Thursday, June 30, 2011

Art and Decorating

When my husband and I first got married and started to decorate our house we made a deal with each other.  We didn't want to buy pictures in store that anyone can buy and hang them in our house.  We wanted something special, something that reflected our personality, not anyone and everyone elses.

Okay, that was our challenge, where do get pictures from then?  Luckily our answer was solved for us.  About two months after we got married, friends of ours got married and their wedding was to be in Vermont where they met.  If you don't know Vermont, there is a very large art community there.  While we were there for the weekend we stopped by an art festival with a few friends.  It was that weekend we bought our very first work of art. The picture was small, but not tiny.  That when we decided that was how we would decorate our house.  We would only buy our pictures at art festival or galleries. Expensive right. Actually if you shop around and know your budget it is very doable.

Fifteen years later we have bought enough  to satifisy our walls.  Actually we were done a few years ago, but we still love to look. A few are very special to us.  One reminds us of a house we stayed in and took care of early in our marriage.  It hangs in our living room.  It's one of our favorites, another hangs above our fireplace of an old colonial with a horse and carriage outside.  It caught both of our eyes at the Ball and Claw in Newport, RI.  Then we have three antique maps hanging together, one for each state we have lived in.  This was also purchased at an art festivel.  I love old maps, they have a history to them that is enchanting to me.

Here are a few artist which might be of interest to you, and if you can go to their galleries or blog page, please do.  Every starving artist needs a fan base, it doesn't matter if you are an artist, or writer, everyone loves a leg up. I promise the art is beautful.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wine not Whine

Have you ever been to a vineyard?  There is something magically romantic about it. I'm not sure if it is the multiple rows of beautiful full grapes on the vines, or the fragrance of the grapes in the air. I am not a big drinker, one glass of wine, and I am set for the night.  I'll hold on to the same glass all night long. Usually at when my husband and I go out to dinner or even have dinner at home he'll ask me if I'm going to finish my wine.  He doesn't want it to go to waste.  Let's face it a good bottle of wine isn't cheap, and I only like the expensive ones.  But just because I'm not big on wine doesn't mean I can't enjoy a walk though the vineyard.

I love tasting the different wines, finding out what food they pair best with, and of course cooking with it.  I live in the north east and when I found out how many vineyards there are in my area I was surprised.  Growing up I always thought of vineyards in California, or Italy, not Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Who would have thought?  Not me that's for sure. 

So playing the tourist in our current state of residence; my husband and I decided to make the trip to visit a few vineyards in our area.  Guess what?  We found a a few gems.  We two really.  The others were nice, beautiful really, with great wine, but lets face it, everyone has a favorite and we are no exception.

Two of our favorites (and I'm giving away free publicity here) are Anthony Edwards in North Stonington, Ct.
and Newport Vineyards in Middletown RI.

If you are ever in the area you will want to check them out.  Oh, and at Newport Vineyards you can be case members and get a discount.  Check out their websites below.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gangs of New York

I don't know how many people have seen Gangs of New York, personally I just watched it and I have one word for it. Wow.

The word Wow can be taken different ways.  In this case the word Wow simple means blown away.  Still not sure?  Well if you saw the movie you know exactly what I mean.

Gangs of New Work is a movie about exactly that, Gangs in New York. The difference is the movie takes place during the Civil War.  Now, I have to be honest here; I never realized that gangs excited then, but then again why not?  Why wouldn't it?  The United States was in turmoil.  The North was fighting the South.  Abraham Lincoln had a tough job in front of him.  Immigrants were coming off the boats at Ellis Island left and right.  What surprised me in the movie though was how as the immigrants got off the boats the military was there signing them up for the war. Think about it, as they got off the boats at Ellis Island ready to start their lives in a new land, they were signed up for war and put right back onto a boat; most probably to lose their lives. Never thought about that.  Did you?

Now I don't know how much of the history part of this particular story line is true, but wow; there's that word again; did it raise a few eye brows in my house.  The story has well played out, the acting was A list with actors ranging from Liam Neeson, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day Lewis (Loved him in Last of the Mohegans), Leonardo DiCaprio, and many more. The violence was very realistic, and it was very violent, but I'm not sure the movie could have played out any other way. 

The heart of the story is about a young boy who's father (Liam Neeson) the leader of the Dead Rabbits; who is killed in a fight by the Leader of the Natives (Daniel Day Lewis).  The young boy grows up (Leonardo DiCaprio), and avenges his father by becoming tricking his enemy (Daniel Day Lewis).  It's the political historic back story with all the violence and way of life that makes the movie what it is. a Wow.

If you are in the mood for an eye opener. It's a definite go see.  Just be warned, it's not for kids.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Help! Looking for Advice on Self Publishing Digital Publishing

Before I get started I wanted to thank everyone who posted a comment on my Contest Entry.  Your advice and comments are very much welcome. I hope to share more samples of my work for your wonderful critique.

