Friday, June 29, 2018

When One Equals Five Hundred and Seventy-Four

Thought for the day:  A Healthy attitude is contagious, but don't wait to catch it from somebody else. Be a carrier.

image: morguefile

One of the nice things about smiling is... it's free. It doesn't cost a single cent to have a positive attitude, and for the most part, it really is contagious. Try being extra nice to the cashier and bagger at the grocery story, and see how much it's appreciated. Smile and say something nice to the people you meet while waiting in some infernal line, and see how quickly they respond. I think most people would genuinely like to feel connected to other people, but for whatever reason, they hold back. No reason you have to. Go ahead and try to build a bridge, no matter how small it is. What do you have to lose?

So, what's that have to do with the title of this post? Not a darned thing.

What the title's referring to is that this, my 574th post, is actually a lazy-assed re-run of my very first one, originally published on February 25, 2011. Since the IWSG posts will be coming out on Tuesday instead of Wednesday next week, whatever I post today will only be (ahem) new for a few days, so rather than spend all day writing a new post that's doomed to die an early death out of the kindness of my heart, I'm gonna re-share this oldie, but not so goodie.

Remember how scary it was when you dipped your toes into the Blogosphere for the first time? How would anyone find you...? Would anyone ever leave a comment...? Well, the following post marks my first tentative dip, and I've gotta say, it's been a pleasure splashing around with you guys. Special thanks to those of you who've shared much of the journey with me, and a warm welcome to those who are just starting to swim in my humble, rather eclectic, pool. I truly cherish our connections.

Thought for the dayInside of every old person is a young person wondering what happened.

Yay, me. Finally got the gumption to jump into the blogosphere, proving that it IS possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Guess I'll be typing to myself for quite a while, but I sure am looking forward to that glorious sun-drenched day when something other than a sad little goose egg shows up under comments.

In the meantime, I'll entertain myself until you guys join the party.

My name is Susan, and I'm an amateur radio operator. Sounds like a greeting at one of those "addictions anonymous" kinda meetings, doesn't it? Funny you should mention it, because the wife of a ham I know claims that ham radio isn't a hobby...  it's a disease. Addiction, disease. You say tomato, I say to-mah-to.

Okay, so I admit it. Many a ham radio operator has deserted his warm bed in the middle of the night to tiptoe into his shack and fire up the radio. After all, how can he possibly sleep when there might be a pipeline opening to Mongolia, or to some other remote part of the world? And, yeah, a ham might miss a party or wedding every now and then. But only if it conflicts with a worldwide contest, hamfest, or with that once-a-year all-important field day. (He usually makes it to his OWN wedding.)

Writing is the same way. Countless writers crawl out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, because that's when their inconsiderate muses decide to tap them on the shoulder. The words start rolling around in their heads, the voices start talking, and they have no choice but to grab a pad or fire up the computer. It's a passion, and a compulsion. Writers don't always write because they want to write; they write because they HAVE to write. There's simply no peace to be found until they put form to the words churning in their heads.

But it's all good, because it's all about passion, and passion, my friends, keeps the giddyap in our steps.

How about you? What lights a fire in your furnace? Whatever it is, I sincerely hope your significant other shares that passion with you, because that elevates the enjoyment to a whole 'nother level.

And by the way, if you're interested in learning more about amateur radio, check out  It doesn't matter how old you are, where you live, or what you do in life. Amateur radio is FUN, and offers many opportunities to serve your communities.

No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.


Believe it or not, that first sorry post actually garnered a couple of comments. Surprised the heck out of me! Just like you guys do with every one of your funny, entertaining, intelligent posts.

                           Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, June 22, 2018

To Smooth Sailing and Healthy Sales

Thought for the day: How do you make a yacht look younger? Simple... boat-ox.

Smarticus and I grew up on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, so fishing, crabbing and boating are kinda in our blood. Although we've been on all kinds of boats, we've only owned two: a small motorboat and a canoe, and both of them came after we moved to landlocked Atlanta. Go figure, huh?

Oh, I must go down to the sea again
To sail o'er the wind and the surf,
Though I'm not all the keen,
If you know what I mean,
But I must get my money's worth. 
[Des Sleightholme]

Keeping a boat afloat often requires a good bit of money and hard work, but for people who have salt water in their veins and truly love boating, no amount of money or work can cool their ardor. For others, their best two days with a boat are the day they buy it... and the day they sell it.

