Sound Protection

I read articles about self-protection. One I've never really thought of is to use an air horn as a layer of protection.

Actually, this is probably a good strategy since criminals want to be as inconspicuous as possible. This kind of noise would wake anyone!

The Sabre Sport & Safety Horn has a 115dB horn and can be heard up to half a mile away. It's small enough to fit in your pocket.

This air horn would be a great emergency signal if you needed help right away like going camping and getting lost in the woods or breaking a leg.

Hmmm. I'm thinking of some ways this could be used in a book. It might be a great plot device.

What I Use Mine For

I have an air horn, but I use it to shoo the thousands of starlings away from the house when they're nesting. They're such messy birds building their mud nests under any overhang like the eaves of your house or under your porch.

The air horn temporarily makes them seek another location. Unfortunately, you have to monitor throughout the day or those pesky birds will have globs of mud before you can yell, "Shoo."

This Sabre Sport & Safety Horn is available from Amazon at a price of $11.99. Shop around and see if you find it cheaper elsewhere. If you do, let me know.

Takeaway Truth

Readers, any of you carry an air horn product for protection or emergency signaling? Have you ever used it? Did it work for you? Let us know.

Love The Planet: 3 Earth Day Tips

Luv The Planet Reusable Grocery Bag
Happy Earth Day! Want to know 3 things you can do in the name of ecology that pay lasting rewards?

1. Get some cloth or canvas tote bags and throw them in the trunk of your car. Use these for bagging your groceries. The bagger at the checkout will use your bags instead of those flimsy plastic ones.

Where do you get bags? My goodness, they're usually given away at events, or you can order online, or make them yourself if you have a sewing machine.

The Luv The Planet Bag shown at left is from WriteWay, my CafePress shop, and comes in 2 sizes. The one shown is Medium, and it's 10-ounce weight natural canvas. The graphic is on both sides, and it features full side and bottom support gussets, measures 15"x18"x6" and has 22" reinforced fabric handle. It's a good size for groceries. Earth Day Price is $13.99 for this week only.

2. Recycle paper, plastic, aluminum, glass, and empty food cans. If you have curbside recycling, separate the items into the specific colored bin as necessary. A lot of curbside recycling takes everything in 1 bin. Unfortunately, my small community doesn't have curbside recycle, so we got some cheap plastic kitchen trash containers and lined them up in the garage. Plastic in one, aluminum in the other, etc. When full, we empty into a large trash bag and take to the big county park near us and dump the stuff into their huge recycle containers.

3. Learn not to be conservative consumers. Avoid conspicuous consumption. Back in the day, people were taught this mantra: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

While this Spartan philosophy may seem alien to you, it's the basis for being thrifty and ecologically practical. Use what you've got rather than running out and buying something new. Learn how to re-purpose, re-fashion, or up-cycle. These 3 skills are hot trends right now. There are books and websites that espouse and teach these skills.

If you just want something new for the sake of newness, don't throw away something that's perfectly good. Donate it to a charity thrift store where it will be recycled and/or re-purposed.

Takeaway Truth

Simple practices like the three about can change the way you live and might just save you money including saving the landfills and reducing the taxes too.

Stamped By Romance

Souvenir Sheet, Great Illustrators, $4.25
I was delighted to hear that artist Will Davies has been honored by Canada with a postage stamp.

Mr. Davies, one of five artists honored, was an illustrator who created more than 500 covers for Harlequin, originally a Toronto-based company.

Back in the day, cover art was created from original drawings or paintings which were then photographed. Each book cover featured distinctive and original art work.

Of course, his body of work included magazines, fashion layouts, and much more, but he's known more for his book cover art, especially by romance authors and collectors.

His cover art was so highly prized that authors would request he do their covers. The resulting cover, each unique and specific to the book, was one of the factors in the growth and popularity of romance novels and helped build the global brand that is now Harlequin.

Takeaway Truth

You can order the stamps online. The series is known collectively as Great Canadian Illustrators. You can even get a set on eBay, or have a Canadian friend mail you one.

Barbara Bush, Missed But Never Forgotten

Since Sunday, all of Houston has known that former First Lady Barbara Bush was on Comfort Care. We knew that meant it was just a matter of days before this amazing woman passed.

Word came yesterday afternoon that she was gone. We've lost a treasure, not just a former First Lady.

Barbara Bush was everything I admire in a woman. She was like so many women of my mother's generation: strong, stalwart in the face of adversity, loving, kind, intelligent, and giving.

