Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meddling Mothers and Disappointing Daughters



Host: It's time to play Meddling Mothers and Disappointing Daughters, the only game show where mothers and daughters try to get along to win  prizes that the mothers will never be able to operate in the first place. Let's meet the contestants...(He notices that one mother is still trying to climb up into her chair)  Do you need some help Dorothy?

Dorothy: No, I'm fine thank you.

Dorothy's daughter: Just grab my hand, and let me give you a boost.

Dorothy: I said I don't need any help. STOP RUSHING ME!

Host: Okay, let's move on to Gladys and her daughter Gretchen. How many times do you call your mother a day?

Gretchen: Once.

Host: And you Felicia?

Felicia: I call my mother once a week.

(A loud siren sounds)

Host: Where's Dorothy?

Dorothy's daughter:  She fell down and her Life Alert alarm went off.

(The paramedics lift Dorothy into her seat)

Dorothy's daughter: I call my mother six times a day. She hangs up on me, and says, "It's never enough."

(The bell sounds ding ding ding)

Host: You are correct. The answer is, "Never enough." You just won a case of prune juice. You must be very proud of your daughter Dorothy!

Dorothy: Did you see how nice those paramedics were? Why couldn't you have married someone like that?

Host: All right then. Now we'll ask the mothers a question. Gladys when is the last time you said something nice to your daughter?

Gladys: Don't we get a lunch break?

Host: It's only been ten minutes. We'll have snacks after the show.

Gladys: But this is when I eat lunch.

Gretchen: Here Mom, I brought you a sandwich. (takes one out of her purse)

Gladys: It's on rye bread. I like a nice roll. I can't eat this. What's wrong with you?

Fanny: I'll take it. I'm starving. (Looks at her own daughter Felicia) Why don't you ever make me lunch?

Host: Fanny, when is the last time you said something nice to your daughter?

Fanny: That's easy. As we were driving over, I told my daughter that her dress was very pretty...

Host: Well, that is nice.

Fanny: And I'm sure that if she lost ten pounds it would actually fit her.

Host: Maybe we should just throw out that question. Dorothy, when was the last time your daughter took you to the doctor?

Dorothy: You know falling down really makes a person thirsty. How come no one offered me a drink or a sandwich?

Host: If you answer the question, I'll get you both.

Dorothy: Okay, yes please.

Host: Yes please what?

Dorothy: I would like both a drink and a sandwich. Soup would be nice too, but I don't want to be a bother.

(Gladys is dashing across the stage with her walker. Her daughter is jogging behind her)

Host: Where are you going?

Gladys: I just remembered I think I forgot to turn off the stove.

Host: Can you have someone else check on it?

Gretchen: It's my stove, and I just got a text that the fire department is heading over to my house.

Gladys: Are we stopping for lunch first, 'cause I still haven't eaten?

Host: Good luck ladies. Be sure to tell us your new address, so we can send you a lifetime supply of incontinence products.

Dorothy: Continents? I can name the continents! There's Asia, Africa.....

Host: Well, that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for playing Meddling Mothers and Disappointing Daughters. (The daughters storm off of the stage) Aren't you forgetting something? Don't leave me alone with your mothers. Come back!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

CassaStorm Cover Reveal

CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. 

As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Release date: September 17, 2013

Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure

Print ISBN 9781939844002

E-book ISBN 9781939844019

CassaStorm completes the trilogy which began with CassaStar followed by CassaFire. This just in : CassaStar is on Goodread's top  Space Jocks.   Those of you who have already read it can head over to vote, while those who haven't can see why both books made the Amazon Bestseller list.

With all of Alex's success, he's never too busy to extend his support to others. He genuinely enjoys putting his audience first, and his dedication really shines through in his books. To show our appreciation, over one hundred bloggers'  honored Alex in a special roast. last December.