Some boaters have great fun coming up with clever names for their beloved boats, but we never bothered. However, it's possible that we may have called that fiberglass canoe a name or two when a certain misguided woodpecker kept tapping his little heart out on it every morning before sunrise. But (ahem) no names appropriate for painting on the side of a boat...

On the other hand, some names are sooooo cool. Like these:
  • Seas the Day (My favorite!)
  • Pier Pressure
  • Campbell's Sloop
  • Moor Often Than Knot
  • Fish and Chicks
  • Nauti-buoy
  • Row vs. Wade (for the social activist)
  • Dock Holiday
  • Knot Paid For
  • Now Who's the Loser, Dad? (Wouldn't be terribly effective on a small motorboat or canoe.)
  • Bacon in the Sun
  • Marlin Monroe
  • Seaductress
  • Sand Witch
  • Aquafart
  • Fartbutt
(ahem) I suspect a male came up with those last two name. Just a wild guess...

We once spent a mah-velous weekend with a friend on her houseboat, but the idea of living on a boat year-round never particularly appealed to me.  I mean... where would we fit our pool table...?

But some people do live on boats year-round, and they enjoy adventures the rest of us only dream about. Sure, there's lots of routine maintenance and inconvenience involved, (Like no room for a pool table...) but spending part of the year sailing to exotic locations and the rest of the year docked in the home marina with a whole slew of like-minded boat-dwelling fun-loving friends has gotta be pretty darned exciting. Kinda like a perpetual vacation.

Tickety Boo

Fellow blogger Ellen Jacobson knows all about this kind of life, because she and her hubby happen to live on a spiffy sailboat named Tickety Boo. Unusual name, huh? It's one of their favorite New Zealand expressions, and it means Everything is all good. Besides being a good conversation-starting name and fun to say, it also reminds them of how much they enjoyed living in New Zealand. Cool, huh? Ellen's blog is lots of fun, and NOW... she's turned her first-hand knowledge about boats and the terrific camaraderie among folks in a marina community into a... BOOK! A really GOOD book. A cozy mystery with terrific characters, a head-scratching whodunit, and a healthy dollop of humor. What's not to like? Nothing, I tell you... absolutely nothing! Better yet? This is only the first book of an anticipated series, so there'll be lots more fun and mystery yet to come.

Super cover, isn't it? Nice alliterative title, too. But what's most special about this book is what you'll find inside its cover. To tell the truth, I'm not generally a huge fan of amateur sleuth tales, but I am if the characters are memorably likable and the writing is top-notch. And humor... there's gotta be humor. And this book? It scores well on all counts.

Yep, I fore-sea a great writing career for this gal. I hope this first book makes a huge splash in the reading world.



A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #1

Buy Links

Murder at the Marina—A Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery #1

Release Date: June 21, 2018

Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0

Available at:

Author Bio & Social Media Links

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and sci-fi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn't working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

You can connect with Ellen on:

The Cynical Sailor Blog -
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page -
Newsletter Sign-up -

 How about you? Think you'd like to live on a boat? If so, what would you name her?

Just as it always has, the sea still calls to me, but nowadays, I'm afraid I have to tell it to leave me a message. (sigh) Well, time for me to sail off into the sunset. So to speak. (I'm afraid waddle would be a much more accurate description.)

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

P.S. Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade will be on sale next week... Monday through Friday... for the paltry sum of ninety-nine cents. Haven't read it yet? Here's your chance to get it on the cheap.

Friday, June 15, 2018

How We Spent Our Anniversary (G-rated version)

Thought for the day:  Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? [nursery rhyme]

[source: morguefile]
My name isn't Mary, but I'll tell ya how my garden grows, anyhow. At my age, I should've known better, and I definitely should've looked more closely at the labels on those dirt cheap seeds I bought from that shady guy at the flea market.

I thought I was getting a great deal on some Lavatera and Aster seeds, but it turned out, I bought Lavatoria and Assters. (sigh) Now we have bathtubs busting out all over, and even worse, little toilets are starting to come in. (I'm afraid to plant the Moonflowers and Twolips...)

