I don't usually watch commercials if I don't have to, but this one, I watch several times every Christmas season. It's just so heartwarming and sweet. It makes me smile every time.
I'll admit I've even watched it a few times when it wasn't the Christmas season simply because it's uplifting. See if you like it as much as I do!
I was reading an article recently about ways to make additional income on the side, and one of the ways listed as start a blog. I previously wrote about freelance writing being considered a side hustle as well, and I think it's a bit disingenous to tell people that starting a blog is a good side hustle. It can take a long time to build up readers and start earning money from blogging. So for those people who need extra money now, blogging isn't going to help.
If someone is looking to invest time and energy for something that will pay off in the long run then, by all means, a blog can be considered a way to do that. But many of these articles I've read that including blogging aren't taking into consideration that many of the people looking for side jobs need that extra paycheck sooner rather than later. And blogging is a long-term committment. One post a month isn't going to work if you're trying to build an audience.
I have readers that faithfully come to this blog even though I only update once or twice a month. That's because they know my schedule, but that's taken years. Ask any writer, and they'll tell you that when they first started writing their blogs, all they heard were crickets.
So if you're one of those people who needs to make money on the side, there are plenty of ways to do it that will get you the money a lot faster than trying to build an audience with a blog. Not trying to be a negative Nancy here, just realistic. Blogging is great; it really is. I love to jot a post when I have the time, but I also know that it does take time and dedication, and if someone is already working hard to make ends meet, they may not have the energy or inclination to share their thoughts or energy with the world.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some successful bloggers do consider it a side hustle that has worked for them. I know there are plenty of bloggers who started off part-time and are now working their blog full-time. In that aspect, you have to start somewhere. Just don't expect to rocket out of the gate with 1,000 readers and advertisers begging to work with you. Realism is the key!
Every now and then, it's good to freshen things up, and that's what I'm starting to do with some of my older books. Last Showing, which released in 2016, is getting a new cover. It's in line to be uploaded now! What do you think?
This has never happened to me before, but I was going through Google Docs yesterday and saw a title I didn't recognize. I pulled it up and began to read through it then it started to come back to me. I had written this book many years ago, so many years ago that some of the details are obsolete. But it was complete at almost 70,000 words!
I'm assuming I put the book aside once I finished it (as I always do) to give myself a break from it. Then I come back later to begin rewrites. I didn't do it in this instance which is puzzling. But I now have another complete book to rewrite/rework. I don't know if it's one I'll start working on anytime soon, but it was definitely a surprise to unearth 70,000 words of writing that occurred, probably ten years ago!
I'm working on a different kind of story. The tagline is Dexter meets The Golden Girls. In sensible shoes and pearls, these women are carrying out their own brand of vigilante justice. I'm halfway through the first book in what will probably be a series, and here is an excerpt.
Today wasn’t her day to kill, but Marge Hardy couldn’t say no to a friend. Bess Majors hadn’t missed one day doing her civic duty until she’d been struck down by the horrible strain of flu that had hit their hometown of Fairview, North Carolina. It had even caused the poor dear to miss Bridge Night, and everyone in the neighborhood knew how much Bess loved bridge.
With a sigh that was both resigned and reluctant, Marge put aside her knitting, shuffled down the hall to her bedroom, and stepped out of her slippers. She changed her clothes—one must always greet a guest with the proper attire—and patted her hair into place. Then with a pinch of her cheeks, she left her bedroom.
Halfway down the hallway, she realized she’d forgotten her pearls. “Oh for the love of Pete, Marge, you’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached.” She retraced her steps to gather the long strand of pearls her late husband, Felix, had gotten her for their last Christmas together. A tear sprang to her eye at the thought, but she quickly chastised herself. Now certainly wasn’t the time to be thinking about love and romance.
Humming below her breath, Marge fastened the pearls around her neck and checked her image in the hall mirror. “Not bad for an old gal.” She winked at her reflection and made it to the living room just as the doorbell rang.
Oh, good. That would be Mr. Livingston now. Perhaps she’d still have time to catch Lives Unfulfilled. The soap was her one guilty pleasure of the day, and her two favorite characters had spent the last few months in a tumultuous relationship that just might get resolved today as long as her appointment cooperated.
She just hoped the geezer would drink his coffee quickly and be on his way. She hated laggers, but more so today with it closing in on three o’clock. Missing the first few minutes of her story would simply ruin today’s viewing. Usually, a show picked up right where the cliffhanger had left off, and she’d no doubt today’s episode was going to be a doozie.
As much as she’d been encouraged to get a DVR, she should have listened by now, but since she spent most of her time at home, she didn’t think it was worth the investment. For times like these, though, one definitely would come in handy.
With a smile on her face, she swept open the door and greeted Ben Livingston warmly, beckoning him into her two-bedroom home with its “Welcome” sign over the foyer table.
“Ben, it’s so good to see you again. Bess told me you’d be stopping by. I’ve just put on a fresh pot of coffee. Come on in and make yourself comfortable. Do you take sugar or cream with yours?”
She barely heard his response as she hurried into the kitchen. Was he a talker? She hadn’t thought to ask Bess. Quite frankly, she didn’t know much about Ben except what she and the girls had learned from their former handler.