In the meantime, if you would like to start the adventure from the beginning, you can find CassaStar  here.   Mark your calendars for September 17, or else Alex's  army, clones, co-hosts, and most recently trained    A to Z Ninja Minions   will know where to find you.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Secondhand Shoes Blog Party


Shelly Arkon is hosting a blog party complete with books and prizes, in celebration of her debut novel Secondhand Shoes. Here is a glimpse of what motivated Shelly to launch her writing career.

Author Bio

When she was nine, Shelly Arkon's mother advised her not to write a novel because no one would publish it...but she wrote it anyway.

Shelly Arkon has never stopped writing since she wrote that first novel as a child. In spite of more family drama than most of us could handle—as the mother of five daughters, drama is unavoidable--she's been writing most of her life. She says most of these stories, written in longhand in spiral notebooks, have been about vampires.

She now lives in New Port Richey with her husband and two dogs. She’s also a member of Florida Writer’s Association and Writer’s of Mass Distraction.

Currently, she’s working on a book series. It’s’about two grandmothers, one a New Age hippie, and the other, a Southern Baptist, their grandbaby, their grown children who are pill heads, their extended dysfunctional family, and a dangerous drug dealer.

The two grandmothers find themselves in a dangerous pursuit to save their grandbaby while finding an unlikely friendship between them.


Why do you write?

There is a constant chatter going on in my head all day. Ideas and dialogue come quickly where I have to write them down. If I don’t, I may miss an opportunity to get it down the way I heard it the first time. Even characters get perturbed when you don’t relay their information correctly. They want their stories told in the right way. Not to mention, all of my characters bug me until I do-I have a tendency to work on multiple projects at a time.

Can you explain the trials and tribulations of writing your first novel or writing in general?

There’s a ga-zillion of those. My first set of trials and tribulations began in the first grade when teachers stuck me in a slow class because I couldn’t grasp reading and writing like the other kids in my class did.

One afternoon, one of my teachers handed me a stool, an eraser, and a piece of chalk. I was to write, say each letter to my name, and then sound it out and repeat. This tiny feat took up an entire afternoon.

First grade through the third were the most tedious years of my life. But I’m thankful to all my teachers for their patience and persistence. By the fourth grade, I was further ahead than most my classmates in reading and writing along with my big love for both.

Once I took off in reading and writing, I read everything I could get my hands on. And I had an affinity for diaries, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, and daydreaming. My imagination ran wild with stories and poems. I wrote non-stop as a child and teen.

Unfortunately, there were people and even myself who discouraged me from writing. Many times I heard ‘no one would publish you’ or ‘there’s nothing special about what you write’ or ‘so-n-so writes way better stuff than you do.’ Negative self-voices are the worst. So you have to find your positive self-voice to talk you out of the bad conditioning. This is something I’m always working on.

Not only do people and yourself get in the way of writing, but so does life. Marriages. Children. Divorce. College. Work. Mundane chores. Traumatic life events. These can really put a damper on one’s ability to sit in a chair and write out your characters’ problems when you have your own.

In 1998, I sat down one evening and wrote the first chapter to Secondhand Shoes. My thoughts were I would be able to finish it within a year, but I found myself suddenly a single mother of five. So I tucked it in a folder and stuck it in my closet. For years, I made notes and wrote dialogue for it and tucked it away.

Several years later, and down to two children in the household, I plunked myself back into a chair and wrote. I wrote it four times over. The first version, I hated and couldn’t relate to it at all. It was like reading a Monday night movie on Lifetime for Women. The second version, the protagonist was a real whiner. When I finally finished the third version, I could finally see the forest through the trees, and the fourth version of Secondhand Shoes was born.

Somewhere between the first and second version, in 2008, I became a member of the Florida Writer’s Association. Every second and fourth Monday evening, we meet at the Barnes and Nobles in Carrollwood. There, we edit and critique each other. The girls and one guy in the group are my checks and balances as I am theirs.

