Tag Archives: Reluctant Guardian

Myndi Shafer on My NEW Blog…today!

I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet, but I’ve set up housekeeping on a new, self-hosted blog/website (so I can stop hopping between a blog and a website).

So anyway…

Pop on over to the new digs so you can read the interview with Myndi Shafer. She’s telling us all about her the release of her latest book, The Darkening.

 

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The Vampire Diaries Disappoints Yet Again

***SPOILER ALERT***

If you haven’t seen the most recent episode (2/21/13), you might want to skip this post.

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If you watch television, there’s no getting around the fact that once in awhile…someone you love is going to die. It’s almost always because an actor wants to leave a series, but fortunately it doesn’t happen too often.

Unless we’re talking about The Vampire Diaries. And apparently the writers can’t figure out how to make the show interesting without killing off main characters every season.

In some ways this show gets better and better, but that aspect of it is getting really old.

Frankly I didn’t care when they knocked Vickie, Anna, Tyler’s uncle, Caroline’s father and a few of the others off. Given the theme of the story, people dying is pretty much a given.

However…

Jenna Sommers, John Gilbert, Lexi Branson (yeah, I know, she wasn’t an MC, but I liked her), Carol Lockwood, Alaric Saltzman (I’m still a little ticked over that), and now…Jeremy Gilbert?!

We’re talking not quite four seasons here, and the cast is dwindling more and more. The only humans left are Liz Forbes and Matt Donovan – and if Matt dies, I probably will stop watching the show.

Maybe it’s time to hire a few new writers. People who can come up with interesting scripts that don’t rely on reducing the cast every time we blink.

I’m going to stop here before this turns into a rant, or more of a rant than it is. But I have to say…if I wanted a steady dose of depressing ‘reality,’ I’d turn the news on. I don’t watch much television, and when I do, I watch it to escape, not to walk away feeling bummed out when the hour is over.

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Valentine’s Day, Book Release, & An Interview

First…Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! I hope you’re enjoying sweet cards, pretty flowers, books, and special treats on this February 14th. More importantly, I hope you’re spending it with someone you truly care about, be it a significant other, a good friend, or your kids.

On four hours sleep, I’m going to be spending some quality time with my pillow and blanket here before too much more time passes. Much as I don’t like to take a nap, when it starts looking like I’ve ‘had a few too many’ when I walk from one room to another, it’s definitely time to catch up on a little sleep.

And now for the book release. Yup. Almost two months later than anticipated, but the 3rd book in my Coach’s Boys series, A Harry Situation, is finally here!

A Harry Situation-Cover 1

It’s available on Smashwords as I write this. As soon as I get a URL for Amazon.com, I’ll post an update. Hopefully that will be later today.

And now for the interview. Over the course of the past year and a half or so, I’ve gotten to know a lot of people I’d never have had the opportunity to ‘meet’ were it not for my writing. A few have become very good friends, and one of them…Shineka Robinson…has become one of the best. I did an interview with her last week, and it’s up on her blog, Cause Everyone Needs Romance, right now. Stop by and say hi. There will be a drawing for ten digital copies of The Daddy Pact for those who leave a comment.

And now, because I’m almost as hungry as I am exhausted, I’m going to go get a small bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream…and then I have a date with RDJ, Bruce Willis, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Hey, as long as I’m going to visit dreamland for a couple of hours, I might as well get in some major Valentine’s romance, right?

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Michigan -The Back of the Beyond?

For some reason Michigan has come up in conversation a few times lately, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some cool information about my habitat.

First, we’re known as the Great Lake State, and we’re as easy to find  on a map as Florida. Yup, we’re the state that looks like a mitten, although there’s a lot more to us than our resemblance to winter outerwear. Yup, we also have an Upper Peninsula. And to reach it, without taking the long way (via Wisconsin), or by boat, we have to travel across the Mackinaw Bridge…the third longest suspension bridge in the world. It is beautiful. It’s a masterpiece. And I hate it passionately. Mostly because I also hate heights, and I come close to having a panic attack every time I cross it.

I’ve never made a secret that I live in the country in a small community. So small, in fact, that the four small towns closest to me have a total population of 14,617. If you expand that to include the ‘big’ cities within thirty miles, that number jumps up to 188,358. Those thriving metropolises are Lansing (our state capital) and Battle Creek (home of Sugar Bear and Tony the Tiger).

I didn’t realize just how sparsely populated these areas are until I took a look at Detroit (706,985) – and  compared all of them to cities like New York City (8,244,910)and Los Angeles (3,819,702).

But Michigan is a totally cool state. We have a little bit of everything, even tropical weather. Surrounded by so much water, it can get super humid in the summer. Interesting fact: we’re never more than six miles from an inland lake or river – no matter where we are.

