Apr 242015
 

Zi6_2820Kristen Lindsey is a vet. Or was a vet. At the time of this event, she was a Texas veterinarian.

One day Kristen decided to take her bow and arrow outside and shoot what she considered “feral” cats. She even took a pic of said event and posted it to Facebook. (Beware. Click that link at your own risk. It’s heart breaking.) Her caption?

“My first bow kill, lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s head! Vet of the year award … Gladly accepted.”

The cat was not feral. He was someone companion.

Let’s chat about unwanted cats for a moment.

Last October, a stray cat took residence under our deck. She lived there for quite a while (weeks) before the temp took a nose dive. She watched us through a basement window any time anyone went downstairs.

Finally, my son took a good look at her and asked why her neck looked so long. I opened the window and she crawled right in. She has lived with us ever since.

She was rail thin (hence the long-looking neck). Her fur clumped in small mats. And she was HUNGRY. I made the mistake of feeding her and that was the end of our cat-less home.

Her life likely wasn’t very good. She evidently lived with continual hunger. She was stone cold when she came in the house. Today, when thunder strikes, that little bundle of fur flies through the house in a panic.

When I reported that we found a stray to the city offices, I was told to just “take it out back and shoot it. We have hundreds of those things in the abandoned elevator.” I didn’t feel that was a good option.

Thing is, Luna (her name) didn’t deserve to die. She didn’t ask to be born. Someone, somewhere wanted a cat and didn’t spay her. They didn’t neuter their Tom. They weren’t responsible pet owners.

Luna wasn’t vaccinated, she wasn’t microchipped, she wasn’t fed, she was left, as a kitten, to fend for herself.

Who are we, as humans, when we treat someone like Luna with such disregard? That said, we seem to have trouble treating each other respectfully, how can we expect to treat someone as tiny as Luna with compassion?

All the companion animals in our home are rescue animals. The two pups come from the Humane Society and I just shared Luna’s story. Every one of them has every reason to be cranky, angry, and biased against humans. But they aren’t.

In that regard, I sometimes wish I could be more dog-like and perhaps more like stray-cat Luna.

I just hope that no one would come at me with a bow and arrow. People like that really shouldn’t work with anybody… let alone vulnerable animals.

More info. here.

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Apr 092015
 

Luna DeskToday I get to embark on one of my favorite spring activities: cutting royalty checks for Filbert Publishing authors.

This day always makes me tremendously grateful for our incredible authors, readers who entrust us with their time, how wonderful this community is.

I’ve had the opportunity to take part in a number of Internet groups these past two years and wow… we’re a lucky bunch, us writers. The professionalism, the kindness, the constructive criticism is awesome. Somehow we seem to have learned to discuss hot topics minus dog piling (I didn’t even know what that meant until a couple years ago), flaming (another new word), and anger (ha, I knew that one). :)

I never could have come back from the nightmare of cancer without the incredible support I received from the Writing Etc. community. They’re an awesome bunch.

So, today I’m back in my office cutting author checks. It’s a good day. (And yes, as you can see from the pic, I need to clean my desk. It’s difficult to do when it’s covered with such awesomeness.)

I hope you take time to do something fabulous today.

— Beth :)

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Apr 072015
 

I’m not sure you’ve  noticed, but I’ve been tinkering with this site.

Well, that’s not quite accurate. It’s getting a major overhaul.

I’ve been a bit of a recluse lately as I’ve been polishing, editing, spit shining all my titles, chopping them to bits, killing my darlings, and building an exclusive Starter Library for my favorite people in the world… readers.

Best of all, it’s completely free, no strings attached.

Better yet? It’s growing.

I have the first book uploaded, the next one’s good to go. I’ve also got at least eight more in the queue.

How fun, eh?

Be sure to check it out.

All you have to do is sign up to become a VIP reader (it’s free, btw) and you’re in. Instructions to download will be forthcoming.

Onward and upward. This will be an incredible year. :)

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Apr 012015
 

antique typewriter 21What to do, what to do…

So, here I am. Not quite a cancer survivor, not exactly a cancer patient.

I’m not classified “in remission” but the primary tumor is supposedly gone. I’m lucky they caught the cancer, I’m unlucky in that my life, career trajectory, everything I thought was true, has been turned upside down.

I’m in limbo; not real sick, not exactly well either. Slowly but surely, I’m getting used to this new body. Often, I long for the days when I had cancer and felt fabulous. Yeah, I know. I only think that after a particularly bad day.

But that’s beside the point, I suppose. What bothers me the most is what has happened to my personality.

I was always a “ready, fire, aim” type person before the cancer. Now I continually second guess myself. I proceed carefully.

I sometimes find reality to be crushing, sobering, overwhelming.

Sure, my chances of five year survival are OK. Docs are watching the liver and lungs. Considering I don’t have much colon left, my chances of actual colon cancer showing up there are rather small. Now, we watch for mets.

But it’s confusing. Docs aren’t exactly skilled at communication and as I approach my second cancerversary, I’m not looking forward to reliving my cancer nightmare once again.