Once I got the okay from my group members that it was ready, it was onto the next stage in the writing experience. Finding an editor. Well, I had the gem of all editors. Kaye Coppersmith. She was a longtime member of Florida Writer’s Association and halfway through my manuscript when she passed. That was this past April. At the time, I felt like God and the Universe had stolen her from me. And the negative voices ate at me again.

But I rose above it, wiped my tears, and went forward. It wasn’t easy finding an editor who could keep my writing voice. So many editors out there try to change everything so much so they lose the characteristics of your characters and their voice. I also found a lot of people labeling themselves as editors, only to find out they didn’t know much about the profession.

And how did you publish?

I ended up going Indie (self-published). Yes. I did try the traditional route but after sending the requested manuscript to agents and publishers, most times I didn’t even get a rejection. Not getting a response bothered me more than not receiving one. It would have been nice to at least hear they didn’t think my novel was marketable. To this day, I haven’t heard back from one agent who requested my manuscript ‘as is’ in 2010. Getting published isn’t as easy as one thinks. No one writes a novel and becomes instantly published.

Let me tell you, self-publishing isn’t easy, either. Since I’m not a computer geek by any means, I thought many times I would throw my computer into the street over formatting. My eyes thought they were going to fail me over the many times I proofread. Right now, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with the marketing part. Indies are a one man or woman show wearing many hats while maintaining their day jobs.

Also, being self-published takes the cost of making a book out of your pocket. Nothing is free. One has to hire a cover artist, an editor, and someone who can format for an ebook. It all takes time and a lot of dedication.

Spread the News and Cheer on the Run-Away-Bride Give-Away
Also, I’m giving away two $15.00 Amazon cards and two autographed paperback copies of Secondhand Shoes. Since I don’t do rafflecoptors, all I ask is for you to leave the best advice you can give someone on their wedding day and promise to spread the news. On March 1st, I’ll announce the winners on my Secondhand Shoes blog,

The Blurb
The shoes didn’t fit. It was an omen.
Eighteen year old psychic-medium-germ-a-phobe Lila should have listened to her ghostly Gram’s advice the morning of her wedding, “Take off that dress and those shoes. And run.”
En route to the honeymoon, she decides to listen after too many disagreements with her groom. It doesn’t pay to go along to make everyone happy.
Still in her wedding dress and shoes, she escapes out a diner’s bathroom window into the Florida woods despite her fear of snakes and germs with her dead Gram’s direction.
So she begins a journey of finding her inner strength, putting her on a deadly run from her psychotic groom and his deranged friends.
Will she ever get past her fear of germs and snakes? Will she survive her honeymoon?


My novel, "Secondhand Shoes" is now available on Amazon either in paperback or as an ebook. Paper back is $13.50. Ebook is $4.99. But from February 19th through the 21st the ebook is FREE to everyone. Here is the link to Amazon : Secondhand Shoes : Shelly Arkon

Today is your last chance to get your very own FREE ebook. Best of luck to Shelly, and I hope that you will join in her celebration.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blogoversary: She Said What?!

Michelle Wallace   and   Elise Fallson  are co-hosting this event to celebrate their Blogoversaries. They created the fantastic cartoons, while our job is to fill in the captions. Be sure to visit the other talented bloggers. Here is my attempt.

E: Hurry up! I have something I'd like to talk to you about.
M: I'm coming! I can't wait to celebrate our blogoversary!  
E: Well, before you break out the champagne, you should know there's someone else.
M: After all we've been through, you went out and found another critique partner? Why don't I just tie this rope around my neck?!

E: Well it's already tied around your foot.
M:  I poured my heart out to you in my comments, and now I'm hanging by a thread from a hot air balloon, all because of you.
E: Because of ME? If you had an actual profile picture, neither one of us would be in this mess. And speaking of messes, could you turn your head slightly, so we're not both covered in vomit? Damn wind!

