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Wednesday, November 27, 2013 20 comments

Reasons to be Thankful...

Aloha,

It’s always interesting when I meet new people for the first time.

They hear my Oirish accent, subdued, but always there, and I’m often asked if I’m from ____ and then it’s normally, “Like, dude… why did you come here?”

That story is shared elsewhere, but I always finish the above with a feeling of gratitude.

It’s not so much how I got here, but that I am here – and I am so deeply thankful to God and his many mercies that brought me here in January 1996.

It’s fair to assume that I’ve celebrated every one of the seventeen Thanksgiving holidays since I arrived, but my first AHA! Thanksgiving was actually my fifth. (Details here.)  

Now I find myself calling home or friends overseas to wish them a happy Thanksgiving and they’re all like, “Dude, it’s just Thursday.”

But, it’s not, is it?

Thanksgiving is – now that I get it – a time to (hopefully) catch up with family, break some bread, and maybe some heads… depending on how the annual arguments develop!

I’d like to share some reasons why I’m thankful:

 
 
·         Father “Al Diaz” Dragon (I think it’s simply delicious that Al’s name is now his nickname) put a huge amount of effort into his latest post and offered up a tribute to many of his Blogger friends.

I was honored to be included in the Dragon Hall of Fame, especially as I’ve lately spiraled out of writing control. To receive this boost of confidence from Al is something I can – and will – really hold on and grab with both hands.

·         I’m also thankful for the smaller things in life. For example, today I played with my three boys in the silly little plastic swimming pool we have sitting in our backyard.
Three sons, one sun - this past Sunday
 

·         As I hosed the pool down, I realized it’s the end of November and many families have battened down the hatches for winter. We are so blessed to live here in Hawaii.

·         I’m thankful for the men and women, including my wife, who serve our country and allow me and so many others the freedom to blog as we want.

·         And, I’m thankful to you, my blogging buddies, because no matter what happens in the future, I know I am a better writer, and more importantly, a better husband, father and friend because of the relationships that have grown through knowing many of you.
Dragon-related pictures courtesy of Father Dragon :)

Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re celebrating, and if not, Happy “It’s Just Thursday.”

Friday, November 22, 2013 30 comments

50 States of Pray event update - thanks to all :)

Aloha,

It's been three weeks since I announced the 50 States of Pray event and I wanted to share an update.

I've had a ton of positive interest, several (cleared) misunderstandings and no negative feedback.

With less than two weeks to go before the Linky List opens, there are already twenty people pledged to represent their state and one person representing a foreign state.

Full details about the 50 States of Pray event are here, but the basic goal is that I'd love to find at least one person (but the more the merrier) from each U.S. state to participate.

But wait! (as they say on TV:) This is absolutely open to anyone, anywhere. Imagine if we got one person from 50 independent states (countries), too. That would be amazing!

If interested, please join the Linky List Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 and then on Christmas Eve, take a moment, (and in about 100 words), share a prayer, a thought, a memory, a hope, a regret about the past and/or a wish for the future.

Posts can obviously be scheduled ahead of time (at least on Blogger) and I'm not expecting people to comment on a lot of blogs - it's Christmas Eve! - but I believe these posts will have the ability to bring some comfort and/or peace to the right reader at the right time.

Thanks for all those who've pledged their support and I would ask that folks continue to help me spread the word through Blog mentions, Button grabs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

Hopes. Dreams. Heart.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 23 comments

Cover Reveal: "Hurricane Crimes" by Chrys Fey

Aloha,

I'm joining the Fey, I mean the fray to help celebrate the Cover Reveal of Chris Fey's new book!
 
Title: Hurricane Crimes
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: eBook
Available on Amazon: November 25th 2013
Official Release Date: March 5th 2014
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

 Book Link:

Blurb:
After her car breaks down, Beth Kennedy is forced to stay in Florida, the target of Hurricane Sabrina. She stocks up supplies, boards up windows, and hunkers down to wait out the storm, but her plan unravels when she witnesses a car accident. Risking her life, she braves the winds to save the driver. Just when she believes they are safe, she finds out the man she saved could possibly be more dangerous than the severe weather.
Donovan Goldwyn only wanted to hide from the police, but the hurricane shoved his car into a tree. Now he's trapped with a beautiful woman while the evidence that can prove his innocence to a brutal crime is out there for anyone to find.
As Hurricane Sabrina wreaks havoc, Beth has no other choice but to trust Donovan to stay alive. But will she survive, or will she become another hurricane crime?

