Sunday, April 29, 2012


Siggy asked me to write a short topic for her blog. I looked back through what I had and didn’t see anything that really struck my chimes. Basically it was like a timeline of our journey to becoming a writer. It showed our beginning by posting some bits of stories we had written to what we were trying to do to help get our name out there. It seemed the further I tried to talk about us the less people noticed. I tried to follow a writer who made the newspapers and a million in her first year of indie publishing. In other words, I was trying to be someone I was not. I am not Amanda Hocking. Trying to follow in her footsteps is fruitless. I can use some of her ideas but I have to make my own way, just as every other writer has had to do. We can learn from others and improve ourselves but in the end, we have to make our own way to becoming published authors.
We have found that we are good at customer service type jobs. Helping other people helps us. We found a place where that is personified tenfold in a woman named Kim Mutch Emerson. She created a group on MasterKoda where others are drawn in and love to help each other as well as make themselves known. Each and every person there has helped others without asking for anything in return as well as been helped from time to time.

Mellisa Neal is another person like Kim who created Buggie 4 books. She helps too is a kind and giving person who loves to help others even though she has her own troubles that could weigh anyone down to a level where they would only think of themselves. But they don’t they think of others and help others.

“Why do we do it?” I have been asked by those outside of the internet. Why would you help others if there isn’t any money in it for you? Why did I interview all those new and indie authors without asking for anything in return? These are some questions I have been asked. One gentleman was truly perplexed as to why we did it. I just thought to myself. I don’t know if he would understand how I feel when I help others. I like it! It helps them get the word out about their book and their name as well as help get our blog out there too! It was a definite win/win situation. MasterKoda also has the same ideas and the same beliefs. Help each other and not ask for anything in return.

Does that mean we work at jobs for free? No. None of us have a direct pipeline to fort Knox. We work; we look for work while we help others. All of us know how it is to be broke and need help or want to achieve a dream. That is why we help each other. We have a desire to help others succeed as well as ourselves.

I am adding this to the blog as another chapter to keep looking forward and learning more each and every day. Things change, times change and so must we. Learn to adapt or be left behind as some have said. At MasterKoda and groups like it, we help each other learn and keep up with new technology and our own writings.

To sum it all up, why we help each other is because we want to see indie authors become better than what has been portrayed. We want to help each other and show that we are not as cut throat as our time has shown time and time again. There is still good in humanity, there are still good people willing to help others without asking for anything in return. We are not lost as the news has us portrayed. So hang in there everyone! We will make it!
Wendy Siefken
Charles Siefken

Thursday, April 26, 2012

View from the Cab

Sex In My Times.
Many years ago I stopped the cab one day for a chap, who when I asked where he was going said: “I want a woman.” He was not English I hasten to add but from where in the world he came I could not say. After I overcame my shock, not to his request but to his choice of word…”Wanted”…as opposed to…”Needed”… I asked if he would care to elaborate. He complied, and indicated his wishes in an unmistakable way by mouthing his intentions with that international word beginning with the letter F, and gyrating in a manner that left no doubt in my innocent mind. I suggested that we find a telephone box where women who catered in that branch of the service industry for his particular demands, would advertise their collective expertise on business cards on display. After due deliberations he made his choice from the provocative and lurid depictions ranging from…’Busty Blonde will personally see to your every sexual cravings’ to…’Russian Slave Girl Caters For Subservients!’ He returned to the cab and handed me an address. As all of this was taking part during a time that in England that we would affectionately call…Lunch-time…it crossed my mind that his preference, to his sought after exercise, was probably more pleasurable to the often seen Joggers, that in my opinion looked bored, and who’s penchant served no purpose in life other than stimulating the onset of arthritis in knees and ankles that would later cause trouble to both them and our overstretched National Health Service. My mind wandered, and I wondered if his form of workout could ever be recommended as an alternative to such activity. I came to the conclusion that if so advocated, it could well be cost-effective set against the prescribed drugs that Joggers would eventually need! A catalogue of benefits traveled though my senses on that journey, only to be compared against the equally long list of disadvantages. My foremost concern for the well-being of those amongst us who shared this man’s predilections to sex, as a way to gain fitness to parallel that of those Joggers, was what lead me to refuse the invitation he offered me when we arrived at the door to the apartment where his appointment waited. That’s what he invited me to do…To wait his return. My refusal was not based on any estimation as to this man’s sexual prowess, or stamina. I have never based opinions only on impressions. I’m not that stupid. No, it originated as a headline I had read in an obviously respectable newspaper ‘ 87 Men Dead Whilst On The Job.’ I considered informing this man of that headline but, after giving consideration to his lack of understanding of my language, and quite honestly a selfish desire not to share my considerable knowledge of all things, I decided not to and drove away. Oh, I almost forgot. If you need to research that enlightening news, then I should give you the name of that newspaper…’The Civil and Mechanical Engineering Times’… Anything with the prestigious name of the Times on it, must be right!
Danny Kemp
Twitter @DanielKemp6  