V: Never fear damsel in distress. I will save you!
E: That's okay I'm about to pull her in.
V: Just hold tight 'til I get there.
M: Why are you looking over there? Are you gazing at your own reflection? Uh oh you're about to...

V:Allow me to twist and turn my way out of this and we will all be fine. Are you with me ladies?    

E: I'm so sorry. I never wanted things to end this way. You've been a wonderful  partner and friend. Oh if only I could express my true feelings in five sentences...glub, glub, glub.... 
M: I glub you too!

E: Well, at least we'll have something to blog about.
M: Was that a grey dolphin who saved us?
E: I"m just glad that we were able to rescue the nearsighted man in the yellow cape.  

M: It's funny how someone who has the ability to fly would be so deathly afraid of water.
E: It almost looked like he was dancing the tango cheek to cheek with the sea serpent that rescued us.
M: Do you mean that smitten sea serpent over there?
E: Now let's go home and write about our adventure for our blogoversary party.
M: You know that no one is going to believe us.
E: Of course they will, because there is honour amongst bloggers. And if they don't, I have the pictures to prove it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When Your Heart's Just Not Into Valentine's Day


I decided to do a little research on the history of St. Valentine's Day, when I came across a website that offered the secrets to successful relationships. Rori Raye "trained relationship coach," was about to unveil everything we ever needed to know about having an ideal marriage. I couldn't wait to find out what the author of The Modern Siren, the tell-all for how "You can be a magnet for a man," had to say. 

Rori Raye explained that she's been married for twenty years, and how early on she came to the realization that in order to make her relationship work, she would have to change. She started out as a "Crumb-Taking Queen when it came to men." This meant that she tried to "control and manipulate everyone in a very sweet and smiling way." Instead she found a better approach: "Be the girl in the not do anything. You just smile. You're're there."

Okay she's still doing a lot of smiling, but now there's less manipulating? Maybe she's talking about a more seductive knowing smile instead of a ditsy pull your sweater over your head "do they feel real?" kind of smile.  Like most things in life I was both confused and intrigued so I read further: "It's your job to be the tour guide of YOU--not of the relationship." Something tells me that Oprah would call this an "aha moment." What I think Ms. Raye is trying to convey is that boys like to be in charge and girls need to make them think they are, but they're really not so there. My mom tried to give me the very same advice when I was twelve, but when it comes from a "trained relationship coach," it suddenly has more merit. 

According to Rori Raye, if you follow these steps, "What you'll discover is that you like your man even more and you can genuinely RECEIVE the love he's giving, and revel in just BEING instead of struggling in all the DOING." Isn't that what Valentine's Day is all about? RECEIVING flowers, candy, jewelry, etc. BEING loved, cherished, adored or simply left alone, and DOING nothing but complaining because none of those other things ever happened in the first place? I think she's onto something.

Just when I was getting ready to walk away from my computer, I got reeled in again. I came to a section that said, "Learn the four magic words that will help you take back your power and regain control of your love life..." Then I clicked onto the next page, "read the rest of this article when you become a member." What could those four magic words be? I think we already learned about the first three in the last paragraph, and the fourth word could be teasing. Isn't teasing a form of manipulative behavior which she said to avoid?  Unfortunately, I won't find out unless I purchase Rori Raye's CD and video collection for five easy payment of $39.95. I think I'd rather use the money to buy myself flowers on Valentine's Day.

Author's Note: I originally wrote this in February of 2011, shortly before my life forever changed with my first  Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG: Draft Attack


As I'm flipping through the paper looking for ideas, I hear a shift in the wind. Then the phone rings and I can't find the receiver. By the time I realize it's hidden underneath the newspapers, it stops ringing. I check the caller ID, and it reads "Private Caller." What if it's my agent calling, and I missed it? What if they cast the wrong actress to play the lead in the movie version of my bestseller? Why couldn't they bother to leave a message? The wind picks up, and suddenly I'm wide awake.