In fact I enjoyed your comments and advice so much that I'm asking for more.  You see I have been looking into self publishing and digital self publishing recently and I have to say there is is so much information out there that it is over whelming.  I have noticed from reading many of your blogs that many of you have decided to go the route of self publishing or digital self publishing as well.  I have researched the Amazon site, as well as many others and I was a little upset with how they suck you in to spending more money than you were originally hoping to spend.  The cheapest I have found was at Amazon who had posted $69.00 for digital. The problem I had and my husband had was it doesn't tell you if that is a flat fee or what?  Does anyone know?  Has anyone used Amazon?

The other problem I had as my husband and I searched the site was covers.  I don't have a cover to my book, and my husband brought up a very good point.  If he was searching for a book to read on a Kindle or iPad or what not, he wouldn't be interested if it didn't have cover art.  He's right, I wouldn't either.  Cover art helps to give you a clue to what the book is about, it gives you the feeling of the story without words.  That leaves me with; where do I find cover art?  Do I take a picture of my own and down load it? Do I hire an artist and pay?  Would the artist get paid royalty checks when the book sells, or is it a one time deal?  Did anyone else find themselves asking these questions? 

They might sound like silly questions to someone who has gone through all of this a million times, but for a newbie in the self publishing/digital age, there are so many questions, and the sites out there just seem to suck you in to spending more then you actually had budgeted.  Any advice would be really appreciated.

Tell me your experience in self publishing, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has these and many other questions and it would be great if you can all help each other out.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gabriela Lessa holds a Contest Judged by Weronika Janczuk

Gabriela lives in Brazil so they celebrate Valentine's Day in June not February.  So in honor of that she is holding on contest starting Today. For the rules click here to find out more!

As for this blog, I'm be posting my entry. 

Name: Cynthia Elomaa
Title: Standing Ground
Genre: YA Comtemporary
Entry word count: No more than 750
Manuscript word count: 66,406
Link number: 20
Scene 655

This is from my finished manuscript, a young adult novel, Standing Ground.

You’re doing it again.” Kyle smiled. Reagan could tell he was trying to hold his laugh in.
Reagan grabbed her hand and slapped Kyle on his hand.
Stop that.” She was getting mad and frustrated at him and herself for letting him get to her.
I didn’t do anything.” Kyle gave amused laugh.
Yes you did.” She hated it when he pretended to be all innocent when he wasn't. Reagan hit him on the arm.
What did I do?” Kyle laughed again as he dropped his sandwich and raise his hands to fend off Reagan’s weak attempt of an attack. He was laughing at her and his smile lit up his whole face. I can’t believe how much he is enjoying teasing me, Reagan screamed in her head. Kyle lay on his back trying to ward her off. She punched him in the arms and chest as hard as she could, but he just laughed and she hit him harder and harder.
Ouch.” Kyle finally said when Reagan hit him hard enough for him to feel something.
Okay, okay,” Kyle grabbed her wrists. “I give up.”
Reagan's hair fell in front of her face and rested on Kyle’s chest. He was breathing heavy trying to catch his breath. Her face was inches from his and she stared into his warm brown eyes feeling her heart skip a beat. She tried to catch her breath but she couldn't fill her lungs. She felt frozen in place, she couldn't look away from those dark pools. She tried to get up, but he wouldn’t let her. He kept her pined down to him, staring back at her.
If I let go of your wrists are you going to hit me again?” Kyle finally asked between breaths.
Reagan mouth quivered. “No.” Reagan whispered. It was all she could manage to say.
Kyle still held her firmly to his chest though. Her face still was only inches from his. He continued to stare into her eyes. He was so stupid some times. He has no idea. Finally he let her go.
Reagan pulled herself up easily and punched Kyle in the chest as hard as she could. She gasped as Kyle pushed her down on the blanket straddling her. He was on top of her. His smiling face was inches from hers again. Her hands were pinned against his chest because of the weight of him. His arms above her head holding himself up.
I said don’t hit me.” Kyle said in a serious tone, but his lips and his eyes were smiling at her.
You deserved it.” Reagan smiled back sheepishly.
You didn’t answer the question.” Kyle said, his eyes roaming over her face.
Reagan tried to think. How could she think when he was leaning over her like that? “What was the question?” Reagan tried to remember.
What did I do to make you blush?” Kyle asked husky. His eyes still roaming over her face.
It was none of his business. She didn’t really want him to know. “That.” Reagan took a deep breath giving in. She felt like a weakling giving in so easily, but he was so hard to resist.
I didn’t do anything.” Kyle insisted, staring down at her.
Yes you did.” Her heart was racing. Could he hear her heart pounding in her chest?
What?” Kyle kept staring at her. She couldn't look away from those eyes.
That.” She tried again. She was breathing too fast.
What?” Kyle egged her on.
She tried to answer, but couldn’t. Kyle was staring at her. It was a new look, one she couldn’t place. Reagan’s stomach growled and Kyle pulled her up. It took a minute for her senses to return.
We should eat. Lunch only lasts so long.” Kyle said handing Reagan her sandwich.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Time is Play time

The school year is almost over, and everyone is trying to decide what they are going to do for vacation this summer.  The past two years the news media has been promoting the ever famous Staycation.  This year I wonder how many people are opting for the same type of vacation.