Congratulation Danny on your movie deal! You're going places! Siggy  I think it's about this book!http://www-thedesolategarden-

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Freethought of the Day
April 24, 2012

photo“If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind. ”
Clarence Darrow, "Scopes Trial" courtroom speech, July 13, 1925

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor
Fun with a Series Character

          When I find a writer whose work I enjoy, I’ll read his other books. If he’s writing a series, I try to read those books in the order they were written to see the development of his continuing characters and how their relationships impact their lives. By tracking these changes I can see the long-term growth the author has given his hero or heroine.

            So when I decided to write mysteries, I knew a series would allow me to stretch and grow my characters in the same way I’ve enjoyed the growth and development of those readers whose books I reach for again and again.

            I have an unpublished (yet!) series featuring nurse Trudy Genova, a Manhattan nurse who works onset as a consultant for medical scenes being filmed in The Big Apple. Trudy’s job mirrors my own favorite nursing position from 1988- 1994 when I still lived in NY. That was an easy character to develop because she was younger extension of myself and I knew her situation well. I gave her a different background and ran with it.

My series set in the UK took more work. When I developed the character of Nora Tierney, an American writer living in England, I made her reasonably young to allow for years of growth as I decided on what I call her “bible--” the history of her life that may or may not make it to the page. This background helps me know Nora better, so I have a feeling for how she would react in certain situations. The two most important things I have to decide for any character are: what they want the most, and what they fear the most.

As a writer, Nora loves research of any kind and is an information gatherer. I also gave her an insatiable curiosity, which leads to her snooping, and a strong sense of fairness and justice, both of which contribute to her tendency to become involved in murder investigations. Nora has been known to lie at the drop of a hat if it will further her gathering of what she considers important or necessary information. She sees these fabrications as harmless. The detectives she runs across don’t necessarily agree.

            The underlying theme of all the books is how the choices we make affect our life, and Nora’s background had to have some kind of kink in it that has ramifications for her now. Nora still suffers guilt from her father’s death in a sailing accident. A teenager at the time, she’d turned down his offer for an evening sail in favor of a date, a reasonable thing for anyone of that age, until a squall capsized his boat. She carries the unreasonable idea that if she’d gone with him, he would have survived. This also has an impact on her relationships with men. She’s often confused about her feelings for the men she cares about and has difficulty becoming too attached.

            Then I threw in a real kicker in the first book, The Blue Virgin: her backstory had her unhappily engaged to a workaholic scientist. Nora was on the verge of calling it off when he’s killed in a plane accident. A few weeks later she finds out she’s pregnant and she has to decide whether to keep the baby as a single parent. This is the prelude to the story in the first novel, which finds a newly pregnant Nora in the midst of trying to prove her best friend, artist Val Rogan, is innocent of a murder charge in the death of Val’s partner, Bryn Wallace. The book is set in Oxford, where Nora is packing up to move to Cumbria. But first, she is determined to clear Val.

            Saddling Nora with a child to raise alone in the future will give her many challenges and responsibilities that thwart her natural desires. In the second book, The Green Remains, Nora is living in the Lake District and heavily pregnant. I had to keep in mind Nora’s physical condition and how that would impact and interfere with her ability to snoop actively when she stumbles across a body at the edge of Lake Windermere.

            There will be more challenges for Nora down the road. I’ve already planted the seeds in these first two books that will grow into plot lines in books three and four. And I’ll keep Nora growing and changing in relation to the situations I set across her path.

Marni Graff

Congratulations on the publication of your book, one of several to come! That's something to Post and trumpet about. Siggy Buckley

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Everyday is Earth Day!