Excerpt:
On the television set, which was fighting to stay alive, was breaking news. She caught bits and pieces of it as she emptied the bowl of blood-tainted water and threw out the cloth. It was about a high-speed chase that had occurred about a half-hour ago. Beth shook her head. Apparently, Donovan wasn’t the only idiot driving around during a hurricane.
She went back into the living room and began replacing all the medical supplies into the first-aid kit. Behind her, a reporter was explaining that the driver of the car was believed to be a murder suspect.
“The name of the—”
The lights flashed, prompting Beth to snatch up her flashlight.
“Donovan Goldwyn.”
Her fingers went cold around the plastic tube as ice frosted her veins. She straightened her spine and turned stiffly to the television, her heart wasn’t beating in her chest. On the screen was the picture of the man who was right now changing in her bedroom. Above it was a caption in bold letters that read—SUSPECT.
She gripped the flashlight in her frozen fingers. Her heart thudded fearfully. She stared into the immobilized violet eyes through the glass.
“Oh my god,” she gasped.

She had brought a murderer into her home!

####
 
Bio:
Chrys Fey is the author of the short stories—The Summer Bride and Fallen. She created the blog Write with Fey to offer aspiring writers advice and inspiration. She lives in Florida where she is ready to battle the next hurricane that comes her way.

 
 
 
Author Links:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrysfey
Blog: www.writewithfey.blogspot.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChrysFey
Google +: www.google.com/+ChrysFey 
 
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 11 comments

Holiday Food Drive BlogFest - Promote Those Who Help Others

Aloha,

Hosted by Tina Downey and M.J. Joachim, I’m more than happy to be a part of their Holiday Food Drive BlogFest, and the idea is simple.

Share some details – and promote the cause – of a local food bank or organization that helps feed the poor in your area.

I’m focusing on The Hawaii Foodbank, and all information (and pictures below) is derived from its website.

In May of 1983, John White’s vision of a local food bank became reality when, along with a single driver, Mr. White opened a small warehouse on Sand Island that became the Hawaii Foodbank, according to information on its “History” page.
All the equipment used was donated by local companies and included two refrigerated containers, a flatbed truck and a three-ton forklift.
Although the Hawaii Foodbank had a humble beginning, by the end of that first year of operation, 380,000 pounds of food had been distributed through seventy-five member agencies. (For full details on the foodbank’s history, click here.)

Mission Statement of the Hawaii Foodbank:
The people of Hawaii are one ohana. The Hawaii Foodbank provides food so that no one in our family goes hungry. We work to gather food and support from our communities. We then distribute food through charitable agencies to those in need. Our mission is from the heart, and we will fulfill our mission with integrity, humanity and aloha."
During the annual Canstruction® event, teams from Hawaii’s best architecture firms, designers and engineers build structures using canned goods.

Things They Do:
The Hawaii Foodbank in partnership with the food industry and community serves as a link between charities and those in need of food assistance. Our drivers collect food from supermarkets, distributors and wholesalers and bring them to our warehouse for inspection and sorting. Goods are then available for distribution to 250 charitable agencies on Oahu to feed our hungry.

The Hawaii Foodbank network serves the elderly, families, children and those facing financial crises each week. Hawaii's hungry are people of diverse ethnic backgrounds, ages and economic status.
Recent Stats:
Last year, the Hawaii Foodbank distributed over 11.8 million pounds of food. In addition, three million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were distributed through the Hawaii Foodbank's Ohana Produce Program.



In only 7 years, Canstruction® has raised over 249,000 pounds of food to feed Hawaii's hungry.
The Hawaii Foodbank is also a certified member of Feeding America and operates as the official food bank in the State of Hawaii. To distribute food to the neighbor islands, we work with three subsidiary organizations: The Food Basket on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Maui Community Food Bank, and the Hawaii Foodbank - Kauai Branch.
The Hawaii Foodbank collects and distributes many canned goods. However, they also offer perishable items such as milk and dairy products, eggs, beef, chicken and fish. All of these items are stored in warehouse refrigerator and freezer units.

In addition, the Hawaii Foodbank distributes fresh fruits and vegetables through the Ohana Produce Program visiting sites in several areas of Oahu.

For general information, please visit The Hawaii Foodbank.

For information of the various ways to give, please click here.

To make a specific financial donation, please click here.