Let's face it, everything is expensive these days.  I was looking into camp for my kids this year, and for one week I'd be paying about $400.00 for two kids.  There was a time when $600.00 would get you camp for the whole summer.  What's with that?  Then I realized that some camps, like my town camp, doesn't have registration until June 11.  Hello, I need to be better prepared then that! 

This year, I don't think we will be venturing very far.  The kids will most probably go to the Cape Cod with their Nana and Pa, and my husband will probably join them for a day or two.  You're probably wondering why I won't be joining them.  It's not that I don't want to, it just that I'm allergic to mold and the Cape is mold city.  Not a good combonation with my allergies, but I wish them fun.  I might join them for a day, but not much more than that. 

We also have my Dad's cabin on a pond that we frequent a lot. Everyday is a vacation when it is only about a mile away from my house.  So I'm not complaining. 

What are your plans for the summer?  Are you going away, and where are you going? Or are you staycationing like me?
Write and tell me, I'll be washing the beach towels to get ready.

What do people want?

I have to admit I have been a little preoccupied lately.  I know my posts are all over the place, but that is the point isn't?  After all it's called Random Thoughts for a reason.  Lately though I have been wondering what catches a readers eye when it comes to a blog? I'm guessing it is the same as a book, the title, but what about after you have read the title and are in the meat and potatoes of the story?

I have scanned the blogs that I follow and it amazes me how random those topics are.  Not that they aren't good, they are actually very good.  I'd say the problem sits more with me.  There are so many different things going on in my life, and so many interests of mine that sometimes I forget about what the reader is looking to see. These area some of the thoughts that flow through my head at times:

I have been working on my WIP and I am proud to say that I should (if plans go accordingly) finish by the end of the summer.  Then I can start sending out my queries and synopsis this fall.  But I wonder, is this what my readers want to hear?

My puppy Rascal is turning a year old at the end of the month, and he is eaten his way through my house, books, shoes, towels, beds.  He is a ball of energy.  He is frustrating and lovable.  But is this what my readers what to hear?

My son is turning 10 this summer and I can't believe that I am going to be a mother of a pre-teen.  He only has one more year of elementary school and I am freaking out a little that he is no longer a baby.  Oh, he'll always be my baby, but he is going up so fast.  Do my readers care?

Money, jobs, stress, summer care, my WIP and summer/family activities are all on my mind. 

I know I sound like a newbie, I'm just trying to fine tune myself.  It might be time to start concentrating on one topic instead of  a whole bunch. I have a few ideas.  But I want to save that for another blog. 

In the mean time, don't be shy, what are you looking for in a blog?  To learn?  To be entertained?  To think?  Share with me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When Disaster Strikes, Where Do Your Pets Go?

Lately many people have suffered great tragedies.  There have been countless of people just in the past few years who have lost jobs and homes due to foreclosure and natural disasters.  People have been uprooted from their lives for other reasons as well, I won't go into the reason, because their are just to many of them to mention.  The point is, today we live in an unreliable world; nothing is a guarrantee. Life has a way of surprising you, sometimes the surprise is good, sometimes not so good.

When life throws you a curve ball people automatically think of the people who are affected, and rightfully so.  We care about our family, friends and neighbors, and we should, but what happens when life's curve ball affects our pets?  Many people don't think about that.  I know I never did, not until I would here articles in the paper, or online about people who decided to help out our family, friends and neighbors during these are times by taking care of their pets for then.  The thought hit me, "Oh yeah.  They need help too.  All these people who were hit with devestating tornadoes, earthquakes, suamies, etc.. all have to not only deal with the loss of loved one, or loss of homes, taking care of their family, but they must also think of their pets well being.  Talk about stress.  It's alot to worry about. 
I don't know why there are so many natural disaster's lately, or why people have to lose their jobs or get sick.  Maybe it's because of what we are doing to our planet, or maybe it is just the natural pattern of our universe, maybe it 's just bad luck. Who knows?  What I do know is that during these times people have a habit of leaving their pets behind.  Many pets are sent to shelters, or abandoned and they never go home again.  This is very sad not only for the pets but for the owners.  People think they have no other choice. Our pets are part of our family and should be treated as such. I'm writing this let people know that it doesn't have to be that way.  You don't have to lose your pet when times are hard. There is help out there. What I want to tell people is that if you are experiencing any of these tragedies and going through hard times and are forced to leave your pets behind; YOU DON'T HAVE TO. 

There are many organizations who will take in your beloved pet and care for him/her while you get back on your feet.  I've done a little research and wanted to inform you of a few organizations to help you out.  So if you need the help, or know someone who does.  Check out these web sites, and keep your pets where they belong, with their family-You.