A trafficker in women and drugs, he’d topped the FBI’s most wanted list for decades but had managed to elude capture. He’d finally been arrested, but his slimy attorney had managed to get him acquitted when the evidence had magically disappeared. Livingston had sauntered out of the courtroom with a smile on his face and had gone back to his old ways, even having the audacity to move into the Mountain Reserve Retirement community under an assumed name. And had sealed his fate.
Though technically retired, she and her three colleagues, that she now considered friends, worked now more than they ever did. None of them would sleep a wink, though, if they allowed a threat to society like Ben Livingston to go unpunished. And it had been up to Bess to carry out his termination…until today.
“Stupid flu,” Marge muttered, banging cabinet doors as she searched for the creamer. Now where on earth had she put that stuff? When had she used it last?
She snapped her fingers. “Oh, yes. Mr. Shelt.” He’d been her last visitor, expiring several hours after leaving her home, but not before he’d used up all of her coffee creamer. Apparently, he’d preferred the cream over the taste of coffee which had forced her to buy another container which she hadn’t yet put away.
Ben said something to her, but she didn’t really listen. There wasn’t much he could say that would interest her, and once he drank his coffee, she’d shoo him out the door. Marge always found a good dose of rudeness tended to send visitors on their way, and she was always rude to criminals who made a mockery of the justice system.
She touched a hand to her deceased sister’s picture, held against the refrigerator by matching pink magnets. Dear Carolyn’s life had ended early at the hands of a drug dealer who’d mistaken her for one of his customers. He’d served fifteen years in the state penitentiary, not nearly enough in Marge’s opinion. Fortunately for him, she’d been on assignment when he was released from prison, or she might have been tempted to carry out her own brand of justice.
“Time to stop wool-gathering, Marge.” The admonishment sent her into a frenzy of activity. She finished adding the extra ‘spice’ to Ben’s coffee and returned the tiny vial to its safe place in the far corner of the cabinet.
Then squaring her shoulders, she lifted the two mugs of coffee and carried them to the dining room table. The clock was ticking, and she simply had to see if Claudia was going to accept Brock’s marriage proposal.
I've been a writer for a long time, a published author for over twenty years. Along the way, I met a wonderful woman who helped me learn to promote my books, market myself, and be a better author and friend. An author herself, she has accomplished so much in her career, but she has never forgotten that once upon a time, she was a struggling writer.
Many of you know this author, and if you don't, you should because Lisa Renee Jones is one of my favorite people and one heck of a writer. She's funny, smart, talented, driven, and an absolutely incredible person.
She's a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, and one of her series, The Secret Life of Amy Bensen is now a series on Passionflix. And even with all her successes, Lisa is one of the most humble people you'll ever meet. And I share all of this with you today because every writer should have a Lisa in their lives. I'm just lucky enough to have found mine early in my career. Here's hoping you find yours!
If you were or are a fan of Dukes of Hazzard, then you already know who Cooter is. He was the mechanic who always helped keep the General Lee running. And Ben Jones, the actor who played Cooter, has three museums dedicated to the series, and I was fortunate enough to visit one in Luray last month. Gosh, did this bring back memories from my childhood!
After our brief trip to Asheville and Brevard, NC, my friends and I headed to Luray, VA. We wanted to see the Luray Caverns, and they did not disappoint. The self-guided tour is about 1 1/4 miles in length, and there are some farily steep inclines on the way in, which makes the route out mostly downhill and a little treacherous. So be forewarned if you're planning a trip!
The caverns were nice and cool inside even with the heat outside. If you get cold easily, you may want to bring a sweater. I did, and I'm glad! I would have shivered the entire way through it.
The caverns are simply magical, and it gave me all types of story ideas. It's something that has to be seen and experienced for yourself as the pictures really don't do it justice even though I have about seventy-five more. It's just an incredible place, and one you should definitely put on your bucket list!
I just returned from a wonderful six-day vacation that included travel to four states and five cities/towns, all of which had something wonderful to be seen and experienced. There's so much beauty in the United States, and I'm glad my friends and I chose this particular journey this year. Last year, we went to Great Smoky Mountain in Bryson City, NC and rode on an old steam engine, which was incredible!
This year, our first stop was in Asheville, NC. I've been there many times, but I always love returning. My friends and I had a wonderful dinner at 131 Main, an incredible dog-friendly restaurant, which is good since we brought along their Shih Tzu, Lilly.
Then, we enjoyed the beauty of the city before returning to our hotel room. The next morning, we were up bright and early and headed to Pisgah National Forrest in Brevard, NC to see Looking Glass Falls, which is one of the most photographed waterfalls in America. (See picture above!) (I used to live in Brevard so this isn't the first time I've seen it, and I also returned in 2019 to see it again. It's still just as stunning as I remember.) There was a chill in the air despite it being summertime, and the rush of the water and the excitement of a busload of visiting campers only made me want to stay longer. But the road awaited us, and we had to leave as Luray, Virginia was calling. Stay tuned for part two of my vacation!
i saw this question on Twitter, and I thought "what a great way to get to know people a little better." You can tell a lot about someone from what they carry in their purse. For example, I carry copious amounts of Refresh eye drops. Easy to deduce that I have dry eyes. So what else is there?
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!