####

PS: The BlogFest badge above was generously created and donated by our favorite digital artist, the amazing Jeremy of jmhdigital.


Monday, November 18, 2013 25 comments

Arlee Bird is the 2013 CheersFest Recipient (Dec. 9)

Aloha,

“Ever attended a Christmas party where you bump into the one person who was always there for you during the past year. You’d thank them for being such a RockStar, right?”
So began the inaugural CheersFest (aka AlexFest) when our Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, was roasted and toasted in December 2012.

Everyone, including A-Cav had such a great time that we’ve decided to do it again.

(Tears really big envelope with a flourish…)

“Ladies and gentlemen, the 2013 recipient of CheersFest is none other than Arlee “Lee” Bird.”
 


On his main blog, “Tossing It Out,” Lee describes himself, in part, “as a writer, speaker, entertainer, music lover, collector, husband, father, grandfather, friend, traveler, seeker of truth and wisdom.” He majored in English while at the University of Tennessee, has blogged since 2008, and currently has six blogs that delve into his diverse mind.
The original brains behind the annual A to Z Challenge, Lee can be counted on to pay it forward and is a well-respected member of the blogging community.
Hosted again by Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, Stephen Tremp and The Ninja Captain himself, CheersFest 2.0 will go LIVE! Dec. 9, 2013.

In order to proper cheer (or roast) Lee, here are four questions for you to answer on CheersFest Day, but please keep the retorts short – (no longer than 20 words each):
·         Why did Lee come up with the A-Z Challenge?
·         If someone dreams about being a juggler, what does it mean?
·         Is a post by Mr. Bird worth two in the bush?
·         Who could play Lee in a documentary? (Living or dead.)

In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:
·         Bird
·         Juggler
·         Challenge
·         Brown Jacket
·         Tossing
For Bonus Points:
·         In +/- 40 words, can you come up with a caption for Lee’s Facebook picture?

 

 As usual, the Very Demanding Rules of CheersFest include:
·         Join the Linky List *below*
·         Have fun
·         Post your 200 (total) word contribution ON Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.
·         No, seriously. Have Fun!

Two winners – chosen by Lee – will each win a prize:
·         An autographed color photo of Arlee Bird appearing as the Court Wizard in the World of Fantasy Players. Also included in the first prize pack are an assortment of promotional materials from Lee’s show biz days with a personal letter and a brief history of his entertainment career.

·         A personalized graphics design from Jeremy at Being Retro for the winner’s blog. (Jeremy will design a header, badge, button, banner, or whatever might appeal to the winner.)

Excited to roast and toast our blogger buddy, Lee?

If so, the Linky is now open. Sign up and we’ll see you on Dec. 9th



Friday, November 15, 2013 18 comments

A Red Balloon for Andrew...


Aloha,

Like many others, and per the family's request, I wanted to honor the memory of Andrew McNaughton with the release of a Red Balloon.

The chosen time was Friday at 11 a.m. (GMT), which is midnight Thursday here in Honolulu, Hawaii.

My apologies for the dark (and street) lighting in most of the pictures, but I wanted to do what I could to capture the Red Balloon as it made its way toward the heavens.

Rest in peace, Andrew...














"Let your children be as so many flowers, borrowed from God. If the flowers die or wither, thank God for a summer loan of them."

                                                        --Samuel Rutherford, Scottish theologian and author





Wednesday, November 13, 2013 18 comments

Andrew's Red Balloon & an Everyday-is-Veterans-Day Thank You...

Aloha,

At 11 a.m. Friday (GMT) the family of Andrew McNaughton has asked anyone who is so led to release a red balloon to honor the life and the legacy of this amazing young man who passed away Saturday.


 


If you cannot physically release a balloon, Carrie Butler has kindly designed a virtual balloon that can be flown on your blog.









With the sad news that Andrew had passed away, I postponed my traditional Veterans Day post.

I do specifically want to take a moment to thank my wife, my sister-in-law, my father-in-law and numerous other family members for their service in the U.S. Navy.


My father-in-law, sister-in-law, Better Half, mother-in-law & Sons #2 & 3 :)


I would also like to thank our many friends who (have) serve(d) in the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marines and U.S. Coast Guard.

You may not hear it every day, but please know you are so appreciated by so many.

Thank you.


Without uttering a word, this one-minute video says it all...





Monday, November 11, 2013 30 comments

In Memoriam: Andrew McNaughton


Dear Writers,

You may have heard the news that Nick Wilford's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, passed away this weekend.