[source: morguefile]

Okay, so maybe our garden isn't quite that bad, but I'm one of those people who always started out the season with big greenhouse dreams of how gorgeous our garden was gonna be, but when the reality of hot temperatures and biting insects dug in, I kinda let nature... and the weeds... take over. That's one reason I enjoy going to botanical gardens so much. I get to see all the beauty I imagined without having to do any of the work.

Like a good part of the country, we've had an incredible amount of rain this year. So much that my sturdy old rosemary bush drowned. Literally. Its roots simply rotted away. (I WILL replace it.) On the other hand, our hydrangea has never been happier, or its blooms more beautiful.

Anyhow, as our anniversary was approaching last month, I wanted to celebrate at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, because there's a reeeeeally special exhibit going on there. But no surprise, the forecast called for rain, rain, and more rain. (sigh) BUT... in spite of the dismal forecasts, the morning of the 24th was merely overcast. No liquid sunshine. Then the actual sun (What is that strange thing in the sky?) came out... and we (ta-DA!) went to the gardens. The temperature was toasty, but not a single drop of rain fell until after we finished at the gardens, went to dinner, and then got safely back home. (Then the clouds let loose.)

So what was this special exhibit I wanted to see? In July of 2013, I wrote a post about an awesome mosaiculture exhibit we went to see at the gardens, the first big exhibit of its kind in our country. And now? The gardens are hosting another even bigger and better mosaiculture exhibit!

What the heck is mosaiculture, you ask? It's a blend of art and horticulture that first bloomed (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) in Europe as early as the 16th century. Simply put, intricate metal frames are designed and built, and then they're stuffed with a growing medium, fitted with an internal irrigation system, and then plants are plugged into pockets of a special fabric that's stretched over the frames. Just as in 2013, the exhibit came to Atlanta from the fine folks of the International Mosaiculture of Montreal.

Before I show you pics of some of the sculptures featured in this year's show, how about a brief video to take you behind the scenes?

                                Okay, ready? Here goes... and I'll save my favorite for last.

This is the earth goddess,who first appeared at the first Imaginary Worlds mosaiculture show, and is now a permanent part of the gardens. Water usually flows over her hand, but her pool was drained and she was getting some maintenance work done when we were there.

This year's show was subtitled Once Upon a Time, and most of the exhibits were much more massive and ambitious than the last time around.

Like this massive Phoenix Rising... pretty appropriate for the city of Atlanta.

And this lumbering mastodon.

It was pretty warm, but it didn't keep ole Rip Van Winkle from taking a snooze.

No fantasy story world would be complete without Pegasus.

Or a mermaid, basking in the sun.

Shades of Arabian nights, perhaps? The details in these camels were amazing.

Camel #2 in the caravan.

And camel #3.

All three of them to give a better perspective as to how large they are.

A lovely sleeping princess.

And NOW... for my favorite!


Isn't he absolutely gorgeous???

Here's a closer look at one of the dragon's legs. I took quite a few shots of the dragon, (Did I happen to mention he was my favorite...?) but none of them really do it justice. The piece is both massive and majestic. Just as a dragon should be.

The International Mosaiculture of Montreal's roots ( sorry) reach back to 1998, when it first began creating these gorgeous works of art, and each year since it first sprouted, (sorry, again) they've hosted an international festival-type competition. This year's festival hasn't yet begun, but plans are currently being planted and will soon be in full bloom. (sorry... but only a little) Would you like a sneak peek at what's happening so far?

So there ya have it. It was a glorious way to spend an anniversary... or any other day. It was every bit as wonderful as I expected it to be, and for those of you who live in the area, the show will be continuing until the end of October, so you still have plenty of time to catch it.

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                      A pic of the earth goddess from our first visit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Write Stuff

Thought for the day: I wrote a book about reverse psychology. Please don't buy it!

As you can probably tell by that tattletale badge on the left, it's once again time for the monthly IWSG post, and as always, many thanks go to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

Now then, what's happening with me, writing-wise? I'm working hard (or hardly working... you pick) on book two of my trilogy. Sales have been pretty lackluster for book one so far, so I must confess to having some doubts as to whether or not it's worth it to keep going. Then again... I can't help myself, dammit. I'm afflicted with this cursed writing disease, and it will NOT give me any peace until I finish telling my story. (sigh) So write I will.

