Finding my Zen: Suffering

As I’ve mentioned before, I began exploring Buddhism after my therapist suggested I look into Mindfulness as a way to deal with the stress of the Empty Nest. To my surprise, I found a philosophy of life that resonated with me.

The First Noble Truth is that life is suffering.

Lost . . .

Lost . . .

Personally, simply noting that fact was a huge step in the right direction. I made this Truth my own by recognizing that suffering is a natural part of existence. We come into the world screaming (being born can’t be that pleasant – good thing we don’t remember it!) and it ends in death. All around us there is sickness, injury, poverty and depression. Instead of wallowing in that and focusing on the negative, I recognize that it is. Instead of fretting and worrying about the existence of suffering, I see life with a realistic view and can then focus on action and do something about it. Though my goal is happiness, I know that there is suffering. It is not something to dread. When I have a bad night, when the tears just won’t stop, I accept that suffering without judgment and move forward, ready to tackle the day without trying to analyze the feelings of the night before.

Acceptance is the first step. Then we can move forward.

 

 

 

Hey, baby . . . you wanna?

I get so frustrated with the lack of personal responsibility in our society. The current wave of public opinion on sexual harassment drives me crazy. Victim blaming is flat out WRONG. Every day, I drive past female college students with words on their rear ends, running with ear buds in their ears, oblivious to everything but the phone clutched in their hands. Let me be clear: assault is NEVER okay. It is never the victim’s fault. But it IS our responsibility as women to protect ourselves.

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Jodie Foster in The Accused

The comments I read in a Huffington post piece infuriated me, and I am deeply concerned about the sexually charged culture of our schools. Victim blaming is nothing new. Remember the movie, The Accused?

Can we agree that no means no? Can we agree that rape, assault, and harassment is never okay?

But here’s the thing – drinking and driving isn’t okay either. Driving recklessly is wrong. Yet I still get in a vehicle with airbags, put on my seatbelt, and drive defensively. Burglary and home invasions are wrong. Yet I lock my doors, don’t open the door to strangers, and have a security system (and my husband and I are both pretty handy with a gun). What I’m saying is to think about your actions. Just as I try to make myself a less attractive target in a parking lot by walking with purpose, with my keys in my hand and looking around. Women can do things to make themselves a less attractive target.

It is time for women to start ACTING defensively. Take responsibility for your own protection. What are some things women can do to protect themselves?

Dress appropriately. I’m not saying you can’t dress sexy. Go for it. But there’s a difference between dressing sexy and dressing in a way that gives a bad guy easy access. I recently saw a picture of a young woman who was very nearly a victim in an underage club that had a “rape room” in the back. She was literally wearing a bra and a mini-skirt that was so short you could see her thong. I thought at first that she’d been attacked. Then it came out in the news report that she was just dancing. That was her club attire. I am NOT saying she is to blame for what she was wearing, but I am saying that she was an easy target.

Use the buddy system. If you go to a party, have a buddy. Agree that you will keep each other in sight, and look out for each other. Any time you are alone, you put yourself at risk of attack.

Ted Bundy

Ted Bundy

Choose your (potential) sexual partners wisely. Make sure you know someone (and trust them) before you are alone with them. I’m a bit twisted and read a lot of serial killer stuff. That handsome guy you fall for at first sight might not be such a nice guy. Ted Bundy was handsome and likeable and seemed trustworthy, too. And in more recent times, we heard about the Craigslist Killer.

Limit alcohol and drugs. You can not be fully able to protect yourself if you are impaired, and if you are impaired, you may allow yourself to get into a dangerous situation.

Be aware of your surroundings. Know who you are with. Know where you are. And see the previous point. If you’re totally wasted to the point that you can’t even say no, you’re not aware of your surroundings.

Take a self defense course. I have my conceal & carry. The class was about so much more than just carrying a weapon – a good part of the class was about being aware of your surroundings, how to get out of a scary situation, and how to spot red flags that should put you on high alert. Most colleges offer self defense classes through their campus police departments, and so do many martial arts gyms.

Those are my tips. What do you want your daughters, sisters and friends to do to protect themselves? What do you do to protect yourself?

And if you’re looking for an escape from reality, join Beth and Beau at the Diamond J Ranch in my book, Denim & Diamonds.