She was everything I strive to be.

Here in Houston, it was common to see George and Barbara Bush around town. They acted as if they were ordinary people, and everyone in this town, regardless of political belief, loved them. Bush sightings created excitement, and the Bushes never failed to be exactly who they were--modest, respectful, polite, and friendly--to everyone who came in contact with them.

If young girls are looking for role models, don't bother with the latest hot craze in sports and entertainment or pretend super heroes. Look to someone who really was a super hero--and a mother, grandmother, and wife. Look to Barbara Bush and all the seeds of love she sowed in her lifetime.

Takeaway Truth

Rest in peace, dear lady. You are mourned and will be missed.

Image Information: Photograph taken in 1989 by David Valdez, White House Photo Office and obtained from Wikipedia. This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g01701.

This image is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Video Book Trailer: Unforgettable Trouble

Today, I uploaded Unforgettable Trouble: Passion and Thrills, my latest video book trailer, to YouTube.

I love making videos, and this one was particularly fun because of the music.

I found some music with a cool Quentin Tarentino movie soundtrack vibe. If you've watched his movies, you know what I mean.

Take a look at the embedded player below, but, first let me give you a...

Video Production Tip

(1) Think about the vibe you want the viewer to get when watching your video. This is usually easy with books because a book or a collection of books has an overall theme. So look for something that reflects that theme.

Takeaway Truth

Unforgettable Trouble: Passion and Thrills is available for pre-order now at only 99 cents.

Writing New Book Like Pulling Teeth

Hey! Actually, I started a new book a few weeks ago. Then real life intervened, and I didn't get much done.

However, this past week I started cranking out the words. I've often thought getting the story down is like pulling teeth at first.

It's not until I'm a fourth of the way in that the writing begins to flow.

One reason for this painful process is that I no longer have the luxury of writing every day.

I'm trying to create a new work discipline based on my new normal, but that's also been like pulling teeth! I find myself bemoaning that I can't go to my office at 8 each morning, coffee cup in hand, and devote myself to writing.

I even went back to an old motivation trick. I stick a little gold star on the calendar for every day I crank out words--any number of words even though I set my quota at 2200 words a day.

The new book is Second Chance Bride, Book 2 of All Brides Are Beautiful. I'll do a cover reveal
when I dive into polishing the draft. The cover is really beautiful and perfectly matches the story.

Second Chance Bride tells the story of Constance Quinn, Maddie's stepmother, who first appeared in Book 1, April Fool Bride.

A few reviews mentioned how hateful Constance was, but have no fear. She will be redeemed in her own story which reveals why she was so cold and distant in the past.

Only $2.99
New NetGalley Review of April Fool Bride

"April Fool Bride was a fast, fun read. What appealed to me about this story is that it is—technically—a second chance romance and a marriage of convenience, two of my favorite tropes.

Years ago oil heiress Maddie had a huge crush on the housekeeper’s son, Jake. One night she decided to act on that teenage crush and let’s just say that it didn’t end all that great for him. Or her, really.
Fast forward to the future and Maddie needs a man she can trust and there’s only one man she’s ever met who fits the bill. Jake.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this story is the deft way Joan Reeves was able to flesh out the characters by using the other character’s perspective. When we first learn about Maddie, it’s through Jake and it ain’t pretty. He makes her seem almost irredeemable, which did color my opinion of her. But we learned more about the new grownup Maddie through Jake’s perspective, which also made it clear why he fell for her.

This is a fast read, only about 120+ pages, but it reads like a full length story in that there are no elements missing. The mom and the stepmom were fun, meddlesome, characters who added a few layers of depth to tell us who our hero and heroine really are. It was hot, fun and fast, but most of all it was a good time!"

Takeaway Truth

Nothing in life is guaranteed. Changes happen.

You can rail against them or accept them and move on, changing to work with the new normal.

I always think moving on is the best choice!

Focus: What Can You Do Today

One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Carlyle.

He said: "Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."

So many people dream about what they want to do "some day" or worry about what may happen in the future.

Forget all that. Think about today. What can you do today?

If you have a goal, what can you do today to achieve that goal? Figure that out and then take action. The failure to take action leads to the failure to achieve a goal.

Do something every day. Take action every day. More importantly, take action on the most important goal or task at hand. I did this by writing a chapter of my new book. That's why this blog post is late. I love writing my blog, but writing my book has a higher priority.

Takeaway Truth

Do what lies clearly at hand.