Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Calling In The Senior Fixer

 On Ray Donovan,  Liev Schreiber stars as a professional "fixer" to some of LA's most powerful players, while struggling to keep his own family together. Jon Voight plays his criminal father who was just released from prison. They are both multi-dimensional characters, though Ray has to memorize a lot less dialogue.

Some of Ray's duties include: silent intimidation, fighting bad guys, hiding bodies, gathering blackmail material, and having short but meaningful conversations in his walk-in closet that is larger than most people's homes.When one of his client's threatened to let him go he replied in his gruff  Boston accent, "I'm not the kind of guy people fire."

This made me think of my own special skills. Instead of  packing a pistol, I was armed with an AARP card. Yes I had all of the unofficial requirements for being a senior fixer. Like Ray, I was always up to the challenge. If my mom needed to know what time and channel her favorite TV show was on she called me. If she didn't remember to hang up the phone after she called, I would find a way to get the message to her. Soon she told her friends about my skills. When they didn't care, I flew fourteen hours to see my mother-in-law.

I noticed that she was more frail than she had been just a few months earlier. After she had gone to take a nap, my husband and I waited for her in the living room. While my husband talked, I moved from the dining room table to the living room couch. The couch was too low, and the chairs were too stiff. Then I realized that if I was uncomfortable, a ninety year old woman who weighed about eighty two pounds would be in agony. Truth be told, you would have to be built like a Kardashian to sit comfortably on any of her furniture for more than a few minutes.

My husband's aunt recommended a store that specialized in supportive chairs for people with back injuries. We tested the height, and arm placement to insure that my mother-in-law would be able to sit, as well as rise with relative ease. The store promised that the chair would be delivered the following week. They lied.

We found out that the chair still hadn't arrived almost two weeks later. I immediately went into Ray Donovan mode. I threatened, made inappropriate gestures, and even chugged some chocolate milk. Then I grabbed the remote control, and held it over the toilet during the Chicago Bears game until my husband made the call.

When my mother-in-law finally got her comfortable recliner, she regained some of her energy. She thanked my husband and me up and down, and sounded more like herself. Sure Ray brings home a larger suitcase of cash than I do, but that's not going to stop me from pestering seniors to help them help me feel better about myself.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Storm of the Century

In case you've been living under a rock, I'm pleased to announce that CassaStorm, the final installment of Alex J. Cavanaugh's thrilling space opera trilogy is finally here. Since Alex gave everyone the opportunity to ask a question, I decided to delve deep into uncharted territory. 

I asked him what his middle initial "J." stood for. Surely his explanation would  reveal what drove him to become an award winning author, mentor, friend, and leader of the blogging community. It would also explain his love of science fiction. Just as I was about to introduce Alex "Jedi" Cavanaugh, he unveiled his middle name as "Joseph." Then it all started to make sense. The soundtrack from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat began playing in my mind. Alex is all about making the author's and insecure writer's dreams come true. He also never leaves his followers starving for attention

By Alex J.  Cavanaugh     
From the Amazon Best Selling Series!
A storm gathers across the galaxy…

CassaStorm by Alex J Cavanaugh

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. 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, 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 return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.”
- Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries

“I thought the revelation was going to be one thing and I was completely wrong … CassaStorm pushes the limits…”
- Tyson Mauermann, Speculative Reviews

“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Find Alex - Blog, Twitter, and Goodreads

Visit Alex's blog for your chance to win - books, mouse pads, mugs, magnets, posters, and more! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Strange Stirrings In The Bedroom

Shortly after we were married, I awoke from a loud noise. At first I turned to see if it also startled my husband, but he was fast asleep. As I inched toward him, the noise grew louder. It sounded like a giant rat was scratching behind our bedroom door. Since we lived in a high rise, it was unlikely that a rat found it's way into our apartment, but I was still scared.

I grabbed a flashlight, and began my search. I wanted to make sure that no other creature had slithered up eighteen flights for a midnight snack. What if it had been hiding behind the wall before we moved in, and was plotting a surprise attack?

I couldn't take it anymore, so I decided to wake up my husband. He'd know what to do. Just as I started nibbling on his neck to stir him, I heard more nibbling. It was coming from my husband.

When did he have time to get up for a snack while I was running around in the dark like a lunatic? I was trying my best not to disturb him, and he was off raiding the fridge. Yes I was a young bride determined not to scare off her groom, but enough was enough already. I turned the light on, and saw that he was sleep chewing. Now I had a craving for some crunchy nuts. Wait a minute, what if he choked to death?

I scrubbed my hands like a surgeon before I opened his mouth to take a closer look. There was nothing. I even went underneath his tongue to see if he stored some extra nuts away like a squirrel, but it was empty. Not only was he still sleeping, but the noise continued. When I decided to go back in for another look, he caught me in the act. When I explained that I was looking for the lost nuts, he assured me that there weren't any. That's when we both realized that he was grinding his teeth.

Soon he was fitted for a mouth guard, and the grinding stopped. Next came braces for both of us. I wore the tops, while he wore the bottoms. We lived in fear of locking braces, which only ignited our passion. By the time things finally quieted down, the snoring began. It is amazing that this thrill seeking couple managed to have two children together.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IWSG: Serving Up A Savory Story


Congratulations to Alex J. Cavanaugh on the second anniversary of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group.  The group has grown to over three hundred participants, and continues to flourish. I've watched many of the writer's become published authors over the last two years, and would like to finally fulfill my dream of writing a novel. As tomorrow begins the Jewish New Year, I can't help but equate the essentials of a good story to the ingredients of a traditional Rosh Hashanah feast.

The prologue sets the tone for the story. You want to provide just enough to whet their appetites for more. A little chopped liver goes a long way spread out on a slice of challah. At first the gefilte fish complements the liver; however, there's no telling if things will erupt later.

The most difficult part about serving the soup is in making sure it is the right temperature. Although the broth tastes better when it's hot, it's important not to overheat the matzo balls. This could bring on severe shrinkage which draws more attention to the lopsided noodle.

The secret to preparing the brisket is adding the right amount of savory spices. You want it to be mild for your parents, sweet for your kids, and to have just enough bite for your contemporaries. The potatoes are the loyal sidekick. They are there to support the main course, while the squash and green bean casserole conspire a takeover. The squash goes down smoothly, as the casserole teases us by slowly peeling off crunchy layers. By this time you're too full to fight, thus leaving the potatoes out in the cold.

Being over-served usually works one of two ways; you either pass out at the table, or you keep going in fear of not regaining consciousness from a food coma. There's a two dessert minimum followed by a caffeine fix. We toast to a sweet New Year, and hope that everyone leaves before the gefilte fish kicks in. It could take hours or even days which always makes for a surprise ending.

Happy and healthy New Year!