When I was diagnosed, docs told me if they hadn’t removed the tumor, I would be inoperable in two years, dead in five. In a month, I’ll enter year two.

Which brings me to writing.

In the past, I’ve always used copywriting to finance my fiction career. After taking a good look at the prospect of death through a Vicodin haze, I’m not sure I want to do as much copywriting anymore.

Throughout my writing career, my mantra has always been, “chase your dream, don’t compromise.” And I’ve done that… most the time.

Except now, time suddenly feels precious. I find myself avoiding various projects I used to jump at. I find myself longing to return to my roots and enter the worlds of imagination I’ve often forsaken, instead taking the safe route of financial security. But I can’t seem to do that now.

I love writing. Cherish it. I adore my characters and the worlds they inhabit. The stories they tell amaze me.

And so, today I explore. I wonder. I tentatively take a step back and become the writer I wanted to be way back in the days before surgeries, scans, slick seminars, mentors, and tumors.

I’m terrified yet far more hopeful than I’ve been in a long time. But through this, I find writing fun again. And I suppose that’s what counts, eh? I hope you join me on this interesting adventure.

If you haven’t signed up for my VIP newsletter, please do so. I’ve got a couple awesome freebies set to go… more coming.

But most of all, enjoy life. Love living. Hug someone you find precious. :)

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Oct 292014
 

My how times change. The magazine ads after the jump are… interesting.

We’ve got fannies, diarrhea plagued playboys, “chubby” girls, women who would shoot themselves in the head due to a bad hair day, cocaine tooth drops, phallic gaming equipment, inappropriate use of a child in advertising, and a very young Nick Nolte.

Go figure.

Enjoy the mayhem after the jump. :)

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Nolte

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Oct 132014
 

Fantastic weekend.

First, on Friday, on our regular morning walk, little Rudie (the Doxie Cross) found a dollar in the middle of the road. Ha. I’d never been paid to walk before. I gave her strict instructions to find a few more bills, but she didn’t listen. Dang.

Second, on Saturday morning, my dh, Rudie, and I attended the first annual Caribou Coffee 5k walk/run.

Now, I walk a lot. Usually, I vary my path, making sure to get enough steps to fill my daily allotment, careful to make sure weather isn’t a factor in my return trip. If it’s too cold, life becomes unpleasant. If it’s too hot, my elderly dogs are miserable. A quick plan before heading out generally results in a pleasant experience.

I’ve never walked an official 5k on a track before. A couple thoughts came to mind while doing so.

1. It’s weird to walk in circles. How do people do it? We just went round and round twelve times. At first it was fine, then I got a bit concerned at the boredom creeping into my mind. Then I began to carefully tick off each lap, waiting for the end.

I liked the 5k. I didn’t like walking in a circle. But that’s just me.

2. I appreciated this event. It was held at the same location as the Relay for Life, yet this one felt different. Perhaps it was because all the coffee donations went directly to the oncology center I frequent. Perhaps it was because an additional 20 percent goes directly to cancer care. Perhaps it’s because I really like our local Caribou Coffeehouse.

It was fun… a very personal event that felt more hopeful, and less sickness oriented, than the previously mentioned fund raiser.

3. Cancer changes everything. Absolutely everything. I’m back at work more than ever since the cancer, but it’s still rough going. I don’t have much to say. That’s a bad thing for a writer. If I don’t have anything to say, I generally don’t send out an issue of Writing Etc.

So, my editorial schedule is still quite flexible. By necessity. Despite all the laps around the track, I still couldn’t figure out what’s going on when it comes to writing. But I’m finding my way. Hopefully.

Finally, the weekend ended with my dh finishing a few outdoor projects. Turns out he left the outside door open. So, when I entered my office today, I had at least four flies buzzing around my desk.

After hunting them down, one by one, I had one final bug to annihilate. He evaded me for over an hour before the buzzing stopped. Suspicious, I searched for his location. I finally found the pesky creature perched on the fly swatter. I let him sit.

Well played, wily fly. Well played.

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Oct 072014
 

I remember the warm summer day when, during our regular walk, my family and I discovered the monarchs. Now, when I say monarchs, I’m talking thousands of them, all fluttering in their orange and black glory. It was an indelible moment that I will never forget. That moment may never happen again.

Today the winter monarch colonies, which are found west of Mexico City, in an area of about 60 miles by 60 miles, are a pitiful remnant of their former splendor. The aggregate area covered by the colonies dwindled from an average of 22 acres between 1994 and 2003 to 12 acres between 2003 and 2012. This year’s area, which was reported on Wednesday, hit a record low of 2.9 acres.

Why is this happening?

Reasons for the decline are multiple, including: out-of-control ecotourism, extreme weather and diversion of water. Two threats loom above all others: the destruction of breeding habitat in the United States because of the widespread use of powerful herbicides and genetically engineered crops, and illegal logging in Mexico’s high-elevation Oyamel fir forests.