#ScrapRack

I tend to start thinking about organizing and cleaning up in the fall. Maybe it’s the start of school, the time that I used to start fresh. Last fall I signed up to take Tiffany’s Get Organized Challenge, after I bought myself a ScrapRack the previous Christmas. The Challenge was good. It made me think about how I scrapped, and forced me to evaluate how I stored all the goodies I’ve accumulated. This fall, I signed up for the challenge again. It has been good for me. I’m now on Week #5. The payoff? I’ve actually scrapped two nights this week. Just went in for an hour or so after work and created.

If you are a scrapbooker, I recommend the ScrapRack. It’s a great way to store your paper and embellishments so you can maximize your crafting time. An even bigger bonus: you’ll save money. Once you see what you have, and pull everything together, you will begin to purchase with intention.

Another bonus: you’ll begin to organize other parts of your life. I am a writer. Though usually scattered in my approach to writing, I’ve begun to focus my efforts. The book I am currently editing needed several major changes: (1) the insurance payout had to be denied, (2) the poison needed to be changed from melamine; (3) the heroine needed to be better defined, and (4) the passive voice needed to be cut. Instead of half-ass attacking all items in one massive pass, I am approaching it step by step.

How do you organize your hobby? Do you find that something that works with organization in one area of your life affects other areas?

#Introvert

Decorations

Decorations

Yesterday we hosted a BBQ to celebrate my step-daughter’s graduation from college. I’m so proud of her, and was thrilled to host a party so that everyone could let her know what a big deal this is and how much we all want to support and encourage her. It was wonderful, and I had a good time.

But here’s the funny thing. I dreaded it. The idea of having lots of people here. Wondering if everyone would have a good time. Trying to figure out how much food for how many people. Thinking about drinks. What about alcohol? Good idea? Bad? I didn’t get all the decorations done. It was hot. Would people get too hot? Were there enough chairs? How much tea did I need to make? The house was a mess. I couldn’t clean fast enough. I hauled 2 boxes of stuff to the Salvation Army.

The Grad

The Grad

And now that it’s over, I’m exhausted. Totally and completely exhausted. Drained.

I think it’s because I am an introvert. I’m happiest when I’m alone. Would be perfectly happy as a hermit, most of the time. Some people freak out being alone, wondering what they’ll do, how they’ll survive. I’m the opposite. I need time alone to recharge. And, I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous of my stepdaughter, who is such a happy, delightful person – someone that everyone enjoys being around. She just makes you smile. Proof is in the pic. ;o)

How about you? Introvert? Extrovert? Whichever – how to do you recharge?

BOOK TOUR: #SpecialRun by Lena McCoy (and a #giveaway!)

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Special Run: If an animal spoke to you, would you listen? Botanist/psychokinetic Katrina Ormstead created a super hash. A variety of marijuana she calls MAGIC. Before she can share her successful medical findings with the scientific community, she’s murdered. There is, however, one witness begging to come forward. Special is Katrina’s wolf-hybrid dog. She saw her mistress die. She wants revenge. Now she has to convince food photographer, animal psychic and Katrina’s best friend Wheat Keigwin of the same thing. Together, dog and woman dedicate themselves to solving the mystery behind Katrina’s death.

“Trust me, if you’re an animal lover, a paranormal fiction follower, a reader of rom-coms, or a murder mystery aficionado, you should really buy this book.” Charlie Bray’s Indi Book Reviews, The Indietribe Newsletter – Read the whole review at: http://eepurl.com/Pd4gv

I just finished reading Special Run and am thrilled to have the author with us today (and please keep reading – my review follows her post). I asked her to tell us about strong characters, because her main character, Wheat, was so appealing to me. Lena, welcome – and please, tell us about Wheat and how you came to write such a strong character!

When the story Special Run came to me in a dream, my character, Wheat Keigwin, was born.
Special Run literally came to me in a dream. The urge to write the outline was so powerful when I woke the next morning, the first thing I did was find a pen and pad of paper. Besides the outline of the story, I wrote the descriptions of the main characters and a young Meg Ryan became Wheat Keigwin.
Physical description aside, as I studied my notes, I realized in my dream Wheat was a fearless, no nonsense woman. It wasn’t until I started writing the story that I realized she was an accumulation of the women I’ve known.

I’ve been surrounded by strong women my entire life. How could my character be anything less?
I knew from the start Wheat would not be some bumbling damsel in distress, tripping her way through the book. She is a character that meets challenges head on. As an author I know I bring my own experiences into my writing. I tribute my life growing up in rural America with the way I view and grow my characters.