I tried something different with Explosive Beginnings. I gave away 100 e-book copies through a Goodreads giveaway promotion before the book was released, because I figured that'd be a good way to get some reviews, which in turn, would be a good way to generate some word-of-mouth buzz. Right? Sound good?


Again, I say... HA!

To date, as a result of that giveaway, I've received ONE review and TWO ratings from people who won a copy of my book.

PBBBBT! I haven't entirely given up hope on receiving more giveaway-generated reviews yet, but I thought I'd share my dismal results with you, in case some of you might be considering a big e-book giveaway for one of your books. (Then again, it could work out great for you... maybe it's just ME.)

You and I know that just because something is FREE doesn't mean it's worthless, but now I'm kinda wondering what kind of message we writers send when we spend our money so we can give our books away for FREE...?

Maybe if we could figure out a way to give away free WiFi with our books?

Okay, let's move on to this month's question, shall we?

What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Hmmm, interesting question. Maybe I'll give you a clue to my response by telling you my favorite childhood riddle. Ready...?

                                                   What would you rather have chase you...

[image: morguefile]

                               An elephant...

[image: morguefile]

              or a gorilla?

Give up? The answer: I'd rather have the elephant chase the gorilla. (Yeah, okay. I'll admit it. I was a weird kid.)

But the point is, it's the same with this month's question.My answer lies beyond the parameters set by the question. I love coming up with titles and character names, so to me, that part is fun... and easy. The hard part is making those characters come alive and giving that title some significance.

                                       So in answer to this month's question, I'd have to say...


Didn't like my first riddle? Okay, here's another one: What's the difference between a hippo and a zippo? Ready for it? Simple... one is heavy and the other is... a little lighter.

One last thing. May I have a drum roll, please? It's time to announce the winner of an autographed copy of Explosive Beginnings. That winner is (ta-DA!) the lovely JOANNE FARIES. Congratulations, kiddo! Please send me an email with your snail mail address. (If you forgot my email address, that email me badge on the right hand side of my blog works just dandy.)

                                   Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, June 1, 2018


Thought for the day:  Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gives value to survival. [C.S. Lewis]

[image from Morguefile]
When I was a young girl, a framed piece of embroidery hung on my bedroom wall, and it was comprised of a big sprawling tree, two people standing under it, and the words, Friendship is a sheltering tree.

And that's true, isn't it? Friends pull together and help shelter each other from the many storms in life, while doubling our joys and halving our sorrows. It may not be one big thing that binds us together, but rather, a million little things over the course of time.

 A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart. [author unknown]

Looking back, I've been blessed with many wonderful friends, but since I started blogging, my concept of friendship has changed in ways I never would've thought possible. Now, some of the men and women I think of as friends... as people I genuinely care about... are people I've never actually met face-to-face. And probably never will.

YOU are very likely one of them.

Today, I was planning to do a blog post about something super cool Smarticus and I did on our anniversary, but my conscience pushed me in a different direction. While he and I were celebrating our 49th anniversary, another blogging author was grieving the death of her husband. I know who Lee is, but she probably doesn't know me from Adam, but still... I felt compelled to do something. 

So I'm going to do what many other bloggers and members of the IWSG have done. I'm going to tell you about her latest book, which was released just two days before her husband died. Needless to say, she can't bear the burden of promoting her book right now, but we, her fellow bloggers and writers, can. This can be our one little thing to show her we care. Our chance to be her sheltering tree.

Perhaps you'd like to mention her new book on your blog? Or some of her many other books? Maybe purchase one or two...? It may not be much, but it's... something.

Her books may be called juvenile fiction, but then... so are the Harry Potter books. I believe this is the third book of a trilogy, so I'm gonna have to start with book one. Care to join me?

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...

Release date – May 15, 2018
Juvenile Fiction - Fantasy & Magic/Boys & Men
$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460
$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand.


Seeing's as how this is June first, the window has closed for entries to receive an autographed copy of my new book Explosive Beginnings. I will announce the winner on next Wednesday's IWSG post. Good luck!

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                     Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.  [Maya Angelou]