two things – schedule my time better and clean my desk / office.  Then I’ll be organized and will have time set aside for the tasks at hand.  I was going to do the office this weekend but woke with a migraine this morning and went back to bed.  I got up at 11 instead of 7.  Still have a slight headache but I need to get homework done.  No office organizing today. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eczema

I’ve had eczema on my legs for over two years.  If you don’t know what it is, this is a rash like skin irritation which is very itchy and painful.  I’ve tried steroid cream from the doctor and lots of over-the-counter stuff to try to get rid of this. 

The steroid cream made my normally not very hairy legs exceedingly hairy but did give me some minor relief.  Aveeno Eczema cream helped with some of it but didn’t really give me good relief from the symptoms.

Vicki and I have been making homemade soaps and hygiene products because she struggles with the chemicals in a lot of products.  We started with shampoo.  When she shifted to the new homemade shampoo, she went from having a constantly sore head to no red or itchiness.  The only side effect she had was her hair was curlier. 

Next we tried hand soap.  I’ve not been able to use hand soap for nearly two decades because most soaps make my hands break out in itchy hives.  The soap we made though doesn’t irritate and I can use with no side effects. 

We tried lotion to help my legs.  This was a bit more complicated to make but for me it was worth it.  The lotion comes out more like a salve.  It isn’t sticky but is slightly oily.  One thing I hate about lotion is the sticky feeling left on my skin when I apply it.  This doesn’t feel that way.  I’ve been applying the new lotion about once a day.  My one leg has gone from red and constantly itchy to very little red (mostly around the sores from scratching) and the itching has decreased significantly.  My other leg – which was worse – is coming along. 

I think this will help in the long run.  I do want to look into adding turmeric to my lotion as that is supposed to be really good for eczema.  Vicki and I will keep experimenting and see how this all works out. 

Below are the recipes and web sites for shampoo and lotion that Vicki found:


Shampoo
Basic:
For normal hair, or as a base to add your own scents, use
            1/4 cup distilled water
            1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
            1/2 teaspoon jojoba, grapeseed, or other light vegetable oil

Mix together all the ingredients. Store in a bottle. Shake before use.

This mixture isn't as thick as commercial shampoos - you'll need to just tilt the bottle over your head. I am really impressed with how much lather I get from it though!


Organic Homemade Lotion Basic Ingredients:
            1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
            1/4 cup coconut oil
            1/4 cup beeswax
            Optional: 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
            Optional: 2 tablespoons Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter
            Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference

How to Make Lotion:
1.      Combine ingredients in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a mason jar that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars, or you can even reuse a glass jar from pickles, olives or other foods.
2.      Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
3.      Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.
4.      As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Small mason jars (8 ounce) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!
5.      Use as you would regular lotion. This has a longer shelf life than some homemade lotion recipes since all ingredients are already shelf stable and not water is added. Use within 6 months for best moisturizing benefits.

Note: A litte goes a long way! This lotion is incredibly nourishing and is also great for diaper rash on baby, for eczema and for preventing stretch marks!

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Week

The first week back with all the faculty and students was, in a word, chaotic.  It was exhausting just trying to keep up with all the people and I still had to go to classes. 

This semester I have two classes Manuscript Editing and Topics in Technical Writing – Grant Writing.  The Grant Writing class is interesting and I’m excited for.  The Manuscript Editing class is a lot of technique I think – grammar, punctuation, and technical information.  I think I will learn some from it but I’ll see how I feel about it as the class goes on.  After class on Tuesday, I’m going to have a conversation with the instructor to see how things go. 

Being a non-traditional student, I fall outside the norm in most things and I think this will be another class where that is the case.  I’ll see how it goes and hopefully it will help me be a better editor. 

The interesting thing is I’ve always said I don’t want to master anything but as I do more of the editing I find I do want to master this.  Is there a master’s degree down the line for me?  I don’t know.  I know that I enjoy – yup I said enjoy – learning about the grammatical part of writing. 

For me, though, I have to be careful about becoming too technically correct in my writing (for fiction)  because when you are extremely proper in your writing it sounds very formal.  This makes it less reader friendly. 

It is a matter of balancing things.  For the articles and non-fiction writing I want that correctness and formality but for fiction I want it more reader friendly.  Focusing on the end product is key and that will help me produce the best possible product. 

Crafting Escape

It was a good weekend.  Friday I left work to go to the doctor with Vicki.  We were forceful about her needing a different antibiotic.  She ...