Like me, Wheat grew up with women who put the Nike™ brand to the test. “Just Do It” could be the mantra for all farm and ranch women. Without a grocery store around the corner, you learn to plan in advance or use what you have for food. You’re creative when it comes to making a costume for Halloween. You do chores, take care of your husband and your children and still find time to make quilts for the less fortunate.

I grew up in a home with no complaining. You did what you had to do to accomplish a task. You had to take care of your animals no matter what the weather or time because they provided for you – money and food. You ate the food God provided and thanked him for a full belly. Even when Wheat is afraid, she knows it is no use panicking because it won’t change the outcome. Underlying that fact, I know she believes in God and knows her fate, whatever it is, is in his hands.

Because of Wheat’s personality I had to find a way to make her grow and change. Facing an inner demon and being true to her best friend allows Wheat to use her psychic ability in a positive way. She has mixed feelings about an old love interest and struggles to sort the emotions. However, because of her inner strength, the decisions she makes or based on her core values.

Currently I’m working on the sequel to Special Run called Bulldog Fall. Wheat Keigwin once again is an amateur sleuth with a dog in need and a mystery to solve. Wheat is the conduit that helps a dog bring a killer to justice.

In progress concurrent with Bulldog Fall is an unnamed thriller I’m writing. Once again my protagonist, Mesa Stone, grew up on the farm. It allows me to use my life experience to create a strong woman. She knows about bailing wire and she isn’t afraid to use it!

REVIEW (note: a copy of the book was provided to me in return for an honest review)

What initially drew me to this story was the setting. We’ve vacationed in Colorado and I could totally picture a desolate huddle of buildings squatting in the harsh landscape east of the Rockies. The characters were believable and layered. As an animal lover, the power that allows Wheat to communicate with animals was appealing. As a mystery lover, I was drawn to the possibility that a dog could assist with an investigation, and bring a murderer to justice.

The story begins with Wheat as she returns to her Colorado hometown after her best friend is murdered. We quickly learn that this isolated town is much more than it appears to be at first glance. Hidden from the rest of the world by a protection spell, the town harbors a unique collection of talented folks who have powers that vary from the ability to heal animals to call fairies.

I have to admit, the beginning chapter was difficult to read when Kat and her dogs are shot. The idea of the wolf-cross Special dragging her battered body across the blood-soaked ground to protect her mistress was heart wrenching. And that was exactly what kept me reading. Special witnessed Kat’s murder and, thanks to Wheat’s talent of talking with animals, the dog has the ability to bring her mistress’s killers to justice. After a wreck in an old grain truck that seems a bit too convenient to be just an accident, Wheat loses her ability and must depend on traditional investigative skills to find the bad guys. The local Sheriff, who runs with the pack of wolves during the full moon, does his best to combine police work with the talents of the townspeople to find out who has broken through the umbrella of protection to hurt one of their own.

Quirt, a federal agent with a K9 partner, Blow, comes to town to investigate a tip about drugs. Kat was working with a unique strain of potent marijuana called MAGIC that has amazing powers. The plant holds the secret to healing diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, but the potential for success may have died with Kat. Was Kat killed for the miracle drug? Will Quirt find his rightful place with his pack? And will Wheat accept her power . . . and finally open her heart to true love?

The action is well-written and the story compelling. The story was strong enough to overcome a few minor typos here and there. Occasionally I lost track of the characters and their connections. There are quite a few secondary characters, with a variety of powers, and at times that can be a bit overwhelming. Overall, though, the story was engaging. I recommend it for readers who enjoy paranormals or mysteries. I also recommend it for animal lovers who are looking for something beyond the typical dog story. Overall, I give it 4 stars.

Buy Link:

Amazon

 

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An agriculture journalist, Lena Jo McCoy has worked in the print-media fields, both newspapers and magazines and has spent most of her life devoted to agriculture. Lena Jo has long admired the works of animal behaviorist Temple Grandin, Cesar Milan as well as the farmers and ranchers she’s written about and is dedicated to the humane treatment of all animals. When she is not playing servant to her two English Bulldogs, Lena Jo finds herself at the computer writing the next story.

You can find her here:

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Enter to win one of ten print copies of Special Run. Available to US addresses only. Enter through Goodreads.

Making Time

One of the most difficult things about writing for me is making the time to write. We went on a camping trip this weekend. I imagined hours lazing by the pool, with my laptop out, going over edits for my next novel.