Author Kyra Lennon is organizing the efforts to send Nick and his family flowers (and perhaps a donation to a charity of their choosing) on behalf of our writing community.

(Details at the IWSG page.)

If you feel led, donations can be made via Kyra's Paypal account, and you can contact Kyra at her website or via Twitter for her email address.

I never met Andrew, but from what I've read on Nick's blog, despite his physical challenges, this young man lived life with a passion.

Sending my deepest sympathies, condolences and prayers to the Wilford and McNaughton families.

May you rest in peace, Andrew.



Andrew McNaughton and his step-father, Nick Wilford





Friday, November 8, 2013 29 comments

Oh, How I Miss You... Bloghop

Aloha,


Sadly, I was informed that the 17-verse sonnet I wrote for my beloved and departed hair is not exactly what Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew MacNish had in mind as they host the second annual “Oh, How I Miss You” blog hop.
It is, of course, about the bloggers we miss…and the ones we would really miss!

Here’s the premise: Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished?

Our blogger friends are special – time to let them know!

 
The three people I miss are the same from last year (I still miss them...):



 

Daina Rustin over at Mystic Treehouse (Daina was the one of the first Bloggers to follow me who was NOT a friend or family member – and I will always appreciate her “followship” :)


 
 
 
Saran Pearson over at Empty White Pages (Sarah and I shared many a funny comment “back in the early days” and I miss her humor and insight.)



 
 
Rachael Harrie over at Rach Writes… (Rach is still around, but has taken an extended break from her Writer’s Platform-Building Campaign.)



Three Bloggers I would miss are:







Melissa Maygrove: is just a super person who I can always rely on to offer honest and straightforward advice - plus she is, in my humble opinion, the Grammar Goddess of the whole, entire Blogisfear :)








Father Dragon: (Also known as Al Diaz:) Father Dragon has been a force of goodness and inspiration over the past year. I know Al said he was thinking of taking a blogging step backward - because of some other opportunities - but I hope we don't lose you altogether, my brother from another madre :)







Morgan Shamy: Morgan is another friend I would hate to lose. She has taken some time off for now, but I can't wait for her to come back with more of her awesome sauce positivity. My day is always better when I'm fresh, posted and Morganized :)






                                                Who do you miss?




Wednesday, November 6, 2013 28 comments

IWSG: I lost my Pantser. Should I Skirt on a Schedule?

Aloha,

Did you know? The first Wednesday of the month has been trademarked as a time to share with the Insecure Writers Support Group.
Led by Alex CASSAnaugh, the Ninja Captain is ably supported this month by CD Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan and Michelle Wallace.

This month, I’m insecure about my male pattern baldness.
Dang, wrong email…. Hang on a mo, bro... oh here we go…
I’m worried that I’m losing readers because I have no set schedule. But, do I need a schedule?
Although a little confused, I'm planning to roll out the schedule listed below, which would begin the first Monday of 2034. (This gives me time to iron out any font, layout or spell-check issues.)

In the meantime, I’d really like your input.
Is the schedule too hot, or too hard to follow?
Too cold, or too soft to the etouch?

And, has anyone seen Baby Bear?


WEEK ONE:

MONDAY: OPEN (for cover reveals, bloghops, etc.)
WEDNESDAY: ISWG (what?)


A Beach
 
FRIDAY: Happening in Hawaii (Things to do/places to go while visiting O’ahu.)

 
 
 
WEEK TWO:

MONDAY: OPEN
            WEDNESDAY: Mark’s Musings (who only knows what will pop out of my mouth – but it will be terribly serious.)
The Southernmost point of the U.S. (on the Big Island)

 
FRIDAY: Friday Fotos (Pictures of the islands – and its people)






WEEK THREE:

MONDAY: OPEN


Ear-warmers: Secret way to use a Boppy #102
 
WEDNESDAY: Writer’s Wednesday (I’ll share my depth of knowledge (will be a short series)




FRIDAY: You Know You’re A Parent When… (My ongoing series as a stay-at-home dad to three mini-marks)
WEEK FOUR:

MONDAY: OPEN
            WEDNESDAY: Book Review

FRIDAY: Do You Have Goals Bloghop (this ongoing series is the brainchild of Misha Gericke.)








(When there’s a WEEK FIVE, one shall wing it.)

Thanks for taking the moment to review and share your thoughts via the comments – and, oh… if anyone has an idea or a suggestion, I have a box for that, too :)



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