amusing musings…considering conundra…dark sparks

Archive for February, 2008

Why You Host Your Own Blog: Attracting a Dream

You host you own blog because you can’t use javascript on a free wordpress blog. I can’t use aweber on my blog, even though I have my own domain name,  or google analytics or any other bell or whistle that requires javascript or php.

DRAT!  When you hit the edge of the envelope, there is nowhere else to go. So, I am working on installing the multiblog by Stephen Rider on my host so that all my little bloggets can play nicely together.  Another learning experience. It’s been an interesting week.

Stilll, you can’t learn anything if you don’t get in there and get your hands dirty–and mine are covered with frazzled energy code and databse error messages. It’s time for a break.

While taking action is crucial to get where you want to go, it is also necessary to attract what you want. If you get your mind right, and hold your mouth right while you are doing, it goes better.  The more frazzled and upset you allow yourself to be, beating the drum of what you don’t want, the more of it you get. 12-steppers talk about HALT….not letting yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.   When you get frustrated with something, it’s best to walk away for a few moments…or hours….until you can shift your energy to a different frequency that does not attract more frustration and anger.  That is not procrastination, it is refocusing, reframing. 

 James Brausch talks today about the Law of Attraction, which he does not seem to care for as expressed by a number of folks, but I think that having a clear goal in mind, and seeing yourself doing the things in that goal helps you to embody them.  How can you consider even trying to write a blog, make a product, or write a novel if you can’t even imagine doing it?

Yes, of course, you have to do the work.  But it goes better if you do the work in your imagination first, following with concrete actions soon after.  It’s called Visualizing. Having a dream. Being passionate. Following your bliss.

All those words have -ing on them, which means that at some level they are verbs, actions, continuous actions.

Dream. Do. Dream Do……more fun than DO BE DO BE DO….but then maybe I am just a Pisces.


One class down

I posted grades today, and what a relief. I hate grading bad papers.  Grading good ones is bad enough.

How can I motivate college students to work together on their final grammar test? It’s open book. They are allowed to use the results of the quizzes they took online, and they are allowed to take the quizzes as many times as they wish to get all the answers right. (They could anyway if they thought about it for 45 seconds. ) They are allowed to ask their teammates for help. And still, over half the class made below 70 on a 50-question test,  some of it multiple-guess, and some sentence revision. Even if you hate grammar, there’s  a way to work around doing it.  Algebra is not my favorite subject, but I managed to make an A in it a few years back. I even teach folks how to do simple math when I teach Excel.

The 98% rule works for students as much as anyone. But the good news is that I don’t have any more papers to grade until April. I missed an opportunity to start a class last week because I didn’t check my school email over the weekend, and while the money would have been nice, I am glad not to have the aggravation.  I still have enough to do with my work for the Southeastern Writers Association and for my internship.

I am taking a break from producing my first product. The DVD won’t burn, so I am troubleshooting back to the video capture. You don’t know what you don’t know until you try to apply it.  Maybe I’ll try backing something else up to the DVD to see if it’s the drive instead of me. Women do tend to think that any techie problem is their fault, and that’s not always the case.

But I refuse to give up. If I have to re-record the thing, I will do it. It’s a good idea, and I think it will help some folks. So, back to the flashing green light. Have a happy Sunday afternoon.

Priorities? Which one is most important? Where does the path lie?

I have a lot of things to be done, from grading the last set of papers for final grades for Monday to doing a brochure for Southeastern Writers Association (which probably should have been done two weeks ago) to updating my other blog–which is lost somewhere in a database connection glitch, to finishing the laundry, cleaning off my kitchen table, to going to bed an hour ago.

That’s the snag of my life, not procrastination so much, but getting clear on priorities.  Getting down to the daily stuff, seeing what needs to be done next is the thing that is important to do, but not immediately urgent. For example, I checked my school email today, having not logged in since last week. I missed an opportunity for teaching a class becasuse I didn’t check it last week.   It would have been nice to have had more than one week’s notice that the class was starting, but then, if I checked that email every day like I do the main ones I use, I would have known about it.  Important, not urgent.

I can be philosophical and say, well, I guess I didn’t need anything else to do. It is easier to write articles when I’m not grading papers and replying to online posts from my students, but Stephen King managed to write novels while grading papers for high school students.  He’s a better man than I am, I guess.

My aweber account is finally set up on my other blog, the one that disappeared tonight, ironically after getting my first subscriber. That too seems to be a message. Leave well enough alone!  Set up the form on this site.
Maybe there are no messages, and things just happen.  But that’s not the way it feels.

I’ll be at a dividsion retreat tomorrow, with some new hires and the rest of the seasoned crew,  (hmmmm, brings up images of barbecue sauce and Mrs. Dash) which might be a good time to make connections. At least that’s a good intent to bring with me. Otherwise I’ll see it as a complete waste of time.  I’ll start visualizing having fun and getting to know people better right now before I go to bed.