It's four in the morning, and I can't fall back asleep. The bedroom is freezing cold, so I put on a robe over my nightgown, and climb under the covers. I'm anxious to get back to my dream to find out who the mystery caller is.

Just as I'm about to doze off, the wind starts blowing harder. When I turn in the opposite direction my husband's snoring is gaining momentum, and I'm faced with a cross-current draft of epic proportions. Unfortunately, this bitter breeze lingers, leaving me with nowhere to turn.

I fight off the urge to take a pillow to put an end to my suffering by offering a few gentle kicks instead. The snoring continues. Then I roll him over on his other side. Now wind gusts are causing debilitating air pressure. Fed up, I grab the baseball bat from under the bed and start swinging.

I wake up covered in sweat, so I take off the blanket along with the robe. With years of practice, I can accomplish these tasks in complete darkness. Comfy in a dry nightgown with my purring man by my side, I try to go back to sleep. Soon the leaves start rattling on the trees, and my feet are freezing cold. I put socks on, and long to finally return to my dream.

The phone rings twice before I answer it. It's Alex calling to remind me about the  Insecure Writer's Support Group.  He says that he spoke to the warden, and they've agreed to let me submit my story from my prison cell. I look down at the bloody baseball bat, as I hear the police sirens. Then I ask Alex how he knew, and he just laughs that laugh of his. Before hanging up, he says something about a cold front coming in, and suggests that I wear layers.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Overcoming Adversity" Bloghop

Scattergun Scribblings


Nick Wilford is hosting the  "Overcoming Adversity" bloghop  where writers are invited to share stories to help raise funds to send his stepson Andrew to a  specialist college. Nick has graciously offered to compile these short stories into an anthology. Thanks to Nick for all of his hard work, and best of luck to Andrew. Be sure to visit the other writers who are joining forces to help Nick's family reach their goals. This is my story.
Tales From The Back Row        

Growing up I had my fair share of run-ins with bullies. Recess was always my worst part of the day. When I told the supervisors that older classmates were chasing me, and often tackling me to the ground, they just looked away. Eventually, I took matters into my own hands, and pushed a boy back. He fell on the playground, and had to have stitches. I felt empowered, but not for long.

It didn’t help that I had big buck teeth, and walked like a penguin. My own brother silently terrorized me by giving me the “buck tooth signal” at the dinner table when my parents weren’t looking. Suddenly, I would start crying, and my brother would be innocently eating his vegetables. Occasionally, my dad would just give him a whack although he never caught him in the act.

Years later, I wore braces, and practiced walking with an encyclopedia on my head which alleviated my waddle, but I was still a klutz. Then I joined the school chorus, and finally felt like I belonged.
I continued singing in junior high, and was excited to audition for my first high school play. After I was rejected, I joined the stage crew. There I was reunited with a nasty neighbor. Nothing I did was good enough, and he was hurling insults like a family member. Finally, my brother knocked on his door, and told his father that if he didn’t leave me alone, he would have no choice but to beat up his son. My brother was shorter than him, but more powerfully built. His father nodded in agreement, and they shook on it. This happened at the end of my freshman year when my brother was a senior. From that point on, the boy never bothered me again, and we even became friends.

During my sophomore year, I began taking voice lessons at school, and still had no luck. The following year, my voice teacher suggested that I perform an opera in a state competition. After I won first place, the musical director had a change of heart, and cast me in the chorus of the spring musical. I was finally going to be in my first school play, after three long years of rejection. I didn’t even mind that they stuck me in the back row, because I was tall; though I knew it was because I couldn’t dance.

Sadly, my dad never got to see me onstage. He was hospitalized before my first performance, and passed away about a month later. I’ll always remember the day I came home from school after I made the play. There was a big, shiny silver star on my bedroom door with my name written on it. When I excitedly ran to thank my mom, she was caught unaware. Next, I took a closer look at the star, and saw that the inscription was in my dad’s handwriting.