Deforestation has always been a dark shadow lurking in these beautiful mountains, and it has never been adequately dealt with by the Mexican government. In the 1980s, horrified television viewers watched footage of loggers armed with chain saws felling trees covered with butterflies and log-laden trucks crushing butterflies as they drove down the mountains. That led to the establishment, in 1986, of the Monarch Butterfly Special Biosphere Reserve, within which logging was outlawed. But still it continued.

How could ecotourism hurt them?

Ecotourism is an important part of the local economy, but we must make sure that its costs in habitat degradation and increased butterfly mortality don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The Mexican government has made strides in reducing much — but not all — illegal logging, and needs to do more. The United States, for its part, should re-examine the extent to which industrialized herbicide-based agriculture is destroying the flora in the Midwestern United States that monarchs depend on in the spring and summer. In addition to all of this, we simply need better data on the butterflies.

Sigh.

We are fortunate to have experienced the magnificent overwintering phenomenon over more than three decades. We hope that better stewardship will allow the monarch butterflies to continue to festoon the Oyamel forests of Mexico for generations to come.

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Oct 032014
 

This piece from The Onion hits pretty close to home.

I have always been a big proponent of following your heart and doing exactly what you want to do. It sounds so simple, right? But there are people who spend years—decades, even—trying to find a true sense of purpose for themselves. My advice? Just find the thing you enjoy doing more than anything else, your one true passion, and do it for the rest of your life on nights and weekends when you’re exhausted and cranky and just want to go to bed.

Ouch. Sounds like my life sometimes!

It could be anything—music, writing, drawing, acting, teaching—it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that once you know what you want to do, you dive in a full 10 percent and spend the other 90 torturing yourself because you know damn well that it’s far too late to make a drastic career change, and that you’re stuck on this mind-numbing path for the rest of your life.

This raises an interesting question. How do you pursue your dream if you’re busy living life?

I can’t stress this enough: Do what you love…in between work commitments, and family commitments, and commitments that tend to pop up and take immediate precedence over doing the thing you love. Because the bottom line is that life is short, and you owe it to yourself to spend the majority of it giving yourself wholly and completely to something you absolutely hate, and 20 minutes here and there doing what you feel you were put on this earth to do.

I totally admit there’s more than a modicum of truth in this whole scenario. You have to really, really want to succeed at your dream to make this kind of sacrifice worth it.

Really, the biggest obstacle to overcome here—aside from every single obligation you have to your friends, family, job, and financial future—is you. And I’ll tell you this much: You don’t want to wake up in 10 years and think to yourself, “What if I had just gone after my dreams during those brief 30-minute lunch breaks when I was younger?” Because even if it doesn’t work out, don’t you owe it to yourself to look in the mirror and confidently say, “You know what, I gave it my best half-hearted shot”?

Kudos to the writer… who probably is  actually writing for a living. Success is hard. It’s a never ending pursuit. Markets for paying writing are tightening. Those are the realities. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me writing is the fact that I’m a writer. It’s what I do. It’s an illness that has no cure.

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Oct 022014
 

Oh boy. Fasten your seat belt for a twisted story. I’ll let Publisher’s Weekly present the introduction:

After months of claims and counter claims about its financial situation, erotic romance publisher Ellora’s Cave has filed suit in Summit County, Ohio, against Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe, aka Jane Litte, and her blog, Dear Author, claiming libel and defamation. The suit asks for injunctive relief from the blog for posts regarding Ellora’s Cave, and its owners. Ellora’s Cave is asking for “no less than” $25,000 in damages.

Woah. Details are rather interesting, starting with this:

Ellora’s Cave has been plagued by financial problems since late 2013. Among other issues, authors began complaining about late, or missed, royalty payments. More recently, complaints have surfaced about a decline in authors’ book sales and the layoffs of many of the house’s editors. Marks has blamed the royalty payment problems on the implementation of new accounting software. Addressing the decline in sales, Marks has acknowledged that the publisher has been moving fewer titles through Amazon, but she has not been able to identify why this is happening.

Yeah… I can see why a publishing house would downsize. Publishing has gotten rather tight these past few years. I know, after my cancer diagnosis, I made a point to be super careful with all my publishing duties, always mindful to make sure I got all our core activities done. The last thing I needed was to lose my business, the trust of my authors, and reputation.

It’s really not that hard. You sell books, you pay the author. Pay everybody who works on the prepub activities up front. If you don’t have the money to put a book on the market, you don’t do it. That’s been the secret to keeping Filbert Publishing afloat. That’s also why we’re small. It’s by design.

But, I guess not all publishing houses work that way.

I’ll dismount my high horse now.

You can get updates on this situation from Writer Beware.

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Oct 012014
 

I found a number of gems in this collection of quotes.

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” ― Dorothy Parker

I’ve quoted a version of this one to many newbie writers:

“I am always chilled and astonished by the would-be writers who ask me for advice and admit, quite blithely, that they “don’t have time to read.” This is like a guy starting up Mount Everest saying that he didn’t have time to buy any rope or pitons.” ― Stephen King

And this one’s courtesy of one of my heroes:

“You either have to write or you shouldn’t be writing. That’s all.” ― Joss Whedon

You can find tons more after the jump. Enjoy. :)

Link

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