So while I’m cleaning up my mess, both here at home and online, I’ll think about what my intent is. I know I’m scattered, and that being scattered is just not working.



ONE direction at a time.

That’s the ticket. If I have only one direction to go in, then the tasks ought to line themselves up clearly. Now to pick a direction.  I’ll always be an employee if I can’t learn to give myself direction. There’s a key to life. A compass.

But even a compass can’t tell you where to go if you don’t know where you are and you don’t know where you are going. Not even a Cheshire Cat can help you there.  I have to make that decsision for myself.

Hmmmm. Same answer every time. That’s a message.

My 2 Minutes of Instant Fame

Look over on the side bar and you’ll see my little video of reading a story embellished and condensed from a story told to me by Bruce Cannon some years back. Is it True? What is truth? But it does describe a life-changing experience, and fiction is allowed in the rules of the Simpleology Best Selling Blueprint contest at

I want to acknowledge the use of a portion of  “Say Old Man Can You Play that Fiddle” performed by  EJ Ouellette & Crazy Maggy as the background music,  available at  Fiddle rock jam is a perfect description and it was perfect for the story, most of which was left out for time.

Maybe I’ll post the rest of it here one day, but Idon’t want to squander my best source of narrative all in one day.

Publisher’s Weekly Review of Maven Fairy Godmother Excerpt

I am so thrilled to get a pre-publication review of Maven Fairy Godmother from Publisher’s Weekly on the Amazon Breakout Novel Award promotion!   I am certainly willing to “smooth out the prose.”

Manuscript Review by Publishers Weekly, an independent organization
Maven, a dissatisfied middle aged woman with dismal job prospects, gets tapped for a new job-fairy godmother in the Faery dimension. The job comes with nigh-limitless magical powers and a set of carefully defined rules. Senior Fairy Godmother Fiona firmly believes in upholding the archetypes of stories and doesn’t like how modern-day Maven breaks the rules, forcing her charges to acts of self-realization and independence. Fiona’s other charge, Tulip, struggles to come to terms with her changeling birth and must commit to a life in Faery or in Mundane. Ultimately, the novel follows Maven’s training, as well as the deftly interwoven lives of her “clients,” or women whose wishes she has granted. This fairy tale world, while somewhat self-aware, has a keen understanding of the roles archetypes play in fiction, but manages to subvert them. The author raises questions about the absence of middle-aged women in fairy tales that draw obvious parallels to modern-day existence. A bit of work on smoothing out the prose and explaining the world in greater detail would go far in making this novel a remarkable piece.

 You can help me build my platform for Maven! Please go to Amazon, download the free excerpt of Maven Fairy Godmother, and if you like it, write me a review. (the more stars the better… :-))

Welcome Amy to the Blogosphere!

Longtime writer and supporter of the Southeastern Writers Association, AmyM has joined the blogosphere over at  Go by and see what she has to say about current books, movies, songs and other things writerly.

 Ask her a Question or 3 about anything writerly, and keep going back for her interviews with writers, tips on  the writing life, contests,  and news and views from her unique perspective.

This week she shares with us a new internet TV show by a couple of experienced documentary filmmakers called Titlepage  (now there’s an idea!) for and about writers . Featured in the New York Times, the first week will feature Richard Price, Susan Choi and Charles Bock are slated for the first episode. Price’s book Clockers was made into a Spike Lee movie in 1995 with Harvey Keitel and John Turturro and will be released in March. Choi and Bock both have books out in January. Read Amy’s blog for more details.

Marion Gropen’s Blog: Publishing for Profit

Marion Gropen is one of the pros on the Yahoo Self-Publishing group that consistently has good, down to earth, tested advice. Check out her blog at

An article that caught my eye today was What is  a Publisher?    She tells us what wise authors need if we plan to self-publish:

  • A block of ISBNs (10 for about $200 from Bowker-the more you buy, the cheaper by the each)
  • Book design skills 
    • Graphic design for the cover, a marketing skill
    • Interior design of typesetting and layout
  • Editing, copyediting, and proofreading
  • Marketing skills and strategies for appropriate audiences
  • Distribution channels for appropriate markets
  • Industry and market expertise

If you want to be a publisher, you need to have these skills or be able to contract for them. Marion is also associated with Wexford Press ( a printing company) that can be your source for some of these these skills. 

A traditional publisher pays you for the rights to spend their capital on producing your book, selling it for you, and distributing it for you .  If you are the publisher, then obviously, you are spending your own capital.  Before you put a lot of your own capital with the blood, sweat and tears that you have put into your manuscript, do some research.  Remember that the more of your time and effort you spend to produce your book and sell it, the less time you have for writing the next one.  Make sure that you understand what a contracted service will do for your money and what is still up to you to accomplish.

If you are considering self publishing, do consider joining the free Self-Publishing yahoo group where you can ask questions and get the benefit of others’ experiences, good and bad.  

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