Didn’t happen. We went to town to get a late lunch. Stopped at a little shop that I’d always wanted to visit, which is going out of business. Although I really wanted the giant wine bottle that swung open, I just couldn’t bring myself to actually buy it.

Guess I really didn’t want it that bad after all.

Watched a movie last night. It was Star Trek: Into the Darkness. Of course I had to watch it. Again.

Got up this morning and had a nice, big breakfast, then broke camp and headed home. Of course, when we got home, I had to clean house. Then I had to make invitations for my step-daughter’s graduation party, then I had to check Facebook and email. And the hubs wanted me to spend some quality time with him. We watched Deep Space Nine and ate chocolate mint popcorn. A good use of time, I’ll agree.

BUT . . . where does my writing fit in? I have GOT to start building time into my schedule. Starting tomorrow night, the first hour after I get home is going to be dedicated to writing. If I am going to make the leap from hobbyist to professional, the time has to be respected.

Is this something you struggle with? How do you make time for what’s important?

SJ Parkinson: Interview with the Author of #Twinkle + #Giveaway!

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 Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/31/14 – 8/28/14

Genres: Science Fiction

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 I’m delighted to have the author of Twinkle, SJ Parkinson, with us today. Welcome, SJ!

My love of sci fi grew from watching Star Trek at 10:35 on Saturday nights as a kid. Where did your love of sci fi come from?
One of my first memories as a child was watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon on television. I suspect that one event inspired my fascination with of space travel. As a teenager, I had an eight foot book shelf in my room with classic novels. The shelf overflowed with Asimov, Bradbury, Herbert, Clarke, Card, Welles, etc. On weekends, I would scour flea markets for used books. I would come home from school, retreat to my bed, and read a couple of chapters before dinner and typically finish it after eating. The one book that grabbed me, and continues to be my favorite to this day, is Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. It inspired me to join the military, which I did at eighteen.

I tend to read everything from sci fi (one of my favorite books is Rendezvous with Rama) to romantic comedy. What genres do you enjoy reading?
Sci-fi is my favorite genre, but I do enjoy thrillers and non-fiction. I used to read a book a day as a teen, but now that I’m writing I can’t keep up that pace. Most of the books I read now are research for future novels, but I do occasionally read something else that catches my interest. The last three books I read were a biography of Nikola Tesla, a history of the Colditz prisoner of war camp in World War II, and the last book of Asimov’s Foundation series. Historical books inspire me as a writer and generate all sorts of ideas.

Which authors have influenced your writing?
That would be a long list. Apart from the authors I’ve already mentioned Frederick Forsyth, Michael Crichton, Bernard Cornwell, and Tom Clancy all inspired me deeply. Forsyth’s plots are so realistic you can imagine them coming from a newspaper headline. Crichton takes existing science and brings it one step further. Bernard Cornwell sets his fictional books against actual historical events and Clancy’s ability to create tension is unparalleled. I use elements of each in my writing.

Your books are very realistic. Tell us about the research you do.
As a reader myself, there is nothing I hate more that seeing something in a book and knowing it’s false. I once read a story where the hero carried a revolver. Then several pages later he is described as changing magazines. Revolvers don’t have magazines and from that point on I was unable to believe what I read. More glaring errors followed and I stopped reading at that point. Even though I write fiction, I strive to ensure that what I write is accurate so that my readers don’t end up being disappointed.
A portion of one of my earlier novels, The Legionnaire: Origins takes place in Algeria. A good friend of mine is French-Algerian and after reading Origins he asked me when I’d been there. He refused to believe me when I told him I’d never visited Algeria. His response was, “You must have been there. Your description of the Tuareg nomads is perfect.”

Typically, I do at least a week or two of research for a novel before writing a word. Twinkle was so broad in scope that the research for that novel took me three months. At the end of that time, I know the places, settings, and descriptions of the various places intimately and as a result I can write a lot faster. Often the research will give me information to take a character in a completely different direction than what I had initially envisioned.

If you could live in a sci fi world, what would it be like?
I would choose to live in a world halfway between Star Trek and Blade Runner. In Star Trek everything is clean, ordered, and well organized where Blade Runner is industrial, over-crowded, and run down. I’d like to think our future would lie somewhere between those two extremes.