What does it mean to celebrate Earth Day? For many, as executive director for the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (LGBG)- - Frank Robinson says, it means “to encourage children to develop a natural curiosity about nature, allow them to play in natural environments at their own pace and learn to follow their instincts.” Still, to mark the anniversary of a modern-day environmental movement, a special day – Earth Day - is set aside.
In 1970, Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nation-wide environmental protest "to shake up the political establishment”. At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press; and, air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. More often than not, the word ‘environment’ was a word that appeared in spelling bees rather than on the evening news. But on April 22, 1970 an event occurred that ignited our present-day 21st. Century Green Revolution.
More than 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities also organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. As a result, groups which had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly became well-known.
A rare political alignment enlist the support of Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders resulting in the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts. Then, in 1990, Denis Hayes again organized a campaign and this time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues to world-wide attention. As the millennium approached, he spearhead still another campaign, combining the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990 and 5,000 environmental groups from around the world step on board, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people in a record 184 countries.
On April 22nd  we again celebrate an event that has forever changed the way we relate to our environment. What can you do? As Robinson says, “encourage children to develop their natural curiosity about nature, allow them to play in natural environments at their own pace and learn to follow their instincts.” Robinson and his staff on Saturday the 21st or Sunday the 22nd. Have scheduled a Heritage Weekend at Historic Bloemendaal. Participate in an event designed to connect you with a Greater Richmond Area (GRA) site’s history and present-day garden space.   
If you are located nearby central Virginia, as another option, join me and my eco colleagues when we provide an opportunity for all to explore the wonder of science, connect with the green of our community. Scheduled Saturday April 21st Henrico County’s Earth Day celebration is held at Three Lakes Park. As an eco advocate, I’ll be on site as an ‘ask the expert’ that provides strategies related to ‘greening’ urban suburban communities.

On the other hand, as Robinson implies, everyday should be a celebrated ‘earth day’. Consequently, year around, eco events occur. For example, the GRA’s Science Museum of Virginia daily supplies an opportunity to explore the wonder of science. Through hands-on demonstrations, crafts, and activities, children discover they can make a positive difference at home, in their communities, and in the world. Consequently, whether your child’s experience occurs through a book, backyard, organized community event or public garden activity, children can, as Robinson says, “be encouraged to develop natural curiosity about nature while playing in natural environments at their own pace and learn to follow their instincts.”

So, whether a resident of the GRA or elsewhere, join me in the celebration of a special event, Earth Day!
Sylvia Hoehns Wright
Member of the National League of American Pen

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On being an Introvert

On being an introvert...

Being an introvert in an extroverted world has its challenges. Even so, I would not even dream of being any other way.

So what is an introvert?

Introverts gain energy from their internal world and are drained by too much external stimuli. Conversely, extroverts gain energy from social interactions and prefer not to be alone for extended periods of time.

Many cultures value extroversion more than introversion. Even the task of finding pictures of people alone and happy was a challenge. The belief is that if I don't speak my every thought or feeling that something is wrong with me. If I don't constantly interact with the person next to me then I am rude. I believe in privacy, even if it is at least the privacy of my own internal dialogue.

Only one in four people in the US are introverts; so there have been numerous opportunities for misunderstandings and stereotypes to emerge.

Stereotypes of introverts:

1. Shy

I am not shy! Shy people would actually like to spend more time with others in social settings, however, they just don't know how. I actually prefer to be alone or with a limited number of people.

2. Stuck up

I am not stuck up. It's just that sometimes what I'm thinking is way more interesting than what you are saying. And just because your words are louder, doesn't make them more important than my thoughts or feelings.

3. Depressed/Antisocial

I am not depressed or mentally ill. Sure, spending lots of time alone may sound like torture to some, but it sounds like heaven to an introvert. We need time alone just as much as we need air to breathe. I need this time to recharge in order to function properly in an extroverted world.

4. Friendless/Hates people

Believe it or not, I have friends. Yes, more than one. I was never into having clich├ęs or group friends. I prefer to know my friends intimately and independent of one another. I prefer to have deep, meaningful experiences with people I know versus numerous shallow experiences with strangers.

Our culture here in America puts pressure on introverts to become more extroverted. Come say hello to so and so, chit chat about meaningless matters just for the sake of being polite. Why not ask extroverts to respect the preferences of introverts?

Tips for extroverts conversing with an introvert:
·         Don't ramble.
·         Get to the point.
·         Talk about something meaningful.
·         Pause and wait for a thoughtful response.

3 things I have always wanted to say to an extrovert:

Stop extroverting all over me!

Shut up! You're sucking the life out of me!

The words coming out of your mouth are draining the energy from my body.

Introverts are fun and fantastic in our own right.

Advantages of being an introvert:

Calm inner strength

Creative, out of the box thinker

Inner focused: driven by own goals, not dependent on others

Maintain long term, deep relationships (quality vs. quantity)

Wise (maybe because we tend to listen more than we talk)

Imagine a world with no introverts...