Friday, March 23, 2012

Free today!

Woot! My romantic comedy is free again today. My publisher decided to put the Kindle ebook version free on Amazon March 23rd and March 24th, 2012. It's only been up for a few hours and it is already on its first bestseller list.

This is such a fun adventure having my book make a stir in the ebook world. But I am humble enough to know that I can't do it without my friends. They facebooked like crazy the last time it was offered for free and the results were miraculous.

I thought we wouldn't do this again until the next one in the series came out. And I'm really getting close on the edits to the next twin novel in the series called "Snarky and Sassy."

But I'm happy to spend my day spreading the word about the huge favor to me it is when someone downloads my book for free.

It's just unfathomable how the Internet works and how ideas travel through it. But getting noticed is the key and these free promotions seem to do that. It sold very well after the last free promotion and I hope it will do that again.

So give me a break. Take my book...please! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just how happy can a postcard make you?

Just how happy can a postcard make you? When it represents a major life achievement by one of your children, it can make you downright joyful.

Here it is: the postcard advertising Naomi's art show that is one of the final requirements for her M.F.A. in fiber arts.

Naomi hasn't just been a student for the past three years. She's been a working artist who has racked up a set of awards that many folks wait a lifetime for.

Her three-D quilt work in this piece also won her a major prize at Quilt National, the premier exhibition for art quilting in the world.

I'm not proud of her or anything.

I get to go. I already have my plane ticket. If you live in the North Texas area and would like to see an amazing body of work by one of the up-and-coming young artists in America, here's the info:

University of North Texas
Cora Stafford Gallery
Oak Street Hall
1120 W. Oak Street
Denton, TX
940 565 8798

Gallery Hours:
April 10-13, 2012
10AM to 2PM

Closing reception:
April 12, 2012 5PM to 8PM.

Hope to see you there. If you can't make it, you can see more of her amazing work here:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

1940s Census--You Can Make It Happen (and you could win a prize!)

If you know me well, you know I have way more hobbies than I need. Lots of things distract me from doing what I should do most of which is write.
One of my favorite hobbies is Family Search Indexing. I've been doing it for at least four years. I get to help make genealogical records available to the whole world.  I've done over 140,000 names. It's one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. The fun thing is that anyone can do it.
You get to pick which records you index and I've helped with some amazing projects. I've learned a lot about history. I've indexed French protestant records from the 19th century, the Mexican 1930 census, the Freedman Bureau letters that tell how the freed slaves made their way in a confusing new world after the Civil War.
Everyone is very excited about the 1940 census because we all know someone who's in it. For example, one of my favorite people in the whole world is my Uncle Jim pictured here in his WWII uniform. He'll be on this census as will my mom and the rest of her family.
If you would like to try indexing,they have an amazing contest going on here: All you have to do is sign up as an indexer and do one practice batch on the 1940 census. Easy peasy.
The main site is here: and you can learn all sorts of things about the upcoming 1940 census.
If you're interested in family history or just plain old history you should give this a try. It's free, it makes you feel good and it's not fattening. How cool is that?

Disclosure:As part of ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a Kindle Fire.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Working for Ford in 1940

from Wikipedia
The 1940s census is coming out soon. If you aren't into genealogy or family history, this won't mean much. But if you're part of that community, the event is every bit as exciting as the release of a new Harry Potter book. I'll be helping to index this important census. If you'd like to help too or if you'd like to find out more you can check out The 1940 Census.

My favorite folks from the 1940s are my parents who are both in their nineties. I know where Momma was but in 1940 but wasn't as sure about Dad. These memories are what he came up with when I asked.

Dad was working for Ford Motor Company because his dad's first cousin, Clem Davis, was the number twelve star man. A star man was a manager and they were evidently ranked in order of importance, Henry Ford being number one. So no worries about Dad getting a job.

I think most folks know that Henry Ford always paid high salaries in part to stave off unionization. Dad remembers that his pay was eight dollars a day. He lived with his Uncle Bill and Aunt Jane and paid them ten dollars a week for room and board. His uncle also worked for Ford. Raises were in nickel increments. Dad got a couple of five cents raises that his uncle didn't which made him better paid than his uncle. I have to wonder how hard that was on his uncle who had already started his family.

Dad worked on the assembly line at the River Rouge Plant. His job was on the Michigan Dealers line. It supplied car dealers in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois with parts. This line moved to Highland Park while he worked there.

His first job was to look at an order, decide if the part was in his section, pull the part and sign off on it. He later moved into the crib. This was where the expensive small parts like spark plugs were kept. He remembers that security checked his lunchbox on the way out from time to time. Anyone found with a part in their lunchbox was immediately fired.

The most touching part of the story was about his uncle Bill. He said that Uncle Bill worked on a line lifting tires all day. At first he wasn't in shape to finish the day but that a strong black man next to him covered his work as well as his own until he could do the job. This is interesting to me because of the racial equality that existed on the line and also because of the kindness and cooperation there must have been among the employees.

Dad worked swing shift which meant he had plenty of time to play tennis and even get a year's worth of college credit at a local community college.

