Thursday, June 28, 2012

App Search Part I

Today I thought I’d do a little review of some time management apps for the android phone.

I got one of those new gadgets for Christmas.  I’ve been looking for ways to track things, and as the phone is always with me it is logical that a good app would be great to help keep me organized.  My criteria for the app - easy to use, not a memory hog, and it must be free.  I’ve enough demands on my pocketbook that spending money on apps that I don’t know gives me some trepidation.  So I go to Google Play and go to the apps and I search on Notebooks.  I’ve downloaded several and over the next few weeks give my impressions on the ones I’ve downloaded and used.

The first app I’m looking at is notebook.

I liked it.  It has adds in the corner, which is fine, adds = free as someone may catch my attention and I go to their site and the app gets paid for my click.  Win win as far as I’m concerned.

Notebook is easy to use.  You have pages and can write notes down.  Easy to use.  However as I got going with it I could only have up to 10 pages.  I could upgrade and pay for the full app.  While it did what it said, it only works on the phone and I didn’t find it as easy for me to use as I had wished.  So I uninstalled this app and went looking for another…

More on my quest for a good app next week…

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Interview with Robert D. MacNeil

I met Robert via Twitter.  What a great way to meet people!  He was gracious enough to do a guest post on my blog, which BTW is the number one post on my blog.  So when we formed the Blog Ring of Power I just knew I had to get Robert to agree to an interview.  Once again he has agreed.
 So here is a little about who Robert David MacNeil is and a bit about his work, which is listed as Number 1 Science Fiction story on Amazon.

So Robert, have a seat here and and lets begin a five day run over five different blogs about you and your work.

First, let me thank you for the opportunity to do this interview.  I love the "Blog Ring of Power" concept.

1. How long have you been writing?
I began writing Iona Portal three years ago. I've written non-fiction for 20 years under a different pen-name, but fiction was new territory.   I'm fortunate to have a number of friends who are authors and editors, and most importantly, some honest critics.  They believed in the project from the start, and walked me through several major re-writes as I learned the process of writing fiction.

2. When and why did you begin writing? 
I've always loved books, and am an avid reader.  I think most readers have a secret desire to write. 
In my "day job" I'm the dean of a school.  I'm also a teacher and traveling speaker.  One of my favorite topics is the supernatural.  I've been to 32 nations teaching, doing research and writing about angels, demons and supernatural manifestations.  Iona Portal is a direct outgrowth of that. 
Three years ago, a friend suggested I write a science-fiction book based on the kind of supernatural encounters I describe in some of my non-fiction books.  That intrigued me.  Most people think of demons and angels as beings in a "religious" context, but quantum physics opens another possibility.  The parallel universes many cutting-edge physicists now envision are eerily similar to the religious concept of a "spiritual realm."  What if the age-old battle between good and evil is actually warfare between trans-dimensional beings who use our world as a battleground?
Some of the events in Iona Portal are based on actual occurrences.

3. Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?
When I was in grad school, I wrote a science fiction story and sent it in to one of the popular science fiction magazines of the day.  It was classic space opera, and I loved it, but the process of writing it was tedious.  This was before the days of personal computers and I was typing the story on an IBM Selectric, which meant retyping an entire page each time I made a change.
Looking back, I’m sure the story was dreadful.  I was surprised, however, that the inevitable rejection letter came in the form of a personal letter from the magazine's editor. (Editors still did things like that back then).  He was very encouraging and made some helpful suggestions.  I probably should have tried again, but by that time I was working on my thesis.
Finishing grad school, I put the idea of writing behind me for a number of years, and focused on career.

4. What books have most influenced your life?
   As far as writing style, it would have to be Clive Cussler.  A lot of science fiction today tends to get bogged down in nuts and bolts detail.  Some people love that, but I don't.  Cussler's style is clean, direct, and fast moving.  I once heard Cussler say that he sees himself more of an entertainer than author.  That's my goal also.  I don't claim to be creating great literature, but I do want to keep my readers on the edge of their seats, and leave them a little breathless at the end.

5. What genre do you write?
Iona Portal is more of a suspense thriller than anything else, but it happens to be set in a universe of alternate worlds and parallel dimensions.  That earned it the Science Fiction label.

6. What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
I love the Sci-fi thriller genre, and still have some space-opera on the back burner.  Maybe when I finish the Synaxis Chronicles series….

Catch part II tomorrow on Terri's Blog
Part III with Teresa on Wednesday
Part IV with Em on Thursday
Part V on Monday with Sandra

Author Bio

Robert David MacNeil is an author, wine-lover, and investigator of things supernatural.  Over the last twenty years he's traveled to 32 nations researching, writing, and teaching on angels, demons, and supernatural encounters.   His travels have taken him from the steppes of Mongolia to the jungles of Thailand, and from the Eskimo villages of Northwest Alaska to le fin del mundo, the "end of the world," at the tip of South America. 
Long a fan of science fiction and suspense thrillers, Robert also has a love for history–especially ancient Greece, Rome and medieval Europe.  He's particularly fascinated with Patrick, Columba, and the ancient Celts of Ireland and Scotland.  The Celtic monks had a special relationship with the angels.  They also loved beer and invented whiskey.  The Irish really did save civilization!
Robert and his wife, Linda, live near Dallas, Texas.  He has authored five non-fiction books under a different pen-name.  Iona Portal is his first novel.

Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
Twitter:  @RDavidMacNeil

What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?

Iona Portal is available in paperback and Kindle e-book at  Amazon Prime members can read Iona Portal free on their Kindle

Thursday, June 14, 2012

45 Life lessons

You gotta love e-mail.  I get lots of little tidbits from family and friends.  A good friend of mine shared this with me.  I've thought about it, read it, reread it, and decided to make it the subject of today's post.  

Background Regina Brett posts columns in the Plains Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio.  And now Regina Brett...

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; GOD never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful in your life.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy clothes. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric NOW. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this really matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it while you can.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that YOU loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone Else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Interview with Tiffany Heiser

Part 1 @ Emily - Friday, June 8th
Part 2 @ Sandara - Monday, June 11th
Part 3 @ Dean - Tuesday, June 12th
Part 4 @ Terri - Wednesday, June 13th
Part 5 @ Teresa - Thursday, June 14th

Today's Blog Ring of Power Guest is Tiffany Heiser, she writes YA Urban-Paranormal Fantasy.  We are discussing the creative process.

Where do you get your story ideas?
All of my ideas in some way or another have originated from very vivid dreams. After that its my characters who I feel create the story they want to tell. They show me what needs to happen next.

How do you deal with writer's block?
I read, or play a game, or something other than sitting at a blank piece of paper. If I put my mind and thoughts into something other than writing, for some strange reason ideas pop into my head. Seems to work every time.

Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?
I started off as a “plotter” with Bonded. I did an outline and set everything up from the very beginning to the very end. And then...I started writing and immediately that outline went out the window. So after that...I have decided to become a “pantser”. Like I said before the characters take on a life of their own in my opinion, and I can't control them once they start going.

Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or Why not?
I use critique partners and beta readers. They, I feel, are a necessity to the writing process. People that will read your work and let you know what they think, and those that can help correct your mistakes. Writers become too close to what they have written that you always need a fresh pair of eyes eventually.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?
In the novel, once I have come up with the storyline, I have a hard time writing the beginning. That first grab-your-interest sentence. It takes a while for something to stick out, but once it pops into my head the story flows from there.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Interview over on Teardrops On My Book

Kela McClelland asked to do an interview with me for her blog, Teardrops On My Book.  So click on the link to read my interview.  I'll be back next week with some thought or another for Managing Time, or Motivational Thought.  Tuesday will be another BRoP Interview with another successful Author. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Guest Post on The Writers' Lens

Fellow Blog Ring of Power blogger T.W. Fendley asked if I would do a guest post on a blog she contributes to, The Writers' Lens.  I agreed.  So check out my guest post over on The Writers' Lens.  I should have something here for tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Blog Ring of Power Interview with Jacqueline Seewald

Multiple award-winning author Jacqueline Seewald has taught creative, expository and technical writing at the university level as well as high school English. She also worked as an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Eleven of her books of fiction have been published. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications. She enjoys spending time with family and friends when she isn’t writing. In addition, she is a playwright, a landscape artist and loves many types of music. 

Today we talk with Jacqueline Seewald and her Current Work.   

This is part four of our five part interview.
Part 1 @ Teresa - Thursday, May 31st
Part 2 @ Emily - Friday, June 1st
Part 3 @ Sandra - Monday, June 4th
Part 4 @ Dean - Tuesday, June 5th
Part 5 @ Terri - Wednesday, June 6th

Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it? 

My latest novel is a romantic suspense mystery thriller entitled DEATH LEGACY, published by Five Star/Gale in hardcover April 12, 2012. It features an unlikely hero and heroine. Michelle runs a mysterious “consulting firm” and is trained in martial arts. Daniel is a psychiatrist with a sense of humor and a passion for her. They become involved in solving a murder/disappearance that relates to national security and soon places their lives in serious jeopardy. As to where you can buy the novel, Amazon or B&N online are making it available. However, I suggest requesting the novel at your local library. It has a very good Booklist review so I believe librarians will be willing to order it:

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The research was demanding. I had to learn about firearms, bomb-making, weapons that saboteurs would use, espionage in general.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I enjoyed writing the love scenes most of all. There is humor and romance as well as sensuality. I think readers of romance will enjoy this novel as much as mystery lovers.

 If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

I can't say that I would.  I've rewritten the novel more than once, so it's as good as it gets.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Daniel, the hero of this novel, explains that he refuses to give in to fear. He won’t let it control or rule his life. I believe that’s a lesson we all need to embrace.

Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like? 

This novel actually has had two covers. The first one which is still being shown did not satisfy me and I told the editor that as soon as I saw it. I had asked for a black, sinister limo to be pictured. Instead the original cover had a light blue impressionist car picture. It was not the right feel for a romantic suspense mystery thriller which is what this novel actually is.

Jacqueline's web haunts


Barnes and Noble Online: