Sunday, November 27, 2011

Liebster Blog Award!

A few of my blogger followers bestowed upon me this awesome blog award. Please take the time and stop on by Let go of the Past, live Today and create Tomorrow where you will find wonderful inspiration. You won’t be able to stop smiling after reading his blog. Also, please head on over to Mainely Mugups for soothing music and diverse blog posts that leave you feeling good.

What’s awesome about this blog award is that Liebster is a German word that means dearest/love. And since I refer to the love of my life as Mein Liebster, and lived and plan to go back to Germany, I can’t help but have a greater appreciation for this award.  

But there are responsibilities that go along with such an honor.

1)  I need to link back to the person(s) that gave me the award and thank them. WilyBCool and Belva’s blogs share positive insights, so please click on the above links and start following them.

2) List 5 of my favorite blogs with under 200 followers, and let them know you awarded them with the Liebster award. It’s not a popularity contest, it’s just a great opportunity for me to reach out to others and maybe receive a few more followers.

3) Post the award on my blog. I’m all about bragging.

4) Be thankful for your blogger friends.

Here are my picks:

1) Stop on by June Kramin’s aka Aunty Bug’s blog. She is a writer friend of mine with several books coming out. Find out when and what June is publishing and read some funny snippets of her life.

2) My next blog is attorney/writer, Melissa Sugar-Gold’s. Every time I stop on by, I laugh out loud reading about her writing escapades. Make it part of your daily reads.

3) I want to refer you to my writer friend, Barb, and her blog, Written Not With Ink. Barb’s posts are interesting and thought provoking. She provides a new and refreshing outlook on things.

4) I’ve recently had the privilege to connect with Ramblings of a Peacock. Head on over there and see what she’s rambling on about.

5) Another blog I’ve recently started to follow is The 20th Century Man. I always love hearing about life from a man’s POV.

For wonderful reads, head on over to the above blogs and fill your days with laughter and inspiration.

Sharing and following,

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Beginning of the Season!

This is my favorite time of year; holiday cheer, winter gear and the anticipation of a new year. Not to mention, Santa’s reindeer, Leinenkugel “Fireside Nut Brown” beer, and for some of us, a bigger rear.

So to kick off the holiday season, I decided to post some Christmas trivia questions and add more every week. You can post your answers in the comments or shoot me an email.
1.  In Frosty the Snowman, who brought Frosty back to life?  Santa Claus
2.  Who lost $8,000 in It's a Wonderful Life? Uncle Billy
3.  In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, what biological shortcoming made the Grinch so mean? His heart was two sizes too small
4.  Who tells you she's in town by tap, tap, tappin' at your windowpane? Suzy Snowflake
5.  What is the biggest selling Christmas single of all time? White Christmas
6.  What was Scrooge's first name? Ebenezer
7.  Where was I when I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus? On the Stairs
8.  What was the name of Rudolph's dogsled driving friend? Yukon Cornelius
9.  Who said "God Bless Us, Every One!"? Tiny Tim
10. What carol contains the line "O tidings of comfort and joy"? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
11.  In The Night Before Christmas I sprang from my bed to see what? What was the matter
12. Name the three reindeer whose names begin with a "D"? Dasher, Donder, Dancer
13. In the song "Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer" what did Grandma go to get? Her medication
14. What was the first gift my true love sent on the sixth day of Christmas? Six geese a-laying
15. In what city did Miracle on 34th Street take place? New York
16. In It's a Wonderful Life, how did Clarence cleverly save George's life? He jumped in the river first
17. Who kept time with the Little Drummer Boy? The ox and the lamb
18. In The Night Before Christmas, where were the stockings hung? By the chimney
19. What is the name of the little girl in most versions of The Nutcracker? Clara
20. What is the last ghost called in A Christmas Carol? The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Prayers and Miracles,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It’s all about Appearance

Since I’ll be doing some book promoting, I’ve recently looked back at past marketing and promotions that did and didn’t do so well. It’s interesting how marketing/promoting a product can increase sales or cause its collapse.

We’ve recently heard some debates regarding the marketing of Dr. Pepper Ten. “It’s only ten manly calories.” “It’s what guy’s want.” “Dr. Pepper Ten. It’s not for women.”

I’ll be honest, this didn't upset me that they wiped out a very, very large demographics, but I did watch the video wondering, “Do guys really care about calories? Is there such a thing as ten womanly calories? Are they trying to use reverse psychology to get more women to buy the product?” Most household shoppers are women, and if these women are out shopping for pop (yes, I’m from Chicago) for husbands and kidlets, do they really think the women will head straight for Dr. Pepper?

Then there’s the Abercrombie & Fitch, Summer 1999

Does A&F own an island? Did you see all their cool clothes? Because I didn’t. There’s nothing about that video that screams clothes to me.

Ayds Diet Candy

Unfortunately, the ad came out when AIDS was becoming the scariest thing in the world. And a double whammy was that AIDS was known to eat away at the body, and AYDS Diet Candy was a weight loss product.  

Now for a few of my favorite marketing/promotions.

Joe Boxer

Every time I saw this commercial I couldn’t help but smile. I wanted to go out and buy Joe Boxers for someone. I wonder what happened to this guy. I miss him.

I don’t drink J&B, but because I thought the advertisement was cool, I thought about getting a bottle.

Do you know of any good or bad marketing/promotion campaign ads?

Audience and sell,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Boom, Boom Weekend!

Have you ever had one of those weekends where you think you haven’t achieved a thing, but you actually did? Where you’re up early and turning in late and at the end of the weekend nothing looks disturbed…other than you maybe? I had one of those weekends—one filled with surprises to say the least.

BUT...I did get my book cover completed. I’ve been preparing for this publication for a long time, yet it didn’t seem real until now. My dark, psychological suspense, Net Switch, is coming alive. I am very pleased with the cover, and I’m even more excited to be able to say my cousin, Brian Baer, did the cover art. If you want to see more of Brian’s artwork, head on over to his website: Danke schön, Brian.

Since I created my poetry book trailer, Sipping a Mix of Verse, and enjoyed doing it, I wanted to tackle this book trailer. Of course, I had to make this one different to keep with the theme of my novel. Like movie trailers, book trailers promote books to intrigue enough of people into buying it.
Net Switch

Tempt and catch,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran’s Day!

For the first time in a long time, I’m glad to see the media focusing on our veterans and doing stories about their sacrificed. I want to take this time to thank all the veterans and their families for their sacrifices, along with those in active service From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the service you’ve given to your country in keeping the United States free. God Bless every one of you.  


The camera’s angle
twists and swings to the voice
of the broadcaster. 
Bloody boots resembling
yours appear on enemy streets;
gunfire lights up the sky.
I can smell the smoke drift
in the night air even thousands
of miles away.
Trepidation moves me closer
to the screen looking for a sign,
such as crow color hair,
with a spray of warfare sweat.
Or a calloused hand, tattoo
on thumb, symbolizing courage.

Nothing revealed you were among
the dust, broken buildings or
bodies.   I shift away
then walk to the window.
Looking up, a bright sun warms
my worried face; wonder if
you’re safe, tucked in
a hole away from harm’s way.
But this feeling belongs
to me alone.
I don’t know where you
rest your body, hoping it’s
still breathing—
just like you didn’t know my crush
on you—since childhood cavorting.

Sacrifice and Freedom,

In Memory of my uncle, John Maluska.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Express Yourself!

I wanted to be a rock star when I was young. I sang in plays, around the house, and in high school, I sang with a band, but my dream slowly faded. Smoking didn’t help my voice and I had too many lost years, so now my singing is limited to the shower and in the car. But I do have “recording a song in a recording studio” on my Bucket List.

Even though I don’t have a voice to be a rock star, I love music and appreciate great talent, which is why I’m a fan of “The Voice” and “X-Factor USA”. All of the contestants on X-Factor are great—really great. I’m not a big fan of rap or hip-hop, but that Astro is a talented little man. Both of the groups, Lakoda Rayne and The Stereo Hogzz bring their own style to the songs, and although very different, I enjoy their performances. Rachel Crow is adorable and can knock out a song like older contestants.

However, my two favorites have such control of their voices, and literally make my stomach flip and my eyes tear up when I hear them sing. One is beyond her years, and the other makes every existing song his very own.

Drew Ryniewicz, a 14-year old from Arizona, has control, honesty, creativity and a folksy, raspy voice that I love. She makes singing look so effortless. When I first heard her sing, I heard a mix of Alanis Morisette and Jewel.

Josh Krajcik, a 30-year old from Ohio, is a fusion between Andrew Strong and Bruce Springsteen. I love his strong voice, yet he can sing loud and high with smooth transitions.

What about you? Do you watch X-Factor? Who is your favorite and why?

Singing and dancing,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interview with David Delaney!

I want to introduce you to today’s guest blogger, David Delaney. Instead of me telling you who David is, I’ll just let him do it.
I am a former Brisbane boy but now currently live and work in Cairns with my very patient, and darling wife. I sometimes wonder where I get the time to write but always seem to manage to pen something. Also I am a member Tropical writers group Cairns, Arts nexus Cairns & Australian Bush Poets Association

Having had no formal education in writing and now into my 50's, I wanted to show that someone like myself without higher schooling could write and enjoy it. For me school, Rocklea State School (when I was there) was a place to 'hang out' with my mates and I actually only completed 3 months of high school (Salisbury) before leaving at the age of 15.

After numerous jobs throughout my youth, I eventually moved into Furniture Removals where I stayed for approximately 25 years. For 17 of these, my wife and I operated our own removal business, and was able to travel extensively throughout N.S.W and Queensland.

Since leaving the removal industry several years ago and having some 'thinking' time, my experiences, memories of driving the highways and tracks, the vast and beautiful outback, my wife, daughters, grand children and family, stories from mates, work colleagues and close war veterans have given me the inspiration for my writings.

Hello David,

Thank you for taking the time to do this guest interview. I first would like to congratulate you on your poetry book, Out of Australia, and your poetry award.

Thank you Bea and it's my pleasure to do this interview with you.

Could you please tell us about your latest book, Out of Australia?

My new release "Out of Australia" is a compilation of 100 of my poems consisting of, Australian bush poetry, free verse, traditional rhyme and sonnets, my book is also a journey the reader takes with me as I progress with my writing through the years of 2007 up to and including 2009.

You recently won the 2011 Open Poetry Award organized by the Reef Writers & Port Douglas Gazette. It’s a wonderful experience to win an award by prominent writers. Has this changed anyone’s perception and interest in your writing?

It is a wonderful but humbling experience to win any competition especially when competing against some very talented writers and if this win has changed anyone's perception of my writing I can only hope it is a positive one, but, we as writers never know this until told by someone.

This wasn’t the first award you’ve won—you have many to your name. We all know that awards are special, but is there one in particular that made things right? One that validated your hard work?

Agreed, this was not and any other award I have been recognised with is a wonderful experience be it a commended place or a 1st or 2nd place but if I had to pick one I would have to go with my Commended place in the Eastwood/Hills region of the Fellowship of Australian Writers 2011 literary competition, traditional section for my sonnet ‘Why’ as the calibre of writers including academics was a great challenge for me.

You started writing poetry later in life with no prior formal education. Have you ever come across bias in your works because of your education?

I suppose I have with a couple of academic types, who think writing rhyming poetry is 'futile' and 'old hat' and believe free verse/prose is the only poetry that should be written or published, I honestly believe "A true poet is one who writes and understands the disciplines involved in any genre of poetry" not just one style, but in saying that my 1st love is Australian bush poetry.

How do you hope to differentiate yourself from other poets?

I'm not that interested in differentiating myself from other poets, I would rather be accepted by other poets, as a poet, and be known for what and how I write. I also know I'm not the best or greatest poet in the world, but I, (and so many others) enjoy what I write and as I continue reading and learning new styles, I can only improve as time goes on.

Is there anyone else in your family who shares your love of writing?

Not that I immediately know of, but you never know, one of my grandchildren might take up the cause.

Some of your poetry is called Australian bush poetry. Could you please explain what Australian bush poetry is?

I am a member of the Australian Bush Poets Association, and by definition, Australian Bush Poetry is good metred and rhymed poetry about Australia, Australians and/or the Australian way of life. Bush poetry is very much on par with the American Cowboy poetry.

I love that you sprinkled some pictures throughout your poetry book. Did you add the pictures to help the reader visualize the poem or did you add them for pure enjoyment purposes?

Yes! There are quite a number of "Aussie" photos which have been donated by friends and family including some taken by my wife and myself, it was enjoyable adding the photo's but mostly to help the reader visualise the Australian landscape because I know there would be many American friends who do not know how vast and unpredictable our country can be, for example America's state of Texas fits approximately 7.9 times into my state of Queensland.  

I love “In the Shadow of Ghosts” and “Cracker Night”. Both of these titles capture the entire poem and made me want to read your poetry story. As writers, we are proud of our writings, but are there any poems you hold closest to your heart?

I love all my poems but I must say you have picked one of my favourites "In the Shadow of ghosts" this is my small tribute to our great Australian poets, there are a number of poems I just can't or have great difficulty performing as a huge number of my poems could be classed as memoirs and are so close to my heart, for example a number of my tributes to our veterans like "Villers-Bretonneux" "Heroes of Gallipoli" or "An Old Vets Christmas" and of course some about my family.

Aside from poetry, have you written any other genre, such as short stories, novels, etc?

Yes, in 2010 I ventured into short story/memoir writing and almost immediately had wonderful success with these including my memoir "Tony the Wogs Mango Tree" accepted by a panel of academics at James Cook University for publication in their journal LiNQ  also my humorous/fiction/memoir "Duffel Bag of Poetry" received 2nd place in Scribbligums short story competition 2010 and "Encounter of a Different Kind" received a Commended place in the same competition, which was fantastic considering the international submissions I was competing against. 
Could you share one of you poems with us?

Since you mentioned one of my favourites earlier here is "In the Shadow of Ghosts"
To all and sundry I hereby attest
when writing stories, I will pen my best
to literary heights I will aspire
and write like poets, those that I admire.

To stroll with Lawson under silver moon 
and sit with Dennis in the early noon
ride with Morant along the Condamine
inspired by Parkes, my rhyme I will refine.

Then walk with Kendall , hear the bell birds song
stand with Ogilvie, view the rushing throng 
watch Evans write his women of the west 
read Boake, great poet and one of our best.

There’s Esson’s tribute to the shearer’s wife.
the convicts who sang their rum song of life
then Song of Australia was Carleton’s view
I hear Paterson, and that Geebung crew.

Verse caught the time, the man rode Snowys side
viewed Sydney town when ships moved with the tide
rode Cobb and Co. along a dusty track
travelled the bush, where some never came back.

All master poets, experts in this craft
read so many, I smiled, I cried, I laughed
published in many a books well read pages
their words are still resounding through the ages.

I’ll keep on writing well into the night
knowing one day, I’ll pen the metre right
the flow of my rhythm will be like a song
the beat will sound its perfect soft and strong.

With help from writers, present or the past
my writings' true perfection, I will grasp
when all’s left are my poems and my rhyme
I would love them remembered for all time.

Thank you for this interview. Congratulations and much success on your writing.

It has been my pleasure Bea, all the best to you and your readers.

You can purchase David Delaney’s book by visiting the below links.

Metre and emotion,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet Me on Monday!

This week's questions are:

1.  Are you excited for the holidays, or are you dreading them? I’m excited for my holidays. I love this time of year. I reflect on what I’ve achieved or failed to do over the year, and start making a mental checklist of next year’s goals. I also love spices, turkey, burning leaves, lattes, etc, which is what the holidays embody.
2.  Do you hit the snooze button, or get right up?  Nope. I’m up as soon as the buzzer goes off…sometimes even before.
3.  Do you still have your tonsils? I refuse to let them go.
4.  What was the last piece of candy you ate?  My last piece of candy was Heath. Mmm… I love my English Toffee.
5.  Do you shop at thrift stores? Definitely. I’m all about bargains.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Food for Thought

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people." -- Orson Welles, author

"My mom made two dishes: Take it or Leave it." -- Stephen Wright, comedian

I thought I’d share a deeeeelish meal I made the other day. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it. 

 Parmesan Crusted Chicken

4-skinless chicken breasts
½ cup of Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
¼ cup of Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
Salt, pepper and parsley for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Mix the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs in a bowl.
3) Cover the chicken with the mix and place on a cookie sheet.
4) Add salt, pepper and sprinkle parsley (optional).
5) Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked

Approximate calorie count: 310 per serving (one chicken breast)

 Butternut Squash Fries

1 butternut squash
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Butter spray
Sea Salt

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2) Peel or cut the shell off, dig out and throw away the seeds and cut the squash up in your desired fry’s size.
3) Put the cut squash on a cookie sheet and lightly brush with olive oil. Add sea salt and lightly sprinkle cinnamon (optional). You can use paprika instead.
4) Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp (add butter spray halfway through baking)

Approximate calorie count: 95 per serving (one cup)

Comfort Food and colored leaves,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time Will Only Tell

Yesterday I went to see the movie, “In Time” with Justin Timberlake. I’m not a big movie theater person (costs are nuts), but I thought the concept of this movie was interesting and I needed to get away from looking at pictures of me. LOL! I have to find a picture for the back cover of my book and the publisher’s website…of course one where I don’t look like I’m harboring a week’s worth of food in my cheeks, my aging skin isn’t drooping in too many places and my nose isn’t taking up most of the picture. But that’s another problem for another day—back to “In Time”.

The movie is about people living off time instead of money. Time is the currency. When you’re born, your clock is set to zero until you hit your 25th birthday and then the one-year clock (given to everyone) starts up. No one ages after 25 years, but you have to earn time in order to live (when your clock runs out, you immediately die). The rich are immortal while the poor die young.

You pay with time. If you want a car, it could cost you 5-years of your life. In the movie, timekeepers make sure the poor remain poor and the rich continue to live. The rich raise taxes and time costs whenever they feel like it. Each social class is in a particular time zone, and when you attempt to cross to the next time zone, you have to pay extensively to prove you belong there.

When we got out of the movie, we talked about how it isn’t that much different from the struggles in the world today. The corporations buy enough minutes to live long, greedy lives while the poor to middle class struggle to survive each day. Zip codes divide our economic status and taxes and costs are raised whenever, many times without reason.

It’s scary to think that technology and government control could make our seconds, minutes, hours and days our currency. We then started thinking about how government and corporations could control (more than they do now) what we eat and do in life. What if a beer costs a day of your life? Or a cigarette costs you a week of your life? What if a cheeseburger costs five days of your life?

If you wore the seconds, minutes, hours and days on your arm, and saw it decrease with every purchase, would you think twice about what you do in life, and if so, what would you stop doing?

Tick tock and ageless,