Regardless, as a species we need to start working together more to get there. Five thousand years ago we were warring tribes. Today, the only change is the effectiveness of the weapons. I’m an optimist and have hope for the future, but the multiple ongoing conflicts and clashing ideologies in the world today are not encouraging. Problems don’t come from believing something. They occur when someone tries to force someone else to believe what they do. The human race seems to be adopting an, “I’m right, you’re wrong and nothing you say will change my mind” attitude. If we want to see that ideal future, we need to start talking and understanding each other better. After all, if you don’t respect someone else’s views, why should they respect yours?

I understand you are a gamer. How does that affect your writing?
I come from a technology background. Electronics, radar, and communications in the military, then as an IT manager in later life. I spend most of my day around computers so you’d think I’d get as far away from them as possible when not writing. That’s true to some extent as I love to travel, scuba dive, hike, spend time with friends, and get out into the great outdoors. However, at night, or during dreary days I turn on the computer and boot up a game. It helps my writing as gaming takes my mind off my various projects. It’s a small break that gives me some separation. I no longer focus on plots, characters, settings, pacing or any of the other considerations. When done, I return to my writing refreshed and ready to go on.

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
I had to think about this question for quite some time. My initial response was Stephen Anderson, my main character from The Legionnaire series. However, I realized we’re so similar we’d probably just annoy each other. Being a shallow male, I then thought of spending a day with one of my attractive heroines, but my wife would disapprove. Then I remembered Oscar Blake. In Twinkle, he is a US Park Ranger and trail guide. Spending a day with him exploring the Olympic National Park in Washington State would be a good day. Having a local guide means you’ll see the best views and scenes.

Can you tell us what projects you are working on now?
My sixth novel is a return to the mystery-adventure genre. It’s the story of a thief in modern day New York City who is set-up for a murder he was not responsible for. The story revolves around him finding the real killer before the police arrest him. I’m also developing book four in The Legionnaire series and another pair of science fiction novels. Beyond the writing, I’m looking into getting my novels translated into other languages and working on screenplays to get them turned into movies.

Thanks for this opportunity to speak to your readers. Have a great week.

Blurb:
The richest man in the world wants to celebrate the July 4th holiday as never before. In a bid to get into the record books, a global fireworks show is staged from orbit. Satellites drop pyrotechnics into the atmosphere, thrilling everyone from the Arctic to the Antarctic with their rich colors and massive explosions in every time zone.

The next day, people around the globe begin to lose their sight. Governments crumble, society degenerates, and infrastructure falls into chaos. Humanity finds itself stumbling in the dark and losing all hope.

A few fortunate individuals retain their vision. Attempting to deal with the growing despair around them, they come together to discover the true purpose and origin of the affliction. They race to find a cure before the world is subjugated under an invading power.

See the Book Trailer on Youtube

 

Excerpt:

Keith Hurst’s secure telephone rang, waking him from a sound sleep. He opened his eyes and looked at the LED clock on his nightstand. It said 3:12. As national security advisor to the president of the United States, middle-of-the-night calls were common. His staff did their best to filter out the less important matters until his morning brief, but there were times when an emergency forced sleep into second place.

Hurst grabbed the handset by the second ring. He had to wait for the encryption to handshake before he could say, “Hurst.”

Good morning, sir. This is the night watch officer. We have several NSA intercepts from the following countries: India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia all placing their militaries on high alert. We’ve had sporadic reports of multiple air, car, and rail accidents, resulting in thousands of deaths. Many radio and television stations have gone off the air in those countries.”

Hurst snapped on his bedside light and sat up. “Accidents? Do we know the cause?”

No, sir. The strange thing is, NSA claims many of the foreign military units that were signaled never acknowledged the alert. There also appears to be a major communication disruption with U.S. CENTCOM units in Afghanistan and our embassies in the aforementioned countries.”

Are the comms being hacked, or is there some sort of natural phenomenon like sunspot interference?” Concerned about the call, Hurst looked at the empty space beside him. His wife had left him several years before, directly because of the election campaign and the late-night calls.

No, sir. Not that we can see. The circuits are up, and the phones are ringing, but no one is answering.”

Hurst swung his legs out of bed. Has someone come up with a way to simultaneously disrupt communications with American bases, embassies, and headquarters, or is this some sort of terrorist attack? “Does NRO have anything on overhead imagery?”

No, sir. No major troop movements in the CENTCOM area. In fact, NRO reports minimal movement overall.”

I’ll be in the office in thirty-five minutes. I’ll want everyone in for an early brief for the president. Get the joint chiefs and SECDEF up to speed. Warn the Secret Service that we may be moving POTUS with short notice. If this is an attack, I want to stay ahead of it. See if we can get drone surveillance of any U.S. bases in Afghanistan ASAP. We need answers.”

