Saturday, December 30, 2017

Shoving the Old Out The Door!

I've had it with winter, and we're only a few weeks into it. Never mind that a new year is coming in. We'll still have the same crap (including the same president), so, I doubt the new year could be better than this one was.

As I write this, my husband is plowing the park (right next to our house), and although we were around 10 degrees this morning, it's dropping and wind picked up.

Yesterday I put plastic on my north window. I haven't done the same to my west windows, as it's more work. The top of windows are 8 feet, and I have to stand on a step ladder. I could enlist my husband if I wanted, but I'm going to hope the thick blinds and insulated boards will help hold out the cold. I really don't like putting the plastic up. Our furnace works fine, I also have a heater that blows heat if it gets that bad. I've so far been doing okay in sub-zero temps.

I'm supposed to be working on a synopsis for a book that's ready to go, but I just haven't felt like working on it. I don't know why. Just the idea of condensing everything that happens in a large book overwhelms me.

Besides, I'm sort of waiting until after the new year to put this together. It's the sequel to Spell of the Black Unicorn, and it's called Spell of Dark Castle. A longer work, but it was a joy to write. I wrote it too many years ago to remember.

Well, I'll see if I can't muster up some enthusiasm in the coming days. I do feel like Grumpy above. I just don't know how to get out of this mood I'm in.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

(NOT) A Wonderful Life

Aside from the fact some people really don't like Christmas, the music, the adds, and the weather, getting sick on top of it all was a topper. Oh, it was just a cold, and fortunately I've got 11 days off, so I didn't have to worry about getting back to work this week.

But living in a house that is over 100 years old with a foundation that I have to plug with cement to keep mice (etc.) out, old wiring and plumbing, isn't so wonderful. So, yesterday, when we had continued into the minuses temps outside, we expected the laundry pipes to freeze, but not the kitchen sink.

Let me back up a moment. When we knew it would dip to zero, this week, my husband had to check on the well. Among the many stupid things about his house, one is the well. It isn't deep enough to keep it from freezing, and it is separate from the basement. Impossible to keep warm. They used to put straw bails on top of it, but this draws animals--and it really looks trashy. The heat lamps inside work fine... that is, if they're working. That day my husband went to check through a small opening to see if they were on, he saw that the light had burned out. Great.

This meant he had to go out to the well pit to do so he had to go outside, through the snow, and lift a heavy metal covering. Then go down the ladder and try and squeeze himself into the small hole that one of Santa's elves might fit into, and change a light bulb. This might sound easy, but for my husband with a bad back and two bad shoulders, it usually spells pain.

Which it did. Lifting something heavy, twisting and turning, not the best thing for him to be doing especially in cold weather. So, he did suffer a strained muscle in the back for the past 3 days. Very painful. He had to do the heat-ice-heat-ice thing on it. Which usually relieves it, but it sometimes comes back. Which it did. He took Alieves, but those mess up his stomach. But you deal with that.

Good news, our well didn't freeze up, but cold water pipe for the kitchen did. I was fine as long as I had hot water. But this morning that also froze. Which doesn't make sense since it was warmer last night, but I gather it's more an accumulated affect than anything.

Dennis also got my cold, but I assured him if he just took care of it, he'd be fine. Here I'd been taking elderberry juice in order not to get sick, and yet someones germ got through my defenses.

Today, what is it? Thursday? I'm over the cold, and so is Dennis. His back is better, but he has to watch it.

He took a trouble light down to the crawl space this morning to aim the heat light on the pipes. Hopefully this should work in an hour or so. Goody. I'll get to do dishes. Well, we ate cereal this morning.

The bad news is, we've got another week of deep cold, and maybe more snow.

I'll let you know if things get better in a week or so. In the meantime I'm just glad to not have to hear another damn Christmas song.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Customer Reviews... Good, Bad, and Best!

I always cringe when I see a new review has come up on my books. I'm never sure what they will say. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised, and some make me see blood.

The following reviews are for my first Sabrina Strong book Ascension.

The latest one went thus:

Topic/story was great. However, grammar and spelling drove me crazy. Too many gaps in the story line. Erratic starting and stopping of chapters. Towards the end there was a very large gap in the story. I realize the first book was free. However, I'm not sure if I am captivated to find out more about the story line.
Best of luck in your continued adventures.

This one gave me two stars. I must say I'm not sure what she means by gaps in the story line, or "Erratic starting and stopping of chapters". The start of a chapter is when a new scene beings and the end of it is either the end of a scene, or when the writer wishes to stop in the middle of something, and make you want to read on. Apparently, since this person did read on, that trick did it's job. It's not something I made up. If she ever reads other authors she should note this happens quite a lot. Patricia Cornwell will stop in the middle of things, end the chapter and start right where she stopped. It is a writer's perogative, I would think, how they want to do this, but in many writing suggestions by seasoned writers, what I do is what I've learned from those seasoned writers.

Let's take another one. This was one of my better ones. These are both taken from Amazon.

I LOVED this book. The intrigue really had me wondering what was going to happen next. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. If it is half as good as this one is, I am in for a real treat.
I would recommend this series for anyone loving this genre.