We do have surfing:

Did you notice the ice on that guy’s head? You have to be pretty hardy to surf in our lakes. And yes, I went with a video filmed in Minnesota, but only because they’re still surfing in OUR lake. And it’s a cool video. 🙂

And totally cool land formations:

Pictured Rocks is located in our coldest lake, Superior. If you remember the Gordon Lightfoot song, The Edmund Fitzgerald, this is the lake it sunk in.

Speaking of sinking:

Some experts believe that up to 10,000 ships have been lost in the Great Lakes through the centuries, and the location of about a thousand of them are known at this time. Divers come from all over the globe to see them.

Like Islands? We have some of those, too:

Six United States Presidents have stayed at the Grand Hotel. It is the largest ‘summer only’ hotel in the world. In addition, Somewhere in Time (Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour) was filmed there.

Other claims to fame:

Okay, so maybe Da Yoopers are strictly a Michigan thing. We like ’em.

We are home to celebrities who are a little more well known: Francis Ford Coppola (uncle of Nicholas Cage), Tim Allen, Jeff Daniels, Bruce Campbell (my man Sam in Burn Notice), Taylor Lautner (feel free to swoon), Stevie Wonder, Alice Cooper, and Gerald Ford, 38th POTUS.

So anyway…there you have it. Just a few of the reasons I love the fact that I was born and raised…and very proud to say that I still live…in a mitten.

Well…here are a couple more reasons:

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February Writing Challenge

So I’m a day late in getting this set up, but a few of you expressed an interest in joining a writing challenge this month.  If you click on the ‘Challenge’ tab above, it explains things a little better than I’ll do here.

Wow. I think this is my shortest post ever. 🙂

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I Needed a Laugh…

…and Tim Hawkins can almost always provide one.

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I was hoping to get a few giggles from my spam folder, like Jenny Hansen enjoys, but alas, it’s the same old boring stuff.

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Through February 8, 2013, I’ll be giving away free copies of my short story, Someday…Maybe to anyone who would like to receive my newsletter . Just click here, fill the form out, and then confirm that you’d like to receive it when you get the email asking you whether you really want it or not. Upon request, I will send previous newsletters for anyone who wants to read the installments of Holding On To Yesterday.

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Bank Statments and Surprises

The Saturday afternoon mail delivery brought with it a surprise. Well, maybe to call it a surprise isn’t the most accurate way to describe what this was. A surprise generally involves something nice (unless it’s prefaced with ‘unpleasant’). This wasn’t exactly pleasant. Nope. It looked like some sort of tax statement, and it looked like they’d taken some money out of my account for federal income taxes.

Since banks aren’t open long on weekends, I had to wait until Monday to figure out that it wasn’t a tax, it was for ‘other income.’  The problem was, they didn’t know what it meant, and neither did I. So the woman I talked to promised to find out for me.

And she did.

The other income was actually an iPod they sent me after I opened the account last summer. My old bank flagged my account every time I ordered something two days in a row from Amazon (I buy a lot of books). I wanted a bank that wouldn’t do that.

The woman who set up my account didn’t mention an iPod. And she sure as shooting didn’t say a word about it being ‘income’ I’d have to pay taxes on. If she had, I’d have said thanks, but no thanks. If I wanted one, I would  go to the store and buy it.

My daughter was pleased as punch when it came in the mail several weeks later. She’s the reason I had resisted buying one in the first place. In two years time, three cell phones met their electronic maker in the wash/rinse cycles, and one was crushed beneath the tires of my van. I naturally assumed that if her cell phones had short lifespans, something an inch square didn’t stand a chance.

Long story shorter, I’m going to pay $15.00 – $20.00 in income tax on that iPod. Sales tax would have only been $3.90. I’ll grant you that we’re getting it cheap, all things considered, but I’m still offended.

They assumed I opened the account because they sent a flyer through the mail, letting people know about the ‘gift.’ Unfortunately, in my house, if it looks like junk mail, it goes directly in the waste basket.

I wasn’t really awful, but I let the woman know that by not informing me about the iPod/other income/income tax when I opened the account, they not only made an assumption they had no business making, they denied me the right to decide whether I wanted their ‘gift’ or not.

The woman said she would let someone know, and I thought the matter had been dealt with.

Nope. Someone else called about two hours after I finally fell asleep yesterday morning. And this time I really wasn’t happy. Partly because I’d only had eleven hours sleep out of the past forty-eight, partly because I was tired of talking about it.

She just wanted me to know that, because of my experience, they were now going to require anyone wanting one of their ‘other income gifts’ to bring the flyer in with them. And all employees setting up accounts will have to explain that anyone accepting the gifts will have to pay income taxes on it, and not sales tax (which is a whole lot less).

So something good has come of it. At least no one else will wind up with a gift they neither asked for, nor wanted…and then have to pay for it.

Yes, this was a bit of a rant. Have any of you had an experience like mine? If so, what was your reaction? I know that even if the tax bill is $20.00, it isn’t going to make or break my budget, it’s just the principle of the thing.

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