Yes, sir.”

Hurst hung up and hit the bedside crash button to summon his protection detail. This was no time for subtlety. He needed to be in the White House as soon as humanly possible.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

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About The Author:

Mr. Parkinson was an Air Force avionics technician, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, and several United Nations peacekeeping missions. He has lived overseas in numerous countries and travels extensively. His novels have been praised for their realism and have sold in fourteen countries, winning multiple international awards.
“I don’t incorporate overt sex, profanity, or extreme violence in any of my writing. I prefer the story to be the main focus and want my novels to be accessible by all.” -SJ Parkinson

 

Author Links:

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Giveaway:

One Lucky Winner Will Win All 3 Books in The Legionnaire Series and Another Lucky Winner Will Win Two Science Fiction Books – Twinkle and Predation – By SJ Parkinson.

The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Open internationally. Enter through Rafflecopter.

 

#RIPArleneMartel

After the shock of losing Robin Williams yesterday, I was so sad to hear the news of Marlene Artel’s passing. I had the pleasure of meeting her last spring at the Chicago Star Trek Convention. She was an absolute delight. In honor of her memory, I decided to share my previous post this evening:

Arlene Martel

Arlene Martel

Arlene Martel was the first celebrity I saw at the Star Trek convention in Chicago in May 2013. I passed her in the hotel lobby with a fairly large man accompanying her. She was so elegant, with her striking good looks, dark hair and large sunglasses. At first, I thought she was Joan Collins. She nodded to me and said, “Good morning.” I was agog – a celeb spoke to me! But who was she? Would Joan Collins actually make an appearance? I knew she had been a guest star, but nothing had been said in the emails from Creation about her. When I got in the vendors area, I spotted her and immediately noted the pictures on her table – she was Spock’s wife! It was Arlene Martel! If you don’t know anything about Arlene, please check out her website here. I made my way through the line and finally got up to her. I was trying to decide which photo to buy, and one photo was of her as Spock’s wife in Amok Time. She leaned over and said, “What the hell am I holding there?”

I laughed, looked closer and said, “I think it’s a ring.”

“Oh, yes!” she said as she settled back in her chair. “They had the most fabulous jewelry on that show!”

I leaned forward and whispered, “They didn’t let you keep it, did they?”

“Oh, no, we had no idea what we were making when we were making Star Trek. Like those ears in that photo,” she pointed to the picture of her with Spock, “Those ears hurt so bad and when shooting was over, I ripped them off and tossed them on the makeup table. Couldn’t wait to get rid of them. And someone told me they sold at auction for $35,000. And I threw them away!”

Arlene Martel: In Star Trek and The Twilight Zone

Arlene Martel: In Star Trek and The Twilight Zone

When I finally settled on the photo of her with Spock, we talked about the episode and had a hilarious conversation about Vulcans going seven years without sex. Arlene laughed and said, “Seven years – can you imagine? I couldn’t go seven days!”

Arlene was an absolute delight to meet. She actually spoke with me – not just at me. Asked my opinion about television and movies. I was so impressed with her. She and her husband have written a book about mental illness. She was such a delight, I can’t imagine her having any struggles. But after meeting her, I want to read more about her.

Rest in peace, Arlene. I am honored to have met you.

Virtual #BookTour: Sunshine Book Promotions

Do you like to win? Do you like free stuff? Pop on over to Sunshine Book Promotions today, read an excerpt of Denim & Diamonds and sign up for a free Amazon gift certificate! Have you gotten your free ebook? If not, go get it!!

Bonus: Throwback Thursday picture from vacation 2010 at my favorite family vacation spot.

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Katelyn & me at Silver Beach

I Heart Reading: First #BookReview #4Stars

Going on this virtual tour hosted by Enchanted Book Promotions has been very exciting. The biggest part of this, for me, was getting a review. I was curious to see what someone who reviews books regularly would think of Denim & Diamonds. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword. It could be good, or it could be bad. It took me a while to gather up

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Book Tour August 2014

enough courage to read the review. I finally did. And, yup, I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Please, stop by I Heart Reading and see the review for yourself. Then pop on over to Amazon and download a FREE copy of the ebook for yourself.

If you enjoy reading, be sure to support the authors you like. Buy their books. Download free books (even if you already have the paperback!). Review their books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. Tell people about their books. Your favorite authors will appreciate the love. 🙂