The above was a 5-star review. This woman did read all five books, and gave reviews on all of them. I was hoping to hear from her again. In fact she asked me to let her know when the 6th one came out. Unfortunately I don't know what happened to her. Her facebook entries ended sometime earlier in the year. I have no idea what might have happened to her.

Some of my best reviews come from facebook, in fact. People who are real fans will find me or my books and leave some sort of review.

This one was left for me yesterday, and believe me it takes the bite out of the first one I shared with you.

Absolutley LOVE your books ...can.t wait for #7 of sabrinas!!

I like these because I can thank the person directly on facebook. I find that interacting with fans is the best way to keep them interested. 

Even though my publisher has stated that reviews sell your books, I think word of mouth is better than a hand full of reviews. I can't make someone leave a review, and really paying for a review is just like bribing someone to say something nice. I find that somehow dishonest. I know other authors do this, and lovely that they've got money to burn on such things. (I don't make that much as a writer and even if I did I wouldn't pay for a damned review!) People make a review either because they want to, or have the inclination of leaving reviews of books they have read. If you check the names of those people who leave the review, you'll see what I mean. You can go and read all of their reviews and see if they are stingingly honest with all their reviews, never give more than 3 stars, or if they enjoy books of a certain genre and make nice reviews on most or all.

Here is one that I got at my Author Page on Facebook:

This morning I sent this out to one of the 'reading groups' I belong to;
Hey everyone;
I just last night ( ok- 1am!) finished the Sabrina Strong series by Lorelei Bell. Al 5 of them - started them on the 26th and could not stop! Most unique vampire series I have come across in MANY years- you do need to read them in order though - there must be a 6th and more coming & I just cannot wait!!!
Happy Memorial Day, All !!

As you can see, many of my fans are here and interacting with me there. Which is good. I know that people buy my books because there are sales all the time. A "free" ebook will boost sales on the rest of the books, which is what an author of a series hopes for.

Well, I'll end this rambling for now. Just wanted to share this with everyone. Hoping for more reviews on my books @ Amazon, though. I like to see them. Just don't like those 1- or 2-star ones.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Warning To Men and... Women

It's nearly impossible to miss the many, many sexual harassment suits coming down on men in high positions, these days. The most recent one being Al Franken, D-Minnesota, the former "Saturday Night Live" comedian who went on to become a liberal U.S. senator. He made a point of speaking out that the President himself has been taped admitting to getting away with sexual assaults and Roy Moore has been accused of going after young teenage girls.

Thing is this is nothing new. It's only now that women feel empowered about coming out with the abuse/horror, and threats they've lived through at the hands of powerful men.

I can say I've had a few brushes with such in my life time.

I've been able to bury the fact I lived next to a child molester most of my life. I never let him touch me, he told me what he wanted to do, and I told him I'd scream. After which, he did give me some money. I should have extorted more, I think. Had I been a different person, I could have probably gotten him to pay me hush money for years.

Young women, and especially teens have no idea that a man paying them a complement, showing them some sort of attention, offering them money or a ride (RED FLAG), they may think he's a "nice guy", that he's "harmless". But you can't know what a man's real intentions are.

When I was in my twenties, I gave a young man a ride once. I didn't know him. When I stopped to let him out, he thought he could grope me. What the hell? I never gave him any indication I was a hooker.

All that I'm saying is you just don't know what the opposite sex is thinking when you give them the slightest nod, even if you think it's harmless.

I've seen certain things that go on where I work, during breaks. Women talking and joking with some of the men. I've seen them get chummy, giving hugs. I'm not one who hugs another man, only my husband. I think it's inappropriate. I think it gives a guy the idea that if he can hug you, he might be able to touch you elsewhere.

I speak from another experience when I made the mistake of giving a man I worked with false signals that maybe I was interested, when I wasn't. I'm married. I'm not interested in other men, other than being friends. It's sometimes hard to realize how far a guy might take things, if given the chance. This one man I knew at my workplace [who I'll just call Mr. X and no longer works with us, and has moved away (thankfully)]. He had a great personality, very loud, and joked a lot. I never hugged him or showed that I was interested, but we joked back and forth a lot. Sometimes the jokes were double entendre. When he moved, he came back into the area for a visit. Mr. X got on my bus, his usual boisterous self, and leaned toward me as if to give me a kiss on the lips. I have no idea where he thought that was something I'd welcome. I quickly moved my head away so that all his lips got were my cheek. I think that cooled Mr. X's heels for the remainder of his visit.

One more example. I was going steady with a man (not my husband), who invited me to his family's Christmas events. His grandfather was/had been a tax assessor. At this time he was restricted to a chair. Since I'd been accepted by the whole family, it was hugs all around. However, giving grandad a hug was a bit difficult, but I leaned down and his big hands went under my arm pits and thumbs went right to my ta-tahs. I was embarrassed about this. Kept it to myself, but I never gave him any more chances to touch me. I felt badly for his wife. Maybe she knew, maybe not. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who got such treatment from him.

Let's be clear. I'm not vilifying men. I think most are gentlemen and know how to keep their hands (and thoughts) to themselves.

However, it's the ones who take liberties that give men a bad name.

Chickens lay eggs, and so do Turtles

For those of you who don't know my husband is park ranger and one of his main jobs is mowing. He has a large deck (72") Toro Zero T...