He said he learned a lot of things during that short period at Henry Ford. At the college, he learned French. At the job he learned to keep good records in the parts crib. He learned to play tennis in his free time. And at his uncle's house, he learned to play penny ante poker. They let him play until he started beating everyone.

All those skills turned out to be useful in the next phase of his life.

In 1940, dad enlisted in the Navy because he knew he would be drafted. He chose the Navy because another uncle had told him that he'd be fed well and taken care of. And that's another story.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Need New Habits--Review of The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I rarely do this. But I saw an article on NPR (didn't even hear the guy on the radio) and bought the book. Immediately. The reason why?

I am self-employed and work at home. This means that I have large blocks of time available which I use as I choose. Guess what? I waste a lot of time.

So when I read about this book, I decided that what I need are some new habits. The reason this book attracted me is that it's not a self-help book. It doesn't give you a lot of cheesy advice about how to get up at 6 a.m., run around the block a few times, eat your power breakfast out of a blender and then go out and change the world.

No. This book explains the research about our habits, how we make them and how we can break them. It also uses narrative. He tells about people who were able to change habits. This is my favorite way of learning.

So, I read it. Here's what I think.

First off, I found it annoying that he starts one story, then starts another story and then another and then gives you the ending later. To my brain it seems unorganized. But I can see why he did it. Maybe his brain is bigger and can follow three stories at once.

But the rest of the book has great value.

I enjoyed reading about all the research. I love any book that teaches me more about the way my brain works. And this one did. However, it was distressing to find out that we never fully eradicate bad habits. We must overlay them with something else. This makes sense. How many people have you heard say that even after X number of years of not smoking, they still get the urge for a cigarette once in a while?

I liked the hope at the end of the book. By the way, if you want a lot of value for your money, be aware the end of the book is at about page 286.The last hundred or so pages of the book are footnotes.

I also liked the research that shows that if you manage to change one habit, you often get rid of other bad habits as well. Score! 

In the last chapter Duhigg states, "If you believe you can change--if you make it a habit--the change becomes real."Now that's worth a shot.

The book made a lot of sense. I'm going to try to apply some of this to my own life. But now, I'm going back to bed for a morning nap. That's probably the first habit I need to address.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

First paragraphs of Snarky and Sassy

Lurlette's tank watch
So I'm finishing up the final edit of Snarky and Sassy, the sequel to Snarky and Sweet. The first paragraphs are the most important and probably will get edited a few more times. I'd love your input. Let me know what you think!

Snarky and Sassy: A Romantic Comedy about Twins, an Earl, and a Great Big Castle

Lurlette gazed out the window at the huge city spread before her like a pop-up book. The giant green rectangle of Central Park, the gleaming silver skyscrapers and the bright blue sky made a perfect picture. She loved New York. She also loved Paris, London and other big cities like chic Milan and gutsy Fort Worth. Large cities gave her scope. But the traveling days when she could hop on a jet for a gelato in Rome or a spa day in Prague were probably over. She sighed.

She looked down at her small Cartier Tank gold watch. It was an iconic style and she knew it had cost Chang a lot of money, more than a quarter of her twin’s schoolteacher salary. But it irked her just a little that this watch wasn’t the one of a kind diamond pave watch that Chopard had designed especially for her. That one was gone. She’d sold it in December when Sotheby’s had auctioned off so many of her nice things.
Maybe this watch should have gone on the block too, but there was nothing that special about it. And besides, you had to have a watch. Using a cellphone to tell the time was a habit that Lurlette never intended to adopt.

It also irked her that she had look at her watch at all. She was looking at it because Weasel was late. He had said he would meet her here for lunch at Restaurant Georges Breton at 12:30. But it was now 12:40 and he still hadn’t showed up.

In the background she heard the tinkling of glasses and the polyglot conversations of the others seated around her. This was one of her favorite restaurants in New York City. She liked the stylish modern furniture, the subdued lighting, and, of course, the view. And the food was very French and very nice. And it was still undiscovered by the Trip Advisor crowd. 

She took a sip of her Perrier with lime and thought about what she should do next.

She could leave. She usually didn’t wait for anyone. Making people wait for her was another thing altogether. Or she could wait a little longer. There wasn’t any rush. The auction wasn’t until four o’clock.

It really was out of the goodness of her heart that Weasel had been invited to the auction at all. But Lee, her twin, was too busy with her school teaching duties and William, her fiancé, was appraising some estate jewelry in Germany. So Weasel had been a last resort. It was unthinkable to show up at the auction without an escort of some kind.

Weasel had been very helpful with the sale of her other jewels in December. She guessed she owed it to him to be with her for the big auction of her diamond engagement ring. The Maharani Red, a rare five carat red diamond of the highest quality, had been her engagement present from Horatio Alger Chang, her third husband. Now that the divorce was final, she was on her own again. She needed something to live on and the auction of her other jewelry and furs had brought in a nice amount. But not enough to support her lifestyle. The Maharani was a very important part of her future financial security.

She knew people in the restaurant were starting to stare at her. Of course, men always stared at her. She was used to that. But even the waiters were beginning to look her way. Honestly, if Weasel didn’t show soon, she would have to go...